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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Narcissistic Sadists

I have no brief to vent political opinions here, and I seem to get in trouble every time I do, but apropos recent developments in Iraq—one development swinging from the end of a rope in particular—I'd just like to observe that a high percentage of the worst, most destructive, and (yes) evil leaders in history all share one particular psychological personality type: that of the sadistic narcissist. We got rid of one of them yesterday, but consider the utter misery that that one person fomented in his miserable lifetime. If humanity could somehow organize itself sufficiently to prevent this type of human being from ever achieving absolute power, even in isolated circumstances, we could really go a long way toward making a significant dent in human misery. Back to regular programming; sorry for the interruption.


UPDATE: Thanks to all those who commented on this. I read all of the comments, although I posted very few of them simply to avoid disputation. I just wanted to make the small point above. I agree with those who have said it's not the whole story, or even a very important part of it. And yet....


Blogger Unknown said...

Couldn't agree with you more...

5:56 PM  
Blogger Fazal Majid said...

We would probably just shift to narcissist sadists who are good at covering their act up until they achieve power.

No, the real solution is a system that makes it impossible to attain absolute power in the first place. Unfortunately, even the US constitution with its elaborate set of checks and balances hasn't managed that. There must be something in our primate brain that makes us susceptible to the lure of leadership.

7:41 PM  
Blogger Max said...

Well, As said before, I think it's in some human beings, a personal tendency synchronized with a particular moment in history detonates the birth of such monsters.
I think fear is the key. Absolute power is nurtured by fearful masses. Further than that, I'd say when the moment is right, the character to fill in is easy to find. If it wasn't Saddam, there would have been( even worse, there is) a long line to apply for the job.
I will only say that I don't think killing this guy will help at all. When you have such an enemy, I think it's better to destroy him by rehumanizing him in the eyes of the world. Make him look humble and frail, into oblivion. You kill him, and the conflict cristalizes, it remains forever.

9:33 AM  
Blogger Gerry Morgan said...

The west helped bring Saddam to power, and the US and UK destroyed him when it suited them, as a proxy for Bin Laden (with whom he had almost nothing in common). They sold him arms, including chemical weapons, in the 1980s. The US also provided Iraq with satellite images to help Iraq in its war against Iran. You're quite right, Mike, to say that humanity would do well to organize itself against the likes of Saddam. A good first step would be not to shortsightedly give military assistance to oppressive regimes.

12:48 PM  
Blogger Brambor said...

It's good to be ignorant sometimes. I haven't seen the 'swinging development' in print or on tv or anywhere. I heard about it in a one liner at a mountain hut. That's it. I'm not playing.

11:16 AM  

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