Saturday, March 24, 2012

Is America run by psychopaths?

The writer below used the more "correct" term "sociopath" but I prefer the older term "psychopath" because I believe that the psychopath really does have something missing in his brain. In one of my academic papers on the subject, however, I pointed out that the attribute almost certainly exists on a continuum from mildly psychopathic to criminally psychopathic and that most psychopaths ("sub-clinical" psychopaths) manage to get by without falling foul of the criminal justice or mental health systems.

Knowing psychopathy as I do, however, it seems clear to me that both Bill Clinton and Obama are sub-clinical psychopaths and other Leftist leaders are too. I look at that in detail here.

The writer below, however believes that psychopathehy is a much more dominant influence in society than that. I fear that he may be right. The way the Obama administration picks and chooses which laws (including constitutional ones) it will obey (e.g. here) is not only of concern in itsef but is also of concern in that people mostly seem to accept such behavior

In this article, I'm going to argue that the US government, in particular, is being overrun by the wrong kind of person. It's a trend that's been in motion for many years but has now reached a point of no return. In other words, a type of moral rot has become so prevalent that it's institutional in nature. There is not going to be, therefore, any serious change in the direction in which the US is headed until a genuine crisis topples the existing order. Until then, the trend will accelerate.

The reason is that a certain class of people – sociopaths – are now fully in control of major American institutions. Their beliefs and attitudes are insinuated throughout the economic, political, intellectual and psychological/spiritual fabric of the US.

What the ascendancy of sociopaths means isn't an academic question. Throughout history, the question has been a matter of life and death. That's one reason America grew; every American (or any ex-colonial) has forebears who confronted the issue and decided to uproot themselves to go somewhere with better prospects. The losers were those who delayed thinking about the question until the last minute.

I have often described myself, and those I prefer to associate with, as gamma rats. You may recall the ethologist's characterization of the social interaction of rats as being between a few alpha rats and many beta rats, the alpha rats being dominant and the beta rats submissive. In addition, a small percentage are gamma rats that stake out prime territory and mates, like the alphas, but are not interested in dominating the betas. The people most inclined to leave for the wide world outside and seek fortune elsewhere are typically gamma personalities.

You may be thinking that what happened in places like Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, Mao's China, Pol Pot's Cambodia and scores of other countries in recent history could not, for some reason, happen in the US. Actually, there's no reason it won't at this point. All the institutions that made America exceptional – including a belief in capitalism, individualism, self-reliance and the restraints of the Constitution – are now only historical artifacts.

On the other hand, the distribution of sociopaths is completely uniform across both space and time. Per capita, there were no more evil people in Stalin's Russia, Hitler's Germany, Mao's China, Amin's Uganda, Ceausescu's Romania or Pol Pot's Cambodia than there are today in the US. All you need is favorable conditions for them to bloom, much as mushrooms do after a rainstorm.

Conditions for them in the US are becoming quite favorable. Have you ever wondered where the 50,000 people employed by the TSA to inspect and degrade you came from? Most of them are middle-aged. Did they have jobs before they started doing something that any normal person would consider demeaning? Most did, but they were attracted to – not repelled by – a job where they wear a costume and abuse their fellow citizens all day.

Few of them can imagine that they're shepherding in a police state as they play their roles in security theater. (A reinforced door on the pilots' cabin is probably all that's actually needed, although the most effective solution would be to hold each airline responsible for its own security and for the harm done if it fails to protect passengers and third parties.) But the 50,000 newly employed are exactly the same type of people who joined the Gestapo – eager to help in the project of controlling everyone. Nobody was drafted into the Gestapo.

What's going on here is an instance of Pareto's Law. That's the 80-20 rule that tells us, for example, that 80% of your sales come from 20% of your salesmen or that 20% of the population are responsible for 80% of the crime.

As I see it, 80% of people are basically decent; their basic instincts are to live by the Boy Scout virtues. 20% of people, however, are what you might call potential trouble sources, inclined toward doing the wrong thing when the opportunity presents itself. They might now be shoe clerks, mailmen or waitresses – they seem perfectly benign in normal times. They play baseball on weekends and pet the family dog. However, given the chance, they will sign up for the Gestapo, the Stasi, the KGB, the TSA, Homeland Security or whatever. Many are well intentioned but likely to favor force as the solution to any problem.

But it doesn't end there, because 20% of that 20% are really bad actors. They are drawn to government and other positions where they can work their will on other people and, because they're enthusiastic about government, they rise to leadership positions. They remake the culture of the organizations they run in their own image. Gradually, non-sociopaths can no longer stand being there. They leave. Soon the whole barrel is full of bad apples. That's what's happening today in the US.

It's a pity that Bush, when he was in office, made such a big deal of evil. He discredited the concept. He made Boobus americanus think it only existed in a distant axis, in places like North Korea, Iraq and Iran – which were and still are irrelevant backwaters and arbitrarily chosen enemies. Bush trivialized the concept of evil and made it seem banal because he was such a fool. All the while real evil, very immediate and powerful, was growing right around him, and he lacked the awareness to see he was fertilizing it by turning the US into a national security state after 9/11.

Now, I believe, it's out of control. The US is already in a truly major depression and on the edge of financial chaos and a currency meltdown. The sociopaths in government will react by redoubling the pace toward a police state domestically and starting a major war abroad. To me, this is completely predictable. It's what sociopaths do.

Sociopaths completely lack a conscience or any capacity for real regret about hurting people. Although they pretend the opposite.
Sociopaths put their own desires and wants on a totally different level from those of other people. Their wants are incommensurate. They truly believe their ends justify their means. Although they pretend the opposite.

Sociopaths consider themselves superior to everyone else, because they aren't burdened by the emotions and ethics others have – they're above all that. They're arrogant. Although they pretend the opposite.

The fact that they're chronic, extremely convincing and even enthusiastic liars, who often believe their own lies, means they aren't easy to spot, because normal people naturally assume another person is telling the truth. They rarely have handlebar mustaches or chortle like Snidely Whiplash. Instead, they cultivate a social veneer or a mask of sanity that diverts suspicion. You can rely on them to be "politically correct" in public. How could a congressman or senator who avidly supports charities possibly be a bad guy? They're expert at using facades to disguise reality, and they feel no guilt about it.

Political elites are primarily, and sometimes exclusively, composed of sociopaths. It's not just that they aren't normal human beings. They're barely even human, a separate subspecies, differentiated by their psychological qualities. A normal human can mate with them spiritually and psychologically about as fruitfully as a modern human could mate physically with a Neanderthal; it can be done, but the results won't be good.

It's a serious problem when a society becomes highly politicized, as is now the case in the US and Europe. In normal times, a sociopath stays under the radar. Perhaps he'll commit a common crime when he thinks he can get away with it, but social mores keep him reined in. However, once the government changes its emphasis from protecting citizens from force to initiating force with laws and taxes, those social mores break down. Peer pressure, social approbation and moral opprobrium, the forces that keep a healthy society orderly, are replaced by regulations enforced by cops and funded by taxes. Sociopaths sense this, start coming out of the woodwork and are drawn to the State and its bureaucracies and regulatory agencies, where they can get licensed and paid to do what they've always wanted to do.

It's nonsensical to blather about the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave when reality TV and Walmart riots are much closer to the truth. The majority of Americans are, of course, where the rot originates – the presidential candidates are spending millions taking their pulse in surveys and polls and then regurgitating to them what they seem to want to hear. Once a country buys into the idea that an above-average, privileged lifestyle is everyone's minimum due, when the fortunate few can lobby for special deals to rake something off the table as they squeeze wealth out of others by force, that country is on the decline. Lobbying and taxation rather than production and innovation have never been able to sustain prosperity. The wealth being squeezed took centuries to produce, but it is not inexhaustible.

With sociopaths in charge, we could very well see the Milgram experiment reenacted on a national scale. In the experiment, you may recall, researchers asked members of the public to torture subjects (who, unbeknownst to the people being recruited, were paid actors) with electric shocks, all the way up to what they believed were lethal doses. Most of them did as asked, after being assured that it was "all right" and "necessary" by men in authority. The men in authority today are mostly sociopaths.



The Executive Order Controversy

On Friday, 3/16/2012, President Obama issued an executive order called "National Defense Resources Preparedness" (NDRP), posting it on the White House's official website. Almost immediately, the blogosphere exploded with the news. Citizens began calling their TV stations, radio stations, and newspapers, demanding coverage. At the time of this writing, the furor has yet to abate.

The NDRP traces its origin to the Defense Production Act (DPA) of 1950, which attempted to establish a framework for placing the nation on a "war footing" as quickly and in as efficient a manner as possible should events warrant. In an age of highly industrialized warfare, the basic building blocks of military success are composed of mundane elements such as supply chains, resource availability, parts, access to raw materials, and skilled labor.

Over the years, the DPA has seen many revisions, and the executive orders issued to implement those revisions presupposed an imminent threat of war. In 1994, then-President Clinton issued Executive Order 12919, which expanded the provisions of the DPA rather dramatically, declaring its applicability to peacetime.

The Executive order issued by Obama on 3/16 is largely a restatement of the 1994 Clinton order with a few functional changes. It moves the authority for implementing the provisions of the DPA from the director of FEMA to the Department of Homeland Security, which did not exist at the time of Clinton's presidency. There have been pedestrian additions of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, to the purview of the secretary of energy (as well as a curiously specific redefinition of bottled water as a "food resource" rather than a water resource), but nothing is particularly out of step with the order Obama's EO supersedes.

So what is the problem? Well, considering that the authority of the DPA has never been meaningfully exercised, and that the pre-emption of authority claimed by the Clinton-era EO 12919 has been similarly dormant, why would the Obama administration choose this particular time to update an obscure and unused authority? It is this question many believe must be asked and answered, and sooner rather than later.

In an attempt to provide that answer, allow me to don an appropriately stylish tinfoil hat before I present a plausible scenario.

1) In early March 2012, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told the Senate Armed Services Committee that it is the position of this administration that international organizations such as NATO or the United Nations have at least as much, if not more authority to deploy U.S. troops, with or without congressional notice or permission.

2) A week later, the NAACP petitioned the U.N. Human Rights Council to involve themselves in our election process -- specifically our November presidential election, in order to monitor the vote for instances of voter suppression. It is the fantasy of the NAACP that laws requiring presentation of a photo ID to cast a ballot are in actuality thinly veiled efforts to keep the poor, elderly, and non-white populations from voting, presumably for Obama.

3) Attorney General Eric Holder has spent his tenure creating a hair-trigger system of race-conscious prosecutions, most notably in reference to cases involving voter fraud. His previous employee, J. Christian Adams, has built a second career from simply exposing the injustice of Holder's Department of Justice.

4) Most recently, Holder struck another blow against the concept of verifiable voting by forestalling Texas's proposed Voter ID law, saying it "goes against the arc of history." Aside from the attorney general basing his decisions on perceived "historical arcs" rather than clear and established law, the end result is the same: the creation of an air of uncertainty surrounding the upcoming election.

Now (as I adjust my tinfoil hat to a jauntier angle), let me tie these points together.

By employing repetitive reporting of "uncertainty about the reliability of the presidential election tally" by the major media, compounded by expressions of the same uncertainty by administration officials, the left could install that narrative amongst the segments of the population that pay little or no attention to the day-to-day practice of politics.

Could the NAACP then, with support from the Department of Justice and the administration, make the case to the U.N. that the election was in fact tainted, and subsequently persuade the member nations of the U.N. to declare the election invalid? It is possible, and such a declaration is certain to bring chaos to the streets of every major city in our country, as well as a great deal of smaller ones. To restore order, the president might need to deploy troops. Should the Congress resist the move, the administration might simply appeal to the U.N., which could request/order the deployment of troops by a willing and complicit Secretary Panetta.

And of course, President Obama would simply continue in office, for the sake of stability, until this could all be sorted out.

Perhaps it now makes sense for the administration to have updated an unused executive order, preparing their legal argument and framework for the imposition of peacetime martial law. Liberty, once lost, is seldom regained.

Yes, it is far-fetched, but it is also distressingly possible. The sad fact in America today is that we have a president so disdainful of our foundational law and freedoms as to make the far-fetched seem queasily reasonable.

The timing of this executive order is jarring, even if the specific changes to the order are not. The power it conveys is staggering and cannot be safely entrusted to a single branch of government, much less to a single man. The Congress needs to reassert control over the exercise and implementation of the Defense Production Act before it can be utilized by a power-hungry cabal of leftists eager to fundamentally transform America. There is a door no one has locked, and our home is not secure. Close the door, lock it, and throw away that key.




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