The Official Blog Of Edward Cline

Our Sociopathic Political Class


In
his March 10th FrontPage column, “Obama’s
Appeasement Leads to War
,” about how appeasing tyrants has and will
continue to lead to war and more international strife, Daniel Greenfield wrote:
On the shield of the Strategic
Air Command a steel mailed fist grips a lightning bolt and an olive branch. The
motto of the organization that was the nightmarish obsession of every Cold War
leftist was “Peace is our Profession.”
To the moviegoers who sat through
Dr. Strangelove, to the earnest leftists who saw the world going up in a puff
of atomic smoke because the military industrial complex was obsessed with
killing people, to the pseudo-idealists who passed on atomic secrets to Moscow
to avoid an American monopoly on the bomb, the SAC’s motto was a demented joke.
They knew that the only way to stop war was to disarm.
Coincidentally,
I watched “Dr. Strangelove:
Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
” the previous
evening on Netflix. The last time I saw it in its entirety was the year of its
release in1964, on Larson Air Force Base, 462nd Bomb Wing, in
Washington State. And I saw it under the most unusual circumstances.
I
was in the Air Police, charged with guarding the base and its B52 bombers, KC135
tankers, and U2 spy planes. Larson was also an ICBM base, but the silos had separate
security.  One evening, after a regular
8-hour shift on the flight line, I was one of about eight other air cops
selected to serve on a backup or reserve team. This meant that we could sack
out in the reserve team’s quarters, play cards, read a book, or indulge, as a
group, armed with our carbines and sidearms, in some other diversion.
On
my first night on the team it was decided to go to the base movie theater, to
which we were admitted free. “Dr. Strangelove” was playing. As we sat
in a back row behind the audience, the movie thoroughly confused me. My
colleagues thought it was hilarious, especially when the motto, “Peace is
Our Profession” was prominently juxtaposed with the noisy battle scenes
between Army troops and Air Force base policemen.
That
was my introduction to how the Left depicted the country and America. Director Stanley
Kubrick
, I learned later, was not so much a “leftist” as
disturbed, obsessed with madness and irony and what he perceived as the ignoble
baseness of man. But, that evening marked the beginning of an intellectual
journey to investigate and report on what was so wrong with the country that
its artists and novelists and filmmakers could so freely paint it in such
disparaging and malicious colors with impunity. Were these people sociopaths?
Or psychopaths? Was there a difference between the pathologies? Could an
ideology inculcate a destructive pathology in a person, or are the pathologically-inclined
inexorably drawn to a destructive ideology?
That
question arose again, with a different focus, when I read a comment
about Andrew Klavan’s March 5th review, “A New Thing on Netflix,”
of the second season of “House
of Cards
“:
Pa Deuce:  Fred Siegel has a new book out, “The
Revolt Against the Masses: How Liberalism Undermined the Middle Class
,”
that addresses this very problem. Elitists cannot express their elitism by
repeating the same old things, such as the Constitution of the United States of
America has produced the greatest nation on earth. In order to say something
different and look smart, elitists take a leftward slant on everything. But the
Left has an uninterrupted record of destruction and death. To cover the
discrepancy, the Left lies about how bad the USA is and how good the noble
Marxists are.

Siegel’s book tells what happens when the elitists are in charge. My take is
that the Left is driven by mental disorders and displays the attributes of
clinical psychopaths: irresponsibility, pathological lying, parasitic
lifestyle, grandiose sense of self-worth, etc. Dr. Robert Hare has written
extensively on psychopaths. Now we have a Marxist psychopath in the White House
and he is as inefficient, incompetent, and corrupt as the Soviet Union.
Why
are so many politicians sociopaths? I make the completely arbitrary distinction
between a sociopath and a psychopath in terms of action: A psychopath is more
likely to act out his obsessions and manias aggressively and destructively. Sociopaths
can be said to be passive-aggressive, acting out their obsessions and manias
vicariously by proxy through government force.
In
vain I searched the Internet for a good article on the pathology of politicians
(never mind of Hollywood directors and producers). I found a few, but while
they made some insightful observations, a religious element in their analyses
and conclusions spoiled them. For example, Patriot Post’s “Pathology of the Left” of
February 2006, penned by Mark Alexander, noted:
Recently, the American
Psychological Association published a study by a few “academicians” from
Cal-Berkeley and the University of Maryland. The study, entitled “Political
Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition,” purported to have identified some
determinants that are common to those holding a “conservative” worldview….
The authors received more than
1.2 million of your hard-earned tax dollars from the National Institutes of
Health and the National Science Foundation in order to, by their own account,
“consider evidence for and against the hypotheses that political conservatism is
significantly associated with (1) mental rigidity and closed-mindedness; (2)
lowered self-esteem; (3) fear, anger, and aggression; (4) pessimism, disgust,
and contempt; (5) loss prevention; (6) fear of death; (7) threat arising from
social and economic deprivation; and (8) threat to the stability of the social
system.”
Alexander
writes that these symptoms are more correctly observable and attributable to
liberals and left-wingers than to conservatives. In practice these symptoms
manifest themselves in obvious ways:
Liberals are uniformly defined by
their hypocrisy and dissociation from reality. For example, the wealthiest U.S.
senators – Democrats – fancy themselves as defenders of the poor and advocate
the redistribution of wealth, but they hoard enormous wealth for themselves and
have never missed a meal. They have always been far more dedicated to their
country clubs than our country.
Liberals speak of unity, but they
seed foment, appealing to the worst in human nature by dividing Americans into
dependent constituencies. What constitutes these liberal constituencies? They
support freedom of thought, unless your thoughts don’t comport with theirs.
They feign tolerance while practicing intolerance. They resist open discussion
and debate of their views, yet seek to silence dissenters. They insist that
they care more about protecting habitat than those who hunt and fish, and
protest for the preservation of natural order while advocating homosexuality.
They denounce capital punishment for the most heinous of criminals, while
ardently supporting the killing of the most innocent among us – children prior
to birth. [This last “symptom” is where I part with religious
conservatives.] They loathe individual responsibility, and advocate for
statism. They eschew private initiative and enterprise while promoting all
manner of government control and regulation.
Alexander
offers an answer for the behavior of politicians and even for many in the news
media:
Medically speaking, there is a
diagnosis for Leftist over-achievers like Bill Clinton, Albert Gore, John
Kerry, Barack Obama, et al. They are pathological case studies of Narcissistic
Personality Disorder, as outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of
Mental Disorders
– the standard reference used for psychiatric evaluation.
The diagnostic criteria for NPD
includes a “pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for
admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a
variety of contexts,” which manifests as “a grandiose sense of self-importance
(e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as
superior without commensurate achievements);” “a preoccupation with fantasies
of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love; and a belief
that he or she is ‘special’ and unique and can only be understood by, or should
associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions),” and the
subject “lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings
and needs of others…shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.”
It
was an admirable attempt in mental diagnosis, but the religious angle sinks it.
Two other sites, Activist
Teacher
and Fellowship
of the Mind
address the same issue but fail for the same reason. The second
site does include a chronological list of instances of political sociopathy in
and out of government, but it should be perused with reservations.
I
did find one (nameless) site
that broke down sociopathic and psychotic symptoms without interjecting
superfluous conclusions. Because liberal/left politicians and news media
personnel express their sociopathy publically but choose to have others do the
deeds they deign not to perform themselves (Hitler and Stalin, for example,
were sociopaths; the men who eagerly and without question carried out their
murderous orders were psychopaths), I think it would be fair to propose a test
to see if readers can identify one or more public figures in or out of
government who match these symptoms:
Glibness
and Superficial Charm
:
Barack Obama? Harry Reid? Nancy Pelosi? Hillary Clinton? Bill Clinton? Any TV
news anchor? Anyone else?
Manipulative
and Conning
: They never recognize the rights of others
and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be
charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as
merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.

Barack Obama? Harry Reid? Nancy Pelosi? Hillary Clinton? Bill Clinton? Any TV
news anchor? Jay Carney? Anyone else?
Grandiose
Sense of Self
: Feels entitled to certain things as
“their right.”
All of the above, in addition to careerists in the
welfare/dependency class?
Pathological
Lying
: Has no problem lying coolly and easily and
it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can
create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and
abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.

Democrats are progressively losing their credibility with the electorate, and I
don’t think anyone of them is shrewd enough to fool a lie detector test.
Knowing this, they would refuse to submit to one, which would be tantamount to
taking the Fifth.
Lack
of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
:
A deep seated rage, which is split off
and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them as people, but
only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and
accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they
let nothing stand in their way.
Obama’s book-length catalogue of lies?
Pelosi’s? Harry Reid’s?  Either of the
Clintons’? And etc.? Has anyone ever seen any one of them blush when caught in
a lie? No? Ever hear any one of them stammer in explanation? No? Well, maybe
Jay Carney, Obama’s newest press secretary and ventriloquist dummy. How many
politicians do you think really envy Frank Underwood, the chief villain of
“House of Cards,” without their having to abide by Constitutional
checks and balances, except when they can manipulate others and the rules to their
favor (and not have to commit homicides)?
Irresponsibility/Unreliability:
Not concerned about wrecking others’ lives and dreams. Oblivious or indifferent
to the devastation they cause. Does not accept blame themselves, but blames
others, even for acts they obviously committed.
You can begin with Obama, and
work down your own list of candidates. First on the reader’s list should be
Barack Obama for Obamacare, which is wrecking countless lives and promises to
wreck countless more. After all, you can’t “transform” a country
without breaking a lot of eggs, spirits, bank accounts – and even heads.
Lack
of Realistic Life Plan/Parasitic Lifestyle: Tends to move around a lot or makes
all encompassing promises for the future, poor work ethic but exploits others
effectively.
Remind
you of anyone in particular? Golfing pictures? Flying off to his “main
turf,” Hawaii? Expensive holidays in exotic and expensive locales? Of
course, except for Hawaii, these symptoms also are evident in “all of the
above,” as well. Remember that the chief motive of a career politician in
today’s political environment is to keep reality at bay by faking reality for
himself and for others. And when the faked reality begins to crumble like a dry
cookie, his congenital response is to add another layer of faked reality over
the crumbling one. He can always depend on the cognitively-arrested and the
habitually delusional to buy the new faked reality and not notice the crumbs at
his feet. And in today’s political environment (which arguably could extend
back to the early 20th century), a “realistic life plan”
is one contrived to be a professional parasite, most especially in politics.
Yes,
there is a distinction to be made between sociopathology and psychopathology.
There may even be gradations of functioning amalgams of the two pathologies
which could be explored. But, to return to the questions posed above: Could an
ideology inculcate a destructive pathology in a person, or are the pathologically-inclined
inexorably drawn to a destructive ideology?
I
hypothesize that they are mutually attracted to each other, and integrally codependent.
The concocters of a destructive ideology, such as Islam, Communism, Socialism,
and Nazism, count on the ideology attracting the pathologically-inclined in
large enough numbers to make it a viable prospect and over whom to wield power.
And the pathologically-inclined must have some rationalized ethic, no matter
how primitive or complex, that will sanction their basic selflessness and
vitriolic envy of those who are happy and ask only that they be left alone to
live their lives. The pathologically-inclined are drawn to a destructive
ideology because they need someone to tell them what to think and do. Their faked reality is the faked reality
of their leaders and icons.
Without
the pathologically-inclined, a sociopath’s ideology is simply a wish for the
unrealistic and unattainable; without a destructive ideology, the
pathologically-inclined become self-aware flotsam and jetsam in “a world
they never made.” Many of the latter are driven by their self-made inner
demons to become psychopaths.
Others
enter politics and become members of a sociopathic political class.
The
leitmotif and core essence of either pathology is a deeply buried and
unacknowledged glop of evil.

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5 Comments

  1. Slade Calhoun

    Sociopathology on the left. (Why do I see Nancy Pelosi's face as I type?) This is an interesting topic to pursue, Mr. Cline, and pursue it you did. Thank you, as always.

    (I suppose you have read Peikoff's "Modernism and Madness," and perhaps the book he cites in that essay. I consider it one of his most fascinating pieces, focusing on art rather than politics.)

  2. Edward Cline

    The only difference between the actions of sociopaths and psychopaths who are studied in clinics and mental institutions is scale. The really dangerous ones are not wearing straight jackets and are still at large in government and in a variety of advocacy organizations. I don't have a copy of Peikoff's "Modernism and Madness," but know of it and will try to find it.

  3. Edward Cline

    What I meant to say was: The only differences between the actions of sociopaths and psychopaths who are studied in clinics and mental institutions, and the ones discussed in this column, are scale and the contents of their delusions, fantasies, and agendas.

  4. Anonymous

    Mr. Cline,

    I completed your 3rd Novel of Suspense, Run From Judgment, and have posted my review:
    http://hermitsdoor.wordpress.com/2014/04/11/from-the-book-shelf-run-from-judgment-by-edward-cline/

    I think the book relates to this topic. Maybe the whole series of novels grew from your experience of watching Dr. Strangelove.

    Regarding, politicians and personality disorders, I agree with the rather bland definition of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, but would also add Hypomanic and Bipolar varients. This comes from 25 years of providing therapy on hospital behaviroal health units, five years in NYC and 10 in the D.C. area. I saw plenty of pathology from the political and business classes. I cannot give more details for confidentiality reasons, of course. (Would not want HIPPA chasing me about).

    However, few of those folks, unless they are in a manic state, get admitted to hospitals any longer, and no one uses straight jackes (unless chemical) these days. Treating the personality disorders in the community is more effective, and does not create so much trouble for those who needs hospital admissions (One Flew Over the Coockoo's Nest was really about personality disorders not psychosis, but the book is better written than the movie).

    Anyway, back to Run From Judgment, I would say that William Portman definately had a narcissistic streak, as did Corsair, Traxler, Dawn, and Fury. Though the difference is that the later understood and were able to conrol their impulses. Free-men and women do this. The others just wreak havoc on society.
    Oscar

  5. David Hayes

    Mr. Cline describes Stanley Kubrick, the director of "Dr. Strangelove," as "obsessed with madness and irony and what he perceived as the ignoble baseness of man." In that context, he tells of attending "Dr. Strangelove" in 1964, finding himself unable to enjoy or even understand what made others in the audience laugh, hearing those around him laughing at military pretense, within a comedy depicting destructive pathology. His fellow audience members were servicemen in the same American military whose leadership was being lampooned onscreen.

    My own experience in the audience of a Stanley Kubrick black comedy demonstrates that, years later, when Kubrick depicted irony within madness, a sophisticated Washington DC audience did not laugh when its ideology was imperiled by Kubrick's depicting pathologies within sacred cows. The movie was "Paths of Glory," and Kubrick's 1957 war comedy was being shown in 35mm a half-century after its release. Kubrick presents a general (played by George Macready — Rita Hayworth's monomaniacal husband in "Gilda") who orders soldiers into a lost battle to fight without hope. When his superiors question him, he insists that the discipline of the entire army depends on soldiers not questioning orders but instead submitting themselves for the country's victory, which achieves the collective good. When this general's commanding officer, a politically-savvy general mindful of growing civilian criticism (Adolphe Menjou plays this general), realizes that a potential scandal can be nipped were the lower-ranked general sacrificed in a public-relations-driven kangaroo-court trial, the lower-ranked general is trapped by the ideas he himself has espoused. He can't back out, he can't argue that the group doesn't have a right to dispose of him for a greater good, because he has advocated just such disposal of his soldiers for the same objective. His face at this point twists, his lips contorting when objection is futile. His snarl says: What Was Good for the Goose Sets Precedent for the Gander.

    I laughed aloud at this moment of a person ensnared by his own untenable convictions. The close-up on the actor, the pause in the pace of the film, the exaggerated gestures to emphasize the mad comic logic of this outcome, all support my contention that this moment was planned for elicit laughter. The rest of the audience — largely middle-aged and older, dressed and groomed like professionals, living in a region where federal government is the largest business — were quiet. They may have been too invested in a system where no one is held responsible for the undesirable consequences of his ideology, where mistakes are never paid for, and upper management always smooths away inquiries from outside.

    Mr. Cline writes that politicians are often sociopaths. It's probably reasonable to extend this description to many of those who make a career of working for them. The audience I was in were viewing instances of Manipulation and Conning, Grandiose Sense of Self, Irresponsibility, and Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt (all from the list Mr. Cline presents at the end of his blog piece), and had responded as though it were unreasonable that someone acting from those dispositions should suffer from something as intangible as an idea.

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