It may be Karma Time for Obama in being out promised with promises no sane or honest person could or would make, out demagogued, out bluffed and out postured by Romney. This partly explains: why polls fluctuate so wildly in short periods of time with one allegation of piece of news; why psychopaths, con-men, sociopaths often wind up in political office as they use some of the same tricks of the trade demagogues have used for centuries even millennia.
Typical Features, Prevalences, Occupations and “Target-Rich” Environments of Psychopaths and Sociopaths
Although many sociopaths, psychopaths, con men, super salespersons and the like may also be politicians, cult leaders, businesspersons and the like, the reverse is not true: true psychopaths and sociopaths are rare in the total population. Estimates range from only 1% to perhaps 5% of the total population in most cultures.
There is some evidence of psychopathy and sociopathy rates being affected by culture, type of socioeconomic system and its level of development, level of militarization of the society and other variables.
Some argue that these are “personality disorders” that are primarily biological in origin while others favor that they may have biological components in these syndromes but nurture plays a stronger role than nature; or at least in shaping how psychopathic and sociopathic proclivities pay themselves out and express themselves.
But psychopaths, sociopaths and typical politicians have a lot in common and share some of the rhetorical tricks of the trade. As Marx–Groucho that is–put it: “The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”
What differentiates psychopaths and sociopaths is basically that psychopaths have no allegiance to anyone or anything (transcendent values, principled alliances etc) beyond themselves and their own egos and pleasures. They have no allegiance to something beyond themselves that they are even prepared to die for. Other humans are just “suckers” to psychopaths; they are objects, props, tools to be used and disposed of when no longer useful.
Sociopaths, on the other hand, may allow themselves allegiance to transcendent rules and values of a small group like a gang, cult or political party. But both the psychopath and sociopath are still both typically: malignant narcissists; cunning; manipulative; grandiose; “intelligent”–but in limited manipulative and cunning ways of a particular kind of intelligence.
It should be noted here that actually, when pushed to actually demonstrate real skills beyond oratory and predatory scheming, they often have little real substance. They are also predatory; shallow in affect; without conscience or inner moral compass; megalomaniacal; driven by need to dominate and get even; poseurs and posturers; pathological liars; full of certitude about themselves and their ideas–including ideas about being destined to manage and rule others.
Calvinism, for example, is a doctrine that is ready-made for psychopaths and sociopaths whether individuals or whole cultures. It is not an accident that most known and infamous serial killers and psychopaths have been not only white, but also raised in Calvinistic-type religious environments with emphasis on ultra-individualism, pre-ordination or pre-destination, selfishness as a virtue, and the like.
And capitalism as a system, that not only celebrates but requires for its expanded reproduction greed, selfishness, ultra-individualism, predatory calculations, ultra-competition, etc is the kind of system that is target rich in victims for psychopaths and sociopaths, but it is a system that also generates and nurtures/hides psychopaths and sociopaths more than other types of systems with collectivist orientations.
Obama Romney and Wall Street
Romney in Essence
Teleology and Tautology: Two of the Tricks in a Bag of Tricks
A Tautology is a circular argument or assertion that because of its essential circularity and self-definitional nature, may sound good and even deep, but is meaningless and worse.
Here is an example: A politician looks straight into the camera, and with body language and facial expressions of absolute certitude that says “listen to me, I am an authority on this and we have found that inflation rates are likely to continue to rise due to likely continually rising general prices”… See the problem?
Inflation is defined as “a process of generally rising price levels eroding the purchasing power or real value of a currency”. So all this politician has just really said is “prices are rising because prices are rising”…Duh. A tautology becomes a self-evident truth because of circularity in definition. But tautology can have disastrous uses and consequences especially when taken further in basic deductive reasoning.
Take A = B, B = C and thus or ergo A = C This is called a classic syllogism composed of two or more premises, definitions, assumptions, assertions followed by a conclusion that follows deductively from the premises. Take A = ALL Cats, B = ALL Birds and C = Color Green and thus:
All Cats are Birds
All Birds are the Color Green
All Cats are the color Green
Now that syllogism, deductively valid, composed of tautologies, is clearly non-sense and thus probably not dangerous. But how about this syllogism where A = Country A, B = Social System not like the U.S. say Socialism and C = Terrorism or some form of Evil then we have:
Country A = B Form of Socialism
B form of Socialism = C forms of Evil, Terrorism, Backwardness, Uncivilized, etc
“Therefore” Country A = C Forms of Evil, Terrorism etc.
Or, how about this one?
A = Religion or Cult or Ideology A; B = Holy Book or Sacred Text or Grand Theory B; C = True Word of God or Absolute Truth
Religions or Cult or Ideology A [and only A] = [is based upon] Holy Book or Sacred Text or Grand Theory B
HB or ST or GT B [and only those B] = [in accordance with] True Word of God or Absolute Truth C
“THEREFORE” A [and only A] = [is in accordance with] TWOG or AT C
This last syllogism is part of the foundation of genocide, racism, evangelism and all sorts of crimes against humanity in history.
For example, teleology is an approach to understanding causality that says that the fundamental causes of a phenomenon can be found in the survival and other positive functions and advantages produced by the existence of the phenomenon or thing that has been produced or caused. Causality is a function of the positive effects produced by the cause.
Darwinism is very teleological in that the reason why some random mutations take and are passed on within and even between, surviving species, is the assumed species-survival-promoting qualities of those mutations and the structures and processes produced by them. But this still begs the question of why some mutations occur at all and others not. There is also the issue of dynamic contexts such that no context of causality can ever be really reproduced exactly again; and context also influences the structures and processes within it, and the causal interrelationships within and between those structures and processes–and vice versa.
“So why is America rich? Because the system we have developed has rewarded us with wealth as a wealth generating system otherwise this system would not have developed and/or never survived” the argument goes. This is an example of both tautology and teleology in action.
“We” [as if the 1% super-rich had any real similarities with the 99% of everyone else) are rich relative to other nations because we deserve it. We are exceptional in every way as revealed in our exceptional level of wealth and power. And further what better proof that we are in “God’s Grace”? I mean God would not reward losers, tyrants and psychopaths would HE?”
Why do American institutions exist? Because of the good for the many that they do; otherwise in a democracy would they not have been voted out?
And the psychopath and sociopaths say many of the same things. It is called “Tautological Credentialism”. Question: “Why do I hold this position and title?” Answer: “Because I was the only highly qualified, or best qualified one for the position.”
Question: “What is the evidence that I was the most or only qualified for the position?” Answer: “How could I hold this position and title if I weren’t?” [Nepotism?, Cronyism?, Networking?, Political Patronage?, Sexual Favors? Blackmail?, Fraud?]
This is called “Tautological Credentialism” and is a favorite trick of psychopaths and psychopathic cultures where a “tautology” is a circular and thus meaningless, argument. As Humpty Dumpty put it in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland:
“When I use a word”, Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean neither more nor less.” “The question is”, said Alice, “whether one can make a word mean so many different things.” “The question is”, said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master that’s all.”
A Poem by Jim Craven
“Number One”, you know,
just ask us.
in our being,
in our essence,
in our values and institutions,
in our culture,
just ask us.
but in what?
and that buys
just ask us.
are the most,
in God’s Grace;
just ask us.
How do we know?
“We’re Number One”?
in God’s Grace,
would God make
that is the evidence,
it is all very Calvinist,
tautological and teleological.
And only those,
in God’s Grace,
have the “Truth”,
that is also
are in God’s grace,
and have the truth;
since only those
with the “Truth”,
could ever be
in a perfect God’s
and vice versa;
it is all very Calvinist,
purely tautological and teleological.
And how can those
with the “Truth”,
or not act,
in accordance with,
is the evidence,
have the “Truth”,
in accordance with it,
what we believe,
and what we do,
in God’s Grace.
and must be acting
in accordance with it,
it is all very Calvinist,
purely tautological and teleological.
those who have
in accordance with it,
are the Good
and the Blessed,
we must be
the Good and Blessed,
in accordance with it,
just ask us;
which means that
those who do not
believe as we do,
as we act,
must not have
or be acting
in accordance with it,
they must not
be in God’s Grace,
they must be Evil
and the Damned;
there is only one truth,
it is not up for a vote.
It is all very Calvinist,
purely tautological and teleological.
and so much worse,
in its design
in its masks and certitudes,
an in the sufferings
of myriad victims.
Serial and Convincing Mendacity or Lying
What that means is that most people, who are not psychopaths or sociopaths, do not lie easily and when they do, they show it very clearly with blushing, eye movements, body language, changes in speech patterns, and other signs of mendacity. The same applies with certitude.
Most thinking people are not really that certain about many things, if pushed and questioned, because they know that any phenomenon is likely caused or influenced by many factors not just a few.
Most people, under the right circumstances will say “I do not know”; “I am not certain”; “I have only an opinion” and I may be wrong”, etc. So when they run into someone so certain and confident of his or her position, and implores them to look at the evidence they have, most people project themselves and think I would not be that confident unless I knew something for sure and had the evidence, thus this person must know what he or she is talking about.”
Psychopaths and sociopaths are typically aware of this phenomenon and use it.
Most people who are basically honest most of the time assume others are like themselves and thus when they encounter someone capable of naked lies with no “tell” or signs of deception or bluffing, faking honesty and outrage that anyone could doubt them, offering to take a lie detector (psychopaths and sociopaths can often pass polygraph exams), they think “that is not what I would do were I lying and thus this person must have some real reasons and evidence for his or her certitude and accusations that are do dramatic and damaging”.
Ceteris Paribus (All “Other” Things Equal or Constant)
Most people know for example, that “all other things constant” (ceteris paribus) is an assumption we must make, and experimentally control, so that we can see the potential effects of a given variable on another free of the intervening effects of other variables.
If I think that variable A is a function of or caused by variables B, C, D, and E simultaneously and/or in concert with each other, how can I measure the effect of B or C or D or E alone on changing A unless somehow I can for the moment of measurement hold or assume as constant, the other causal variables?
But they also know that in the real world, unlike a laboratory of the chemist or physicist, in the real world, all variables are changing and cannot be controlled or held constant in the real world in order to see how say tax rates alone may affect economic growth and jobs alone holding other also important causes or variables constant.
In the real world, falling tax rates may well cause themselves other factors that also help with economic growth and jobs to get jammed up or decrease to offset any potential growth and job creating effects of the tax cuts.
Other than certain tax rates changing, if those tax rates go up, it may well put downward pressure on incentives to invest and thus also downward pressures on the incentive to create employment rather than what simplistic theory predicts.
But many people also know, with just a bit of probing, even if never having studied economics, that the incentive to invest is a function of (or is an effect of) many other variables not just one.
They know that were they asked to invest in a project, they would also want to know about: state of the overall global and national economies; customer base and effective demand; general investor and consumer confidence; exchange rates of the dollar and other relevant currencies; total tax liabilities (not just rates) allowing for deductions to offset rates; expectations about the future; current and projected deficits and debt; the state, tactics, market power and intentions of potential competitors; etc.
So for example, a cut in taxes may well choke off rather than stimulate, investment and job creation, if these tax cuts cannot possibly be paid for, if they make deficits and debt crises worse, and thus perhaps medium and long-term interest rates higher, or, if they dampen investor, producer and consumer confidence indexes etc.
That is the level of critical thinking, in scope and depth that the typical politician relies on the general public NOT having and using. They hope that the average voter will be fixated on his or her single wedge-issue and will throw all critical thinking and facts out the window.
They are hoping that the typical voter will not think holistically or think in terms of multiple and not single wedge issues. They do not want large voter turnouts and they do not want voters thinking deeply and reading widely on a variety of issues.
Indeed in the real world, brain science is increasingly showing that we humans are not nearly as rational, fact-driven, reasoning and open-minded as neoclassical mainstream economics [MSE] assumes us to be.
We more often than not make up our minds and make choices impulsively and emotionally, in an instant, and then we often search for evidence and reason to justify to ourselves and others the choices we made on impulse and emotion or interests.
Thus the “ceteris paribus” or all things equal and constant, is pure fiction in the real world. In the real world, we have seen that lower tax liabilities other than tax rates caused fiscal crises that lead to net losses not gains of jobs as the factors that affect investment and job levels and types, as well as locations in time and space, affect each other in myriad ways.
Cutting tax rates and liabilities may well cost jobs not increase them. And in the case of tax increases, if they are targeted and the revenues also targeted in spending, an increase in tax rates may well spur rather than inhibit, investment and job formation because the other factors governing investment and job creation may well have been triggered or enhanced by the nominally “job killing” effects of tax rate increases.
But politicians and media personalities will project such certainty and certitude. They will use statistics that give the illusion of both fact and precision not only in the outcome from data analysis, but in the processes and protocols of the analytical process and instruments of measurement themselves.
If I say that I am 5 foot 10.24 inches tall, that gives the impression not only of a precise measurement, but of a standardized and accepted system and instruments of metrics that can measure with that precision. I am giving the impression also that my height is an issue worth measurement at precise levels. Just with that made-up number I am explicitly and implicitly implying and conveying many things.
My father used to joke, always with a point, that “according to social scientists, 96.34% of those with low self-esteem and inferiority complexes are correct–they really are inferior and their low self-esteem is an accurate self-assessment. Body language, statistics like “3.24% long-term secular rate of growth of GDP” as if the metrics were products of meaningful categories to be measured (like GDP that hides as much as it reveal is if not more) and meaningful sampling and measurement instruments as well.
They will also use tone of voice (somber, menacing, dripping with innuendo and implication such as “You know Joe Smith claims his income only went up 3.24 % and wants your vote for Congressman, but you KNOW that there must be a reason [something he is hiding] why he will not reveal his tax filings for more than three years back…”).
Cut-and-paste photo collages to suggest connections between people and/or events that are coincidental or not related. They will use photo-shop and thus a picture is no longer “worth a thousand words.” We see celebrity endorsements of products that they have no expertise from their area of fame to be able to evaluate in order to endorse. The past, present and emerging technologies of mind and soul control are pervasive and increasingly sophisticated.
It is a sad fact that smarter and wiser people have doubt and do not apologize for them. Many ignorant, or stupid people (we are all ignorant I refer only to those who are those who are willfully and proudly ignorant = the proudly stupid), have no doubts–they have the absolute truth, just ask them.
They are the perfect example of an aphorism that is found in various versions in many languages of cultures: “For the little frog in the well, the well is the universe” or another version “For the tiny frog in the well, the sky is as big as the mouth of the well.” In both cases, we all live in wells of our own and others’ making. But some understand that and some not.
The truly educated person (which I do not equate with “schooling” which is more often than not ideological cloning disguised as “education” and often interferes with real education) knows that he or she has crawled out of the metaphorical well perhaps just and only enough to appreciate something about how little he or she really knows in the scheme of things.
Such people are genuinely humbled about how little they really know in the scheme of things (that at least the sky is far more vast than it looked at the bottom of the well) and are more humbled, modest, and in awe, of all that they do not know and can never know rather than being enamored with what they think they know and can do.
Well politicians, and psychopaths and sociopaths, along with con men in general, typically project absolute certitude, that they have “The Truth”, take-charge posturing and posing, a lot of finger waving in the air, made-up statistics with odd numbers to give the illusions of precision in measurement and accuracy in reporting (e.g. 7.94% unemployment rate at 6.32% inflation rate etc).
They can, and will, flat-out lie, with feigned absolute certitude, and when caught, will lie some more hoping that the short news cycle, short attention span of the public, short memory, or, the usual access imperatives of the press and people (to keep access they do not call them on their open lies), and the extensive menu of diversions and weapons of mass distraction offered by capitalism and its rulers, will make it all go away eventually.
And they get away with it as the journalists covering them know that if they expose or call them on one of their lies, the next interviews or “scoops” will be going to their competition. It works like this in the mainstream media:
The core imperatives that shape the core “logic” of the capitalist mainstream media. Competition and the search for celebrity lead to lower not higher quality news and exposure of the realities and lies of politics and politicians.
These types are not psychotic and unable to perceive and deal with reality as most people do. They are in fact very cunning in analyzing realities, constraints, personalities, and how to use and manipulate people for their own ends.
They know that most people, cannot and do not lie easily; they give a “tell” immediately. And when they are confronted by the posing and posturing of absolute certitude of a psychopath or sociopath, and with bald-faced lies of the kind that they could never tell themselves without detection, they assume that others are like, and indeed must be like, themselves, and thus they unconsciously or consciously ask themselves:
“How could this person be lying when he has so many “facts” and “figures” and “studies” apparently at his command?”;
“How can he be so sure of himself unless he is holding some real cards of real data, evidence, credibility and the facts?”; or
“How could he possibly be lying when he looks so sincere and becomes angry of being falsely accused of lying as he appears to be?”
So next time you see some politician waving his crooked finger, so sincere, so certain, so command of his “facts” and sources that you do not have, so sure of himself and what he knows and what he can do, so impervious to forces beyond his control that may derail his promises, then remember Bill from this speech above and add to it the posturing and posing of the Mittster and Obama.
We have all heard politicians proclaim (as they have since the founding of the “Republic”) and asserting as “evident”, predestined (in the Calvinistic sense) and as American “Strategic Doctrine” such psychopathic and narcissistic constructs as the common ones such as “Exclusivism”; “Triumphalism”; “Exceptionalism”; “Manifest Destiny”; “New American Century”; “Preemptionism”; “Tit-for-Tat ‘Payback’”; “City-on-the-Hill” Beacon-ism and the like. This is exactly what psychopaths believe. They believe they were pre-destined or pre-ordained by some mystical force to rule others.
“The law is for suckers and the weak but not for them the “exceptional”, the “exclusive”, the “triumphant” in all conflicts. If they are bothered, they will get payback and it will not be “getting even” but with interest. If they even think they are likely to be attacked, or even if it is a contrivance and pretext, they feel perfectly free to strike first and with no questions or apologies if they got it wrong; they owe no one any apology for anything.
They have an agenda and they are not to be bothered with law, international or otherwise; they do not apologize to anyone for anything. They are an example for all others to follow and the evidence they are in God’s grace is their acquired wealth and power (how could they have possible acquired it if not in God’s Grace?).
These characteristics (values, beliefs, agenda and behaviors) on an individual level are those of the typical psychopath and sociopath. On a national level, if accepted on mass levels reveal a psychopathic and malignantly narcissistic culture on the macro level.
Context is everything some say. You see a person, half naked in the middle of a busy street, screaming and lashing out at cars, seemingly trying to commit suicide. What would you first think? Someone trying to commit suicide? Someone on drugs like pcp or some other mind-altering drugs? Perhaps. But what if later you found out that this person had just come home and found his whole family murdered? Does that one bit of information about context or back story change your view of that person in the street?
Context can not only be absent in a story, more often than not is with sound bites getting shorter and shorter producing a dialectal effect of shorter and shorter attention spans producing shorter sound-visual bites on the “mainstream” news media [MSM] and vice versa:
Shorter Attention Spans lead to Shorter News Stories of MSM–and vice-versa.
News stories used to come in two, three and even 5 minute bites in the 1950s in the U.S By the 1960s they were down to one minute or less; by the 1970s 40 seconds or so and now even less than 30 seconds. The relationship between attention spans and length of news stories and advertisements is dialectical as each shapes and reinforces the other.
The stories they put out typically do not even have the basic 4Ws of Journalism (Who What Where When) and nothing real on the 5th W or Why of Journalism. You find glitzy graphics, with charts and graphs often altered to make a point or allow cherry picking.
For example, take a long time series of CO2 or temperature levels in the atmosphere over history. You will find of course periods of rising CO2 or temperature levels and periods of falling CO2 and temperature levels.
But if one wants to dispute global warming or CO2 levels rising, of course they can pick periods of data showing what they want to find for their purposes; but the overall secular trends show temperatures and CO2 levels are rising and that the periods of falling CO2 and temperature levels, are like going down the stairs of an up escalator. Also the scales on the graphs can be changed to show more or less volatility in the data and this trick is used all the time.
Logical fallacies are statements, that when examined closely or applied reductio ad absurdum cannot stand up. For example the statement that what is true in the particular is “therefore” true in general is a fallacy called fallacy of composition.
Why is it a fallacy? Well for example, if I want to see better at a football game I could stand up but if everyone did none could see well. Or, if farmer Brown wants to improve her income she should put more acreage under cultivation but if all farmers did so, it would cause glutted markets and many incomes would fall not rise.
The fallacy of division is the opposite of the above: it says what is true in general “therefore” is true in the particular. No, it may be in the interest of society to allow for more debt to get out of a recession but for a particular person more debt may be a disaster. The fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc (“after this therefore because of this”) is commonly employed.
A politician says my opponent was elected and within two months the economy went into recession “therefore” he caused it as it came after his election. No, an event may appear to have followed a previous event only because of how the data was reported; or perhaps two event appeared to be tied together or one to follow the other because they were both the effects of something else.
Other logical fallacies that are commonly employed are the “Fallacy of the Slippery Slope” (possibility = destiny a fallacy); Fallacy of Ad Hominem (a person with bad character must not be listened to or believed–No, a broken clock is correct twice a day and evidence does not depend upon character of the person bringing it necessarily).
Please also consult the net or some books on logical fallacies such as the fallacies of: post hoc ergo propter hoc; division; composition; ad hominem; appeal to authority; slippery slope; appeal to authority; ceteris paribus and other such fallacies commonly employed in the rhetoric of psychopaths, sociopaths and politicians.
Dialectics vs Formal Logic
In formal logic something is or is not but cannot both ne and not be. But in dialectical logic something can both be and not be as all things are in process to becoming something else–negation of the negation.
lso all things have a contradictory nature in that all things contain within them opposites the struggles between which drive the phenomenon: good vs evil; smart vs not-smart etc.What anything is to be it is now becoming as it is in process. Part of context and telling the whole story is to tell the story of creation, process, growth, decline, demise and rebirth or qualitative transformation out of quantiative increments and changes over time and space and history.
Prof. Jim Craven is one of the frequent contributors for The 4th Media.
About Prof. Craven
1. Citizenship: Blackfoot Nation; U.S. and Canadian; 2. Position: tenured Professor of Economics and Geography; Dept. Head, Economics; 3. Teaching and Research experience: approx 40 years all levels high school to post-doctoral U.S. Canada, Europe, China, India, Puerto Rico and parts of E. Asia; 4. U.S. Army 1963-66; Member: Veterans for Peace; former VVAW; Veterans for 9-11 Truth; Scholars for 9-11 Truth; Pilots for 9-11 Truth; World Association for Political Economy; Editorial Board International Critical Thought; 5. U.S. Commercial-Instrument Pilot and FAA Licensed Ground Instructor (Basic, Advanced, Instrument and Simulators); 6. Research Areas and Publications: International law (on genocide, rights of nations, war and war crimes); Imperialism (nature, history, logic, trajectories, mechanisms and effects); Economic Geography (time and space modeling in political economy; globalization–logic and effects; Political Economy and Geography of Imperialism); Indigenous Law versus non-Indigenous Commoditized Law; Political Economy of Socialism and Socialist Construction; 7. Member, Editorial Board, “International Critical Thought” published by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences; 8. Websites: http://www.aradicalblackfoot.blogspot.com; http://wwwthesixthestate.blogspot.com; http://jimcraven10.wordpress.com 9. Biography available in: Marquis Who’s Who: in the World (16th-18th; 20th; 22nd -30th (2013) Editions); Who’s Who in America (51st-61st;63rd-67th(2013) Editions); Who’s Who in the West (24th- 27th Editions);Who’s Who in Science and Engineering (3rd to 6th, 8th, 11th (2011-2012) Editions); Who’s Who in Finance and Industry(29th to 37th Editions);Who’s Who in American Education (6th Edition).