Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Psychopath Cowboys; Sociopath Herds: A New Theory of How Evil Happens
If you want a simple but accurate explanation for why civilization so often veers toward evil, here's a theory worth considering: Psychopaths are overrepresented in positions of power and they make sociopaths out of large numbers of us.

Robert Hare, psychology's most famous expert on psychopaths distinguishes psychopaths from sociopaths as follows.

Psychopaths are without conscience and incapable of empathy, guilt, or loyalty to anyone but themselves ... Sociopathy is not a formal psychiatric condition. It refers to patterns of attitudes and behaviors that are considered antisocial and criminal by society at large, but are seen as normal or necessary by the subculture or social environment in which they developed.

 After WWII, many people suspected that there might be something about the German temperament that made them so willing to comply with Hitler's orders to hurt fellow humans. In one of psychology's most famous experiments Stanley Milgram demonstrated that most of us, regardless of race, religion, gender or nationality will readily comply with an authority figure's instructions to hurt fellow humans.

In Milgram's experiment a man in a white lab coat instructed subjects to administer what they believed to be successively intense electrical shocks to another person. Coaxed only by such statements as "Please continue," and "The experiment requires that you continue," 65% of subjects inflicted the maximum 450-volt shock and none of the remaining 35% insisted the experiment be terminated or left the room to check the health of the victim without requesting permission to leave.

All right so it's not just the Germans. More generally then, what would make any of us sociopathically deferential to a Hitler-like psychopath? Are we all subconsciously sadistic?
No, we're subconsciously bovine. We become herd animals and follow the leader. 

Once we have determined that someone is in a position of moral leadership, we shift from moral autonomy to moral deference. MORE

Friday, January 4, 2013

Is Ann Coulter a Psychopath? What do YOU think?

Ann Coulter is not generally know for her niceness.  Some believe this is a put-on, staging to sell books, but there is a darker possibility which, especially today when personality disorders are becoming more widely and deeply understood, must be considered.   Is Ann a psychopath?  Or is it all stage dressing for a career which would, otherwise, not have become so lucrative? 

Throughout her career as a pundit and conservative icon, self-described polemicist and controversialist Ann Coulter has demeaned and dehumanized innocent human beings. Here is a small sampling.

1.      Coulter betrayed her client, Paula Jones, preventing Jones from settling a sexual harassment case against Bill Clinton. Coulter took credit for “helping” Jones vindicate herself, but as a result, Jones’ 
marriage collapsed and Jones became destitute. After Jones posed for Penthouse to support her family, Coulter called her “trailer-park trash,” the very charge she was defending Jones from in the first place. – see Case Study # 1, Vanity: Ann Coulter’s Quest for Glory, www.CoulterWatch.com/Vanity.pdf.

2.      In the name of “helping” six-year-old Cuban refugee Elián González, Coulter attacked his father, lied about the law, and referred to Elián’s “bastardy.” – see Case Study # 4, Vanity: Ann Coulter’s Quest for Glory, www.CoulterWatch.com/Vanity.pdf.
3.      Coulter defamed four liberal activists who were widowed on 9/11. Coulter claimed these “McWidows” were “harpies” who were “enjoying their husbands’ deaths” – see Chapter 8, The Gospel According to Ann Coulter, www.CoulterWatch.com/Gospel.pdf and Chapter 6, The Beauty of Conservatism, www.CoulterWatch.com/Beauty.pdf.
4.      Coulter defamed talk show host Donnie Deutsch, whom she said needed to become a “perfect Christian.” After offending Deutsch, Coulter’s method of damage control was to defame the victim and accuse him of setting her up. – see Chapter 17, The Gospel According to Ann Coulter, www.CoulterWatch.com/Gospel.pdf and Chapter 6, The Beauty of Conservatism, www.CoulterWatch.com/Beauty.pdf.
5.      One Coulter meme is that she is a “victim” of the Left, even though she herself victimizes others. Coulter intentionally put Lydia Cornell’s life in danger by posting Cornell’s personal information on the front apge of her website, where it remained for over a year. Cornell was threatened and stalked during that time frame. – see Chapter 6, The Beauty of Conservatism, www.CoulterWatch.com/Beauty.pdf.

Results of Poll:

13 (72%) YES
  4 (22%) NO
   0 (0%)  It is staging.
   1 (5%)  No, she is an alien.