Fri Jul 12, 2013, 11:20 AM
Cal33 (6,035 posts)
Some Dems. think that if the GOP were ended, all the political problems in our country would be
Last edited Fri Jul 12, 2013, 12:47 PM - Edit history (1)
solved. Believe me, they will be solved -- but only temporarily, then they will start again. Just take a look at history, there have always been ups followed by downs, again and again, right up to the present time. This is the way it has always been, at least, since the past 6,000 years of written history.
I think one of the main reasons is that between 2 and 4 percent of the general population is made up of people with "anti-social personality disorder" (or "sociopaths"). They are simply just there, just as some 5% of the general population is left-handed. They, too, are just there, and have always been there. The difference is that left-handed people don't harm others or commit more crimes any more than the right-handed ones. But sociopaths do.
People are usually attracted by and gravitate to those professions where their particular needs and desires can be more easily met and satisfied. This also applies to sociopaths, who simply love to acquire money and power in order to have control over the lives of others and use people as tools for their own benefit. They are ambitious, aggressive and will let nothing stand in their way to achieve what they are after. There are two well-known areas where money and power in huge amounts can be obtained:
A. Business executives: Corporations usually promote those employees who bring in the most profits. It also happens that those executives who are the most ruthless in their business dealings (and are smart enough not to get caught), are the ones who make the most profit for their companies. So, they have the best chances of being promoted. I'm willing to bet that the percentage of sociopaths among the higher business executives is considerably more than the 2% to 4% in the general population.
B. Politicians are well-known to speak from both sides of their mouths, and they do have power over others, even when they're supposed to be serving them. Most of them are fine people, but here again I'm also convinced that the sociopaths among them number more than the 2% to 4% found in the general community.
I am sure sociopaths are found in every profession, but the above two are probably the biggies. Naturally, prisons have the highest concentrations of them, since they are the ones who show the greatest disregard for the rights of others, and are also the ones who most frequently break the law.
Having a defective conscience, they don't feel badly about harming someone else. Lacking a sense of morality, they are not guided by it -- much like a two-year-old. The difference is that a two-year-old does not yet have any concept of morality, but a sociopath will hardly ever have an effective one. This is explained more in detail below.
A sociopath can learn that certain actions could land him in jail. He avoids them, not that he feels they are wrong, but because he doesn't want to be caught and punished. He is not capable of putting himself in someone else's shoes and see things from the other's point of view, but he can be made to do something out of fear. This explains why he so often uses the tactic of fear and intimidation to get what he wants -- these being the main things he, himself, responds to. By the same token, if he feels confident enough of being able to avoid being caught, he will continue any action -- even a criminal one -- as long as it serves his purposes. He feels no guilt or shame, neither pride nor honor. He may acquire an intellectual concept of the meaning of the words, but these, too, are used by him only for his own advantage.
Psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg, who died some 30 years ago, is the author of the present-day widely used theory of the development of morality in children, who pass through successive stages of moral growth:
Stage 1: small child. To him it's "right" when he does what he is told by authority figures, and anything is also the right thing to do if it can help him to avoid punishment.
Stage 5: the "Social Contract level" where the older child begins to understand the concept of individual rights, and follows laws as prescribed by the society in which he lives, and
Stage 6: the last and most advanced, where the adult individual is now being guided by his own conscience, which has developed according to universally accepted principles. An example of a Stage-6 universally accepted principle is "Reciprocity," which has become a part of the individual's conscience.
Reciprocity is aptly described in the biblical injunction, "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." Sociopaths have never reached this last stage, their moral development having been arrested at an earlier and more primitive one. Many have not reached Stage 5. And, not surprisingly, there are some rather bright and well-educated adults who have never developed beyond the small-child stage (Stage 1). These are the big galoots who enjoy taking orders from above, and enthusiastically march in lock-step when told to do so by their superiors. It's right when authority figures tell them so.
This could explain why they can exploit and abuse others without any sense of shame or remorse. They might not even understand what the fuss is all about when the offended party complains. However, they do object -- and very loudly -- when they, themselves, have been taken advantage of.
THE IMPORTANT POINT: They do not see any connection between their being abused by others, and their own abuse of others. This is one of the "defects" in their consciences. And I wonder if this could also be a cause for the radical and seemingly irreconcilable differences between the logic and reasoning of the sociopath and that of the non-sociopath. The very way they think and feel seems to be so different.
Intelligence does not play much of a role here. Sociopathy most likely developed as a combination of genetic inheritance plus environmental influences while growing up. So, can a sociopath really be blamed for being the way he is? I think not. But the fact remains that he can and does harm other people. And these other people also have the right to be protected from the sociopath's misdeeds.
Unlike those with neurotic disorders, people with personality disorders do not suffer from anxiety or inner discomfort of any kind. They don't feel that anything is wrong with their behavior or themselves, and so do not seek therapy voluntarily, although sometimes they are required by the court to have counseling with mental health professionals.
I've recently read that a lab test has been devised that can objectively detect sociopathy in people. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is used. When the average person is shown a movie of cruelty, brutality, torture...etc..., the center for unpleasant emotions in his brain becomes aroused. And because of the increased brain activity, more blood goes to that particular area. This shows up in the MRI as an enlargement of the arteries supplying more blood to that part of the brain. Since the sociopath feels little or no compassion for others in pain, his MRI shows no such change. And this identifies him. Or, if he is also a sadist and enjoys the cruelty shown, the "pleasure center " (which is in a different area of the brain) becomes aroused. This is also identifiable in the MRI.
Is it possible that this might lead to a compulsory testing of all future candidates for high positions, whether public or private? Hardly! Why not? They may be helpful, but they are not fool-proof. People can be taught how to beat these
tests. And there is also the question of the invasion of one's civil liberties.
The upshot of all this is that as long as there are too many sociopaths holding positions of power, there will always be
trouble of all varieties, shapes and sizes -- including world wars. And we have reached a stage of technology where another world war could spell the end of the human race. We simply can't afford to have another one.
I see some possibility in one area (of course, there are bound to be others around, too) where something could be done to improve the problem of sociopathy : Scientists have identified 4 or 5 genes in the genetic make-up of sociopaths. Perhaps some time in the future they will be able to manipulate the genes, so that all future babies will be born without this taint, and the curse of sociopathy will be erased from the face of the earth.
I see the present-day GOP as a degenerate form of the Old GOP, and both are the result of having sociopaths in
positions of power. The GOP is the effect, and the presence of SOCIOPATHY is the CAUSE. Bringing an end to the effect will leave only a temporary result. In order to have a permanent result we'll need to treat the cause.
Just look up "Sociopathy" or "The GOP and Sociopathy" in the Internet, and you will see hundreds of thousands of articles on the subject. I know the American Psychological Association and The American Psychiatric Association do not
make official political statements. But this question arises in my mind: "But do they have a limit? For example, even
when self-destruction is staring at us in the face?" Will they not speak out even then?
7 replies, 1497 views
Some Dems. think that if the GOP were ended, all the political problems in our country would be (Original post)
Response to Stargazer99 (Reply #1)
Sun Jul 14, 2013, 09:49 AM
Cal33 (6,035 posts)
7. Our nation is being ruled by too many of these sick people right now. If the meaning of all
the consequences of having sick people ruling us were to sink into more of us today, we would
be showing more interest and doing more to see to it that better quality politicians would get
elected. Only then will real change come about -- and even then, it will be a long and difficult
road before change will actually be here.
Response to ladjf (Reply #2)
Fri Jul 12, 2013, 01:00 PM
Cal33 (6,035 posts)
3. I described the situation according to the way I see it. It is also a call to people who are
in a position to do something to try it. You may see what I have written as giving up.
I see it as trying to do something in a very difficult situation.
Response to Cal33 (Reply #3)
Fri Jul 12, 2013, 04:55 PM
ladjf (15,914 posts)
4. I actually wasn't disagreeing with your thesis. It just sort of bummed me out to see it in print.
Response to ladjf (Reply #4)
Fri Jul 12, 2013, 05:43 PM
Cal33 (6,035 posts)
6. Okay. I think it's better to look at difficulties fully in the face. We'd stand a better chance
of dealing with them with more success. We humans have made great strides in
intelligence -- just look at science and technology. But that growth in intelligence
is not accompanied by a similar growth in wisdom. We are no wiser today than our
ancestors were centuries and millenia ago -- we still don't know how to deal with
our own most basic and primitive drives of aggression and greed, as shown by our
inability to avoid wars and mass killings. Maybe we could start to change by trying
to look at outside events and also within ourselves with as much objectivity as we
are capable of.