Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Political Psychopaths


As an optimist it is difficult to speak of the dark side of the world. Nonetheless, it very much exists, and must be understood and dealt with. We are approaching a time of great revelation about the darkness of very many of those we have held in high esteem as our venerable leaders. It should not come as a shock to find that those who have claimed to be our greatest advocates have all along been feigning their sincerity and patronizing our good nature.

When someone tells me they want to seek public office and represent the people's interests in government, I always cringe with suspicion, for the profession they seek is tainted with the stain of some of the world's most nefarious, self-serving, abusive sociopaths/psychopaths. In substantiation of my suspicion, I quote the eminently qualified words of Dr. Martha Stout, clinical psychologist, former instructor at Harvard Medical School, and author of The Sociopath Next Door and other popular books on emotional disorders:

Politicians are more likely than people in the general population to be sociopaths. I think you would find no expert in the field of sociopathy/psychopathy/antisocial personality disorder who would dispute this. That a small minority of human beings literally have no conscience was and is a bitter pill for our society to swallow — but it does explain a great many things, shamelessly deceitful political behavior being one.”

It’s no secret that politicians are very often driven by enormous egos. Who among us really thinks he or she deserves a seat in Congress — or a desk in the Oval Office? But can egotism alone explain why so many elected officials seem to get caught telling lies, having affairs, committing financial improprieties or engaging in other scandalous behavior? Not everyone is convinced that it can, and some in the blogosphere have gone so far as to wonder if bad-boy (and bad girl) politicians are actually psychopaths.

Could they be right? If politicians and psychopaths share certain characteristics, perhaps they are on to something. There really is not much of a difference between the havoc wreaked on innocent lives by uncaring, unfeeling, selfish, irresponsible, parasitic criminals and elected officials who lie to their constituents, trade political favors for campaign contributions, turn a blind eye to the wishes of the electorate, cheat taxpayers out of hard-earned dollars, favor the corporate elite, entrench the military industrial complex, and spare little thought for the impact their thoughtless actions and hastily passed legislation might have on defenseless citizens.

Psychopaths and politicians both have a tendency to be selfish, callous, remorseless users of others, irresponsible, pathological liars, glib con artists shallow and lacking in remorse. Charismatic politicians, like criminal psychopaths, exhibit a failure to accept responsibility for their actions, have a high sense of self-worth, are chronically unstable, have socially deviant lifestyles, need constant stimulation, have parasitic lifestyles, and possess unrealistic goals. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about Democrats or Republicans.

As a 2007 Scientific American article put it: “Superficially charming, psychopaths tend to make a good first impression on others and often strike observers as remarkably normal. Yet they are self-centered, dishonest and undependable, and at times they engage in irresponsible behavior for no apparent reason other than the sheer fun of it. Psychopaths routinely offer excuses for their reckless and often outrageous actions, placing blame on others instead.” That description could certainly describe more than a few politicians. It would take a few more pages to list names!!!

As it turns out, the majority of sociopaths/psychopaths never kill anyone with their own hands, nor do they end up in prison,” Dr. Stout said. “A smart sociopath can avoid prison and find other, less conspicuous ways to satisfy his or her lust for dominating and controlling others, and what better way than through politics and big business?” She went on to say that sociopaths often are extremely charismatic. They may not feel “higher emotions” like love and guilt, they may not have actual consciences, but they study those of us who do - and simply pretend.

So what is a concerned citizen to do? No one would dispute that it seems a very bad thing when we elect men and women who feel they can say anything, do anything, and damn the consequences. Why shouldn't every candidate for public office release their tax returns and medical records as well as birth certificate, and even prove their psychological fitness before their names go on a ballot? Seems reasonable to me. Every office seeker. No exceptions. You want to run for public office, forget about privacy.

Since psychopaths can very often fool even skilled psychiatrists into thinking they’re normal, perhaps standardized psychological tests like the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (and someday maybe brain scans) might be able to tip voters off to candidates who exhibit worrisome personality traits. Though not fool-proof, it's a start.

It increasingly feels like we are being led by a coalition of constitutional renegades, mentally damaged political tricksters, and would-be socialist tyrants, speeding faster and faster over a political cliff. We can only pray the force of gravity will assert itself.
 
But we still live in a world framed by a remarkable enduring Constitution, and for the moment, we have the opportunity to remain free as intended – if.......... we step up to advocate for our God-granted rights and resist the persistent attempts by government to restrict us. The Founders understood that our freedoms do not flow from the government. They were not given to us only to be taken away by the will of the psychopaths. They are inherently ours. In the same way, the government’s appointed purpose is not to threaten or undermine our freedoms, but to safeguard them.

Until we can get back to this way of thinking, until we can remind our fellow Americans what it really means to be free, and until we can stand firm in the face of threats to our freedoms, we will continue to be treated like serfs and slaves in thrall to a bureaucratic police state run by political psychopaths. If psychological testing really could distinguish sincere leaders from destructive people with serious pathologies, it’s an idea that gets my vote.

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