DECEMBER 11, 2012 6:05AM

The Schizophrenic/Psychopathic Overlords of America

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Vestiges of widespread mental illness abound.

So writes Dr. Brian Moench in “Schizophrenics, Psychopaths Holding America Hostage”. In fact, he prefaces that statement with:

I've been struck by how large portions of the country are mired in schizophrenic distortions of reality and how prominent business leaders and politicians overtly display personality traits common to psychopaths. Vestiges of widespread mental illness abound.

Dr. Moench in his article at first takes on the delusional denial of 30 percent of American adults who do not believe, even despite the latest devastation of hurricane Sandy, that the “climate crisis” is serious.

Moench writes:

Eighty international scientific societies have endorsed the concept of a primarily human-caused climate crisis that is already starting to threaten the health and well-being of millions, and soon to be billions, of people in the next few decades. The total number of scientific organizations that dispute this is zero. If you were watching a basketball game where the score was 80 to 0, with one minute left in the fourth quarter, and you decided to bet your entire nest egg on that losing team, no one would argue that you were not severely delusional.

Almost weekly, more studies are published strongly suggesting that the chaos and destruction built into the greenhouse gas phenomenon has been underestimated and that climate-related extreme outcomes are happening even faster than worse case predictions of even a few years ago.  Our own Pentagon, the insurance industry, the World Bank, the United Nations, the American Meteorological Society and virtually every other country in the world accepts the science.

The American Republican Party and the Fox News/right wing entertainment complex are the only organizations in the world that deny the validity and reality of the science. And because the Republicans control the US House of Representatives, there is no hope any legislation will be passed to address the climate crisis. Inability to discern reality is the hallmark of schizophrenia.

Let’s repeat that final remark:


Dr. Moench cites a famous quote journalist Ron Suskind maintains came from Karl Rove cheerleading the Bush administration: "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality." Dr. Moench declares: “That's how schizophrenics talk and think.”

Moench then goes on to describe psychopaths:

Psychopaths often appear normal, even charming. Underneath, they lack conscience and empathy, making them manipulative, volatile and often (but by no means always) criminal. The psychologist Kevin Dutton in his book, "The Wisdom of Psychopaths", notes society, and especially Wall Street, admires and rewards many of the qualities of psychopaths - fearlessness, emotional sterility, supreme confidence, ruthlessness, lack of remorse, refusal to take responsibility, narcissism and delusions of grandeur.”

Then Dr. Moench points out the prevalence of psychopaths among our corporate/political ruling class elite:

Who could argue that those characteristics virtually defined the Wall Street crowd responsible for blowing up the world's economy in 2008? In fact, arecent studyshowed psychopaths were four times more common among business leaders than among the general population.

A 2005 British study compared the psychological profiles of 39 senior business executives at leading British companies with those of mental patients in the UK's Broadmoor Special Hospital. The business leaders scored a clear "victory" in the three traits normally used to identify the emotional dysfunction of psychopaths: histrionic personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and compulsive personality disorder.

Other studies suggest that financial elites, like psychopaths, are more likely to feel like rules and societal constraints don't apply to them. Mitt Romney's entire business and political career, especially his approach to paying taxes, is the freshest, most conspicuous example of this personality trait.

Dr. Dale Archer, a psychiatrist and frequent guest on " Live" of all places writes, "Physically, studies have shown that the brain chemistry is different in powerful politicians, leading to sensation seeking and risky behavior. They have lower levels of the brain chemical monoamine oxidase-A, which means they have higher highs when they engage in risky behavior and that they get bored much more easily than the norm."

Dr. Moench’s final passages chillingly focus on the 71 corporate CEOs intent on inflicting further AUSTERITY on the non-elite American citizenry they already economically have gang-raped:

Enter the 71 corporate CEOs behind the current Campaign To Fix The Debt. These are CEOs making the media rounds and spending $30 million dollars pounding the table on achieving federal deficit reduction exclusively by dismantling the social safety nets - Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security - while they sit on their own massive retirement funds averaging $9.1 million.

These are the same CEOs who have contributed mightily to and benefited personally from the deficit they now want closed. Their companies have received trillions in federal war contracts, subsidies and bailouts, as well as specialized tax breaks and loopholes that virtually eliminate the companies' tax bills - companies like Goldman Sachs, Honeywell, AT &T and Boeing. And no, they are not offering to reduce their feeding at the public trough, instead they want us to turn away the poor, disabled and the vulnerable, calling government support for them "low priority spending."

Meanwhile, CEOs of the major fossil fuel companies have enough scientific expertise to know that their business model of extracting all the carbon they can get their hands on threatens the very survival of all of mankind, yet they are undaunted in doing exactly that. Who cares about the collapse of civilization when there are quarterly profits to be made? How are these captains of the fossil fuel industry not psychopaths?

Psychopaths are notoriously refractory to treatment or behavioral modification, another trait they share with business and political elites. As F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in The Great Gatsby, "Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me...They think, deep down, that they are better than we are.”

Our nation's responses to the climate crisis, the federal deficit, our economic stagnation and many of our other serious challenges are still being held hostage by people who manifest a detachment from reality as profound as that of schizophrenics. We are still allowing a powerful elite, who behave like psychopaths, to steer our government towards protecting their interests at the expense of everyone else.

The greatest threat to the United States will never be Al Qaeda, Russia, China or Iran. It will be our failure to wrest control of public policy from the inmates of our own insane asylum.


[cross-posted on correntewire] 

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Schizophrenia and many other psychopathologies are somewhat heritable, and the "qualities of psychopaths - fearlessness, emotional sterility, supreme confidence, ruthlessness, lack of remorse, refusal to take responsibility, narcissism and delusions of grandeur” are conducive to acquisition of wealth and power. Sadly, this would mean that the people we love to hate have always had and will continue to have the upper hand. Some might argue that human progress has been driven by the master race that carries those genes. Did anyone ever think that the law of the jungle did not include our species too?

Hey - where is everyone? I see hardly any comments on your posts libby.

Looking forward to my first holidaytime visit to NYC since I was stolen by Gypsies!
I may be misunderstanding your intent here, but it seems that the "blame" for how our society is so ill is being laid at the feet of a relatively few sick individuals.

Unfortunately this implies that our society would be "OK" if we got rid of, or controlled tightly, these psychopaths.

I must dispute this. It is our social and economic systems that allow - indeed, that insist upon - such individuals rising to the top that is the problem. In a healthy society, such individuals would never gain such power as to be able to impose their psychopathy upon the whole society.

The use of the term "deniers" to describe those who question the widely held, popular notion of mankind being the sole, or major, cause of climate changes is as psychotic as it comes. Claims of this nature ignore plentiful evidence of millions of years of natural warming/cooling cycles in order to foster their beliefs.

On no other question is there a simultaneous push to deny funding to scientists for unbiased research, while claims are made that 100% of the scientific community agrees with a certain issue.

First, there has NEVER been an issue on which ALL real scientists agree..... never! This question is no different. Yet the true believers insist that "all" scientists agree on this now. This is an obvious falsehood.

Second, placing those who question - "question" NOT "deny" - such claims into the category of "psychotic" is a political ploy, NOT one supported by mental health professionals OR by normal scientific standards. It is the JOB of proper scientists to question everything. That's how science works.

The touting of man-made global warming as a "fact" and declaring that further examination of it should be banned, unless it is undertaken only to add "proofs" of its correctness, is a common religious ploy.

So we have a politically supported and a religiously supported "belief" now calling those who ask for proof of its correctness, "deniers" and "psychologically deranged."

Well, I can certainly see some definite psychological unbalance here - but it sure isn't on the part of the questioners!

I'd be willing to bet that 99.9% of those who tout man-made global warming, while stating that all scientists agree with that opinion, have NEVER read even ONE research paper that purports to support that claim. They take it on "faith" that there is such "proof" and this makes their belief in man-made global warming a religion (an opinion based on belief) - NOT science (an opinion based on research).

Sky - your comment was quite interesting before you went off on "deniers". Yes, we do have a broken system, but it is the system that "Americans" built. We reward "rugged individualism" obscenely because that's the way the forefathers and immigrants (even if they were indentured) wanted it. Everyone was able to get as much as he could grab off the rich frontier, never mind if there were humans already living there. My grandparents came to the "golden land" hoping not just for survival but for the rewards of hard work and cleverness. Even now, the most miserable illegal immigrant usually believes he can get rich. Libby is right when she says that those in power can now easily brainwash the rest to think they are really living well.

Ricky Gervaise wrote recently, "Americans applaud ambition and openly reward success, while Britons are more comfortable with life’s losers. We embrace the underdog until he’s no longer the underdog. We like to bring authority down a peg or two. Americans say “have a nice day” whether they mean it or not. Britons are terrified to say this. We tell ourselves it’s because we don’t want to sound insincere, but I think it might be for the opposite reason. We don’t want to celebrate anything too soon. Failure and disappointment lurk around every corner, a product of our upbringing. While Americans are brought up to believe they can be the next president of the United States, Britons are told, “It won’t happen for you.”

I think the same has been true of Australia, but a different kind of class consciousness has led to a more equal distribution of wealth there in spite of the frontier attitude. And why do countries like Denmark and Sweden enjoy very high living standards, higher overall happiness (many studies show this) and relatively equal wealth distribution? I don't know, except that their people voted into office honest politicians who were committed to changing from feudalism and their later capitalist systems. I am fascinated by the contrast with the former communist bloc, where the opposite occurred and now is ruled by kleptocrats and worse.

In brief, I agree with the notion that the problem is with our system, but it is the syatem that our forebears made and found to be to their liking. Blame ourselves, not "the system".
Surprised you are still posting here, Libby. This platform has become so unusable. Hopefully, they will either turn it around or simply tell us it was an experiment that has no ROI so they are closing it down. This lack of transparency on Salon's part is unnecessary.

I must actually agree with my Canadian counterpart on here regarding the attempt to marginalize reasoned, scientific dissent of those who have substantial evidence that climate change is natural. Not saying humanity has zero involvement but carbon released by humanity is almost certainly not the cause of global climate change. I suppose that means when people die and our bodies decompose into carbon, an even methane in anaerobic environments, that we cause global warming. Carbon is not an independent variable in this equation. We are not adding net-new carbon to the earth.

The entire universe is seeing climate change and polar cap meltings. Science is far from settled on this issue and anyone who cites this 97% of scientist nonsense has proven their fanaticism and ignorance. That statistic was derived through voodoo in a very small survey.

This is highly complex with many unknown variables and inputs into a highly complex system. No true scientist would ever draw a conclusion about such a system without understanding it more clearly and completely. To do so would be to subvert discovery. And, of course, that's where Algore comes in. A liberal fanatic with an agenda to control discovery and politicize science with the help of fanatics in academia. A liberal fanatic with absolutely no scientific education or understanding of the laws of physics, thermodynamics or the universe. Additionally, I seriously doubt a medical doctor, the author of this article, is qualified to make such grand conclusions given they don't study many of the basic sciences needed to understand the totality of this issue.

I would encourage you to consider reading this as a possible hypothesis. It is derived from a physicist at Duke. Not bad credentials there. I posted this some years ago. It may or may not be valid but it is most certainly more representative of a system including the more complex environment affecting the solar system. Climatologists don't have the understanding of physics or astrophysics to consider anything beyond very simple, and quite frankly, simple-minded theories about climate. As we discover more and take a wider lens of reality through greater knowledge, our perceptions change. ie, Siloed science leads to junk science.

One must appreciate that fanatics exist on both the left and right side of the equation. They both must exist as opposing forces or one side or the other would collapse. The liberal fanatic only exists through the existence of the conservative fanatic. Both the left and right subvert science in their attempt to politicize everything.
When most of our ancestors came here to make a better life for themselves they had little or no intention to "create" any kind of system. They just went to work to make a life for themselves and their families. They were, by and large, ill equipped to create a system and didn't concern themselves with such things.

So who, you may ask, "created" the system we now have? Fair question, but it can't really be answered. The system that we now have just sort of grew into being. It has been built of so many things - sometimes improper and terrible things, such as the exorbitant greed of some - and sometimes of wonderful things like the kindness and decency of many people. In the end, it is an olio - a hodge-podge - of a zillion different bits and pieces.

And therein lies the problem. It is a ramshackle, creaky, leaky, unstable mess. It is easily taken advantage of by the unscrupulous (as we can see) and it does not serve the majority of the population at all well, as it is today.

This is a common problem with anything "built" in such a haphazard manner. It is actually amazing that it limps along at all.

Yet we can learn much from the experience of the last 500 years. It is pretty clear from the problems the system is embroiled in that this melange of contradictory laws, habits, and ways of doing things, is not serving the purposes that are required of it for us to have and to maintain a modern, civilized, society.

It is time to gather our hard-won knowledge and experience and design a new system. One that is not 'slapped together' in some way or another out of odd, mismatched bits and pieces. One that has the specific purpose of serving the people of the society. That is, after all is said and done, the purpose of a society. To serve its members.

We need a society - a "system" if you prefer - that we consciously design and build so that we all may prosper from our membership in that society. The present one allows a few to prosper inordinately while a large portion of the people suffer inordinately.

We could overlook that when the "middle class" was the majority, and we could pretend that all was well. We can overlook that no longer. Our present situation makes it perfectly clear that this bent and battered "system" is unable to meet our needs any longer.

We have the knowledge to design a new one. We have the ability to build a new one. We have the need to build a new one.

But.......Do we have the will?!