A Critical Take On Something John Bolton Said In His ABC News Interview

Can people trust Bolton who is getting rich branding Trump unfit for office while also refusing to vote against his re-election?

From Wikimedia Commons

By David Grace (www.DavidGraceAuthor.com)

Something in the John Bolton interview got me thinking about the personality of people who will not take responsibility for making the tough decisions and who choose to turn their back on an unpleasant duty.

Clues To Identifying Certain Personality Types

There are various puzzles that psychologists might use to identify different personality types.

The No Good Choices Scenario

One test would be to put the subject into a situation where

  • There are only a limited number of choices.
  • There are no good choices. All of the choices are bad.
  • One of the choices, though still bad, carries a somewhat lesser risk of harm or a lower level of harm than the others.

For example:

Your home has been invaded. You are tied up and cannot get free. A psychopath is pointing a small gun with one bullet in it at your wife and your young daughter. He gives you one minute to choose which one he’s going to shoot. If you don’t pick a victim, he will.

You know it’s more likely that your wife will survive the shot than your daughter, but either one could die.

In situations like this most people will choose the least-bad option, the one with the lower risk of the worse outcome. A lesser number will choose the higher-risk option.

The object of the test is to identify the subjects who choose the third option, not to choose at all.

The “I Refuse To Choose” Personality Type

The people who refuse to make that difficult decision will either invent a non-existent third option that has a zero chance of success, leave the decision to random chance, or let someone else decide for them.

A person who picks the least bad option is someone who tries to make the best of a bad situation, who grits his teeth, shoulders an unpleasant burden and acts from courage, logic and common sense.

The “I won’t choose” person who elects to just stick their head in the sand and leave the outcome to somebody else is driven by fear of the guilt they will feel from making either choice and fear of being blamed by others, a narcissism that recoils from doing something that may make them look bad to other people.

Forces Driving The Person Who Refuses To Choose — Fear & Ego

That person is really saying:

“If I pick my wife and she dies, then I will be tortured by the knowledge that I picked her. I’m too weak and fearful to make such a difficult decision which is guaranteed to end badly no matter what I do.

“I’m going to dodge my unpleasant responsibility and leave the choice to the gunman because if I refuse to choose then, no matter what happens, I can tell myself and others that I’m not responsible and no one will be able to blame me.”

The “I Won’t Choose” Person Is Just Appointing Others To Act In His Place

We’ve all been presented with hard decisions at some point in our lives. We’ve all been asked to do things we didn’t want to do, but most of us did them anyway because the alternative was worse.

We know that if the husband refuses to pick the wife, who is more likely to survive the wound, he’s choosing to take the risk that the psychopath will shoot and kill the daughter.

When the husband throws up his hands and turns the decision over to the psychopath, he’s actually appointing the psychopath as his proxy to act in his stead, to make the choice of victim on the husband’s behalf.

The truth the husband refuses to see is that as his substitute, the psychopath’s choice is still, really, the husband’s choice after all.

Fear Of Being Blamed Is A Narcissistic Trait

What kind of person refuses to make one of those difficult decisions, but instead makes the worse outcome a possibility because he’s afraid of feeling guilty and desperately wants to avoid being blamed by others?

Narcissists will never admit being wrong or making a mistake. Refusing to choose the least bad result is a tool that narcissists can use to avoid blame and responsibility.

How This Relates To John Bolton’s ABC Interview

At the beginning of this column, I said it was inspired by John Bolton’s ABC News interview.

In that interview Bolton trashed President Trump, claiming that Trump was unfit for office and a danger to the country. But Bolton is a right-wing Republican who has no love for Barack Obama or his former Vice President, Joe Biden.

We have to ask, compared to Trump, how bad for the country does Bolton think a President Biden would be?

Given that the next president will be either Trump or Biden, in Bolton’s view which man would be more damaging as President of the United States and which would be the lesser of two evils?

Bolton’s Answer — I Refuse To Choose

When asked how he was going to vote, here is what I think a patriotic, courageous and non-narcissist person in Bolton’s position should have said:

“I think that both Donald Trump and Joe Biden will do a poor job as President, and both, in different ways, will damage the country, but since it is inevitable that one of them will become President, I believe that ___________ is the lesser of two evils and therefore, I will very reluctantly vote for __________.”

But instead, essentially, Bolton said:

“I’m not going to vote for either one and, instead, I’m going to let other people decide which of these two men will do the least damage as our next President.

“Personally, I will refuse to choose the lesser of two evils. If the worse guy gets elected because I and the people who follow my lead refuse to vote for the second-worse guy, I refuse to accept any responsibility for the additional harm that the worse guy does to the country.

“I make this decision to dodge my responsibility as a citizen to do what I can to protect my country from a disastrous President because I want to avoid any responsibility for what either candidate might do. By not voting for either one, no one can blame me for anything the guy who wins does.

“Instead I’m appointing all those other Americans who vote for either Trump or Biden to make that tough decision for me, but don’t blame me if the country suffers increased damage because those other people end up picking the worse candidate instead of the second-worse one.

“No matter what happens, don’t blame me.”

So much for John Bolton, supposed courageous and dedicated patriot who now calmly tells us that he has chosen to dodge his responsibility to protect the country from the greater evil.

Frightened. Weak. Narcissist?

–David Grace (www.DavidGraceAuthor.com)

To see a searchable list of all David Grace’s columns in chronological order, CLICK HERE

To see a list of David Grace’s columns sorted by topic/subject matter, CLICK HERE.

Follow David Grace on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/davidgraceauth



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store