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‘Psykologer: Han er ikke rask’, skrev Ekstra Bladet tidligere på ugen, og alle statsledere er ‘rational choice’-aktører, lige bortset fra de politikere den talende klasse hader – folk som Reagan, Bush, Trump og nu også Vladimir Putin. Fjerndiagnosticering af politiske modstandere fremmer ikke forståelsen, tværtimod.

Theodore Dalrymple har et par gode pointer hos City Journal – What’s Behind Putin’s Eyes?

“When I watched Vladimir Putin, with what the Russians so graphically call his ‘tin eyes,’ justify his invasion of Ukraine, I thought, as did many others, that he looked a little deranged. Denazification, indeed! Had he failed to appreciate that Ukraine, not noted throughout its history for its philo-Semitism, had elected a Jewish president, and that by a large majority, thereby suggesting a major cultural shift in the country?

It then occurred to me that Putin looked rather puffy in the face, and I wondered whether he could be taking steroids. These drugs are noted for their numerous side effects, not the least being psychological changes such as paranoia and elevation and depression of mood. …

It is hazardous, however, to ascribe actions that we do not like to madness. This is for two reasons: first, the diagnosis may be wrong—the apparently mad may in fact be sane—and second, madness can have its own rationality.”