I have talked about this before, perhaps too many times. But we Cluster Bees are still being demonized so here I go again as well.
My good friend, Lucky Otter just published a new blog post: Sociopaths rule America. We are both against Trump and his ultra-right regime. Why can’t we stick to critiquing his administration on political grounds? There’s plenty to criticize. Republicans have consistently sided with the rich and disregarded the poor. Furthermore, our society is white supremacist. Until Trump took over, most people had the decency to try to hide it. The party line was that everyone has a fair chance in our “democratic” society. All it takes is hard work and talent. If Blacks wind up at the bottom of the economic pecking order, that’s just their fault. We need to teach them how to discipline themselves, stay in school, yada yada. Since Trump has taken office, white supremacy has come out of the closet. Now they scream their opinions loud and clear while the president says there are some really nice people among them. Not that he is white supremacist. Oh, no! Certainly not. But white supremacists can be just as nice as anyone else. At the same time, Trump talks about left-wing dissidents in a very different tone. It’s not all Trump, either. Society is inundated with white supremacy. But we’ve all seen the articles documenting all this. I’m not interested in writing another such article.
My point is that we can (and should) condemn Trump and his administration on the grounds that their politics stink. Do we want a government that only favors those who are already rich? Do we want a government that takes away the already inadequate safety net for the working class? FDR brought about the New Deal which lifted working people from the precarious place in which they had existed until then. Finally, people had some financial security. It was a start. But Ronald Reagan started dismantling the New Deal and his party has continued the work ever since.
Since we have clear grounds upon which to criticize Trump and his party, why bring psychiatry into it? I am a psychopath. I was once a conservative after reading Ayn Rand in my teens. So I know what it feels like. I honestly believed that the rich were mainly the most productive and therefore the worthiest to have the lion’s share of the goodies. I thought government helping the poor was a form of legalized robbery. I was still living with my parents and going to school. Once I graduated and entered the work force myself, it all didn’t look quite so clear-cut. I have read Ayn Rand’s books numerous times because I think they are well-written and interesting. But each time I read them, I saw more and more holes in her logic. My most recent rebuttal of her thinking is Social Darwinism of Ayn Rand. Now I am a leftist. But I am still a psychopath. It never stopped me from analyzing society and constructing an ideology of what is best and fairest for our society. What isn’t fair, is excluding me from an open discussion of how our society should be run. A democratic society listens to the views of everyone on the political spectrum. No personality rules America. The government will be as good or bad as the intelligence and rationality of the voters.
Lucky’s post starts out with “Since the very beginning of his term, Trump has surrounded himself with people who seem to lack empathy, conscience, or any sense of morality or scruples.” Why should we even care whether these people have “empathy, conscience, or…morality?” Their policies are hurting a lot of people who deserve better. The question is whether we can offer voters a real alternative, whether we can persuade them that they are hurting as a result of Trump’s policies. We need politics in command.
But Lucky goes on:
All of the people working for Trump, based on their actions and words, seem to have one of the Cluster B personality disorders, most likely NPD, Antisocial PD (sociopathy), or psychopathy. Many of these people are likely malignant narcissists, like Trump himself. They serve as his flying monkeys and yes-men. There may be one or two non-disordered people left in the administration, who have severe problems with codependency and therefore have some pathological need to be pleasing to Trump, but I think even most of those people have been fired.
Psychiatrists have admonished their fellow professionals not to attempt a diagnosis of anyone they have not examined in person. Unfortunately, many have been unable to live up to the ethics of their own profession and have succumbed to the temptation to play arm-chair psychiatrist. It’s sad when people with the actual credentials stoop to such unprofessional behavior. Why should lay people like Lucky Otter join the game?
There are blogs and web sites devoted to “victims” of psychopaths, sociopaths and narcissists. The above quoted paragraph could easily have been lifted from one of those sites. They typically label those the “victims” complain about (usually their exes) with those same terms with which that paragraph is festooned.
Lucky talks a lot about what I guess the psychologists call “flat affect.”
Their eyes are cold, hard, and flat. Sometimes they appear black, as if they are lacking irises. When they smile, the smile doesn’t reach their eyes, making the smile appear mocking or threatening, or at the least insincere. A few of them, rather than having those reptilian eyes, have eyes that sparkle with psychopathic glee, and they often wear a smirk
She has talked about this before. The distinctive “look” of psychopathy: gazing into the face of evil suggests that our very demeanor is evidence of our “evil.” She waxes even more emotional with “Trump himself has eyes that are so scary I really can’t look at them. I can’t even look at his face anymore, because I feel evil emanating from the image itself. I feel like something in my soul is being eaten every time I have to look at him.” Strange how other people look at Trump and see a hero. “His hair is like spun gold,” remarked one follower quoted in a magazine article. What about his followers? Are they evil? Are they sociopaths? I know many of them are evangelicals and consider themselves very moral people. Sure, there is cognitive dissonance involved in “moral” people practically worshiping someone who doesn’t observe their rules of morality. It’s kind of like people who are poor, struggling working class folk who support an administration whose policies only make their lives harder.
It’s hard to look at the smirky faces of those who are causing one material harm. The agony of defeat is bitter enough without those who won rubbing our faces in it. But everyone tries his hardest to win. Everyone rejoices in victory. There’s nothing wrong with pursuing one’s self-interest. Since we, the 99%, outnumber the wealthy 1%, all we really have to do is pursue our interest in the political arena and we would have a fine country. The real problem, as I see it, is not a bunch of “sociopaths” in power. The real problem is the mass of fools who vote against their self-interest because they let their emotions rule them. Of course the electoral college helped skew the results and allowed a minority to decide the election. The electoral college was set up as a sop to the South. The winner is supposed to take all, not sweeten the defeat of the loser. The South has never really accepted defeat in the Civil War. But, North or South, white supremacy is the wild card that prevented the Union (the winner) from acting rationally. Perhaps there is something to be learned from the smug faces of the Trump-ists. Acting in one’s rational self-interest is not a sin. Let’s win and get our own values in the position of power. And let’s never forget to make the most of our unabashedly joyful victory.