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Fri May 25, 2012, 11:20 AM

 

Are leaders inherently psychopathic?

There is a tragic flaw in our precious Constitution, and I don't know what can be done to fix it. This is it: Only nut cases want to be president. --Kurt Vonnegut Jr

I've been thinking about the difference between managers and leaders. Managers manage, that is, they tell worker x to do activity y, and so on. This is not leadership but the ability to manage efficiencies.

However, the "leader" in human societies is an altogether different beast.

Half a league, half a league,
  Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
  Rode the six hundred.
'Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns' he said:
Into the valley of Death
  Rode the six hundred.
--Alfred, Lord Tennyson

The leader does not want to increase effiency, nor does a leader want to do the task at hand. The leader simply wants to lead, damned be the consequences.

This pops up all too often in society - and every self described "leader" I have met has been a complete psychopath.

"Leadership abilities" are constantly touted in Christian Circles, especially Evangelical ones. They want you, if you are to be a leader, to develop the ability to change minds with a command, force behavior with a thought and, in essence, be the top of a hive mind.

The Evangelical Leader is a good example. They are adept at the babble that makes up Evangelical Lexicon, and they use it to command the parishioners and scorn them when they disobey.

I have never met an Evangelical Leader who isn't in love with their own authority.

And I have never met an Evangelical Leader who wasn't themselves, a hypocritical mass of contradictions.

So I say "Eschew Leaders!" To me, this is the greatest accomplishment of the Occupy Protests. No leaders. Not even when celebrities came by to express their support, did the occupiers ask for them to lead.

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Response to Taverner (Original post)

Fri May 25, 2012, 11:31 AM

1. Sociopathic is more likely

but there is a need for sociopaths, where else would we find our sales people, lawyers and politicians?

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Response to Riftaxe (Reply #1)

Fri May 25, 2012, 11:56 AM

4. You beat me to that title

Sociopath is more accurate. Psychopath is more like a miswiring in the brain. Sociopathology is more of a cultural virus, a meme. But, I agree that it may be difficult to discern the difference. I like the research of Robert Altemeyer on the authoritarian personality. Former Nixon staffer John W. Dean wrote about this explicitly in reference to today's Republicans in his scathing exposť, Conservatives Without Conscience.

I think that what Dean has written here should be required reading for all who are fighting these battles against these Republicans. It is a very well researched book by an incredibly intelligent person.

Dean nails the sociopathy.

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Response to Taverner (Original post)

Fri May 25, 2012, 11:44 AM

2. Cicinnatus, that's the only kind of "leader" I can stand

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cincinnatus

The man wasn't perfect, but he understood well that a person that craves power simply for the authority it grants is not a person who should wield it.

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Response to Taverner (Original post)

Fri May 25, 2012, 11:44 AM

3. I can't agree with the broad brush characterization.

 

Some are in it for the power, some to enrich themselves and some for totally altruistic reasons.

The two former are common, the latter are few and far between.

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Response to DCKit (Reply #3)

Fri May 25, 2012, 11:56 AM

5. The ones who get into it for "...totally altruistic reasons" end up being the biggest addicts

 

That is, addicts of power.

Make no mistake, power is a drug, just as intoxicating as Heroin or Cocaine.

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Response to Taverner (Reply #5)

Fri May 25, 2012, 12:47 PM

9. I'm becoming convinced that greed is a drug as well.

People who are addicted to their wealth as much as they are power - and refuse to give it up. And they'll stomp over anyone and anything they can to get more because they're so fucking addicted - it's truly scary when you think about it.

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Response to Taverner (Original post)

Fri May 25, 2012, 12:07 PM

6. I don't see Obama as that type of leader

He is different.
He cares about all people.


I didn't see JFK /Carter like that - just my opinion

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Response to Taverner (Original post)

Fri May 25, 2012, 12:28 PM

7. no

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Response to Taverner (Original post)

Fri May 25, 2012, 12:45 PM

8. beyond silly. ridiculous. Was MLK a psychopath?

 

these endless truly stupid generalizations leave me gobsmacked.

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Response to cali (Reply #8)

Fri May 25, 2012, 02:12 PM

12. There are exceptions to every rule

 

But by and large, leaders tend to be sociopaths or psychopaths

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Response to Taverner (Reply #12)

Fri May 25, 2012, 02:23 PM

13. nonsense. this ignorant tossing around of the "psychopath" label is

 

absurd. Some people (make that most people) seem to need simplistic tidy little answers complete with labels.

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Response to cali (Reply #13)

Fri May 25, 2012, 03:52 PM

15. Well...we disagree

 

I still hold that leaders are not beneficial to humanity

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Response to Taverner (Original post)

Fri May 25, 2012, 12:50 PM

10. No, but psychopaths seek out leadership roles. nt

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Response to Taverner (Original post)

Fri May 25, 2012, 01:05 PM

11. Probably extreme narcissists at the very least

 

to the detriment of all other factors.

/not all politicians though. The 99% who are really give that other 1% a bad name.

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Response to Taverner (Original post)

Fri May 25, 2012, 02:36 PM

14. Sociopaths tend to be able to make the most difficult moral decisions easily and quickly.

Sending thousands of American servicemen to die in Iraq for something that amounted to a lie is very easy if you have no empathy for the soldiers and families who suffered in that war or for the untold numbers of civilians who were killed and their families who continue to suffer. In that manner, sociopaths are more efficient killers and destroyers, especially when it comes to war. They are not bound by any moral chains.

If you had to blow up a civilian airliner to kill a few hijackers on board, you wouldn't sleep at night for the rest of your living days, but a sociopath would. The pilots who flew the missions to drop the atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki likely never slept well for the rest of their lives, but you can bet a sociopath like Gen. Curtis LeMay did sleep well. In fact, the bombers that nuked Japan were under his command, and his command was switched over to Japan from Germany, and in Germany he was a big proponent of firebombing entire cities to ashes.

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