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Friday, December 19, 2008

The Sociopathic Politician

The other evening over at a friend's house, he had that day's Wall Street Journal. On the front page was yet another story about Rod Blagojevich. In our discussion of Blagojevich, I referred to him as a textbook case of a Sociopath...

defined by the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual: "The essential feature for the diagnosis is a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood or early adolescence and continues into adulthood."[1] Deceit and manipulation are considered essential features of the disorder. Therefore, it is essential in making the diagnosis to collect material from sources other than the individual being diagnosed.

In a matter of fact tone, my friend said that he felt all politicians were Sociopaths. While this maybe an overstatement, in many ways politics breeds Sociopaths. First, a politician's job is ultimately to get re elected. The art of getting re elected is ultimately as selfish a process as they get. You aren't ever necessarily doing what's right but rather what you think the most people will find suitable, acceptable, or worthy of getting their vote next time. Politicians make decisions almost always based on the politics of a situation not the policy. The politics of any situation is always based on self interest not the interest of the public at large. Such a mindset breeds the sort of selfishness that is inherent in Sociopaths.

Second, politics is in essence all about the accumulation of power. Power is is a zero sum activity. As such, the process of accumulating power involves taking power away from someone else: opponents, citizens, etc. The process of accumulating power is also inherently selfish in a way that breeds Sociopaths. Furthermore, most Sociopaths are not only charming but extremely manipulative and both of those are traits most successful politicians.

The Sociopathic politician with which I am most familiar with is an individual out of Georgia by the name of Vernon Jones. Jones is suspected in six rapes since the mid 1980's. The last of which was described to my by a source I consider very reliable in graphic detail involving a three some gone wrong. This happened Christmas a few years back.

Jones, for many years, was CEO of DeKalb County in Georgia. He used this position to get inside information on many land deals that became profitable for himself. In his role as CEO of DeKalb County, he was also responsible for choosing the members of the board of Grady Hospital. He made Robert Brown head of the board for several years. Brown then used Grady on multiple occasions as piggy bank directing business from Grady to the architecture firm he owned. Meanwhile, Grady has gone through multiple bouts of financial dire straits while members of the board, like Brown, have seen enormous wealth for themselves.

Jones also oversaw one of the most corrupt police departments in the country, the Dekalb County Police Department. In 2001, while he was CEO of DeKalb County, Sheriff Elect Derwin Brown was murdered by the outgoing Sheriff Syd Dorsey. This was the culmination of decades of corruption at the DeKalb County Police Department including nearly a decade on his watch. Jones proceeded to install Thomas Brown (no relation), one of his cronies, to replace the deceased Derwin Brown. Thomas Brown proceeded to make nothing more than cosmetic changes to the department. The jail nearly built the penthouse of prisons for Dorsey until that was discovered and broken by an investigative journalist. In 2006, his opponent for CEO of DeKalb County, Ron Marshall, was followed, had unwarranted background checks done, and eventually Marshall mysteriously wound up in the Terror Watch List.

Finally, I believe that Jones is involved in the cover up of the apparent suicide of Charles Hicks using another one of his cronies, Donald Frank, to cover up a homicide. Frank wound up serving as Jones' Homeland Security Director for DeKalb County. He did all of this while he was supposed to be running the County of DeKalb.

The behavior of Blagojevich can also be classified as textbook Sociopathic. Nearly everything he has done while in office has been for self benefit at the expense of the public. All the corruption, bribery, and quid pro quos, have been done in order to gain personal wealth, power, and influence, and all at the expense of the public he has served.

For real horror stories of what terror a Sociopathic politician can breed, we need to look at any despot around the world. Sociopaths like Hitler, Stalin, and Hussein all brought terror to their own people and their neighbors for decades. All of these folks were so consumed by power that anyone that stood in their way was eliminated. Entire populations were subverted, eliminated, or put down in order so that the Sociopathic tyrant could maintain power. My grandfather got a first hand lesson in the terror of a Sociopathic politician. Joseph Stalin put my grandfather into a Siberian gulag for the better part of the next two decades on the eve of WWII. My grandfather's crimes were two 1) he was Jewish and 2)he ran a successful corner store in a small Siberian village. These two things made my grandfather a threat and a target, and Stalin felt the need to eliminate him. My grandfather paid for Stalin's Sociopathy with nearly twenty years of his life.

Everyday, citizens everywhere pay the price for the deeds of Sociopathic politicians. We pay for it with higher taxes. We pay for it with a bureaucracy that looks out for the interests of power brokers rather than the public. We pay for it by having a government full of waste, and one that looks out for special interests rather than the interests of the public at large. We pay for it by having corruption swept under the rug and overlooked. Of course, in the most extreme, citizens pay for it with their loss of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. The Sociopathic politician is a cancer to any political system and unfortunately the nature of the beast breeds such an individual. As such, we, the voters, must always be aware of it and be able to identify all Sociopathic politicians. Such a combination has explosive possibilities.

1 comment:

John Bakhtiar said...

this is very interesting. its sad that sociopaths of all things become public officials.public officials should represent good.