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Fors, M. (2019). The Implosion of the Moral Third: Moral Omnipotence in the Era of Horror About Donald Trump. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 20(1):11-16.
   

(2019). Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 20(1):11-16

The Implosion of the Moral Third: Moral Omnipotence in the Era of Horror About Donald Trump

Malin Fors, MSc

This article, while unsympathetic to Donald Trump, critiques the frequent tone of moral omnipotence and narcissistic display of good-heartedness in much current political discourse in the American psychoanalytic community. The author argues, from the perspective of a Scandinavian psychoanalyst, that the United States violated basic human rights long before the Trump era, and that the problems with the Trump era lie on a continuum with what came before, rather than suddenly crossing an unacceptable line. It suggests that there are dangers in seeing a bad other, rather than exploring our own dominant behavior. Invoking Akhtar´s term “beguiling generosity,” the author cites studies of “moral self-licensing” that suggest that, paradoxically, people who commit a self-consciously ethical act tend to feel free to behave unethically afterward. It explores some dangers in taking satisfaction for being the good, critical anti-Trump voice.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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