How does psychopathy
relate to politics?
Many people, mostly liberals, would identify psychopathy with right-wing politics. I have always disagreed. A recent study supports me in my disagreement. US States with the most psychopaths. And there’s the fact that conservatives have a larger amygdala in the part that has to do with fear. Reading Newsmax supports the idea that righties are driven by fear. And psychopaths tend to be on the more fearless side of the spectrum. Sure, Dr. James Fallon, The Psychopath Inside, identifies as a Libertarian. who knows?
When I was a child, I liked to play with “gangs.” By gangs, I’m talking about something pretty innocent and innocuous. We were just children. We didn’t fight with serious weapons. We collected buds from trees and threw them at each other. In other words, calling ourselves “gangs” was just silly kid stuff. Here’s the thing. I belonged to two gangs. These gangs were enemies of each other. When I felt like playing with the other gang, I just told the one I was with that I was going to spy on our enemies. Then I went and played with them. They also thought I was spying on their enemies. The truth of the matter was that neither “gang” had any secrets a spy could have learned. So it was all just fun.
We, Americans once had a civil war. That war wasn’t kid stuff. It was a serious business where Americans shot other Americans with real guns, had real generals and fought for real stakes. As a northerner, I was taught the war was over slavery. Southerners tend to deny that. They said it was more about trade and power. They claim slavery would have naturally eroded without the necessity for war. And, yet, Jim Crow, a system of white supremacy enforced by means of terrorism, remained in the South long after the war was over and slavery was (officially) abolished. I understand many southerners are bitter to this day. They still call themselves “rebels” and deny in their hearts that the North ever really defeated them. The American government, officially representing the country as a whole enforced policies more popular in the north such as desegregation. Federal troops came into Little Rock to protect black children going to “white” schools for the first time.
The USA has become more divided in recent years. Obama’s presidency pushed a lot of racist buttons. Having an actual black man as president must have outraged them as much as the subsequent Trump presidency outrages the more liberal (which tends to coincide with the northern) side. After having witnessed eight years of bitter obstructionism from the GOP which by now represented the South (after having originally been the party of abolitionists), we have been shocked out of our socks by the victory of a man we never thought could win: Donald Trump. Liberals are just as horrified by Trump’s presidency as the conservative South was by Obama’s presidency. Liberal opponents of Trump call themselves The Resistance. Hillary Clinton won the majority of votes but, because of the electoral college, southern states got an unfair advantage. The electoral college was a sop given to the South as a consolation prize to make their defeat less bitter (not that it seems to have worked). If you ask me, the Union was far too soft on these defeated rebels. They never really submitted and have been a thorn in our sides for years.
Trump’s campaign made out that he was a populist. The sad truth is that the liberal politicians have been practicing an ideology called neoliberalism for years. This ideology claimed that an international economy was best. It was used as an excuse for corporations to outsource jobs to the Third World where they could use cheap labor and save money. “Liberal” presidents like Bill Clinton made trade deals which favored the corporations and hurt the workers. Parts of the country have become depressed areas where massive numbers of workers were chronically unemployed. Clinton also “reformed” Welfare by allowing recipients to only collect for two years in their entire lifetimes regardless of what their circumstances might have been. When Trump spoke out against the northern elite, his words reached many a receptive ear. He threatened to “kill the deep state” which he held responsible. The deep state was a concept that existed long before Trump. Also known as the shadow government, the deep state represented the fact that the richest people were really running the country regardless of who won the elections. These wealthy people had deep pockets from which they only had to dip in to pay for electioneering of whichever politician pleased them. The Supreme Court’s decision, Citizen’s United, made things even worse for democracy. Although the Democrats kept most of the New Deal legislation, which enabled many working class Americans to hold their heads above water, they supported neoliberalism which increased economic inequality every years. The Occupy Movement pointed out how most of us were being sold down the river by the 1% who owned most of the wealth.
Trump promised to give the 99% a fair deal when he became president. Instead, he has given the rich even more advantages than they already had and has been trying to complete the project Ronald Reagan started to demolish the New Deal. Since many Republicans are senior citizens who depend on Social Security and Medicare, it seems unlikely that he will really manage to complete his plan to pay for his obscene bonanza he has given the rich in tax breaks by privatizing those programs. But he uses distractions to keep his useful idiots in line while he picks their pockets clean. His nativism, blaming non-citizens for all of our hardships, his religiously based right-wing intolerance is using scapegoats as a buffer for his suckers’ frustrations have proven to be as successful as Hitler’s big lie technique was back in those days.
As you might have gathered, I don’t like Trump or right-wing politics in general. But I was once a Goldwater conservative. I got that way by reading Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged in my late teens (or early twenties). The book was a shock. I read The Fountainhead with no idea that Rand was conservative. I only thought she is in favor of an individual having the courage of his convictions. But reading Atlas Shrugged, there was no missing the ideology. And it actually made sense to me when I read it. What could be wrong with keeping what one produces? Government only exists to protect our freedom to produce and enjoy the fruits of our productiveness. It is the mind that increases the value an hour’s worth of labor can create. Why should mere workers, just contributing their ability to do what they did in primitive times, get paid more than the value of that plain physical labor? It is the mind of the entrepreneur that enabled him to produce more due to machinery. Suddenly, I saw my government as horribly perverse. They gave subsidies to farmers for not producing! They tax the rich a higher percentage of their income which they had earned so they could give Welfare to those who hadn’t earned it. You get the idea. The usual argument for laissez-faire capitalism. It’s easy to believe in it as long as daddy’s paying the bills and you’re in a good college. You can read my rebuttal in The Social Darwinism of Ayn Rand. But at the time I am discussing, conservative ideology made perfect sense to me. So I got involved, joined Young Americans for Freedom and the Conservative Party of New York. I even ran for State Assembly while I was in college. I enjoyed the fact that I was a young college student in the 60’s but a conservative. Well, I got over that. I went back to my liberal roots after reading Richard Wagner, my favorite composer, who was a socialist.
Where am I now?
I am certainly one of the many people who consider Trump a horrendous president and identify with The Resistance. If he were to actually accomplish what he is trying to accomplish, I would be without an income (Social Security). But then it occurs to me, what if Trump really knows what he’s doing and the news I get is all “fake?” Just imagining it makes me feel better. The little kid who switched gangs and pretended to be a spy just for the sake of variety is nodding vigorously. It’s strange that I can have such strong convictions and then realize they are expendable. Self-interest is the only absolute which must be supported by any system I embrace. Trump’s presidency hasn’t changed my life materially in any way so far. I have the same inadequate income. The cost of living has skyrocketed but that was already happening before Trump. The “giant sucking sound” of all our money being sucked into the realm of the 1% has been going on all my life.
The thing I like about Republicans (what I have always liked about them) is that they are not to “nice” to win. They will do the unscrupulous thing, the outrageous thing and the weak kneed Democrats often let them get away with it. Recent example: Republicans blocked Obama’s completely legitimate effort to appoint a justice to the Supreme Court. Now they are trying to appoint a far-rightist to the court. If only the Democrats could be as ruthless as the Republicans but for their own agenda. But I have to remind myself that both parties are supported by the same deep-pocketed one percent. Maybe the ultra radicals are right in disdaining both major parties because they both support capitalism. Of course there are no signs that The Revolution is coming in the foreseeable future. So their aloofness doesn’t seem to be likely to fulfill their dreams either.
Our government is a mess. I’m voting Democratic. I still think I have the best chance of living a semi-decent life with that party in charge. But, as a psychopath, I am hanging loose. I may have some loyalties to a few individuals but not to any of these political parties.
As a psychopath, I’m an army of one.