Many on the left, like me, cannot understand the anti-social, anti-science, anti-everything positions taken up by the right wing in America today. For instance, it is obvious that stricter gun control laws are needed in this country. Deaths by handgun numbered over 10,000 last year...five times more than all the other nations of the world combined. Yet the fanatical right blocks any and all attempts at background checks and assault weapons bans. What is wrong with these people? Do they have some personality flaw which inhibits common sense and blocks any measure which would enhance the greater good? Turns out, YES they do have personality disorders. Rob Kall of OpEd News really nails it on the head with a new article that appears in today's edition. He outlines the five traits of a psychopath; see if you recognize anyone you know:
"1- The first thing they'd do is to attack rules and regulations that require people to be civil, honest, ethical, fair and respectful to all others. They would attack the rules and regulations by attempting to characterized them negatively. They would use their charm and ability to lie with a straight face to persuade people that rules and regulations were designed to take away their freedom, to allow government to make more money, to take money away from hard working people.
2- Next, they'd create a cult of individualism, extolling the rights of a person to live as an individual, with the freedoms to be an individual. Think Ayn Rand-- her characters and followers. This is a manifestation of narcissism, distorted to look like something special. It's not. Humans evolved as members of small communities and groups. That is the natural way that humans have lived for hundreds of thousands, even millions of years, if you include our predecessors.
3- They'll sell the 'I Did It On My Own' Story. Being loners and narcissists who want to get all the credit, who believe that they are the best in the world, Psychopaths would do all they could to sell the narrative that people make it on their own, that the idea that government or the commons, or social networks or social safety nets make a difference. They would mock people who suggest that it takes a village, or that millionaires made their millions with the help of the society around them.
4- Oppose Democracy, Fair, Honest Voting and voting rights for all. Psychopaths may love hierarchy and the domination associated with it. They love the challenge of rising to the top and the game of getting there. Democracy is an inconvenience that can create an egalitarian environment of fair play and just rules. That's no fun. Psychopaths would love to see those kinds of inconveniences done away with. So they'll try to muck up the voting system, try to take away direct representation and direct elections. They'll rig the system -- think gerrymandering-- and yes, both major parties do it. It's bi-partisan. They'll change the rules so that they give extra advantage to those with extra power and money, especially to those who will cheat. And they'll do all they can to take away the right to vote, especially people who will oppose their selfish interests.
5- Damage the Environment: Psychopaths, being self-centered and narcissistic, and not caring about laws or rules or consequences or other people are going to be more likely to abuse and damage the environment. Who cares if the water is polluted downstream as long as the psychopath can buy bottled water for his or her mansion? Who cares if climate change will disrupt the lives of billions and cost trillions if there's a profit to be made?"
Stated flatly, Republican politicians are psychopaths. They have no consciences. They care only about their well-being. If that means accepting money from billionaire psychpaths in order to further their careers, so be it. If that means endangering our safety, our justice systems, our democratic processes, who cares. As long as the psychopath gets his, damn everyone else. It's a dog-eat-dog world, and he is in it for himself. And it would be humorous if it weren't so dangerous. Because these people rule the U.S. Congress and state houses all over the country. It's as though we have elected criminals to run our justice system. It's like allowing wolves to protect the hen house. Or pedophiles to baby sit the nation's children.
This begs the question: are psychopaths born or made? Do they have a malignant gene which makes them so evil? Or are they victims of an abusive environment? Did they grow up in totalitarian homes, devoid of love and lacking in ambitions other than money and power? Were they abused? Psychologists tell us that the physically, emotionally, and mentally abused child suffers a "break" from normal development. He grows up lacking compassion and concern for others; he trusts no one, and self-survival is his only value. He learned early on that it does not pay to be kind, to contribute to a better world, to care for others. After all, no one ever really cared for him.