We are ruled by sociopaths

Matt Yglesias writes:

The leverage that Lieberman and other “centrists” have obtained on this issue (and on climate change) stems from a demonstrated willingness to embrace sociopathic indifference to the human cost of their actions.

A sociopath is often defined as “a person, as a psychopathic personality, whose behavior is antisocial and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.” (This is what I found online and what I have always thought the definition was, roughIy — I realize there are more clinical definitions, but I know nothing about clinical psychology, maybe someone can help me out with this.)

I’m glad to see that this word is starting to get used more and more — not long ago, for example, Lindsay Beyerstein accurately described one of Slate’s new hires (a woman who had written books titled “How to Dump a Friend” and “Our Mutual Friend: how to steal friends and influence people”) as a sociopath.

To me, anyone who would start a war for no reason and show no remorse when it went terribly wrong is a sociopath. Anyone who would not only torture but then try to use support for torture as a political wedge issue is a sociopath. Anyone who would hold the health of millions of Americans hostage so that he could get more face-time on “Meet the Press” is a sociopath.

I believe that the biggest question about our society is why it is that so many sociopaths rise to positions of power and influence. Are all societies this way or is there something special about the way ours is structured right now?

154 replies
  1. 1
    DecidedFenceSitter says:

    Those who are the most ruthless, unless stopped by an outside force, will succeed. Compassion prevents ruthlessness in many people, and thus those without compassion succeed.

  2. 2
    SGEW says:

    [W]hy it is that so many sociopaths rise to positions of power and influence[?] Are all societies this way or is there something special about the way ours is structured right now?

    As a quick, off-hand comment, and If history (i.e., a “litany of blood and bullshit”) is any judge , ’twas always thus.

    There’s a very good dissertation buried in this question, tho’.

  3. 3
    namekarB says:

    I believe that the biggest question about our society is why it is that so many sociopaths rise to positions of power, greed and influence.

    fixed

  4. 4
    Wapiti says:

    I think they’ve always been there. The wolves versus the sheep. How did all of the noble houses in Europe start?

    I imagine there’s a genetic benefit to being a sociopath. Looking at the Bush clan I’ve assumed it was inheritable.

  5. 5
    Ogami Itto says:

    And they’re not even the good kind of sociopath, like Dexter! ;-)

  6. 6
    bleh says:

    OK, it’s all pop-psych, but my hypothesis is that it is not necessarily that they are sociopathic but that whatever sympathy or social conscience they have — which may be at “normal levels” — is completely swamped by their intense, feverish, Narcissism. And to answer your question, I think it IS something about how our system is structured right now that leads to so many of our political leaders being unbalanced Narcissists. The drive that’s required to raise the money and do the events, the focus that’s required to cope with the celebrity-obsessed 24-hour media, the unwavering apparent self-confidence in the face of colossal misjudgment and overt hypocrisy — it seems to me that none of these would be possible without a truly off-the-charts self-regard. And against that, no common humanity stands a chance.

  7. 7
    wilfred says:

    Bullshit.

    “He’s with us on everything except the war.” Subsistuting your terms:

    “He’s with us on everything except starting a war for no reason and showing no remorse when it went terribly wrong and then not only torturing but then trying to use support for torture as a political wedge”

    Please direct me to your posts calling him a sociopath and demanding justice based on his previously identified sociopathy.

    why it is that so many sociopaths rise to positions of power and influence. Are all societies this way or is there something special about the way ours is structured right now?

    Sanctimonious hypocrisy after your own ox gets gored. Old as time.

  8. 8

    @bleh: I think that that’s true, but not complete. Unfortunately, the voting public seems to have a a preference for narcissistic sociopaths. As in a lot of things, we get the legislature that we deserve.

  9. 9
    kid bitzer says:

    yeah, in lieberman’s case, a big role is played here by the village’s continued willingness to tolerate him. it’s not just that he’s a sociopath; it’s that no matter how horrible he is, he is still welcome on tv, in the wapo editorial section, at all the right dinners, etc.

    the weird thing is that old fashioned sociopaths at least had to have a skill-set. the medicis, the borgias, genghis khan–most of these people could at least fight a war or skewer a brace of peasants en brochettes. lieberman doesn’t even have the courage of his own sociopathy. can you imagine them being as talentless, clueless, and whiny as lieberman is?

    bush jr.’s case is easier to explain, exactly because he comes towards the tail-end of a dynasty. he’s just another chinless hapsburg.

    but lieberman has no discernible abilities whatsoever–what a sorry loser. what a horrible human being.

  10. 10
    Max Peck says:

    Anyone who would keep millions without health care because enacting health care reform would piss off his largest campaign donors is a ………

    When did the belief that rich people shouldn’t be taxed become a part of the definition of patriotism?

  11. 11
    R-Jud says:

    Sociopathic leaders, British edition:

    If you had known then that there were no WMDs, would you still have gone on?” Blair was asked. He replied: “I would still have thought it right to remove him [Saddam Hussein]”. Significantly, Blair added: “I mean obviously you would have had to use and deploy different arguments about the nature of the threat.” He continued: “I can’t really think we’d be better with him and his two sons in charge, but it’s incredibly difficult. That’s why I sympathise with the people who were against it [the war] for perfectly good reasons and are against it now, but for me, in the end I had to take the decision.”

  12. 12
    Zifnab says:

    I believe that the biggest question about our society is why it is that so many sociopaths rise to positions of power and influence. Are all societies this way or is there something special about the way ours is structured right now?

    Right now, a handful of powerful corporations and the general populace are directly at odds with one another. Anything that favors the corporations over the populace will, almost by definition, be sociopathic.

    This is the same elitism versus populism that gave us New Deals and revolutions spanning the world over.

  13. 13
    d0n camillo says:

    @Ogami Itto:
    I’ve got to admit, Dexter’s really restored my faith in sociopaths. Lieberman, not so much.

  14. 14
    arbitrista says:

    I think that it’s less sociopathy than a consequence of an emerging oligarchy. Whenever a group starts acquiring massively disproportionate financial and social resources they have to justify it somehow, and they do so by rendering all those outside of their group as other.

  15. 15
    ScottC says:

    Well doesn’t this come naturally from the rise of a certain strand in the Republican party (whether you want to associate it with Reagan or Rand or whoever) that holds that anything government does for the less fortunate is a hand-out – and that hand-outs are evil and corrupting? It’s all well and good to make Erik Prince even richer, but if it’s not someone who is already inside their tight little party it’s CommuSocialNazism. When one party has embraced the position that concern for others (well, apart from controling their bodies and sex lives) is odious, should we say it’s sociopathic? If this view is different from the Republican view in the Nixon-Dirksen-Eisenhower era, I don’t know. I’d like to think so.

  16. 16
    Noonan says:

    I believe that the biggest question about our society is why it is that so many sociopaths rise to positions of power and influence. Are all societies this way or is there something special about the way ours is structured right now?

    I’d say power tripping at the cost of decency is a pretty strong universal trait shared by humans. What’s so fucked up about Lieberman is the sanctimonious wankery and deference he’s shown by reporters even though everyone knows what he’s up to: screwing over the party without a shred of credibility in his reasoning.

  17. 17
    Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    Lieberman isn’t a sociopath in the clinical sense; neither is Bush. They’re just your garden variety vindictive, greedy bastards. It’s true that they don’t give a rat’s ass about the 99% of the world’s population that can’t help them obtain more money or power, but that doesn’t make them unique among humanity.

    Cheney I reserve judgement on.

    True sociopaths are not that common, and tend to wind up insitutionalized (correctional or medical) before they can run for office. A true sociopath says things like, “yeah, I pushed Grandma down the stairs because she kept bugging me; why is everyone making a big deal out of it?” Garden Variety Greedy Bastards would only push Grandma down the stairs if they could materially benefit from doing so, and then claim she tripped.

  18. 18
    SpaceSquid says:

    I know this is hardly an original thought, but a lot of it has to do with a media that works so very, very hard to persuade people that a “principle” is something that stops you saving lives.

  19. 19
    frankdawg81 says:

    A few years back (’03?) the wikipedia page on sociopath had a note looking for examples – I listed the clinical symptoms and gave specific examples exhibited by The Boy George. It was taken down a couple days later.

    I think it would be simple to repeat the exercise using Mr. Lieberman. He fits the diagnosis as well (though without quite the devastating end results) of W.

  20. 20
    John S. says:

    @Willfred:

    One of these days you’ll actually pay attention to the byline under the post. What is your usual boilerplate directed at John makes little sense when hurled at Doug J.

  21. 21
    Max Peck says:

    And to answer your question, I think it IS something about how our system is structured right now that leads to so many of our political leaders being unbalanced Narcissists.

    It’s the same as it’s always been, noting new here. Those with power or position are protecting it. The best way to do that is to service only those who can take it away. (Hint:not us.)

  22. 22
    shep says:

    Someone has to have three of the following be present for an antisocial personality disorder diagnosis:

    * failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest

    * deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure

    * impulsivity or failure to plan ahead

    * irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults

    * reckless disregard for safety of self or others

    * consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations

    * lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another.

    You be the judge.

    Around 8 million people meet the definition of Sociopath in this country and millions more are predisposed to believe and do what they say:

    http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/

  23. 23
    El Cid says:

    I think our political system (as others) have rather intense incentives for either helping people develop a sociopathic outlook and/or for favoring the ascent of sociopaths.

    It takes a lot of sociopathy to so cold bloodedly yet constantly work for laws and rules and budgeting which harm a great deal, even the majority, of the U.S. population in order to benefit tiny and venal minorities.

    From time to time we seem to favor the bracing sociopathic style, from time to time we favor the suppression of the sociopathic style, but the sociopathic incentives and enablers are still there.

    In fact, the best political and lobby and advisory group and pundits and think tank servants I could seek to hire were I among the super-rich would believe that what they were doing was truly in the interests of those they were hurting for my direct and indirect benefit.

  24. 24
    Ken J. says:

    I propose that the rise of the sociopath is directly related to the fact that we now organize our society by corporations.

    The 2003 documentary “The Corporation” is half of a great movie. In that first half, the film lays out the DSM-IV diagnosis of a sociopath and then demonstrates how the profit-maximizing corporation fits the bill. I’m convinced, anyway.

    It has been suggested that this is why executive pay has become so obscenely high — because the supply of sociopaths available to run sociopathic organizations is somewhat limited.

  25. 25
    Elie says:

    @bleh:

    Some of our current culture is the result of a prolonged period of ultra capitalism and the promotion and championing of the social Darwinism that goes with it…

    We have all seen over and over the “winner takes all” mantra enunciated over and over. Ruthlessness is applauded, even by our own side as we tackle political change to at least nominally change the balance towards more humanistic goals. We regularly “beat down” those who oppose our views through harsh rhetoric and promoting the notion that only our own perspectives matter.

    Throughout our media and socio/cultural world, mercy is not valued. Nor forgiveness or kindness. The only outcome we tolerate is winning and everything else is for suckers and losers.

    It is everyday and expected to throw anyone who stands in your way, under the bus. We fully expect to win all confrontations with any opponent and are vengeful and filled with resentment if we do not.

    The reason why we are the way we are has evolved out of the power of capitalism. It stays that way because we reinforce it, over and over. Our leaders and other appointees are just mirrors of who we are.

    If we want that to change, then we had better change. So far, don’t see much evidence of that.

  26. 26
    wilfred says:

    @John S.:

    Why? He’s a hypocrite, too. Lieberman isn’t any less a scumbag than he was 2 years ago, why attack him him now?

  27. 27
    Notorious P.A.T. says:

    why it is that so many sociopaths rise to positions of power, greed and influence?

    They tend to possess a superficial charm and personal magnetism that, to many people, is irresistable.

    US President George W. Bush makes up for his lack of experience in many areas of government, by not only using charm, but also by working publicly on carefully chosen popular issues.

    http://www.faqs.org/abstracts/.....a-GOP.html

    They also tend to exhibit severe cruelty to animals at a young age.

    “We were terrible to animals,” recalled Mr. Throckmorton, laughing. A dip behind the Bush home turned into a small lake after a good rain, and thousands of frogs would come out. “Everybody would get BB guns and shoot them,” Mr. Throckmorton said. “Or we’d put firecrackers in the frogs and throw them and blow them up.”

    http://partners.nytimes.com/li.....h-bio.html

    And they are usually obsessed with personal physical well-being.

    George W. Bush is a runner, and exercised vigorously throughout his 8 years in the White House. During most of his first term, Bush reportedly ran an average of three miles, four times a week, also swimming, lifting weights, and working on an elliptical trainer.

    http://health.blogs.foxnews.com/tag/george-w-bush/

    There are quite a few books on this subject for those who are interested.

    the November 3, 2003, morning New York Times front-page headline story was that the previous day in Fallouja, Iraq, insurgents “shot down an American helicopter just outside the city in a bold assault that killed 16 soldiers and wounded 20 others. It was the deadliest attack on American troops since the United States invaded Iraq in March.” Yet later in that same day when Bush arrived for a fund-raiser in Birmingham, Alabama, he was smiling broadly, and Mike Allen of the Washington Post wrote that “the President appeared to be in a fabulous mood.” This is merely one of hundreds of such observations made about Bush while the brutal war continued in Iraq.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....03592.html

  28. 28
    ksmiami says:

    I think the only way to remedy what is going on is to double the size of the senate, or else dissolve it. We the people deserve better than the whores in this “august house where good legislation goes to die,”. I mean the idea that one petty as—– can grind our govt to a halt is just ludicrous. Also, if there were more senators, they would actually have to deliver something. I think that in 2009, we need a review of all levels of government and whether parts of it created in the 1700s are really useful in a modern democratic republic.

  29. 29
    scudbucket says:

    @DougJ: I believe that the biggest question about our society is why it is that so many sociopaths rise to positions of power and influence.

    Because the historical core of our political economic institutions is sociopathic. Liberal policies can only temporarily blunt this force before they too are overwhelmed.

  30. 30
    Zifnab says:

    @wilfred: Because the hypocrisy hurts more. It’s easy to write off the tidal wave when it’s in the distance. Harder when it’s just knocked down your house.

    Now that more people are feeling the pain, less people are liking Old Joe.

  31. 31
    Dan says:

    You may find the answer to your question at the bottom of this Kurt Vonnegut piece:

    I myself feel that our country, for whose Constitution I fought in a just war, might as well have been invaded by Martians and body snatchers. Sometimes I wish it had been. What has happened, though, is that it has been taken over by means of the sleaziest, low-comedy, Keystone Cops-style coup d’etat imaginable. And those now in charge of the federal government are upper-crust C-students who know no history or geography, plus not-so-closeted white supremacists, aka “Christians,” and plus, most frighteningly, psychopathic personalities, or “PPs.”

    To say somebody is a PP is to make a perfectly respectable medical diagnosis, like saying he or she has appendicitis or athlete’s foot. The classic medical text on PPs is The Mask of Sanity by Dr. Hervey Cleckley. Read it! PPs are presentable, they know full well the suffering their actions may cause others, but they do not care. They cannot care because they are nuts. They have a screw loose!

    And what syndrome better describes so many executives at Enron and WorldCom and on and on, who have enriched themselves while ruining their employees and investors and country, and who still feel as pure as the driven snow, no matter what anybody may say to or about them? And so many of these heartless PPs now hold big jobs in our federal government, as though they were leaders instead of sick.

    What has allowed so many PPs to rise so high in corporations, and now in government, is that they are so decisive. Unlike normal people, they are never filled with doubts, for the simple reason that they cannot care what happens next. Simply can’t. Do this! Do that! Mobilize the reserves! Privatize the public schools! Attack Iraq! Cut health care! Tap everybody’s telephone! Cut taxes on the rich! Build a trillion-dollar missile shield! F*** habeas corpus and the Sierra Club and In These Times, and kiss my ass!

  32. 32
    OniHanzo says:

    @wilfred:

    Because Lieberman’s just as deserving of criticism and attack as he was 2 years hence?

    How fucking thick are you?

  33. 33
    funluvn says:

    I think that in the it’s-all-about-me capitalistic society that has grown here in the US, that perhaps a certain slice of our populace is more prone to sociopathic tendencies.

    We went from the days of George W. Bush and the Conservative mantra of America! Fuck yeah! to Barack Obama and the new Conservative mantra of Fuck America! Yeah!

  34. 34
    Sentient Puddle says:

    With regards to whether or not sociopaths have always been in power, I’d imagine so. Relevant bit:

    who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.

    No moral responsibility means they can play hardball in the political game much easier. I mean hell, aren’t there examples in ancient/medieval history where some prince or councilman or something wanted to get the crown for vanity’s sake, and drafted an army to fight a long and bloody war over it?

    Incidentally, I think Dexter wouldn’t count as a sociopath by this definition. Socially awkward as all hell, but he goes through a pretty thorough process to make sure the people he kills damn well deserve it. That’s gotta count for conscience on some level.

  35. 35
    Face says:

    Jewish people dont care about black people.

  36. 36
    Tokyokie says:

    I’ve long thought one of the “advantages” of a Randian belief in the perfection of markets is that it absolves followers of such beliefs of any moral uncertainties of their self-centered actions. So I’d say that is a factor in this as well. But I’m sitting here trying to think of differences between our society, which produces these monsters with frightening regularity, and a Western country like, say, Norway, which doesn’t seem to produce them at all.

  37. 37
    El Cid says:

    By the way, you could link this sort of question back to the recent right wing and Villager freakout obsession with how Obama and Democrats show too much “empathy”.

    In our political culture, not being a sociopath is considered librul New Age coward traitorism.

  38. 38
    Punchy says:

    Could it be a connection of how much money these Congressmen must raise every election cycle to how much they’ve become indebted, either literally or emotionally, to the companies/individuals who supply said money?

    IOW, is such wanton indifference not sociopathy, but quid pro quo with big donors on a almost 24/7 scale?

  39. 39
    Zifnab says:

    @scudbucket: Selfishness is not necessarily Sociopathy. You can look out for your own self-interest and still support others. Particularly when mutual back-scratching is involved.

    Health care is a no-brainer because about the only people who don’t benefit are the insurance companies. We have broad Democratic support for the measure even inside states with strong insurance lobbies for that reason alone.

    Capitalism promotes the production of capital. It doesn’t automatically embrace the “I’ve got mine!” short sighted neighbor fucking that the Republicans and Lieber-Dems support.

  40. 40
    wilfred says:

    @Zifnab:

    The real test will come when he shows what he wants. He’s just bargaining for something – probably to do with the deaths of more Muslims.

    The correct thing to do when he’s willing to go along on health care is to tell to shove his vote up his ass. Anything less than that is hypocrisy.

  41. 41

    Well, John, you have all this pretty much right. And the answer to your latter question is that sociopaths are above all else skillful manipulators. Since they have no conscience, they can focus their mental powers on figuring out how to get over on others without any of the self doubt and guilt and fear and anguish that hampers the rest of us.

  42. 42
    Jamey says:

    Someone who effectively mimics human emotion without actually feeling.

    See also, Andrew Sullivan.

  43. 43
    Elie says:

    @Dan:

    I don’t disagree with the outcome, but your explanation leaves the average person off the hook and somehow makes them passive in achieving this outcome rather than active players.

    Either through passivity or active promotion, WE selected these people — not just through elections for our governmental leadership, but through our activities in the private sector as well. We have leaders who do reflect us and our own weakness..

    This is part of why change is so hard, don’t you think? Its like all the dog training shows/classes say, its not the dog, its the owner that needs to be “trained”.

    We like sacrifice and mercy and forgiveness — as long as it is someone else doing it for us. We aren’t much on doing it ourselves.

    So don’t give the American citizen a pass on this…its just not warranted…

  44. 44
    Notorious P.A.T. says:

    I imagine there’s a genetic benefit to being a sociopath. Looking at the Bush clan I’ve assumed it was inheritable.

    More and more studies are, in fact, showing a genetic factor to antisocial behavior disorders.

    “What I’m hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas,” Barbara Bush said in an interview on Monday with the radio program “Marketplace.” “Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality.” “And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway,” she said, “so this [the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina] is working very well for them.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09.....rbara.html

  45. 45
    JenJen says:

    And, when is a member of our hard-hittin’ media going to call Holy Joe out on his flip-flops? I thought they loved this kind of shit:

    Lieberman, Winter 2000: He said during the interview that the fastest growing group of uninsured are those 55 to 65. For that reason, the ticket proposes an expansion of Medicare to allow those and older to buy into the public program. There would still be a buy-in price but it would be less than buying private insurance, he said.

    Lieberman, Summer 2009: As to how 47 million uninsured will afford coverage, Lieberman said only 12 million don’t have insurance because they cannot afford it.
    __
    By allowing citizens who are not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid to buy in for a rate below the private market, the government can extend coverage to more of those who are currently uninsured, he said.

    What changed? And is anyone going to call him out not just on the position shift, but the reasoning? Because, you know, it matters? Yeah, yeah, I’m not holding my breath, either.

    ETA: Josh’s site just caught this reaction from John Podesta: “”I suspect musty folders on reconciliation got dusted off this morning.”

    Hahahahaha, yeah, right.

  46. 46
    Sinister eyebrow says:

    I have dealt several people who were clinically diagnosed with the borderline personality disorder of narcissism. Lieberman strikes me as trending in that direction (as did the Boy King).

    The problem with narcissists, and the reason they are generally pretty successful in politics I suspect, is that they are agile and seamless liars, able to shamelessly lie with no apparent outward signs of doing so. They are lacking any remorse regarding their dishonesty, so there isn’t much of a “tell” when they are bullshitting.

    These are tough, tough people to deal with. They are often charming and excel at deflecting blame for their actions. I’ve ended up with narcissists on the witness stand on a few occasions and if they are even relatively smart, it is incredibly hard to trip them up on lies. Only if you have solid documentation that contradicts what they are saying can you bust them. Even then, they will continue to deny, deny, deny and tell different lies to explain away whatever it is they just got caught doing.

    Because nothing is ever a narcissists fault. It is always someone else who made them do what they did, no matter how outrageous.

    Lieberman = narcissist.

  47. 47
    Elie says:

    @Tokyokie:

    I would be really careful about the assumption you just made.

    Norwegian miscreants may not have the visibility but I am sure they have ’em. There are no saints in humanity.

  48. 48
    peach flavored shampoo says:

    Funny thing is, if Obama could somehow convince Snowe to vote for the Dems, the Republicans would almost certainly try to kick her out of the party. The Dems, of course, would do the same to Lieberman. It’s be an even switch.

  49. 49
    Shalimar says:

    @J. Michael Neal: People in general have a preference for narcissists. Confidence is attractive, and no one is more confident than a narcissist. Narcissists feel more alive, they’re more fun to be around, they draw you in. They’re generally very charming when they aren’t stabbing you in the back.

    @wilfred: Most of us have been attacking Joe for years and years, he gives plenty of reason for the hatred. Why would we stop now when he’s at his grandstanding worst?

  50. 50
    Neurovore says:

    This is because governments tend to eventually be run by greedy self-interested politicians who gladly grant themselves benefits or advantages at the expense of a country’s subjects using their political or monetary clout. This is to be expected, since this is part of human nature, and because of the way that the political sphere works for the most part; people who are considerably more ruthless and self-interested tend to get into positions of political power. This is because honest and “nice” people tend to get disgusted and either leave, or find themselves out-competed by their rivals who are willing to stoop to using tactics that nicer people find to be underhanded. You could say it is almost like a perverse form of natural selection.

  51. 51
    Cat says:

    I believe that the biggest question about our society is why it is that so many sociopaths rise to positions of power and influence. Are all societies this way or is there something special about the way ours is structured right now?

    The rise because they want to rise and they poses the several traits that help in rising to that level. They want it more then anything else in the world, they lack the morals that would keep other people from making the deals with the devil they need to succeed.

    Maybe answering it would prove some useful insights. The more useful question is are we better off having them run things all the time? If they we aren’t, then are there times where it maybe useful? Can we effect change given we’d be asking the ruling sociopaths to give up what they view as theirs?

    Probably the biggest problem I see is a large part of the population wont/cant accept the fact their leaders are sociopaths. They have to believe the system is fair and run by fair people. They can’t live in a chaotic unfair world run by selfish people. I fear if they lived in a world like that they’d emulate the sociopaths end we’d be in a lot worse shape then we are now.

  52. 52
    Person of Choler says:

    The progressives have awarded Joe Lieberman the Emmanuel Goldstein Traveling Two Minutes Hate Trophy. The reason for the award seems to be that Joe is a vengeful and avaricious mental case. He is thought to be so because he opposes the Obama / Reid / Pelosi health care reform plans. This could be so.

    But you might want to give passing consideration to the notion that someone can take issue with your ideas on principle. It would help you to convince the undecided if you used logic against your opponents instead of demonization.

  53. 53
    Citizen Alan says:

    IIRC, there was a paper presented about ten years ago which got some press attention at the time but then fell down the memory hole. Its premise was that as much as 33% or so of the population actually had sociopathic tendencies and also that the very structure of modern bureaucratic societies inevitably causes such people to rise to the upper social classes. I wish I could remember the name or author.

    And increasing corporatism definitely plays a role. Corporations rule the world. The people picked to run corporations should be those people best able to maximize shareholder profits. And the best ways to maximize shareholder profits (at least in the short term) are typically through policies that only a sociopath could embrace: massive layoffs, huge benefit cuts, elimination of expensive safety procedures, flat-out lying about the efficacy and safety of drugs and other products.

    The day I became a socialist was the day I realized that unrestrained capitalism, for all the good it did, was a death trip.

  54. 54
    Elie says:

    @Sinister eyebrow:

    The only issue I have with your observation is that it seems to separate the prevalence of these persons in our leadership from the very real sociopathology in our “normal” culture. These folks would not be as prevalent, or allowed to have such power if the overall culture did not somehow allow or promote their success. Sure, they manipulate and are successful at getting what they want. I would argue however that their prevalence is a result of the fact that our society and norms facilitate their existence and success.

  55. 55

    Don’t call them sociopaths, they don’t fit the description. True sociopaths don’t feel glee when they do something terribly destructive to others. These people do.

    All they are are assholes. Joe is an asshole because he feels he deserves unlimited backing from his old buddies forever and ever amen, and he didn’t get it when he got primaried. So he spends his time on narcississtic jackoff revenge fantasies to make his peepee grow bigger.

  56. 56
    scudbucket says:

    @Zifnab:

    My reference was more general: perhaps I should have said ‘political and economic institutions’. Consider, as an example, the historical core of voting rights in the US.

    Re: self interest, you say

    Selfishness is not necessarily Sociopathy. You can look out for your own self-interest and still support others. Particularly when mutual back-scratching is involved.

    First, self-interest is not necessarily a pathology (good!). Next, it doesn’t preclude an individual from including other’s self-interest as well (enlightened self-interest!), especially when mutual back-scratching is involved (the social contract!).

    So, self-interest can lead to socially useful practices. I agree. It’s just that self-interest can, and usually does, appear to be promoted in disregard to the social contract (or normal morality), and that this is a pattern of behavior which has long roots in American society.

  57. 57
    Jay says:

    A sociopath is a great politician (campaigning wise) because they can say whatever they want at the time and will have convinced themselves of the legitimacy of their position with zero regard for consistency or consequence.

    There should be a personality test for federal positions like the Presidency and Congress.

  58. 58
    Elie says:

    @scudbucket:

    It’s just that self-interest can, and usually does, appear to be promoted in disregard to the social contract (or normal morality), and that this is a pattern of behavior which has long roots in American society.

    Agree. VERY long roots.

  59. 59
    JenJen says:

    @Person of Choler: Two minutes? You must be new.

    And you know, maybe progressives are taking objection to the fact that he’s flip-flopping on his own damned position from just last September. You might want to give passing consideration to that notion.

  60. 60
    Will says:

    Now is really the time for Harry Reid to invite Joe Lieberman out to one of the majority leader’s favorite Las Vegas casinos for a night on the town. When Sen. Aetna awakes in the morning, and sees the dead callgirl next to him, Harry stops by to calmly explain that “it’s my hotel, and no one need ever know about any of this, Joe.”

    Health care passes 60-40 the next day.

    That’s about the only solution I can think of right now. I don’t believe Sen. Aetna is a fan of horses, but maybe someone could check on that, too.

  61. 61
    Sour Kraut says:

    I think it would be simple to repeat the exercise using Mr. Lieberman. He fits the diagnosis as well (though without quite the devastating end results) of W.

    Lieberman may engage in some sociopathic behavior, but he still seems to have a genuine need to convince himself that he’s a Paragon of Virtue doing the Right Thing for the Nation. As Code Monkey pointed out, a true sociopath wouldn’t care in the slightest about such a thing (although he might find it useful camouflage). Not that having a garden-variety backstabbing, narcissistic greedhead for a Senator is much comfort.

    And what NobodySpecial said. Also. Too.

  62. 62
    EconWatcher says:

    I would frame the question the opposite way: How could someone who is basically decent, principled, and concerned with others, ever reach the top of the heap in a system that requires collecting vast amounts from moneyed interests to get the media access necessary for a successful candidacy?
    The answer is, probably ain’t gonna happen. Obama is about as close as you’re ever likely to get. And I think he’s kind of a fluke.

  63. 63
    Nellcote says:

    Given the Liebermans and Nelsons, how is it so outrageous for Prez. Obama to believe there is evil in the world? And that we need to strive to do the progressive thing anyway.

  64. 64
    Shalimar says:

    @Person of Choler: Progressives thought Joe was a vengeful and avaricious mental case in 2006 even before Reid and Pelosi were in the majority, so your cause and effect is clearly fucked up.

    And what principles do you think cause Lieberman to disagree with progressives? He seems to have a new one every month. Are all of them true? Any of them? For every principle you can find, I guarantee I can find Holy Joe espousing the opposite principle sometime in the last 20 years. A man of consistent principles he isn’t.

  65. 65
    Tim says:

    I think pretty highly of Al Gore. Overall, I’d give him a 6 on a 1-10, negative to positive scale. But I have often wondered what it tells us about him that he chose Lieberman as running mate in 2000, when it was already very clear the Lieb was a sanctimonious, talentless, inarticulate zero.

    Thoughts?

  66. 66
    SenyorDave says:

    How about a “Law and Order” moment for Lieberman. Rahm Emmanuel asks him over for “An Important Chat”.

    Emmanuel: Here’s our offer, Joe. You blink, we pass HCR, you keep all chairmanships, etc. You don’t, we go to Reconciliation, you’re kicked off all committees, and I guarantee that you will not win re-election in 2012. You breathe a word of this to anyone and I will make it my life’s mission to personally destroy you. The offer is good for 30 minutes.

  67. 67
    Maude says:

    @Sinister eyebrow: It also depends on how much smarts a narcisist has in it’s noggin.
    All psychopaths are narcisistic (can’t we find a better word?) but not a narcisists are psychopathic.
    I’ve almost got this down to a science. I swear that there are a lot more of them than there used to be.
    If someone’s reaction right off to a situation is their self concern, watch out.
    Raygun made it acceptable to be cruel and it attracted that bunch of mean, infantile self absorbed politicos that used to be kept out of sight.
    Bush was a nasty little psychopath.
    It has to become unacceptable for people to behave in that cruel manner. I don’t see any other way to solve it.

  68. 68
    Elie says:

    @Tim:

    Interesting thought…I have thought about that from time to time…

    Alls I can think of is that all of us have feet of clay from time to time…OR get talked into something that we know deep down is wrong and that we are probably gonna get screwed…

    I guess I more wonder why he doesnt say something about the guy. He has never overtly (to my limited knowledge) ever even vaguely criticized him. Perhaps because he thinks it would reveal his own flawed judgement in picking Lieberman as a running mate? Who knows..

    Wicked and interesting question though…

  69. 69
    numbskull says:

    Person of Choler,

    Holy Joe was specific about what policies in the Senate bill he had problems with. Most of them boiled down to not going further into debt. Now, ALL of the previous CBO reports indicate that the various HRC bills will lower debt, but the latest CBO report on the latest compromises in the Senate bill has not been published (however, the preliminary news out of CBO is that, even as watered down as it is, the current Senate bill STILL would lower costs compared to the current system).

    So, what does Holy Joe do? He announces, in advance of the very study he demanded, that he’s agin’ it. See, he wouldn’t want to have to argue against the actual report. That he demanded.

    Even a numbskull can understand what Joe’s doing here. What’s your excuse that you can’t?

  70. 70
    Alien-Radio says:

    @Notorious P.A.T.: Nixon admired Barbara Bush because “that is a woman who knows how to hate”

  71. 71
    Elie says:

    @Maude:

    “I swear that there are a lot more of them than there used to be.”

    Not sure that there are more proportional to the overall population. Will say that there are probably more reflected in our corporate and governmental leadership in an era where we were flush with excessive profits and had turned off serious oversight or accountability…

    We also have “loved” our bad boys — frequently allowing them to be forgiven after some period of faux punishment…

    The answer is in the mirror, in my opinion, though it seems hard for us to acknowledge that. I think that we consciously have to choose and want to choose principled leadership.

  72. 72
    Zifnab says:

    @scudbucket:

    So, self-interest can lead to socially useful practices. I agree. It’s just that self-interest can, and usually does, appear to be promoted in disregard to the social contract (or normal morality), and that this is a pattern of behavior which has long roots in American society.

    Fair enough. I can’t argue with that.

  73. 73
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    Haven’t read all the comments, soooooo…

    Has anyone tossed in ‘narcissistic personality disorder’ yet?

  74. 74
    KG says:

    @EconWatcher: I wouldn’t call Obama a fluke, he’s unique in that he’s eloquent and that’s something that has been long missing from our political discourse. Plus, Obama has shown, at least in theory, that one can raise substantial sums of money from small donors if you make the effort.

    I think someone such as you describe could reach the top, but he/she would likely have to come from a wealthy family as Roosevelt and Kennedy did. Having your own fortune does two things to help: first, being wealthy means you’re much more likely to have access to the social circles within the Village; and, second, you will be less dependent on the monied interests.

  75. 75
    Zifnab says:

    @Person of Choler:

    The progressives have awarded Joe Lieberman the Emmanuel Goldstein Traveling Two Minutes Hate Trophy.

    So, funny story. It’s called 1984, and part of the punchline in the Emmanuel Goldstein conspiracy theory was that the man was just a mythical construct to absorb hate and a name for rebels to gravitate towards, like a fly to fly paper, making it easier for the state to quash dissent.

    Joe Lieberman, by contrast, actually exists. He’s not some myth we invented to explain why health care won’t pass. Swap him out with Ned Lamont, and you’d have one less Senator opposing reforms.

    So your entire analogy is rather weak sauce.

  76. 76
    priscianus jr says:

    All societies have sociopaths, but most have ways to keep them in check. In our society the concept of honor no longer means anything, except to the extent that it is faked and forms the basis of hissy fits and gotchas. The nature of modern American society does everything to elicit and encourage sociopathic behavior and virtually nothing to discourage it. Naturally, the actual sociopaths among us are the ones who tend to rise to positions of the greatest power. (There are exceptions of course, but they are actually at a disadvantage, because in America, “Nice guys finish last.”) And these sociopaths, having risen to the top, have the ability to further shape the laws, public discourse (through media and entertainment), and otherwise game the system to their advantage. That’s why it’s been getting worse and worse. The “W” years were the absolute heyday of sociopathy. I don’t think I have to give details, everyone can fill in their own, from the workplace, to media and enterainment, to politics, it’s pretty obvious.
    There are a number of institutions in America today that are almost sociopathic by definition.
    i will say this though. It is a good sign that people are finally waking up to this reality. We are surrounded by BS and coercion morning , noon and night, and the least we can do is stop pretending that it’s legitimate.

  77. 77
    ilsita says:

    This is such a depressing question… It’s something that’s always percolating at the back of my mind, and have to kind of compartmentalize in order to pretend that some actual discourse/reason/change is possible.

    People trust sociopaths because their “humanity” is packaged for consumption.

    Ugh.

  78. 78
    someguy says:

    To me, anyone who would vote for someone who would start a war for no reason and show no remorse when it went terribly wrong is a sociopath. Anyone would vote for someone who would not only torture but then try to use support for torture as a political wedge issue is a sociopath. Anyone who would vote for someone who would hold the health of millions of Americans hostage so that he could get more face-time on “Meet the Press” is a sociopath.

    I think that explains it.

  79. 79
    Person of Choler says:

    @Shalimar: “Progressives thought Joe was a vengeful and avaricious mental case in 2006 even before Reid and Pelosi were in the majority, so your cause and effect is clearly fucked up.”

    “A man of consistent principles he isn’t.”, Well maybe he was for the plan before he was against it. I’ve heard that argument from a very progressive presidential candidate and it went down ok at the time.

    As I recall, progressives decided Lieberman was evil when he supported the Iraq war in 2006. Opposition to the war was the progressive shibboleth at that time, Joe didn’t pronounce it correctly and he was accordingly kicked off the Democrat ballot. Today’s progressive litmus test is support of the Democrats’ health care reform (whatever exactly that is) and Joe fails again.

    Lieberman seems to be disagreeing with progressive doctrine, but I fail to see the connection between ideological indiscipline and evil.

  80. 80
    georgia pig says:

    Self-selection, as many have noted, plays a big role, but that such people are selected is because of certain prevailing attitudes in the public. The thing about corporations is intriguing. Perhaps it’s not the rise of corporations per se, but rather the treatment of corporations as quasi-people and what that represents. This attitude, which began in law, has diffused throughout the public, such that now people refer to corporations as having person-like attributes. Talking about corporations as “sociopathic” is just an extension of this metaphor. Corporations cannot be sociopaths because they are not people.

    This has surfaced in the health care debate in the claims of Lieberman, Nelson and others about the “right” of health insurance companies to continue to exist in their current form, free from competition from a government entity that might threaten their continued existence as health insurance companies. According to this metaphorical construct, health insurers are people who have “rights” to continue to “live” in a certain way that government must be prevented from threatening. While one could talk about pros and cons of private versus public enterprise in deciding whether or not a public option or other government health insurance is a good idea, this rights-based “personalized” view of health insurance companies is particularly strange.

    Getting back to sociopathy, maybe a new working definition is that the sociopath is a person that tends to treat other persons as objects and, perhaps along the lines above, objects as people, i.e. one who cannot discern a meaningful difference between subject and object. The prevalence of such confusion is not all that surprising in a materialistic society, where one tends to be what one owns.

  81. 81

    @The Republic of Stupidity:

    We haven’t quite descended into the eternal flames of the DSM-IV just yet. Hopefully the idea that a politician can be acting out sociopathic tendencies doesn’t have to pass the tests of differential diagnosis.

    And then we have the conflating of “psychopath” with “sociopath.”

    Psychopathy vs. sociopathy

    Hare writes that the difference between sociopathy and psychopathy may “reflect the user’s views on the origins and determinates of the disorder.”[43] David T. Lykken proposes psychopathy and sociopathy are two distinct kinds of antisocial personality disorder. He believes psychopaths are born with temperamental differences such as impulsivity, cortical underarousal, and fearlessness that lead them to risk-seeking behavior and an inability to internalize social norms. On the other hand, he claims sociopaths have relatively normal temperaments; their personality disorder being more an effect of negative sociological factors like parental neglect, delinquent peers, poverty, and extremely low or extremely high intelligence. Both personality disorders are the result of an interaction between genetic predispositions and environmental factors, but psychopathy leans towards the hereditary whereas sociopathy tends towards the environmental.[38]

    It’s a dark thread.

  82. 82
    catclub says:

    1. There is plenty of behavior to hate.

    2. Lack of evidence is not evidence of lack.
    i.e. In his public announcements Bush shows no remorse
    for starting illegal war and killing thousands.
    This does not prove he did not weep bitter tears about it in private. Maybe Cheney told him he could not back out now.

    Likewise for Lieberman. Maybe he goes home every night and weeps that he has to disappoint the democratic caucus once again, in order to get all that insurance company money.
    He feels bad about it, so he is not a sociopath.

    But all that really matters to us is what he does and says.

    The rest is pop psychology – see Dean Baker.

  83. 83
    inthewoods says:

    Are we really talking about psychopaths vs. sociopaths?

    “A sociopath is one who is affected with a personality disorder marked by antisocial behavior. A psychopath is a person with an antisocial personality disorder, manifested in aggressive, perverted, criminal, or amoral behavior without empathy or remorse. The two might sound the same to some, however the differences between sociopaths and psychopaths are very real. ”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P.....sociopathy

    A compelling book on the subject:

    http://www.corporatepsychopath.com/

    Snakes In Suits: When Psychopaths Go To Work by
    Paul Babiak, Ph.D. and Robert D. Hare, Ph.D.

    “Researchers Paul Babiak and Robert Hare have long studied psychopaths. Hare, the author of Without Conscience, is a world-renowned expert on psychopathy, and Babiak is an industrial-organizational psychologist. Recently the two came together to study how psychopaths operate in corporations, and the results were surprising. They found that it’s exactly the modern, open, more flexible corporate world, in which high risks can equal high profits, that attracts psychopaths. They may enter as rising stars and corporate saviors, but all too soon they’re abusing the trust of colleagues, manipulating supervisors, and leaving the workplace in shambles.”

    Now, I know a few of these types (including a relative that has risen high in a major corporation), and I’m not sure they always destroy the workplace. In my experience, they can continue to control the workplace, while playing just enough by the rules to keep their place in the workplace intact.

    The other trait I’ve seen – others here may have mentioned it – is this amazing ability to deal with cognitive dissidence. They here something – they know it is untrue, yet they can convince themselves that it actually is true and then move on. I see this ability all over the place on the right, but it never fails to amaze me the way they can make it the truth in their head.

  84. 84
    woody says:

    I think Harry Reid should 1) remove Lieberwhore from his Committee chair, 2) cut his staff to zero, 3) change the Dem official IT password and leave Lieberwhore out of the loop, and 4) move his office to a latrine in the congressional garage.

  85. 85

    @Tim:

    After a lifetime of Gorewatching, my hunch is that Al is just not the brightest lamp on the marquee. He just thinks he is.

  86. 86
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Person of Choler:

    You seriously underestimate the number of people back in 2000 who didn’t decide to vote for Nader until Gore picked Lieberman as his running mate and Lieberman then proceeded to undermine Gore’s campaign constantly. Other than Zell Miller, I don’t think Gore could have given a bigger Fuck You to the progressive wing of the party than by picking that sanctimonious toad.

  87. 87
    JenJen says:

    @Person of Choler:

    Well maybe he was for the plan before he was against it. I’ve heard that argument from a very progressive presidential candidate and it went down ok at the time.

    Burn!! Plus, extra points for employment of “Democrat ballot” terminology. You are really good at this.

    Your progressive Lieberman outrage timeline could use a bit of work, though.

  88. 88
    gnomedad says:

    @KG:

    I wouldn’t call Obama a fluke, he’s unique in that he’s eloquent and that’s something that has been long missing from our political discourse. Plus, Obama has shown, at least in theory, that one can raise substantial sums of money from small donors if you make the effort.

    I also think that Obama’s “inexperience” is a plus — he rose to the top quickly without having as much time and need to compromise himself and become jaded.

  89. 89
    Person of Choler says:

    @Zifnab:
    “So your entire analogy is rather weak sauce.”

    Not to get in a literary argument, Goldstein may or may not have been a fiction within a fiction, but Trotsky was not and ideological purges are not imaginary either

    My interest is in the part about the Two Minutes Hate, except that the hosts and commenters here seem to rage at their current targets (G.W. Bush, Palin, Beck… and now Lieberman) for long stretches of days, 24/7.

    Seems odd to me.

  90. 90
    Onkel Bob says:

    “So, billions to go around the world to kill people you don’t know… and not a dime to heal people at home who you do know. I like it”!
    Danziger

  91. 91
    Citizen Alan says:

    @catclub:

    I think there’s a big gap between “shows no remorse over the Iraq War” and “affects a big, shit-eating grin whenever he talks about ‘killin’ evul-dooers’.” See also “Now watch me hit this drive!”

  92. 92
    mclaren says:

    Zifnab makes an extremely important point. Corporations act solely in the interest of increasing profit. Nothing else matters. That’s the very definition of sociopathy.

    Any capitalist system ruled by corporations will, therefore, by definition qualify as sociopathic.

    Umair Haque has written about this. He’s more blunt than Zifnab, though. Haque points out that most of the businesses of Capitalism 1.0 are evil, and evil is unsustainable as a business model.

    Think about it — charging people money to save their lives is fundamentally evil because it’s a form of extortion, and as we all know, extortion payments keep getting bigger and bigger over time until the victim can’t pay anymore. That’s what’s happened with the health care system in America. “Your money or your life,” and since you have to fork over the money, the amounts just keep getting larger. Forever. Without end. So of course health care costs have exploded. What else did you expect? It’s an evil business model, “your money or your life,” and all evil business models are unsustainable in the long run. Slavery was unsustainable, mercantilism was unsustainable, colonialism was unsustainable, rapine and pillage were unsustainable (that was the Vikings’ business model), and now the basic mechanisms of the American capitalist 1.0 economy are unsustainable — scams, Ponzi schemes, extortion rackets, and monopolies.

    When your basic business model is evil, sociopaths obviously rise to the top. D’oh! as Homer Simpson would say. Most of America’s basic business models are now evil — they no longer depend on producing things of value that people want, but, like Microsoft, on forcing customers to buy shit (Vista, Windows 7) because they’re locked into a monopoly…or, like insurance companies, taking peoples’ money and then scamming them out of their promised health care. Or, like the financial “industry,” taking peoples’ money outright and stealing it.

    Those aren’t business models. That’s theft and lies and scams. In the long run, it doesn’t produce a working economy.

  93. 93
    Poopyman says:

    From the Wikipedia page on Antisocial personality Disorder:

    Characteristics of people with antisocial personality disorder may include:[3]

    * Persistent lying or stealing
    * Superficial charm[4][5]
    * Apparent lack of remorse[4] or empathy; inability to care about hurting others
    * Inability to keep jobs or stay in school[4]
    * Impulsivity and/or recklessness[4]
    * Lack of realistic, long-term goals — an inability or persistent failure to develop and execute long-term plans and goals
    * Inability to make or keep friends, or maintain relationships such as marriage
    * Poor behavioral controls — expressions of irritability, annoyance, impatience, threats, aggression, and verbal abuse; inadequate control of anger and temper
    * Narcissism, elevated self-appraisal or a sense of extreme entitlement
    * A persistent agitated or depressed feeling (dysphoria)
    * A history of childhood conduct disorder
    * Recurring difficulties with the law
    * Tendency to violate the boundaries and rights of others
    * Substance abuse
    * Aggressive, often violent behavior; prone to getting involved in fights
    * Inability to tolerate boredom
    * Disregard for the safety of self or others
    * Persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social rules, obligations, and norms
    * Difficulties with authority figures [6]

    Well, how many politicians will have some to many of these symptoms? Hell, it might be easier to list how many don’t.

    I suppose it goes without saying that substance abuse, difficulties with authority figures, and (minor) difficulties with the law (among others) will go unreported until it rises to a “reportable” level – like if your congressman’s date goes swimming in the Tidal Basin (see Fox, Fanne), or if you go hiking the Appalachian Trail one too many times.

  94. 94
    Person of Choler says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    “You seriously underestimate the number of people back in 2000 who didn’t decide to vote for Nader until Gore picked Lieberman as his running mate and Lieberman then proceeded to undermine Gore’s campaign constantly.”

    Now that you point it out, if progressives voted in significant numbers for Nader, they didn’t do themselves any favors. Their votes made it easier (in the progressive formulation) for G.W. Bush to steal the election.

    That’s what you get for enforcing ideological purity.

  95. 95
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Person of Choler:

    My interest is in the part about the Two Minutes Hate, except that the hosts and commenters here seem to rage at their current targets (G.W. Bush, Palin, Beck… and now Lieberman) for long stretches of days, 24/7.
    __
    Seems odd to me.

    Probably because it’s not based in reality. I think JenJen nailed it when she said:

    Your progressive Lieberman outrage timeline could use a bit of work, though.

  96. 96
    scudbucket says:

    @Person of Choler: This post, and all the others.

    What’s interesting here is your effort to turn the discussion into an analysis of tit-for-tat mud-slinging based on people’s party identification, when in fact, the issue has nothing to do with D’s and R’s. Lieberman’s apparent indifference to human suffering is no more nor less than a GOPer who promotes Ins. CO.’s profits over people. The particular point about Lieberman is that he caucuses with the Dems, and the GOPer at least gets points for honesty in stating his position on this.

  97. 97
    EconWatcher says:

    @gnomedad:

    I would be the last to belittle Obama’s unique talents. But I still think his election was a fluke because (1) the country was in such an undeniable state of disaster, on so many fronts, and (2) the other party was in a uniquely bad position to diffuse or evade the blame because it controlled all three branches of government for most of the previous eight years, and was so obvious and open in shutting the minority party out of all decisionmaking.

    You just don’t see that confluence of events very often. And I don’t think O would have won otherwise.

    By the way, God bless John Kerry. I mean it. If it had not been for his astonishing woodenness and incompetence as a candidate, Democrats would be taking the blame for the national collapse. The ship could not have been righted between 2005 and 2008, and at least this way, everyone who is reachable knows whom to blame.

    It took real skill to lose in the face of W’s open and notorious incompetence in 2004. Thank goodness, Dems found the right man for the job.

  98. 98
    Xanthippas says:

    I believe that the biggest question about our society is why it is that so many sociopaths rise to positions of power and influence. Are all societies this way or is there something special about the way ours is structured right now?

    Dude, that’s human history. Even in our country you’ve got dickwads who will vote for Lieberman precisely because he stands in the way of health care reform.

  99. 99
    liberal says:

    @mclaren:

    Most of America’s basic business models are now evil—they no longer depend on producing things of value that people want, but, like Microsoft, on forcing customers to buy shit (Vista, Windows 7) because they’re locked into a monopoly…or, like insurance companies, taking peoples’ money and then scamming them out of their promised health care. Or, like the financial “industry,” taking peoples’ money outright and stealing it.

    In a nutshell: rent collection.

  100. 100
    Tonybrown74 says:

    @Tim:

    I think pretty highly of Al Gore. Overall, I’d give him a 6 on a 1-10, negative to positive scale. But I have often wondered what it tells us about him that he chose Lieberman as running mate in 2000, when it was already very clear the Lieb was a sanctimonious, talentless, inarticulate zero.

    Al Gore was trying his best to run against the short-comings of President Clinton re: the Lewinski affair and picked the best Democratic (at the time) scold.

    All of this because he listened to the Village which told him that is what he needed to do, at the same time they were eviscerating him.

  101. 101
  102. 102
    Tonybrown74 says:

    @AngusTheGodOfMeat:

    After a lifetime of Gorewatching, my hunch is that Al is just not the brightest lamp on the marquee. He just thinks he is.

    Gore was an idiot for listening to the Village, who hated him for being part of the Clinton Administration.

    THAT is how we got Lieberman.

  103. 103
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @Person of Choler:

    Well maybe he was for the plan before he was against it.

    And…

    Lieberman seems to be disagreeing with progressive doctrine, but I fail to see the connection between ideological indiscipline and evil.

    Nice try, but no dice. Shall we go to the link farm?

    From JenJen in another thread: Lieberman was for 55-65 Medicare buy-in as of three months ago.

    Ezra Klein: “If there’s a policy rationale here, it’s not apparent to me, or to others who’ve interviewed him. At this point, Lieberman seems primarily motivated by torturing liberals.”

    My personal favorite, from Steve Benen: Lieberman’s consistently shifting rationale, where he adopts a new reason why he’s against the public option every month, and shortly thereafter gets debunked.

    I can go on and on with this, but you get the point. The man ain’t working from a position of ideological conviction. It’s as plain as day.

  104. 104
    Person of Choler says:

    @scudbucket:

    “indifference to human suffering”? Quite a serious charge. How does Lieberman merit this accusation?

  105. 105
    Sentient Puddle says:

    Hey cool, I tripped the moderation filter for the first time! Wonder how I did that…

  106. 106
    WereBear says:

    @Tokyokie: Three words regarding this:

    a Western country like, say, Norway, which doesn’t seem to produce them at all.

    which are Norwegian Death Metal. Google it… won’t be long before you go, “Mmmmkay, that’s really twisted.”

    Generally speaking (as a psych major who hangs out with mental health pros) both psychopaths and sociopaths lack a “conscience” or internalization of societal (or even biological) norms of behavior. They are the complete rogue; only out for themselves, and thinking others are doing the same. In fact, expressions of love, concern, and higher feelings are mimicked by them to pass as human, just as they think we are all doing.

    That kind of hardcore missing element is generally considered a single digit percentage in any population; genetically it persists because of its blunt force approach to problems works, most of the time, and they become adept at simply dropping out of sight and popping up with fresh credentials in another state.

    Male or female, they easily con others into taking care of the “cuckoo’s eggs” they drop into other’s nests; or not. They really don’t care, and that is what distinguishes them from the narcissist, who is just as nasty a piece of work, and often is mistaken for them.

    However, the narcissist is a human; only they are so damaged their rational side is taken up with elaborate and vital rationalizations to pump up their shriveled sense of self, and they are capable of denying all responsibility, or even cognitive awareness, of the destruction they leave in their wake.

    The difference (which is academic to their victims) is that on some level, the narcissist feels badly about it, and must struggle to hide that fact, lest their poor self-image implode entirely.

    The sociopath has no such struggle.

  107. 107
    Gebghis says:

    EMERGENCY: I just checked Memeorandum.com and there were no Sarah Palin headlines. Someone please fix this.

  108. 108

    @Tonybrown74:

    No doubt. And the irony of that is that Gore would be the first to look down his nose at the Village, in most situations.

  109. 109
    Makewi says:

    An interesting take Doug. OTOH, a Senator in a state with massive insurance company interests could be seen as serving the interests of his constituents by opposing government action that would harm those interests. Of course that take doesn’t allow you to call the man crazy.

    Also, love the “started a war for no reason” bit. So tell me, if you disagree with stated reasons is that the same as there being actually no reasons?

  110. 110
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @Makewi: That would work if a majority of Connecticut worked for the insurance industry. Alas, they do not.

  111. 111
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Makewi:

    An interesting take Doug. OTOH, a Senator in a state with massive insurance company interests could be seen as serving the interests of his constituents by opposing government action that would harm those interests. Of course that take doesn’t allow you to call the man crazy.

    Actually, yes, it does. When it runs contradictory to the will of the citizenry that actually voted for and elected him. And even though in Makewank/Scalia’s World, AETNA might be a person, I’m pretty sure they don’t get a say at the ballot box.

    But the real point is that you are seriously trying to claim that the citizens of Connecticut are having their interests served via Lieberman’s obstructionism in carrying out insurance company orders; orders that lead to increased premiums, people having their coverage dropped, amongst other horrors.

    You. Are. A. Joke.

  112. 112
    WereBear says:

    It would appear that, to right wing trolls, the only citizens who matter in Connecticut are those who own insurance companies.

    How charmingly sociopathic.

  113. 113
    Ecks says:

    Ok, I AM a psychologist (though not a clinical one).

    Bush perhaps had some borderline tendencies towards psychopathy – he really didn’t seem to need to find any justification for inflicting suffering, and the animal torture thing in his youth, if true, is pretty diagnostic (though if he was part of a scene where EVERYONE was doing it, then it could just be straight up normative pressure).

    I don’t see quite the same evidence for Lieberman, but what he CLEARLY is, is very high in Social Dominance Orientation.

    I see someone has already linked Bob Altemeyer’s book on this:

    http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/

    It’s free, it’s online, it’s VERY readable (you can get through it in an afternoon), and lays out EXACTLY what is going on here. I can’t recommend it enough.

    As for corporations, they have a lot of forces acting on them to make them behave in psychopathic ways (i.e., if they restrain themselves too much they can be driven right out of business by less scrupulous types)… BUT, they can be effectively restrained and guided by laws and regulation to blunt their worst tendencies. Effective regulation is what allows us to channel self-interest into a productive and useful social force (albeit with constant friction at the fringes).

  114. 114
    Koz says:

    “Emmanuel: Here’s our offer, Joe. You blink, we pass HCR, you keep all chairmanships, etc. You don’t, we go to Reconciliation, you’re kicked off all committees, and I guarantee that you will not win re-election in 2012. You breathe a word of this to anyone and I will make it my life’s mission to personally destroy you. The offer is good for 30 minutes.”

    Obviously this doesn’t work with the leverage that President Lieberman has with the political terrain as it currently is. But beyond that, something that people who want to think this are glossing over is the fact that it’s not like Reid or Obama has bankable commitments from 59 other Senators either.

    It might be Lieberman or Nelson who ends up finally killing this version of health care reform, but there are a good number of others, I’d say at least 10-15 D’s who want this issue to go away.

    At the risk of stating the obvious, it’s been pretty clear at least a couple of months that it doesn’t make any difference what is in this bill. If they can get 60 votes for anything, they can have a signing ceremony and prove to anyone who’s watching that the current liberal Obama-Reid-Pelosi leadership actually has a controlling majority. If they can’t, they don’t.

    Everything that’s important is going be contingent on which side of that fence we come down on.

  115. 115
    Sanka says:

    I believe that the biggest question about our society is why it is that so many sociopaths rise to positions of power and influence.

    Shorter DougJ: The real reason why health-care “reform” (whatever that is) isn’t sailing through a Democratically-controlled Congress, to be signed by a Democratically-controlled White House, elected in 2008 by an obviously left-of-center nation tired of corrupt and tired Republican politicians and policies, respectively is because of…er, well, anti-reformists are….er, sociopaths. Or something. Oh, SARAH PALIN. Also.

  116. 116
    Makewi says:

    @Sentient Puddle:

    It doesn’t need to be a majority, just a large enough percentage to make a substantial difference.

    @Midnight Marauder:

    You are like a spoiled child stomping his widdle feet when he doesn’t get his way. How dare someone bring in contrary facts to your little hate fest.

    You. are. a. dick.

    @WereBear:
    Why do you hate employees of insurance companies? Eh, more likely it’s just that you are incapable of thinking beyond your narrow views. Sad. Pathetic really.

  117. 117
    Makewi says:

    I think it’s really great that none of you would even consider the possibility that the so called health care reform could actually make matters worse. So enamored by your own little fairy tale, you never even stop to consider that distinct possibility.

    Thank God for people like Joe Lieberman.

  118. 118
    licensed to kill time says:

    Do makewank, weak coffee sauce and just beKoz have some kind of email circle jerk alert so they all show up at the same time?

  119. 119
    Makewi says:

    @licensed to kill time:

    Yeah, everything is a conspiracy to against you because you are such an important hero. Hey maybe we can get someone to “diagnose” you with narcissism

  120. 120
    El Cid says:

    The problem is that those of us who fear the prospect of health reform making the situation worse for the vast majority understand clearly that it is precisely people like Joe Lieberman who are the ones doing everything they can to make things worse for us.

    It gets worse for us if there is no reform and it gets even worse for us if the advice of insurance wh*res like Lieberman and Nelson et al are followed.

    An honest version of their lying and corrupt argument is ‘stop this reform before my evil inner self uses my power to make reform hurt you’.

  121. 121
    licensed to kill time says:

    @Makewi:

    Project much?

  122. 122
    kay says:

    @licensed to kill time:

    I don’t know, but it amusing watching them tie themselves up in knots trying to find a “principled” rationale for Lieberman’s actions.

    They’re moralist scolds at heart. They adore Lieberman, which makes him inherently pure and good. What did they all chant in unison during the Bush years? Oh, yeah. “he’s a good man“.

    I almost miss the Cheney conservatives. They screwed people without all this bullshit posturing.

    Drop the individual mandate and deny Lieberman 15 million new mandated customers to deliver to the insurance interests he works for and he’ll lose interest in all this touchy-feely stuff and go back to his full-time job, which is lobbying for war and scare-mongering on terrorism.

    Lieberman killed his own bipartisan compromise on reform in 1995, but not before he got lots of camera time for “caring”. Lots of bluster, but when it came down to it, Lieberman could….not…..support the compromise he brokered.

    He’s not a good-faith actor.

  123. 123
    Makewi says:

    @licensed to kill time:

    Wow, what a witty comeback.

    @El Cid:

    Really? People who fear health care reform making the situation worse for them understand that its people like Joe Lieberman who will make it worse? Seems unlikely.

    More likely is the fact that people understand that the government may well have good intentions, but has really bad follow through, especially when attempting something this large.

    But hey, at least you got to call someone an insurance whore, which I suspect is what was most important to you.

  124. 124
    kay says:

    There’s video of an interview with Lieberman in September of this year, proposing a Medicare buy-in to those 50 and older.

    He’s quite animated and passionate. He calls it “my proposal”.

    It was with a Connecticut outlet, so he was probably thinking he could do his usual song and dance of “promise them anything in Connecticut”.

    Poor Joe. The internet changes everything.

  125. 125
    Demo Woman says:

    @Makewi: Hahahahahaha… Why not have a poll of those 65 and over and see whether or not they want to do away with social security and medicare..

    hahahahahahahahahahahahaha

  126. 126
    Makewi says:

    @Demo Woman:

    Hahahahahahahaha.

    Why not ask those under 40 if they think they are ever going to get to participate in those super fantastic programs?

    Hahahahahahahahaha.

  127. 127
    El Cid says:

    Really? People who fear health care reform making the situation worse for them understand that its people like Joe Lieberman who will make it worse? Seems unlikely.

    Two things.

    One, that’s a fair point: I should have narrowed “those of us” down to people who are vaguely in touch with the real world instead of the awful, paranoid Reaganite shit-heads who spout crap about stopping ‘gubmit’ and generally have nothing convincing to say about health care. There are all sorts of morons out there opposed to health care reform because they believe it’s unfair to restrain how much insurance companies profit, or because it means Obama will inject mind-control drugs into our children.

    Secondly, yes, I would clearly emphasize that people like Joe Lieberman are absolutely doing everything they can to make health care and insurance for the vast majority of us worse so that (a) insurance and pharmaceutical companies can maintain the degrees of profitability they desire and can share with politicians via largesse and think tanks, and (b) their goal of supporting the ideology that government simply may not be used to improve the lives of the vast majority of us can be maintained.

  128. 128
    Makewi says:

    @El Cid:

    Ah well, at least you managed to populate the world into those who agree with us, and are thus all that is right in the world, and those who are Reaganite shit heads and should be round up and put into camps.

    You know, for reality sake.

  129. 129
    licensed to kill time says:

    __

    Wow, what a witty comeback.

    I take pity on an unarmed opponent.

  130. 130
    Makewi says:

    @El Cid:

    One other thing.

    their goal of supporting the ideology that government simply may not be used to improve the lives of the vast majority of us can be maintained.

    The vast majority is happy with their current health insurance.

  131. 131
    El Cid says:

    @Makewi: True fans of Reagan needed not be rounded up into camps, because you could trap them in place by dangling shiny beads in front of them.

  132. 132

    […] DougJ @ Balloon Juice, in frustration at something Joe Lieberman is doing: I believe that the biggest question about our society is why it is that so many sociopaths rise to positions of power and influence. Are all societies this way or is there something special about the way ours is structured right now? […]

  133. 133
    Ruckus says:

    @Tim:
    This was my major problem with Gore as a candidate. I don’t see a lot of difference with this one decision of his and mccain’s picking of ms moosebutt. Both of the picks would make very bad vp and if anything went wrong either one would have pushed king bush back a spot in the running for worst pres ever. Just try to imagine what the country would be like if either flip flop or moosebutt were in charge. Bet you can’t do it without your head exploding.
    But then again look at what we got in Gore/flip-flop’s place. The idiot boy king and the devil his self.

  134. 134
    b-psycho says:

    I believe that the biggest question about our society is why it is that so many sociopaths rise to positions of power and influence.

    This is like asking why so many priests molest boys.

  135. 135

    I’m basing most of my judgement on The Sociopath Next Door, by Martha Stout. Stout claims that sociopaths are much rarer in some other societies, which I’m not sure I believe.

    But, as several commenters here have pointed out, people who *act* like sociopaths tend to be rewarded in our society, because our biggest players are corporations, who would be sociopaths if they were people. So while I don’t think there are more sociopaths than there used to be, I think there’s more sociopathic behavior. You get what you reward.

  136. 136
    Citizen Alan says:

    @EconWatcher:

    It would have been worth it to have had a Democrat name William Rehnquist’s replacement to the position of Chief Justice (to say nothing of O’Connor’s replacement). Bush’s two hideous Supreme Court appointments will infect this nation for literally generations to come.

  137. 137

    Ideology and theology present structures for holding beliefs that run counter to personal behavior. Sociopaths and psychopaths fail pretty quickly in relationships with people without their lack, they do not rise to positions of real power without some form of bailout system. You could make some case in regard to GWB, but a general application is just polemics.

    Most endeavors may allow for various levels of greed and disregard to the general good, but their internal operations won’t support the lack of sociopaths or psychopaths, you simply cannot play that way with peers and superiors on any kind of extended basis without repercussions.

    It is easy enough to propose a distant reaction to the “failures” of the poor or the “irresponsible” but it is fatal to carry that forward in relationships with co-workers and superiors, especially in politics. Too much depends on non-contractural agreements and simple tenor of behavior. I’ll bet that everybody here has relatives that hold rightwing bloodcurdling politics that have virtually nothing to do with their personal behavior.

    I’d be real slow to call Joe Ho anything positive and that’s been the case since…well, a real long time, including pre-Gore VP.

  138. 138
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Person of Choler:

    Now that you point it out, if progressives voted in significant numbers for Nader, they didn’t do themselves any favors. Their votes made it easier (in the progressive formulation) for G.W. Bush to steal the election.

    That’s what you get for enforcing ideological purity.

    In other words, “why do you make me keep hitting you?”

    Nader’s political thesis — that, as parties, there is no substantive difference between Democrats and Republicans — was and is ridiculous on its face. However, the relevant question for progressives in 2000 was “is there a substantive difference between Gore and Bush?” And while we all see that there plainly was with the benefit of hindsight, in 2000, Gore seemed bent on answering the question with a big fat NO. He flatly refused to run on any part of Clinton’s positive record, and he chose as his running mate Joe Lieberman, a sanctimonious prick best known for his overt religiosity, his instinct for censorship, and his strong support for Republican-style tort reform. Oh, and I also seem to recall Gore going to remarkable lengths to remind everyone that he was pro-death penalty.

    Even on environmental issues – his signature issue-, Gore was remarkably tepid during the 2000 election because he was terrified of being portrayed as a liberal despite his apparent belief that he was entitled to fealty from all liberal voters. It would have been trivially easy for Gore to have blunted Nader’s critique by at least pretending to have some progressive leanings. Instead, he deliberately hid the progressive leanings he did have in order to appeal to the mythical center.

    For me, the moment that summed up the 2000 campaign was during the VP debate, when Cheney made the astounding assertion that all of his success had come from the private sector without depending on the government for anything when almost all of Haliburton’s business came from government contracts and Joe just sat there like a lump and said nothing, because he himself saw nothing objectionable about Cheney’s statement. Of course people who make all their money from government granted monopolies are really just private sector entrepreneurs rather than corporate welfare cases. Whoever would be so gauche as to suggest otherwise?

  139. 139
    Nathanael says:

    Sociopaths *always* rise to positions of power unless stopped. This is easy enough to document historically.

    Our society simply supplies very few methods of stopping them and makes such methods hard to use.

  140. 140
    Shalimar says:

    @Makewi:

    Why not ask those under 40 if they think they are ever going to get to participate in those super fantastic programs?

    If you lie to people, many of them are going to believe your bullshit. There is nothing wrong with social security other than Congress spending the money on other priorities that was supposed to be set aside for social security. And Medicare is healthy compared to the rest of our health care system so it isn’t going anywhere. People spreading lies that those programs aren’t secure have no interest in making them better, they just oppose the idea of a government-provided safety net period. Which is selfish and twisted imo.

  141. 141
    Nathanael says:

    “If they can get 60 votes for anything, they can have a signing ceremony and prove to anyone who’s watching that the current liberal Obama-Reid-Pelosi leadership actually has a controlling majority. If they can’t, they don’t.”

    Ah. There you’re wrong. If they manage to come up with something which is pure insurance-company bailout, this will prove:
    (1) to progressives that they have *no* controlling majority
    (2) to Republicans and right-wingers in power that *they* have a controlling majority
    (3) to the tuned-out, not-paying-attention class that left-wingers have a majoirity *and* that left-wingers want to hurt them and give away money to big corporations.

    Utter, unmitigated disaster.

    They have to actually sign a half-decent bill to get any political benefit. And they don’t need to have 60 votes — they need to have 51 and manage to *use* that 51 to pass the bill. *That* will prove to anyone that Obama/Pelosi/Reid have a controlling majority.

  142. 142
    Nathanael says:

    ‘True sociopaths are not that common, and tend to wind up insitutionalized (correctional or medical) before they can run for office. A true sociopath says things like, “yeah, I pushed Grandma down the stairs because she kept bugging me; why is everyone making a big deal out of it?” ‘

    I’m pretty sure Bush fits actually. Bush had to be *reminded* not to talk about his evil behavior, and kept forgetting. Mocking the woman on death row is typical. He really didn’t seem to see what the problem was. He also had a record of torturing animals as a kid.

    Most of the people under them weren’t sociopaths.

  143. 143

    @Nathanael:

    Sociopaths always rise to positions of power unless stopped. This is easy enough to document historically.

    Other than you just saying so, you care to provide some examples that weren’t beneficiaries of a bailout system? Or weren’t products of their actual sociology and thus not sociopaths?

    Don’t bother to start with Hitler since he was bailed out by everyone from the Weimar to Treaty of Versailles nations.

  144. 144
    Makewi says:

    @Shalimar:

    OK then. I’ll just mark you down as vigerously shaking your head, covering your ears and yelling nuh-uh, nuh-uh, nuh-uh repeatedly.

    Hey, here’s a fun one. Did you know that Medicare denies more claims than any of the private insurance companies? Bet you didn’t.

  145. 145
    Shalimar says:

    @Makewi: I still don’t know because I don’t believe anything you say. Citation to evidence including context?

  146. 146
    Makewi says:

    Cite

    Metric 12 – Percentages of claim lines denied.

  147. 147
    Shalimar says:

    Meaningless without context. There are plenty of good reasons to deny a claim.

  148. 148

    @Shalimar:

    If it isn’t “look how many claims they deny,” it’s the flipside: “look how much fraudulent waste there is!”

    This is a fun thread! We haven’t had a decent troll outbreak recently, and this was a pretty good one.

  149. 149

    Kurt Vonnegut on psychopathic personalities:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/book.....rtvonnegut

    I was once asked if I had any ideas for a really scary reality TV show. I have one reality show that would really make your hair stand on end: “C-Students from Yale”.

    George W Bush has gathered around him upper-crust C-students who know no history or geography, plus not-so-closeted white supremacists, aka Christians, and plus, most frighteningly, psychopathic personalities, or PPs, the medical term for smart, personable people who have no consciences.

    To say somebody is a PP is to make a perfectly respectable diagnosis, like saying he or she has appendicitis or athlete’s foot. The classic medical text on PPs is The Mask of Sanity by Dr Hervey Cleckley, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the Medical College of Georgia, published in 1941. Read it!

    Some people are born deaf, some are born blind or whatever, and this book is about congenitally defective human beings of a sort that is making this whole country and many other parts of the planet go completely haywire nowadays. These were people born without consciences, and suddenly they are taking charge of everything.

    PPs are presentable, they know full well the suffering their actions may cause others, but they do not care. They cannot care because they are nuts. They have a screw loose!

    And what syndrome better describes so many executives at Enron and WorldCom and on and on, who have enriched themselves while ruining their employees and investors and country and who still feel as pure as the driven snow, no matter what anybody may say to or about them? And they are waging a war that is making billionaires out of millionaires, and trillionaires out of billionaires, and they own television, and they bankroll George Bush, and not because he’s against gay marriage.

    So many of these heartless PPs now hold big jobs in our federal government, as though they were leaders instead of sick. They have taken charge. They have taken charge of communications and the schools, so we might as well be Poland under occupation.

    They might have felt that taking our country into an endless war was simply something decisive to do. What has allowed so many PPs to rise so high in corporations, and now in government, is that they are so decisive. They are going to do something every fuckin’ day and they are not afraid. Unlike normal people, they are never filled with doubts, for the simple reason that they don’t give a fuck what happens next. Simply can’t. Do this! Do that! Mobilise the reserves! Privatise the public schools! Attack Iraq! Cut health care! Tap everybody’s telephone! Cut taxes on the rich! Build a trillion-dollar missile shield! Fuck habeas corpus and the Sierra Club and In These Times, and kiss my ass!

  150. 150
    deadrody says:

    Oh no, the HUMAN COST!!!!

    What human cost would that be, exactly ? Sad to report for all the fearmongering, there IS NO human cost. You morons act like there are people dying in the streets over health insurance.

    Here’s a tip; They aren’t. Would it be nice if everyone had health insurance ? Sure. Nice. Pleasant. Slightly improved beyond the current situation (wherein they can go to the ER if need be and never get turned away).

    But ARRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH the HUMAN COST!!!111!!!

    You people are a joke.

  151. 151
    Mayur says:

    This took 5 seconds on Google:

    Harvard study finds 45,000 deaths due to lack of medical coverage.

    So yes, lives (LOTS of lives) are at stake, unlike the entirely mythical lives of American lives at risk from Saddam’s nonexistent WMD, for example. How much did the US taxpayer spend on that boondoggle?

    Fuck off and die… possibly from inability to afford diagnosis of a preventable condition or inability to afford decent long-term care. It’s the fate a troll like you deserves.

  152. 152
    Mayur says:

    Actually, I apologize. Here’s a more “reasonable” 20,000 deaths p.a. figure:

    http://www.urban.org/UploadedP....._dying.pdf

  153. 153
    Makewi says:

    @Shalimar:

    Sure, but only when the government does it. When it’s private insurance you just know there is some evil going down. Good luck with your denial!

  154. 154
    licensed to kill time says:

    Some sociopath stole my reply arrow. Diabilito!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] DougJ @ Balloon Juice, in frustration at something Joe Lieberman is doing: I believe that the biggest question about our society is why it is that so many sociopaths rise to positions of power and influence. Are all societies this way or is there something special about the way ours is structured right now? […]

Comments are closed.