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Thu Apr 11, 2019, 09:57 AM

No Country for Brown Children

“I read the news today, oh boy
about a lucky man who made the grade.
And though the news was rather sad,
well, I just had to laugh.
I saw the photograph ….”
John Lennon; A Day in the Life; 1967



Actually, I was re-visiting Erich Fromm's 1973 book, The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness” while listening to the Beatles. That song summed up my feelings about the news that I've seen thus far this week. But before we take a gander at some of the news' low-lights, let's do a brief review.

A number of times over the past 15 years, I've spoken about how I study “systems,” and do so by visualizing them like a mobile over an infant's crib. Add or subtract a piece, and all the others have to shift to stay in balance. That is the nature of healthy systems, be they a family, a school, a work place, or a community.

In an unhealthy system, the dynamics can be different in several ways. Other pieces can become entrenched in their positions, to prevent a smooth addition of another piece. Likewise, they can become entrenched in order to cut off a piece already on the mobile.

But the worst potential for an unhealthy system is of the type described in Fromm's book. Though he does not use the mobile model, I'd like to stick with it. Thus, the central piece on this mobile is what Fromm defined as a malignant narcissist, also known as a sociopath or psychopath. This piece, usually male, has a significant gravitational pull upon the other pieces e is surrounded with.

Before we go further, we should remember that malignant narcissists' actions, both as individuals and as a group, cover a wide spectrum. One may be a glib, thieving businessman, while another may be a murderer. And within this wide range, there are those who will, under extreme pressure, escalate in their potential level of threat. More, while the majority act out as individuals – those who are frequently said to live a “double life,” such as the BTK killer Dennis Rader – there is another type that are found smack-dab in the middle of a system.

The systems sociopath is generally more difficult to place upon psychiatrist Michael Stone's rankings of murderers. They generally do not commit the acts of gross violence themselves – rather, they have others do the dirty work. To accomplish this, they take advantage of situations by convincing those around them that they are “at risk” of being invaded or attacked by an enemy they define as “others.”

To fully appreciate this, we need to go back to the Angelo-Saxon word “yfel,” which translates to “beyond.” Society tends to make a distinction between killing in self-defense, in war, and murder. That line blurs sometimes, such as when we consider a soldier in WW2 and William Calley in My Lai. But what most sane people recognize as going “beyond” includes finding satisfaction in causing prolonged fear and suffering, by torturing and then murdering. These are sadistic features.

Now, let's focus on those pieces of the mobile that tend to surround the central character. In the cases that we are considering, we will look at a malignant narcissist who exercises political-social power. These tend to surround themselves with bureaucrats who fall into two groups: those who would normally never participate in “yfel” activities aimed at “others,” and those who may appear to be stable, but daydream about being others' nightmare.

In the first case, these individuals are often afraid of their leader on some level. When the leader says they are being invaded or attacked, they might know deep down that this is a lie. But they lack the character to take a stand opposing the leader, or to even quit their job. Instead, they bury their conscience, and obey orders. For they are bureaucratic cogs in the wheelhouse of a sick system. They will continue to be obedient until the leader gets a sniff of dissent, at which time he will cut them from the mobile.

In the second instance, we find the Stephen Millers of the world. They view the ability to cause suffering as a power they are entitled to yield against “others.” Their leader merely gives them license to do so. And their conscience never troubles them.

George W. Bush used the public's feelings of being threatened with invasion and attack to justify the invasion of Iraq. He was surrounded with individuals not unlike Stephen Miller – bureaucrats like Cheney, Rumsfeld, and a dozen other necroconservatives. But even earlier in his life, in the part-time position of governor of Texas, Bush found pleasure in suffering. Rubin Carter told me that when he met with Governor Bush to discuss the death penalty, Bush was “giddy” about his ability to send people o their deaths. As president, when he was preparing to invade Iraq in a manner distinct from previous wars, DC was filled primarily with bureaucrats afraid to challenge him, or eager to inflict suffering and death on “others.”

Today, of course, we are confronted with Donald Trump. We are witnessing his attempts to convince the public that we are being invaded and attacked by non-white others – all the while denying that we are indeed being attacked from within by white nationalists. We've seen his attempt to deny Islamic people the ability to enter the country. We are seeing his on-going war on immigrants from Central America. We've witnessed his administration's separating children from their parents, and placing them in metal cages. This is, by definition, going far beyond anything that could be mistaken for “normal.”

If we read about an adult who kidnaps a child, and tortures them by keeping them in a metal cage, we know that is “yfel,” the root of today's word “evil.” Average citizens are able to identify this as evil just as easily as theologians, philosophers, doctors, and lawyers. People had respect for John McCain's surviving being held as a POW in a cage, yet Trump consistently has said that McCain was not a hero. Is it any surprise that Trump and his followers are good with putting little children in cages? For that is surely a form of torture that causes great pain and suffering on a long-term basis.

These are the things I think about as I watch the world go round.
H2O Man

50 replies, 6775 views

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Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 50 replies Author Time Post
Reply No Country for Brown Children (Original post)
H2O Man Apr 2019 OP
Me. Apr 2019 #1
ananda Apr 2019 #2
H2O Man Apr 2019 #3
Me. Apr 2019 #4
malaise Apr 2019 #6
Me. Apr 2019 #8
malaise Apr 2019 #9
H2O Man Apr 2019 #37
H2O Man Apr 2019 #18
malaise Apr 2019 #24
H2O Man Apr 2019 #26
malaise Apr 2019 #33
H2O Man Apr 2019 #36
coeur_de_lion Apr 2019 #39
H2O Man Apr 2019 #40
WhiteTara Apr 2019 #16
H2O Man Apr 2019 #19
coeur_de_lion Apr 2019 #38
H2O Man Apr 2019 #41
Beringia Apr 2019 #5
H2O Man Apr 2019 #20
CharleyDog Apr 2019 #31
H2O Man Apr 2019 #32
hedda_foil Apr 2019 #7
H2O Man Apr 2019 #21
Hekate Apr 2019 #10
H2O Man Apr 2019 #22
lunatica Apr 2019 #11
H2O Man Apr 2019 #23
OneGrassRoot Apr 2019 #12
H2O Man Apr 2019 #25
OneGrassRoot Apr 2019 #43
H2O Man Apr 2019 #44
Enoki33 Apr 2019 #13
H2O Man Apr 2019 #27
Karadeniz Apr 2019 #14
H2O Man Apr 2019 #28
The Blue Flower Apr 2019 #15
H2O Man Apr 2019 #29
Kurt V. Apr 2019 #17
H2O Man Apr 2019 #30
Kurt V. Apr 2019 #34
H2O Man Apr 2019 #35
burrowowl Apr 2019 #42
H2O Man Apr 2019 #45
malaise Apr 2019 #46
H2O Man Apr 2019 #47
malaise Apr 2019 #48
spanone Apr 2019 #49
kwassa Apr 2019 #50

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 10:00 AM

1. "yfel" Is The Very Basic Explanation for What Is Currently In The WH

KR

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Response to Me. (Reply #1)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 10:03 AM

2. Definitely, completely evil!

nt

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Response to Me. (Reply #1)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 10:04 AM

3. I think so.

I've never liked anything about Barr, for example. There is nothing I respect about him. Yet I am disappointed that this bureaucratic toad has been pulled in by Trump's gravity.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #3)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 10:26 AM

4. He Lost His Reputation In The Last 2 Days

and it confirms the astrology prediction I read about him which essentially puts a fork in him by the end of August, with a hell of a time preceding. In other words, just desserts.

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Response to Me. (Reply #4)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 10:51 AM

6. What reputation - Iran Contra??

Great post WaterMan

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Response to malaise (Reply #6)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 10:53 AM

8. THe Pretend One

The one everyone kept telling us he had

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Response to Me. (Reply #8)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 10:56 AM

9. LOL

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Response to Me. (Reply #8)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 04:11 PM

37. !!!

Right! He's an "honorable man." Later for that.

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Response to malaise (Reply #6)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 01:42 PM

18. Thanks.

Yeah, I will never forget what Barr did back in the Iran-Contra days. I can't stand looking at him, much less hearing him talk.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #18)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 02:03 PM

24. That these failed goons can be recycled as

'institutionalists' is frightening.

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Response to malaise (Reply #24)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 02:06 PM

26. Seriously.

Great point! Thank you!

(My boy fights for the NYS Golden Gloves heavyweight title this Sunday. His opponent is very good, very tough and talented. But my boy is ready to rumble!)

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #26)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 02:46 PM

33. Well

your boy is also very good

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Response to malaise (Reply #33)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 04:00 PM

36. Thanks!

He's been training like a man possessed. One of his sparring partners was a 17-1 state champion, who weighs but one pound less than my boy. After getting decked in sparring, he says my son is "too big." The other is a super heavyweight that has been decked eight times in recent sparring -- mainly body-punches -- despite never having been knocked off his feet before.

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Response to Me. (Reply #4)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 06:36 PM

39. I have to ask darling

What is the astrology prediction for the mango Mussolini?

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Response to coeur_de_lion (Reply #39)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 08:41 PM

40. Good question.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #3)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 12:32 PM

16. He covered up Iran/Contra

this is just another day in the life of a fixer.

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Response to WhiteTara (Reply #16)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 01:49 PM

19. Right.

I've said here several times that he's a Bush the Elder company man. Thus, I wonder about his supporting Trump, including sending his unrequested 17-page application for the job. Perhaps he thought that was the only way a Bushite could get in. Even with the positions he is taking, I think he must be aware that if the courts go by the law, the Democrats in Congress will get the full report.

It's also possible that in his bureaucratic mind, he believes he is stabalizing the executive branch until Trump gets evicted in 2020. Yet, for the exact reason you note, one suspects that he views the executive branch as superior to the other two. As I said, he was in the pocket of Bush the Elder, which is in no sense a compliment.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #3)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 06:08 PM

38. Mueller's buddy

Or so we thought. I swear to God I thought it might be a good thing that he and Mueller are buddies.

But no. Wishful thinking.

He's possibly the worst attorney general in history. And I mean there is Ashcroft to compare him to and he is still worse.

Just as looney as the loon-in-chief. So far.

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Response to coeur_de_lion (Reply #38)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 09:19 PM

41. It's curious.

Barr spent much more time working at Central Intelligence, than working in politics. As I've stated, he's been a Bush the Elder company man his whole adult life. And I heard someone point out that Barr has never worked as a prosecutor, something a lot of people in the DOJ have had experience with. He must be aware of the on-going tensions between the Bush family and Trump.

Yet, his behavior seems like it can only result from one of two things. Either he is trying to semi-stabalize the White House, because even "retired" CIA fellows recognize that under a bit more pressure, Trump will either fully destroy the economy, or attack Iran. Or perhaps he actually admires Trump, and is seeking an opportunity allow his truest nature serving in the administration. He really doesn't seem to respect the Congress, and has openly insulted the FBI and prosecutors that work in the DOJ.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 10:44 AM

5. This reminds me of the movie I saw about Hannah Arendt and her theory of the banality of evil


of Eichmann.

Eichmann is reported to have said: I will leap into my grave laughing because the feeling that I have five million human beings on my conscience is for me a source of extraordinary satisfaction.

I think Trump would like to pull sadists like that into his orb as long as he can have power over them.

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Response to Beringia (Reply #5)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 01:55 PM

20. Definitely!

A "good" example of the type of people Trump can get to act upon their worst instincts is that Kirtsjen Nielsen. Trump brought her sadistic potential to the surface. She actually wanted to keep her job, although she hesitated to openly break a federal court order, as Trump demanded. He got rid of her for being cowardly, not because she respected the law. The banality of evil saturates this administration.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #20)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 02:22 PM

31. not to mention the "great" men (and a few women) of the US Senate, that esteemed body,

approved Bill Barr, knowing full well what he was about, his memo laid it all out, his past actions, they knew.
They knew how it would play out, and voila! It has.

Senators approved Barr's nomination 54 to 45. Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema, Doug Jones, and Joe Manchin all voted in favor of Barr, while Sen. Rand Paul was the only Republican to oppose his nomination, citing concerns about his views on surveillance and criminal justice reform.

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Response to CharleyDog (Reply #31)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 02:25 PM

32. Yes!!!

Thank you for that. They played an important role. You nailed it.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 10:52 AM

7. Thank you, H2O Man, for this illuminating essay.

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Response to hedda_foil (Reply #7)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 01:56 PM

21. Thank you!

I'm glad that some people here enjoyed it!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 11:11 AM

10. KnR

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Response to Hekate (Reply #10)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 01:56 PM

22. Thank you!

I appreciate it!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 11:29 AM

11. I think your analogy of a mobile is very good

I’m going to try to use it and the gravitational pull to perceive and understand the interlocked fluidity of power dynamics. Thanks! There’s no substitute to being able to picture something that isn’t static.

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Response to lunatica (Reply #11)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 02:00 PM

23. Thanks!

I always used that model at work -- both for the workplace, and the people I encountered. And I taught my children to use it, including in school, at college, and in their workplaces. I think it helps in understanding not only "how" a system works, but "why" people behave as they do.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 11:29 AM

12. I do so very much appreciate your insights...

and experience.

I wish you'd publish your essays on Medium so more people could benefit from your wisdom.



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Response to OneGrassRoot (Reply #12)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 02:04 PM

25. Well, thank you!

I always appreciate your kindness and your friendship. I have no idea what "Medium" is .....being a grumpy old man presents limitations, you know! (Hence, while ordering things, I ask if there is an "extra medium" available.) But if you think others should be exposed to my writings, please tell me more. Again, thank you!

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #25)

Fri Apr 12, 2019, 07:04 AM

43. I'm sure you've seen it but didn't realize it...

I'm not an expert, and I need to learn more about what all is going on with that platform now, but basically, it started as a new type of blog/article/essay platform. I follow a few people who write there and have written a few pieces myself. (Some people are monetizing it but I don't know anything about that.)

What I've noticed recently is that Medium must have some pull because big outlets are even writing pieces on Medium, I assume hoping it will bring more eyes to their publication. WaPo and Rolling Stone are two examples that come to mind. Jeff Bezos used Medium to write his side of the story, exposing the shakedown by the National Inquirer.

It's easy to use as well.



https://medium.com/

Let me know if you start writing on there so I can follow you!


https://medium.com/@denapatrick

P.S. --- Linking Medium pieces to DU has always been tricky though. I forget the workaround but I'm sure someone here knows.

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Response to OneGrassRoot (Reply #43)

Fri Apr 12, 2019, 08:19 AM

44. You are The Best!

I suppose I see lots of things and don't have a clue! (grin) I was recently talking with a good friend about one of the lingering frustrations I experience since my head injury last year. As she is a doctor and extraordinarily intelligent, she said, "Yes, that indicates you injured the ____ when you hit your head." And, of course, I can't remember the exact part of the brain she mentioned. Perhaps it is better that way!

My older son is going to stop by this evening. I will show him this information, and go from there. Again, and as always, thank you!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 11:39 AM

13. Indeed a good time for reflection as we struggle to chart the way forward. Thanks.

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Response to Enoki33 (Reply #13)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 02:09 PM

27. Thank you!

It can be frustrated watching someone like Barr place stumbling blocks in our path to restore democracy. But we need to make full use of 2019, before we get to next year's elections. As bad as the Trump bit is, I'm really happy with the Democrats in Congress.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 11:56 AM

14. Thank you, thank you! ❤ Great essay, thought provoking. What I've learned in the past

few years is that there are FAR more yfels than I ever noticed. I bet I'm not alone. Lots of us got caught by surprise, shocked.

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Response to Karadeniz (Reply #14)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 02:13 PM

28. Right.

I'm an old man, retired for years. But watching this administration reminds me so much of when I worked at the county mental health clinic, and one of my duties was to run the weekly county jail group. I'm so reminded of hearing my older relatives say, "This isn't the country I grew up in."

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 12:29 PM

15. Excellent analysis--thank you

What my mind keeps circling back to is that Barr went out of his way to audition for the role he's playing--to obstruct justice himself. He isn't someone who got sucked into il drumpf's gravitational pull. He ran to it and threw himself into it. I don't believe he possesses an ounce of integrity or moral intelligence.

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Response to The Blue Flower (Reply #15)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 02:18 PM

29. Great point!

How he accomplished his self-identified mission is know, and is exactly as you describe. The "why?" hasn't been so clear. But it certainly looks like his primary goal is to enable Trump et al to get away with serious unethical, even criminal, behaviors. I'm not big on our system of incarceration, but I think his pompous ass should spend time behind bars if he continues to deny access to the Mueller Report. Just my opinion, of course.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 01:04 PM

17. K&R. i see everything as sysyems also. it helps making sense of things. thanks for the post.

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Response to Kurt V. (Reply #17)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 02:19 PM

30. Thank you!

As the weather is getting more pleasant, I'll be spending an increasing amount of time in my favorite system -- out by my pond.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #30)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 03:00 PM

34. nice. Walden three? ha

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Response to Kurt V. (Reply #34)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 03:49 PM

35. One of my friends

named my pond Walden. Funny, I was talking with her about an hour ago.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 11:49 PM

42. K&R

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Response to burrowowl (Reply #42)

Fri Apr 12, 2019, 08:19 AM

45. Thank you!

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #45)

Fri Apr 12, 2019, 08:39 AM

46. Are you following the latest report that the vile MAGAcretin

Last edited Fri Apr 12, 2019, 09:11 AM - Edit history (1)

wanted bus loads of immigrants sent to Sanctuary Cities. Sociopath does not quite describe the deranged man.

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Response to malaise (Reply #46)

Fri Apr 12, 2019, 08:50 AM

47. Yes.

I've seen those reports. They are highly disturbing, and illustrate just how sick Trump is.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #47)

Fri Apr 12, 2019, 09:13 AM

48. This one is beyond disturbing

I'm shocked at how little coverage this is getting

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Apr 12, 2019, 09:14 AM

49. K&R...👍🏼👍🏼

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Apr 12, 2019, 12:29 PM

50. Dysfunctional systems require an identified patient

speaking of family systems theory.

Identified patient, or "IP", is a term used in a clinical setting to describe the person in a dysfunctional family who has been unconsciously, or sometimes consciously, selected to lay blame upon to draw attention away from the family's true inner conflicts, true problem behaviors, and their perpetrators. The identified patient is a diversion and a scapegoat. This person, often a child, is "the split-off false carrier of a breakdown in the entire family system," which may be a transgenerational disturbance or trauma.[1]

The term is also used in the context of organizational management, in circumstances where an individual becomes the carrier of a group problem.[2]


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Identified_patient

On a societal level, brown people are the identified patients.

For Trump's dysfunctional government to work, he must have an identified patient, or "bad guy" that is the source of all the country's problems. The brown immigrants are the collective problem.

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