In The Psychology of Dictatorship: Kim Jong-Il we learn, as if most of us did not already know, that Jong, Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Mussolini showed the same big six combination of personality disorders: sadistic, antisocial, paranoid, narcissistic, schizoid, and scizotypal. Because of the The Goldwater Rule, speaking in terms of tighter science rather than some educated, but distant evaluations there is a lack of the kind of certainty you get with a chemistry experiment. This does not mean to me that they were all clinically insane. I know that it is common to describe such people as being sociopaths and that might well be the case. They bring up an interesting point in the evaluation of Jong and the other despots. Many people have varying degrees of those personality traits or disorders, yet they never become tyrants. or they might be something in between like a white supremacist who has a few followers, but never achieves much in the way of a mass following or accomplishing much on their agenda. Associated with the dictator phenomenon, but not addressed in the article is how what seem like monster managed to gather a following. I’m going to assume that most people have had some experience with people with various degrees of those personality traits. And that most people are repelled on a personal level. people such as George W. Bush, Bill O’Reilly, Michelle Bachmann, Ann Coulter, Sen. Mitch McConnell(R-Ky), Sarah Palin, Redstate’s Erick Erickson ( see the Hack List at Salon) are not in the same league as history’s worse tyrants, yet they all have a tendency to have some degree of those personality disorders judging from their public histories. It is also possible that rather than blame their behavior on some biological or organic issues, that given a choice between being enlightened reasonable adults ( or engaged in the life long struggle to be) they have signed for, subscribe to, believe in hatefulness, viciousness, irrationality, callousness, that unjustified beliefs outweigh justified ones, that loathsome and treacherous behavior has its appeal. In turn they have followers, fans or sycophants or whatever. Again these brand names and the vast majority of their associates have not reached the same unhinged level as the tyrants in the SciAm article. The article also mentions some tyrants can have times when they have their charms – as Carl Jung found with Mussolini . So neither the worse of the tyrants or the mid-level authoritarians we have in the U.S. are non-functional. They’re not horror thriller sociopaths utterly out of touch with reality. Their choices are conscious ones. Their organic personalities may lend themselves to lean a certain way, but they have made deliberative value judgements. Maybe its just me, but I find that more disturbing than the – they’re insane – point of view. If its a deep medical issue that is much easier to deal with in terms of moral comprehension. If they have choices and choose terrible or one of the points between bad and evil, you have people who see benefits in being somewhat bereft of morality.
update: the above was a rough draft of a post I ended up posting as is. I guess i could spin it as having one of my raw Neal Cassady days.
I wrote a previous post about the The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) (sections 1031 and 1032) saying it was the end of the 5th and 6th Amendments. In the interests of fairness there is a good faith argument that might not be the case – The Rest of What Levin Said on NDAA Provisions. Well written and I’m not saying that he is absolutely wrong. On the contrary, even if he is totally right about how he interprets the details, therein lies the problem. Why do some very bright people who have laudable ideological points of view read the NDAA as passed by the Senate and come away with different interpretations. The ACLU, the national security experts at Wired, two 4-star generals writing an opinion at the NYT and Constitutional law expert Jonathan Turley, among others have writeen that the NDAA does give the government the right to detain American citizens and legal immgrants without regard to the 5th and 6th Amenedments. So lots of people from across the poltical spectrum have already come to a kind of agreement – the langauge in the bill as written is not clear enough. Why couldn’t the Senate have included the langauge that Senator Diane Feinstein (D-Ca) wanted to insert into the bill,
An authorization to use military force, a declaration of war, or any similar authority shall not authorize the detention without charge or trial of a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States apprehended in the United States, unless an Act of Congress expressly authorizes such detention.
There are huge issues at stake and such a simple solution.
Drinking enough alcohol to become intoxicated increases aggression significantly in people who have one particular personality trait, according to new research.
But people without that trait don’t get any more aggressive when drunk than they would when they’re sober.
That trait is the ability to consider the future consequences of current actions.
This study might be a little funky since they asked people questions that some might find awkward to answer honestly. I know there are mean drunks. They can ruin things for everyone else who just want to relax. Even if we know the trait – how can you screen for it. usually mean drunks, aggressive drunks don’t admit that they are.
Joni Mitchell – Stormy Weather
Mop Mop – Three Times Bossa