The sociopaths rise to the top of power by clawing, bullying, intimidating, lying, charming, betraying their ways.
They rise to the top by being enabled by the bullied, the craven, the stupid, the naive, the opportunistic, the distracted, the brainwashed, and/or by crony bullies.
Colin Todhunter in “Psychopathy, Politics and The New World Order” writes:
Psychopathy is a personality disorder identified by characteristics such as a lack of empathy and remorse, criminality, anti-social behaviour, egocentricity, superficial charm, manipulativeness, irresponsibility, impulsivity and a parasitic lifestyle.
With that definition in mind, look around: the criminal, parasitic activities by bankers that have plunged millions into poverty; the destruction, war and death brought to countries in order that corporations profit by stealing resources; the dropping of atom bombs on innocent civilians in 1945 or the use of depleted uranium which again impacts innocent civilians; and the many other acts, from the use of death squads to false flag terror, that have brought untold misery to countless others just because powerholders wanted to hold onto power or to gain more power, or the wealthy wanted to hold onto their wealth or gain even more.
Based on these terrible deeds, it becomes easy to argue that the people ultimately responsible for them do not adhere to the same values as ordinary people. It may be even easier to conclude that it’s not the cream that rises to the top, but, in many cases, the scum.
They rise to the top by the re-framing of acceptable social conduct, validating perverse values over humanist ones by a saturating, cynicism-inducing, propagandist, corporate media.
Too many people have become “well adjusted to the values of a profoundly sick society,” whether residing in middle England, middle America or the gated communities of south Delhi or Mumbai.
“A person with a psychopathic personality, which manifests as amoral and antisocial behavior, lack of ability to love or establish meaningful personal relationships, extreme egocentricity, failure to learn from experience, etc. " -- definition of a psychopath from Dictionary.com.
Humanity is being beaten down to be neurotic, vicious and to regard these traits as constituting normal, acceptable behaviour. Thanks to the media, this becomes engrained from an early age as comprising ‘common sense’, and those who question it are merely sneered at or ridiculed by a system that promotes a mass mindset immune to its own lies.
Now such a scenario might seem awful enough, but the people who tend to control the world, the ones responsible for these acts, try to impose their warped world view and twisted values on everyone else.
Hollywood films, commercials and political ideology are all engaged in forwarding the belief that it’s a dog eat dog world, war and violence abroad is necessary, competition and not cooperative is what counts, aggression and not passivity is the key to ‘success’ and that success equates with amassing huge amounts of personal wealth and lavish displays of conspicuous consumption.
Todhunter maintains that properly functioning social beings would “contribute to a sense of community, altruism, love or morality.” THE OPPOSITE of what is too often heralded as “successful” by our mainstream media.
The British Todhunter has this to say about TV messaging as one example.
Yet this is the type of stuff that is rammed down our throats as constituting normality every day. Whether it’s the ‘Big Brother’ TV show or ‘The Apprentice’ show, these values are promoted day and night.
The ‘Big Brother’ winner is the one who can survive and outdo the competition in terms of the duplicity and backstabbing involved along the way.
The winner of ‘The Apprentice’ must be more aggressive, more duplicitous, more devious and cunning and more willing to trample over everyone else.
And the winner is judged as such by a multi-millionaire who himself was cunning and ruthless enough to have made it to the top of the pile and has amassed millions for his own personal benefit. These are the role models to be admired and emulated!
These are the measures of success, of sanity, of normality.
Apprentice competitors are highly driven individuals: not driven by a need to help humanity, but by egocentricity and greed. And, ultimately, these are the values that many mainstream opinion leaders, senior politicians and their corporate masters hold dear.
These values of egocentricity, aggression, competitiveness, duplicity and greed are not confined to some TV show. There [sic] are part of a much more sinister process. They are inextricably linked to and underpin the actions that resulted in the killing of half a million children in Iraq for geo-political gain and the sending in of military forces into the jungles of India to beat, rape and dispose of a nation’s poorest people because they stand in the way of profit and greed. From Congo and Libya to Syria and beyond, we witness the outcome of a terrifying mindset that is nurtured and encouraged throughout society.
A TERRIFYING MINDSET.
According to Todhunter this messaging “diet” of “perverse values” AND “destructive actions” is being “force fed” to our GLOBAL community thanks to the corporate mass media. Too many of us become brainwashed that “there is no alternative” or that we are to naively trust a “better” (but not necessarily “moral”) equipped leadership at the top to make the “best” decisions for the masses when said status quo leadership has continued to prove itself, so very often, corrupt, vastly dangerous and injurious. But to those of us non-stop conditioned who are minimizing or willfully or helplessly uninformed or too distracted by trickle down misery or a more brutish hammer of violence an evil status quo continues on unimpeded.
Corporate capitalism, consumerism, the new world order, a war on terror (or drugs or poverty, take your pick), neo-liberalism – call it what you will, but it’s all based on the filthy lie that those in control have wider humanity’s interests at heart. They don’t. By any means possible – war, murder, torture or propaganda, they seek to convince people otherwise. What price human life? None whatsoever for such people.
Using Todhunter as a jumping off point and turning to Norman Pollack “The New McCarthyism - National Security and the Inversion of Governmental Promise” for further exploration of sociopathic leadership and values in America, now, in particular:
Let’s forget here the Right; we know its nostrums ad nauseum: Get off my back; screw the next guy; wealth accumulation by fair means or foul, without government interference!
It is the Left, or what passes for the Left, that concerns me here, Obama’s assorted groupies and hero-worshippers, “liberals” and “progressives” who are satisfied by apparent victory on cultural issues (who wouldn’t look good, in light of Republican/conservative positions on abortion, contraception, gay rights?) meanwhile overlooking war, assassination, widening differentials of class, income, and power, and the other fundamentals of a democratically-functioning society, from the state of the environment to the vigorous strengthening of civil rights and civil liberties, from the quality and character of education to the bedrock institutional contributions to human dignity, such as in the case at hand a deep and abiding respect for privacy of the person.
Liberals and progressives passively watch, or quietly turn their collective head away, Obama’s steady (I might add, compulsive) erosion if not outright abrogation of individual personal freedom, nominally in the name of the National Security State, but possibly on a deeper almost visceral level, an attraction to or predisposition for authoritarianism, taking operational effect in weakening or dismantling the rule of law, and, for him, perhaps more important, a genuine desire for submission to power-concentrates in society: the wealthy, the military, the presumed pillars of strength incarnated in class-differentiation and the bearers of domination.
I am not playing Dr. Freud when I say this, because Obama’s callousness toward the deaths he inflicts on others (via armed drones for targeted assassination) bespeaks a rigid line of defenses rendering him entirely predictable in the one-way effort to depersonalize the American people as part of and in the process of erecting a Tower of Strength, the structure of certitude which takes the form—the only form consistent with policy-trends running over at least a century—of American capitalism’s claims to global supremacy through the implementation of a strong military.
Pollack is concerned with what he calls Obama’s “signature treatment” of government. Especially “the absolute denial of transparency.” He cites the Obama administration's operations of government, particularly the military, and its ferocious rejection of “the people’s right to know” to such a degree that it is willing to exploit and “vigorously” apply THE ESPIONAGE ACT against whistle-blowers like Bradley Manning who DARE assume there is a citizenry’s "right to know" what is actually happening in its name as laid out in the “chambers of military and diplomatic policy-making."
Pollack is concerned with further choices of the Obama administration:
... through the vast resources of the National-Security apparatus, directly extend the tentacles of government into the citizenry’s mindset, ideas, thoughts, private dreams, stripping the individual bare before the Behemoth, to ensure total conformity or, more realistically, passivity, as the war machine and its partner-in-destiny capitalist accumulation at the top roll on.
When will so-called liberals and progressives speak out at the rapid deterioration of the rule of law and the abuse of power inhering in surveillance, wiretapping, and other assaults on privacy? Obama has proven himself contemptuous of basic Constitutional tenets affecting freedom of thought and association–a self-evident reversion to McCarthyism as, now, the US under his leadership embarks on a new era of the Cold War, no longer directed to Russia, and instead, China, of course, but also Third World societies embarked on alternative strategies of modernization.
This expansion of “wiretap capabilities” is frankly dangerous, the more so because it emanates from a Democratic president whose policies are scented with liberal rhetoric.
The White House exists in a moral vacuum. That targeted assassination is fully entertained and practiced is at one with this phase of psychological-juridical control over the free expression of ideas. Both have reference to despotic ways of governance which have implications even beyond principles honoring privacy and free thought. Democracy itself is called into question.
Tom Engelhardt in his article “And Then There Was One--Imperial Gigantism and the Decline of Planet Earth” explores another dimensional impact of sociopathic leadership. The destruction of the planet.
Engelhardt highlights the incredible irony of how when Russia economically collapsed and was no longer a formidable "enemy", the U.S. as sole, standing superpower chose a self-defeating and defeating for the globe -- in terms of peoples and environment -- SOCIOPATHIC path. It turned its back on the opportunity to make a paradigm shift to a leadership of humanism.
In addition, the U.S. had unprecedented military power. By the time the Soviet Union began to totter, America's leaders had for nearly a decade been consciously using “the arms race” to spend its opponent into an early grave. And here was the curious thing after centuries of arms races: when there was no one left to race, the U.S. continued an arms race of one.
In the years that followed, it would outpace all other countries or combinations of countries in military spending by staggering amounts. It housed the world’s most powerful weapons makers, was technologically light years ahead of any other state, and was continuing to develop future weaponry for 2020, 2040, 2060, even as it established a near monopoly on the global arms trade (and so, control over who would be well-armed and who wouldn’t).
It had an empire of bases abroad, more than 1,000 of them spanning the globe, also an unprecedented phenomenon. And it was culturally dominant, again in a way that made comparisons with other moments ludicrous. Like American weapons makers producing things that went boom in the night for an international audience, Hollywood's action and fantasy films took the world by storm. From those movies to the golden arches, the swoosh, and the personal computer, there was no other culture that could come close to claiming such a global cachet.
On the how-much front: Washington’s dreams of military glory ran aground with remarkable speed in Afghanistan and Iraq. Then, in 2007, the transcendent empire of capital came close to imploding as well, as a unipolar financial disaster spread across the planet. It led people to begin to wonder whether the globe’s greatest power might not, in fact, be too big to fail, and we were suddenly -- so everyone said -- plunged into a “multipolar world.”
Washington’s enemies in the world remained remarkably modest-sized (though blown to enormous proportions in the American media echo-chamber). They included a couple of rickety regional powers (Iran and North Korea), a minority insurgency or two, and relatively small groups of Islamist “terrorists.” Otherwise, as one gauge of power on the planet, no more than a handful of other countries had even a handful of military bases outside their territory.
Under the circumstances, nothing could have been stranger than this: in its moment of total ascendancy, the Earth’s sole superpower with a military of staggering destructive potential and technological sophistication couldn’t win a war against minimally armed guerillas. Even more strikingly, despite having no serious opponents anywhere, it seemed not on the rise but on the decline, its infrastructure rotting out, its populace economically depressed, its wealth ever more unequally divided, its Congress seemingly beyond repair, while the great sucking sound that could be heard was money and power heading toward the national security state. Sooner or later, all empires fall, but this moment was proving curious indeed.
The hope of a paradigm shift by the present number of patriarchal global leaders now choosing sociopathy to one of humanism seems futile and yet we, the global family, owe it to ourselves and planet to fight for it. To not succumb to a stupor from sociopathy-friendly propaganda.
... One thing is increasingly clear: whatever the state of imperial America, something significantly more crucial to the fate of humanity (and of empires) is in decline. I’m talking, of course, about the planet itself.
What if the story of our times is this: And then there was one planet, and it was going down.
The welfare of the planet itself is not, of course, and never will be a priority for a sociopath.
[cross-posted on correntewire]