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In general, most people are very complex and can exhibit different personality traits at different times.  But one can also say that there tends to be two distinct groupings in societies' power structures: Those who can be characterized as "normal," and those who view the world through a prism heavily influenced by psychopathy and sociopathy.

My take (by trying to understand the world around me) is that the great majority of people operate under the "normal" approach, when it comes to power-plays and relationships.  A very small minority could be characterized as high-functioning sociopaths and/or psychopaths.

And it's not that the majority is "normal" as in not being afflicted by all kinds of personality, psychological, and psychiatric disorders... If you watch enough TV in the U.S., you'll be bombarded with advertisement for all kinds of psychotropic drugs.

By "normal," what I mean is that people tend to say and do things in accordance to their real thoughts, emotions, views, ideas, beliefs.  In other words, in a "what-you-see-is-what-you-get" mode.

By contrast, the high-functioning psychopath is "characterized primarily by a lack of empathy and remorse, shallow emotions, egocentricity, and deceptiveness."  And because of it, they tend to rule the world.  They rise to the highest levels of power in politics, and business.

If you are ambitious and choose to get involved in power-plays, the first thing you need to recognize is that you have to leave your values, emotions, ideals, and most high-minded human traits, "at the door" (as it were), if you want to have a shot to become the "top dog."

There is an angle to everything you say and do; to every relationship you choose to "nurture."  Like a chameleon, you adapt your message to your audience, to your environment; you are folksy with folksy folks, and you are high-brow and educated and a little snobbish when you are with the snobs.

You become so good at it, that in every circle people can't stop pointing out what a "nice guy" you are, and how smart you are, and how you connect with people with such ease.

But to you, it's all mechanical; a game.  There are no emotions involved at all--God forbid.

In politics, I observe how this phenomena works so perfectly, both on the left and the right.  On the right the useful idiots (the normal people) are the end-of-days religious fundamentalists, and the nativists, and the racists, and the nationalists.  All acting out of their true beliefs and emotions, and being manipulated by the sociopathic ruling class.

On the left, they are those who earnestly go about trying to respond to every absurdity coming out of the loony right-wing.  Refuting every stupid and absurd comment with facts, and studies, and statistics.  And basking in the glory of being right about the issues, about the science, about the empirical evidence.  All done in a mainly ineffective and powerless echo chamber.  But ultimately, also being manipulated by the same sociopathic ruling class.

I've been in sales, marketing, consulting, advertising, and technology for years.  I've been involved with business associations, chambers of commerce, community organization, non-profits.

I've seen one recurring thing in all those environments, when it comes to the naiveté of  well-meaning people who have ambition to get ahead, or get promoted, or get a raise. I've had this conversation many times... I ask them "So you want to be promoted?  And you think that because you are really good at what you do, and knowledgeable, and are never late to work, etc., that you should be noticed and that a promotion should be coming your way?"

They look at me perplexed, like saying "Isn't that what I'm supposed to do?"  Obviously, they are a lost cause, but I try my best to leave them with something to think about: "If you want a promotion, and a position of leadership (and more responsibility) and a raise, then you have to play the 'power-play,' the 'political game.'  Everything you do has to have an angle; every conversation; every project you take on; everything you volunteer to.  Who knows about what you're doing, about your successes, about your contribution?  How are you going to 'protect' the organization, and above all, how your boss, your supervisor, the owner of the company, the president of the organization, is going to personally benefit by giving you a promotion?"

I've had similar conversations with lots of people, and invariably, sometimes they are appalled that it should come down to those considerations.  They proudly say, "I don't like to play those games... With me, it's-what-you-see-is-what-you-get."  And so it will be.  If you don't understand the concept of how to acquire power, then you'll never have it.

It has little to do with how right you are about anything.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I would argue that they are sociopaths and not (62+ / 0-)

    psychopaths.

    That said, I read a thing a few years back that basically said that politicians have this ability to actually BELIEVE the bullshit.

    They can believe one thing, then as circumstances change and they flip flop, they will actually BELIEVE the new things.  

    If a lobbyist gives them a ton of money and says "believe this premise and you will get more", they will actually, in the core of cores, believe what they are told to believe.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

    by zenbassoon on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 11:00:04 AM PDT

  •  After all the traumatic experiences I've had (20+ / 0-)

    it would actually be really easy to say "fuck it all" and turn into something close to one of these, for me.  Just because most human beings have empathy, doesn't mean they're especially empathetic in their behavior to others. That gets old. The judgements, the constant humiliations, the indignities.

    Society is set up as a rat race with lots of psychic and spiritual traumas to go around, encouraging those who otherwise wouldn't be cruel to abandon all hope.

    "Hahai nō ka ua i ka ululā'au" -- Hawaiian proverb.

    John Boehner? The sleaze bucket who hands out bribes from big tobacco on the House floor?

    by Nulwee on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 11:02:20 AM PDT

    •  The things I regret most in life (29+ / 0-)

      are not standing up to sociopaths at their own game. They don't always win, only if you allow them.

      •  Me too (13+ / 0-)

        Is is possible for someone nearly 60 years old to change this about themselves?  Whatever time I have left, I would like to live with as few regrets as possible; and this really is a biggie.

        I fall down, I get up, I keep dancing.

        by DamselleFly on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 11:36:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  You just said the million dollar worth truth: (15+ / 0-)

        "...only if you allow them."

        To start with, we must see that their "power" is an illusion which is passing and temporary.

        The bully is strong as long as everyone around him believes that he is. Put a kick on his butt, he will show his cowardice.

        What lasts is stronger than what is temporary.

        "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

        by zenox on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 11:49:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, it's good (11+ / 0-)

          to stand up to bullies, in some situations it is simply impossible--for example, if your boss is a bully and all upper levels of management support bullying.

          The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

          by dfarrah on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 12:09:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's not impossible. (11+ / 0-)

            It's just unlikely to succeed. Unless you can, for instance, convince all the other employees to walk out. And further, convince everyone else in town not to take jobs there, because the management sucks.

            That's very, very difficult to do. And they know that. Which is the source of their power.

            But it's not impossible to take away from them. Just very, very difficult, and not particularly likely to succeed. But not necessarily because of some inherent unfairness. Rather, it will be difficult because you're likely to be "outvoted" in the fight. That is, there will be more people who vote that they're willing to overlook the bullying in exchange for money than there are people who say they're willing to stick together to shut the bullies down.

            •  The measurement, "unlikely to succeed" (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              drewfromct, G2geek, splashy

              ...is responsible for the failure. We must learn to "measure" success. All options are available as potentials. What we measure from these potentials becomes the "reality."

              Remember "Yes We Can." It becomes a fact if we "measure" it (see or believe that it is).

              We are directly responsible for what we choose to create as reality.

              That's why our "media" is daily waging a negativity "psyops" against us.

              They know what they are doing. But thankfully, they are not the only ones who know.

              "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

              by zenox on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 12:27:07 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  True. (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                cynndara, zenox, G2geek, splashy

                It's also a function, I guess, of the units we think in politically.

                One person's protest isn't powerful enough. A walkout by entire staff has a better chance. A walkout plus a wider boycott, even better.

                But these just mark incrementally larger and more ambitious levels of organizing.

                •  Exactly (6+ / 0-)

                  And organizing is not easy.  It doesn't just take work.  It takes a lot of skill and some motivating factor that involves the risk/benefit ratio of fight vs passivity for the larger number involved, who can't be expected to have a great moral investment in fighting.  Generally, you only get this kind of large-scale willingness to go for the riskier option of the fight, when people have their backs against the wall and there's no other way out.  Peasants are used to being beaten.  They only fight back when they're being literally clubbed to death.

            •  Well, according to (7+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              cynndara, ilex, Cliss, Sarea, bunsk, peptabysmal, G2geek

              bullying research, a small percentage of workers are able to stand up to the bully and not get terminated or subject to other adverse employment actions.  A target can be successful if other employees join in the effort against the bully.

              In my situation, the bully was the subject of numerous complaints, both individually and collectively--and numerous other bullies in the entity were allowed to bully.  The executive director was a bully himself and he had no concern whatsoever about bullied employees.  

              At this entity, one could say that bullying, retaliation, harassment, etc., is management policy and practice, since it is prevalent.  The entity is a large non-profit employing about 400+ employees in the Denver area.  So, it has all the EEOC type language and additional b.s. about how different viewpoints are appreciated, etc., on its website.  Total b.s.

              I am taking measures as I can since the entity sucks up millions of federal funds.

              The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

              by dfarrah on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 12:36:01 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  In that case (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Sarea, G2geek

                Non-profits are extremely vulnerable if their reputation is tarnished.  Find ways to report what's happening to funding agencies -- it can be as simple as gossiping with other lower-level employees at the agency during ordinary communications.  Spread it around enough, and truth will out.   Also, if they have all the EEOC garbage, then they're usually required to have some kind of an anonymous hotline.  Use it.  Calls made to such a hotline are categorically exempt from retaliation.  Any retaliation is so illegal you can sue them for it outright.

                •  I'm already doing much (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Sarea, G2geek

                  of what you suggested...thanks for the info.

                  I am talking to state legislators, Denver City Council, and I even talked with DeGette's office about the situation.

                  Unfortunately, the entity is truly rotten to the core.  Besides my experience, there was one AA male subject to racism and retaliation by the executive director, vice president of operations, the personnel director, and the property director.  His boss, the Director of Property Development, resigned due to the way this guy was treated.  So, this boss is helping out this guy and has averred about the way the guy was treated [sabotaged, harassed, etc].  It's highly unusual for a boss to assist a former employee with EEOC claims. This guy's case appears to be a slam dunk [for him].  He'll also be making the rounds amongst public officials soon.

                  I even ran into a lawyer at an election party who had represented someone against this entity and knew someone else who had resigned due to the racism.

                  And a number of other employees seem to have been terminated for fabricated reasons.

                  So, we're working on it.  Like you said, the truth will out sooner or later.

                  The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

                  by dfarrah on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 01:20:18 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  don't use office communications systems for... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    splashy

                    .... any of this.

                    Don't make phone calls or have conversations about it over the office phone system: there is a reasonable chance that the numbers people call are being logged in a call accounting system, and a smaller chance that their calls are all being recorded.  

                    Don't discuss it via company email, all of which is also subject to completely legal monitoring.

                    Don't write about it on a company computer and then print out the document on a company printer.  

                    If you have to communicate (phone calls or email) about this stuff during work hours, use only a personal cellphone that you yourself own, and do your note-taking with pen and paper or on the cellphone if it has those capabilities.  If using email, write to coworkers at their personal email addresses, not their work addresses.

                    Best of all if you have to talk with coworkers, tell them only "I need to speak with you after work and off company property, it's personal so I can't discuss it further at work.  Let's take a five minute walk down the street after we get off from work today."  If they are curious to hear more, tell them it has to wait until after work and off company property, and that's all you can say.

                    Then if management busts you for that, you have plausible deniability since the subject matter was not brought up yet.  You can say "I value so-and-so's thinking, and the subject matter is personal so I won't discuss it further at work."  If pressed, reiterate your assertion that you won't discuss it further at work, including revealing the subject matter to management.

                    At the end of each day, after you get home, and never using any company computer they may have given you (use your own or use pen and paper), make detailed notes about anything that happened at work that is relevant to your claims.  Be sure those notes include dates and times as far as possible.

                    At some point you may need to get a lawyer in the loop. Probably sooner than later, and very much worth the cost.

                    It would be interesting for us here to know the name of the organization you work for, but resist the temptation until your lawyer says it's OK to reveal.  

                    •  I would follow your (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      G2geek

                      instructions--but I don't work there anymore.

                      And I'm doing this pro se since I don't have money for a lawyer [yeah, I know the saying, he who represents himself has a fool for a lawyer].  And I've done well on other matters pro se.

                      But I can happily tell you that the AA who is pursuing his complaint is being represented by the firm of David Lane [of the Churchill case], and has an excellent lawyer.

                      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

                      by dfarrah on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 09:08:34 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

          •  There would be no "upper management" (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joieau, Sarea, G2geek

            without the enabling of the "lower management," would there? The head can't travel too far without the feet.

            And the lower management is stronger and larger than the upper management if but they stick together (like grass). They also own less which means they got less to lose.

            The man who has nothing to lose is the stronger among all.

            "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

            by zenox on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 12:17:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  How good people (can) get evil (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              zenox, Sarea, peptabysmal, G2geek, splashy

              I spent a few decades in kitchens, and I've run into a number of these people, it's even epidemic. The colloquial expression is "Baby Hitlers." But the truly insidious method of obtaining "compliance" with a "pure (i.e. sociopathic)" corporate work structure is exactly what you'd think - money. There's a process that happened to me MORE TIMES THAN NOT, it's structural. And that is, when you get good working with the food - really good, to the point where your time-and-a-half is worth more than other people's straight wage -  you come under a lot of pressure to go on salary, "join the team", climb the ladder.  And when you do move from wages to management - besides the fact that you're now guaranteed a 70+ hour workweek - your own income, the ability to get a raise, is intimately tied to your ability to screw your former co-workers into working harder, because then you can deliver the labor costs. And "predicted" labor costs are always artificially low, so you're already behind the goal.

              Besides the fact that your former co-worker friends are now suddenly "too busy" to hang out with you, it's your JOB to cheat them. There's an OSHA regulation on the books that any organization of a certain size has to give every worker a half-hour meal beak and two ten minute breaks, for every eight hours that they work. And the hotel chains and fast food places think it's now wonderful that they only have to pay for seven hours and ten minutes for every eight hours the people work, because it's "low-level management's" JOB to cheat people. Going on break? "Oh, could you just help out so-and-so before you go... Umm, can you take it later? We really need you to help..."

              Even though you may only have a sociopath above you, you're now part of his "team" - or quit. I imagine there are any number of jobs where a single sociopath can induce the next lower level of people to works as his surrogates. Everyone in that industry know the "break" thing - but you can't go shutting down every hotel and restaurant chain in America, just for breaking laws, can you?

              •  So they get away with their law breaking (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                G2geek

                ...because "everyone" in the industry does it. Think about flipping the coin and imagine equal number of people "quitting."

                Can the industry survive without the workers? As the saying goes, people put up with abuse until they no longer can. And then they rise and change things.

                We might have to wait for things to get worse.

                "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

                by zenox on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 04:22:30 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, I keep thinking (4+ / 0-)

      if I ever get a job again, I, just for survival, should do what others have done to me.

      Just do it and survive.

      It's just horrible to think that way, but I can see no way around it.  

      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

      by dfarrah on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 11:50:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here's my strategy dealing with sociopaths: (14+ / 0-)

        I'd like to believe that I'm a fair-minded person; that my intentions are good; that I don't like to offend people, or take advantage of them.  Yes, to me, it is important to be a "good citizen."

        Now, having said that, I can be the biggest SOB, Machiavellian-type if I have to (I'd like to think).

        So, here's what I do... When I interact with people, I give them time to show who they are.  I do not pre-judge people.  If someone says something stupid one time, I give them the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe they were trying to be funny, or don't know better.

        In the work environment, or business, I "give them a lot of rope" and let them show themselves.

        I've developed a years-long process that helps me determine two things: This person is good (normal, honest); or this person is evil (sociopath, manipulative, exploitative).

        Once I determine the latter, then I put them on a "program" of total destruction... So then I enter into the chase game  program.

        These sociopaths go around creating havoc, and are really good at hiding their tracks.

        So what I do is, like a sleuth, I keep track of their actions, lies, manipulation, havoc, and then come up with process to expose them at the right time, trying to do the most damage.  At that point my intention is total destruction, and annihilation without compassion.

        But you have to become (at least temporarily) as good as a sociopath as they are in order to be effective on this.

        You have to truly understand the heart of evil, and you can't have any sympathy or compassion.

        Once you know that a person is evil, your duty is to completely destroy them--utterly.

        Of course, I'm not talking about any kind of violent stuff here... Physical violence is often for brutes.

        Intellectual violence or power-plays can be much more impactftul.

        •  Yep--good plan. (5+ / 0-)

          Unfortunately, I was too caught up in getting regular things done and working many extra hours to do so [I was a grant accountant for ARRA funds--we were completely overwhelmed with the volume] and by the time I realized what I was up against, it was too late.

          However, I have submitted a complaint to the HUD OIG [ARRA fund legislation has additional protections for employees involved with the ARRA funds]--so we'll see where that goes.

          That said, I don't think anything would have helped in that job because the higher ups and the executive director were also just as bad.

          But in the future, definitely useful advice.  Discerning evil will come much more quickly for me.

          The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

          by dfarrah on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 12:22:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I wonder if you discriminate (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Nulwee, Ray Pensador, G2geek

          between sociopathy and other narcissistic conditions which are high on the continuum and have a large anti-social component. For instance, malignant narcissists and are often mistaken for sociopaths, but have rather interesting differences. To my mind, any combination of narcissism and/or egocentrism with an antisocial component is trouble.

          Free University and Health Care for all, now. -8.88, -7.13

          by SoCalHobbit on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 02:29:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  it's still violence. (0+ / 0-)

          even if it isn't physical violence.

          that makes it difficult to deal with these types of people since most of us deplore violence done in any manner... physical, economic, emotional, etc.

          we can't get around that. perhaps what we can do is not enjoy reacting with violence to stop their violence.

          especially when we find ourselves to be good at it.

          blink-- pale cold

          by zedaker on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 03:08:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  it's justifiable self-defense against a.... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ray Pensador, splashy

            ..... remorseless adversary.

            If you think you can persuade sociopaths to be nice, you don't know anything about sociopaths.  There is no persuading, there is no "nice," and they will only think you a weakling and proceed to crush you.

            The way to deal with these people is to outsmart them and then destroy them, or best of all (and requiring the most skill), arrange for their own bad behaviors to lead to their own destruction.  

            It's not "nice," but you have to recognize that you are dealing with people who are vicious predators wrapped up in phony charm.  Their way of operating is offensive to our basic sense of humanity and civilized conduct, but that is how they are: so your choices are either to avoid them altogether, or if you are in an organization with one in your chain of command, either escape from there ASAP, or destroy them or be destroyed by them.  

            Having empathy for predators is how you become their lunch.  

        •  Amen to that!, and it's not sociopathic, it's just (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ray Pensador, splashy

          ..... warrior mode.  The goal of war is to destroy and defeat the enemy's capacity and will to fight.  Successful warfare requires holding those goals uppermost in mind, and applying them with skill and without reservation or hesitation.

          Once you've identified the target, the goal is to take out the target efficiently and expeditiously.  

          Setting up the conditions whereby a sociopath destroys themselves requires high skill as well as an understanding of the person's motivations and behavior.  

          So I wonder about this:

          Can you train people at what you do and how you do it?  

          Imagine if thousands of people were properly trained to identify sociopaths at work and cause them to self-destruct.  

          This would quickly lead to a thinning of the ranks of the sociopaths.  If you take out hundreds of thousands of low-level and mid-level sociopaths, you deny the high-level sociopaths their effective minions, so the high-level sociopaths lose power and may also fall under their own weight.  

          You might have just stumbled onto something that could potentially cure our culture, at least in part, of its affliction with sociopaths.  But as with antibiotics, the medication has to be taken long enough that the infection is reduced to the level where the body's normal defenses can kill it off the rest of the way.   Otherwise there is risk of a resistant strain.

          So if you take this on, be prepared to make it a major project for the rest of your life.  However few things would be quite as worthwhile in terms of the benefits they have.

    •  Not so easy (5+ / 0-)

      My husband and I look back on our careers in sales and wonder how it was that ethics and morality disappeared.  We knew it.  We didn't like it, but we were always on the edge of the cliff and feeling out of control.  In my case I did speak up and I lost some deals because of it.  We did feel that we could readjust, go out and fight the good fight again.  Our kids seem to be without that kind of opportunity or optimism.  Thanks for your good diaries RP. I always enjoy them.

    •  The game selects for sociopaths (5+ / 0-)

      They stay in  the game, outlast everyone else, who at some point reach their breaking point or point beyond which they won't go.

      Psychopaths are toooo much over the edge to trust, except when they are  as well camouflaged as Cheney and Addington.  Then no one wants to believe they are as evil as they really are.  That's how they got away with it until Bush, to his credit, realized and stopped letting Cheney get his way.

      The scientific uncertainty doesn't mean that climate change isn't actually happening.

      by Mimikatz on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 01:48:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not all societies are set up as a rat race--many (12+ / 0-)

      are set up as cooperatives.  We've got to make better societies.

      As offensive as our adversaries can be, it is always the people on our own side who drive us crazy.

      by Mayfly on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 01:59:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  this is a function of the degree to which... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ray Pensador

        ... sociopathy is present in the population.

        Unfortunately our culture has a high level of it.  I would not be surprised if Russia also has a high level of it, as a lingering result of Stalinism.

        Cultures with a lower level of sociopathy can have a higher level of cooperation because the sociopaths aren't there warping the game and the playing field for everyone else.  

  •  That is not "power." (8+ / 0-)

    It is an illusion of power and thus it is temporary. Hitlers, Napolions, King Georges, Tom Delays, Saddams and McCarthys of this world "rule" only temporarily.

    And since they believe in their own "power," they are the biggest fools in the world.

    Who has the real "lasting" power?

    The "grass roots."

    "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

    by zenox on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 11:08:33 AM PDT

    •  Complexity gets them. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hannah, walkshills, splashy

      All their "neat" work gets undermined by complexity.

      "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

      by zenox on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 11:09:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Really? That's news to me... Check out the trends (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis, Wednesday Bizzare
    •  Then why do they keep winning? n/t (7+ / 0-)

      "There must be more to life than having everything" -Maurice Sendak

      by lilypew on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 11:23:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "Winning"? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        walkshills

        That must depend on what you call a "winning."

        Mubarak, Saddam and Qaddafy too were all "winners."

        Ken Lay and Bernie Madoff too were "winners."

        Where are they now?

        I neither want their "winning" nor their "ends."

        "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

        by zenox on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 11:55:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Some people actually take pleasure in (6+ / 0-)

        facilitating others to get what they want.  And they're good helpers.  They do not know that the ultimate goal of power is to hurt.  They do not anticipate that those whom they help will turn on them and try to destroy them, if only because the help was not enough.

        "No good deed goes unpunished."  There is some truth to that with some people.  The trick is seeing them for what they are.  It took me about 50 years to cotton to the fact that almost everything my mother said was a lie.  Partly, I suppose, that was because she did a pretty good job of fobbing me off on other people who were glad to "help"--until she turned on them and took off.  She always insisted on being told the truth and she never took anything but people's peace of mind and, occasionally, their good reputation.  Towards the end of her life she was convinced that she'd been a good person, but it had been hard.

        Perhaps our laws on slander need to be revised.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuzZQ8LTE2c

        by hannah on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 12:08:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Power is power. (4+ / 0-)

      Money and political influence are proxies for power.

      Power is "There are more of us than there are of them. Let's go get what we need."

      •  Exactly, but "we" don't know how powerful we can (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cassandracarolina

        be.

      •  There's another kind of power... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Major Tom, zenox

        ...the power to influence - the ability to get people to do what they may/do not want to do.

        Eliminate the Bush tax cuts Eliminate Afghan and Iraq wars Do these things first before considering any cuts

        by kck on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 11:49:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Same kind. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Major Tom, cynndara, drewfromct, splashy

          It's just a proxy for making them do it.

          If you can convince them that they benefit through compliance, that's just a labor-saving device.

          •  Sometimes, sometimes it's labor savings.... (0+ / 0-)

            ...sometimes not. It has to be worth the effort, eh?

            Eliminate the Bush tax cuts Eliminate Afghan and Iraq wars Do these things first before considering any cuts

            by kck on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 12:11:09 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  If it's not worth the effort... (0+ / 0-)

              then I'm indifferent, at best, about whether it gets done.

              •  Just for the sake of clarity, there are levels... (0+ / 0-)

                ...of worth and effort and indifference to one may effect the other..

                To move many in a direction different from the natural flow, say create a culture change - perhaps in a nation, an army, a corporation, a movement, a blog - there are some people, probably leadership types who are valuable to take all along the way, for whom it is very valuable to create a strategy, maybe even custom strategies, to align their intentions and behaviors. Then there are masses of people who need to be just moved be it through compliance or attrition.  

                There's the power of war and the power of diplomacy - both powerful, but difference costs, different levels of effort, different degrees of pathology.

                Some kinds of sociopaths can only do one or the other and some very high functioning sociopaths will fluidly do both as appropriate (I think the use of sociopath is very loosely used here in this diary but it's true to some degree).

                Eliminate the Bush tax cuts Eliminate Afghan and Iraq wars Do these things first before considering any cuts

                by kck on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 12:37:03 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  It's still extortion. n/t (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            zedaker

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuzZQ8LTE2c

            by hannah on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 12:18:42 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Uh huh. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              cynndara

              Everything is, to the extent that you benefit from it. You can strive to see to it that others benefit as well, but again, that's just a labor-saving device. If you're able to demonstrate and deliver ancillary benefits to others when they comply with your requests, it saves you the labor of beating it out of them, and saves them the labor of recovering from the beating and/or plotting to beat you.

          •  Psychological power and physical power (0+ / 0-)

            ...are the same?

            "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

            by zenox on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 12:29:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  "Us" vs "them"? (0+ / 0-)

        Human kind has known for more than two millenias that such claims to be fallacies at best.

        "Power is power"?

        That too is a fallacy, isn't it?

        Money and political influence?

        Ask Mubarak...or Saddam...tee hee hee...

        "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

        by zenox on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 11:59:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Money and political influence... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          drewfromct

          are derivative powers.

          You give me money because it's easier for both of us than my taking it from you.

          You give me political power because it's easier for both of us than my taking it from you.

          Mubarak and Saddam had it taken from them.

          •  Money is a token. Worthless in itself. n/t (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            zenox

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuzZQ8LTE2c

            by hannah on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 12:19:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It's a proxy. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              drewfromct

              I've been clear about that.

              I can just as easily extract labor from you, if that's what I need. (Though by "just as easily" I also mean "with just as much difficulty," as the case may be.)

              If I need a task performed, I'll prefer to take labor from you. If I think you're too weak to perform the labor, I'll take money, if I think I can use it to get the labor out of someone who's: a) strong enough to perform it, and; b) strong enough to defeat me if I try to extract the labor directly from him through an exercise of physical power.

              If I can't make use of it, then it's a token. Less, in fact.

              •  And what happens (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Ray Pensador

                ...when it is "taken" from you?

                Hear this. In your "physical power" theory, you are missing the whole elephant in the room:

                You will never have enough of what you "need."

                That will be your undoing.

                The one who has overcome the "need" will win.

                Speaking metaphorically...

                "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

                by zenox on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 12:51:24 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  In addition (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                splashy

                ...think in terms of addictions like alcoholism, drug addiction and obesity. All based on temporary gratification.

                The "need" is not satisfied but instead it grows in positive correlation with each consumption. It will eventually kill the person.

                In the same token, the more we have in terms of materials and power, the more we need.

                It is never enough.

                That's the key.

                That's why we have a system of "checks and balances."

                To protect our nation from such death.

                Rome wasn't so lucky.

                "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

                by zenox on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 12:58:28 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  I think (0+ / 0-)

                that you're ignoring the contributions of greed/desire and concentrating entirely on coercion/fear.  Both are operative.

                You say "If I NEED a task performed," but perhaps you should say, "If I WANT a task performed" -- or a physical good, or an emotional stroke, or an animal pleasure like sex.  Power doesn't only derive from the ability to coerce/destroy.  There is also power in the ability to create, to give pleasure, or to reduce pain.  Often the two are incompatible; the sociopath can commit rape, but cannot coerce love, and therefore if he desires the latter, must elicit it as a voluntary behavior.  Most creators perform so poorly under coercive conditions that they must be bribed and persuaded rather than physically forced if their products are desired.  Desire therefore limits coercion.

        •  Not every (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ray Pensador
          Ask Mubarak...or Saddam...tee hee hee...
          dictator meets such an end. In fact, the examples you cite are the rare exceptions. Stalin died peacefully in his sleep at the height of his power, with the blood of tens of millions on his hands. Before his time, hundreds of thousands of Emperors, Kings, and lesser "nobles" were born into power, lived, ruled, and died unchallenged.

          Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

          by drewfromct on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 04:08:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sarea

      No one stays in power forever.  

      However it is times like these I am reminded of the old adage:  Be nice to those on your way up because you will meet the same ones on your way down.  

      There will be a day of reckoning in this country.  It will be a dandy.  

      I also thank the one who rearranged deck chairs on the Titanic so those on board ship could get a better view of the iceberg.

      by NyteByrd1954 on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 01:00:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sociopaths come at you again (11+ / 0-)

    and again without stopping. They constantly revise their attacks until they get what they want.

    I think this is because everything is "the same" to them. They have no mechanism for determining the difference between running the Third Reich, for example, or simply, dropping a pencil on the ground and asking you to pick it up. It's about feeling that they "own" you, that they got one over on you.

  •  Humans are very political animals (6+ / 0-)

    I've tried to rise above it, my whole life, but it doesn't work. You can't rise above; you're sent to the back of the line. No matter how inconsequential something is to a life, your life, or the universe, someone is citing the rules to help them get what they want, or they're adjusting the rules in their favor.

    •  Much as I think all this is part of human nature, (15+ / 0-)

      I think that there is something especially within the last thirty years that tends to disproportionately reward the sociopath that the diarist describes.

      With the increasing shift to financialization -- companies from dot-com startups to old-fashioned brick-and-mortar manufacturers putting finance at the center of their business -- we increasingly see firms giving priority to "shareholder value" over the stakeholders: those employees, contractors, and affected members of the community that deal with the firm on a day-to-day basis.

      If the stakeholders are interested in many things (water cleanliness, a living wage, ethical business practices, etc.), shareholders are interested in one thing and one thing only: the stock price. A "good" CEO in a modern corporation will do whatever is necessary to ensure that that stock prices goes up, and goes up precipitously. That means that you get some pretty perverse results: As Mitt Romney knows, to get the stock price up, sometimes it's necessary to lose thousands of workers. Mass layoffs once served as a signal that a company was in trouble; now it is understood as a demonstration of vitality -- and promptly rewarded by a bump in the share price.

      So essentially, the "personality type" of the modern corporation is that of the sociopath: it displays "shallow emotions" (its phony PR); it has a "lack of empathy or remorse" (see: mass layoffs); it behaves in "egocentric" ways (it is structurally incapable of seeing why labor, antitrust, or environmental laws should apply to it); and it engages in "deceptive behavior" (ie. the "fine print").

      The person who best understands the "needs" of this sociopathic corporation is the person who is most likely to make it to the top. That person will see no contradiction between the company's goals, on the one hand, and the "way things should be" on the other.

      Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

      by Dale on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 12:27:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am living through the experience (19+ / 0-)

    of being threatened by my "superiors" because I want to do the "right" thing (for students with disabilities), which will invariably make them (a school district) look bad.
    In order to be "successful" you have to master the Dog and Pony Show.

    "There must be more to life than having everything" -Maurice Sendak

    by lilypew on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 11:22:21 AM PDT

  •  Very interesting premise (25+ / 0-)

    I went through years of my career wondering why some people got promoted over those who simply plugged away doing a good job. One firm promoted a select few to "associate" status, some of them quite vocal and "pushy" self promoters.  I asked once why these people made the cut, and other didn't, and one of the managers told me that some people take it upon themselves to "manage up"', constantly keeping the leadership team apprised of their every little success.

    This seemed utterly antithetical to the messages i had gotten throughout my life. Work hard. Keep a low profile. Don't rock the boat. However, I started copying more people on my e-mails, asking their advice, volunteering before being "voluntold"' and otherwise making the case for my promotion, and within a few months, I was in the next batch of Associates. Sadly, the promotion lost some of it's value when achieved in this way, but that was the "game".

    My friends and colleagues can confirm that I am still the same person.  I haven't sold out or lost my strong moral compass.  I'm still the goofy nerd from the science club. A better paid nerd, maybe, but still much the same.

    Imagine, however, someone who believed that their rise through the ranks of business or politics meant that they were "better" than the rest of us.  That maybe they had been divinely tappped as the next VP, CEO, president, or Messiah.  For someone lacking a strong moral compass and grounding, the adulation, money, and glory might form the basis for a new and evolving persona.

    They could easily see the quick success gained by pandering to a particular crowd, flattering the wealthy donor, firing up the fanatical "base". Once these successes validate their increasingly delusional self image, they would require more and more of this "drug" to maintain their "high".

    You cannot enlighten the unconscious.

    by cassandracarolina on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 11:22:23 AM PDT

  •  you left out "shithouse rat crazy". (4+ / 0-)

    but i forgive you.

    I once had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalog: "No good in a bed, but fine up against a wall." ~Eleanor Roosevelt

    by Ramdove on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 11:23:42 AM PDT

  •  Ray, I love your railing against the system (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador

    But, yes a but, I'm having difficulty figuring out what your solution is?  Given the reality of where we are, what aside from anarchy is the answer you propose?  

    Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.

    by EdMass on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 11:31:44 AM PDT

    •  The solution will not be found until people (4+ / 0-)

      awaken to reality in huge numbers.  That's the "key" to the solution.  A massive awakening.

      •  And then we do what? n/t (0+ / 0-)

        Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.

        by EdMass on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 11:41:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It is imposiible to awaken 300 million people (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        buddabelly, Joieau, Wednesday Bizzare

        Especially when so many of them are never going to buck the norm.  What we need to do is change the norm.  Let them merely follow the new norm.  That is not only possible but it's proven to work.  For good and bad it's proven to work.  

        You dick, why do you have to focus on the negative. - Thomas Haden Church as Jack in the film Sideways

        by Anton Bursch on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 11:56:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That kind of change is only temporary Anton (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ray Pensador

          Awakening means not following the "norms."

          It is a "quantum leap." It happened during the renessaince.

          "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

          by zenox on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 12:34:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  you can't plan things like that (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Wednesday Bizzare

            and you can't wait for them to happen

            You dick, why do you have to focus on the negative. - Thomas Haden Church as Jack in the film Sideways

            by Anton Bursch on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 12:45:20 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You are right (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              DawnN, drewfromct

              It cannot be planned. And neither can we sit on our hands.

              That's the mystery involving change.

              We must work hard and try hard, indeed. (Giving up doesn't work) Then things happen. When we look back however it is impossible to figure out how it all have happened. We can explain only to a degree. Not all of it.

              "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

              by zenox on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 01:07:54 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  "A massive awakening" to what? (0+ / 0-)

        That corrupt people have the "real power"?

        That is no awakening to me.

        I see it the opposite: that corrupt power is an illusion. We give them the "power" by buying into their bullshit.

        "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

        by zenox on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 12:06:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Unlikely. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Anton Bursch

        One, it's already happened, and the majority of the downtrodden have adopted the universal solution of slave-societies -- putting their heads down, attending to their own business, and quietly and passively resisting wherever they can get away with it without getting caught.  Self-preservation.

        Two, it isn't enough on its own.  All it does is sap a system's overall energy on a slow and gradual basis.  However, it can effectively hasten the dissolution caused by resource depletion and the struggles between sociopaths for control of limited and declining resources.  Eventually, even a sociopathic social organization will die.  It just takes longer than it does for individuals.

  •  Civilization Facilitates This Because of Humans' (10+ / 0-)

    evolutionary history having been virtually entirely lived in small bands & troupes.

    Some of our instinctive and acquired social behaviors which can control sociopathy in close-knit groups fosters it in large complex societies.

    Shunning is an obvious example. It's life-endangering in the wild, in some settings it can be a death sentence. But in large societies, when good people shun or turn their back on sociopathy, it becomes liberated to associate with supporters, build community, and grow in strength and power.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 11:32:50 AM PDT

    •  VERY true!! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zenox, yoduuuh do or do not

      and the reason why i am very slow to demonize people.  our ability to influence them is lost when we seperate them from us.

      You dick, why do you have to focus on the negative. - Thomas Haden Church as Jack in the film Sideways

      by Anton Bursch on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 11:59:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Kind of hard to (0+ / 0-)

      do that to a boss or executive director.....

      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

      by dfarrah on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 12:01:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, it's not hard to do it. (6+ / 0-)

        It's hard to live with the consequences of doing it.

        But that's largely because in our society, you can convert your power into portable cash, which you can then use to hire a new set of workers who don't know you've been shunned, and have no personal beef (yet) with you over your shunning, because they weren't a part of the tribe that shunned you at the time.

        Portable wealth makes it easier to exempt yourself from the social compact. Unless the rest of the local tribes (potential replacement workers) are also hip to your transgressions, and agree to shun you as well. Then your wealth doesn't do you as much good, since you can't trade it for anything.

    •  Right. There has to be an intervention, (0+ / 0-)

      a confrontation, but not a fight.  A fight is an implicit right of aggression.  We want to eliminate even the threat.  Restraint and containment.  That is, of course, the opposite of the free market, the realm of the predator.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuzZQ8LTE2c

      by hannah on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 12:50:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  i agree. normal people don't crave power. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cai, zenox

    which is why normal people should accept that it is their responsibility to share power with other normal people to keep it out of the hands of those who do crave power.

    You dick, why do you have to focus on the negative. - Thomas Haden Church as Jack in the film Sideways

    by Anton Bursch on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 11:50:38 AM PDT

    •  Normal people don't crave power (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Anton Bursch

      ...because they don't feel powerless "inside." The abnormal ones however lack real power (inner power) thus they try to compansate that lack by material an political gains and grabs.

      What is more scary? They'll never have enough to fill that gap.

      Look at Murdoch.

      "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

      by zenox on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 12:39:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sharing is a matter of taking turns -- (4+ / 0-)

      a difficult concept for people who have no sense of time and exist in the moment and its prompts.  Really, they can't anticipate the future.  Though our politicians uses phrases like "the future of our children," they have no idea what that actually means.

      It's like Catholics who grew up reciting Latin and having no idea what the words meant.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuzZQ8LTE2c

      by hannah on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 12:55:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This may sound strange but it's a real factor (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cassandracarolina, cai, zenox, IreGyre
    the high-functioning psychopath is "characterized primarily by a lack of empathy and remorse, shallow emotions, egocentricity, and deceptiveness."  And because of it, they tend to rule the world.  They rise to the highest levels of power in politics, and business.
    It's a spectrum but this description relates to a spectrum for first-borns, and especially first-borns with "rough" dads.

    As senior executive teams get collegial and courageous, confronting the realities of birth order and childhood dramas/traumas is always fertile ways to build individual and group emotional intelligence and raise the maturity level and performance.

    Eliminate the Bush tax cuts Eliminate Afghan and Iraq wars Do these things first before considering any cuts

    by kck on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 11:55:31 AM PDT

    •  Interesting. (7+ / 0-)

      I was the first-born.  My Little Brother is the successful weapons-designer and real-estate speculator with a couple of million in rental properties.  He is also, need I say, a lot closer to the profile of "sociopath" which we have been using?  Shallow, lacking in empathy, and a firm believer in social darwinism who attributes his "success" to his superior intelligence instead of the material advantages he was handed on a silver platter.  I, of course, was always able to beat him at any strategic game or academic contest that controlled for cheating.

      •  Ah, this is a variant I've only read about... (0+ / 0-)
        instead of the material advantages he was handed on a silver platter
        Silver platters have a dynamic all their own. Thanks for the insight.

        Eliminate the Bush tax cuts Eliminate Afghan and Iraq wars Do these things first before considering any cuts

        by kck on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 02:26:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  So... you tell people how to act like psychopaths? (0+ / 0-)

    (Btw -- I thought the lack of empathy was sociopaths.)

  •  This has been well-covered in (6+ / 0-)

    political ponerology (ponerology: the study of evil), done by a group of Polish psychologists and developed, at great risk, from the time of the Nazi occupation, through the Communist regime.

    A massive and important work, here are a few quotes from the website:

    The ultimate cause of evil lies in the interaction of two human factors: 1) normal human ignorance and weakness and 2) the existence and action of a statistically small (4-8% of the general population) but extremely active group of psychologically deviant individuals. The ignorance of the existence of such psychological differences is the first criterion of ponerogenesis. That is, such ignorance creates an opening whereby such individuals can act undetected.

    The presence of such “disease” on the individual level is described in the Almost Human section of this website. However, depending on the type of activity of psychopathic and characteropathic individuals, evil can manifest on any societal level. The greater the scope of the psychopath’s influence, the greater harm done. Thus any group of humans can be infected or “ponerized” by their influence. From families, clubs, churches, businesses, and corporations, to entire nations. The most extreme form of such macrosocial evil is called “pathocracy”.

    PONEROGENIC ASSOCIATIONS

    "In any society in this world, psychopathic individuals and some of the other deviant types create a ponerogenically active network of common collusions, partially estranged from the community of normal people... Their sense of honor bids them to cheat and revile that ‘other’ human world and its values at every opportunity." (Lobaczewski, 138)

    “We could list various names ascribed to such organizations… gangs, criminal mobs, mafias… which cunningly avoid collision with the law while seeking to gain their own advantage. Such unions frequently aspire to political power in order to impose their expedient legislation upon societies in the name of a suitably prepared ideology, deriving advantages in the form of disproportionate prosperity and the satisfaction for their craving of power.” (Lobaczewski, 158, emphasis added)


    "Whatever you do, don't mention The War." Basil Fawlty, while mentally impaired.

    by Jim P on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 12:45:20 PM PDT

  •  So how do we change this? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador, Gustogirl, Leftcandid

    I'm going to argue that these "high-functioning" psychopaths belong in mental institutions or in jail, not in positions of power.  Their actions are far more damaging than the random petty crimes of low-functioning psychopaths.  But we don't institutionalize them because they've convinced us that their behavior is - if not normal - then the ideal.  How do we change that?  How do we expose them as harmful, mentally ill, or even evil?  How do we put them all in jail for the rest of their lives?  How do we turn what they are into something we monitor our children for signs of and medicate before it gets out of hand?

    •  It would take a massive awakening by the (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wonton Tom, Mike Taylor, DawnN, drewfromct

      population, but that is highly unlikely because the population is being exposed by a brainwashing powerful propaganda machine of the sociopaths that bombards people minds every day of the year with utter trash.

      There is a possibility that the very small percentage of people who are hyper-aware of what's going on may be able to challenge the system, but that's also unlikely because of the low numbers, and low influence.

      •  Low numbers maybe... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ray Pensador, Mike Taylor, DawnN

        but that's never stopped anyone from changing the world before.  I'd argue that all of the major socio-economic shifts in history have been achieved by groups who were only a tiny minority of their respective societies.

        We'll never know because we as a movement refuse to articulate an alternative to institutional psychopathy.  Instead, we try to appeal to the psychopaths' self-interest.

    •  I guess this is one of the truly disheartening (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ray Pensador, Kurt Sperry, DawnN

      aspects of the "sociopathic power players" problem that I see:  Even though people will revolt once they've overplayed their hand (and they are already doing that), they'll just be replaced by the next set of sociopaths.

      The problem, as I see it, is that the people who seek power, wealth, prestige are all compensating for some deep-seated inadequacy.  Self-actualized people, healthy people, don't need to amass wealth or power.  Because the healthy don't seek it, the vacuum will be once again filled by the "sick".

      So the real solutions lie in a more spiritual realm; in a healing of the society as a whole so that abuse, neglect and other cruelties do not happen and do not engender the compensation needs that form (or supplemnent) the root of sociopathy.

      But we haven't even answered the question:  does sociopathy have a genetic component?  It quite possibly does, but the few studies I've seen on the formation of psychopathy show abuse and traumatic brain damage as correlative.

      It's a big question.  But the question for the moment is:  how do we protect the people from the abuses of the current powers that be?  The abuse of the populace will reach a tipping point if we continue as we are.

      Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth - Abraham Lincoln

      by Gustogirl on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 01:48:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I suppose this would explain (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ray Pensador, Gustogirl, drewfromct

        why many of the same psychopathic traits can be found in people from extremely deprived backgrounds as well, where absolute status is more or less fixed so status relative to one's peers is everything (just like it is at the top) and violence is a routine and even praiseworthy means of getting what you want, especially when ethical and lawful activity is only poorly rewarded by comparison ... again, just like it is at the top.

  •  The "Nice" Nazis (5+ / 0-)

    You mentioned how these people are often considered "nice." In the book "They Thought They Were Free" about Nazi Germany, the people who became enthusiastic Nazis were often considered great guys. People who held back were considered to be "snobs" who "thought they were better than other people."

    The other part that is missing here are the people that should be in AL-Anon or other adult survivor programs. These "dry drunk" types are very controlling personalities who are often perceived as "nice guys."  In any sort of personal power  struggle (and they tend to see everything as a personal power struggle) they may go into a multi-year downward spiral of depression, rage, and what amounts to stalking. In this condition the may show many "borderline" sociopath traits, but these are low functioning individuals. This is especially evident when they are dealing with personal problems involving their parents or children. Death of a parent? That's when they decide they will do the annual evaluations and tell everyone exactly what's wrong with them.

    Basically these are the people who are drawn to  middle management, becoming the management oompa-loompas.

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 01:07:25 PM PDT

  •  In US we have a cesspool economic system (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador, Gustogirl, Mike Taylor

    where the biggest most toxic turds ride to the top.

    Gasoline made from the tar sands gives a Toyota Prius the same impact on climate as a Hummer using gasoline made from oil. ~ Al Gore

    by Lefty Coaster on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 01:16:54 PM PDT

  •  Sorry, bud (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador
    On the left, they are those who earnestly go about trying to respond to every absurdity coming out of the loony right-wing.  Refuting every stupid and absurd comment with facts, and studies, and statistics.

    If you don't respond, low-info voters think the loony right-wing is correct, because no one is responding to it.  How the hell do you think we got here?

    A "moderate" in this environment is a person who splits the difference between half-assed government and a total shitpile.

    by Dinclusin on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 01:23:32 PM PDT

    •  I know... But "responding" is the least effective (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kurt Sperry

      and impactful action from the left.  It's necessary, but not nearly enough.  The most important component is missing: A ruthless zeal with an almost religious fundamentalist passion and a no-holds barred, and relentless frontal attack against the other side.  One that is relentless, has a short-, mid-, and long-term vision.

      We (the left) have nothing like that... And that is exactly what we need.

      Sharing "truths" in an echo chamber will accomplish nothing (marginally-speaking).

      •  Yes (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        drewfromct, Ray Pensador

        One cannot effectively counter appeals to emotion or the reptilian brain with reasoned arguments alone.  There must be a counter narrative that resonate with those lower order processes.

        Most successful political messaging is aimed at these lower order processes- whether "bad" like appeals to greed racism or fear or "good" appeals to altruistic solidarity or compassion or generally hopeful messaging. Neither appeal is aimed at the higher order thought processes but are emotional appeals. Republicans cannily sell appeals to fear and peoples' baser emotions which are easily aroused and exploited.  Obama's 2008 campaign was a masterful use of the latter, selling nebulous almost contentless concepts of "hope" and "change" like the old Coca-Cola "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" ad  in lieu of appeals to reason that would have had to have been based on advocacy of specific policy goals that could polarize the target demographic and break the spell.  

        Advisors for President-Elect Barack Obama feared the new administration would face a coup if it prosecuted Bush-era war crimes, according to a new report out this morning.

        by Kurt Sperry on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 03:27:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  what i don't get is why this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador, Gustogirl

    isn't obvious. Our economics rewards the most ruthless. It is like the new American ideal is to become a sociopath.  Either that or we are completely delusional and are banking it all on wishful thinking : that economics designed for the sociopath wont be run by sociopaths.

  •  Awesome, and something I've thought a lot about (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador

    The documentary The Corporation did a lot to show how corporations have all of the characteristics of sociopaths, and there's no doubt in the world that the GOP has become the Grand Sociopath Party.

    I'm happy to see a lot of diaries showing the modern Republican Party to have many sociopathic tendencies.

  •  Selecting for meanness and bullying (4+ / 0-)

    I believe one reason the GOP went for Reagan is that he was unnecessarily mean when he attacked the students at Berkeley.  The fat cats grabbed him for their puppet.
    Same for the hated CEO at United, Glenn Tilton,  where my son worked.  Tilton was selected for his ability to smash workers.  Read any publication comments section and watch the bullies work in a group.  They show up together and either attack anyone who disagrees with them as a group or boost each others' egos as well as take over the dialogue.  When the GOP took the south from LBJ, they also took over this characteristic.  It was not fashionable in nice circles at that time to be a racist or bully.  It works very well today in most of the US.

  •  Ray, you have raised some good points, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador, cassandracarolina

    and it seems that you have the capacity to discern the motives of those around you to a very high degree.  Some of us aren't so astute, however...as for me I just try to do the best I can each day with each situation as it comes my way.  I have a strong conviction that no lie can survive exposure to the truth, and so for me I try to keep my personal moral compass aligned as close to what I have come to know as the truth.  Then, the hard part...to try and share that in a society that as you have pointed out is constantly shrouded in a web of deciept.

    "He's a walking contradicion, partly truth and partly fiction, taking every misdirection on his lonely way back home" Kris Kristofferson, "The Pilgrim"

    by Wonton Tom on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 01:37:05 PM PDT

  •  Sociopaths Need Secrecy Above All (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador

    In fact, their assumption is that everything they do will be a taboo subject for other people.

    Because they were probably raised in an environment of shame, fear, guilt, and obsessive secrecy, they assume everyone else is the same.

    I think one strategy might be to simply say "OK let's have an official Fascist party. Clearly a lot of people want it, clearly we are well on our way down that road, so give them a chance to stand up and be counted."

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 01:44:59 PM PDT

  •  Why are the unlimited lusts for money and power (4+ / 0-)

    not defined as mental illnesses? They certainly have been responsible for much tragedy in the world.

    The invasion of Iraq was a war crime, a crime against humanity, and a crime against civilization. Prosecute the crime.

    by Positronicus on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 01:58:13 PM PDT

  •  Related experiences (7+ / 0-)

    This is going to be kind of rambling; I'm taking a breather from loading a moving van. :P

    Advancing in the workplace -- or politics, or pretty much anything else -- isn't about doing a good job; it's about creating the appearance of doing a good job. Most people try to do this by actually doing a good job, but that's often difficult and not necessarily even the best way to create the impression. The people who tend to get ahead -- who are often unscrupulous even if not full-blown psychopaths -- recognize this simple fact and act accordingly. Those of us who refuse to play those games end up left behind. You can still make a decent living as a decent, honest person, but you will never, ever rise to the top of the ladder or be rich. There are just too many unscrupulous people competing for a limited number of positions for honest people to have a real chance at them.

    Yeah, it sucks. And yeah, both in business and politics, its terrifically dangerous and we need to figure out a way to psychopath-proof our political and economic institutions before we end up trapped in another psychopath-dominated drama like the Cold War. It is, however, the way things are presently, and we have to deal with it.

    Having spent a career working in startups, I've ended up working under people who ranged from ordinary entrepreneurs -- a group that is amazingly consistent in their personality traits -- to full-blown psychopaths. (Career success secret: if you can stand to work for people no one else can, you'll do well. You'll also suffer from stress-related illnesses and a shortened life expectancy, but there's a price for everything.) The thing that has always struck me about them -- often repeatedly, over the head, until I finally absorbed the lesson -- is that you cannot outwit them or wear them down. They do not tire, they are always working all the angles, and they simply don't have any emotional vulnerabilities because, for the most part, they don't have actual emotions. The only way to beat them is to become one of them. I've yet to find any prize that was worth that price.

    But I'm glad the topic is starting to attract some attention. The domination of political power by psychopaths is nothing new: the history of psychopathic political power structures is human history. But as the Cold War first demonstrated, and the climate crisis is demonstrating again, our technology has grown to the point that leaving them in power dooms us to extinction on a chillingly short timescale.

    Solution? I haven't come up with one. Whoever does come up with a solution will have honestly and decently won our eternal gratitude.

    Yes we can! The president, however, I'm not so sure about.

    by eodell on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 02:08:38 PM PDT

    •  I'd Like To Hear More About Entrepreneurs (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sarea

      Having been on that merry-go-round a few time myself.  Keep in mind that there are the actual entrepreneurs, and then there are the gaggle of misfits that I came to describe as the "Lord of The Flies Carnival Cruise."  Many of them, even the ones at the bottom of the totem pole think there is some alchemy through which frantic random backstabbing will make them rich. Many and perhaps most start-ups fail for this reason.

      There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

      by bernardpliers on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 02:17:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No rambling at all. You hit the nail on the head. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sarea
    •  heh... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sarea
      "Having spent a career working in startups, I've ended up working under people who ranged from ordinary entrepreneurs -- a group that is amazingly consistent in their personality traits -- to full-blown psychopaths. (Career success secret: if you can stand to work for people no one else can, you'll do well. You'll also suffer from stress-related illnesses and a shortened life expectancy, but there's a price for everything.) The thing that has always struck me about them -- often repeatedly, over the head, until I finally absorbed the lesson -- is that you cannot outwit them or wear them down. They do not tire, they are always working all the angles, and they simply don't have any emotional vulnerabilities because, for the most part, they don't have actual emotions. The only way to beat them is to become one of them. I've yet to find any prize that was worth that price."

      friend, i've BEEN there, DONE that... for startups under megalomaniacs... they may have good ideas themselves, but they were never willing to listen to OTHER good ideas, and especially if you were the one providing most of those other good ideas, they get EXTREMELY suspicious and hard upon YOU.

      my only cure since then is to obey my old rule, "i am interviewing THEM as much as they are interviewing ME," and if any red lights flash during the interview... DON'T - TAKE - THE JOB.

      unfortunately every time i've ignored my own rule (usually because i was in such sore need for a job at the time), i ended up regretting it.

      and doing so will only affect YOUR OWN psyche detrimentally. you will have one very hard day where the immovable force meets indestructible rock.

      just be sure to remain that indestructible rock, and not become that "force." heh - it is "the dark side" of the force.

      400+ BILLIONAIRES PAY 50 TO 100%+ LESS TAX THAN 300,000,000 OF US-THEY'VE RIGGED THE TABLE FOR THEMSELVES AND AGAINST US, THE POOR WHO CAN'T TAKE THE SAME LOOPHOLES THEY HAVE BOUGHT OTHERS FOR. THE CLASS WAR/REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED-IT IS ONLINE

      by theChild on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 03:05:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •   No Marketing Guy Handcuffed In Burning Car Trank (0+ / 0-)

        I gonna shoestring next time, because I'm just trying to stop the violence before it start, you know what I'm saying?

        Seriously though, anybody doing the entrepreneur thing is this climate is likely to be way more obsessive and less focused on the easy score ('cause there is none).

        There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

        by bernardpliers on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 04:59:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I sort of had this conversation with my Dad (4+ / 0-)

    shortly before he died. I told him that I'd finally figured it out. That going to college and learning to do things and then going out and getting a job and doing it well, which is what I'd grown up believing, was not the way to get ahead and make money in this world. That what I should have done was use college as a way to make connections and find people who could help me get ahead, and then go on as you suggest. And my father, who was the sweetest, most genuine person you could possibly imagine, sadly agreed with me.

    Still, I'm glad I didn't take that path. Because I would be hating myself today. There are the wolves and the chumps, and I guess I'm happy to be a chump. So it goes.

    But anyone who thinks that people become rich because they work hard is really naive. People become rich because they've figured out how to take advantage of other people and are willing to spend their lives doing it.

  •  How to survive in the shark tank... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador, Sarea, drewfromct

    If you aren't a sociopath or psychopath and you want to survive in the world of corporations I suggest that you all read "The 48 Laws Of Power".

    http://robertgreene.net/...

    It will help you survive the shark tank.

  •  two cents... (0+ / 0-)

    ever see those right-winger, overly-make-uped, overly-quaffed "wives" (yes quotes, because they are only "wives" in legality only; their husbands inevitably turn out to have two or three mistresses holed up in some diamond-studded getaway only three-to-six hours away via private jet) in tv interviews, being asked out horrible events or situations happening to people or populaces in some far-away, far-removed land (usually still in america, but still very "removed" from their own "bubble world")?

    how they purse their lipsticked-lips; they tear up some crocodile tears, and at every pause in the interviewer's voice, even mid-sentance, just for breath, they whisper such an intoned "yeess..." as if, "yeess, i am paying attention. yeess, what you are saying is supposed to be sad, so i will cry and pretend to be concerned..." a bit of feigned sympathy, that masks what came out when mamma bush was asked to consider the lives at stake during katrina, during the gulf war... "why should i worry my beautiful mind about that?"

    they aren't to blame for actions taken by their power-crazed hubbies, but usually by association, they gain power over PTAs, educational boards, other "soft" social enterprises, "like good lil wives should"... god such an old-world concept. but they use it, and it works.

    the psychopaths (or sociopaths, however you want to split the hairs) tend to find each other, and use each other, for as long as they can. usually as long as the wives can also find willing sex-partners to fill up the holes in their lives, as their hubbys seem they always can.

    400+ BILLIONAIRES PAY 50 TO 100%+ LESS TAX THAN 300,000,000 OF US-THEY'VE RIGGED THE TABLE FOR THEMSELVES AND AGAINST US, THE POOR WHO CAN'T TAKE THE SAME LOOPHOLES THEY HAVE BOUGHT OTHERS FOR. THE CLASS WAR/REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED-IT IS ONLINE

    by theChild on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 02:49:57 PM PDT

    •  then once their husband's political life (0+ / 0-)

      has passed expiration date, or they can't take the lack of good sex anymore, they ask for a divorce. something like that. it's usually artificial, selfish and demeaning not only to themselves, but to their constituents.

      gad, sorry to dive off into such an ugly sex pool there, but damn it, it's so goddamned obvious; how they try to "protect the children" from sex, when their own lives are so fucked up, and they have such active public lives involved in fucking up everyone's kids via school boards and Public Service Announcements... etc etc.

      just that image of some fake-caring person, intoning "yeess" every opportunity/pause in conversation... they don't really care. they really don't. they aren't listening.

      400+ BILLIONAIRES PAY 50 TO 100%+ LESS TAX THAN 300,000,000 OF US-THEY'VE RIGGED THE TABLE FOR THEMSELVES AND AGAINST US, THE POOR WHO CAN'T TAKE THE SAME LOOPHOLES THEY HAVE BOUGHT OTHERS FOR. THE CLASS WAR/REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED-IT IS ONLINE

      by theChild on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 02:54:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  and there is no "drug test" (0+ / 0-)

        to filter THOSE fuckers out.

        how about a psychopath test to get a job interview? let alone permission to electioneer oneself?

        400+ BILLIONAIRES PAY 50 TO 100%+ LESS TAX THAN 300,000,000 OF US-THEY'VE RIGGED THE TABLE FOR THEMSELVES AND AGAINST US, THE POOR WHO CAN'T TAKE THE SAME LOOPHOLES THEY HAVE BOUGHT OTHERS FOR. THE CLASS WAR/REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED-IT IS ONLINE

        by theChild on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 02:56:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  please don't bold everything, it tends to turn off (0+ / 0-)

        most people here as it's kinda like all caps...No one wants to be yelled at every comment.........

        use bold and italics and such, just use them sparingly for maximum impact....esp here at this community......

        Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
        I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
        Emiliano Zapata

        by buddabelly on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 07:15:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Yep. Work 4 one and trying to get away (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador

    Well, sociopathic at least.  I don't think this person is violent (i.e. psychopath).  But sociopathic and a predator, most definitely.

    Nothing is as evilly imaginative as the mind of a teenage gamer. -- Sychotic1

    by Sarea on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 03:08:44 PM PDT

  •  When empathy becomes a dirty word... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador, liz

    in political discourse, you know we have a sick system that rewards sociopathic behavior.

    The most defining characteristic of the sociopath is his or her lack of empathy for other people.  The utter inability to place oneself in someone else's shoes is the foundation of true evil.  If you insist on having a conscience and seeing other human beings as deserving of dignity, life, liberty and happiness, you can't be deemed a sociopath.

    We have leaders high up in the national political heirarchy who openly engage in active warfare against disadvantaged people of every stripe-the poor, the unemployed, the disabled, the victims.   And then they project their own hatred, bias and pathology onto the very groups that they disdain.  

    If you are literally willing to do anything to gain power, money and status you will have an easier rise to the top.  Most people have limits, and it is too difficult to compete against those who don't.  Corporations are by their very nature amoral, so it's easy for sociopaths to climb the corporate ladder.

    Frankly, you don't have to be a sociopath to "succeed."   I don't need a million dollars to be happy.  I do have a conscience, so I can't bring myself to overcharge my clients.  One of the most poignant points of "The sociopath Next Door" is that the vast majority of people would NOT trade their conscience for fame, fortune or power.

    Another point before I go, let's not get into the trap of false equivalency here.  I'm not saying there are no sociopathic Democratic leaders, but when you think of the war on empathy, you tend to think Republican Party, not Democratic Party.  The policies advocated by the Republican Party at this time in history are so over the top lacking in empathy, it's pretty clear which party sociopaths would gravitate towards.    They aren't even trying to disguise it anymore.  

  •  I disagree. Pathology has itself become the norm. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yoduuuh do or do not

    I'm not sure what world you're living in where the people who support RW lunacy, even when it goes against their interests, aren't sociopathic? Much less apocalyptic Christians, which you suggest are "normal."

  •  Very shallow diary without examples. (0+ / 0-)

    I'd like to have, for example, an example of a psychopath on the left who holds sway in this country.

    It's the fascism, stupid!

    by lastman on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 03:25:47 PM PDT

    •  Um....how about John Edwards, for starters? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      buddabelly, Ray Pensador

      and I'm sure others can think of other examples.  

      He cheated on his wife and got another woman pregnant while his wife was dying of cancer, and asked his wife to help him cover it up and his donors to fund his affair.  All the while talking about how much he cared about people on the campaign trail.   He also believed(s) that his actions were justified.  If that doesn't define sociopathy I don't know what does.

      Just because it appears that sociopaths tend to vote Republican doesn't mean there aren't sociopaths on the left.

      Nothing is as evilly imaginative as the mind of a teenage gamer. -- Sychotic1

      by Sarea on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 07:15:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great Meta Diary (4+ / 0-)

    I've come to similar conclusions myself.  Organizational structures seem generally to favor high functioning sociopathic personality types over people possessing better mental health.  The demographic of the rich and powerful is a veritable Petri dish of sociopathic disorders.

    Advisors for President-Elect Barack Obama feared the new administration would face a coup if it prosecuted Bush-era war crimes, according to a new report out this morning.

    by Kurt Sperry on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 03:41:39 PM PDT

  •  there is an advantage (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Notreadytobenice

    to not having guilt or shame get in the way of one's plans.  If someone can see the frailties of others and exploit them, that's an advantage.  And if you don't have some really rigid core belief that gets in your way, it's easier to change with the times.  

    But there are quite decent psychopaths who don't enjoy harming others and  simply prefer the advantages of wealth and power, which are well-documented.

    And there are dangerous sincere people who have a sense of moral rightness that leads them to do great harm to others. Not being a psychopath doesn't mean you're a nice person, or tolerant, or even smart.

    I think that dumb psychopaths can't get ahead anyway and that makes them sometimes bitter and nasty and capable of strange behaviors.  Just because you're a psychopath doesn't mean you're good at it.    

    Just say it: Medicare for All

    by anna shane on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 04:51:07 PM PDT

    •  You use "physcopath" liberally... (0+ / 0-)

      The "twin study" as to this condition shows strongly influenced by genetics.

      The wiki on physcopathy includes above and quotes Theophrastus:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/...
      ""...The current concept of psychopathy has been thematically linked to writings by Theophrastus, a student of Aristotle in Ancient Greece, whose description of The Unscrupulous Man is said to embody the characteristics of psychopathy.
      "The Unscrupulous Man will go and borrow more money from a creditor he has never paid ... When marketing he reminds the butcher of some service he has rendered him and, standing near the scales, throws in some meat, if he can, and a soup-bone. If he succeeds, so much the better; if not, he will snatch a piece of tripe and go off laughing...""

      •  yes (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Notreadytobenice, buddabelly

        but he'll also pay if that works better because he establishes his  'honesty' to steal more down the road. You can be honest because you believe in honesty or you can be honest because it works better to gain your ends.  It's stupid to be dishonest when there are consequences you're prefer not to have or when the reward is small and will keep you from future rewards.  Smart psychopaths don't make stupid mistakes, they're dishonest when the goal is worth it, and they won't be caught and/or there are no penalties. ie selling junk bonds or insider trading most of the time.  

        Just say it: Medicare for All

        by anna shane on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 05:29:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The BBC on this malody was just on: (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          anna shane

          http://www.bbc.co.uk/...
          It's 26 minutes and a good listen.
          I find this whole thing in this rather controversial diary about "physcopaths" ranging from the guy who ran sunbeam:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/...
          To those that Theophrastus bumped into at the butchcers.

          I've met a few myself. They tend to limit their beeding capability when they meet-up with another physcopath. Now that I look back, I've met quite a few or is it part of the "human condition?"
          Cheers

          •  not uncommon (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ray Pensador

            It's like a decision that's made in childhood, that the most important person on earth just happens to be YOU.  And then if you're dumb you get a lot of bad experiences and grow bitter and if you're smart you play your cards well and you get ahead. So, it's part of the human condition for sure and in some instances they are not destructive to others, for two reasons, one that for some reason this give them no pleasure, (don't happen to be sadistic) and for another because it does not serve their ends. They would be capable of sadistic behaviors if that were the best way to serve an end.  

            They are CEO's and politicians, but more likely to be the 'brains' behind the front man, the one that pulls the strings and has the real power.  And it's serial killers who can't think of a better way to be 'dominant.'  

            Just say it: Medicare for All

            by anna shane on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 10:27:57 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  These types tend to be very incompetent (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yoduuuh do or do not

    When they have to stand on their own they usually falter..
    But they can be good at using charm and politics to avoid having to be accountable and taking credit for other peoples work.

  •  Interesting article on the same theme (2+ / 0-)

    here at Jesse's Cafe Americain.  From the blog:

    "A lot of white-collar criminals are psychopaths," says Bob Hare. "But they flourish because the characteristics that define the disorder are actually valued. When they get caught, what happens? A slap on the wrist, a six-month ban from trading, and don't give us the $100 million back. I've always looked at white-collar crime as being as bad or worse than some of the physically violent crimes that are committed."

    (My emphasis).  It's worth visiting the link to read the whole thing.

  •  Social Dominants is what many are (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador

    Read about them and the Authoritarians here:
    http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/...

    It's especially important to read the experiments they did with the Social Dominants, the Authoritarians, and the normal people. You will understand what you are dealing with better.

  •  The Psychopath Test (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador

    Hi, I new here and this is my first comment...

    This diary caught my eye because I had read Jon Ronson's book "The Psychopath Test" a few months back. I didn't see any mention of it in the comments so I thought I'd point it out.

    It's actually quite an enjoyable read for such a serious subject, unfolding more like a mystery than nonfiction. It's certainly not a reference on the subject but is very well researched. The research however, was not gleaned from reference books, it was from field research and extensive interviews with experts in the subject, including Bob Hare who devised the "test".

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