Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"The Ascendance of Sociopaths in US Governance"

That's the title of an article by Doug Casey, founder and CEO of Casey Research. I don't agree with a number of his points, but he certainly provides arguments to substantiate them, and makes one think about his position. Here are some excerpts to whet your appetite.

As any intelligent observer surveys the world's economic and political landscape, he has to be disturbed – even dismayed and a bit frightened – by the gravity and number of problems that mark the horizon. We're confronted by economic depression, looming financial chaos, serious currency inflation, onerous taxation, crippling regulation, developing police states and, worst of all, the prospect of a major war. It seems almost unbelievable that we are talking of the US – which historically has been the land of the free.

How did we get here? An argument can be made that miscalculation, accident, inattention and the like are why things go bad. Those elements do have a role, but it is minor. Potential catastrophe across the board can't be the result of happenstance. When things go wrong on a grand scale, it's not just bad luck or inadvertence. It's because of serious character flaws in one or many – or even all – of the players.

So is there a root cause of all the problems I've cited? If we can find it, it may tell us how we personally can best respond to the problems.

In this article, I'm going to argue that the US government, in particular, is being overrun by the wrong kind of person. It's a trend that's been in motion for many years but has now reached a point of no return. In other words, a type of moral rot has become so prevalent that it's institutional in nature. There is not going to be, therefore, any serious change in the direction in which the US is headed until a genuine crisis topples the existing order. Until then, the trend will accelerate.

The reason is that a certain class of people – sociopaths – are now fully in control of major American institutions. Their beliefs and attitudes are insinuated throughout the economic, political, intellectual and psychological/spiritual fabric of the US.

. . .

You may be thinking that what happened in places like Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, Mao's China, Pol Pot's Cambodia and scores of other countries in recent history could not, for some reason, happen in the US. Actually, there's no reason it won't at this point. All the institutions that made America exceptional – including a belief in capitalism, individualism, self-reliance and the restraints of the Constitution – are now only historical artifacts.

On the other hand, the distribution of sociopaths is completely uniform across both space and time. Per capita, there were no more evil people in Stalin's Russia, Hitler's Germany, Mao's China, Amin's Uganda, Ceausescu's Romania or Pol Pot's Cambodia than there are today in the US. All you need is favorable conditions for them to bloom, much as mushrooms do after a rainstorm.

Conditions for them in the US are becoming quite favorable. Have you ever wondered where the 50,000 people employed by the TSA to inspect and degrade you came from? Most of them are middle-aged. Did they have jobs before they started doing something that any normal person would consider demeaning? Most did, but they were attracted to – not repelled by – a job where they wear a costume and abuse their fellow citizens all day.

. . .

It's a pity that Bush, when he was in office, made such a big deal of evil. He discredited the concept. He made Boobus americanus think it only existed in a distant axis, in places like North Korea, Iraq and Iran – which were and still are irrelevant backwaters and arbitrarily chosen enemies. Bush trivialized the concept of evil and made it seem banal because he was such a fool. All the while real evil, very immediate and powerful, was growing right around him, and he lacked the awareness to see he was fertilizing it by turning the US into a national security state after 9/11.

Now, I believe, it's out of control. The US is already in a truly major depression and on the edge of financial chaos and a currency meltdown. The sociopaths in government will react by redoubling the pace toward a police state domestically and starting a major war abroad. To me, this is completely predictable. It's what sociopaths do.

. . .

It's very simple, really. There are two ways people can relate to each other: voluntarily or coercively. The government is pure coercion, and sociopaths are drawn to its power and force.

There's more at the link. As I said, I don't agree with many of Mr. Casey's points, but he makes a strong case for his perspective. His entire article is food for thought, and recommended as such.



trailbee said...

I think that what Mr. Casey says is right on the mark. We are just used to hearing it in different words, formed more politely, if I can use that phrase. The best analogy right now is people forcing a nation to buy something it does not want; and then defending it and twisting the force into a need. Our Constitution has just been used against us: Article 1, Section 8, ..To regulate commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes:... (use Interstate Commerce!), or that all-encompassing phrase general welfare, Section 8, right at the the beginning. Hung on our own petard!
If you read books like Bailout Nation, Greenspan's Bubbles, or Throw Them All Out, to name only three, you quickly come to realize Mr. Casey has done his homework. He is correct. I wish he were not.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with his theory and his ugly style of name-calling to illustrate it. boobus Americanus indeed. All he puts forth is a theory with little or no substantiating data. He conflates powerful decision-makers with TSA agents? Seriously? Not knowing (or caring much really) what his political leanings are, I suspect we're seeing pretty routine leftist projection.


Anonymous said...

He has valid points, but I think he takes too regional a view. Out in the great flat parts of the country, we seem to have a fairly healthy belief in the presence of evil at home, a well as in capitalism and some self-reliance.


Anonymous said...

Interesting article. It has some points that ring very true today. I do believe that we are being "dumbed down" and made to believe that the government is our saviour. If you spend some time looking at what is being taught to our younger generation, it becomes much more clear. 30-40 years age we protested to what big government was doing wrong, today we are more concerned who will win American Idol.

Anonymous said...

I worry more about the sociopaths who make up the wealthy 1%, than I do any sociopaths in any American government.

Casey's rhetoric is typical Libertarian fertilizer about how all government is evil, and only the Free Market can save us.