Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Final Thought on that NAACP "Free Stuff" Speech: Could Mitt Romney be a Sociopath?

That set of facts alone made the “free stuff” speech shockingly offensive. But the problem isn’t just that Romney’s wrong, and a hypocrite, and cynically furthering dangerous and irresponsible stereotypes in order to advance some harebrained electoral ploy involving white conservative voters. What makes it gross is the way he did it. 
Romney can’t even be mean with any honesty. Even when he’s pandering to viciousness, ignorance and racism, it comes across like a scaly calculation. A guy who feels like he has to take a dump on the N.A.A.C.P. in Houston in order to connect with frustrated white yahoos everywhere else is a guy who has absolutely no social instincts at all... 
Most presidents have something under the hood – wit, warmth, approachability, something... 
But Romney doesn’t buzz with anything. His vision of humanity is just a million tons of meat floating around in a sea of base calculations. He’s like a teenager who stays up all night thinking of a way to impress the prom queen, and what he comes up with is kicking a kid in a wheelchair. Instincts like those are probably what made him a great leveraged buyout specialist, but in a public figure? Man, is he a disaster. It’s really incredible theater, watching the Republicans talk themselves into this guy.
Matt Taibbi's observations about Mitt Romney's NAACP speech (and its aftermath) are spot on. As I suggested here, Romney's insincere ploy at bridge-building with African Americans was really an effort to put them "back in their place" by signaling to the GOP base that as President he would not encourage our "parasitic" and "welfare queen" like behavior. This is ugly race baiting of the first order; it is also masterful political strategy.

Taibbi also picks up on how Romney's speech is part of a broader pattern of behavior. Mitt Romney is a bully. As such, he is the perfect candidate for a party of bullies. But, could Mitt Romney also be sociopathic?

This is a bold claim; but given Mitt Romney's behavior, it demands more than a flippant dismissal.

When the public thinks of sociopaths they envision a psychotic killer or mass murder. These are outliers who are more caricatures/ideal typical cases than the rule.

Frighteningly, sociopaths are apparently quite common in American society where they constitute at least 4 percent of the population. They are characterized by a lack of empathy, an inability to form deep and meaningful interpersonal relationships, coldness, and flat affect. In total, the sociopath is marked by a lack of conscience.

They can feign and perform emotional reactions like an actor or actress following a script. However, they do not feel emotions in the same way as "normal" people. In certain professions and trades an amount of sociopathic behavior can actually be an advantage--the world of business, the highest levels of government, and elite military units for example. Robber baron gangster capitalists such as Mitt Romney would certainly find a lack of (or even inhibited) conscience a great aid towards their success.

Ultimately, sociopaths view human beings as chess pieces to be moved and manipulated towards their own personal ends. Here, the following observation as offered in The Sociopath Next Door is both provocative and insightful:
About one in twenty-five individuals are sociopathic, meaning, essentially, that they do not have a conscience. It is not that this group fails to grasp the difference between good and bad; it is that the distinction fails to limit their behavior. The intellectual difference between right and wrong does not bring on the emotional sirens and flashing blue lights, or the fear of God, that it does for the rest of us. 
Without the slightest blip of guilt or remorse, one in twenty-five people can do anything at all...We are not commonly aware of, nor do we usually identify, the larger number of nonviolent sociopaths among us, people who often are not blatant lawbreakers, and against whom our formal legal system provides little defense 
Most of us would not imagine any correspondence between conceiving of ethnic genocide and, say, guiltlessly lying to one's boss about a coworker. But the psychological correspondence is not only there; it is chilling. Simple and profound, the link is the absence of the inner mechanism that beats up on us, emotionally speaking when we make a choice we view as immoral, unethical, neglectful, or selfish...Those who have no conscience at all are a group unto themselves, whether they be homicidal tyrants or merely ruthless military snipers. 
Does this group include Mitt Romney?


Improbable Joe said...

There's certainly an emptiness to Romney that is different from what we're used to seeing in our political figures, even the ones we disagree with vehemently. Dubya for example is a deeply flawed human being but he IS a human being. Mittens I'm not so sure about.

CNu said...

Your boy the Hon.Bro.Preznit.Double-O is an infinitely more highly evolved apex predator sociopath. By comparison, Romney is the poster child for racism abetted mediocrity. As far as the lack of empathy and range of crazy goes, i.e., the range of what each is willing and able to do, there's little along which to differentiate the two...,

Outside the theatre of popular distraction, how could it be otherwise?

Conor said...

Willard scolds the NAACP for wanting "free stuff", yet he benefits from a tax code that allowed him to deduct $77k from his taxes for one of his horses. That would suggest a certain lack of empathy, amongst other things. The same with his history of "pranks".

But is he a sociopath or just clueless? I see no reason why he couldn't be both.

chaunceydevega said...

@Improbable. Is he a male fembot? Cyborg? Time traveling rooster from the 40th century disguised as a human being?

@Cnu. Can one be both a mediocre poster child for racist mediocrity and a sociopath? Even after reading the rolling stone piece--which is excellent--I still think Obama has a heart, and that murder inc. is also damaging him spiritually. i would like to believe that, really. but the truth is somewhere in between.

@conor. when job creators and our galtian overlords get handouts those are called subsidies. get on the newspeak brother!

Comrade Physioprof said...

Romney definitely has elements of this consciencelessness that is characteristic of sociopaths, and is exactly why he was so successful a venture capitalist--he was willing on behalf of investors to go in and kill weakened companies, feed off their carcasses, and destroy workers' lives without any remorse or sympathy that could have led to decisions that would have lessened investor profits--and why he is so heavily favored by the plutocrats as presidential candidate--he will be willing on their behalf to kill the weakened US economy, feed off it's carcass, and destroy ordinary Americans' lives without any remorse or sympathy. I am not one for Internet psychiatric diagnosis, so it is up to you whether you want to call this sociopathy or not.

makheru bradley said...

The United States is controlled by an oligarchic psychopathocracy. No matter who is chosen to be president it will be a seamless transition from one psychopath/sociopath to another.

I still think Obama has a heart. – CDV You are correct. He has the heart of a serial killer, and he wants to everybody to know it.

What kind of work did Obama do for Business International Corporation, which the NYT identified as a CIA-front?

Whatever he did we know for a fact that Barack Obama operates his presiency with a ruthless CIA-mentality.

[After President Obama entered office, he drastically increased the role of the Central Intelligence Agency and the use of drone strikes in counterterrorism operations. Simultaneously, however, Obama closed the American-operated “black sites” in Europe, where terrorist suspects were sent to and interrogated. And while he has yet to fulfill his promise of shuttering the Guantanamo Bay prison camp, it does not take new prisoners.

So what do you do when you have a war to fight, but are too morally pure to detain the enemy? You either send them to Third World hellholes like Bosaso (Somalia) or you incinerate them with Hellfire missiles. The Obama administration considers waterboarding to be cruel “torture.” So what does it do instead? It dispatches remote-control drones to rain hell on suspected terrorists. Eliminating the alleged terrorist this way removes the pesky question of what to do with an enemy combatant captured alive. It also obviates the difficult task of intelligence-gathering; a dead terrorist can’t talk.

Of course, occasionally we hit the wrong person. Or an entire family. Or, perhaps, a village. Reporting is scattershot because the drone program is covert. There is not even an opportunity for the suspected terrorist to surrender and volunteer information; he literally has no idea what hit him.] – James Kirchick

The corrupt two-party system has given the American people a choice between injustice and immorality.

chaunceydevega said...

@Mb. I am gonna have to borrow oligarchic psychopathocracy. Is this yours or is there a source for it. I would love check it out. What would Freud say? What of our collective political subconscious? What has this society spawned?

I agree with you. As I have written here before I am waiting for this tech to proliferate and for all the boo hoos from real America types when this tech is turned on U.S. soldiers and used domestically here to kill people.

The RS piece on Obama is frightening. This story about black sites and secret prisons on ships was talked about for a quick sec and then dropped off the radar. Tens of thousands of people disappeared? Orwellian.

Razor said...

makheru bradley made an illustrative point that I believe derserves expansion on the issue brought up by CD on the question of whether Blockhead Romney exhibits sociopathic behaviors. Using his definition, it would appear to be the case. What does this say about our country? We elected a very intelligent man who seemed to also be blessed with big heart (community organizer) who has now clearly behaves like one who has no heart. He is now running against a rich automoton who can't even pretend to have a heart with a long and quite impressive resume to prove it.

As if the last election cycle wasn't frightening enough with the spectre of the real possibility of Sarah Palin literally waiting in the White House wings. Exhibit#1 that the US psyche is itself sociopathic as a collective, bent on some kind of self-annihilism and exhibiting an almost complete lack of empathy for necessary parts of it's own body.

Blacks demand that Obama preside over it's escalating predatory and "return to slavery-type demise. Whites demand Romney, a white man, worthy of giving the orders for them to eat their own flesh. Meanwhile, the powerful are eating both of their children, with a special taste for the medium-to-well done.

nomad said...

"I still think Obama has a heart. – CDV You are correct. He has the heart of a serial killer"


The thing about psychopaths, the most successful are great actors. They have charisma behind which they can hide a twisted psyche. They seem like "cool people". But beneath the manicured facade they're actually beasts.

makheru bradley said...

These thoughts originate with the ideas of our Esteemed Ancestor Malcolm X.

“American democracy is nothing but disguised hypocrisy.”

“American politics is the science of deception.” – Makheru Bradley

All Americans know about 9/11. They need to know about 9/15. Both events were examples of the Shock Doctrine. Psychopathic oligarchs deliberately crashed the US economy to get Barack Obama elected in 2008. What type of diabolical plan will they unveil this fall?

makheru bradley said...

Oops, I had these things in different word docs and forgot to combine them. This post should have preceded the prior one.

CDV, I coined the term oligarchic psychopathocracy after reading this essay:

I can’t remember if Bro. Cnu posted this essay or if it was referenced in one of his posts back in 2008. Prior to reading this essay I had referred to America as an oligarchy or a plutocracy with some democratic allowances. I’m a synthesizer of ideas and information so the term oligarchic psychpathocracy was logical extension of prior thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Dear WARN:

This book your quoting is how I got in big trouble. I'm talking life and death. I bought the line that some people just terrorize others for the hell of it. I thought if I called the cops on the neighbor who was bullying me for months that would straighten her out. The book was wrong! She had a total purpose in bullying me. She thought I was going to tell on her drug dealing. So she told her friends that THIS is the reason why I called the cops. I'm relieved that she's not rootin tootin out of her nutwagon, however she framed me in return for trying to report a "sociopath" who is actually a well-protected, well-connected drug dealer originally from the netherworld of South Boston's projects, who just happens to have some very comprehensive methods that resemble those in TSND stories. You know the people who spend 24/7 just to make others miserable and are usually only just power-hungry or "covetous sociopaths." This one was doing it for money and pointed the finger at me as a snitch to make her bones or some shit. I wish I never read this book, because this was one intellectual assessment that left out certain deadly possibilities.

Our computer's been hacked, so I don't know when I can answer you if you reply. This is a temp.

One of you biggest fans,