In recent weeks, a lot has been written about the so-called “Goldwater Rule”.  I thought you might want to know what it is and how it came to be.

“The Goldwater Rule” was created after an article was published, during the 1964 campaign between Lyndon Johnson and Barry Goldwater, in which thousands of psychiatrists – none of whom had interviewed Mr. Goldwater – “diagnosed” him as being unfit for the office of President. (Goldwater sued the magazine and won a $75,000 judgment against it.)

This prompted the American Psychiatric Association to add this paragraph to its “Principles of Medical Ethics”:

On occasion psychiatrists are asked for an opinion about an individual who is in the light of public attention or who has disclosed information about himself/herself through public media. In such circumstances, a psychiatrist may share with the public his or her expertise about psychiatric issues in general. However, it is unethical for a psychiatrist to offer a professional opinion unless he or she has conducted an examination and has been granted proper authorization for such a statement.

That, folks, is “The Goldwater Rule”.

You might want to keep it in mind the next time a psychiatrist offers his/her evaluation of Donald Trump.

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