Friday, October 25, 2013


The recent Congressional breakdown over funding the government suggests that today’s social “warfare” is not between Christians and Muslims, as at the time of the Crusades; or Catholics and Protestants, as during the Hundred Years War, or between white people and black people, as during slavery and the Jim Crow period following Abolition. It is not between Democrats and Republicans; not even between the rich and the poor. It is between, not to mince words, communitarians and sociopaths.

Communitarians consider

the connection between the individual and the community. While the 'community' may be a family unit, it is usually understood in the wider sense of interactions between a community of people in a geographical location, or who have a shared history or interest.[1] Communitarian philosophy is derived from the assumption that individuality is a product of community relationships rather than only individual traits.

Sociopaths exhibit

a pervasive pattern of disregard for, or violation of, the rights of others. There may be an impoverished moral sense or conscience and a history of crime, legal problems, impulsive and aggressive behavior.

Wikipedia cites definitions of sociopathic behavior as stated by the American Psychiatric Association:

A) There is a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring since age 15 years, as indicated by three or more of the following:
1 failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest;
2 deception, as indicated by repeatedly lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure;
3 impulsivity or failure to plan ahead;
4 irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults;
5 reckless disregard for safety of self or others;
6 consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations;
7 lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another;

[American Psychiatric Association (2000). "Diagnostic criteria for 301.7 Antisocial Personality Disorder". BehaveNet. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision. Retrieved 8 July 2013]
This definition pertains to individual behavior, and goes on to stipulate that

B) The individual is at least age 18 years.
C) There is evidence of conduct disorder with onset before age 15 years.
D) The occurrence of antisocial behavior is not exclusively during the course of schizophrenia or a manic episode.

But, oddly, sociopaths, like anarchists, are able to transcend their presumed near-total loathing for community and band together in sociopathic groups, dedicated to opposition to other social groups. Sociopathy is becoming institutionalized within ad hoc associations like the Tea Party.

Worse, because more insidious, sociopathic “values” like the seven characteristics listed by the APA are beginning to characterize official behavior, ranging from the presidential decision to assassinate suspected terrorists (and the inevitable innocent bystander) to a recent incident in my own local city, where police shot and killed an eighth-grader who was carrying a (borrowed) “toy” rifle.

According to the newspaper account, the toy is manufactured and distributed for use in indoor facilities where properly trained and armored participants shoot at one another for “sport.” Further, the weapon is deliberately made to resemble a military assault weapon, with the double result that it is apparently very popular among practitioners of the “sport,” and quite confusing to the police.

What kind of society provides facilities for the sport of pretend warfare? What kind of culture leads parents to believe this is healthy sport for their children? What kind of government encourages its police to fire first, investigate later? In my view, a sociopathic society.

The beast thrashes, tail in mouth, attempting to devour itself.


artlady said...

Yes, and today I realized that we somehow lost a fundamental right every other creature has on earth regardless of their circumstances, to make a home. I do think that it all will be okay though in the end.

John Whiting said...

Kurt Vonnegut was onto this in "A Man Without a Country":

" Our country...might as well have been invaded by Martians and body snatchers.... It has been taken over by means of the sleaziest, low-comedy, Keystone Cops-style coup d’etat imaginable....

"Those now in charge of the federal government are…psychopathic personalities, or “PPs.” To say somebody is a PP is to make a perfectly respectable medical diagnosis, like saying he or she has appendicitis or athlete’s foot.…

"PPs are presentable, they know full well the suffering their actions may cause others, but they do not care. They cannot care because they are nuts. They have a screw loose!. Many of these heartless PPs now hold big jobs in our federal government, as though they were leaders instead of sick....

"War is now a form of TV entertainment, and what made the first world war so particularly entertaining were two American inventions, barbed wire and the machine gun. Shrapnel was invented by an Englishman of the same name. Don't you wish you could have something named after you?...Napalm came from Harvard. Veritas.

"Our president [GWB]is a Christian? So was Adolf Hitler. What can be said to our young people, now that psychopathic personalities, which is to say persons without consciences, without senses of pity or shame, have taken all the money in the treasuries of our government and corporations, and made it all their own?"

John Whiting said...

. . . and here is a link to a highly relevant conversation between Kurt Vonnegut and Adrian Mitchell that I recorded off-air in 1972.

Curtis Faville said...

I see the vast majority of Tea Partiers as naive dupes, being manipulated by corporate shills and strategists to act against their own interest.

The Republican Party for the last half century has been building constituencies out of lower-middle and Red State middle class working people--many of whom are religious--many of whom have been hurt by the exportation of jobs overseas--

The rallying points have been against liberal "elites" , and all kinds of minorities. It's built from the fragments of the old Democratic South, the ultra-conservative Plains States and Rocky Mountain and Southwest reactionaries. These people are suspicious, envious, fearful, politically gullible, angry and poorly educated. For a sample of how this is done, tune in to any of the shock-talk radio shows.

I don't see anything wrong with people organizing around common interests, but the Tea Party isn't a grass-roots movement in the old sense; it's cobbled together and directed by big, ultra-conservative money.

Tea Party gives these people something to direct their resentment to. It's un-American, after all, to dislike people who are rich and "successful" even if that success was built illegally and through exploitation. The rich are getting richer in America, and they're finding more influence in Washington.