What may seem a contradictory condition among people diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, but on closer examination falls squarely within its parameters, psychologists term “external locus of control.”
While symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder include an excessive preoccupation with personal competence, power, prestige, and vanity, and hypersensitivity to all criticism and insults – imagined or real – to protect their egos, people with NPD often attribute their problems to powerful external forces that are out of their personal control.
Their locus of control exists outside themselves.
Though this often proves problematic for the individual and those around them, when that individual happens to be the President of the United States, especially in times of national emergency, the result can be catastrophic.
Throughout this crisis, Donald Trump has blamed others for the initial outbreak in his use of the term “Chinese Virus,” and its rapid spread across the United States.
Without providing any definitive evidence, Trump accused Barack Obama and his administration of Trump’s own inability to provide significant numbers of COVID-19 testing kits where they are desperately needed, even though he turned down the World Health Organization’s offer to supply the U.S. with these tests months ago.
“I don’t take responsibility at all,” Trump said insolently responding to a reporter’s question, referencing an unspecified “set of circumstances” and “rules, regulations, and specifications from a different time.”
Whenever the press asks him tough questions related to who must accept responsibility for the rapid surge in cases, and if he had any regrets in disbanding the White House’s office of pandemic readiness, Trump attacks them for asking “nasty questions.”
Though the current novel coronavirus pandemic has placed nations throughout the world on a virtual war footing in mobilizing the public to stay as safe as possible, to care for those infected, and to develop a cure and vaccine, Trump has taken wartime powers merely in words but not in largescale and potentially effective actions.
He still has not sufficiently mandated appropriate industries convert operations to produce needed medical equipment including hospital quality breathing ventilators, and personal protective equipment such as face masks, goggles and shields, and body coverings.
Trump is the head of the Republican Party whose foundational philosophy rests on a platform of relinquishing its locus of control externally to the states and, particularly, to individuals to fend for themselves. This external locus of control conforms to the Republican Party’s ideal of small government.
Small government simply for the sake of maintaining some sort of conservative ideological purity, however, stands as folly and is highly dangerous and hazardous to our physical and political health.
The government must step up and take responsibility for developing a consistent and unified policy to get our nation through this pandemic. It must not retreat to its external business-as-usual locus of control once the plague has receded.
We must allow the government to perform and take control where the government can be the most effective. Perpetual vigilance must then become the clarion call to ensure that we do not repeat the mistakes made not only by the current administration but also, for example, the feckless leadership by the George W. Bush and his unqualified and unprepared cast of clowns during the August 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster culminating in the loss of nearly 2000 lives.