Tuesday, June 07, 2011


Is the USA run by psychopaths? It's tempting to say "Of course" in a flip, facetious tone, but it's a theory worth seriously considering. An article by David Schwartz at the weekend set me out on this tack: The Rise of the Second-String Psychopaths. David Schwartz refers to a comment by the late Kurt Vonnegut in his final book A Man Without a Country:

He was the man; the country was the United States of America. Vonnegut felt that his country had disappeared right under his – and the Constitution’s – feet, through what he called “the sleaziest, low-comedy Keystone Cops-style coup d’état imaginable.” He was talking about the Bush administration. Were Vonnegut still alive in the post-Bush era, he would not have felt that his country had returned.
Another snip from the article:

The United States corporate and government spheres have become, Vonnegut suggested, a perfect habitat for psychopaths. What has allowed so many psychopaths to rise so high in corporations, and then government, he wrote,

“is that they are so decisive. They are going to do something every fuckin’ day and they are not afraid. Unlike normal people, they are never filled with doubts, for the simple reason that they don’t give a fuck what happens next. Simply can’t. Do this! Do that! Mobilize the reserves! Privatize the public schools! Attack Iraq! Cut health care! Tap everybody’s telephone! Cut taxes on the rich!

In a country in which much of human culture has been rendered into machines for the manufacture of money, psychopaths are the ideal leaders. They are very focused. They are outcome oriented. They are frequently charming, and usually very bright and able. They can lay off thousands of people, or deny people health care, or have them waterboarded, and it does not disturb their sleep. They can be impressively confident. Psychopaths can be dynamic leaders of enterprises, but are handicapped by their lack of feelings for relationships. They may be accomplished captains of industry, or senators, or surgeons, but their families are frequently abused and miserable. Most psychotherapists have seen the wives or husband or children of such accomplished people.
I know little or nothing about how a psychopath is properly defined, wondered whether astrology can be used to identify traits of it.

A check list to determine if somebody is a psychopath: Hare’s Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R), appears HERE. It's said to be the most commonly used tool to assess a person’s psychopathy.

Each of the 20 items is scored a 0, 1, or 2. If a person receives a combined score of more than 30 points out of 40 possible points, then he is considered a “psychopath.” Here is the list:

Item 1: Glibness/superficial charm
Item 2: Grandiose sense of self-worth
Item 3: Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
Item 4: Pathological lying
Item 5: Cunning/manipulative
Item 6: Lack of remorse or guilt
Item 7: Shallow affect
Item 8: Callous/lack of empathy
Item 9: Parasitic lifestyle
Item 10: Poor behavioural controls
Item 11: Promiscuous sexual behaviour
Item 12: Early behaviour problems
Item 13: Lack of realistic long-term goals
Item 14: Impulsivity
Item 15: Irresponsibility
Item 16: Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
Item 17: Many short-term marital relationships
Item 18: Juvenile delinquency
Item 19: Revocation of conditional release
Item 20: Criminal versatility

Is astrology capable of identifying a combination of such traits though?
At astro.com there's a review by Karin Hoffmann of Astrologer Liz Greene's book
The Dark of the Soul
A snip:

Can we see the psychopath in the horoscope?
It is fascinating, for example, that Moon and/or Venus often play a dominant role in charts of people whom we consider as psychopaths. In fact, the charts of a lot of allegedly "unfeeling" and "cold-blooded" psychopaths have an emphasis of the water element. Surprising?

From a psychological point of view it becomes clear that these people have often had difficulties to cope with their strong sensitivity and emotions in their past. They found it easier to lock their feelings away and keep them 'water-tight' so that they didn't have to feel them. But they have found other outlets for their watery side: they use their strong capacity for empathy to 'slip into their victims' skin' and find out about their weaknesses and fears in order to exploit them ruthlessly. To the psychopath it may "only" feel like striking back, like a revenge for their own hurt feelings...
So, are all people with an emphasis on water psychopaths?
The answer to that last question is quite clearly "No!"

I seriously doubt that it would be possible, or ethical, to identify a psychopath from a natal chart. Too many variables, too much "grey area", too many unknown factors from the person's background etc. Given a certain set of life experiences it's possible that any one of us could display some psychopathic tendencies. Perhaps astrology might indicate those in whom "tendencies" could most likely mushroom into full-fledged psychopathy. ?

I'm taking the liberty of copying snips from two comments from the thread following the article by David Schwartz. These provides plenty of food for thought. First comment was written by "Giovanna" and can be found in fill timed around 1 PM on 5th June in the thread beneath the original article.

.....It is an absolute mistake to dismiss psychopaths as simply crazy, wild-eyed serial killers. Serial killers are rare; and though it's true that most serial killers are psychopathic, most psychopaths are NOT serial killers and, by definition of law, they are absolutely sane: they distinguish the difference between right and wrong and they completely understand the nature and quality of the acts they carry out. Psychopathic individuals are not delusional and should not be confused with people who are psychotic and whose acts can be legally justified by an affirmative NGRI defense.

In fact, contrary to the myths surrounding them, most psychopaths appear quite NORMAL and even charming and charismatic... at first. They quickly reveal themselves, however, as parasitic, lying con-artists who are adept, cunning and ruthless masters at exploiting any perceived weakness, which is why they gravitate to authoritarian politics and find their comfortable niche in the capitalist/corporate/political imperial milieu. I've always found it interesting (and disturbing) that the most important decisions affecting society are placed in the hands of these shallow, superficial, career charlatans because absolutely nothing -- NOTHING -- is more important to them than their own self-interest.

...............Corporate and political malfeasance fall under the quaint euphemism known as "white collar" crime, which sounds very milquetoast. As the world is currently experiencing, there is nothing tepid or inconsequential, however, about the massive societal and evironmental destruction psychopathic corporate and/or political criminals leaves in their wake.

Many years ago I figured out that psychopaths are drawn to positions of power and domination like moths to flame. For instance, there are probably more psychopaths milling about Wall Street and "K" Street than anywhere else on the planet. There is not a doubt in my mind that these "people of the lie" are the poster children of imperial-corporate capitalism and responsible for most of the world's ills......

Second comment by Mairead dated 6 June at 1:59 PM

This first-string second-string stuff becomes more clear if we remember that psychopathy is at one end of *one* spectrum, with something like selflessness at the other end. The other basic spectrum we're dealing with is the skein of abilities that we lump together as "intelligence".

So down at the psychopathic end, we have the "obligative" psychopaths, who totally lack the ability to experience empathy. To them, other living creatures *truly* might as well be made of cardboard.

If those ones aren't smart, they'll eff up pretty quickly and end in prison. But if they are smart, they'll learn to feign the feelings they don't have. They'll learn the right words, facial expressions, etc. for any given situation and use them as a tool.

Further toward the middle of the spectrum, we have those who *do* feel, but not very deeply. They don't have the ethical "tin ear" that the obligatives have. They hear the music, they just don't always pay attention to it. They behave badly toward others whenever they think they can get away with it. The politicians who sell us out, the judges who take bribes, the brutal cops, the professionals who charge for unnecessary - and often unperformed - work, the priests who molest children, et lengthy cetera are in this category. They do it because they can.

The DSM has a big table of diagnostic criteria for "antisocial personality disorder". But it lets the rich off the hook because it's considered normal for the rich to treat the poor badly and the DSM addresses disruptive deviation from cultural norms rather than illness. Someone could be delusional as hell and if they are able to avoid being socially disruptive, they won't get a diagnosis.

So the real differential diagnosis for psychopathy, obfuscated by the DSM, boils down to just one question: does this individual routinely disregard, without remorse, the legitimate rights of other living creatures?

The "second string" psychopaths are the ones who don't have to be, and who know that they're not smart enough (or not quite depraved enough) to get away with it usually. They come out from the woodwork when the political environment has become so corrupted that even they can get away with it, as now.
("psychopath" and "sociopath" are synonyms. Some professionals distinguish them, but few agree on how)

After pondering on that little lot, I'd say the case to prove psychopaths are running the USA would be easy to make. Trouble is though, even if proved, what could be done about it? The current astro-atmosphere (longterm) with nebulous Neptune inching into Pisces, its own sign of rulership, is ripe for delusion, not so ripe for unmaskings.


Gian Paul said...

Very "amusing" post (if it were not so sadly true, one could even laugh aloud...LOL):

Donald Trump is/was (?) so much - too much - of an illustration that he could not possibly continue in politics.

People after all are not that dumb (yet).

Wisewebwoman said...

I highly recommend the documentary "The Corporation' to you T. The definition of a corporation fits 'psychopath' to the letter and now that the SC in the US has declared corporations on equal standing with persons it is a dizzy ride to outright fascism if the US is not already there.
Very very scary.

Twilight said...

Gian Paul ~~~ Trouble is, GP, people ARE that dumb - enough of them to have allowed this sad situation to come to pass. Dumb might be too harsh hypnotised, brainwashed....whatever.

The people have allowed it to happen, and are allowing it to continue.

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ I'll look for that one- thanks.

It's the reality: fascism for the 21st century - different from its predecessors of 20th century, maybe not yet fully developed but
the potential is clearly there....unless people wake up.

James Higham said...

There is no mystery in this - it is the admissions and promotions policy of so many institutions which allows them in and then promotes them.

There have been a few articles on this and I agree that it is no accident they're there, Twilight.

Twilight said...

James Higham ~~~ Yes, agreed. With regard to admissions and promotions: the devils look after their own....takes one to know one...etc. ;-)

R J Adams said...

If you take your list of twenty items and apply them to any US politician, you'll find it difficult to discover one that doesn't fit all, or most, of the criteria. Weiner is a perfect example.

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~~~ Sadly you're right, RJ. I avoided writing anything about Weiner - I just wanted to give him a slap up the side of the head. He was one left-wing voice we could not afford to lose. And we've lost it.