Trumpism

 

 

 

9. OscarDecember 12, 2016 Fellowship of Friends Discussion Blog

 

The Cult of Trump

 

Can’t understand why a loved one would vote for Donald Trump? Let the experts who spend their lives studying cults help break it down.
—–
America was watching, the world was watching, and Donald Trump needed everyone to understand just how dire the straits really were.

 

“Our convention occurs at a moment of crisis for our nation,” he proclaimed ominously as he officially accepted the Republican nomination for president at the party’s convention in Cleveland last month. It was a grim portrait of America, a once-great nation ravaged by terrorism, “poverty and violence” at home, “war and destruction” overseas.

 

The solution? Not God. Or patriotism. Or casting aside party loyalty to come together as a nation. No, politicians had rallied under those virtuous banners before, and where had it gotten us? Instead, the newly crowned nominee offered a more messianic promise: that Trump—and only Trump—can get things back on track.

 

That’s the moment, says Rick Alan Ross, America’s leading cult expert, when he realized Trumpism had striking similarities to the fanatical groups he studies.

 

Like many moderates in the party, Ross, the executive director of the Cult Education Institute and a lifelong Republican, had watched Trump’s rise with mounting distaste. But Trump’s rhetoric at the RNC—“I alone can fix it”—clicked the pieces into place. “That kind of pronouncement is typical of many cult leaders, who say that ‘my way is the only way, I am the only one,’” Ross says. “That was a very defining moment.”

 

When I called Ross, I cut right to the chase, asking, “Is Trump a cult leader?” I didn’t get more than a few words in for the next 20 minutes as he dove into the evidence: the nominee’s deep-rooted narcissism, his lack of transparency, many of his supporters’ blind, full-throttled adoration. A week later, he left me two voicemails outlining the warning signs of narcissistic personality disorder in the candidate, and a week after that, followed up with another batch of e-mails expounding on Trump’s similarities to the cults he studies. There was a lot to dig into.

 

http://www.gq.com/story/the-cult-of-trump

 


 

NEW REPUBLIC – October 15, 2016

 

From Donald Trump’s Campaign Has Become a Cult

By Jared Yates Sexton

 

Friday’s rally in Charlotte took Trumpism to a frightening new level.

 

The Trump campaign has turned into something new: a cult.

 

The fact hit me a few minutes after I entered the Charlotte Convention Center on Friday night and heard supporters openly blaming the women who’ve recently come forward to accuse Donald Trump of sexually assaulting them. The Trump faithful were more than ready to cut down anyone standing in their leader’s way.

 

“They’re gold diggers,” I heard an old woman say.

 

“Let’s call them what they are,” said a woman in a “Proud Deplorable” shirt. “They’re whores.” 

 

Throughout the night there were similar strains of the same conversation. Everyone was in agreement that there was no veracity to the women’s claims, that it was just another dirty trick by “Crooked Hillary” to defeat Trump, a man so good, another woman explained, holding out her quaking hand, “It makes me shake to think they’d hurt a man like that.” 

 

But the questioning of the women’s accounts didn’t stop at skepticism. In a cult, when confronted with conflicting evidence, it’s oftentimes necessary to go to extreme lengths to sustain the shared narrative. Here, in Charlotte, they were more than ready to go to those lengths.

 

One man noted to his friend that it was suspicious that Trump was accused of sexual improprieties just as former Fox News head Roger Ailes has been. “You reckon Fox is in on it?” he asked aloud.

 

But the most disgusting suspicion concerned the accusers’ attractiveness.

 

“Trump dates models,” a woman in a red-white-and-blue blouse said, “Did you see that woman?” she asked, referring to Jessica Leeds, who says Trump groped her on a plane in the 1980s. “You think he was so hard up?”

 

Trump has continued to feed that same narrative by mentioning how unattractive he finds the women. . .

 


 

Why some antisocial personality types objectify women and are drawn to politics

 

By Clifford N. Lazarus Ph.D – Oct 9, 2016 (excerpt)

 

The reason [Narcissistic Sociopaths] are devoid of empathy is because they literally lack the neurological structures or brain physiology needed to feel empathic emotions. They just don’t have the necessary brain equipment to genuinely care about anyone but themselves.

 

An analogy is color blindness.  Color blind people actually lack the optical or neurological processes that are necessary to perceive the full spectrum of color in the visible wave length. It’s not their fault, they just can’t see certain colors, hues or tones.  Similarly, narcissistic sociopaths simply can’t experience the full range of human emotions that define psychologically healthy people.  They seem to literally lack the equipment to empathize.

 

But, that doesn’t let them off the hook or excuse their appalling interpersonal and social behavior! It just explains why they don’t get it. They simply can’t get why you don’t lie, cheat, steal, manipulate, betray and abuse other human beings.  After all, if you total your car, break your TV, or destroy your sofa, you can simply get another one.  And since NSs see no difference between things and humans, for them, people are easily dispensable and replaceable, too.  Thus, a NS will emotionally perceive no difference between an inflatable sex toy and a living human being.  To him (or her) they are both just things or objects to be used.

 

psychologytoday.com

 


 

Sex, Power, Money, and All of the Above

 

Who will win in the search for sex, power, and money?
By Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D.
Psychology Today – Sept 21, 2013 (excerpt)

 

Freud may have believed that all humans are motivated by illicit motives, but research on the “Dark Triad” of personality suggests that some of us have stronger cravings than others. The Dark Triad refers to the set of three personality traits or personal dispositions generally recognized as undesirable – hence the term “dark.”

 

The first of these Dark Triad traits is “Machiavellianism,” named after the 16th century Italian author whose treatise, “The Prince” advocates the use of power to achieve political ends, even if this means lying and using others to get what you want.  People high in Machiavellianism, then, are calculating as well as deceitful.

 

The second Dark Triad trait is psychopathy, a term you might be familiar with or if not, with the related concept of sociopathy.” People high in psychopathy are unable to empathize with others, tend to be shallow and glib, and have a lifestyle characterized by impulsive, possibly criminal, acts. They also are supreme manipulators of others in order to get their own way, and they tend to have a glorified sense of their own abilities.  

 

Finally, the Dark Triad personality includes the trait of narcissism, named after the Greek youth Narcissus, who fell in love with his own reflection in the water, only to drown as a result. People high in narcissism have an exaggerated sense of their own importance or “grandiosity.” Underneath this grandiose exterior, according to some theories, they feel vulnerable and insecure.

 

People high on dark triad traits may not think of their personalities as being dark, and they may even like getting turned on by the rewards they seek. However, the people who are the target of their manipulative and exploitative tendencies sooner or later learn to avoid or at least be wary of them. Being high on dark triad traits hardly makes you a great romantic partner.  However, you may be very successful in finding others to succumb to your sexual powers. The “sex” in the sex, power, money reward game, then, is the no-commitment or hookup variety, not the truly intimate.

 

With this background in mind, University of Calgary psychologist Kibeom Lee and colleagues (2013) examined the correlations among the Dark Triad qualities and the “outcomes” (though correlational) in the tendencies toward exploitative sexual liaisons (“Sex”), to dominate and exploit others (“Power”), and to be motivated toward materialistic ends and conspicuous consumption (“Money”). They also looked at the opposite of the Dark Triad qualities in the personality traits of “Humility-Honesty.” As the term implies, people high on humility are modest and demure, and those high on honesty would not lie, cheat, or swindle to get their way.

 


 

From Why “Macho” Leadership Still Thrives
Authoritarian, narcissistic leaders are on the rise.
Posted Apr 4, 2016 by Ray Williams

 

Global economic uncertainty and the spike in terrorism has created a resurgence of the populist attraction to authoritarianism and male “macho” leaders. This trend is evident both in politics and in business.

 

Narcissistic personality disorder, sociopathy, and psychopathy have one thing in common: they are disorders whose primary personality trait is the obsession with control, domination of, and power over others, whether that is people, animals, the environment, systems, or organizations.

 

Kevin Dutton, author of The Wisdom of Psychopaths, argues “Traits that are common among psychopathic serial killers—a grandiose sense of self-worth, persuasiveness, superficial charm, ruthlessness, lack of remorse and the manipulation of others—are also shared by politicians and world leaders. Individuals, in other words, running not from the police, but for office.” Such a profile allows those who have these traits to do what they like when they like, completely unfazed by the social, moral or legal consequences of their actions.

 

In their book, Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go To Work, Paul Babiak and Robert Hare, argue while psychopaths may not be ideally suited for traditional work environments by virtue of a lack of desire to develop good interpersonal relationships, they have other abilities such as reading people and masterful influence and persuasion skills that can make them difficult to be seen as the psychopaths they are. According to their and others’ studies somewhere between 3-25% of executives could be assessed as psychopaths, a much higher figure than the general population figure of 1%.

 

Manifred Kets de Vries, a distinguished Clinical Professor of Leadership Development and Organizational Change at INSEAD has completed some research and published a paper on the subject. He calls the corporate psychopath the “SOB—Seductive Operational Bully”—or psychopath “lite.” SOBs don’t usually end up in jail or psychiatric hospital, but they do thrive in an organizational setting. SOBs can be found wherever power, status, or money is at stake, de Vries says: “They talk about themselves endlessly; they like to be in the limelight. In some ways they are like children, believing that they are the center of the universe, unable to recognize the needs and rights of others. They appear to be charming yet can be covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their “victims” merely as targets and opportunities; like master and slave, they try to dominate and humiliate them. For them, the end always justifies the means.”

 

Populist authoritarianism can best be explained as a cultural backlash in Western societies against long-term, ongoing social change.

 

Over recent decades, the World Values Survey shows that Western societies have been getting gradually more liberal on many social issues, especially among the younger generation and well-educated middle class. That includes egalitarian attitudes toward sex roles, tolerance of fluid gender identities and LGBT rights, support for same-sex marriage, tolerance of diversity, and more secular values, as well as what political scientists call emancipative values, engagement in directly assertive forms of democratic participation, and cosmopolitan support for agencies of global governance. This long-term generational shift threatens many traditionalists’ cultural values. Less educated and older citizens fear becoming marginalized and left behind within their own countries. This fear spawns a desire for someone to take control.

 

In the United States, evidence from the World Values Survey perfectly illustrates the education gap in these types of cultural values. Well before Trump, a substantial and striking education gap can be observed in American approval of authoritarian leaders. The WVS asked whether Americans approved of “having a strong leader who doesn’t have to bother with congress or elections.” Most remarkably, by the most recent wave in 2011, almost half — 44 percent — of U.S. non-college graduates approved of having a strong leader unchecked by elections and Congress.

 

Many of today’s challenges are too complex to yield to the exercise of leadership alone. Even so, we are inclined to see the problems of the present in terms of crises and leaders. Our growing addiction to the narrative of crisis has gone hand in hand with an increasing veneration of leadership—a veneration that leaves us vulnerable to the false prophets, the smooth operators, the gangsters, and the demagogues who say they can save us . . .

 


 

When Bad Is Good:
Adopting the Psychopathic Lifestyle

 

    The attitudes and behaviors of individuals with many psychopathic features are systemic, a natural and pervasive part of their general lifestyle. In a sense, they are what they are. However, there are others whose nature is less psychopathic than pragmatic; they adopt some of the trappings of a “psychopathic lifestyle” in order to succeed or excel at their work or profession. They are encouraged in this process by all sorts of pop-psych self-help books that promote a philosophy of aggressive greed, self-entitlement, and “looking out for number one.”
    In his book What Would Machiavelli Do?, Stanley Bing, perhaps tongue in cheek, tells how to get what you want when you want it whether you deserve it or not. Without fear. Without emotion. Without finger-wagging morality. The following are some of his exhortations:

 

* Be cold-hearted: Replace decency and thoughtfulness with insensitivity and hardheartedness.

 

* Work hard to become bad: Most people aren’t naturally horrendous . . . but with work we can improve.

 

* Be narcissistic: View others solely as a function of your needs . . . You have enormous selfishness within you . . . Let it out.

 

* Be unpredictable: Very nice. Very mean. Big, big swings. Gigantic pleasure. Towering rage.

 

* Be ruthless: For your competitors and those who would bring you down. “Crush them. Hear their bones break, their windpipes snap.”

 

    Of course, the more psychopathic one is, the easier it is to follow Bing’s road map to amoral personal and corporate success. For most of us, though, social brutality and predation are somewhat more difficult. Even if Bing’s book is viewed as a satire, it reads like a blueprint for a psychopath.

 

From Snakes in Suits, Chapter 3: What You See May Not Be What You See (pp. 42-43).

 


 

Machiavellian: Conduct or philosophy based on (or one who adopts) the cynical beliefs of Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) whose name (in popular perception) is synonymous with deception and duplicity in management and statecraft. Born in Florence (Italy), Machiavelli was its second chancellor and (in 1513) wrote the book The Prince that discusses ways in which the rulers of a nation state can gain and control power.  Although The Prince contains some keen and practical insights into human behavior, it also displays a pessimistic view of human nature and condones opportunistic and unethical ways of manipulating people. One of its suggestions reads: “Whoever desires to found a state and give it laws, must start with assuming that all men are bad and ever ready to display their vicious nature.”

 

BusinessDictionary.com

 


 

From Why Is It ALWAYS About YOU? The Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissism by Sandy Hotchkiss, LCSW

 

10 

 

Strategy One

 

Know Yourself

 

THE ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIOR exhibited by Narcissists can stir up many different kinds of feelings in the people whose lives they touch. When you interact with these individuals, their distortions of reality can cause you to question yourself and doubt your own perceptions. Their shamelessness, arrogance, and sense of entitlement can make you angry and resentful. The way they deal with envy may cause you to feel diminished, and their rage, exploitation, and poor interpersonal boundaries may leave you feeling frightened, helplessly vulnerable, or even violated.

How you react to a Narcissist is largely determined by your previous encounters with such characters. If one or both of your parents were very narcissistic, if you were subjected to significant taunting or shaming by a sibling, if you were a shy or passive child who was exploited or abused by other children, or if you’ve had intimate relationships or job circumstances wherein your trust has been violated or you’ve felt used by Narcissists, then you may be more sensitive than people who have not had these experiences. Our social history from the very beginning teaches us what to expect from others and how we are to feel about ourselves. That is why our number-one tool for dealing with the Narcissist is to examine our own experiences and recognize how our reactions contribute to our discomfort. The goal is to understand what is happening and interrupt the process to protect ourselves.
    This is easier said than done. Our reactions to Narcissists are often very complex, and not always negative. Sometimes we are drawn to their larger-than-life qualities and the special way they make us feel when we are included in their grandiosity and omnipotence in some way. If being part of their lives makes our own seem fuller or more exciting, we may choose to pay the price or deny that there even is one. When this happens, we may end up sacrificing ourselves to an illusion that leaves us ultimately empty and bruised. When you enter the web of the Narcissist, you leave yourself behind. (pp. 61-62)

 


 

The Cult of the Narcissist (excerpt)

By Dr. Sam Vaknin

 

The narcissist is the guru at the centre of a cult. Like other gurus, he demands complete obedience from his flock: his spouse, his offspring, other family members, friends, and colleagues. He feels entitled to adulation and special treatment by his followers. He punishes the wayward and the straying lambs. He enforces discipline, adherence to his teachings, and common goals. The less accomplished he is in reality – the more stringent his mastery and the more pervasive the brainwashing.

 

The – often involuntary – members of the narcissist’s mini-cult inhabit a twilight zone of his own construction. He imposes on them a shared psychosis, replete with persecutory delusions, “enemies”, mythical narratives, and apocalyptic scenarios if he is flouted.

 

The narcissist’s control is based on ambiguity, unpredictability, fuzziness, and ambient abuse. His ever-shifting whims exclusively define right versus wrong, desirable and unwanted, what is to be pursued and what to be avoided. He alone determines the rights and obligations of his disciples and alters them at will.

 

The narcissist is a micro-manager. He exerts control over the minutest details and behaviours. He punishes severely and abuses withholders of information and those who fail to conform to his wishes and goals.

 

The narcissist does not respect the boundaries and privacy of his reluctant adherents. He ignores their wishes and treats them as objects or instruments of gratification. He seeks to control both situations and people compulsively.

 

He strongly disapproves of others’ personal autonomy and independence. Even innocuous activities, such as meeting a friend or visiting one’s family require his permission. Gradually, he isolates his nearest and dearest until they are fully dependent on him emotionally, sexually, financially, and socially.

 

He acts in a patronising and condescending manner and criticises often. He alternates between emphasising the minutest faults (devalues) and exaggerating the talents, traits, and skills (idealises) of the members of his cult. He is wildly unrealistic in his expectations – which legitimises his subsequent abusive conduct.

 

The narcissist claims to be infallible, superior, talented, skillful, omnipotent, and omniscient. He often lies and confabulates to support these unfounded claims. Within his cult, he expects awe, admiration, adulation, and constant attention commensurate with his outlandish stories and assertions. He reinterprets reality to fit his fantasies.

 

His thinking is dogmatic, rigid, and doctrinaire. He does not countenance free thought, pluralism, or free speech and doesn’t brook criticism and disagreement. He demands – and often gets – complete trust and the relegation to his capable hands of all decision-making.

 

He forces the participants in his cult to be hostile to critics, the authorities, institutions, his personal enemies, or the media – if they try to uncover his actions and reveal the truth. He closely monitors and censors information from the outside, exposing his captive audience only to selective data and analyses.

 

The narcissist’s cult is “missionary” and “imperialistic”. He is always on the lookout for new recruits – his spouse’s friends, his daughter’s girlfriends, his neighbours, new colleagues at work. He immediately attempts to “convert” them to his “creed” – to convince them how wonderful and admirable he is. In other words, he tries to render them Sources of Narcissistic Supply.

 

Often, his behaviour on these “recruiting missions” is different to his conduct within the “cult”. In the first phases of wooing new admirers and proselytising to potential “conscripts” – the narcissist is attentive, compassionate, empathic, flexible, self-effacing, and helpful. At home, among the “veterans” he is tyrannical, demanding, willful, opinionated, aggressive, and exploitative.

 

As the leader of his congregation, the narcissist feels entitled to special amenities and benefits not accorded the “rank and file”. He expects to be waited on hand and foot, to make free use of everyone’s money and dispose of their assets liberally, and to be cynically exempt from the rules that he himself established (if such violation is pleasurable or gainful).

 

In extreme cases, the narcissist feels above the law – any kind of law. This grandiose and haughty conviction leads to criminal acts, incestuous or polygamous relationships, and recurrent friction with the authorities.

 

Hence the narcissist’s panicky and sometimes violent reactions to “dropouts” from his cult. There’s a lot going on that the narcissist wants kept under wraps. Moreover, the narcissist stabilises his fluctuating sense of self-worth by deriving Narcissistic Supply from his victims. Abandonment threatens the narcissist’s precariously balanced personality.

 

Add to that the narcissist’s paranoid and schizoid tendencies, his lack of introspective self-awareness, and his stunted sense of humour (lack of self-deprecation) and the risks to the grudging members of his cult are clear.

 

The narcissist sees enemies and conspiracies everywhere. He often casts himself as the heroic victim (martyr) of dark and stupendous forces. In every deviation from his tenets he espies malevolent and ominous subversion. He, therefore, is bent on disempowering his devotees. By any and all means.

 

The narcissist is dangerous.

 


 

Email interview with the “Ambassador of Narcissism”

 

Podcast interview with Sam Vaknin

 

Debate About Causes and Types of Narcissists

 

Abuse in Relationships: gaslighting (ambient), overt, covert, by proxy

 


 

The ATLANTIC – June 2016

 

THE MIND OF DONALD TRUMP
By Dan P. McAdams

 

Narcissism, disagreeableness, grandiosity — a psychologist investigates how Trump’s extraordinary personality might shape his possible presidency: “Imagine Donald Trump in the White House. . .”

 


 

Matt Taibbi, author of Insane Clown President, chronicles election of “Billionaire Hedonist” Trump.

 


 

 


 

The NEW YORKER – Political Scene – July 25, 2016

 

Donald Trump’s Ghostwriter Tells All 
By Jane Mayer

 

The Art of the Deal made America see Trump as a charmer with an unfailing knack for business. Tony Schwartz helped create that myth – and regrets it.

 

    “Trump didn’t fit any model of human being I’d ever met.”

 


 

23 things Donald Trump has actually said about women

  

By Catriona Harvey-Jenner and Emma Ledger – June 30, 2017

 

cosmopolitan.com/uk/reports/news

 


 

Donald J. Trump – Is He A Psychopath?: The Donald You Don’t Know by L. R. Parrilla (2016)

 

May this book teach the knowledge seeker the difference between leadership traits and psychopath behaviors.

 

FACET 1: Arrogant and Deceitful Interpersonal Style

FACET 2: Deficient Affective Experience

FACET 3: Impulsive and Irresponsible Behavioral Style

FACET 4: Antisocial Behavior, Acquired Behavioral Sociopathy/Sociological

 


 

From Psychopathy – casswiki.net

 

The founding research on psychopathy was compiled by Hervey M. Cleckley in the 1940-50s, published as a compilation of case studies titled The Mask of Sanity. This book is available for download from the Cassiopaea website. More recent material includes books by R. Hare, such as Without Conscience – The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us.

 

The motives of a psychopath are generally unclear. The psychopath does not always derive conventional benefit from his actions and may be singularly counter-productive to his own goals. It seems that the conventional concept of goal does not quite apply. This is too constructive a term. There is evidence of sub-goals and planning but only when these serve the more abstract ‘goal’ of producing chaos, destruction, pain or promoting a sort of spiritual entropy.

 

From an esoteric standpoint we can see the psychopath as a specialized reflection of the thought center of non-being. The psychopath’s action is primarily destructive, also often for the psychopath himself, although psychopaths do not have pronounced directly suicidal tendencies, they may die as a result of excess or recklessness. Cleckley describes the psychopath as a disintegrating person that has turned essentially against all that is forward looking or progressing. In promoting chaos, the psychopath may be surprisingly clever or inventive, thus perverting what creativity there may be. This illustrates the metaphysical contradiction of service to self: A force that denies all creation still has to borrow from creation in order to function. Also, the capacity for denial of the obvious and selective recall is typical of the wishful thinking associated with service to self.

 

APD or sociopathy can be acquired and can correlate with childhood emotional deprivation or other trauma. Psychopathy does not exhibit this correlation. These conditions are generally life-long, specially so in the case of psychopathy.

 

A psychopath is not insane in the conventional sense. The psychopath understands reality, knows right from wrong, has apparently unimpaired intelligence. The emotional interpretations of reality and system of values of a psychopath are however radically different from normal. There are also electrical differences in brainwave patterns between psychopaths and non-psychopaths when shown emotionally charged scenes. Psychopathy and sociopathy have further been divided into subcategories, see literature for more.

 

Psychopaths can be successful because of their complete lack of restraint and not worrying about consequences. They have no inhibitions against lying and no anxiety when discovered. They will simply turn to another story. Association with a psychopath is essentially always detrimental.

 

A common feature of the psychopath is accusing all others of the very thing the psychopath does. Because psychopaths are generally good liars, this can considerably muddy practical situations. Also, a psychopath will often create dissent by playing parties against each other by presenting to each a completely different story. Psychopaths are difficult or impossible to detect if there is no all round view of their activities. This is difficult due to them often working to isolate their victims in general and to keeping them separate from each other. Possible variations on social manipulation are endless.

 

There are some puzzling traits that can be extracted from Cleckley’s and others’ case studies. These traits cannot fully be explained by simple ruthless exclusive preoccupation with gain for self, although this too can be present. It is as if some functions were simply missing or worked in reverse. Psychopaths can thus display a strange flakiness.

 

For example, a psychopath can mimic normalcy, successfully function in a career and so forth but will feel a build-up of pressure that must be released in the form of some debauch, excess, recklessness, vulgarity…  Such a tendency tends to give them away, although many successful ones likely have this aspect well separated from public life.

 

A psychopath may prefer crime or dishonesty also in a situation where this does not offer even short term advantage.

 


 

     


 

NewScientist

DAILY NEWS 20 January 2017

Manipulative, dishonest and lacking in empathy – the traits that describe a psychopath aren’t particularly pleasant. But the idea that they are also fiendishly clever – as often portrayed in films and TV – isn’t quite true. In fact, in general, psychopaths seem to have below-average intelligence.

 

You have probably met a psychopath at some point in your life. They make up around 1 per cent of the population, says Brian Boutwell at St Louis University in Missouri. A person is classified as a psychopath if they achieve a certain score on a test of psychopathic traits, which include callousness, impulsiveness, aggression and a sense of grandiosity. “Not all psychopaths will break the law or hurt someone, but the odds of them doing so are higher,” says Boutwell.

 

Because many psychopaths are charming and manipulative, people have assumed they also have above-average intelligence, says Boutwell. Psychologists term this the “Hannibal Lecter myth”, referring to the fictional serial killer, cannibal and psychiatrist from the book and film The Silence of the Lambs.

 

But Boutwell wasn’t convinced. “Psychopaths are impulsive, have run-ins with the law and often get themselves hurt,” he says. “That led me to think they’re not overly intelligent.”

 

Not so smart

To investigate, Boutwell and his colleagues analysed the results of 187 published studies on intelligence and psychopathy. These papers included research on psychopaths in prison as well as those enjoying high-flying careers. They also included a range of measures of intelligence.

 

Overall, the team found no evidence that psychopaths were more intelligent than people who don’t have psychopathic traits. In fact, the relationship went the other way. The psychopaths, on average, scored significantly lower on intelligence tests. “I think the results will surprise a lot of people,” says Boutwell.

 

Matt DeLisi at Iowa State University hopes that the findings will help put the Hannibal Lecter myth to rest. “The character promulgated the notion that psychopaths were highly intelligent, and there were real offenders that embodied this, like Ted Bundy,” says DeLisi. “But I have interviewed thousands of offenders, some of which are very psychopathic, and I have found that the opposite is true.”

 


 

From The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us about Success by Kevin Dutton

 

P. 208

 

Traditionally, the Darwinian, account of psychopathy has rested predominantly on the non-conformist aspect of the disorder (criterion 1, if you recall from chapter 2, for Antisocial Personality Disorder, reads, “Failure to conform to social norms”): on the psychopath’s devil-may-care attitude toward social conventions. Conventions, on the one hand, such as honesty, accountability, responsibility, and monogamy*; yet also, on the other hand, conventions like social compliance, which, deep in our ancestral past, would undoubtedly have contributed to perilously poor decision making – and thereby, in those turbulent, treacherous times, to a grisly carnivorous death.

 

                                             Jack the Stripper

 

Researchers and clinicians often argue that psychopaths don’t “do” empathy – that because of their lethargic amygdalae they just don’t feel things in the same way as the rest of us. Studies have revealed that when psychopaths are shown distressing images of, say, famine victims, the lights located in the emotion corridors of their brains quite simply don’t come on: that their brains – if viewed under fMRI conditions – merely pull down the emotional window blinds and implement a neural curfew.

Sometimes, as we’ve seen, such curfews can have their advantages – as in the medical profession, for instance. But sometimes the curtains can shut out the light completely. And the darkness can be truly impenetrable.

 

*Of course, such shameless disregard for the practice of monogamy leads, in turn, to sexual promiscuity. . .and a wider propagation of genes.

 


 

James Fallon, Ph.D.

The Psychopath Inside

The Mind of a Dictator

 

Exploring the minds of psychopaths and dictators
Nov 11, 2011

 

For the past 18 years, I have studied the brain activity, psychology, and genetics of psychiatric patients and the brain scans of psychopathic serial killers. A few months ago, I was approached by a non-profit human rights organization to create a presentation on the mind of a dictator–an especially compelling issue in light of recent uprisings against autocrats in the Middle East and North Africa. After combing through literature on the world’s worst dictators and combining it with my neuroscience research and that of others on psychopaths, I presented my theory in May at the Oslo Freedom Forum, an annual conference produced by the Human Rights Foundation. The following article is based on my speech, an attempt to look inside the minds of these elusive and powerful world players . . .

 

psychologytoday.com

 


 

Don’t Be Trumped by Doppelgängers

By Paul Morantz – May 26, 2017

 

Author of Escape: My Lifelong War Against Cults (with Hal Lancaster) and From Miracle to Madness.

 

A group is extraordinarily credulous and open to influence…anyone who wishes to produce an effect upon it needs no logical arguments; he must paint in forcible colors, must exaggerate, and he must repeat the same thing again and again…(The group) wants to be ruled and impressed, and to fear its masters … And, finally, groups have never thirst after truth… They are almost as influenced by what is not true as by what is true… A group is an obedient herd, which could never live without a master. . .”

 

–  Sigmund Freud

 

“Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”

 

“If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.”

 

– George Orwell

 

All that Freud and Orwell asserted about groups and political language has been proven anew with the improbable ascendancy of Donald Trump to President of the United States, an apparent doppelgänger of Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard—from his hair to flair for revenge.

 

In a few short months of campaigning and governing, the pride of Mar-A-Lago has seemingly wiped out the last vestiges of civility, honesty and common sense in presidential politics and turned the Oval Office into a Ringling Bros., Barnum & Bailey side show.

 

And yet, after all the lies, position flip-flops, erratic behavior, brazen conflicts of interest, childish, thin-skinned attacks on the media, offensive comments about minorities, women and the entire Middle East, not to mention the investigations into his curious relationship with Russia that has led to the doorstep of impeachment, many of those who voted for him still maintain their unflagging support.

 

For the love of sanity, how is this possible?

 

I’ve been repeating that phrase for many months now, after each unconscionable act, events that would have torpedoed any other political campaign. And yet, here we are, on the precipice of calamity, with Trump eviscerating regulations that will loose the beasts of Wall Street and the energy industry, threatening to build a wall that will waste billions of dollars, spreading chaos in health and education, proposing massive cuts to programs that benefit the poor and promising to shut down any program or agency that could protect us from climate change and environmental abuses. Do you remember the megalomaniacal general played by Sterling Hayden in Dr. Strangelove? Don’t look now, but he’s President and commander-in-chief, the man with his finger on the button. Isn’t that a sobering thought?

 

Of course, you want to know who to blame for this mess. But be careful what you wish for, because here’s the awful truth: Go look in the mirror. We elected this guy, something for which we will all have to atone. But for a variety of reasons, we may not have been in our right minds, a condition that must be fixed if we are to extricate ourselves from this Trumped-up world.  After all, this has been the repeated course of history.

 

First, think about the world that confronted contestants in the 2016 Presidential election. Our two controlling political parties were locked in a death spiral of gridlock, threatening the modest economic gains eked out of the long and slow recovery from the 2008 collapse. Our education system has long been in decline from general societal woes and a crippling decline in funding. Our general level of civility and morality has also taken a hit, exemplified by the black hole into which our culture has plummeted. Gone are the days of the Greatest Generation and the Golden Rule. We have become a society in which accomplishments of substance have been trumped by celebrity worship, real relationships have been trumped by vulgar and voyeuristic televised displays of family and group dysfunction; and sanity, reason and thoughtful discourse have been trumped by, well, Trump.

 

In such turbulent times, people reach out desperately for alternative solutions. In the 1930s, a lingering World War, and Great Depression stirred greater interest in “isms”—unionism, socialism, communism and Nazism. In the ’60s, youthful rebellion against the Vietnam War and a generation of seekers trying to find their better selves led to a societal surge of spiritualism, so-called mind-expanding drugs, communes and the inevitable rise of oppressive cults whose narcissistic leaders claimed that only they knew the path to a glorious new world. . .

 

paulmorantz.com/cult

 


 

From THINK

 

Bandy X. Lee / Dec 8, 2017 – Is Donald Trump’s mental health becoming dangerous?

 

Medical experts weigh in.
Medicine is an equalizer, and the president may find that he cannot outrun his own condition.

 

A group of us put our concerns into a book, “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.” That book became an instant New York Times bestseller. Within days, it was out of stock at the big outlets and sold out in bookstores around the country. One of the nation’s largest publishers could not keep up with the demand for weeks. Clearly, our concerns were resonating with the public.

 


 

From The INDEPENDENT

 

Bella Depaulo | Dec 8, 2017

 

I study liars for a living. I’ve never seen one like President Trump.

 

By telling so many lies, and so many that are mean-spirited, Trump is violating some of the most fundamental norms of human social interaction and human decency. Many of the rest of us, in turn, have abandoned a norm of our own – we no longer give Trump the benefit of the doubt that we usually give so readily.

 


 

News & Politics
Amanda Marcotte
June 25, 2018

 

Is Donald Trump incompetent? Not nearly as much as liberals hope.

 

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but unfortunately it must be said: Donald Trump knows exactly what he’s doing.

 

salon.com

 


 


 

Gentle Souls’ Revolution Blog

The Trump Cult

                                                              

  

 

If you can defend ripping kids from parents, you are in a cult.

 

 

In May, 2017, I posted this: Gaslight, USA! Today’s Trouncing –Your Healthcare.

 

In the post, I quoted cultic studies guru, Robert J Lifton: cults see themselves as “…agents ‘chosen’ to carry out the ‘mystical imperative’ … which must supersede all decency or immediate human welfare. Similarly, any thought or action which questions the motives of the higher purpose is considered … backward, selfish and petty in the face of the great overriding mission.

 

Today, the Daily KOS posted this: Trumpism is a Cult. You may be interested in reading it. I suspect it will ring familiar.

 


 

From Psychopaths are Opportunists – 180 rule.com

 

When they have a problem, they focus on making it an opportunity to do more evil to as many people as possible.

 

I’ve noticed that psychopaths rarely have just one goal. They layer their goals. The first step is always to gather minions who will do their bidding. Whether the psychopath wants sex, money, power or just needs drama, he will bring his players together like a conductor at a symphony.

 

It’s not uncommon for psychopaths to bond their minions by polarizing all their hatred on a scapegoat.

 

 Skylar – June 14, 2013

 

Most all organic disorders that do not involve deliberate choices of actions and behaviors, or wanton depraved indifference (in regards to the legal definition) can actually be managed. Schizophrenia, BiPolar Disorder, and others can be successfully managed through medication + counseling.

 

Psychopathology, on the other hand, cannot be managed in any capacity. There is no medication, treatment, therapy, surgery, herbal remedy, or spiritual epiphany that can effect a meaningful change in the ways that these individuals process the world around them. In “Their World,” they are the only occupant – they are the emperor/empress, citizen, dungeon-master, judge, jury, and executioner. All other human beings that travel through their Universe are seen as tools or objects, literally. 

 

 Truthspeak – Aug 22, 2015

 


 

From BullyOnline

 

Lack of Insight into Own Behaviour

 

The serial bully appears to lack insight into his or her behaviour and seems unaware of how others perceive it . . .

 

The focus of this section is serial bullying in workplaces, but the character profile fits most types of abusers, including:

 

    * abusive and violent partners and family members
    * abusers of people in care
    * bullying neighbours, landlords, authorities, etc
    * confidence tricksters and swindlers
    * (religious) cult leaders
    * child bullies who are impervious to corrective action
    * racial and sexual harassers
    * sexual abusers and pedophiles, especially operating

       from a position of trust or untouchability
    * rapists
    * stalkers
    * arsonists
    * violent offenders, including serial killers

 

The common objective of these offenders is power, control, domination and subjugation, the only difference being the way they express their violence. Offenses committed by people in this list are typically regarded as criminal and arrestable.

 

One possible explanation for investigators and fellow managers being so easily manipulated by a serial bully appears in the research paper by Clive R Boddy, entitled “Corporate Psychopaths, Bullying and Unfair Supervision in the Workplace” (2011):
 

“The cold-heartedness and manipulativeness of the psychopath are reported to be the traits that are the least discernable to others and this allows them to gain other people’s confidence and facilitates their entry into positions where they can gain most benefit for themselves and do harm to others (Mahaffey and Marcus, 2006).”

 


 

See POLITICAL PONEROLOGY: A science on the nature of evil adjusted for political purposes by Andrew M. Lobaczewski; translated from the original Polish by Alexandra Chciuk-Celt, Ph.D. and corrected by the author in 1998.

 


 

Doris Lessing

Useful Idiots

 

Yuri Bezmenov
Deception Was My Job

 


 

Do Democrats really believe that Russia influenced Americans to vote for Trump?

 

Lee Thé, works at Retired/working on a Novel
Answered on Quora May 19, 2018

 

I worked as an advertising copywriter and account executive for six years. During that time I studied the profession, and one thing I found was that the people most influenced by advertising sincerely believed—and with absolute certainty—that they weren’t affected by advertising in the slightest . . .

 

________________

 

Who is more corrupt, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump?

 

 

_______________

 

Does Trump act like a president, or does he act like a cult leader?

 

Edward Donner, Concerned Citizen
Answered on Quora Aug 15, 2018

 

Below is a list of fifty characteristics of cult leaders taken from “Dangerous Cult Leaders” Read ‘em. Keep track of how many apply to Trump . . .

 


 

The New York Times
From article by Mark Landler and Maggie Haberman 

Sept 4, 2018

 

President Trump and his administration have been unsettled by Bob Woodward’s book “Fear,” which will be published next Tuesday.  Doug Mills/The New York Times

 

WASHINGTON — President Trump so alarmed his defense secretary, Jim Mattis, during a discussion last January of the nuclear standoff with North Korea that an exasperated Mr. Mattis told colleagues “the president acted like — and had the understanding of — a ‘fifth or sixth grader.’”

 

_______________

James Devlin
Montana
Times Pick (comment)
 

Nothing more than most people expected. Yet to read it from a world-renowned journalist of Bob Woodward’s caliber makes it all the more unsettling. The republicans are selling out America to get court picks. They well know Trump is insane, and yet are willing to play along with this lunacy of a presidency based upon lies so long as they get their agenda rammed through. That’s not politics, that’s shameful and morally and criminally corrupt.

 

Beware the insidious nature within.

 

“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.” – Cicero

 

nytimes.com


 

The Washington Post – June 4, 2012

 

How Mark Felt Became ‘Deep Throat’
By Bob Woodward
June 20, 2005

 

In 1970, when I was serving as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy and assigned to Adm. Thomas H. Moorer, the chief of naval operations, I sometimes acted as a courier, taking documents to the White House.

One evening I was dispatched with a package to the lower level of the West Wing of the White House, where there was a little waiting area near the Situation Room. It could be a long wait for the right person to come out and sign for the material, sometimes an hour or more, and after I had been waiting for a while a tall man with perfectly combed gray hair came in and sat down near me . . .

 


 

Trump Card Cults
By Jeremy Sherman Ph.D.
July 24, 2018

 

Winter of ‘78: Jim Jones and his cult followers had just drunk their poison Kool-Aid in Guyana– 900 dead. And I was off to Guatemala with my spiritual commune to do poverty relief work. My family was worried.

 

They were also annoyed by what I had become, a know-it-all, confident that I could beat any challenge to my smug, all-knowing spiritual truths. I had fallen for the cult mindset, that heady sense that you hold all the cards, a high so self-aggrandizing that people are willing to drink the Kool-Aid.

 

Aid is the operative word. Though my commune was wholesome, I pretended it fool-proofed my life, like it had issued me a deck of trump cards to trump all challenges to my humble spiritual authority, the greatest aid any of us could ever crave.

 

Life is an anxious affair. We all fear failure and therefore might be tempted by the fake trump-card aid that cults provide – I once was lost but now I’m found instead of I once was lost and could be still.

 

Today we wonder whether the GOP has become the Trump cult. All cults are trump-card cults, issuing to members the same deck of fake get-out-of-fail-free cards. Cults don’t brainwash, they head swell. People throw all in to cults so they can keep all self-doubt out . . .

 

psychologytoday.com

 


 

What is Truth?
An overview of the philosophy of truth.

By Neel Burton M.D.
Aug 23, 2018

 

Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth –Thoreau.

 

When Truth Isn’t Truth
 

Today, God may be dying, but what about truth? Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trumps personal lawyer, claimed that “Truth isn’t truth,” while Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s counsellor, presented the public with what she called “alternative facts.” Over in the U.K. in the run-up to the Brexit referendum, Michael Gove, then Minister of Justice and Lord Chancellor, opined that people “have had enough of experts.”

 

One way to understand truth is simply to look at its opposites, namely, lies and bullsh*t. The liar must track the truth in order to conceal it. In contrast, the bullsh*tter has no regard or sensitivity for the truth, or even for what his or her audience believes . . .

 

psychologytoday.com

 


 

The Hollywood Reporter

 

Michael Moore Plays His Trump Card:
A New Movie, Modern Fascism and a 2020 Prediction

 

By Gregg Kilday
Sept 5, 2018

 

He’s America’s most successful documentarian and one of the few on the left who predicted the 2016 election upset. Now, as Moore readies his anticipated polemic ‘Fahrenheit 11/9’ for its Toronto film festival debut, he takes aim at Trump (and Nancy Pelosi … and Harvey Weinstein …) and those actually responsible for the president’s rapid rise to power (hint: Gwen Stefani).

 

The first time Michael Moore encountered Donald Trump, the filmmaker uncharacteristically held his tongue. The two had been booked as guests in 1998 on Roseanne Barr’s afternoon talk show, The Roseanne Show, taping at New York’s Tavern on the Green. Trump’s The Art of the Deal had been published in 1987 while Moore had already earned a reputation as a cheeky provocateur out to puncture capitalism’s balloon with his 1989 doc Roger & Me, and so when Trump spotted Moore, he threatened to walk . . .