In a recent post, I concluded my comments regarding the warning of former Army Chief Peter Leahy, that Australia should be wary in agreeing to permanent US military bases and activities on Aussie soil, with the following observation:
Truly, we are governed by muppets.
And the governing muppets are opposed by more muppets who, if given the chance to govern, would, on this particular topic, be even worse.
God help us.
In that context, I would draw readers attention to a two-part article published on ZeroHedge, titled The Ascendence Of Sociopaths In US Governance, and Sociopathy Is Running The USA. Both parts are quite lengthy, and in my view, very well worth reading in their entirety.
Here are some excerpts from Part 1:
As any intelligent observer surveys the world’s economic and political landscape, he has to be disturbed – even dismayed and a bit frightened – by the gravity and number of problems that mark the horizon. We’re confronted by economic depression, looming financial chaos, serious currency inflation, onerous taxation, crippling regulation, developing police states and, worst of all, the prospect of a major war. It seems almost unbelievable that we are talking of the US – which historically has been the land of the free.
How did we get here? An argument can be made that miscalculation, accident, inattention and the like are why things go bad. Those elements do have a role, but it is minor. Potential catastrophe across the board can’t be the result of happenstance. When things go wrong on a grand scale, it’s not just bad luck or inadvertence. It’s because of serious character flaws in one or many – or even all – of the players….
So is there a root cause of all the problems I’ve cited? If we can find it, it may tell us how we personally can best respond to the problems.
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….
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….
There are seven characteristics I can think of that define a sociopath, although I’m sure the list could be extended.
- 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.
- Sociopaths never accept the slightest responsibility for anything that goes wrong, even though they’re responsible for almost everything that goes wrong. You’ll never hear a sincere apology from them.
- Sociopaths have a lopsided notion of property rights. What’s theirs is theirs, and what’s yours is theirs too. They therefore defend currency inflation and taxation as good things.
- Sociopaths usually pick the wrong target to attack. If they lose their wallet, they kick the dog. If 16 Saudis fly planes into buildings, they attack Afghanistan.
- Sociopaths traffic in disturbing news, they love to pass on destructive rumors and they’ll falsify information to damage others.
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 very simple, really. There are two ways people can relate to each other: voluntarily or coercively. The government is pure coercion, and sociopaths are drawn to its power and force.
The majority of Americans will accept the situation for two reasons: One, they have no philosophical anchor to keep them from being washed up onto the rocks. They no longer have any real core beliefs, and most of their opinions – e.g., “We need national health care,” “Our brave troops should fight evil over there so we don’t have to fight it over here,” “The rich should pay their fair share” – are reactive and comforting. The whole point of spin doctors is to produce comforting sound bites that elude testing against reality. And, two, they’ve become too pampered and comfortable, a nation of overfed losers, mooches and coasters who like the status quo without wondering how long it can possibly last….
And from Part 2:
In essence, we’re headed towards economic and financial bankruptcy. But that’s mostly because society has been largely intellectually and morally bankrupt for some time. I don’t believe a society can rise to real prosperity without a sound intellectual and moral foundation – that’s why the US was so uniquely prosperous for so long, because it had such a foundation. And it’s also why societies like Saudi Arabia will collapse as soon as the exogenous things that support them are pulled away. It’s why the USSR collapsed. It’s the reason why countries everywhere across time reach a peak (if they ever do), then stagnate and decline.
This isn’t a matter of academic contemplation, for the same reason that it doesn’t matter much if you’re in a first-class cabin when the ship it’s in is taking on water….
It’s funny, actually, to see how quickly and profoundly things have changed in the US. Back in the ’50s and ’60s, kids used to say, when one of us did something the others didn’t approve of, “Hey, it’s a free country.” I’ll bet you haven’t heard that expression for many years. Back in the ’70s, there used to be a joke: “America will never have concentration camps. We’ll call them something else.” Guantanamo, and the long rumored FEMA detention centers, are proof that it wasn’t a joke after all.
It’s all a matter of mass psychology, which is to say a moral acceptance of collectivism and statism. These systems actually aren’t serious intellectual proposals, despite being doctrine at almost every university in the Western world. They’re psychological or spiritual disorders on a grand scale.
It’s important to gain an intellectual understanding of why freedom is good and collectivism is bad, why freedom works and government doesn’t. It’s important – but it doesn’t strike at the root of the problem. The root of the problem is psychological, not intellectual. Do you think for a moment that if you could make Dick Cheney, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton or any of the other sociopaths who control the state sit down and listen to intellectual arguments, it would change their attitudes? The chances of that are Slim and None. And Slim’s anorexic.
Why am I so certain of that? It’s not because these people have low IQs and can’t understand the arguments. It’s because most of the people at high levels of government are sociopaths. They’re susceptible to reasoned argument against a police state to about the same degree that a cat can be convinced he shouldn’t torment a mouse before killing it. People like Obama, Hillary or Cheney – which is to say most people with real power in Washington and every other government – do what they do because it’s their nature. They’re as cold, unemotional and predatory as reptiles, even though they look like people.
You may think I’m kidding or exaggerating for effect. I’m not. It’s been said that power corrupts, and that’s true. But it’s more to the point to say that the corrupt seek power. A good case can be made that anyone who wants to be in a position of power should be precluded from it simply because he wants it. As a purely practical matter, the US would be far better off – assuming a Congress and a Senate are even needed – if their 525 members were randomly selected from a list of taxpayers. But that’s impossible in today’s poisonous environment because it would leave over half the population – those who only receive government largess and don’t pay any income taxes – ineligible. This last fact is a further assurance that the situation in the US is now beyond the point of no return.
There are lots of ways to divide people into two classes: rich/poor, male/female, smart/dumb, etc. But from the perspective of political morality, I’d say the most useful dichotomy may be people who want to control the material world vs. those who want to control other people. The former are scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs; the latter are politicians, bureaucrats and assorted busybodies. Guess which group inevitably – necessarily – gravitate toward government? And I might also add, toward big corporations and the media. Big corporations are political arenas where the prize is economic power, and they’re heavily populated by backslappers and backstabbers. The media specialize in a different type of power, manipulating opinion; one way they do that is by promoting an atmosphere of bad news, threats and general paranoia for which they imply government action is needed. Government, mega-corps and media – they are the triumvirate ruling today’s world….
I would like to suggest that what really distinguishes political elites from normal people is not just a predilection for stupidity but a real capacity for evil. Evil might best be defined as the intentional and usually gratuitous commission of acts that are cruel or unjust. A person who commits many evil acts is a sociopath. The sociopaths who are naturally drawn to government eventually come to dominate it. They’re very dangerous people. They reset the social mores of the country they control. After a certain point, a critical mass is reached, and it’s GAME OVER. I suspect we’re approaching that point.
In the opinion of this blogger, there is a lot of truth in these observations.