Is America’s Government Leadership Mentally Ill?

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Is America’s government led by mentally ill persons? They say they are. Obama has said “If you are one of the 45 million Americans with a mental illness, you’re covered.” If 45 million Americans are mentally ill, that’s almost 1 person in 7. The government leadership consists of a sample from a population of Americans numbering 325 million of whom 1 in 7 are mentally ill. There are no filters that prevent many of these people in the sample from having a good many mental illnesses that are in Obama’s estimated count. His definition lets in sociopaths and personality disorders, megalomaniacs, paranoids, obsessive-compulsives, manic-depressives, depression, eating disorders, and so on. It doesn’t just include maniacs, schizophrenics and criminally insane, although just about anyone who doesn’t have a criminal record can attain office, and even some who do. One does not say that 1 in 7 is mentally ill without having a very broad definition indeed.

How many people are in the government leadership, which is a sample out of this 325 million? Let’s say there are 500. What are the odds of taking a random sample of 500 from a population of 325 million and not having that sample exhibit approximately the same measure of 1 in 7 being mentally ill? This is a problem in statistics. To answer this question, I went to this web site. I entered a sample size of 500, a proportion of 14 percent, a population of 325,000,000 and a 95% confidence interval. The calculator told me I’d have a 3% sampling error. This means that in repeated sampling, I am very sure that such samples of 500 will contain anywhere from 11 to 17% people who are mentally ill. (If I remove below-age people from the 325 million, making the population 160,000,000, I still get about 3%. With a sample size of 500, the sampling error is rather insensitive to changes in the size of the population.)

So, why should you ever want a government under these conditions? Why should you ever want to elect people — as part of a blind social process — to lead when a rather large proportion are going to be mentally ill (by their own criterion)? You don’t know who most of them are or what they will vote for. They have enormous power. The entire process and system makes very little sense. Having other people govern you (in any sense of the term) only makes some sense if you can monitor them efficiently so that you can dump them if they are not properly performing what you consider to be the proper governance functions.

If we allow for the reasonable supposition that government attracts sociopaths and aggressive persons into its ranks in greater than average numbers, then the 1 in 7 estimate becomes a lower bound for people in government leadership who either are mentally ill or, without being mentally ill, have no intention of serving anyone in justice or acting in a moral and upright fashion. This assumption is reasonable because government uses power to do so many coercive things that violate the morality that most individuals follow. Those who want to impose their whims, values and beliefs on others, using force and threat of force, are therefore more likely to be attracted into government.

9:31 am on October 31, 2013