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Old 05-14-2008, 02:48 PM   #1
Dissipate
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Default Are politicians sociopaths?

Before you vote in the poll please read this description of behavior exhibited by sociopaths:

Quote:
Profile of the Sociopath

This website summarizes some of the common features of descriptions of the behavior of sociopaths.


* Glibness and Superficial Charm

* Manipulative and Conning
They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.

* Grandiose Sense of Self
Feels entitled to certain things as "their right."

* Pathological Lying
Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.

* Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.

* Shallow Emotions
When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.

* Incapacity for Love

* Need for Stimulation
Living on the edge. Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are normal. Promiscuity and gambling are common.

* Callousness/Lack of Empathy
Unable to empathize with the pain of their victims, having only contempt for others' feelings of distress and readily taking advantage of them.

* Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature
Rage and abuse, alternating with small expressions of love and approval produce an addictive cycle for abuser and abused, as well as creating hopelessness in the victim. Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for their impact on others.

* Early Behavior Problems/Juvenile Delinquency
Usually has a history of behavioral and academic difficulties, yet "gets by" by conning others. Problems in making and keeping friends; aberrant behaviors such as cruelty to people or animals, stealing, etc.

* Irresponsibility/Unreliability
Not concerned about wrecking others' lives and dreams. Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause. Does not accept blame themselves, but blames others, even for acts they obviously committed.

* Promiscuous Sexual Behavior/Infidelity
Promiscuity, child sexual abuse, rape and sexual acting out of all sorts.

* Lack of Realistic Life Plan/Parasitic Lifestyle
Tends to move around a lot or makes all encompassing promises for the future, poor work ethic but exploits others effectively.

* Criminal or Entrepreneurial Versatility
Changes their image as needed to avoid prosecution. Changes life story readily.
Text


People need to start to realize that we may very well be ruled by a cabal of sociopaths. If this is the case, could one consider it a good thing that these sociopaths have been unleashed? Are we trying to take out other sociopaths by unleashing politician sociopaths? I'm trying to understand why people would want these politicians going around causing so much obvious destruction. How much we must hate our fellow man to allow these political sociopaths run amok.
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Old 05-14-2008, 02:58 PM   #2
Craig234
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Default Are politicians sociopaths?

Politicians, some are many are not; corporations are sociopaths for the most part, driven almost exclusively for blind pursuit of profit, expecting the same government's laws to take responsibility for morality as they are trying to get relaxed through their lobbying efforts, pretending that if they can get a law off the books, the behavior it prevented must be 'ok', even obligatory if profitable.

The politicians I see as sociopathic are not the ones who are very concerned with 'the good of the people', whether misguided or not, but rather the types who 'play the game', from Karl Rove to Tom DeLay. Does Rove have any compunction about the people he hurt, about his undermining of democracy when he uses such tactics as push polling about McCain's 'black love child'? Does DeLay have any compunctions about blocking legislation to improve slave-like conditions for workers, in exchange for the golf trips from the factory owners?

Our system rests on the public's goodwill, but the public has become weaker in its own values as it's been bombarded with propaganda to do wrong.

I'm pretty convinced our founding fathers would be horrified at the state of the propagandizing of our society and its corruption of the reason-based culture they advocated.

This results in more sociopathic politicians being attractive to voters.

When you think about it, what's more notable - Hitler, or the the fact that millions of Germans who saw him as a desirable leader were so flawed?
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Old 05-14-2008, 02:59 PM   #3
Dissipate
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Default Are politicians sociopaths?

Quote:
Originally posted by: Craig234
Politicians, some are many are not; corporations are sociopaths for the most part, driven almost exclusively for blind pursuit of profit, expecting the same government's laws to take responsibility for morality as they are trying to get relaxed through their lobbying efforts, pretending that if they can get a law off the books, the behavior it prevented must be 'ok', even obligatory if profitable.
So we are unleashing sociopath politicians to take out sociopath corporations?
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Old 05-14-2008, 03:09 PM   #4
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Default Are politicians sociopaths?

In a democracy the leaders are somewhat accountable to the public, at least at election time. Political parties mitigate this to some degree as they are effectively a mutual protection society. Even then they face an electorate which principally wants to hear what it wants to hear. Worse, all responses are both "right and wrong" depending on who the audience is. Every now and again someone with principle steps up. They are culled immediately because they can't "work" with the system. People would instantly vote that person out no matter what they say. Parties and lobbies couldn't buy them. Nothing but trouble.

This is why many act as they do. Whether it's inherent in their nature is immaterial. It's part of the job description. It's precisely what we have collectively asked for.
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Old 05-14-2008, 03:12 PM   #5
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Default Are politicians sociopaths?

Quote:
Originally posted by: Hayabusa Rider
This is why many act as they do. Whether it's inherent in their nature is immaterial. It's part of
the job description. It's precisely what we have collectively asked for.

So we beg for sociopaths to rule us?
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Old 05-14-2008, 03:13 PM   #6
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Default Are politicians sociopaths?

Quote:
Originally posted by: Dissipate
Quote:
Originally posted by: Craig234
Politicians, some are many are not; corporations are sociopaths for the most part, driven almost exclusively for blind pursuit of profit, expecting the same government's laws to take responsibility for morality as they are trying to get relaxed through their lobbying efforts, pretending that if they can get a law off the books, the behavior it prevented must be 'ok', even obligatory if profitable.
So we are unleashing sociopath politicians to take out sociopath corporations?
No, we are unleashing good politicians to take out sociopathic corporations; and we're unleashing sociopathic politicians to ENABLE sociopathic corporations.
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Old 05-14-2008, 03:22 PM   #7
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Default Are politicians sociopaths?

Quote:
Originally posted by: Dissipate
Quote:
Originally posted by: Hayabusa Rider
This is why many act as they do. Whether it's inherent in their nature is immaterial. It's part of
the job description. It's precisely what we have collectively asked for.

So we beg for sociopaths to rule us?
Yes, and we demand they lie about it.

Look at Rome, and the games played where Caesars pretended to respect the Senate.

Look at Machiavelli and how he instructed leaders to look like they cared about the public opinion while actually ruling with an iron hand.

Look at the game long played in the US where the presidential candidate would feign not wanting the office as part of what was expected (that's changed).

Society constantly chooses the 'strong' sociopath who offers them a clear leadership however sociopathic - 'strength' in Napolean, in Teddy Roosevelt, in Putin, get votes.

It's actually when the leaders are not sociopathic they often lose support - when Teddy Roosevelt was the larger than life guy who was aggressive in war, he got elected; when as a leader he saw the social issues and worked to help the public and took steps such as breaking up Standard Oil, he couldn't get the nomination back.

As a society, we need to grow out of the need for such 'strong' leaders, and instead value leaders who will have good policies for society.

Until we do, sometimes, we get lucky, as with Teddy Roosevelt; others, we don't, as with 'The Decider' who was 'stronger' than Gore and Kerry, his supporters assured us.
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Old 05-14-2008, 03:28 PM   #8
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Default Are politicians sociopaths?

Craig234, if corporations are "driven almost exclusively for blind pursuit of profit," then why did the health care companies give so much campaign cash to Hillary Clinton? Wouldn't she decrease their big profits?
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Old 05-14-2008, 03:42 PM   #9
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Default Are politicians sociopaths?

Superficial charm? check
Manipulative and conning? check
Grandiose sense of self? check
Pathological lying? hmmm....
Lack of remorse, shame or guilt? check
Shallow? maybe
Incapacity love? don't know
etc, etc? in most cases, CHECK!

Wow...for the most part our congressmen/women, executive branch are sociopaths.
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Old 05-14-2008, 04:46 PM   #10
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Default Are politicians sociopaths?

Yet another reason all members of Congress as well as the President, VP, and Cabinet members should be drug tested and subjected to a psychological analysis.
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Old 05-14-2008, 04:51 PM   #11
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drug tested, pfft... They need to be smokin what I'm smokin.. Could you imagine a properly baked congress declaring war on anyone??! They'd be too busy passing bills for increased snack expenditures.
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Old 05-14-2008, 06:43 PM   #12
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Default Are politicians sociopaths?

If you are not happy with who is government, run for office, get elected, and do a better job.
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Old 05-14-2008, 06:44 PM   #13
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Default Are politicians sociopaths?

Quote:
Originally posted by: Siddhartha
If you are not happy with who is government, run for office, get elected, and do a better job.
And go to work every day with sociopaths?

Forget about whatever you really want to do in your career. Join the group of sociopaths to fight the group of sociopaths.
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Old 05-14-2008, 06:55 PM   #14
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Default Are politicians sociopaths?

Quote:
Originally posted by: Dissipate
Quote:
Originally posted by: Siddhartha
If you are not happy with who is government, run for office, get elected, and do a better job.
And go to work every day with sociopaths?

Forget about whatever you really want to do in your career. Join the group of sociopaths to fight the group of sociopaths.
Why not? Shrinks do it.
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Old 05-14-2008, 07:51 PM   #15
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Default Are politicians sociopaths?

Quote:
Originally posted by: bamacre
Craig234, if corporations are "driven almost exclusively for blind pursuit of profit," then why did the health care companies give so much campaign cash to Hillary Clinton? Wouldn't she decrease their big profits?
Because they thought that either she was going to win the presidency or would remain powerful in Washington for years to come. Either way they want to have some influence with her.

If corporations are doing anything but blindly pursuing profit they are actually violating the law, as they are required to obtain maximum value for their shareholders. This is why corporations need to be carefully regulated so they don't get out of control.

As for politicians being sociopaths, no. The problem the OP has is he is taking definitions out of the DSM-IV as they apply to normal people and attempting to apply them to people in positions with a lot of power.

Feel entitled to things as their right? Of course they do, they are used to getting things by virtue of their powerful position.
Shallow emotions/lack of remorse? Both of those are impossible to tell as they are for interpersonal relationships, to judge them based on some sort of professional behavior that they may sincerely dislike but view as necessary is not a very good way at all to attempt to classify something.

Not only that, but to be classified as a sociopath you need to display a certain number of the above criteria (I think it's 3 or more in a significant way), and so... yeah.

In short: Are politicians sociopaths? No. (well, I'm sure a few are but that's not the point)
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Old 05-14-2008, 08:04 PM   #16
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Default Are politicians sociopaths?

Quote:
Originally posted by: eskimospy
Quote:
Originally posted by: bamacre
Craig234, if corporations are "driven almost exclusively for blind pursuit of profit," then why did the health care companies give so much campaign cash to Hillary Clinton? Wouldn't she decrease their big profits?
Because they thought that either she was going to win the presidency or would remain powerful in Washington for years to come. Either way they want to have some influence with her.

If corporations are doing anything but blindly pursuing profit they are actually violating the law, as they are required to obtain maximum value for their shareholders. This is why corporations need to be carefully regulated so they don't get out of control.

As for politicians being sociopaths, no. The problem the OP has is he is taking definitions out of the DSM-IV as they apply to normal people and attempting to apply them to people in positions with a lot of power.

Feel entitled to things as their right? Of course they do, they are used to getting things by virtue of their powerful position.
Shallow emotions/lack of remorse? Both of those are impossible to tell as they are for interpersonal relationships, to judge them based on some sort of professional behavior that they may sincerely dislike but view as necessary is not a very good way at all to attempt to classify something.

Not only that, but to be classified as a sociopath you need to display a certain number of the above criteria (I think it's 3 or more in a significant way), and so... yeah.

In short: Are politicians sociopaths? No. (well, I'm sure a few are but that's not the point)
So they aren't sociopaths but sociopathic behavior is part of the job, so they act like sociopaths?
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Old 05-14-2008, 08:07 PM   #17
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Default Are politicians sociopaths?

Quote:
Originally posted by: Dissipate


So they aren't sociopaths but sociopathic behavior is part of the job, so they act like sociopaths?
No.

Sociopaths are considered so because their behavior has no grounding in reality. If you think you are Napoleon that makes you crazy, unless you actually are Napoleon. In politics people are unable to publicly show remorse, etc... but that doesn't mean that they don't have it. A soldier who kills someone in a war is not considered psychopathic, but someone who kills someone on a street corner very well could be. Does that make sense?
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Old 05-14-2008, 10:13 PM   #18
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Default Are politicians sociopaths?

Quote:
Originally posted by: eskimospy
Quote:
Originally posted by: Dissipate


So they aren't sociopaths but sociopathic behavior is part of the job, so they act like sociopaths?
No.

Sociopaths are considered so because their behavior has no grounding in reality. If you think you are Napoleon that makes you crazy, unless you actually are Napoleon. In politics people are unable to publicly show remorse, etc... but that doesn't mean that they don't have it. A soldier who kills someone in a war is not considered psychopathic, but someone who kills someone on a street corner very well could be. Does that make sense?
No, not at all. Politicians do all this stuff before they even get into office. So the office itself doesn't make them exhibit this behavior.
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Old 05-15-2008, 05:00 AM   #19
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Default Are politicians sociopaths?

Quote:
Originally posted by: bamacre
Craig234, if corporations are "driven almost exclusively for blind pursuit of profit," then why did the health care companies give so much campaign cash to Hillary Clinton? Wouldn't she decrease their big profits?
For influence, to mitigate the damage, is one answer; did you notice that sadly, reportedly all three candidates leave the insurance industry largely in place?
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Old 05-15-2008, 05:01 AM   #20
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Default Are politicians sociopaths?

Quote:
Originally posted by: mxyzptlk
drug tested, pfft... They need to be smokin what I'm smokin.. Could you imagine a properly baked congress declaring war on anyone??!
Remember Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIL) in Iraq?

Welcome to our invasion of Jamaica, "Politicians' Offense on Terror"
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Old 05-15-2008, 05:06 AM   #21
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Default Are politicians sociopaths?

Quote:
Originally posted by: Siddhartha
If you are not happy with who is government, run for office, get elected, and do a better job.
Translation: if you are not happy with who is in government, unless you are in a rare district, run for office and make a choice whether to chase money big time, if not, lose badly.

It's not about the politicians, many of whom hate the current situation of the dominance of big money, it's about the dominance of big money - the ultra wealthy's way to block democracy.
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Old 05-15-2008, 05:11 AM   #22
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Default Are politicians sociopaths?

What about the things you did highlight? Or do you only need 35-40% to be able to qualify?
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Old 05-15-2008, 06:42 AM   #23
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Default Are politicians sociopaths?

There is a big difference between someone who is clinically diagnosed as a sociopath and how the op is using it casually here.

Here is the diagnostic criteria from the DSM IV for Antisocial Personality Disorder: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A...l_personality_disorder

No, most politicians could not be diagnosed with APD.

edit: even if criteria are met, there is more to a diagnosis than just meeting criteria. It is not so black and white
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Old 05-15-2008, 09:23 AM   #24
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Default Are politicians sociopaths?

Quote:
Originally posted by: spittledip
There is a big difference between someone who is clinically diagnosed as a sociopath and how the op is using it casually here.

Here is the diagnostic criteria from the DSM IV for Antisocial Personality Disorder: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A...l_personality_disorder

No, most politicians could not be diagnosed with APD.

edit: even if criteria are met, there is more to a diagnosis than just meeting criteria. It is not so black and white
How many politicians have been diagnosed with APD and has that information been released to the public?

I don't know of any politician where that is the case, so we can only go by their behavior. I'm merely asking people's opinions based on the outward evidence.
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Old 05-15-2008, 09:38 AM   #25
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Default Are politicians sociopaths?

Quote:
Originally posted by: Dissipate
Quote:
Originally posted by: spittledip
There is a big difference between someone who is clinically diagnosed as a sociopath and how the op is using it casually here.

Here is the diagnostic criteria from the DSM IV for Antisocial Personality Disorder: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A...l_personality_disorder

No, most politicians could not be diagnosed with APD.

edit: even if criteria are met, there is more to a diagnosis than just meeting criteria. It is not so black and white
How many politicians have been diagnosed with APD and has that information been released to the public?

I don't know of any politician where that is the case, so we can only go by their behavior. I'm merely asking people's opinions based on the outward evidence.
I would venture that less than 1% could be diagnosed with it, if any at all. Personality disorders are very rare and very serious as they are disorders of the personality- in other words, compleely ingrained int he person. It defines them. This is unlike a disorder like bipolar or schizophrenia where it is a condition rather than a definition of the person.

A ppolitician, if he were to have a personality disorder, would be more likely to have Narcissistic Personality Disorder. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N...c_personality_disorder
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