RUNNYMEDE GAZETTE -A Journal of the Democratic Resistance

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RUNNYMEDE GAZETTE


A Journal of the Democratic Resistance


 MAY 2016


EDITORIAL


AVENUE OR CUL-DE-SAC?

______________________________________


CONTENTS


5 YEARS ON: WHY THE OCCUPATIONS OF 2011 CHANGED THE WORLD

Paolo Gerbaudo; Roar and Occupy.com; via Critical Thinking


THE ANGER OF THE UNPRIVILEGED IS RISING GLOBALLY

Charles Hugh Smith; Max Keiser; via Critical Thinking


POLITICS AND PSYCHOPATHY

Neil Lock; Libertarian Alliance Blog


NON-CONFORMITY AND ANTI-AUTHORITARIANISM NOW CONSIDERED AN ILLNESS: 'OPPOSITION DEFIANT DISORDER'

Carolanne Wright; Humans are Free; via Victims Unite


THIS IS WHAT GOVERNMENT SPONSORED MASS SURVEILLANCE IS DOING TO YOUR MIND

Alex Pietrowski;Waking Times; via Activist Post


WETIKO; HEALING THE MADNESS WITHIN

Kosmos Journal Newsletter   


THE MAN WHO GOT REVENGE ON COLD CALLING MENACE

AOL Money UK; Sarah Coles; via Richard Colborne


WHO CONTROLS THE CENTRAL BANKS? MARK CARNEY, GOVERNOR OF THE … “BANK OF GOLDMAN SACHS”

Prof Michel Chossudovsky; Global Research


REVENGE OF THE VIKINGS — ICELAND WILL CREATE ITS OWN MONEY

CS Globe; via Michael Morton


A NEW DIGITAL CASH SYSTEM WAS JUST UNVEILED AT A SECRET MEETING FOR BANKERS IN NEW YORK

Michael Snyder; Activist Post

BANK OF NORTH DAKOTA SOARS DESPITE OIL BUST: A BLUEPRINT FOR CALIFORNIA?

Ellen Brown; Web of Debt; Huffpost Business


____________________________________________________________________________


EDITORIAL


AVENUE OR CUL-DE-SAC?


        Imagine a great maze, but unlike Hampton Court this one is filled with mirrors not hedges. Many people can be seen preening themselves; sometimes trying on different garments to see how they might look in this or that, or trying any number of quack remedies in order to cure this or that distortion.

        That is the nature of politics. Nothing seems to go in the declared direction; every journey seems to end at a point far removed from the intended destination; most words end up meaning the opposite; most journeys seem endlessly circular; and there is no escape.

       Conservative politics … in the 'small c' sense of the word … is always about what is; radical politics … again with a small and very generalised 'r' … is always about what might be, or perhaps ought to be. So the latter, being necessarily predicated on the hypothetical, will always be severely handicapped in its journey through the maze. Moreover, proximity to any desired destination is always measurable as the inverse of the number of chickens counted.

        In assessing the impact of Occupy Paolo Gerbaudo counts some chickens. With the usual radical taste for complexity and obscurity, a number of what common sense might present as the more obvious lessons, are discounted or ignored.

        Occupy was almost entirely based in capital cities. In smaller cities and towns it was never any more than an occasional brief flicker. That should tell us much about its real level of support on the one hand and the depth of its organisation on the other.

        It is easy to fall deeply in love with one's own ideas … where the idea becomes perceived as too perfect to be exposed to the corrosion of popular knowledge and consent. Then there is no need to slum it by actually presenting it to the Hoi Poloi. Besides, that takes a lot of time and effort, not to mention boot-leather. So a mandate is claimed which has neither been requested nor granted. We, Occupy, speak on behalf of the 99%. That 'we' are probably actually far less than 0.01% and that 'we' have never condescended to knock on a single door of the 99% Great Unwashed becomes immaterial.

        Occupy never had any organisation. It was almost a Flower Power Mark II ... a shapeless, political blancmange. Yes, an 'incubator' effect is possible, but like Flower Power Mark I (where the Hoi Poloi were almost universally derided as 'straights')… and speaking as one who was there and saw this … it is as likely that the participants will follow their forebears, cut their hair and become corporate sales executives.

         At least Flower Power Mark I  took a decade to fall apart. In this age of instant gratification and millisecond attention spans a few months are often sufficient. An instant result is demanded or people drift away and do something else. The notion that parking a few hundred tents in a city square would topple a complex, long established   and deeply entrenched power matrix was always beyond preposterous.

          It is all simpler than Gerbaudo avers. Yes, (apropos of the Charles Hugh Smith item) there is much anger around. But we are involved in a millennial war with a corporate hydra of immense reach, resource, subtlety, experience and raw power. The conduct of that war will demand perseverance, co-operation , patience and sacrifice beyond the call of duty. It will also demand excellent organisation. This is a long, hard game, and not an arena for the whimsical or the disorganised.


Frank Taylor


5 YEARS ON: WHY THE OCCUPATIONS OF 2011 CHANGED THE WORLD


Paolo Gerbaudo; Roar and Occupy.com; via Critical Thinking


        What has become of the great promise of social change raised by the “movements of the squares” of 2011? What did those spectacular occupations of public squares, from Tahrir in Cairo to Puerta del Sol in Madrid and Syntagma in Athens leave behind? To what extent did they contribute to advancing the cause of the “99%” or of the “common and ordinary people” they purported to fight for?

        With protest movements, as with any other social and political phenomenon, there comes a time to take stock of what has happened — a time that is as important for evaluating the past as it is for planning future action. The latter appears to be particularly relevant in light of the rise of new movements, such as Nuit Debout in France, that can be seen as the continuation of the 2011 cycle.

        Five years since 2011, famously celebrated as the year of the protester in TIME Magazine, we are perhaps sufficiently distant from the heat of those events to draw up something akin to a balance sheet of the achievements and letdowns of that momentous wave of protest.

        The appraisal of the mobilizations of 2011 is, as it often happens with great historical events, a highly contentious topic. The movements of the squares have enthused in equal measure as they have disappointed; they have both under-delivered and over-delivered.

        For some people these protests seemed to have achieved nothing at all; for others, like the Greek activist Giorgios Giovannopoulos, they “completely changed the political landscape.” Some, including many nostalgic leftists, see them as just a distraction from serious politics,or a childish display of naivety; for others, the mobilizations have been a decisive turning point in contemporary politics.

        This great diversity in assessment stems from the different ways in which people have looked at these movements and their outcomes; different ideological positions led to different assessments. But they also derive from different understandings of what the outcomes of protest movements are supposed to be, the yardstick against which we can “measure” their results.

        As I will argue, the movements of the squares have not fulfilled their hyperbolic revolutionary promise of doing away with representative democracy and substituting it with autonomous institutions of grassroots self-management modelled after the protest camps. But they have been formidable public rituals that by reclaiming public space and involving the citizenry in public discussions about economic and political inequality have facilitated a profound cultural change in society towards more progressive ends. They have informed the creation of new campaigns, initiatives and organizations that are now starting to pose a serious challenge to neoliberal order.


A Flash in the Pan?


        The main reason for the widespread skepticism about the results of the 2011 protest wave derives from the rapid decline experienced by these movements after the climax of the occupations. The end of the square occupations — either due to police evictions or internal exhaustion — often left a sense of failure and hollowness behind, along with the remorse of having missed a huge opportunity to bring about social change.

        The fizzling out of the movements resulted in a collective “trauma” that took many several months to

get over. Many of the 130 protesters I interviewed for my book The Mask and the Flag related their disbelief at seeing how a movement that had risen so rapidly to such great heights could collapse so rapidly. At the height of the protest camps, activists had been at the forefront of a massive popular movement that was promising to radically change society; but soon after the camps were evicted or abandoned they often felt they were all by themselves again — the crowd that had gathered around them suddenly having evaporated.

        Stopping our assessment at this initial disappointment would be wrong, however. Great historical upheavals are known to produce disillusionment in their immediate aftermath. So great are the hopes they inspire that they cannot possibly fulfil them entirely. The French Revolution led to the Reign of Terror and the dictatorship of Napoleon. The enthusiasm conjured up by the May 1968 protests evaporated after the victory of the Gaullist party in the June parliamentary elections. Yet nobody could deny that these and similar events profoundly changed the course of history. The same applies to 2011.

        The year 2011 did not deliver on the revolutionary hopes harboured by its more militant supporters. Its occupations did not become the embryos of an anarchistic society of self-managed communities, as some of its participants had hoped. However, the protest movement has had profound consequences on contemporary politics in less perceptible and less radical but not less important ways.

        For a start, the occupations have re-politicized society and galvanized social movements and left politics. Furthermore, they have generated a profound cultural transformation, as seen in the growing public attention to the question of economic inequality and the crisis of democracy. Finally, they have acted as “incubators” that have contributed to the rise of anti-establishment formations and candidates, including Syriza in Greece, Podemos in Spain, Jeremy Corbyn in the U.K., and Bernie Sanders in the U.S. These cultural and political changes would have been unfathomable had it not been for the 2011 protest wave. Far from being a flash in the pan, 2011 has been a watershed year; one which despite its many failures and shortcomings has inaugurated a new wave of progressive politics that is changing the world.


Goodbye Apathy


        The most important outcome of the 2011 protest wave has been the change in culture and social psychology. This year of protests and revolutions has been instrumental in overcoming the deep-rooted political apathy that has been the natural accompaniment of the neoliberal injunction that “there is no alternative” (TINA), with its implication about the futility of politics and resulting political apathy.

        One of the recurring gripes among activists in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis was how despite overwhelming evidence on the failure of financial capitalism and the all-too-real effects on the everyday life of the majority of the population, most people would not take action. The protests of 2011 provided a powerful remedy to this widespread sense of of disempowerment. The huge demonstrations and occupations have concretely demonstrated that mass political action is making a comeback in present times, and can still have huge political consequences, as most clearly seen in the fall of Arab dictators.

        As a result, 2011 has been the year that “fear has changed sides,” to use an expression adopted by Spanish activists. It was the moment when protest movements shed the psychology of defeat — that obnoxious feeling that they were somehow on the wrong side of history — and have once again started going on the attack. The enthusiasm conjured by the square occupations has persuaded many that, far from living at the “end of history” as was infamously claimed by Francis Fukuyama, we are in fact witnessing a “rebirth of history,” to use Alain Badiou‘s expression. This new sense of enthusiasm and hope has been instrumental in activating large sections of the population that had previously been at the margins of politics. The movements have won over large sections of the millennial generation, one often characterized in the mainstream media as quintessentially apolitical — something that, as we have been learning in recent years, is far from the truth.

        The 2011 protests have also facilitated a profound change in terms of political discourse and in the set of assumptions held by the majority of the population. One of the clearest examples of this trend comes from the United States, a country in which discussion of economic inequality was marginal in mainstream politics for the past 30 years. Yet in the aftermath of Occupy, many politicians have tried to present themselves as champions of the “99%” — the ordinary people disenfranchised by the arrogance of the super-rich and the political establishment.

        The year 2011 has also redrawn the discursive battle-lines of contemporary conflict around the

opposition between citizens and the establishment, between common people and elites, and between the bottom and the top, thus linking economic and political inequality, impoverishment and disenfranchisement. This profound cultural change has opened the way for the rise of new anti-establishment candidates and formations that are now taking institutional politics by storm.


The Occupations as "Incubators"


        The greatest paradox behind the outcome of the movements of the squares is that their influence has been greatest precisely where one would have expected it the least: in the sphere of formal organizations and of institutional and party politics. The 2011 protest wave will forever be associated with the slogan “they don’t represent us” — a clear indictment of the present form of representative politics and the existing political class. Yet a large number of those who sustained and supported the movements of 2011 have come to see the radical engagement with existing institutions as a necessary means to obtain concrete political results on the many issues raised by these movements.

        The occupations thus acted as “incubators” providing the inspiration, the source of legitimacy and the personal networks for this new wave of radical institutional politics. To use Jodi Dean’s terms, some of the “crowds” gathered in 2011 have gone on to form political parties. From Greece and Spain to the U.K. and the U.S., the square occupations have been followed by a surprising surge of new left-wing formations and candidacies. The electoral surge of Syriza in Greece that eventually brought it to power was largely propelled by the strength of the aganaktismenoi movement. In Spain, Podemos managed at least initially to capture much of the energy of the movement of the squares and to appropriate some of its practices of direct democracy, through its local circles and forms of online deliberation.

        The connection with the indignados protests was even clearer in the municipalist platforms that took over the town halls of Barcelona and Madrid in 2015. In the U.K., the election of Jeremy Corbyn to Labour leader in the fall of 2015 and the impressive performance of Bernie Sanders in the US Democratic primaries also carry the signature of the Occupy wave. These political phenomena would have been unthinkable if not for the support of a generation of young activists who grew up politically in the occupied squares of 2011.

        Such an “institutional projection” of protest movements is certainly not a new phenomenon. Again and again throughout history, protest waves have been followed by the creation of new political parties and radical candidates proposing to give institutional representation to the grievances they raised. The rise of labor movements in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries led to the creation of the first Socialist and Communist parties. In some countries, starting in Germany, the protests of 1968 and the 1970s found a political outlet in the newly-formed Green parties.

        Of course, the movement-party relationship is notably one that has often been fraught with contradictions. It is therefore no surprise that similar problems are also emerging in the aftermath of the movements of the squares. The rise of Syriza initially attracted high hopes from many of the Syntagma protesters, only to soon lead to bitter disappointments after its capitulation to the foreign lenders in July 2015. Similarly, a number of decisions by Podemos and its leader Pablo Iglesias have been criticized for disregarding the democratic spirit of the 2011 protests and of imposing traditional top-down party structures.

        These and similar incidents have led many 2011 veterans, especially those of more anarchist or autonomist creed, to see in the electoral and institutional turn more of a betrayal than a continuation of the 2011 spirit. It is only right and necessary that protest movements criticize and challenge parties, also those who represent political views close to their own. At the same time, it is important to highlight that this electoral turn of contemporary radical politics is also a result of a collective realization, shared by many veterans of the 2011 protests, about the limits of the neo-anarchist refusal of formal organization and leadership, and the need to accompany necessarily fleeting protest movements with more lasting and structured forms of political organization.


The Beginning is Here


        Given the breadth and depth of the results produced by the 2011 movements, it can be said that we are now living in a post-2011 world; a world for which 2011 acts as sort of “year zero” — a moment of foundation for a “new politics” that fulfils the promise contained within the caption of a famous Occupy poster proclaiming “the beginning is near.” Far from being a flash in the pan, 2011 has inaugurated a new

wave of progressive politics that is changing the world.

        It is true that these movements have ultimately not delivered on many of their stated revolutionary aims of doing away with representative democracy and constituting self-managed political communities. However, this protest wave has fulfilled the two important political goals of breaking with the widespread sense of political apathy and disempowerment, and acting as “incubators” for the establishment of new political organizations that, in alliance with the movements, may give the fight for substantive equality and real democracy a more sustained and structured form.

        For those who have participated in these movements, supported them and believed in them, the task ahead is to build on these foundations by developing new initiatives and campaigns and waging new conflicts that may fulfill the hopes invoked by the protesters of 2011 — but also by periodically going back to the streets and occupying public squares in the knowledge that it is there that all radical politics has its necessary beginning.


THE ANGER OF THE UNPRIVILEGED IS RISING GLOBALLY


Charles Hugh Smith; Max Keiser; via Critical Thinking


        The righteous disgust with the status quo that spawned the broad-based campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump is not unique to the U.S.Globally, those disenfranchised by the status quo–the unprivileged, or in Peggy Noonan’s phrase, the unprotected– are starting to express their discontent in the streets, in social media and in elections.

        Why are people around the world angry? It’s obvious to everyone in the unprivileged classes and a mystery to the “we’re doing just fine here, what’s your problem?” privileged classes: The system is rigged to benefit the protected few and marginalize the unprotected many. The problems are not just political; they are structural. As I outline in my new book, Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform, there are two structural engines of disorder at the heart of the system:


1. Automation, software and the forces of globalization are disrupting jobs and wages everywhere.

2. Centralized hierarchies and the forces of financialization have extended the power of privilege globally so the few are benefiting at the expense of the many, as revealed in this chart of global wealth:


        The growing concentration of wealth and power in the privileged elites is evidenced by the fact that 8% of the world’s populace owns 85% of its wealth. What is driving this increasing concentration of wealth and power? In a word: Privilege.

        To understand rising wealth/income disparity and the increasing concentration of wealth, we must first understand the dual nature of privilege. Just as power comes in two flavours–hard power (military power) and soft power (exporting cultural wares and values)–so does privilege.

        Hard-wired privileges are those that grant the holder of an office or position in the hierarchy specific rights to accumulate income, wealth and political power that are not available to the unprivileged. Officials in corrupt countries gain the right to collect fees from citizens as a direct result of their official position. Financiers in the U.S. have access to unlimited credit at low rates (free money for financiers) as a direct result of their position atop the financial pyramid.

        Field-effect (“soft”) privileges are defined by class and access rather than by the hard-wired authority of office or position in a formal hierarchy. Field-effect privileges include: enhanced access to Ivy League higher education granted to children of alumni and major donors; membership in exclusive clubs; access to “old boy” networks of alumni and partners, and so on.

        Field-effect (“soft”) privileges are one primary reason why the income of the top 20% has risen from 40% of total U.S. income to 51% in the past two decades. In a rapidly financializing, globalized economy, those with access to higher education, class connections and abundant credit have built-in advantages over those without all three advantages, which are self-reinforcing. (I use the term field-effect to suggest that these privileges act like electrical fields, affecting all within their range, often without the privileged even being aware of their privileges. Hence the upper-middle penchant for overlooking all their class advantages and attributing their success to hard work. Well, yes, but that’s not the entire story: we must also measure the often-subtle benefits of field-effect privileges.)

        Over time, these privileges accrue substantial income and wealth: the 10% difference between 40% and 50% of total household income is $1.4 trillion per year. In the past decade, that means the top

20% has gained about $12 trillion more in income than it would have if its share of total household income had remained at 40%.

        Having an Ivy League (or equivalent top-tier public university) diploma is a plus, but it doesn’t provide a wealth of self-reinforcing privileges unless it is combined with upper-class connections and networks and easy access to credit (to scoop up productive assets on the cheap). Together, these field-effect privileges create synergies that concentrate wealth and power. Interestingly, privilege serves the same purpose–benefiting the few at the expense of the many–regardless of the system’s ideological labels. Socialist, Communist and free-market elites loot their populaces and national wealth with equal gusto. Those who came to do good and stayed to do well first accumulate privileges, which they then leverage into wealth and power.

        The grievances of Chinese workers robbed of their wages, Greek small-business owners burdened by ever-rising taxes, downsized corporate warriors in the U.S., etc. may appear to be different, but beneath the surface these grievances all arise from one source: unearned privileges that benefit the few at the expense of the many.

       The only way to eliminate social and economic injustice is to eliminate privilege, which is the heart of my book A Radically Beneficial World.


Read more at http://www.maxkeiser.com/2016/05/the-anger-of-the-unprivileged-is-rising-globally/#kxwJv2VISOYWBVDT.99


POLITICS AND PSYCHOPATHY


Neil Lock; Libertarian Alliance Blog


(Some might also say that the following applies to many business leaders -Ed)


Abstract


        A meme, which has drawn itself to my attention recently, is that politicians – or many of them, at least – have psychopathic tendencies.

        In this essay, I’ll seek to make a case that there’s more than a grain of truth in this idea. And that not only do psychopaths seek power, but today’s political systems, including democracy, give them an advantage over non-psychopaths in terms of getting power. With negative consequences for us all. To ameliorate this problem, I’ll suggest a test, based on the work of psychologist Robert D. Hare, to screen for psychopathic tendencies among those in or seeking positions of power, and politicians in particular.


The idea


        The word “psychopath,” dating from 1885, means: “a mentally ill or unstable person; especially a person affected with antisocial personality disorder.” It’s estimated that around 1 per cent of the population are psychopaths [1]; though it isn’t clear how accurate this estimate is.

        If you Google for “are politicians psychopaths?” you’ll find, among much else, a most interesting article from 2012 by James Silver in the Atlantic Magazine [2], entitled: “The Startling Accuracy of Referring to Politicians as ‘Psychopaths.’” I’ve seen this idea again in several essays recently; at the moment, I seem to catch a reference to it every week or so. It seems that English neurophysiologist Paul Broks planted this meme back in 2003, when he suggested that Tony Blair was a “plausible psychopath.” His accusation was, of course, rejected by the establishment; but the meme was in fertile soil.


Hare’s Psychopathy Checklist


        In the 1970s, Canadian psychologist Robert D. Hare (born 1934) developed the “Psychopathy Checklist” (PCL-R), which is the primary measuring instrument for the condition. It is used by psychiatrists today in their forensic work for courts of law. Besides PCL-R, there is a more recent, cut down Screening Version, PCL:SV. This can be used in, as Hare’s own website [3] puts it, “psychiatric evaluations, personnel selection, and community studies.” This is closer to my purposes than the context in which PCL-R is normally used. So I decided to use the PCL:SV list as the basis of my evaluations.

        I located the 1999 paper [4], co-authored by Hare himself, comparing PCL:SV with PCL-R, and concluding that it “is an effective short form of the PCL-R.” Table 2 in that paper lists the 12 items in PCL:SV. They are divided into two groups, Part 1 and Part 2; reflecting an earlier division of PCL-R into Factor 1 and Factor 2. Factor 1 and Part 1 refer to “selfish, callous and remorseless use of others,” while Factor 2 and Part 2 refer to “chronically unstable and antisocial lifestyle.”


Here are the six items in Part 1 of the list. I’ve added a few words of explanation to each:

•Superficial (e.g. glib; having a surface charm).

•Grandiose (e.g. arrogant; think they are superior human beings).

•Deceitful (e.g. lying, insincere, selfish and manipulative, unscrupulous, dishonest).

•Lack of remorse (e.g. cold and calculating attitude to others; seeming to feel no guilt; lacking concern for the losses, pain, and suffering of victims).

•Lack of empathy (e.g. lacking sensitivity towards, or regard for, people in general).

•Doesn’t accept responsibility (e.g. evading responsibility or accountability).


And here are the six items in Part 2:

•Impulsive (e.g. foolhardy, rash, unpredictable, erratic and reckless).

•Poor behaviour controls (e.g. showing irritability, annoyance, impatience).

•Lacks goals (e.g. living a parasitic lifestyle; having no realistic, long-term goals).

•Irresponsible (e.g. untrustworthy; repeatedly failing to fulfil or honour obligations and commitments).

•Adolescent antisocial behaviour.

•Adult antisocial behaviour.


        There were also two items in PCL-R (promiscuous sexual behaviour, and many short-term marital relationships) which were not carried over into PCL:SV.

        As to the scoring system, the paper describes the PCL-R scoring thus. “Items… are rated on a 3-point scale (0 = item doesn’t apply, 1 = item applies somewhat, 2 = item definitely applies). The items are summed to yield total scores, ranging from 0 to 40, that reflect the degree to which an individual resembles the prototypical psychopath. A cutoff score of 30 or greater is used to diagnose psychopathy.” For PCL:SV, the scoring system is the same, except that the maximum possible score is 24 and the cutoff score is 18.


Assessing politicians


        I invite you, next, to consider politicians in general. I’m thinking not about specific individuals, but about an amalgam of characteristics that could represent “the typical politician.” I’ll call this representative of its species “Mr. Politico.”

        In assessing Mr. Politico, I’m going to look mainly at the six items in Hare’s Part 1. This isn’t to say, of course, that Mr. Politico is immune from other psychopathic tendencies. He can be reckless and erratic; for example, by supporting wars in places like Syria, first on one side, then a couple of years later on another. He can be irritable; who, of a certain age, will forget Khrushchev’s shoe? He is a parasite, living off taxation. He has a habit of making promises, then conveniently forgetting about them. It’s almost a cliché to say that he has no interest in anything beyond the next election. And he can be sexually promiscuous, as Christine Keeler and Monica Lewinsky, to name but two, might attest.

        But it’s on Part 1 that I’ll concentrate. For these are the items that measure selfish, callous and remorseless use of others – which, I think, well describes how today’s politicians treat us human beings.

Superficial

        Mr. Politico goes out of his way to be smooth, slick and charming. He takes great care over his appearance. He’s hardly ever at a loss for words; quite the opposite, in fact. And when he’s speaking, he often moves his hands about more than most people – a known characteristic of psychopaths.

Grandiose

        Mr. Politico wants power. He seeks positions in which he can order people around, and impose burdens on those he doesn’t like. He feels good about doing these things. And if he manages to get power, that will only reinforce his conviction that he’s a superior being to those he rules over.
Lack of empathy

        Empathy is “being sensitive to… the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another.” Knowing that we ourselves are human beings, and recognizing that others are individuals of our species too, leads us to a natural regard and respect for our fellow human beings. Although, of course, it can sometimes be difficult to feel such a regard across a cultural divide. Also, fellowship is a two way process; and thus, no-one can be expected to feel empathy for those, such as psychopaths, that show no empathy towards them. Mr. Politico doesn’t show any regard or empathy for us. Surely, he’s very clever at making it appear that he cares about people. But if we look hard at his behaviour, we don’t see much evidence of any fellow feeling towards us human beings. We might as well be objects, as far as he is concerned. He really doesn’t care what happens to us.

        Mr. Politico belongs to a political party; a gang with an ideology and agendas it wants to impose on people. And he usually toes the party line. He supports whatever policies the party hierarchy dictates. And he is willing to say and to do whatever it takes to get those policies imposed.

        Almost no political ideology extant today shows any concern at all for the human individual. With one exception – true liberalism, the philosophy of maximum freedom for every peaceful, honest human being who respects the equal rights of others – all ideologies put some or other Great Cause above us human beings. Communism and socialism, for example, put the collective above the individual; as does nationalism. Social “liberalism” allows a privileged political élite to force people, who manifestly are not equal in talents or in application, into the élite’s own conception of a state of “equality.” Conservatism, on the other hand, seeks to force people to behave according to the élite’s idea of social or religious mores. Fascism, in its modern variants such as health fascism and safety fascism, seeks control over our lives. The security state seeks to destroy our human rights like privacy and security of person. And deep green environmentalism seeks to destroy human civilization.

        Whatever his ideology, Mr. Politico shows no sympathy for the people whose lives he damages. Nor does he show any concern for the things we human beings really do need and want from governance: A peaceful world. An environment of truth and honesty. The rule of law and justice; objective, individual justice for all. Upholding of basic human rights and freedoms. No barriers to prosperity for those who earn it. And most of all, freedom to make our own choices. And when he rants about his Great Causes – for example, “sustainable development,” “national security,” “the interests of the UK” or “making America great again” – all that matters to him is the Cause. It doesn’t worry him that people’s lives will be (or already have been) harmed by the policies he and his kind make and support. It doesn’t concern him if his policies violate our basic human rights such as liberty, property or privacy. No; Mr. Politico isn’t on our side. He hates humanity; and he hates us individual human beings.

Deceitful

        That politicians lie is old news. Who can forget Blair’s lies about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction? And the reason politicians lie so much, we’re told, is because lying brings them, overall, more benefit than telling the truth [5]. Mr. Politico is a serial liar. Worse, he seems completely uninterested in the truth. For example, it doesn’t matter to him that the accusation that “human emissions of carbon dioxide cause catastrophic global warming” is without any objective scientific proof. He continues to support destructive policies based on this lie.

        But Mr. Politico isn’t just a liar. He likes to scaremonger and to manipulate people’s emotions. He likes to confuse and to obfuscate. And he has little or no sense of right and wrong; particularly when he has an opportunity to secure some selfish gain.

        Mr. Politico is also a hypocrite. For example, he supports policies to make us cut our energy use, and drive and fly less. Yet he himself isn’t willing to make any such sacrifices; he lives in a warm, brilliantly lit mansion, is driven around in limos, and flies all over the world. As another example, he sheds crocodile tears over “the poor,” and favours re-distributing wealth away from the honest, productive people who earn it, and towards the lazy, the dishonest and the feckless. Yet he isn’t willing to donate his own personal resources to the poor people he claims to care so much about.

Doesn’t accept responsibility

        Mr. Politico is, of course, always eager to take on the kind of “responsibility” that brings him more power. But he doesn’t own up or accept responsibility when things go wrong. When did you last see him hold his hand up and say, “Sorry guys, I got that one wrong?” When did he last pay compensation for the damage his policies caused to an innocent person?

        No; he will go all silent on the matter, or point the finger of blame at someone else. Or lie in an attempt to rationalize what he did, or bluster to try to convince people that he was right all along.

Lack of remorse

        Remorse is: “a gnawing distress arising from a sense of guilt for past wrongs.” Mr. Politico, as I’ve suggested above, is not just willing, but eager, to do things that harm the very people he is supposed to “represent.” By doing these things, he shows that he is cold hearted and uncaring, and often calculating too. But he almost never shows any sense of guilt about what he has done; nor does he show any distress because of it.


Assessing Mr. Politico
        Mr. Politico is, of course, not a real individual. He is a cardboard cut-out of a politician. But he scores somewhere between 6 and 12 on the items in Part 1 of Hare’s test. On the test as a whole, I’d estimate (being generous to him) that he scores between 10 and 16.

        Mr. Politico is, to a greater or lesser degree, deceitful, selfish, irresponsible, warlike, callous, and remorseless. He is, quite clearly, not the kind of individual that any peaceful, honest human being would ever want to associate with; let alone vote for. In a decently run, apolitical society, he would be shown the gates and given his marching orders in no uncertain terms. And yet, in today’s politics, he’s the norm rather than the exception.

        For something to compare him against, I located a graph of the distribution of PCL:SV scores in a reasonably representative sample of the general population. This is Figure 1 in a 2008 paper [6], in which Hare was again a co-author. 36 per cent of the sample scored zero on the test, and 50 per cent scored zero or 1. Only 8 per cent of the sample scored 10 (my lower bound for Mr. Politico’s score) or more. And a score of 13, which in that paper is considered the cutoff for “potential psychopathy,” was reached by just 1.2 per cent of the sample. This suggests that Mr. Politico has stronger symptoms of psychopathy than more than 90 per cent of people. He is a near psychopath, even if he isn’t actually one in the formal sense.

        Now consider. If so called “democracy” means anything at all, if government really is for the benefit of the governed, then how can psychopaths or potential psychopaths possibly be allowed political power? If government really is supposed to “protect” us from ills, then shouldn’t one of its very first responsibilities be to protect us from psychopaths that want power over us?


Why power attracts psychopaths


        It’s easy to see why psychopaths are drawn to political power. It enables them to live out their grandiose delusions of superiority over others.

        Indeed, the political state, based on ideas put forward by Jean Bodin in the 16th century, could almost have been designed as a breeding ground for psychopaths. For such a state has at its head a sovereign (be it an individual or an organization), which has supreme power over everyone and everything else in its territory. Among much else, it has a right to make wars, to levy taxes on its “subject” people, and to make laws to bind them. Furthermore, it isn’t bound by the laws it makes, and it ultimately doesn’t have any responsibility for the consequences of what it does.

        Give a psychopath control or even partial control of a state, give him sufficient political power, and he can live out his psychopathic fantasies to the full. He can start wars. He can behave towards us “little people” with the full force of the disdain he feels for us. He can plunder us, and tax us all but out of existence. He can set agendas and policies, and make bad laws that actively harm us and violate our rights. And, as likely as not, he will get away with his crimes. And when the worst psychopaths get power, the results can include the murder of millions, or even genocide; as the examples of Mao, Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot have taught us.


Why politics selects for psychopaths


        It works the other way around, too. For today’s political systems are very well suited to bringing psychopaths to power. Where power can be obtained by military force, for example, then all else being equal, psychopaths are likely to win out over their rivals. For callousness, deceit and remorselessness are very effective in war. And where an evil dictator grooms his successor, it’s not likely that the successor will be much, if any, less psychopathic than his predecessor. But the circus called “democracy,” too, selects in favour of psychopaths. For, first, a system that requires aspiring candidates to persuade tens of thousands of people (or more) to vote for them gives a great advantage to those with the psychopathic traits of glibness and superficial charm.
Lack of empathy

        Empathy is “being sensitive to… the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another.” Knowing that we ourselves are human beings, and recognizing that others are individuals of our species too, leads us to a natural regard and respect for our fellow human beings. Although, of course, it can sometimes be difficult to feel such a regard across a cultural divide. Also, fellowship is a two way process; and thus, no-one can be expected to feel empathy for those, such as psychopaths, that show no empathy towards them. Mr. Politico doesn’t show any regard or empathy for us. Surely, he’s very clever at making it appear that he cares about people. But if we look hard at his behaviour, we don’t see much evidence of any fellow feeling towards us human beings. We might as well be objects, as far as he is concerned. He really doesn’t care what happens to us.

        Mr. Politico belongs to a political party; a gang with an ideology and agendas it wants to impose on people. And he usually toes the party line. He supports whatever policies the party hierarchy dictates. And he is willing to say and to do whatever it takes to get those policies imposed.

        Almost no political ideology extant today shows any concern at all for the human individual. With one exception – true liberalism, the philosophy of maximum freedom for every peaceful, honest human being who respects the equal rights of others – all ideologies put some or other Great Cause above us human beings. Communism and socialism, for example, put the collective above the individual; as does nationalism. Social “liberalism” allows a privileged political élite to force people, who manifestly are not equal in talents or in application, into the élite’s own conception of a state of “equality.” Conservatism, on the other hand, seeks to force people to behave according to the élite’s idea of social or religious mores. Fascism, in its modern variants such as health fascism and safety fascism, seeks control over our lives. The security state seeks to destroy our human rights like privacy and security of person. And deep green environmentalism seeks to destroy human civilization.

        Whatever his ideology, Mr. Politico shows no sympathy for the people whose lives he damages. Nor does he show any concern for the things we human beings really do need and want from governance: A peaceful world. An environment of truth and honesty. The rule of law and justice; objective, individual justice for all. Upholding of basic human rights and freedoms. No barriers to prosperity for those who earn it. And most of all, freedom to make our own choices. And when he rants about his Great Causes – for example, “sustainable development,” “national security,” “the interests of the UK” or “making America great again” – all that matters to him is the Cause. It doesn’t worry him that people’s lives will be (or already have been) harmed by the policies he and his kind make and support. It doesn’t concern him if his policies violate our basic human rights such as liberty, property or privacy. No; Mr. Politico isn’t on our side. He hates humanity; and he hates us individual human beings.

Deceitful

        That politicians lie is old news. Who can forget Blair’s lies about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction? And the reason politicians lie so much, we’re told, is because lying brings them, overall, more benefit than telling the truth [5]. Mr. Politico is a serial liar. Worse, he seems completely uninterested in the truth. For example, it doesn’t matter to him that the accusation that “human emissions of carbon dioxide cause catastrophic global warming” is without any objective scientific proof. He continues to support destructive policies based on this lie.

        But Mr. Politico isn’t just a liar. He likes to scaremonger and to manipulate people’s emotions. He likes to confuse and to obfuscate. And he has little or no sense of right and wrong; particularly when he has an opportunity to secure some selfish gain.

        Mr. Politico is also a hypocrite. For example, he supports policies to make us cut our energy use, and drive and fly less. Yet he himself isn’t willing to make any such sacrifices; he lives in a warm, brilliantly lit mansion, is driven around in limos, and flies all over the world. As another example, he sheds crocodile tears over “the poor,” and favours re-distributing wealth away from the honest, productive people who earn it, and towards the lazy, the dishonest and the feckless. Yet he isn’t willing to donate his own personal resources to the poor people he claims to care so much about.

Doesn’t accept responsibility

        Mr. Politico is, of course, always eager to take on the kind of “responsibility” that brings him more power. But he doesn’t own up or accept responsibility when things go wrong. When did you last see him hold his hand up and say, “Sorry guys, I got that one wrong?” When did he last pay compensation for the damage his policies caused to an innocent person?

        No; he will go all silent on the matter, or point the finger of blame at someone else. Or lie in an attempt to rationalize what he did, or bluster to try to convince people that he was right all along.

Lack of remorse

        Remorse is: “a gnawing distress arising from a sense of guilt for past wrongs.” Mr. Politico, as I’ve suggested above, is not just willing, but eager, to do things that harm the very people he is supposed to “represent.” By doing these things, he shows that he is cold hearted and uncaring, and often calculating too. But he almost never shows any sense of guilt about what he has done; nor does he show any distress because of it.


Assessing Mr. Politico


        Mr. Politico is, of course, not a real individual. He is a cardboard cut-out of a politician. But he scores somewhere between 6 and 12 on the items in Part 1 of Hare’s test. On the test as a whole, I’d estimate (being generous to him) that he scores between 10 and 16.

        Mr. Politico is, to a greater or lesser degree, deceitful, selfish, irresponsible, warlike, callous, and remorseless. He is, quite clearly, not the kind of individual that any peaceful, honest human being would ever want to associate with; let alone vote for. In a decently run, apolitical society, he would be shown the gates and given his marching orders in no uncertain terms. And yet, in today’s politics, he’s the norm rather than the exception.

        For something to compare him against, I located a graph of the distribution of PCL:SV scores in a reasonably representative sample of the general population. This is Figure 1 in a 2008 paper [6], in which Hare was again a co-author. 36 per cent of the sample scored zero on the test, and 50 per cent scored zero or 1. Only 8 per cent of the sample scored 10 (my lower bound for Mr. Politico’s score) or more. And a score of 13, which in that paper is considered the cutoff for “potential psychopathy,” was reached by just 1.2 per cent of the sample. This suggests that Mr. Politico has stronger symptoms of psychopathy than more than 90 per cent of people. He is a near psychopath, even if he isn’t actually one in the formal sense.

        Now consider. If so called “democracy” means anything at all, if government really is for the benefit of the governed, then how can psychopaths or potential psychopaths possibly be allowed political power? If government really is supposed to “protect” us from ills, then shouldn’t one of its very first responsibilities be to protect us from psychopaths that want power over us?


Why power attracts psychopaths


        It’s easy to see why psychopaths are drawn to political power. It enables them to live out their grandiose delusions of superiority over others.

        Indeed, the political state, based on ideas put forward by Jean Bodin in the 16th century, could almost have been designed as a breeding ground for psychopaths. For such a state has at its head a sovereign (be it an individual or an organization), which has supreme power over everyone and everything else in its territory. Among much else, it has a right to make wars, to levy taxes on its “subject” people, and to make laws to bind them. Furthermore, it isn’t bound by the laws it makes, and it ultimately doesn’t have any responsibility for the consequences of what it does.

        Give a psychopath control or even partial control of a state, give him sufficient political power, and he can live out his psychopathic fantasies to the full. He can start wars. He can behave towards us “little people” with the full force of the disdain he feels for us. He can plunder us, and tax us all but out of existence. He can set agendas and policies, and make bad laws that actively harm us and violate our rights. And, as likely as not, he will get away with his crimes. And when the worst psychopaths get power, the results can include the murder of millions, or even genocide; as the examples of Mao, Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot have taught us.


Why politics selects for psychopaths


        It works the other way around, too. For today’s political systems are very well suited to bringing psychopaths to power. Where power can be obtained by military force, for example, then all else being equal, psychopaths are likely to win out over their rivals. For callousness, deceit and remorselessness are very effective in war. And where an evil dictator grooms his successor, it’s not likely that the successor will be much, if any, less psychopathic than his predecessor. But the circus called “democracy,” too, selects in favour of psychopaths. For, first, a system that requires aspiring candidates to persuade tens of thousands of people (or more) to vote for them gives a great advantage to those with the psychopathic traits of glibness and superficial charm.
Lack of empathy

        Empathy is “being sensitive to… the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another.” Knowing that we ourselves are human beings, and recognizing that others are individuals of our species too, leads us to a natural regard and respect for our fellow human beings. Although, of course, it can sometimes be difficult to feel such a regard across a cultural divide. Also, fellowship is a two way process; and thus, no-one can be expected to feel empathy for those, such as psychopaths, that show no empathy towards them. Mr. Politico doesn’t show any regard or empathy for us. Surely, he’s very clever at making it appear that he cares about people. But if we look hard at his behaviour, we don’t see much evidence of any fellow feeling towards us human beings. We might as well be objects, as far as he is concerned. He really doesn’t care what happens to us.

        Mr. Politico belongs to a political party; a gang with an ideology and agendas it wants to impose on people. And he usually toes the party line. He supports whatever policies the party hierarchy dictates. And he is willing to say and to do whatever it takes to get those policies imposed.

        Almost no political ideology extant today shows any concern at all for the human individual. With one exception – true liberalism, the philosophy of maximum freedom for every peaceful, honest human being who respects the equal rights of others – all ideologies put some or other Great Cause above us human beings. Communism and socialism, for example, put the collective above the individual; as does nationalism. Social “liberalism” allows a privileged political élite to force people, who manifestly are not equal in talents or in application, into the élite’s own conception of a state of “equality.” Conservatism, on the other hand, seeks to force people to behave according to the élite’s idea of social or religious mores. Fascism, in its modern variants such as health fascism and safety fascism, seeks control over our lives. The security state seeks to destroy our human rights like privacy and security of person. And deep green environmentalism seeks to destroy human civilization.

        Whatever his ideology, Mr. Politico shows no sympathy for the people whose lives he damages. Nor does he show any concern for the things we human beings really do need and want from governance: A peaceful world. An environment of truth and honesty. The rule of law and justice; objective, individual justice for all. Upholding of basic human rights and freedoms. No barriers to prosperity for those who earn it. And most of all, freedom to make our own choices. And when he rants about his Great Causes – for example, “sustainable development,” “national security,” “the interests of the UK” or “making America great again” – all that matters to him is the Cause. It doesn’t worry him that people’s lives will be (or already have been) harmed by the policies he and his kind make and support. It doesn’t concern him if his policies violate our basic human rights such as liberty, property or privacy. No; Mr. Politico isn’t on our side. He hates humanity; and he hates us individual human beings.

Deceitful

        That politicians lie is old news. Who can forget Blair’s lies about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction? And the reason politicians lie so much, we’re told, is because lying brings them, overall, more benefit than telling the truth [5]. Mr. Politico is a serial liar. Worse, he seems completely uninterested in the truth. For example, it doesn’t matter to him that the accusation that “human emissions of carbon dioxide cause catastrophic global warming” is without any objective scientific proof. He continues to support destructive policies based on this lie.

        But Mr. Politico isn’t just a liar. He likes to scaremonger and to manipulate people’s emotions. He likes to confuse and to obfuscate. And he has little or no sense of right and wrong; particularly when he has an opportunity to secure some selfish gain.

        Mr. Politico is also a hypocrite. For example, he supports policies to make us cut our energy use, and drive and fly less. Yet he himself isn’t willing to make any such sacrifices; he lives in a warm, brilliantly lit mansion, is driven around in limos, and flies all over the world. As another example, he sheds crocodile tears over “the poor,” and favours re-distributing wealth away from the honest, productive people who earn it, and towards the lazy, the dishonest and the feckless. Yet he isn’t willing to donate his own personal resources to the poor people he claims to care so much about.

Doesn’t accept responsibility

        Mr. Politico is, of course, always eager to take on the kind of “responsibility” that brings him more power. But he doesn’t own up or accept responsibility when things go wrong. When did you last see him hold his hand up and say, “Sorry guys, I got that one wrong?” When did he last pay compensation for the damage his policies caused to an innocent person?

        No; he will go all silent on the matter, or point the finger of blame at someone else. Or lie in an attempt to rationalize what he did, or bluster to try to convince people that he was right all along.

Lack of remorse

        Remorse is: “a gnawing distress arising from a sense of guilt for past wrongs.” Mr. Politico, as I’ve suggested above, is not just willing, but eager, to do things that harm the very people he is supposed to “represent.” By doing these things, he shows that he is cold hearted and uncaring, and often calculating too. But he almost never shows any sense of guilt about what he has done; nor does he show any distress because of it.


Assessing Mr. Politico


        Mr. Politico is, of course, not a real individual. He is a cardboard cut-out of a politician. But he scores somewhere between 6 and 12 on the items in Part 1 of Hare’s test. On the test as a whole, I’d estimate (being generous to him) that he scores between 10 and 16.

        Mr. Politico is, to a greater or lesser degree, deceitful, selfish, irresponsible, warlike, callous, and remorseless. He is, quite clearly, not the kind of individual that any peaceful, honest human being would ever want to associate with; let alone vote for. In a decently run, apolitical society, he would be shown the gates and given his marching orders in no uncertain terms. And yet, in today’s politics, he’s the norm rather than the exception.

        For something to compare him against, I located a graph of the distribution of PCL:SV scores in a reasonably representative sample of the general population. This is Figure 1 in a 2008 paper [6], in which Hare was again a co-author. 36 per cent of the sample scored zero on the test, and 50 per cent scored zero or 1. Only 8 per cent of the sample scored 10 (my lower bound for Mr. Politico’s score) or more. And a score of 13, which in that paper is considered the cutoff for “potential psychopathy,” was reached by just 1.2 per cent of the sample. This suggests that Mr. Politico has stronger symptoms of psychopathy than more than 90 per cent of people. He is a near psychopath, even if he isn’t actually one in the formal sense.

        Now consider. If so called “democracy” means anything at all, if government really is for the benefit of the governed, then how can psychopaths or potential psychopaths possibly be allowed political power? If government really is supposed to “protect” us from ills, then shouldn’t one of its very first responsibilities be to protect us from psychopaths that want power over us?


Why power attracts psychopaths


        It’s easy to see why psychopaths are drawn to political power. It enables them to live out their grandiose delusions of superiority over others.

        Indeed, the political state, based on ideas put forward by Jean Bodin in the 16th century, could almost have been designed as a breeding ground for psychopaths. For such a state has at its head a sovereign (be it an individual or an organization), which has supreme power over everyone and everything else in its territory. Among much else, it has a right to make wars, to levy taxes on its “subject” people, and to make laws to bind them. Furthermore, it isn’t bound by the laws it makes, and it ultimately doesn’t have any responsibility for the consequences of what it does.

        Give a psychopath control or even partial control of a state, give him sufficient political power, and he can live out his psychopathic fantasies to the full. He can start wars. He can behave towards us “little people” with the full force of the disdain he feels for us. He can plunder us, and tax us all but out of existence. He can set agendas and policies, and make bad laws that actively harm us and violate

« Last Edit: May 31, 2016, 02:31:20 PM by the leveller »

 
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