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bob mills for forum
the goldwater rule
Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:07

The lead editorial in today's NY Times, titled "Is Mr. Trump Nuts?" distinguished between personality flaws and actual mental illness. In urging caution about assuming Trump is mentally ill, as many people are, the editorial writer cited the Goldwater Rule, established by the psychiatric profession in 1973. It prohibited a psychiatrist from "offering professional judgment on public figures they have not personally examined."

It occurs to this non-psychiatrist that if the Goldwater Rule had been passed in 1933 instead of 1973, Bruno Richard Hauptmann would not have been tried as a lone kidnapper, and might well have been charged with a lesser crime. Wilentz relied heavily on the opinions of Dr. Dudley Schonfeld, who drew a mental picture of Hauptmann as a lone-wolf criminal, but without ever once seeing Hauptmann personally. The Goldwater Rule validates the belief of those (including your obedient servant) that Schonfeld had acted in a very unprofessional manner, and absent his conduct, Hauptmann would have been seen as an accomplice within a gang, or possibly only as an extortionist. In either case, he would not have been executed.

    • Re: the goldwater ruleSue, Thu Jan 11 22:34
      Four psychiatrists examined Hauptmann, and concluded he was sane to stand trial.
      • schonfeld and the goldwater rulebob mills for sue, Fri Jan 12 03:39
        Sue, I wasn't questioning Hauptmann's sanity. I don't know of anyone who thinks Hauptmann was nuts. The issue for me was, "How did Hauptmann suddenly become a lone-wolf kidnapper, when every cop on... more
        • Re: schonfeld and the goldwater ruleMichael 5260, Sat Jan 13 12:07
          Hauptmann wasn't nuts. Not in the legal sense. He knew right from wrong and had many opportunities on the night of the kidnapping to turn his car around and go home. He choose not to do so. Dudley... more
          • Man's name is Dudley Shoenfeld (nm)Sam, Sun Jan 14 13:27
          • what were the odds?bob mills for michael, Sun Jan 14 07:48
            Michael, the Goldwater Rule wouldn't have applied to Schonfeld in any legal sense. Obviously, it came 40 years too late. I had (years) earlier made the case that Schonfeld had acted unprofessionally... more
            • Re: what were the odds?Michael 5260, Sun Jan 14 11:41
              Schonfeld didn't personally examine or analyze Hauptmann. He examined and analyzed the contents of the ransom notes and developed a profile of the kidnapper. I can't fault Schonfeld for giving a... more
        • The Sanity Of Hauptmannjdb, Sat Jan 13 02:54
          My thoughts on Schonfeld are conflicted, Bob. His book on the LKC is brilliant for what it is, and there are flashes on insight that "catch" Hauptmann, in a manner of speaking, in their brilliance.... more
          • hauptmann and Schönfeldbob mills for jdb, Mon Jan 15 09:53
            Thanks, John. I agree with you, and with Michael Melsky, that Hauptmann was sane. My comments about Schonfeld weren't in regard to his competence, rather to his professional ethics. Granted that the... more
            • It's Just As Welljdb, Mon Jan 15 18:21
              It's just as well there's the Goldwater rule, although without it we might have been "spared" (for those of us who don't like him) President Donald Trump. I don't like terms like "pathological... more
              • trump and the goldwater rulebob mills for jdb, Tue Jan 16 09:32
                The New York Times article I cited mentioned the Goldwater Rule in the context of the question, "Is Trump sane?" It never cited Scho(e)nfeld or Hauptmann, but i made the connection here. I hear you... more
                • Politics & Sanityjdb, Tue Jan 16 15:52
                  Sadly, Bob. the American political process has become unhinged. It's always been problematical, and yet it's become near unmanageable; and it's not even fun to follow anymore. We're in a near... more
                  • 21st century politics, and wilentzbob mills for jdb, Tue Jan 16 18:59
                    Thanks, John. Wilentz conducted a brutal prosecution of Hauptmann. It was the 1936 Berlin Olympics in reverse...a Jewish American prosecutor engaging in a vendetta against an Aryan defendant, with... more
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