Selfish or Sociopath, Does It Make a Difference?

Submitted By: Mike Spindell, Guest Blogger

In recent years many studies have come out  that have made the case that a high proportion of CEO’s of major companies are sociopaths. At the end of this blog I’ll provide a number of links that discuss this, some from major conservative business magazines. We do know that from 1% to 3% of humans are sociopaths sharing all of these 10 characteristics:

#1) Sociopaths are charming. #2) Sociopaths are more spontaneous and intense than other people. #3) Sociopaths are incapable of feeling shame, guilt or remorse. #4) Sociopaths invent outrageous lies about their experiences. #5) Sociopaths seek to dominate others and “win” at all costs. #6) Sociopaths tend to be highly intelligent #7) Sociopaths are incapable of love #8) Sociopaths speak poetically. #9) Sociopaths never apologize. #10) Sociopaths are delusional and literally believe that what they say becomes truth.” http://www.naturalnews.com/036112_sociopaths_cults_influence.html

495px-Donald_Trump_by_Gage_SkidmorePaul_Ryan--113th_Congress--Mitt_Romney_by_Gage_Skidmore_7Now the problem with the definition of Sociopathy is that there can be a good deal of subjectivity in making the diagnosis, absent a clinician interviewing the subject. After all many people are charming, spontaneous, invent lies, try to dominate others and speak “poetically” and that doesn’t make them sociopaths. The subjectivity comes in trying to determine whether a given person is incapable of feeling guilt, shame, remorse and is delusional. A trained clinician may be able to do this via an intensive interview, but the nature of this disorder is such that even a trained clinician can be fooled by a sociopath. Rather than argue back and forth about the negative effects of CEO sociopaths on this society as the root of so much dysfunction, my readings this week suggest another theory that would provide a simpler explanation of why it seems that so many in this country have so little compassion and empathy for the less fortunate among us. We need not deem them sociopaths, but people who are simply removed from the misery that they inflict. The apocryphal story of Marie Antoinette’s “let them eat cake” may well characterize those who control most of this country’s wealth. It may be why some are sincere philanthropists, yet show such disdain and lack a sense of responsibility for the suffering that they cause. Let’s explore this further.

“Scrooge has come early this year. We’re kicking our Tiny Tim’s. This holiday season, kids in America’s poorest families are going to have less to eat. November 1 brought $5 billion in new cuts to the nation’s food stamp program, now officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

Poor families will lose on average 7 percent of their food aid, calculates the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. A mother with two kids will lose $319 over the rest of the current federal fiscal year. The cuts could cost some families a week’s worth of meals a month, says the chief at America’s largest food bank. More cuts are looming. A U.S. House of Representatives majority is demanding an additional $39 billion in “savings” over the next decade. Ohio and a host of other states, in the meantime, are moving to limit food stamp eligibility.” http://www.opednews.com/articles/1/Are-Heartless-People-Simpl-by-Sam-Pizzigati-Greed_Teaparty-Teapartiers-131104-969.html

The author Sam Pizzigati, writing at http://www.opednews.com , goes on to enumerate some of the actions being taken that will hurt parts the of  the American people that are least able to defend themselves against the depredations of poverty and hunger. This country which is so fond of creating metaphoric wars against objects of perceived fear like “Drugs” and “Terror”, has also had metaphorical “Wars” declared against “Poverty” and “Hunger”.  The latter died due to the entanglement in Viet Nam monopolizing government funds. The paradigm this era’s “War on Something” may actually have been transformed in a “War for Something,” because what it seems we now have is a “War for Poverty” and a “War For Hunger”. Some examples:

“Today’s brazen heartlessness toward America’s most vulnerable actually goes far deeper than food stamp cuts, as a new Economic Policy Institute report released last week documents in rather chilling detail.

Four states, the report notes, have “lifted restrictions on child labor.” In Wisconsin, state law used to limit 16- and 17-year-olds to no more than five hours of work a day on school days. The new law erases these limits.

Other states are cutting back on protections for low-wage workers of all ages. Earlier this year, the new EPI survey relates, Mississippi adopted a law that bans cities and counties in the state “from adopting any minimum wage, living wage, or paid or unpaid sick leave rights for local workers.” http://www.opednews.com/articles/Are-Heartless-People-Simpl-by-Sam-Pizzigati-Greed_Teaparty-Teapartiers-131104-969.html

There are those of course representing a particular conservative mindset, that would argue that ending “child labor restrictions” are actually a good thing, because they allow children in poverty to rise above their situation through work. The history of child labor in this country would give lie to this. The impetus for passing these laws that  defenestrate “child labor restrictions”, comes from companies paying the minimum wage, or less, to people who are looking for any kind of job. The young are seen as a source of  pliable,cheap labor that can be easier controlled and made more fearful. Unless one is quite extraordinary, being stuck at the minimum wage, or less, ensures rather than provides an escape from poverty. We of course have those “lift themselves up from their bootstraps” types like former Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan, who used himself as an example of this because he worked in a McDonald’s after his father’s death. He didn’t elaborate though that he came from the wealthiest family in his home town and that his father’s estate provided more than ample sustenance. Considering that after graduation from College Ryan was secured a job in the office of Wisconsin’s U.S. Senator and from then on has always worked either in government or for Conservative lobbying organizations, the congressman has done very little “bootstrap pulling and much string pulling to get work. Very few people “lift themselves up by their bootstraps” and those few exceptions do prove that rule.

The “War for Poverty”, as I like to call it, doesn’t only affect children and teenagers. Its cost cutting howitzers are also trained upon this nation’s elderly:

“The sick and elderly aren’t faring all that well either. In Arizona, the governor proposed a health-insurance cutoff that would have tripped some patients up right in the middle of their chemotherapy. Texas is considering Medicaid cuts that could end up closing 850 of the state’s 1,000 nursing homes.”

It seems we have reached a point in America where the notion of a community of citizens, bound by common destinies has been replaced by an “everyone for themselves” attitude, that is inexplicably endorsed heartily by all too many supposedly “devout Christians.” They have made the notion of “Christian Charity” a relic of the past.  As with Mr. Ryan our new Deities have become Ayn Rand and Gordon Gekko. For someone of my age, whose parents became adults during the “Great Depression”, this is not the America I grew up in, or at least not the image of America that was fostered during that “Depression”, and during and after World War II. The 2010 elections seem to have seemed to accelerated the process of our nation becoming one that extols selfishness and rewards greed.

“America’s current surge of mean-spiritedness, observes Gordon Lafer, the University of Oregon author of the EPI study, essentially erupted right after the 2010 elections. In 11 states, those elections gave right-wingers “new monopoly control” over the governor’s mansion and both legislative houses.

Lafer links this right-wing electoral triumph directly to growing inequality. A widening income gap, he explains, “has produced a critical mass of extremely wealthy businesspeople, many of whom are politically conservative,” and various recent court cases have given these wealthy a green light to spend virtually unlimited sums on their favored political candidates.

This spending has, in turn, raised campaign costs for all political hopefuls — and left pols even more dependent on deep-pocket campaign contributions.

But America’s new heartlessness reflects much more than this turbocharged political power of America’s rich. An insensitivity toward the problems poor people face, researchers have shown, reflects a deeper psychological shift that extreme inequality makes all but inevitable.

The wider a society’s economic divide, as Demos think tank analyst Sean McElwee noted last week, the less empathy on the part of the rich and the powerful toward the poor and the weak. In a starkly unequal society, people of more than ample means “rarely brush shoulders” with people of little advantage. These rich don’t see the poor. They stereotype them — as lazy and unworthy.” http://www.opednews.com/articles/Are-Heartless-People-Simpl-by-Sam-Pizzigati-Greed_Teaparty-Teapartiers-131104-969.html

It is a closed circle that is driving and justifying the ever widening economic divide in this country. The wealthy elite never see the poor and the disadvantaged in this country. They are separated from them by their wealth and because of that, only are able to view them through the lens of self serving abstractions. They are catered to by armies of servants who of necessity treat them obsequiously for fear of their jobs. When one lives a life of pampered privilege it becomes difficult to understand why, or how, people live otherwise. One who is to the manor born naturally grows up with a sense of entitlement and many of our American religious leaders cater to that assuring them that God has bestowed blessings upon them since they are worthy. Conversely, of course, those who live in poverty and deprivation must deserve their fate and their state must be also ordained by God.

Forgetting for a moment the politics involved, didn’t we see just that in Mitt Romney’s run for the President. From what I’ve seen of the man, I don’t believe that Mitt is a sociopath. I believe he genuinely loves his wife and family. I believe he has feelings for his religion and feelings for his friends. I believe that even in some abstract way he cares for the plight of those less fortunate. Mitt though, can serve as the poster boy for those elite who are driving this new American attitude and by his own uttering’s he reveals how his attitudes arose. Romney was born into the “royalty” of the Church of the Latter Day Saints (LDS) and thus from his first realization of life was a privileged person. His father George, a successful Automobile Executive was a very rich and very doting father. Mitt and his wife to make themselves seem more like average American’s discussed with no iron their “struggles” when he was in school and had to “only” live off of his stock portfolio. Rich people hate to live of the principal. His father of course paid for his education. After school his father gave him $10 million to buy into Bain Capital and from there his fortune grew and grew, convincing him that through hard work “anyone” can make it in America. Can we really blame Mr. Romney for his disdain for the 47% of Americans who are not “producers” like himself? Isn’t it obvious that when Romney gave advice to young “men” starting out as entrepreneurs to “borrow” $20,000 from their fathers and start their business, that he sincerely believed this a viable option for most Americans? If we extrapolate Romney’s attitudes to a whole class of the American elite, Koch Brothers anyone, we can see that one doesn’t have to be a sociopath to respond as a sociopath towards those less fortunate.

Now to be fair I know and have known people who started in life with very little and have built wonderful careers and became wealthy via their own efforts. Having become successful on their own, they have little sympathy for others who are not able to rise above their own poverty. I may not agree with their social views, but they are good people and their success was hard won, so they’re my friends nonetheless. Conversely, I also know and have known people who have inherited businesses from their parents and were quite successful in managing/expanding it. Many of these are quite concerned about the conditions of those less fortunate and act upon their sympathies. The reality is that among my friendships and acquaintances there is no one that even rises to the level of wealth had by Romney, the Koch’s, the Walton’s, the Mellon’s, the Scaife’s. People such as these live in a totally different and inaccessible world to me and to most of the people I’ve known in my life. These people representing a small percentage of American wealth and privilege have been the driving forces behind today’s “War On Poverty”.

‘Defenders of inequality typically do their musings at a high, fact-free level of abstraction. CNN columnist John Sutter last week brought America down to inequality’s ground level, with a remarkably moving and insightful look at the most unequal county in the United States, East Carroll Parish in Louisiana.

In East Carroll, the rich live north of Lake Providence, the poor south. The two groups seldom interact. East Carroll’s most affluent 5 percent average $611,000 a year, 90 times the $6,800 incomes the poorest fifth of the parish average. Such wide income gaps, Sutter shows, invite “gaps in empathy.”

“Looking across Lake Providence from the north,” as he puts it, “can warp a person’s vision.”

One example of this warped vision: East Carroll’s rich see food stamps as an “entitlement” that rots poor people’s incentive to work. Yet these same affluent annually pocket enormously generous farm subsidies. In 2010, East Carroll’s most highly subsidized farmer grabbed $655,000 from one federal subsidy alone. The average food stamp payout in the parish: $1,492 per person per year.” http://www.opednews.com/articles/Are-Heartless-People-Simpl-by-Sam-Pizzigati-Greed_Teaparty-Teapartiers-131104-969.html 

East Carroll Parish in Louisiana is a microcosm of the conditions throughout our country. We see those that consider themselves the “producer” in this country missing totally the point of how they have had their own form of entitlement, in this instance farm subsidies, which as most students of politics know have become almost impossible to eliminate even though the bulk of the subsidies go to our huge Agri-Business industry. Providing a complement to Mr. Pizzigati’s article was another one that I read this week at http://www.opednews.com  by Paul Bucheit which was titled: “How the Supperich Are Abandoning America”

“As they accumulate more and more wealth, the very rich have less need for society. At the same time, they’ve convinced themselves that they made it on their own, and that contributing to societal needs is unfair to them. There is ample evidence that this small group of takers is giving up on the country that made it possible for them to build huge fortunes.

They’ve Taken $25 Trillion of New Wealth While Paying Less Taxes

The 2013 Global Wealth Databook shows that U.S. wealth has increased from $47 trillion in 2008 to $72 trillion in mid-2013. But according to U.S. Government Revenue figures, federal income taxes have gone DOWN from 2008 to 2012. Even worse, corporations cut their tax rate in half.

American society has gained nothing from its massive wealth expansion. There’s no wealth tax, no financial transaction tax, no way to ensure that infrastructure and public education are supported. Just how much have the super-rich taken over the past five years? Each of the elite 5% — the richest 12 million Americans — gained, on average, nearly a million dollars in financial wealth between 2008 and 2013. http://www.opednews.com/articles/How-the-Super-Rich-Are-Aba-by-Paul-Buchheit-Billionaires_Capitalism_Greed_Wealthy-131104-612.html

There is literally so much supporting material for the fact that the economic fortunes of the wealthiest American’s have grown exponentially since the beginning of our new century that all one has to do is Google it. At the same time there has been this unprecedented growth in wealth, those who most benefitted from it have paid less and less taxes, while deriving benefits from government programs such as the “oil subsidy”.  In the 50’s and 60’s when only the affluent could really afford to fly the term “Jet Setter” developed for those who were wealthy enough to travel to Europe, or Bali, on a whim. There developed a culture of those people who lived their lives bathed in sybaritic luxury and could nonchalantly suggest to their friends to meet them in Paris for the weekend. As the separation of Americans on the basis of wealth has grown the “Jet Set” has become what is really the “Expatriate Set” who have homes all over the world and indeed consider themselves to be “Citizen’s of the World” rather than just plain Americans. Is it any wonder than that when they deign to even think of those less fortunate then themselves? Many of those thoughts are laden with disdain against those “unwashed masses” many of who they would see as readers of this blog.

“For the First Time in History, They Believe They Don’t Need the Rest of Us: The rich have always needed the middle class to work in their factories and buy their products. With globalization this is no longer true. Their factories can be in China, producing goods for people in India or Europe or anywhere else in the world.

They don’t need our infrastructure for their yachts and helicopters and submarines. They pay for private schools for their kids, private security for their homes. They have private emergency rooms to avoid the health care hassle. All they need is an assortment of servants, who might be guest workers coming to America on H2B visas, willing to work for less than a middle-class American can afford.

The sentiment is spreading from the super-rich to the merely rich. In 2005 Sandy Springs, a wealthy suburb of Atlanta, stopped paying for most public services, deciding instead to avoid subsidizing poorer residents of Fulton County by hiring a “city outsourcer” called CH2M to manage everything except the police and fire departments. That includes paving the roads, running the courts, issuing tickets, handling waste, and various other public services. Several other towns followed suit.

Results have been mixed, with some of CH2M’s clients backing out or renegotiating. But privatization keeps coming at us. Selective decisions about public services threaten to worsen already destitute conditions for many communities. Detroit, of course, is at the forefront. According to an Urban Land Institute report, “more municipalities may follow Detroit’s example and abandon services in certain districts.”

As this year draws to a close we again see a battle shaping up in Congress, led by the “Tea Party” controlled House over cutting both Social Security and Medicare. The conservative propaganda machine abetted by a corporate media has turned these programs into “Entitlements”, when they are really insurance funds. Not one of those in Congress trying to choke off these programs will ever have to rely upon them in their old age, nor will the corporate sponsors, of which most of our Congress people have become “wholly-owned subsidiaries.”

“They Soaked the Middle Class, and Now Demand Cuts in the Middle-Class Retirement Fund. The richest Americans take the greatest share of over $2 trillion in Tax Expenditures, Tax Underpayments, Tax Haven holdings, and unpaid Corporate Taxes. The Social Security budget is less than half of that. Yet much of Congress and many other wealthy Americans think it should be cut. These are the same people who deprive the American public of $300 billion a year by not paying their full share of the payroll tax.”

However, those clamoring for these cuts among the elite believe they are justified in paying less taxes because they “made it on their own” and this reflects a false, self-serving view of the historical realities:

“They Continue to Insist that They “Made It on Their Own”. They didn’t. Their fortunes derived in varying degrees – usually big degrees – from public funding, which provided almost half of basic research funds into the 1980s, and even today supports about 60 percent of the research performed at universities.

Businesses rely on roads and seaports and airports to ship their products, the FAA and TSA and Coast Guard and Department of Transportation to safeguard them, a nationwide energy grid to power their factories, communications towers and satellites to conduct online business, the Department of Commerce to promote and safeguard global markets, the U.S. Navy to monitor shipping lanes, and FEMA to clean up after them.

Apple, the tax haven specialist, still does most of its product and research development in the United States, with US-educated engineers and computer scientists. Google’s business is based on the Internet, which started as ARPANET, the Defense Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency computer network from the 1960s. The National Science Foundation funded the Digital Library Initiative research at Stanford University that was adopted as the Google model. Microsoft was started by our richest American, Bill Gates, whose success derived at least in part by taking the work of competitors and adapting it as his own. Same with Steve Jobs, who admitted: “We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”

Companies like Pfizer and Merck have relied on basic research performed at the National Institute of Health. A Congressional Budget Office study reminds us that The primary rationale for the government to play a role in basic research is that private companies perform too little such research themselves (relative to what is best for society).”

What we see now is a world where businesses and the wealthy that own them, consider themselves multi-national, which means they are untied to any government and owe no government their allegiance. What goes unmentioned though, as expanded upon above, is that the source of wealth for many of our “elite” and the corporations they control is in our case the American government which they’ve captured. The same America that had to bail out the banks and Wall Street from the results of their own excesses and the same country that goes to war to protect their private oil interests.

As a Final Insult, Many of Them Desert the Country that Made Them Rich: Many of the beneficiaries of American research and technology have abandoned their country because of taxes. Like multinational companies that rationalize the move by claiming to be citizens of the world, almost 2,000 Americans, and perhaps up to 8,000, have left their responsibilities behind for more favorable tax climates.

The most egregious example is Eduardo Saverin, who found safe refuge in the U.S. after his family was threatened in Brazil, landed Mark Zuckerberg as a roommate at Harvard, benefited from American technology to make billions from his 4% share in Facebook, and then skipped out on his tax bill. http://www.opednews.com/articles/2/How-the-Super-Rich-Are-Aba-by-Paul-Buchheit-Billionaires_Capitalism_Greed_Wealthy-131104-612.html My thanks for this article go to commondreams.org.

The some of the Elite of this country, whether inherited, or self-made believe that the rest of us exist merely as appendages for their comfort. They view the great mass of us with disdain. Their world-view is self-serving and self soothing and from my perspective they are entitled to believe anything they choose to believe. What they are not entitled to in my opinion is to play a being “Robin Hood” in reverse. They have taken and taken from the American people, they control our government and this need to stop. I’m neither a socialist, a communist, nor a fascist. I don’t believe in an enforced equality of wealth in society. What I do believe in is a society that treats everyone equally before the law. I believe in a society that is empathic towards all of its members. I believe in a society that cares for, nurtures and protects all of us. Perhaps I am a Utopian at heart in my beliefs. Whatever I am though, my anger at the way this country is being stolen from its citizens by powerful people who take but never give, is great. You all can have plenty of money and still take care of your responsibilities to society as a whole. That is why I suspect something more is afoot. Our corporatist elite has the money and has the control, what they seem to really want it to have the total subservience of all who they think themselves the better person. This is not necessarily a sociopathic disorder, but the difference between these points of view and sociopathy is so minimal as to be ignored.

Submitted By: Mike Spindell, Guest Blogger.

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Are-Heartless-People-Simpl-by-Sam-Pizzigati-Greed_Teaparty-Teapartiers-131104-969.html

http://www.opednews.com/articles/How-the-Super-Rich-Are-Aba-by-Paul-Buchheit-Billionaires_Capitalism_Greed_Wealthy-131104-612.html

Articles on CEO’s being sociopaths:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffbercovici/2011/06/14/why-some-psychopaths-make-great-ceos/

http://www.politics.ie/forum/economy/98184-some-ceos-sociopaths.html

http://www.sott.net/article/261942-One-terrorist-a-million-psychopaths-eight-million-sociopaths

http://images.bwbx.io/cms/2011-07-20/etc_stack31__01__popup.jpg

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/08/as-many-as-12-million-americans-are-sociopaths.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/thom-hartmann/profiling-ceos-and-their_b_245373.html

 

155 thoughts on “Selfish or Sociopath, Does It Make a Difference?

  1. As always Mike beautifully put and true. As you look at what the repubs and tea party and Koch want (and apparently a large portion of the wealthy and wealthy elite including SCOTUS, is to turn back the clock to the days of work houses and children having to work because this is good for their spirits and encourages them.

  2. Perhaps it would help if we explained the differences and similarities between the sociopathic and psychopathic personalities. Both represent aspects of the Antisocial Personality Disorder, as defined in the DSM. Generally speaking, the sociopath is less malignant than the psychopath. Whereas the true psychopath is functionally less capable of empathy, the sociopath can be empathic. Also, psychopathy is more likely to be hard wired and the result of genetics. Sociopathy is more likely to be a learned set of behaviors. The link above takes you to a side by side comparison of how the Antisocial Personality Disorder is defined by the DSM-IV and the new DSM-5.

  3. Those using populism to gain power are no less sociopathic. In fact, in recent years, the politician who best got that list is William Jefferson Clinton.

    However, there’s a different study the yields more light on the reality……Power itself reduces empathy……And that’s just the Tea Party or Republicans as some of the partisans might want to believe……If you want to seek power to make the world a better place, by the time you gain power your priorities often change. Power corrupts.

    http://www.npr.org/2013/08/10/210686255/a-sense-of-power-can-do-a-number-on-your-brain

  4. From Mac’s post above … I read the link and found the last sentence encouraging:

    “The good news, Keltner says, is an emerging field of research that suggests powerful people who begin to forget their subordinates can be coached back to their compassionate selves.”

    I know many “partners” of powerful people who have assumed that role in the relationship. There are many names for it … keeping one humble, saving the soul, the no-man/woman, even… the jester.

  5. Thank you for the definition. I have a neighbor who meets all ten criteria. I just thought he was wacky and intolerable and needed to be pushed off the boat dock. There is no longer a need to call him a itshayHead. He is the head of the class of sociopaths.

  6. Otteray Scribe 1, November 16, 2013 at 1:06 am

    Perhaps it would help if we explained the differences and similarities between the sociopathic and psychopathic personalities. Both represent aspects of the Antisocial Personality Disorder, as defined in the DSM. Generally speaking, the sociopath is less malignant than the psychopath. Whereas the true psychopath is functionally less capable of empathy, the sociopath can be empathic. Also, psychopathy is more likely to be hard wired and the result of genetics. Sociopathy is more likely to be a learned set of behaviors. The link above takes you to a side by side comparison of how the Antisocial Personality Disorder is defined by the DSM-IV and the new DSM-5.
    ===========================
    I hear that.

    Now hear this. ;)

    Mike S approached the subject from a global perspective, in more ways than one, in that he looked at it like a satellite orbiting a globe while taking pictures from many angles.

    Yet he and all of us have to use defective nomenclature sometimes, because our language and experience have not defined words well enough that our nomenclature strengthens our ability to express an analysis as clearly as we would like.

    I think you hit the nail on the head with the matter-of-degree and observable dynamic method of analysis.

    By that I mean, using Mike S‘s words as well as yours, I see the meaning of “selfish”, “sociopath”, and “psychopath” as places on a highway on a map of our individual private as well as our public lives.

    One progresses from selfish to sociopath to psychopath based upon one’s environment and the choices made while interacting with that environment.

    Even in the “hard science” physics “teleology” mucks up the nomenclature with both too-strict definitions mixed with loosy goosy definitions.

    It is a struggle to keep the nomenclature pure in most every discipline.

    But when we control our selfishness, which we all experience, then we can prevent our morph into a sociopath.

    If we don’t and consequently become a sociopath, there is still a chance to escape, via better choices, and go back to having a socially acceptable degree of selfishness.

    If we don’t go back to normal selfishness with a better choice regimen, but instead choose to remain a sociopath, then sooner or later we risk morphing into the degree of selfishness a psychopath inhabits.

    With no way back from there.

    So, “selfish”, “sociopath”, and “psychopath” are words in a nomenclature which describes a progression in an anti-social direction, which ends up hurting us as well as others.

    That is what Mike S is getting at, and the examples he utilized show us that our culture is developing and exhibiting a dangerous degree of selfishness.

  7. For less than $5, one can fill up a crock pot with nourishing staples and eat for an entire week. This is about the same amount of money that the government pisses away on a bag of potato chips for the poor. It’s no mystery that food prices doubled right after the government increased SMAP funding, or that healthcare costs have 10-folded since the 90s spending spree for Medicaid. Already, we’re seeing food prices decline as a consequence of government cuts. This translates into an income raise for every consumer, a loss for every greedy food corporation, headed by CEOs who dine on GMO-free food while jamming frankenfood down the necks of every consumer. The more you cut, the more you hurt these evil psychopaths, the more you benefit consumers

  8. He speaks pretty fast, but I found it interest, especially towards the back half with the footage of this police state training to kill zombies.

  9. 1. sociopathic and psychopathic individuals in positions of power.
    2. separation of people in ivory towers with the real world.
    3. hierarchal political system the promotes theft and coercion
    4. religiously taught self righteousness, cronyism, ostracism and promotion
    5. failing economic system – US losing world reserve currency status coupled with largest debt in world history.
    6. Unconstituted government. – The number of abrogations of our Constitution without proper Constitutional ratification.
    7. ______________________
    8. ______________________

    Fill in the blanks

    The reasons and explanations are obviously abbreviated.

  10. Dredd says: One progresses from selfish to sociopath to psychopath

    No. Psychopathy is essentially genetic; people are born without the ability to feel empathy, remorse, guilt or sympathy.

    One does not “progress” from sociopathy to psychopathy, any more than one progresses from having straight hair to wavy hair to curly hair. You can indeed arrange people’s natural hair shape on a spectrum based on the shape of the cross-section, that does not mean people with circular cross sections can progress toward more elliptical cross sections or vice versa.

    Selfishness and sociopathy are both malleable and may well be taught and untaught. Psychopathy is not, it is a mutation in the organization of the brain that is quite harmful to society but apparently quite beneficial to the reproductive success of those people born with it. Much like parasites can severely harm or kill their victim while wildly succeeding in their own reproductive goals.

  11. Mike,

    Do you think that Obama has any of the qualities you mentioned?

    Personally I have seen him have a “tendency” towards lying, murder and torture along with the willingness to impoverish a vast swash of our population.

    I do think of Obama as a conservative, but I don’t think things divide so easily into conservative and liberal at this time.

    If you can’t see the truth, you can’t confront it and you will never be able to oppose injustice.

  12. Tony C.,
    Thanks for fleshing out the comment I started last night. As you note, the psychopath is born that way. “Bad seed” genetics. The sociopath is usually a learned response. One can sometimes work with sociopaths, because any learned behavior can be unlearned, provided the subject is willing.

    Unfortunately, sociopathy often earns so many positive reinforcers in society that it is a hopeless task to try and modify their behaviors and belief systems. For example, they get elected to office, acquire money and power, get the nice homes, trophy wives (or husbands) and otherwise enjoy the perks of what is often criminal behavior.

    Dr. Stanton Samenow, author of Inside the Criminal Mind, points out that a true psychopath can often be identified as early as four years old. They are simply wired up wrong in the womb. While both can fit into the DSM diagnostic category of Antisocial Personality Disorder, the two conditions are different–not on a direct continuum.

  13. Mike,

    Excellent and thorough post about the richest of the “haves in this country!

    *****

    Walmart CEO’s Retirement Plan 6,200 Times Bigger Than Workers’ Plans: Study
    The Huffington Post | By Maxwell Strachan
    Posted: 11/15/2013
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/15/walmart-retirement-pension_n_4283341.html

    Excerpt:
    Think Walmart’s CEO-to-worker pay ratio is high? You ain’t seen nothing yet.

    Walmart CEO Mike Duke’s retirement package of more than $113 million is nearly 6,200 times bigger than the average 401(k) balance of a non-executive Walmart worker, which was $18,303, according to a new analysis by Dana Lime at NerdWallet, a personal finance site.

    That dwarfs Walmart’s infamous CEO-to-worker pay ratio, a source of controversy for the company in the past. Duke, who pulled in $20.7 million last year, made 305 times more than the typical Walmart manager and 836 times more than the median Walmart worker’s salary, according to the NerdWallet study. A separate report earlier this year by the salary information site PayScale pegged the CEO-to-worker pay ratio at 1,034.

  14. Samantha: The more you cut, the more you hurt these evil psychopaths, the more you benefit consumers

    You mean, the more you benefit consumers that do not need any help paying for food. The more you hurt those that do not have jobs and cannot afford to get jobs because they have others to care for. Like children, or disabled siblings or elderly parents suffering dementia that cannot be left alone. Minimum wage doesn’t pay enough to cover day care or a nursing home.

    By focusing on the middle class instead of the people the SNAP program is actually intended to help, you conclude that the middle class and above would be financially better off not helping the destitute, poor, unemployed, or mentally or physically disabled.

    Duh. None of us that advocate for SNAP ever said it would be free. I doubt you can actually produce 14,000 nutritious calories a week for $5. There may be alternative approaches that would produce drastic savings, but it will never be free to prevent starvation and malnutrition. The question isn’t what costs the average consumer the least while ignoring all consequences to the lower class. The majority of us are not willing to just let people in dire circumstances starve.

  15. Mike,

    Selfish? Sociopaths? Greedy pigs? A rose by any other name…

    Remember the Campaign to Fix the Debt? It’s an attempt to redistributie “wealth” in a reverse Robin Hood way:

    What You Should Know about the Campaign to Fix the Debt and the CEOs Involved in Deficit Talks
    http://jonathanturley.org/2012/12/10/what-you-should-know-about-the-campaign-to-fix-the-debt-and-the-ceos-involved-in-deficit-talks/

    Excerpt:
    Have you heard about the Campaign to Fix the Debt? It sounds like an initiative that our country needs at this time. Mark MacKenzie, president of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO, said the campaign “presents itself as a grassroots, bipartisan organization that is committed to lowering our debt. It sounds good, especially in today’s environment of extreme partisanship and political maneuvering.” Mackenzie warns, however, that Fix the Debt’s “major contribution to the conversation over the fiscal cliff is that while the George W. Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations should be off the table, Americans’ retirement security and health care most definitely should [not] be.”

    The Institute for Policy Studies claims that the Fix the Debt initiative is driven by business and is actually using the fear of going over the fiscal cliff “as a cover for tax-code changes that would damage our economy.” The institute found that Fix the Debt “has raised $60 million and recruited more than 80 CEOs of America’s most powerful corporations to lobby for a debt deal that would reduce corporate taxes and shift costs onto the poor and elderly.”

    Scott Klinger, co-author of a report produced by the institute titled The CEO Campaign to “Fix” the Debt said, “The ‘Fix the Debt’ CEOs are trying to pass themselves off as noble leaders who are willing to compromise in order to save America from financial ruin. In reality, the campaign is a Trojan horse concealing massive corporate tax breaks that would make our debt situation much worse.”

    Here are some of the findings of the institute’s report:

    – The 63 Fix the Debt companies that are publicly held stand to gain as much as $134 billion in windfalls if Congress approves one of their main proposals — a “territorial tax system.” Under this system, companies would not have to pay U.S. federal income taxes on foreign earnings when they bring the profits back to the United States.

    – The CEOs backing Fix the Debt personally received a combined total of $41 million in savings last year thanks to the Bush-era tax cuts. The top CEO beneficiary of the Bush tax cuts in 2011, Leon Black of Apollo Global Management, saved $9.9 million on the Bush tax cuts. The private equity fund leader reaped $215 million in taxable income last year just from vested stock.

    – Of the 63 Fix the Debt CEOs at publicly held firms, 24 received more in compensation last year than their corporations paid in federal corporate income taxes. All but six of these firms reported U.S. profits last year.

    The Institute for Policy Studies says that “corporations leading this campaign are contributing to Americans’ retirement insecurity by funneling enormous sums into their CEO retirement accounts while underfunding their employee pension funds.” It released another report titled A Pension Deficit Disorder: The Massive CEO Retirement Funds and Underfunded Worker Pensions at Firms Pushing Social Security Cuts.

  16. Mike S.,

    I don’t know why, but I thought about the book that I read a long time ago, ‘Not in Our Genes: Biology, Ideology, and Human Nature’ (1984) by Lewontin, Rose, & Kamin, when I read your article.

    OS,

    There is an ongoing debate about psychopathy’s genetic standing. Environmental factors do play a significant role……

    Dredd,

    Really? Does the DSM 5 state that there is a progression from selfishness, to sociopath, then to pyshcopath? Or is this your humble, IMO? I am not critizing, just wanting to know?

  17. So many pithy comments makes my response hard to choose. OS does indeed have it right that psychopaths are born, whereas sociopaths are created via their environment (broadly speaking). Dredd gets it that my point was more global than the psychology of it alone. Jill’s question on the President also ties in nicely, because I tend to agree with Mac’s statement that “power decreases empathy”, which I would deem true except in the case of the most extraordinary of humans.

    To further elaborate on Jill’s question, I believe that the act of running for high office itself tends to corrupt people, as does obtaining that object of desire. As my father used to put it “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Considering the platform Obama initially ran on and his performance since, I think one can see that he has fallen afoul of the peril of political power. Yet I think his behavior is somewhat of an enigma because he is a person occupying a high office, who hasn’t understood how to use the power of that office positively to effect some of his failed campaign promises/premises.

    The corruption of power is I think the curse of trying to run a democratic society. The nature of a political campaign is such that the candidate becomes swept up in the frenzy of winning and can easily lose the sense of what caused them to run in the first place. In my only political candidacy for the Presidency of my Union, I became so hungry for victory that I found myself selling out many of the ideals that caused me to run in the first place. After my loss, which was devastating I re-examined in my mind what happened and who I had become during my run. I felt shamed, embarrassed and chastened by the “campaign person” I had allowed myself to become. Consequently, I gave up any aspirations I had regarding a carer in politics.

    Admittedly, this is a personal insight that I began to apply to my observations of the political process. However, since afterward it led me to my own psychotherapy to begin to understand my behavior and later to becoming a psychotherapist, I think there is some validity to viewing my experience macro-cosmically. For most of us chasing the chance at “victory” and “success” can lead us down a sociopathic path if we are not aware, which gets back to my main point. What is being done to our society by certain people is so damaging for the overwhelming majority of us, that it really doesn’t matter how we clinically define them. The outcome of their actions can be harmfully sociopathic, even if they are personally “nice” people.

  18. “Already, we’re seeing food prices decline as a consequence of government cuts. This translates into an income raise for every consumer, a loss for every greedy food corporation, headed by CEOs who dine on GMO-free food while jamming frankenfood down the necks of every consumer. The more you cut, the more you hurt these evil psychopaths, the more you benefit consumers”

    Samantha,

    A tactically brilliant, but factually flawed justification for these draconian cuts.
    If I ever got caught on videotape murdering someone, I would want someone with your mindset defending me. It rises to the level of the case of the child who murdered his parents and threw himself on the mercy of the court as an orphan.

    Your premise is I take it, that these SNAP cuts were made to help poor people and punish agri-business. How noble of the Republicans.

  19. Mike S.,

    We cut money to the SNAP program for the poor–but have no problem giving farm subsidies to billionaires.

    *****
    Forbes Billionaires Reaped Millions in Farm Subsidies
    Founders of Microsoft, Chick-fil-A, DISH Network, and Charles Schwab Corp., among recipients
    11/7/13
    http://www.ewg.org/release/forbes-billionaires-reaped-millions-farm-subsidies

    Excerpt:
    Washington, D.C. – At least 50 billionaires or farm businesses in which they had a financial interest benefited from $11.3 million in traditional farm subsidies between 1995 and 2012, according to a new analysis released today by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Congress, meanwhile, has proposed changes to the federal farm bill that could well increase their haul of taxpayer dollars.

    The billionaires profiting from farm subsidies were identified by matching the September 2013 Forbes 400 list, which ranks the richest Americans by their net worth, with EWG’s Farm Subsidy Database, which tracks farm subsidy spending by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    The list of billionaires who cashed in on farm subsidies includes:

    – Paul Allen (Net worth: $15.8 billion), co-founder of Microsoft
    – Charles Ergen (Net worth: $12.5 billion), co-founder of DISH Network
    – Philip Anschutz (Net worth: $10.3 billion), owner of Anschutz Entertainment Group and co-founder of Major League Soccer
    – Leonard Lauder (Net worth: $7.6 billion), former CEO of the Estee Lauder Companies Inc.
    – Jim Kennedy (Net worth: $6.7 billion), chairman of Cox Enterprises
    S. Truett Cathy (Net worth: $6 billion), founder of Chick-fil-A
    – Leslie Wexner (Net worth: $5.7 billion), CEO of L Brands Inc., which owns Victoria’s Secret
    – Charles Schwab (Net worth: $5.1 billion), founder of brokerage firm Charles Schwab Corporation
    – Penny Pritzker (Net worth: $2.2 billion), U.S. Secretary of Commerce

  20. It’s quite easy to perceive of laborers as the makers and the wealthy as the takers. We need to more widely use those terms in that context.

  21. Samantha,

    What Tony said (I really want to agree with Mike S, but he is too harsh on you. Mike S., assumes that you know what it is like to live in poverty or in a low-income status. Therefore, these lazy, rich off of welfare sociopaths, should be looking forward to minimun wage jobs or something else. I will give you the chance to explain why you think taking away $36 a month from the poor is helping to trim the imaginary federal deficit).

  22. Tony C. 1, November 16, 2013 at 8:32 am

    Dredd says: One progresses from selfish to sociopath to psychopath

    No. Psychopathy is essentially genetic; people are born without the ability to feel empathy, remorse, guilt or sympathy.

    ====================================
    Your self-authentication is outdated once again:

    As you can see in the video … Dr. James Fallon informs us that he is arguably a “successful psychopath”, and that he was informed that he is a sociopath because of some of his behavioral characteristics, genetic map, and revelations via PET scans.

    Never-the-less he says, he is an average good guy, and I believe it.

    I think this because he knows that our genetic theories are half-baked, and that knowledge in this area is growing by leaps and bounds away from conventional teaching …

    (One Man’s Junk Gene Is Another Man’s Treasure Gene?). Check out an expert’s lecture on the issue:

  23. Great job Mike. The amazing part of this to me is that the same people who claim that programs like SNAP are harming the poor by making them dependent have no qualms about accepting the government’s largesse for their companies and farms, as Elaine’s links pointed out. Hypocrisy, to say the least.

  24. Otteray Scribe 1, November 16, 2013 at 9:19 am


    Thanks for fleshing out the comment I started last night. As you note, the psychopath is born that way. “Bad seed” genetics.

    ===========================
    That is not the case according to these experts:

    00:00 – “One of the most crazy making yet widespread and potentially dangerous notions is ‘oh that behavior is genetic'” (Dr. Sapolsky).

    01:00 – “nothing is geneticaly programmed” (Dr. Maté).

    01:30 – “the whole search for the source of disease in the genome was destined to failure before anyone even thought of it” (Dr. Maté).

    02:24 – “some of the early childhood influences … affect gene expression, actually turning on and off different genes to put you on a different developmental track” (Dr. Wilkinson).

    02:45 – “[childhood] abuse actually caused a genetic change in the brain” (Dr. Maté).

    03:28 – “a few thousand individuals were studied from birth up into their twenties, what they found was that they could identify a genetic mutation, an abnormal gene which did have some relation to the predisposition to commit violence, but only if the individual had also been subjected to severe child abuse” (Dr. Gilligan).

    05:30 – “run with the old version of ‘its genetic’ and its not that far from history of Eugenics, and things of that sort, and it is a widespread miscoception and a potentially dangerous one” (Dr. Sapolsky).

    05:44 – “one reason that the sort of biological explanation for violence, one reason that hypothesis is potentially dangerous, it is not just misleading, it can really do harm, is because if you believe that, you can very easily say ‘well there’s nothing we can do to change the predisposition people have to becoming violent, all we can do if someone becomes violent is punish them, lock them up or execute them, but we don’t need to worry about changing the social environment that may lead people to become violent, because that’s irrelevant'” (Dr. Wilkinson).

    06:28 – “the genetic argument allows us the luxury of ignoring past and present historical and social factors. In the words of Louis Menand who wrote in the New Yorker very astutely:

    “It’s all in the genes”: an explanation for the way things are that does not threaten the way things are. Why should someone feel unhappy or engage in antisocial behavior when that person is living in the freest and most prosperous nation on Earth? It can’t be the system! There must be a flaw in the wiring somewhere.”

    … which is a good way to put it. So the genetic argument is simply a cop-out that allows us to ignore the social and economic and political factors that in fact underlie many troublesome behaviors” (Dr. Maté).

    07:25 – “addictions are usually considered to be a drug related issue, but looking at it more broadly, I find that addiction is any behavior that is associated with craving for temporary relief and with long term negative consequences along with an impairment of control over it so that the person wishes to give it up or promises to, but can’t follow through” (Dr. Maté).

    08:10 – “The addiction to oil … at least to the wealth and to the products made accessible to us by oil … look at the negative consequences on the environment we are destroying the very Earth that we inhabit for the sake of that addiction. Now these addictions are far more devastating in the social consequences than the cocaine or heroin habits of my … patients. Yet they are rewarded and considered to be respectable. The tobacco company executive that shows a higher profit will get a much bigger reward … doesn’t face any negative consequences legally or otherwise … in fact is a respected member of the board of several other corporations … but tobacco smoke related diseases kill 5.5 million people around the world every year. In the United States they kill 400,000 people a year” (Dr. Maté).

    09:05 – “And these people are addicted to what? To profit, to such a degree are they addicted that they are actually in denial about the impact of their activities, which is typical for addicts, is denial. And that is the respectable one. It is respectable to be addicted to profit no matter what the cost. So what is acceptable and what is respectable is a highly arbitrary phenomenon in our society. And it seems like the greater the harm the more respectable the addiction” (Dr. Maté).

    09:35 – “There is a general myth that drugs in themselves are addictive, in fact the “War on Drugs” is predicated on the idea that if you interdict the sources of drugs you can deal with addiction that way. Now, if you understand addiction in the broader sense we see that nothing in itself is addictive. No substance, no drug is by itself addictive. And no behavior is by itself addictive” (Dr. Maté).

    (The It’s In Your Genes Myth). The video I indexed about is here:

  25. Otteray Scribe 1, November 16, 2013 at 9:19 am


    Dr. Stanton Samenow, author of Inside the Criminal Mind,

    ===========================
    Thanks for citing experts so I can tell where you are coming from (other than your own opinion).

    That book was published in 1984.

  26. Excellent piece, Mike. Once people get past a certain power level, others become afraid to tell them, “N-O”. Or in America’s case, “we’re seating grand juries.”

  27. RWL 1, November 16, 2013 at 10:14 am


    Dredd,

    Really? Does the DSM 5 state that there is a progression from selfishness, to sociopath, then to pyshcopath? Or is this your humble, IMO? I am not critizing, just wanting to know?
    =========================
    Nomenclature is the issue you address.

    “Selfish”, “sociopath” and “psychopath” will not mean the same thing in a professionally developed nomenclature.

    Here is a forensic psychiatry blog discussion:

    The age old debate of psychopathy versus sociopathy is not one that can be answered easily. This is mainly because the words are often used interchangeably, and even when the terms are clearly defined by one scholar, another may disagree and choose to use the term in an entirely different fashion. Looking up these terms in dictionaries can lead to more confusion as the definition for psychopathy may include the word sociopathy in its description and vice versa!

    While I realize that contributing another discussion on this subject will not close the broader argument, I think it will help clarify how I use the terms here on the Forensic Focus blog, which will, at the very least, hopefully help readers understand what I am referring to. I try to use research as my guide in defining and applying these terms to my discussions, rather than the popular usage that is sometimes tossed about in the media.

    (Sociopathy vs. Psychopathy). It is a bit like the “teleology” problem in evolutionary biology which led to the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis, a decade-long attempt to clean up the nomenclature evolutionary biologists misused.

  28. Mike S writes:

    “#10) Sociopaths are delusional and literally believe that what they say becomes truth

    The subjectivity comes in trying to determine whether a given person is incapable of feeling guilt, shame, remorse and is delusional. A trained clinician may be able to do this via an intensive interview, but the nature of this disorder is such that even a trained clinician can be fooled by a sociopath.

    My question is “how would this differ with a psychopath”?

  29. How are we to know if one person is willing to work harder than another and how are we to know if one person does not wish to work as hard as another. I have worked with many people throughout my life and there are those that are willing to work much harder than others and their are lazy people that are the takers. Wealth does not necessarily have anything to do with the equation. Some people are just born into wealth and do not know any better and some people are just willing to work their asses off. There are givers and takers at all levels of the socio-economic scale.

  30. We are told, and seem to understand, that feeding animals in National Parks is illegal because it makes the animals dependent and @ risk to starve in the winter when there are no humans to feed them. Now, I have said I support SNAP and know there are people who need assistance, particularly children. And, I’m a person who believes people are more important than animals. That said, if you don’t think we are making many people dependent, just like wildlife in National Parks, then you’re just denying reality. The question that needs to be asked is what type of political sociopath wants to make people dependent upon them for food, and what is their motivation.

  31. hskiprob,

    “There are givers and takers at all levels of the socio-economic scale.”

    True. But why do we have so many extremely wealthy people in this country who keep trying to cut themselves ever bigger slices of the financial pie–to the detriment of many average hardworking folks? These members of the 1% are already financially secure and don’t need more money to keep themselves in their luxurious multi-home lifestyles.

  32. nick spinelli 1, November 16, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    … That said, if you don’t think we are making many people dependent, just like wildlife in National Parks, then you’re just denying reality. The question that needs to be asked is what type of political sociopath wants to make people dependent upon them for food, and what is their motivation.
    ============================
    The most dependent are those who do not need the help but take it in the trillions anyway (big military, big pharma, big agriculture, big oil, big chemical, etc.).

    What was that about “straining at a gnat but swallowing a camel”?

  33. Dredd, I rail against military waste all the time and I know it is exponentially more money. However, I’m not talking money. I say spend ALL THE MONEY NEEDED to help people who need it.

  34. hskiprob 1, November 16, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    Everyone tries to maximize their wealth. That is not necessarily greed.

    *****

    When you’re attempting to take away/minimize Social Security, Medicare, and other benefits that the less wealthy depend upon in order to enrich yourself–I’d call that greed.

  35. We’ve all known people that like to collect things. We humans collect all kinds of things, old cars, pickups, train, planes, bottles of hot sauce, shoes, everything.

    I knew a lady that collected shoes, I think she had about 4-500 pairs before she stopped.

    What would we think of her behavior if she’d collected 5000? 500,000?

    What if she had collected 50 billion pairs?

    What if in order to maintain a growing collection of shoes she started stealing from people, committing financial frauds of all kinds & knowingly having people murdered all so she could keep her collection & keep it getting bigger

    What if she had collected 1.7 Trillion pairs of shoes & had borrowed 79 Trillion $$$ by the use of fraudulent financial securities?

    Would you hang out with that kind of lady, the shoe collector?

    What if the collector was a collector of dollar bills & their names where Warren Buffet, the Koch Brothers, Jamie Dimon, the owners of Wal Mart Monstanto, etc….

    Would you really hangout/do business with those type of people/corporations?

    Didn’t we as a nation used to bring lunatics like that up on criminal charges?

    I’ve seen the definitions of what sociopathic and psychopathic were many times & I’ve let them fade away the past few years.

    The reason for forgetting was only interested in tracking one, the sociopath. And someone I know is related to a Wallst/DC type family with an extra large number of current & past known sociopaths from that family.

    He’s been engaged in fighting against them most of his life & his definition of what they are, what a sociopath is very simple:

    Sociopath: A person that would put their own mother in a microwave oven & turn it on just to make a buck.

    That’s the definition I think I’ll keep using.

  36. Hope you’all find time catch Prof. Turley’s comments from the other day.

    JT’s using the written/spoken word to convince the rational to maintain the Rule of Law.

    Most all of us argue for the same.

    The trouble is the key players we are arguing against are ill-rational & they will remain so.

    Just like back in school days when we attempted to reason with the school yard bullies not to beat us up. And just like then some of us now will figure out a way to stop those bullies.

    **Oky1 1, November 16, 2013 at 6:27 am **

    http://jonathanturley.org/2013/11/15/the-fix-is-in-can-president-obama-grant-an-effective-aca-waiver-to-millions-of-disgruntled-citizens/#comment-699427

  37. The Rules of Law has long ago been thrown out by the ruling oligarchy. All one must do is go down the list of Bill or Rights and seen how many Constitutional protections have been unlawfully abrogated.

  38. hskiprob 1, November 16, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    Yes. If I think it is better to teach a person how to fish rather than give him a fish, I’m greedy?

    *****

    How did you infer that from what I wrote?

  39. nick spinelli 1, November 16, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    Dredd, I rail against military waste all the time and I know it is exponentially more money. However, I’m not talking money. I say spend ALL THE MONEY NEEDED to help people who need it.

    Big Pharma is one of my pet peeves, we’ve discussed that several times.
    =====================
    A man after my own heart.

  40. **“Scrooge has come early this year. We’re kicking our Tiny Tim’s. This holiday season, kids in America’s poorest families are going to have less to eat. November 1 brought $5 billion in new cuts to the nation’s food stamp program, now officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. **

    Yes Mike S,

    It’s despicable & there are those doing it here in Oklahoma associated with the tea party. Karl Rove/Koch Bros wing I guess, rotten aholes whom ever they are because the same time they’re give more tax breaks to major corps! Creeps!

  41. ‘We are told, and seem to understand, that feeding animals in National Parks is illegal because it makes the animals dependent”

    Strange analogy from someone with sympathy.

  42. The luddites in the House who are waging a war on the poor and middle class, basically and inter alia, have a problem with nomenclature on another issue too (How Fifth Graders Calculate Ice Volume – 2).

    “Extent” cannot mean both “square” and “cubic” at any time, especially at the same time.

    If you don’t know what cubic is you are going to be square.

    Sociopath and psychopath cannot mean the same thing either.

    Why is one molecular machine driven (genetic) and the other not?

    The same behavior described by two different words for clarity’s sake?

    Yeah, that’s the ticket.

  43. hskiprob 1, November 16, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    Yes. If I think it is better to teach a person how to fish rather than give him a fish, I’m greedy?
    ==========================
    No, but very unaware.

    There are no fish to catch, and you should know that.

    You are cruel, then, not greedy.

    Big difference.

  44. Oky1 1, November 16, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    That’s the definition I think I’ll keep using.
    ======================
    Fine.

    You are not a licensed professional.

  45. Mike Spindell
    1, November 16, 2013 at 2:46 pm
    ‘We are told, and seem to understand, that feeding animals in National Parks is illegal because it makes the animals dependent”

    Strange analogy from someone with sympathy.

    *****

    And from someone who claims to support the SNAP program.

    What makes people dependent upon programs like food stamps is poor wages and lack of jobs.

  46. Somebody please help this poor ignorant soul. Dredd, this is a metaphor for teaching people how to do a job and care for themselves. If we stopped taxing the poor and middle class they will once again, as they once did in this country, take care of themselves. I have taken care of a severely mentally challenged brother for all my life and telling me I’m cruel, when you no nothing about me makes you the cruel piece of shit. I just got back for the hospital taken a friend of the family some necessities.

    My grandmother came to this country in 1903 at the age of 3, no father, not welfare and very little money. Her mother and 5 other siblings all under the age of 18, lived in a cabin in MN and all lived past the age of 90. People of course paid little in taxation and therefore they could care for them selves. The government did not give welfare to anyone because America believed in the protection of individual rights. It obviously wasn’t perfect but it was obviously better than it is today for the majority with over 48 million people requiring government assistance just to be able to feed themselves.

  47. ** Dredd 1, November 16, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    Oky1 1, November 16, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    That’s the definition I think I’ll keep using.
    ======================
    Fine.

    You are not a licensed professional.**

    Dredd,

    Please inform me when a “Licensed Professional” bags one of those thieven, raping, murdering Wallst/City of London Bank/Insurance co aholes & gets him behind bars for an extended period of time & I’ll sing high praise of that “Licensed Professional”.

    In the mean time I & others will continue to attempt to chase those Commie/Nazi basstard down without a global govt hunting permit.

    I’m not write here today to take the APA to task though it’s easy to do.
    I appreciate OS’s efforts here & I see he’s doing a pretty fair job at holding the APA’s feet to the fire.

  48. Dredd,
    You have no idea where I am coming from. I am now in my fifth decade of working with all kinds of socially deviant criminal types. I think by now I no longer qualify as a dilettante, unlike some folks around here.

    I cited Samenow, and it is true that he first published “Inside the Criminal Mind” in 1984. That book was based on an earlier work by Samenow and Yochelson about how criminals think, published as a massive two-volume set, “The Criminal Personality.” I have both volumes. After Dr. Yochelson died, Samenow continued their research into how criminals think. Samenow revised and updated “Inside the Criminal Mind” in 2004, to reflect the latest research findings and thinking in the area. I have that volume as well.

  49. The poor economy is indeed a major factor in people needing SNAP. So are disabilities, elderly w/o pension and/or no SS, etc.. However, there are people who fit the National Park analogy I gave. Some folks don’t see it, or want to see it. Most people see it and get the analogy. C’est la vie.

  50. Mike S,

    Excellent piece of work you’ve done, as usual.

    One thing that stands out to me is the Tparty, their words & their actions.

    We all know politicians of all strips lie to We the People all the time.

    It’s interesting to me the difference of Former Rep., Dr Ron Pauls long held political positions as I’ve often noted that I & others support most of those positions. IE: 66-75% of them.

    From remembering back his words claim he doesn’t support harming the poor’s food benefits, SSI & Medicare, etc.

    He does go on to say he would support debate on finding ways to reform those bureaucracies suppling the benefits.

    What stands out to me is the huge difference between the original Tparty type guy Ron Paul set against the positions of those claiming to be following in his foot steps.

    Even his own son Rand Paul seems to be morphing away from his dad’s positions. I assume Rand is doing so to broaden his political alliances into a national power base.

    (Gerry Falwell’s so called University, please Rand, really, you’re that desperate to win?)

  51. OS,

    btw, I’m haven’t finished yet with the dsm.pdf you provide. I was just part of the way though & was thinking my definition just simplified what the APA had written.

    You sourced your material on this issue, where as I choose not to.

  52. Otteray Scribe 1, November 16, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    Dredd,
    You have no idea where I am coming from … I cited Samenow, and it is true that he first published “Inside the Criminal Mind” in 1984 … Samenow revised and updated “Inside the Criminal Mind” in 2004 … I have that volume as well…
    ===================================
    The problem with the U.S. political dynamics involved in this Mike S post, is that individual psychology is conflated with the group psychology which Freud spoke of.

    That is a problem because the group psychology which Freud spoke of has not yet been developed, even though this Mike S post alludes to group delusion.

    As it must in this context I would add.

    But the group psychology Freud spoke of is not favored:

    If the evolution of civilization has such a far reaching similarity with the development of an individual, and if the same methods are employed in both, would not the diagnosis be justified that many systems of civilization——or epochs of it——possibly even the whole of humanity——have become neurotic under the pressure of the civilizing trends? To analytic dissection of these neuroses, therapeutic recommendations might follow which could claim a great practical interest. I would not say that such an attempt to apply psychoanalysis to civilized society would be fanciful or doomed to fruitlessness. But it behooves us to be very careful, not to forget that after all we are dealing only with analogies, and that it is dangerous, not only with men but also with concepts, to drag them out of the region where they originated and have matured. The diagnosis of collective neuroses, moreover, will be confronted by a special difficulty. In the neurosis of an individual we can use as a starting point the contrast presented to us between the patient and his environment which we assume to be normal. No such background as this would be available for any society similarly affected; it would have to be supplied in some other way. And with regard to any therapeutic application of our knowledge, what would be the use of the most acute analysis of social neuroses, since no one possesses power to compel the community to adopt the therapy? In spite of all these difficulties, we may expect that one day someone will venture upon this research into the pathology of civilized communities.

    Men have brought their powers of subduing the forces of nature to such a pitch that by using them they could now very easily exterminate one another to the last man. They know this——hence arises a great part of their current unrest, their dejection, their mood of apprehension.

    (MOMCOM’s Mass Suicide & Murder Pact – 5). Well, that makes one thing clear … why society has not developed what Freud envisioned, and hinted was a real need.

    It is an inconvenient psychology, so, next …

  53. nick spinelli 1, November 16, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    The poor economy is indeed a major factor in people needing SNAP. So are disabilities, elderly w/o pension and/or no SS, etc.. However, there are people who fit the National Park analogy I gave. Some folks don’t see it, or want to see it. Most people see it and get the analogy. C’est la vie.
    =========================
    So, are you in search of the “there are people” people, or have you found them?

    “Most people see it and get the analogy.”

    Sounds like you have some convincing numbers.

    Care to smoke ’em with us?

  54. **Mr. Turley talks about “calling things by their right name” as a definition of wisdom. Then this word game on contracts is Orwellian. **

    Nick S, points this out from another thread.

    And I agree with JT & Mike S on this issue.

    All I can do is to trust what my personal opinion is based on the info I have at the time.

    The alien creatures I’m speaking of are not low level socially deviant criminal types. They are the small group of the worst of the worst that set at the very top of what’s commonly know as the elite class.

    The only studies I’ve seen are from 1st hand accounts from those directly involved in dealing with them.

    These people are not like the search for the Zodic killer/killers/Son of Sam, Jack the Riper type, they’re a far worst public menace & we know their names & yet they continue to freely walk among us.

  55. sociopaths are usually uneducated, unemployed people who do NOT try to ingratiate themselves to those whom they wish to hurt. They act whenever they feel they’ve been insulted. they tend to be loners with few friends.

    psychopaths are usually educated, employed, and spend a lot of time trying to gain the trust of their intended victim. UNLIKE sociopaths, they carefully plan their attacks. Socopaths act on the spur of the moment.

  56. **by Effie Orfanides – in 40 Google+ circles
    Nov 7, 2013 – A new body part has been discovered by doctors in Belgium. … See also. Top News. Two Belgian surgeons have discovered a new human … **

    https://www.google.com/search?q=news%2C+Doctors+find+a+new+body+part

    While we’re entertaining the issue of what the difference between a sociopath and psychopath is I’ll throw this out for OS, et al.

    As noted in the news above the medical community isn’t closed to new discoveries, ie: they just found a new body part on humans. Same with the APA, they change definitions all the time.

    I also often see people brag in public that they are proud to be greedy, I hope they are not trying to impress me & really just how greedy are they?

    This is from a personal experience, as I’ve mentioned I used to enjoy raising German Shepards, still do if I could.

    I noticed one day what I believe is the difference was between a sociopath, psychopath & a normal person is.

    1. A psychopath is someone who will kill a box full of puppies for no reason at all because he’s a bat sheeet crazy lunatic.

    2. A sociopath is someone just as much of a crazy lunatic as a psychopath, but he can control himself & he kills the box full of puppies for no other reason then the greed of making money from it. He understands exactly what he did & why.

    3. A normal doesn’t want to kill the box full of puppies for any reason, but after taken the pups to a vet finds out that a dog disease has infected the pups & the property. The pups will die a slow & painful death anyway so the owner, with great sadness has to decide to be merciful & put the pups down.

    I still feel sad about the pups, but that’s life.

    Some could claim my opinion is anecdotal, yes but that’s what my research & personal experiences leave me believing.

  57. OS,

    I’m amusing myself with my thoughts on my handling of this issue.

    I’m writing what my opinion is 1st & then going back & checking other info hoping I’m somewhere in the ball park on small important prices of it.

    Please don’t let me work on your airplane engine using this method of bolting the parts together 1st & then later checking the assembly instructions after you’ve taken off. :)

  58. Oky1 1, November 16, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    OS,

    I’m amusing myself with my thoughts on my handling of this issue.

    I’m writing what my opinion is 1st & then going back & checking other info hoping I’m somewhere in the ball park on small important prices of it.

    Please don’t let me work on your airplane engine using this method of bolting the parts together 1st & then later checking the assembly instructions after you’ve taken off. :)
    ======================
    Yep.

    Just imagine the nomenclature.

  59. Note this:

    Contemporary understanding of the pervasive interplay of genetic and environmental influences in determining behavioral outcomes of various kinds argues against the likelihood that any psychiatric condition, including psychopathy, is entirely “born” or “made.” Rather, based on what is known about related conditions, it seems likely that (a) psychopathy has multiple etiologies and (b) constitutional influences will both shape and be shaped by environmental influences (Waldman & Rhee, 2006).

    (Sage Journals, “Psychopathic Personality, Bridging the Gap Between Scientific Evidence and Public Policy“). It is not so that the psychopaths who make their way into government, then oppress the weak, are born that way in terms of genetics.

    The astute doctors who are practitioners, which I posted videos of up-thread (Dr. Fallows, Dr. Maté, Dr. Wilkinson. Dr. Sapolsky, Dr. Gilligan), indicate that psychopaths are not born that way because of genetic configuration.

    Which means that our society develops them, beginning with how mothers take care of the fetus, how the world treats them, and their personal individual choice and practices during their life.

    It is all “fixable” in other words.

    A kinder, gentler nation will have fewer psychopaths.

  60. Mike S posited an alternate view:

    Rather than argue back and forth about the negative effects of CEO sociopaths on this society as the root of so much dysfunction, my readings this week suggest another theory that would provide a simpler explanation of why it seems that so many in this country have so little compassion and empathy for the less fortunate among us.

    The photos show people who are experiencing power, by wealth, and by being in a government office.

    Two recent studies indicate that education and exposure to power will alter the person’s brain or mind:

    Even the smallest dose of power can change a person. You’ve probably seen it. Someone gets a promotion or a bit of fame and then, suddenly, they’re a little less friendly to the people beneath them.

    So here’s a question that may seem too simple: Why?

    If you ask a psychologist, he or she may tell you that the powerful are simply too busy. They don’t have the time to fully attend to their less powerful counterparts.

    But if you ask Sukhvinder Obhi, a neuroscientist at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, Canada, he might give you another explanation: Power fundamentally changes how the brain operates.

    Obhi and his colleagues, Jeremy Hogeveen and Michael Inzlicht, have a new study showing evidence to support that claim.

    In 1776, Adam Smith famously wrote: “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we can expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.”

    Economists have run with this insight for hundreds of years, and some experts think they’ve run a bit too far. Robert Frank, an economist at Cornell, believes that his profession is squashing cooperation and generosity. And he believes he has the evidence to prove it.

    (Abiotic Evolution: Can It Explain An Origin For The Toxins of Power? – 2). The two separate studies offer another view of how the brain changes in a particular educational environment as well as an environment of power.

    The old adage “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” comes to mind.

  61. The inclusion of Donald Trump in the mix of sociopaths was misplaced. He is one or two up the alphabet so to speak and is a psychopath. A psychopath is further down the insanity trail so to speak and must be handled with handcuffs and leg chains. That is why he is called The Donald. He is one of a kind in NYC and not to be immolated. Mutilated maybe.

  62. After growing up in a wealthy family Chris Hedges now has this perspective:

    The inability to grasp the pathology of our oligarchic rulers is one of our gravest faults. We have been blinded to the depravity of our ruling elite by the relentless propaganda of public relations firms that work on behalf of corporations and the rich. Compliant politicians, clueless entertainers and our vapid, corporate-funded popular culture, which holds up the rich as leaders to emulate and assures us that through diligence and hard work we can join them, keep us from seeing the truth.

    (Truth Dig, emphasis added). More argument for the germ theory of government perhaps.

  63. Dredd, you appear to have some keen insights into the socio-economics of our world, like the post above but then you sometimes say things that contradict that insight. We both know that we have been bombarded by various political memes, and yet you seem to fall prey to some of them. I’ll be more specific as I read your future posts. I don’t want to go back and uncover them.

  64. @Dredd, It just like that comment you made to me yesterday, I believe and give a lot to the less privileged I just don’t want government making those decisions for me using my money.

  65. hskiprob,

    I tend to quote experts and yes sometimes they have differing views which conflict to some degree.

    But I share the sources so you and others can know for yourselves.

    My knowledge or opinion alone is not intended to be either ultimately persuasive.

    Or offensive.

  66. “A kinder, gentler nation will have fewer psychopaths.”

    You mean, as in enslave me to pay for the health care of a junk-food nation?

  67. “Your premise is I take it, that these SNAP cuts were made to help poor people and punish agri-business. How noble of the Republicans.”

    Actually, my promise is that if you get rid of the big-business, big-government psychopaths, you get rid of the inflation that destroys families and children. In rural Ukraine, for example, where kitchen-gardens supply 90 percent of nourishment for all families, there is little need for a predatory healthcare industry. Likewise, there is no need for a greedy insurance industry (government hospitals, like police agencies and public roads, serve everyone). Nor a legal system infested with vampires. It goes on. All this translates into an economy where everything cost 10 cents on the dollar compared to the US. Of course, this is all rapidly changing as psychopath have been hard at work transforming Ukraine into a Western economy model, eventually emslaving every producer to support the yeast-like expansion of psychopaths and predators.

  68. Skip,

    “Somebody please help this poor ignorant soul.”
    ————————————–

    You could help us help you by making more sense when you post. I’m sure you’re clear on your meanings when you write, but it’s not always the case for the rest of us.

    Here’s something I did get, though, and it’s a point your friend DavidM made on another thread, which is how your grandmother came to this country, orphaned with no support system, and lived to a ripe old age, doing just fine without any of the social safety measures that higher taxes support. DavidM claims that he lived on a food budget of $7 a week and survived perfectly well.

    You know, people managed to survive the atom bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and lived for many years to tell about it. But just because someone survived an atomic bomb doesn’t mean we should put anyone else through that experience.

    Your grandma lived long. Now, it could have been genetics or it could have been due to living in a cold weather climate, where live expectancy has been shown to be higher, but there’s no telling how much better her life would have been if there had been a better social system in place. Ironically, 1903 was a time when there was a great deal of agitation for social programs in this country.

    I think your like one of these snotty rich kids who’s had it easy for so long that you take the security and stability of our social systems for granted; you’ve not only forgotten what the struggle was about, you’ve forgotten there was a need for struggle.

  69. hskiprob: Yes. If I think it is better to teach a person how to fish rather than give him a fish, I’m greedy?

    Yes. Is there a reason you cannot do both, feed somebody so they don’t starve while teaching them to fish? Why is it one or the other?

    Besides, part of what we “liberals” want to do is make education free, which is precisely “teaching them to fish,” but the selfish routinely condemn free public education as theft, too.

    As a liberal, I think all sorts of trade schools should be free, paid for by the public; we all benefit from a stronger economy and less desperation if everybody can learn to do what they want to do and are best at. How is teaching somebody to weld different than teaching them to fish? Or teaching somebody how to safely operate a bulldozer, or build a cabinet?

    And while we are teaching them to fish, wouldn’t that be pointless if they cannot afford to eat, and cannot afford to attend class because they are to busy stacking boxes to earn money for food and shelter?

    You can (metaphorically speaking) teach them to fish and give them fish to eat, and in the end increase the total supply of caught fish, and make fish cheaper, and make them more productive and good tax payers so your share of “teaching them to fish” is minimized by a larger pool of skilled fisherman that contribute with you, and therefore a much smaller pool of unskilled people that need to be fed.

    The way to minimize the welfare we have to pay a generation from now, and for all generations, is to strategically pay more welfare now that acts as an investment in future self-sufficiency.

  70. 50 years of social programs:
    U.S.: 49.7 Million Are Now Poor, and 80% of the Total Population Is Near Poverty.

    Yea happy; Socialism and Communism has never worked and they will never work. A pig is still a pig no matter how you try to dress it and thinking that “you” and your gang of morons can macro manage the economic affairs of a entire society takes a fool. You and your cronies fit the bill. At least your starting to get bits and pieces of the puzzle. Just remember, there is nothing worse than an old warn out socialist trying to convince the world that statism and the redistribution of wealth is the great savior of our world.

    You are the ones that need to be taught how to fish or else you’ll end up like the 50 million above. I’m already because I’m unwilling to suck off the tit of labor of other people. I’d rather be poor than be a part of the den of thieves.

  71. hskip:

    the trade schools would be good but the jobs are all overseas now.

    Although good jobs like welder and machinist are going begging.

  72. Skip,

    You’re hilarious. Most socialist countries are doing better than the U.S. by any standard you want to measure them by.

    Except perhaps ignorance, but you seem like your trying to corner the market on that.

  73. Skip: Socialism and Communism are not the same thing. You are right, Communism will never work. You are wrong, socialism works great and has been going strong for quite some time. Socialist countries are the happiest on Earth, they are the best educated on Earth, they are the healthiest on Earth, and they have higher GDPs than the USA.

    Your definition of “not working” is not working correctly.

  74. Socialism and communism are a lot more similar than most think, often times embracing many of the same policies and principles, like public education, central banking, regulation of communications, transportation, socialized medicine and ownership of prominent industries like energy. I am writing a paper on this very issue, 7 pages thus far and growing, that I would like to bounce off you guys once I’m done.

    One needs to be very careful when using the short term results of political policies, especially when running up deficits that place the liabilities on the future. A 30 year snapshot of a society may not be sufficient for showing how well a society is doing or it’s long term future, as some of the negative ramification of it’s current policy are being ignored or hidden. As Wikileaks and many whistleblowers are showing us in our society, government has long hidden many of the mistakes and corruption even going to the point of manipulating statistics on crime, unemployment and GDP. The government arbitrarily and without a social debate abandoning the publishing of M3 is an example but there are many more.

    Both socialism and communism place the group (society and/or community) in the advanced legal priority, negating especially individual property rights in favor of the so-called common good. Where as, free enterprise and libertarianism place the individual in the advance legal priority over the society and/or community. The difference between communism and socialism is therefore more how the state interviews, with the major difference being with communism, attempting to eliminate individual property ownership and rights. I go in to much more detail but it is interesting how I have objectively analyzed the various divisions within the study of political economy, as our forefathers called it.

  75. “I go in to much more detail but it is interesting how I have “objectively analyzed” the various divisions within the study of political economy, as our forefathers called it.”

    hskiprob,

    The flaw in you proposition begins with the fact that you are not “objective” and due to that your analysis is grossly simplistic.

  76. @Tony – Also calling yourself a liberal does not tell me much about you. It is an adjective or adverb that modern society has turned or changed into a noun without a “specific” definition. Same as conservative. There is such a wide degree of beliefs between liberals, as with conservatives, that it is almost a useless term. You need to tell me if you are a communist, socialist or fascist which I believe are the prominent “statist” positions. I would like to know how much you embrace private property rights and when your are willing or not to acquiesce your rights for the public good.

  77. hskiprob 1, November 18, 2013 at 9:05 am

    Socialism and communism are a lot more similar than most think, often times embracing many of the same policies and principles, like public education, central banking, regulation of communications, transportation, socialized medicine and ownership of prominent industries like energy.

    =========================
    “Energy” is a highly propagandized word that reveals the source of one’s ideology and thinking.

    What is under the public lands should belong to the public and should be used for the public good.

    And when it is under the lands of foreign nations we should not invade them to liberate our oil from under their soils (Viva Egypt – 2).

    That is imperialism and is illegal under international law and treaties.

    Why don’t you call it the drug of Oil-Qaeda?

    e=mc2 has nothing to do with dirty oil.

  78. HSKIP:

    you ought to try and figure out the level of economic freedom in those socialist countries that RTC and Tony C are speaking about.

    I would guess it is higher than in the US. I know for a fact Sweden had to increase their economic freedom as they were going down hill fast.

    In other words the socialist countries are only doing well because they allow a good deal of economic freedom.

    It is sad actually, when you think about it; the socialists could have their free lunches if they would just free up the economy and let capitalism do what it does best and that is raise everyone’s standard of living. We would then have more than enough money to take care of people who need help.

    And people at McDonalds could actually make 15-20 dollars/hour.

  79. @Mike Spindell. – The flaw in you argument is simple. You have no facts to support your premise. You have not read my paper since it is not yet published.Another logical fallacy Mike and I’ve told you to stop it more than once. It makes you appear to be malicious and ignorant. Why even write something if you have so little to say that is worthless to everyone. Unwarranted criticism? I do find it ironic of you criticizing me of being “grossly” simplistic. Is this what you really want to break down to; writing worthless barbs at one another. You can do better then this.

  80. @!Bron, You are probably right. However, the difficult part of doing such an analysis is not just getting useful data but that there are so many policies that effect the economy. It surely would result in a subjective analysis and conclusion and therefore Mike Spindell would not except my answer no matter how objective it really was. LOL. He probably doesn’t know I was once a card carrying Democrat before seeing the light.

  81. Ah, yes. The prose and grammar king, hskiprob, elucidates again.

    Why not link to an essay you have written, hskiprob? Like this one:

    http://www.freedomsphoenix.com/Letter-to-Editor.htm?EdNo=001&Info=0191108

    You were so proud of it last year when you linked to it on this blog — multiple times — and encouraged us all to read it.

    Why isn’t your new paper — the one Mike S. can’t have read — published?

    Given how your writing here is so precise I fail to see why your “paper” isn’t published. It must be a huge left wing-atheist-science-factual conspiracy, the same one David fights with his astute geological observations.

  82. Skip: I do not actually call myself a liberal much, I am a Democratic Socialist / Capitalist.

    Democratic because I believe Representative government by majority (or super-majority) vote is appropriate.

    Socialist because I believe socialism is appropriate for life-critical resources, infrastructure, and services (such as health care, retirement, education, and in general prevention of exploitation, fraud, endangerment, etc).

    Capitalist because I believe the profit motive, properly channeled, and competition, properly channeled, are powerful forces that deliver goods to people and a higher quality of life. However, “properly channeled” is key, without regulation capitalism does what is MOST profitable, which is exploit people, use monopoly powers to subjugate them, threaten employees, and “corner” people into “no viable choice” situations.

    Capitalism mixed with socialism works; several countries highly rated for socialism prove it.

    The similarities you cite between Socialism and Communism are immaterial; Socialism does NOT prevent people from starting businesses or getting thousands or millions of times richer than the average wealth. That is the key difference; Communism DOES prevent that, and thereby destroys the incentive to work more to get ahead or enjoy a higher standard of living and entertainment and comfort.

    Any similarities that ignore that difference are immaterial, it is like saying that killing a human and killing a cockroach are equally morally reprehensible, because they are both living beings with hearts, eyes, brains and muscles. Relying on such similarities would be foolish, as is relying on the similarities you cite to claim Socialism and Communism are “close.” They are not. Communism fails due to its attempted denial of a crucial aspect of human psychology, Socialism mixed with Capitalism thrives in many countries because it works in concert with that aspect of human psychology — People are indeed motivated to work harder if it results in more reward.

    Skip says: when you are willing or not to acquiesce your rights for the public good.

    Calling them “Rights” make for contention because I think that is ill-defined. I am opposed to exploitation, which I regard as when an individual is forced to negotiate with a metaphorical (or indeed, literal) gun to his head. There is a point when one cannot walk away from a deal without life-catastrophic consequences, and a “good deal” for the other side amounts to robbery, blackmail, or hostage taking. In short, what I regard as criminal acts.

    This is particularly true in health care, fire protection and other first response situations, police protection, military protection, and other life-critical services (nutrition, education, some product safety, workplace safety, and some exploitive wage and employment practices for people with no real alternatives but to work).

    I do not have a dividing line with a percentage or dollar amount, I think socialism is appropriate to level the playing field, and ensure every employee can walk away without reducing their odds of survival, or abandoning their kids or those they provide essential care for, or ruining their chances of reaching their potential in life.

    Capitalism and Competition work when everybody, employees, employers, customers, investors, and suppliers can all walk away from a deal without facing poverty, homelessness, death, starvation, disability, and so on.

    To me the point of Socialism is to provide that safety net that lets people walk away. Then their own desire to work in order to improve their lot beyond mere survival will make the vast majority of them work. I believe you do not need to put a gun to somebody’s head in order to get them to work. They will work because they do not want to live like spartans.

    Any argument against that position falls flat just by looking around you; nearly everybody in this country (or many others, including socialist countries like Norway and Denmark with very strong social safety nets) makes much more than they need to just survive and have health care, because they want more than that. Most people could survive on a third of their salary; but that isn’t all they want out of life.

    Because that is true, providing the basics of life and ensuring there is a viable option in employment that defeats subjugation attempts by employers will not destroy their work ethic, if anything it will give them the liberty to reach more potential and make more money. Which is why socialist countries are happier (both in life and at work), earn more discretionary income, and are both healthier and live longer. AND can still be multi-millionaires if they can find a way to do that, as many of them do: Norway also has a higher rate of entrepreneurial attempts and success than the USA, partially because people can give it a shot without risking poverty, their health, or other catastrophe for themselves or their family.

  83. You stated: “You’re hilarious. Most socialist countries are doing better than the U.S. by any standard you want to measure them by.”

    I am very interested in your analysis of the “any standards” and how you would measure than up. Please support you statement.

    As far as the US doing poorly. I agree. We’re fascist. The question you can’t ethically answer is why we are doing so poorly. When you can do that, let’s communicate some more and please be specific. Don’t give me the lack of structured regulation either. Everything is highly regulated. How well the regulators do their jobs is another issue as is who regulating what.

    The failing of the various socialist movements have always been their inability to recognize the “Contraindications” of their statist policies and I think more importantly the inability to acknowledge that the oligarchs control the system and that you cannot beat them at the game they control no matter what political system you enact. The majority always ends up “over the long term” getting screwed under statist policies.

  84. I can see that you are trying to create a utopia and we both know that’s obviously not going to happen. I’ve got to get to work now but I will reply to your last message asap. You bring up a lot of points to reply to in one writing. We should attempt to narrow our focus if and when possibly.

  85. Somebody just sent me this for about the 5 time. Does anyone know if it’s true or not. What about LA and New York?

    The United States is currently 3rd in Murders throughout the World .

    But if you take out Chicago , Detroit , Washington DC and New Orleans ,
    the United States is 4th from the bottom for Murders.

    These 4 Cities also have the toughest Gun Control Laws
    in the United States and all 4 Cities are controlled by Democrats.

    However — It probably would be absurd to draw any conclusions from this data.

  86. If you would have thoroughly read my post. I’s not quite finished yet. Have you ever thought that perhaps it is your arrogance that guides your intellect rather than the other way around. I see little humility amongst the “socialists” within this blog but that is just not within this group but most other socialist blogs I’ve encountered. This appears to be a common trait amongst those that think they can macro manage the world.

  87. Skip: I can see that you are trying to create a utopia and we both know that’s obviously not going to happen.

    If you are talking to me (and you should specify when making such accusations) you are wrong.

    I am not trying to create a utopia. I am doing what people have been doing for about twenty thousand years; using human ingenuity to create a less harsh environment, so people can thrive.

    The first farmers and herders, by using human ingenuity and organization where there was none, created a stable food supply where there was NONE, and prevented starvation, malnutrition, and unnecessary deaths in the bargain. They improved the human lot and decreased the harshness of nature. Before them, hunters organized in groups did the same and brought down game they would never have brought down single-handedly without weaponry (which is the product of ingenuity).

    Those were not utopias. The invention of eyeglasses did not create a utopia, it created a benefit for people that were partially disabled without them, it increased their chances of survival AND their chances of being productive in the world.

    The goal is not to create a utopia; the goal is to prevent exploitation. And I disagree completely with your conclusion: That CAN happen, it DOES happen, and I can PROVE it happens because other countries have implemented socialist policies and thrived under them for several generations, including generations before oil or natural resources were found, Norway was Socialist for many decades when their only export was fish.

    So don’t tell me it isn’t going to happen, it already has, and it already works. It just hasn’t yet happened here.

  88. Skip: This appears to be a common trait amongst those that think they can macro manage the world.

    That includes YOU, right? Since you obviously have your own set of rules you would apply, that benefit only a minority interest.

  89. Hmmm,

    “Have you ever thought that perhaps it is your arrogance that guides your intellect rather than the other way around.”

    Let’s see:

    Choice 1: arrogance drives intellect, or,

    Choice2: intellect drives arrogance.

    Are you sure those are the only two choices, hskiprob?

  90. What creates more exploitation that the constant confiscation of property by politicians and bureaucrats? In this country the government has participated in the bankrupting of nearly 50 million people. There are over 115 different taxes. There is even a licensure requirement for Humming Bird banding for ecological research.

  91. Your question I think proves my point. Now were going to debate some frivolous point trying to either belittle me or make yourself appear intelligent. It’s obviously a question that must be answered by you if that is how you want to spend your time. I could really care less what drives your arrogance.

  92. “I could really care less what drives your arrogance.”

    It’s yours, hskiprob.

    To Mike S:

    “Another logical fallacy Mike and I’ve told you to stop it more than once.”

    To Tony C:

    “When you can do that, let’s communicate some more and please be specific. Don’t give me the lack of structured regulation either.”

    To youself:

    “But if you take out Chicago , Detroit , Washington DC and New Orleans ,
    the United States is 4th from the bottom for Murders.”

    Funny stuff!

  93. Skip: What creates more exploitation that the constant confiscation of property by politicians and bureaucrats?

    Your wording betrays your bias. The government seldom “confiscates” property at all, and if you are alluding to taxation, that is not confiscation of property. Taxation is the collection of your rent that pays for the infrastructure you enjoy. Or vilify, it makes no difference, the infrastructure is a package deal and you don’t get to pick and choose the parts you wish to fund and the parts you wish to defund. Just like in the Mall, your store cannot opt-out of paying for painting or mall-provided entertainment or events because you disapprove of them; you pay your rent and fees and the Mall does with them as it sees fit.

    As for real estate, the Government does not “confiscate” that either unless you have committed some crime; the people have the legal power of eminent domain for public use that involves fair market value compensation. The Government has the right to BUY your property, not “confiscate” it.

    If you want to have a discussion, you can’t use loaded terms that imply the conclusion you wish to prove. I have already stipulated many times I think the American government is corrupt; but this discussion is about Government in general, which is not inherently corrupt in any way, and does not steal or confiscate property in any sense.

  94. In everyone of these cases I’m giving you all back what you’re dishing out to me first. That is funny stuff though. The last thing was actually an honest question. It wasn’t to myself, it was to everyone.

  95. You obviously cannot expect thieves to acknowledge their indiscretions. Bureaucrats are not going to tell us that they spend an inordinate amount of time scheming up methods of increasing revenue and enforcement. All one must do is look at the various tax and regulatory fees to understand this. I didn’t always believe this but through my experiences and the experiences of others I have seen what the politicians, bureaucrats and judges do to the poor and middle classes. Excuse me for not trusting politicians to ethically enact and administer the tax code. I now have a keener sense of your unwillingness to see the flaws and contraindication in the system you endorse. How many of you are working and living directly or indirectly off the government? Social Security excluded since it is voluntary, or at least it was but never the less you getting back what you paid in.

  96. hskiprob said: “I see little humility amongst the “socialists” within this blog but that is just not within this group but most other socialist blogs I’ve encountered. This appears to be a common trait amongst those that think they can macro manage the world.”

    *****

    Yes, we “socialists” aren’t humble because we don’t agree with your superior logic/thinking. We’re not worthy!

    *****

    BTW, you’d better inform Jonathan that his is not a law blog–it’s a “socialist” blog.

  97. Hey Bron, We’ve crushed a large portion of the lower and middle classes in the country, so let keep doing the same things and HOPE for better results. There’s 14,000 scientists “working” at the NIA so there are plenty of people working, just not in productive jobs. Many have never considered what continuing government employment does to the overall economy, especially when deficit spending is done to pay for the employment. It not only creates a divide between the private and public sector, (socialists & libertarians) it continues unwarranted price supports for the false economy prosperity being created. The potential economic boondoggles are almost endless.

  98. Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%
    Americans have been watching protests against oppressive regimes that concentrate massive wealth in the hands of an elite few. Yet in our own democracy, 1 percent of the people take nearly a quarter of the nation’s income—an inequality even the wealthy will come to regret.
    By Joseph Stiglitz
    May 2011
    http://www.vanityfair.com/society/features/2011/05/top-one-percent-201105

    Excerpt:
    It’s no use pretending that what has obviously happened has not in fact happened. The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation’s income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent. Their lot in life has improved considerably. Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent. One response might be to celebrate the ingenuity and drive that brought good fortune to these people, and to contend that a rising tide lifts all boats. That response would be misguided. While the top 1 percent have seen their incomes rise 18 percent over the past decade, those in the middle have actually seen their incomes fall. For men with only high-school degrees, the decline has been precipitous—12 percent in the last quarter-century alone. All the growth in recent decades—and more—has gone to those at the top. In terms of income equality, America lags behind any country in the old, ossified Europe that President George W. Bush used to deride. Among our closest counterparts are Russia with its oligarchs and Iran. While many of the old centers of inequality in Latin America, such as Brazil, have been striving in recent years, rather successfully, to improve the plight of the poor and reduce gaps in income, America has allowed inequality to grow.

    Economists long ago tried to justify the vast inequalities that seemed so troubling in the mid-19th century—inequalities that are but a pale shadow of what we are seeing in America today. The justification they came up with was called “marginal-productivity theory.” In a nutshell, this theory associated higher incomes with higher productivity and a greater contribution to society. It is a theory that has always been cherished by the rich. Evidence for its validity, however, remains thin. The corporate executives who helped bring on the recession of the past three years—whose contribution to our society, and to their own companies, has been massively negative—went on to receive large bonuses. In some cases, companies were so embarrassed about calling such rewards “performance bonuses” that they felt compelled to change the name to “retention bonuses” (even if the only thing being retained was bad performance). Those who have contributed great positive innovations to our society, from the pioneers of genetic understanding to the pioneers of the Information Age, have received a pittance compared with those responsible for the financial innovations that brought our global economy to the brink of ruin.

    Some people look at income inequality and shrug their shoulders. So what if this person gains and that person loses? What matters, they argue, is not how the pie is divided but the size of the pie. That argument is fundamentally wrong. An economy in which most citizens are doing worse year after year—an economy like America’s—is not likely to do well over the long haul. There are several reasons for this.

    First, growing inequality is the flip side of something else: shrinking opportunity. Whenever we diminish equality of opportunity, it means that we are not using some of our most valuable assets—our people—in the most productive way possible. Second, many of the distortions that lead to inequality—such as those associated with monopoly power and preferential tax treatment for special interests—undermine the efficiency of the economy. This new inequality goes on to create new distortions, undermining efficiency even further. To give just one example, far too many of our most talented young people, seeing the astronomical rewards, have gone into finance rather than into fields that would lead to a more productive and healthy economy.

    Third, and perhaps most important, a modern economy requires “collective action”—it needs government to invest in infrastructure, education, and technology. The United States and the world have benefited greatly from government-sponsored research that led to the Internet, to advances in public health, and so on. But America has long suffered from an under-investment in infrastructure (look at the condition of our highways and bridges, our railroads and airports), in basic research, and in education at all levels. Further cutbacks in these areas lie ahead.

    None of this should come as a surprise—it is simply what happens when a society’s wealth distribution becomes lopsided. The more divided a society becomes in terms of wealth, the more reluctant the wealthy become to spend money on common needs. The rich don’t need to rely on government for parks or education or medical care or personal security—they can buy all these things for themselves. In the process, they become more distant from ordinary people, losing whatever empathy they may once have had. They also worry about strong government—one that could use its powers to adjust the balance, take some of their wealth, and invest it for the common good. The top 1 percent may complain about the kind of government we have in America, but in truth they like it just fine: too gridlocked to re-distribute, too divided to do anything but lower taxes.

    Economists are not sure how to fully explain the growing inequality in America. The ordinary dynamics of supply and demand have certainly played a role: laborsaving technologies have reduced the demand for many “good” middle-class, blue-collar jobs. Globalization has created a worldwide marketplace, pitting expensive unskilled workers in America against cheap unskilled workers overseas. Social changes have also played a role—for instance, the decline of unions, which once represented a third of American workers and now represent about 12 percent.

    But one big part of the reason we have so much inequality is that the top 1 percent want it that way. The most obvious example involves tax policy. Lowering tax rates on capital gains, which is how the rich receive a large portion of their income, has given the wealthiest Americans close to a free ride. Monopolies and near monopolies have always been a source of economic power—from John D. Rockefeller at the beginning of the last century to Bill Gates at the end. Lax enforcement of anti-trust laws, especially during Republican administrations, has been a godsend to the top 1 percent. Much of today’s inequality is due to manipulation of the financial system, enabled by changes in the rules that have been bought and paid for by the financial industry itself—one of its best investments ever. The government lent money to financial institutions at close to 0 percent interest and provided generous bailouts on favorable terms when all else failed. Regulators turned a blind eye to a lack of transparency and to conflicts of interest.

    When you look at the sheer volume of wealth controlled by the top 1 percent in this country, it’s tempting to see our growing inequality as a quintessentially American achievement—we started way behind the pack, but now we’re doing inequality on a world-class level. And it looks as if we’ll be building on this achievement for years to come, because what made it possible is self-reinforcing. Wealth begets power, which begets more wealth. During the savings-and-loan scandal of the 1980s—a scandal whose dimensions, by today’s standards, seem almost quaint—the banker Charles Keating was asked by a congressional committee whether the $1.5 million he had spread among a few key elected officials could actually buy influence. “I certainly hope so,” he replied. The Supreme Court, in its recent Citizens United case, has enshrined the right of corporations to buy government, by removing limitations on campaign spending. The personal and the political are today in perfect alignment. Virtually all U.S. senators, and most of the representatives in the House, are members of the top 1 percent when they arrive, are kept in office by money from the top 1 percent, and know that if they serve the top 1 percent well they will be rewarded by the top 1 percent when they leave office. By and large, the key executive-branch policymakers on trade and economic policy also come from the top 1 percent. When pharmaceutical companies receive a trillion-dollar gift—through legislation prohibiting the government, the largest buyer of drugs, from bargaining over price—it should not come as cause for wonder. It should not make jaws drop that a tax bill cannot emerge from Congress unless big tax cuts are put in place for the wealthy. Given the power of the top 1 percent, this is the way you would expect the system to work.

  99. Skip: You obviously cannot expect thieves to acknowledge their indiscretions. Bureaucrats are not going to tell us that they spend an inordinate amount of time scheming up methods of increasing revenue and enforcement.

    And we obviously cannot expect liars to admit their lies, and people that have already decided taxes are “confiscation” to admit they benefit from taxes.

    I have no problem with government bureaucrats spending time, on my dime, to keep you and other petty thieves like you from free riding. Of course you would call it “scheming” and “inordinate” because you have no principles, you think getting away with free riding and not paying a fair share makes a tax dodger some kind of heroic figure. But they aren’t, they are just petty thieves shifting their burden onto honest people.

  100. Missed my point. It’s how you are intellectually treating people who disagree with your positions. It OK to poke some fun but the constant unconstructive criticism and logical fallacies just gets so old. You have a little club here that targets opposition. I get it.

    You are so worries about the wealthy. Wealth is unlimited. It’s not necessarily them against us unless we let them redistribute our wealth and that’s what we are allowing them to do. The ruling oligarchy through government policies just about controls all means of production in this country. The exact principle that Marx though necessary to overthrow the ruling class.

    The point is lets get serious with our debates and stop the BS. How we do that is another issue but that should be our goal, not just to win the argument for winning sake but to be the rightful winner.

  101. How am I lying? Government puts a gun to peoples head when they do not give them their property, or pay their fines and regulatory fees. If the political system was just it might potentially negate theft, but we both know it is not. Allowing government to continually steal from especially the lower middle and poor is unconscionable.

  102. “@Mike Spindell. – The flaw in you argument is simple. You have no facts to support your premise. You have not read my paper since it is not yet published.Another logical fallacy Mike and I’ve told you to stop it more than once. It makes you appear to be malicious and ignorant. Why even write something if you have so little to say that is worthless to everyone. Unwarranted criticism? I do find it ironic of you criticizing me of being “grossly” simplistic. Is this what you really want to break down to; writing worthless barbs at one another. You can do better then this.”

    Um…..hiskiprob,

    Now that you have chastened me for replying to you so briefly, let me remedy that by being a little more specific.

    “Socialism and communism are a lot more similar than most think, often times embracing many of the same policies and principles, like public education, central banking, regulation of communications, transportation, socialized medicine and ownership of prominent industries like energy.”

    You began you argument with a proposition that is a logical fallacy. The similarity of various programmatic issues does not show similarity, any more then the fact that Fascists also endorse similar programs. For that matter these programs that you call “socialist” also used to be endorsed by Republicans. However, your use of “similarity” is really not about the definition of things, but because your particular political ideology requires being able to do so, in order to conflate socialism (in any of its many forms) with the problems of the USSR and China. That the governance of both the USSR and Mao’s China had little to do with Marx’s original conception and much to do with the megalomaniacal drives of Lenin, Stalin and Mao. Now I’m not a fan of Marx, but he never conceived the horrors that would follow in the wake of Das
    Kapital. Once an argument is begun with a logical fallacy (and one loaded with a hidden agenda), I dismiss the balance, since anything thought provoking is unlikely to follow. Though you confuse “malicious and ignorant”, with being too “bored and disgusted” to take your arguments seriously.

    “One needs to be very careful when using the short term results of political policies, especially when running up deficits that place the liabilities on the future.”

    I also look askance whenever anyone today starts talking about deficits. That’s merely the game being played by people who are trying to use scare tactics to get their way in cutting spending for social programs. All of the “deficit hawks” of the past 75 years were never worried about “deficits” when it came to military spending, or enriching those already wealthy. Using “deficit” as a way to try to refute Tony’s points about the success of nations you would deem socialist really means that you have no other means of refuting him, so are kicking the ball down the road so to speak.

    “Both socialism and communism place the group (society and/or community) in the advanced legal priority, negating especially individual property rights in favor of the so-called common good. Where as, free enterprise and libertarianism place the individual in the advance legal priority over the society and/or community.”

    Face it hskiprob, you are a partisan whose world view influences your perspective. You talk a good game about personal liberty, as do many of your beliefs, while ignoring that your emphasis on “individual” rights as it occurs throughout history is an emphasis on the rights of the most powerful to run roughshod over the rights of most individuals. In the “good old days” without government regulation, the wealthy limited the freedom of all others.
    The result was wage slavery (Colorado Coal Mining industry), indentured servitude (the Pullman Company’s “company town”) and the abrogation of property rights (Trans Continental Railroads “Right of Way”). What I’m giving a few examples of is history, but there are literally thousands of examples I can give you.

    “I go in to much more detail but it is interesting how I have objectively analyzed the various divisions within the study of political economy, as our forefathers called it.”

    You are anything but objective, but then neither am I. I’m at least aware of my subjective views, while you are not which bespeaks overweening arrogance. It is why I dismiss you so cavalierly.

  103. Skip: Government puts a gun to peoples head when they do not give them their property, or pay their fines and regulatory fees.

    Not exactly, it will collect taxes coercively but that is because your taxes are a debt you owe, and the government does the same thing on behalf of citizens when debts go unpaid.

    It is not theft to use force in collecting a debt, refusing to pay your debt is a crime. Law enforcement using force to retaliate against criminals is not itself criminal.

    It is not “confiscating” your property, you owe that property to the rest of as as your fair share of the overhead of keeping a country. When the government has to use force to collect that debt, it is confiscating what rightfully belongs to us but is still in your possession. You are trying to steal from us and it is the Government’s job to prevent you from doing that, on our behalf.

  104. Skip says: If the political system was just it might potentially negate theft, but we both know it is not.

    Again, I am not talking about the American Government, I am talking about Government in general. Stay focused. Do not conflate a corrupt government with all government.

    Skip says: Allowing government to continually steal from especially the lower middle and poor is unconscionable.

    Allowing free riders to get away with their free ride is unconscionable, allowing people to be exploited because you think that isn’t your problem is unconscionable, and letting greed have free reign in ruining people’s lives in order to turn a buck is unconscionable.

    There is no plausible route to protecting the weak from the strong except government, there is no plausible route to funding the government except for taxes. Any argument that does not admit taxes, in some form, is a non-starter, it is an argument for oppression of the poor and weak by the rich and strong; particularly those sociopaths and psychopaths willing to harm others for power and profit.

  105. Tony C. 1, November 18, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    There is no plausible route to protecting the weak from the strong except government, there is no plausible route to funding the government except for taxes. Any argument that does not admit taxes, in some form, is a non-starter, it is an argument for oppression of the poor and weak by the rich and strong; particularly those sociopaths and psychopaths willing to harm others for power and profit.
    =======================
    We have abundant history to prove you to be correct.

    The feudal society did not work for the common good as it turned out:

    Feudalism … was essentially the extreme privatization of the government functions of defense, administration, and justice. The mechanism for putting these functions into private hands and paying for them was the fief, usually an estate with dependent peasants to work it, granted to the holder, or vassal, by a lord, or seigneur, in return for military service.

    (American Feudalism – 6).

  106. Skip: Deficits do not matter as much as you think. The country is not a family or an individual or a business, but there is some commonality when it comes to debt.

    Namely, debt can be very good for people, families and businesses, if the debt is primarily “enabling” debt. A person or family going into debt for school, for housing, for transportation, for health care, for relocation can all produce higher earnings and less hardship later. A business can go into debt for equipment, marketing, research, personnel that all end up producing more with profits.

    Something similar can be true for the government; debt can finance things we need to be done, and build infrastructure and create jobs that keep the economy from faltering. After WW II our national debt was much higher (proportional to GDP) than it is now, but it boosted the economy and paid for itself.

    Do not fall into the sappiness trap promulgated by politicians, we are not loading our “children” with debt; future generations are full grown adults working jobs to pay the debt of their ancestors and necessity just as we are now. That is how the world works, and they will cope just fine.

  107. Mike, I disagree with your premise that my belief that communism and socialism have a lot of similarities is a logical fallacy. They do and I believe for the reasons noted. I have decided, although not finished to publish my treatise on this very issue as a partial response to your allegation. Additionally, If you read it, I did not write “at all” on the subject of good or bad or right or wrong, in the entire paper and have actually asked an editor and friend to make sure I have not done so, eliminating the potential of a partisan bias. Once again Mike, the pot calling the kettle black. https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en&fromgroups#!topic/harrietrobbins/anuASCIPc6E

    Oh by the way, the value of the US Dollar has diminished 97.31% since 1973 based on the value of gold at $35.00 per ounce at that time. Gold by the way has increased some 4,400% since then so it is surely a terrible investment. You do understand that deficits have an effect on inflation rates and the purchasing power of the dollar? It may not effect you, but it effects million, especially the elderly and others on fixed incomes or the poor whose incomes have been eroding.

    Putting our differences aside, I hope that you all will assist me in perfecting this paper. I’ve been formulating the concepts and methodologies for coming to my conclusions for many years. Because of the complexities, putting them down on paper is another issue. This is about my forth or fifth attempt. Could use some unbiased help here.

  108. Skip: Could use some unbiased help here.

    Okay. Let’s start with this: 4th is spelt “fourth,” not “forth.”

    More generally, words that sound similar to each other can mean completely different things.

    Then we can generalize that: Governing philosophies that sound similar (in a shallow analysis, to some people) can have completely different outcomes; like Socialism and Communism.

  109. Skip: Gold by the way has increased some 4,400% since then so it is surely a terrible investment.

    And since Obama began his second term in 2012, Gold has dropped from a high of $1800 an ounce to $1276 an ounce, a nearly 30% decline.

    So if you think rising Gold prices indicate a problem with the economy, then to be consistent you have to think that falling Gold prices must indicate a healthy economy.

    The biggest economic change that Obama’s re-election ensured was that ObamaCare would go forward and be fully implemented; that Republicans would not be able to repeal the legislation. So by your lights, ObamaCare must be great for the economy, and must be increasing the value of the dollar.

  110. “My understanding of them now appears to best match the folks from the Austrian School of economics. Having read everything I could get my hand on and what I had time to read, I found it is truly one area that needs some level of , so here’s mine.

    hskiprob,

    When you say to me “Could use some unbiased help here” you’re begging the question. In my opinion Von Mises is a fraud and the entire “Austrian School” are merely the accomplices to some of the “oligarchs” of which you speak. Their emphasis is merely an updated version of what becomes invariably a “feudalistic” system, which would be controlled by international corporations, at times cooperating with other corporate entities to run humanity.

    You are correct in your understanding that for almost the entirety of human history various States and Empires have been oligarchical in structure. Where your understanding breaks down is that you ascribe some economic systems as contributing to an oligarchical State. Economic systems have never been the cause of oligarchy, they have merely been used by oligarchies to distract from what is really going on. This was my ultimate point in writing this blog and is in fact the main message I have to contribute. The problem with the governance of humanity exists in the fact that we haven’t really evolved much socially from our ancestors. Our societies are constructed as hierarchies where the most powerful control and the levels of authority/power diminish. We are little different culturally than the Great Apes, where the most powerful male silver-back rules the roost aided by lieutenants. That male get the best food and has his choice of females.

    Take the Great Ape society which consists of very small groups and extrapolate it to all of humanity and the result is the various oligarchies that rule everywhere. Now when we talk of our genetic cousins there are other possible forms that we can deduce from observations of their nature. The Bonobo’s for instance represent a different, less combative and more pleasurable model.

    Economic systems are as you say merely methods of accounting at base, but they have been elevated to a status that makes them so much more and therein lies the danger. If, as I believe, the problem is human’s will to power within the hierarchy, then the various economic schemes are merely tools of propaganda to entice people to the cause of those wanting to hold, or to attain power. They are to put it crudely the “sucker-bait” to enlist people into some group’s quest for power. The Koch Brothers for instance espouse a “libertarian” philosophy. In their “libertarian” world, unfettered by government regulation, their power (already quite considerable) multiplies exponentially. Lenin and Stalin espoused communism, but that was the “sucker bait” for their sociopathic aims. Mussolini espoused Fascism, but that was his raison d’etre for making himself “Il Duce”. Hitler did the same thing and really muddied the waters by calling his construct “National Socialism” when in fact he was funded by Germany’s major industrialists, who were fighting for power with the old line Prussian aristocrats. Mao used the promise of communism to make himself into the “Emperor” of China, which was really a return to China’s historical governmental system, which was a feudal oligarchy with a “great man” (emperor) at its center. And so it goes.

    Our Founding Fathers set up a Republic, with democratic features. However, though they made a great start with the Constitution, it in itself contained certain almost fatal flaws that ensured oligarchy. The first was that it recognized slavery as an accommodation to the slave states. The second was that it adopted a bi-cameral legislature, with the “upper house” originally intended to be elected without a popular vote. That Senatorial system, 2 to each State, gave unequal representative power to States with less population. From those two flaws came all of this country’s historical and current problems

    I keep putting emphasis here on the fact that I don’t believe in “Ism’s” and I illustrated why above. What I do believe in is summed up in the age old philosophy of Rabbi Hillel, Jesus, Confucius and the Buddha” Treat other humans as you would like to be treated, all else is commentary on this central point. I believe human society is an organic whole and that we are responsible to ensure that all of us have the basics to be able to realize their individual potential. I’m open to any solutions that would accomplish this, however, the Austrian School is not a solution, merely a justification for a version of the age old problem. You may not agree with me but I have attempted to provide you with a thoughtful reply to your essay.

  111. Has this msg bb decided what is an acceptable definition to use for “sociopath”, “psychopath” & other monsters yet?

    I’ll try to catch up later.

    This below infowars interview is well worth your time if you’re interested in the unfolding events of Fukushima’s Jap/GE nuke nightmare.

  112. MIke, Many on the Keynesian side use the same words and terms I have outlined. Now you getting back into which one is right and which one is wrong. Most of the sites are from Wiki sites which are open source. They may not be perfect to your liking, so If you don’t like them change them or write a paper yourself that doesn’t constantly show you bias. You may not believe in isms, but that does not make them go away. It is easy to criticize but it is difficult to assist in improving upon our world. Just because you don’t like the definition of a word, you can’t just ignore it and doesn’t mean it is wrong and therefore should not be used. “Ignor”ance.

    Talk about being simplistic. “Treat other humans as you would like to be treated, all else is commentary on this central point. I believe human society is an organic whole and that we are responsible to ensure that all of us have the basics to be able to realize their individual potential.”

    Statist have “reportedly” been trying to do this for 6,000+ years. I say reportedly because my observations of politicians is that they generally could give a crap about anyone but themselves and their cronies.

    So mike what your solution. You remind me of Karl Marx; big ideas, but you can’t tell anyone how it’s actually going to work because you can’t. So all that you can really do is criticize those you disagree with. The problem with your rant above is that when the world was most libertarian and that was actually for a very short period of time, it did exceptionally well compared to almost all other periods. But you’ll deny that as well.

  113. If you have studies the various government around the world and spoken to people from other countries, sadly all government are rampant with corruption and generally it appears the more corrupt the poorer the nation.

  114. Skip: So mike what your solution.

    A criticism that something is wrong does not have to be accompanied by a solution. I claim that murder is wrong. Do I have a way to forever prevent murder from occurring? No.

    Does that mean I am wrong about murder? No. It is wrong.

    Am I wrong to criticize anybody (like a Mafia Don) that disagrees with me, and considers murder a valid business tactic? No, I am not wrong.

    In fact criticism and understanding what is wrong with murder is what leads us to collectively band together to punish murder, which reduces the rate of murder amongst us. We don’t have to have THE solution for murder, being able to separate murder from self-defense, murder from battlefield killing, and murder from accident is a result of critical analysis of deaths. Even a partial prevention of murder is still a good idea.

  115. Skip: when the world was most libertarian and that was actually for a very short period of time,

    Are you talking about the “world,” or are you talking about “the new world?”

    Because the Old World was ruled by brutal dictators (kings and emperors) for most of recorded history, and in the New World, stumbling across a few trillion dollars worth of free exploitable natural resources (with no laws against killing any current inhabitants) does have the tendency to let many do “exceptionally well,” if you conveniently dismiss the lives they destroyed to do it. (like Native Americans and African slaves).

    Also, if Libertarianism is so great for humanity, then it would have lasted longer than a “very short period of time,” but it did not. Because once all the free resources are consumed or locked up, Libertarianism is only great for a small elite that do “exceptionally well” by exploiting those without power. But they just cannot stand forever against a majority opposed to exploitation, laws will be passed to stop the exploitation, and the experiment in Libertarianism is over, as it should be.

    By your own claim, Libertarianism is an unstable solution, it cannot last long without dictatorial enforcement. What you advocate for is despotism.

  116. “So mike what your solution.”

    My solution is a holding action until humanity evolves to the point where we all understand the concept. That holding action would be working to keep humanity from destroying itself and to try to ensure that as many people as possible aren’t harmed by the actions of the selfish, the sociopathic, the narcissistic and the psychotic. That you think that there is a clear solution makes you the starry eyed idealist not me. What I can say is that neither Von Mises, the other Austrians or Randist’s represent business as usual, which means human’s destroying other humans. Your not realizing it is the log in your eye.

  117. Mike, that’s a very good mission statement. It doesn’t not however show a specific game plan that anyone could embrace and/or help you implement. You need to be a bit more specific and how your system would specifically work. What laws would we world live under, what form of government and economic system would we have and who would be in power?

    Do you really believe that under a libertarian world, that more people would be killed by their own governments, than under the current statist systems? Remember 262 million people were killed by their own governments in the 20th century.

    Please show me some evidence that this would occur.

    There is no perfect solution, only one that is best and the status quo is not acceptable to me.

  118. To bad this blog doesn’t place the reply just below the post you are replying to so that people can read both the original post and the reply. I’ve noticed I’m relying to things I have to go back to in the email to read the original post. It reminds me of Mike’s and my arguments – way to far apart.

  119. If I’m replying to one person, what would be the best way to show that but still place the original post and rely ion priority. It’s like butting in line.

  120. Skip: I believe in the Libertarian world, more people would be killed by the sociopaths and psychopaths than are killed by governments.

    But “living” is hardly the measure to worry about; there is this thing called quality of life and standard of living, and in a Libertarian world it would be far beneath the current state for the vast majority of people.

    The proof is in the many second and third-world countries where there are no workplace regulations, or where (like India) they can be ignored without any consequences, or a minor bribe. The workers there are underpaid, endangered, and miserable, because they either work or starve, and nobody competes on being a better employer, ever.

  121. “Mike, that’s a very good mission statement. It doesn’t not however show a specific game plan that anyone could embrace and/or help you implement. You need to be a bit more specific and how your system would specifically work. What laws would we world live under, what form of government and economic system would we have and who would be in power?

    Do you really believe that under a libertarian world, that more people would be killed by their own governments, than under the current statist systems? Remember 262 million people were killed by their own governments in the 20th century.”

    hskiprob,

    I’m almost 70 years old with a lifetime of fighting the good fight. I’m neither able to, nor am I interested in leading any revolution. I’m not even interested in being a “prophet” of any movement, because “prophets” like Jesus, Confucius and the Buddha usually develop followers who don’t get their message. Since I’m not even close to being in the same league as those people I’ll demur. I’m just an old guy observing the world around me with trepidation and disgust, who worries what kind of world my children and grandchildren will live in and sometimes writes about my musings.

    As far as libertarianism goes, I think it is just as Utopian a political philosophy as Marxism and it proved itself as not workable after the fall of the roman Empire, through the “Dark Ages” and through Feudalism, which is its ultimate result. In a world of unrestricted self interest the power hungry and the sociopathic rule. I don’t have to prove it because it is self-evident to everyone who is not a libertarian. The libertarians themselves are either incapable of seeing the fallacy of their ideas, or like the Wolf in Grandma’s clothes are salivating at the prospect of the pretty girl in the red hood.

  122. Then why do you criticize something, when you have no superior proposition? You have no evidence that libertarianism won’t work and just because of some mysteries reason(s) you can’t explain or understand you deem it invalid. You seem to believe it is equivalent to past systems when it is just the opposite of the various statist policies the world has had to endure. The people seeking liberty have been so oppressed by the various authoritarian regimes throughout history that it amazes me that there are so many people opposed to Liberty. Do you want the masses to continue to be oppressed or do you not. Do you really understand what it took to get the Magna Carta and the Constitution signed by the ruling oligarchs of the time. Yes some of our founding fathers were oligarchs and even they saw the benefits of the protection of individual rights over the memes of the social good. And yes there are those that still wish to rule over others but don’t you think it is time to stop them.

    The idea that liberty is detrimental to society It is not self evident – I have given you timeless hours of evidence, knowledge, truth and logic yet you just ignore the many facts I’ve given you.

    You nor any one else can determine what is in the best interest of the majority/public good and anyone who thinks they can do so has been fooled by the very oligarchs they want to abolish.

  123. “You have no evidence that libertarianism won’t work and just because of some mysteries reason(s) you can’t explain or understand you deem it invalid. You seem to believe it is equivalent to past systems when it is just the opposite of the various statist policies the world has had to endure”

    hskiprob,

    You live in a different reality from mine. I did give you logical reasons as has Tony and others. You just can’t see them because they don’t fit with your view of life. The period after the fall of the Roman Empire’s hegemony was a period where the libertarian idea reigned. There was no central government, even in the Mongol Empire, or the Chinese Empire. There were no rules and business was unfettered. Property rights were the most important rights……but only if you had the power to enforce them. That is the essential libertarian problem. If everyone can assert their rights against all others the strongest win. How can your prevent that under a libertarian system?

  124. “If everyone can assert their rights against all others the strongest win.” Please provide me with an example or greater detail on the question. Perhaps we have a different understanding of what inalienable rights are as our founding fathers envisioned.

    In addition to the ones you noted that I am not as aware of, but many believe that the industrial revolution also had less government intervention during that period. Free trade and free travel were prevalent throughout much of the world. Figure 1800 to 1900.

  125. Skip: “If everyone can assert their rights against all others the strongest win.”

    Mike is talking about the basic evolutionary theory, survival of the fittest. In evolution the “fittest” are measured by their reproductive success; in economics the fittest are measured by their wealth, in society the fittest are measured by other factors like influence, good will, and so on.

    The problem with opposing regulation is that mere wealth or power or profit is a fundamentally amoral measurement. If I can profit more by finding ways to use my greater resources to keep people from competing with my monopoly, and monopolizing products and services (like food and shelter and safety and health care) they will eventually need, then I am allowed to do those things and oppress those people.

    The natural outcome of “competition” is that somebody loses, and without regulation and legal protection, the winner is almost certainly the entity with the most resources. Money, personnel, and ability to set prices that others cannot compete with.

    For example, say I am rich. I see Joe, who is much less rich than me, has invented a new kind of burger. I hear about that, Joe is selling burgers fast, and I want to do that. How can I “compete” with Joe? Well, to start, I can hire professional chefs and analysis to figure out Joe’s recipe; he can’t stop me because there are no regulations against it. I can buy the building from the owner, at a premium, and kick Joe out of it. Or I can buy the streets that lead to it, and close them. I can open a store next to Joe, and sell the same thing as Joe for less than it costs Joe to make it. I might lose money, but I am rich, and eventually I can bankrupt Joe. Even if I don’t, because I am rich I can open a chain of burger joints selling Joe’s recipe, I can advertise better, I can even lie about Joe’s burger and his lack of cleanliness and his mystery ingredients, and drive customers away from Joe. Presuming I am rich because I own other businesses, without regulations I can threaten to fire any of my employees caught eating at Joe’s. Heck, after I open 50 stores to Joe’s one store, I can threaten my suppliers with retaliation if they even SELL products to Joe, and without regulation I can find his suppliers and pay them to refuse service to Joe. Why would they refuse? Instead of making a few percent profits off of Joe’s one store, they can make that profit for doing literally nothing, and they can see the writing on the wall — Tony Rich is going to drive Joe out of business anyway. Might as well take the “fee” Tony is offering, and not risk doing business with Joe.

    Then, when Joe’s idea is thoroughly stolen and Joe is broken, broke, and bankrupt, I will have an effective monopoly on Joe’s burger, and I can charge what the market will bear and enjoy all the profits. More than enough to make up for any losses I incurred in my campaign to destroy Joe.

    Without regulations, the rich win. I haven’t even touched on some of the practices of the 1800’s like fire-bombing factories or sabotage.

    The regulations on business did not appear out of thin air, they are due to actual practices that were legal before the regulation was written, and should not have been.

    Where there is no restraint the sociopaths and psychopaths win, and the vast majority of us think of their tactics as theft, fraud, and unfair competition. There are a thousand ways to “compete” that do not have anything to do with the standard metrics of producing a better product, better price, better service, better quality or guarantee. Those ways involve attacking the person instead of competing with their product, and repressing their customers instead of offering them another choice.

    The need for regulation is to prevent unfair competition, and thereby benefit consumers by protecting startups that really do have innovations that make their product more desirable, more affordable, safer, less costly to operate and so on.

  126. So the fact that England has invaded and occupied every county in the world except for about 25, would be what? And the US is not far behind.

    Secondly, are you assuming that we reject the creation of contracts which create mutual responsibility and respect? It just a big free for all?. That my neighbors and I would not try to stop someone or a group, if they tried to take away one of our rights or that we would not join other voluntary organizations or communities that except that premise? Remember groups like the Green Mountain Boys were “voluntary” soldiers who fought along side the Continental Army in the revolution and in numerous situations were the real ones responsible for some wins as were privateers on the oceans.

    There are many ways to skin a cat and government force of arms or police power does not necessarily have to be a part of it.

    Is not what we are all seeking, peace and justice. It cannot be accomplished by any other means except government? In fact, neither to me has been done to any acceptable manner by government. We know the reasons why, we just have not been able to implement a system that is superior.

    Sadly there is only really two systems to choose from and one we know doesn’t work very well. We have been manipulated by organized government for well over 4,000 years and mankind still has the same old problems. Oligarchs still maintain the system and they use force of arms and the police power of government to enforce their controls. Gandhi got it pretty right and proved it. If he were hear today and had the resources we do, I’m pretty sure he would be a libertarian.

    What do you thi8nk he meant when he stated?: The State is a soulless machine. It can never be weaned from the violence to which it owes its existence – Mahatma Gandhi

  127. You cannot assert a right against others. A right is the ability to go out in the world without someone trying or taking your rights away. Self defense, which is a right, attempts to prohibits such action, unless legalized and guess who always wants to legalize the usurpation of rights?

  128. Skip: No, you don’t get contracts.

    Contracts are worthless if you cannot appeal to a third party to enforce them. Who says a contract must be honored? That is a law. Who enforces the law? That is a government.

    It cannot be a for-profit agency out for their own self-interest, because

    A) They can sell to the highest bidder, and
    B) They can refuse to enforce if doing so risks their lives (like trying to seize property forfeit by the contract),
    C) The poor, or robbed, or dead, cannot afford law enforcement,

    and all of those three points result in rule by the most wealthy and most brutal.

    Laws and contracts must be enforced by courts and police, by force when needed. All contract coercion must potentially escalate, in steps, to the use of force, or lethal force. No party can be allowed to escape a contract on the grounds of “I changed my mind, I’ll lose money.” Otherwise a contract is worthless — simply refusing to comply breaks it and there is nothing the harmed party can do about it.

    Law and contract enforcement must also be available at no cost to those that have no money. Otherwise they have no rights and the contracts they sign are not binding on the other party, because they cannot enforce the contract. Suppose a man without money signs a contract for a job, performs the job, and then his employer refuses to pay him. How does he get that contract enforced? Hire a contingency collector to collect? How? With another contract he cannot get enforced? What prevents that collector from collecting the pay and then refusing to pay him?

    The enforcement must be free, or the result is rule by the wealthy and brutal. If the enforcement has a profit motive, it corrupts Rights and Law and gives the advantage to entities that can pay the most. (Like in our country). The enforcers have to be paid the same to be neutral.

    Your fantasy is just unworkable; force is absolutely necessary because sociopaths and psychopaths respond to nothing else. No for-profit or pay-as-you-go scheme is fair or will ever work to create a society with all persons treated equally under the law, it just results in rule by the rich and slavery of the poor.

  129. Oky1 1, November 19, 2013 at 10:23 am

    Has this msg bb decided what is an acceptable definition to use for “sociopath”, “psychopath” & other monsters yet?

    ===============================
    Nomenclature is important.

    The failure to be able to develop a nomenclature for the degrees of selfishness (acceptable selfishness -> sociopath -> psychopath) is an indication of an inability to think clearly in a professional group setting.

    Our culture is mentally impaired in that sense when it comes to grasping those dynamics.

    As one consequence we are making war on some via the war on drugs yet glorifying other and more egregious forms or degrees of the same thing:

    06:28 – “the genetic argument allows us the luxury of ignoring past and present historical and social factors. In the words of Louis Menand who wrote in the New Yorker very astutely:

    It’s all in the genes”: an explanation for the way things are that does not threaten the way things are. Why should someone feel unhappy or engage in antisocial behavior when that person is living in the freest and most prosperous nation on Earth? It can’t be the system! There must be a flaw in the wiring somewhere.”

    … which is a good way to put it. So the genetic argument is simply a cop-out that allows us to ignore the social and economic and political factors that in fact underlie many troublesome behaviors”

    (Dr. Maté).

    07:25 – “addictions are usually considered to be a drug related issue, but looking at it more broadly, I find that addiction is any behavior that is associated with craving for temporary relief and with long term negative consequences along with an impairment of control over it so that the person wishes to give it up or promises to, but can’t follow through” (Dr. Maté).

    08:10 – “The addiction to oil … at least to the wealth and to the products made accessible to us by oil … look at the negative consequences on the environment we are destroying the very Earth that we inhabit for the sake of that addiction. Now these addictions are far more devastating in the social consequences than the cocaine or heroin habits of my … patients. Yet they are rewarded and considered to be respectable. The tobacco company executive that shows a higher profit will get a much bigger reward … doesn’t face any negative consequences legally or otherwise … in fact is a respected member of the board of several other corporations … but tobacco smoke related diseases kill 5.5 million people around the world every year. In the United States they kill 400,000 people a year” (Dr. Maté).

    09:05 – “And these people are addicted to what? To profit, to such a degree are they addicted that they are actually in denial about the impact of their activities, which is typical for addicts, is denial. And that is the respectable one. It is respectable to be addicted to profit no matter what the cost. So what is acceptable and what is respectable is a highly arbitrary phenomenon in our society. And it seems like the greater the harm the more respectable the addiction” (Dr. Maté).

    (quoted from video index up-thread, emphasis added). In a society mentally impaired like that, nomenclature is more difficult to fashion, shape, and bring to bear on the dynamics at issue.

  130. I found a blog about Dr. Fallon whom I provided a video lecture up-thread.

    It is written by a Dr. McAleer:

    Fallon again found that everyone in his family has the low-aggression variant of the MAO-A gene, except for one person—himself.
    “I’m 100 percent. I have the pattern, the risky pattern,” he says, then pauses. “In a sense, I’m a born killer.”

    Fallon isn’t, of course, a killer; however, genetically speaking he meets the criteria of psychopathy.

    Fallon reported that, “he had a had a terrific childhood; he was doted on by his parents and had loving relationships with his brothers and sisters and entire extended family.”

    And therein lays the process of how one person can become a psychopath, and another to go on with a fairly “normal” life. Without the environmental component of an abusive or neglectful childhood, the genetic factors are not “activated.” This provides further insight into psychopathy—it is not only important to study those who are psychopaths, but also those who had major predispositions to become psychopaths, but did not. The protective factors can help us to better understand and encourage preventative measures.

    Had Fallon had a different kind of childhood his life may have taken an all together different path…or not.

    It’s difficult to know what particular factors protected Fallon from becoming a psychopath, but this certainly further supports the notion that our genetics do not predetermine our life’s course.

    (Psych Central, The Case of James Fallon).

  131. We absolutely do not need the hypothesis of ‘sociopath’ to explain socipathic behavior.

    Look at the “Stanford Prison Experiment” by Zimbardo, Milner’s work and all of the following research on this topic.

    Basically, the great majority of people take their morality from their peers and from their superiors.

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