One thing is plain in my old age. If you construct a human society in which one individual wields an enormous concentration of power, a high proportion of those who come to be that office bearer will be narcissist psychopaths. Because no-one else is so driven to acquire power.Craig Murray, Historian, Former (UK) Ambassador, Human Rights Activist, January 2020 Tweet
James Burnham (see We Have Been Deceived) in 1964 wrote “Suicide of the West”, a classic text for the post-war conservative movement. In this book he gives a fictional situation to consider: you are being robbed by an armed man, you manage to talk him out of robbing you and eventually even giving you his gun. In this example Burnham gives many details how you empathize with the difficulties in the robber’s life and stir empathy from him. Burnham then brutally criticizes the robber, for clearly having had power but foolishly giving away his power. Burnham then lists every aspect of human nature that most would consider good, not only denouncing these characteristics of humans, but saying they are a disease, a “syndrome” rendering liberals ridden with guilt and internal contradictions.
He is basically stating that if you consider the well-being of others, you will be weakened by this conflict with your own needs.
This example forms the basis for the message of this book, that the Western Democracies are committing suicide. The Western culture is far superior but the actions of our weak governments are putting it all at risk. The United States put significant investment into the development of nuclear weapons but failed to use them to wipe out Russia and China before they could develop them. Europe and the United States fought to gain control of colonies and territories but now are allowing them to have independence. At that time colonies and territories such as Cuba, India, Pakistan, Vietnam and many across Africa were gaining independence.
A close second despair-inducing moment was Jo Swinson’s interview following the debate when, asked if she would press the nuclear button, she replied without a millisecond of hesitation: “yes”. As I reported last week, when asked at the Lib Dem campaign launch why she would not put Corbyn into Downing St in any circumstances, she had instantly replied that he would not be prepared to instruct submarine commanders to fire nuclear weapons.
The woman is deranged.
In this, former UK Ambassador Craig Murray is expressing his despair that in the candidate debates ahead of the December 2019 UK elections, only candidates who are clearly prepared to launch nuclear weapons were fit for office. Subsequent to the election, after a major defeat for the Labor party, the people jockeying to take the lead away from Corbyn have stated that unlike Corbyn, they would launch nuclear weapons.
I expect that most in the US also see this as a requirement for President. I see nuclear weapons for what they are, a great threat that might kill most or all of us. With our recent belligerent actions, shredding of nuclear arms agreements, and growing unrest from crop failures from climate changes, on January 23, 2020, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has advanced the Doomsday Clock 20 seconds closer to midnight. The clock is a symbolic timekeeper that tracks the likelihood of nuclear war and other existential threats. It now stands closer to catastrophe than at any time since its creation in 1947. The clock was set to 100 seconds to midnight.
I have met many people who have been influenced by nationalist propaganda and will glibly say “nuke em” or enter the military to fight them, but most of these people still have some empathy for others.
However, there are a few people who have little or no empathy for others. Some experts state that their development progressed beyond bopping themselves in the head and looking around wondering what happened, to the point that they gained self awareness, but failed to continue on to awareness of others. One expert said that for them, if someone is not responding to their wants, it is as though somehow they lost control of their right hand.
None of us know what is in the minds of others. We have enough difficulty just being aware of our own thoughts. For me, it is very difficult to imagine someone being so different that they lack empathy for others.
Through consultations with independent experts, I am slowly gaining awareness of the limitations of three people in my life, one personal and two professional. Despite all of the evidence and consultation with experts, I still struggle with denial. All are exceptional care givers and highly admired. All are exceptional in the energy that they devote to their roles and their achievements. I am not aware of any other people who doubt the integrity of their lives and work.
Even with my personal experience and much help, it is hard for me to really accept so I will share one event from my life to encourage you to learn more and become more politically involved and less trusting of leaders.
On the other end of the phone he started laughing and could not stop. He finally managed to speak, saying “You thought you could look her in the eyes and she would stop”. The laughing continued. Eventually he said “She was raping you and you thought she would stop just by looking her in the eyes.” Some more laughing.
This was a conversation with a professional therapist. We were doing this over the phone because there were none in my region with the specific training that I find invaluable. This was my first work with him and I was giving him some background before getting his independent perspective on a current problem.
The event that triggered his laughter was 21 years earlier, when I was 26 years old. Shortly before the birth of our third child, my wife gave me literature on vasectomies. She told me that she did not want to have more children and had talked with her doctor about tying her tubes after the delivery but that the procedure for me is less risk. She told me that the husband of her best friend just had a vasectomy and it was easy. She asked me to do this for her because the risks were higher for her procedure.
The day after the procedure, while I was working at the computer in the basement, she came down to me with a look of panic. She told me she was concerned that we may have damaged our sex life. She pulled down my pants and wanted to be reassured that everything still worked. I looked down. My testicles were still in the original bandages from surgery, half covered with dried blood. I had known her since age 13, half of my life. Nearly every day she said “I love you.” This had never felt like a statement because I had learned that she would get worried or angry when I ever failed to immediately reply “I love you.” I wanted to believe that her words had meaning. I wanted to believe that she could see my testicles in bloody bandages. I wanted her to remember that I did this at her request out of concern for her. I wanted her to at least give me a few days to recover from surgery. I looked her in the eyes with these thoughts. I could not say anything. She raped me.
Just now I greatly resisted writing the words “she raped me.” Until that day when the therapist used these words, I had never even thought of the event as rape. Subsequently I still did not think, say or write these words. I forced myself to write them now because I and you can not protect our children unless we get past denial. We do not want to believe that are leaders would choose to cling to privilege and ignore the suffering and death of our children, possibly extinction of the human race. We do not want to believe this.
What makes narcissism so difficult to detect is that these people put intense energy into maintaining their image. Some experts say that their image covers intense shame. Again, I do not know what is in their heads, but this would be consistent with my observations of their actions but I doubt they are even aware of shame. They likely maintain this image to avoid feelings of shame. They are often charismatic and appear bigger than life. There are a couple clues for those close to them. You feel that you are going crazy. Some actions seem totally contradictory. They can switch from over the top flattery to fury and back in an instant. A false facade to avoid feeling intense shame is a reasonable explanation. Their mood did not change, they just changed tactics within their constant defense of their image. Their actions only seem inconsistent when taking their image or role they have chosen at face value but are completely consistent from the perspective of protecting their image.
We need to understand that for some people, in a sense, we never existed. I expect this was likely true for every US President in my life with the possible exception of Dwight Eisenhower and Jimmy Carter. They still approved illegal acts of state violence but I suspect they had some limit set by empathy. I worry that for all of our recent Presidents, we never existed and they have no empathetic limit to taking us out of existence.
We should never give this much power to any individual. We may not survive it.