Ben Shapiro: Don't Call Kanye West Crazy For Supporting Trump | Opinion

The media have finally discovered that Kanye West struggles with mental health issues. They didn't figure this out after West went on national television during a fundraiser for victims of Hurricane Katrina and blasted President Bush as a racist who didn't care about black Americans; they merely chuckled at West's bizarre hijacking of Taylor Swift's microphone at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards.

West hasn't been stealthy about his struggles with mental health. Earlier this year, he released an album on which he celebrated his bipolar status as a "superpower"; the cover of that album read, "I hate being Bi-Polar its awesome." But that didn't prompt concern—it prompted respect from members of the media like Jimmy Kimmel, who gushed, "I have a theory about you, tell me if this is correct, I feel like you feel like being bipolar is part of what makes you brilliant, part of what makes you you, and you embrace it."

But then West put on a Make America Great Again hat, visited the Oval Office, and proceeded to talk about how much he liked President Trump.

This prompted serious questions about his sanity. This week, speaking to CNN, actress Jenifer Lewis actually broke down in tears, explaining, "I just feel so sorry for him…Of course I have my opinion about him going there and being out of control. I mean very little can shock us today with this administration, but it was cruel." It's highly doubtful Lewis would have had any such words about West had he spoken so highly of President Obama.

CNN host S. E. Cupp said: "I thought that was really sad. I think you had there a man who's clearly not OK and a president who's willing to exploit that."

"Today was bonkers. It was crazy. It was off the rails," she added.

Jimmy Kimmel said: "Not only was this a crazy conversation for this White House, this was the kind of conversation that would typically held between people wearing hospital bracelets."

Now, let's be clear: we should always be careful about how we treat those with mental illness. Humoring delusion is dangerous, and so is promoting unbalanced behavior for political gain. My grandfather suffered from either bipolar disorder or schizophrenia; it's actually quite difficult to diagnose the difference between the two. He was institutionalized and placed on lithium when my father was a child. The lithium was a far better solution than society merely nodding at him as he explained that the radio was talking to him.

By the same token, we have to be consistent in our treatment of mental illness. And it seems as though many on the Left are being completely inconsistent with regard to West. In fact, it seems as though they believe the chief symptom of West's mental illness isn't his manic behavior, but his support for conservative causes.

Rapper Kanye West hugs U.S. President Donald Trump during a meeting in the Oval office of the White House on October 11, 2018 in Washington, D.C. Oliver Contreras - Pool/Getty Images

And that isn't rare. For decades, Leftist philosophers have suggested that conservatism is itself pathological. Frankfurt School philosopher Erich Fromm, a committed Marxist, suggested that devotion to free markets and individualism resulted in the creation of "authoritarian character." Following in Fromm's footsteps, his colleagues like Theodor Adorno theorized that right-wing Americans suffered from an "authoritarian personality." Adorno even came up with a personality test called the F-scale, designed to measure whether an individual fell into this diagnostic category; the F-scale measured perceptions of conformity toward societal norms, submission to rules and values, and belief in religion, among other factors. The F-scale is scientifically unverified, and its inherent Leftism makes it an ideological tool rather than an actual clinical one; in fact, a recent study in Political Psychology suggested that Left-wing authoritarianism is just as real as right-wing authoritarianism.

Yet that hasn't stopped many on the Left from simply diagnosing those on the Right as irrational or crazy. To be fair, some on the Right do the same: they suggest that people on the political Left are driven by forces they don't understand. But to conflate political disagreement with psychological diagnosis is to pervert both politics and psychology. West is a prime example.

So, how we should treat West's politics? We should examine them for what they are, and judge them on their own merits. And how should we treat West as a man? As a self-described bipolar personality, but as a person capable of making political observations, as well. In other words, we ought to treat him with the care and respect he deserves. Care and respect aren't mutually exclusive. But in our polarized world, treating people's viewpoints with objectivity rather than attacking them personally has become passe.

Ben Shapiro is editor-in-chief of The Daily Wire and host of The Ben Shapiro Show, available on iTunes and syndicated across America.​

The views expressed in this article are the author's own.​​​