Mental health professionals estimate that sociopaths (or psychopaths, if you prefer) make up about 4% of the U.S. population; these are full-blown sociopaths, I take it. I have a hypothesis that sociopathy is a sliding scale and there are many screw-ups “walkin’ the streets” as conservatives like to say, that exhibit many of the characteristics of a sociopath. A “true” sociopath has absolutely no conscience whatsoever and cannot feel remorse – not even a little bit. They have no qualms about hurting or manipulating people to get what they want; selfish is not a strong enough word to describe their self-seeking, parasitic behavior.
Below are a couple of checklists for recognizing sociopaths, but when in doubt, just assume that anyone from the upper-middle and upper classes are sociopaths. In fact, studies have shown that the CEO of a company, for instance, is at least four times as likely to be a sociopath as the “guy sweeping the floor.” The bourgeoisie and the capitalist system are sociopathic and since they are the ruling class, they define the prevailing values (anti-values, I call them) of societies they own and control; therefore, while less prevalent, there will of course appear sociopaths among the working class as well. Be on your guard. In my experience, it seems that North American Proles, at least, tend to wear their heart on their sleeve. As an East German comrade once said: “Americans have a ‘confessional’ culture.” That’s a nice way of saying that Americans like to spill their fuckin’ guts and tell everyone their business (Facebook comes to mind). You have to be smarter than that. I’m also reminded of the popular film of yesteryear, “The Godfather,” where Marlon Brando chastises his eldest son for speaking his mind too freely during a meeting with a potentially rival hood. He says, “Never tell anyone outside the family what you’re thinking again.” Exercise a little discretion. Don’t let these psychos get an edge on you.
|Factor 1||Factor 2||Other items|
|Facet 1: Interpersonal
Facet 2: Affective
|Facet 3: Lifestyle
Facet 4: Antisocial
|PP1–1: Fearless dominance||PP1–2: Impulsive Antisociality||Coldheartedness|
By Stephen Gowans
There is no compelling evidence that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against the rebel forces which seek its overthrow. But even if chemical weapons have been used, a military intervention by the United States, its NATO allies, or its regional proxies, would fail the test of humanitarian intervention. First, it would exacerbate, not reduce, the suffering of Syrians.
[Graphic from Iran Review]
In activist-author-publisher William Blum’s new book, America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy, he tells the story of how he got his 15 minutes of fame back in 2006. Osama bin Laden had released an audiotape, declaring: “If you [Americans] are sincere in your desire for peace and security… and if Bush decides to carry on with his lies and oppression, then it would be useful for you to read the book Rogue State.” Bin Laden then quoted from the Foreword of Blum’s 2000 book, Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, in which he had mused:
“If I were… president, I could stop terrorist attacks [on us] in a few days. Permanently. I would first apologize… to all the widows and the orphans, the impoverished and the tortured, and all the many millions of other victims of American imperialism. I would then announce that America’s global interventions… have come to an end. And I would inform Israel that it is no longer the 51st state of the union but… a foreign country. I would then reduce the military budget by at least 90% and use the savings to pay reparations to the victims. … That’s what I’d do on my first three days in the White House. On the fourth day, I’d be assassinated.”
Unfortunately, Blum never made it to the White House! But, fortunately, for those who have read his books or follow his “Anti-Empire Reports” on the Web, he was not assassinated! And now he has collected his reports and essays of the last dozen years or so into a 352-page volume that will not only stand the test of time, but will help to define this disillusioned, morose, violent and unraveling Age.
America’s Deadliest… is divided into 21 chapters and an introduction—and there’s something to underline or memorize on every page! Sometimes it’s just one of Blum’s irrepressible quips, and sometimes it’s a matter of searing American foreign or domestic policiy that clarifies that Bushwhackian question of yore: “Why do they hate us?”
Reading this scrupulously domumented book, I lost count of the times I uttered, “unbelievable!” concerning some nefarious act committed by the US Empire in the name of freedom, democracy and fighting communism or terrorism. Reading Blum’s book with an open mind, weighing the evidence, will bleach out any pride in the flag we have planted in so many corpses around the world. The book is a diuretic and emetic!
Blum’s style is common sense raised to its highest level. The wonder of America’s Deadliest … is that it covers so much of the sodden, bloody ground of America’s march across our post-Second-World-War world, yet tells the story with such deftness and grace-under-fire that the reader is enticed—not moralized, not disquisitionally badgered–, but enticed to consider our globe from a promontory of higher understanding.
Some of the themes Blum covers (and often eviscerates) include:
1) Why they hate us;
2) America means well;
3) We cannot permit a successful alternative to the capitalist model to develop anywhere in the world;
4) We will use whatever means necessary—including, lies, deception, sabotage, bribery, torture and war—to achieve the above idea.
Along the way, we get glimpses of Blum’s experientially rich life. A note “About the Author” tells us that, “He left the State Department in 1967, abandoning his aspiration of becoming a Foreign Service Officer because of his opposition to what the US was doing in Vietnam. He then became a founder and editor of the Washington Free Press, the first “alternative” newspaper in the capital.”
In his chapter on “Patriotism,” Blum relates how, after a talk, he was asked: “Do you love America?” He responded with what we may take for his credo: “I don’t love any country. I’m a citizen of the world. I love certain principles, like human rights, civil liberties, meaningful democracy, an economy which puts people before profits.”
America’s Deadliest… is a book of wisdom and wit that ponders “how this world became so unbearably cruel, corrupt, unjust, and stupid?” In a pointillistic approach, sowing aphoristic seeds for thought, Blum enumerates instances of that cruelty, often with wry, pained commentary. “War can be seen as America’s religion,” he tells us. Reflecting on Obama’s octupling Bush’s number of drones used to assassinate, collaterally kill and terrorize, he affirms: “Obama is one of the worst things that has ever happened to the American left.” And, he avers, “Capitalism is the theory that the worst people, acting from their worst motives, will somehow produce the most good.” And then turns around and reminds us—lest we forget—how the mass media have invaded our lives, with memes about patriotism, democracy, God, the “good life”: “Can it be imagined that an American president would openly implore America’s young people to fight a foreign war to defend ‘capitalism’?” he wonders. “The word itself has largely gone out of fashion. The approved references now are to the market economy, free market, free enterprise, or private enterprise.”
Cynthia McKinney writes that the book is “corruscating, eye-opening, and essential.” Oliver Stone calls it a “fireball of terse information.”
Like Howard Zinn, Ralph Nader, Paul Craig Roberts, Cindy Sheehan and Bradley Manning, Blum is committed to setting the historical record straight. His book is dangerous. Steadfast, immutable “truths” one has taken for granted—often since childhood—are exposed as hollow baubles to entertain the un/mis/and dis-informed. One such Blumism recollects Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez’s account of a videotape with a very undiplomatic Secretary of State, Colin Powell, and cowboy George Bush: “`We’ve got to smash somebody’s ass quickly,’” Powell said. “`We must have a brute demonstration of power.’ Then Bush spoke: `Kick ass! If somebody tries to stop the march to democracy, we will seek them out and kill them! … Stay strong! … Kill them! … We are going to wipe them out!’”
Blum’s intellectual resources are as keen as anyone’s writing today. He also adds an ample measure of humanity to his trenchant critiques. He juxtaposes the noble rhetoric of our professed values with the mordant facts of our deeds. The cognitive dissonance makes for a memorable, very unpretty picture of how an immensely privileged people lost themselves, while gorging on junk food, junk politics, junk economics, junk education, junk media. Like an Isaiah, a Jeremiah, he lambastes his own—us!—flaying layers of hypocrisy and betrayals while seeking to reveal the core values of human dignity, empathy and moral rectitude.
Gary Corseri has published and posted prose, poetry and dramas at hundreds of periodicals and websites worldwide, including Cyrano’sJournalOnline, CommonDreams, Countercurrents, BraveNewWorld.in, OpEdNews, CounterPunch, Outlook India, The New York Times, Dissident Voice. He has published novels, poetry collections and a literary anthology (edited). His dramas have been presented on PBS-Atlanta and elsewhere, and he has performed his work at the Carter Presidential Library. He has taught in US public schools and prisons, and at American and Japanese universities. Contact: email@example.com.
By Stephen Gowans
According to the White House, Israel has the right to defend itself (1). I would argue that it doesn’t. Based on the theft of another people’s land and denial of their right to return to the homes from which they fled or were driven, Israel no more than any other thief has the right to defend itself. …