16 December 2007

Insiders and Outsiders in Washington

©Signs of the Times

You have probably heard the terms "insiders" and "ousiders" used in reference to the people in Washington. The insiders are the people who are members of the exclusive think tanks, policy organizations, lobby groups, and other groups that influence and decide policy. The outsiders are those who aren't.

The insiders are also those with connections to important sectors of the economy like the oil and gas industries, the pharmaceutical companies, the major food conglomerates, the media, the secretive Skull & Bones fraternity at Yale that counts among its members both George W. Bush and John Kerry, and long-time politicos who have made a career out of doing the bidding of the aforementioned groups. And then there is the infamous, and, according to the media, non-existent, Israel lobby, the lobby that is so strong you aren't even allowed to talk about it.

The outsiders are, well, people like you and me. They are rarely elected to Washington, and when they are, they do outrageous things like vote according to their conscience and not by party lines, i.e. the dictates of the insiders. Then the party hacks do their best to get rid of them, as happened to Cynthia McKinney, the Democrat from Georgia.

The bottom line is that the insiders have political and economic power, and the outsiders don't.

Those of us on the outside, the vast majority of the citizenry, have effectively been removed from power. Our democratic voice amounts to little more than voting on occasion, that day every couple of years where we have our say, and then we are expected to shut up and take it until we have the privilege of voting again. Our representatives go off to Washington where they are wined, dined, and financed by people and groups with interests that are economic, political, and military, but certainly not human. The people we elect to represent our interests may throw some money into their region or neighborhood from time to time, especially just prior to an election, but it cannot be said that they represent our interests in any fundamental sense.

The above doesn't even take into account gerrymandering voting districts, ballot box stuffing, or the use of paperless voting machines that can be invisibly hacked to give results dictated from above.

And although the example given here is from the US, the situation doesn't vary much elsewhere.

So let's admit the obvious. We, the people, the outsiders, have no say in the government that claims to be the most free and democratic in the world. That government, supposedly our government, represents the interests of the insiders. The US Constitution, the bedrock of our rights and freedoms, has been tossed into the waste bin. Bush views it as a quaint holdover from a time long passed, those heady days before the government launched the "War on Terror" - a war directed at its own citizens.

So the outsiders, you and me, find ourselves looking on in horror and shock as the values that were instilled into us are ever more brazenly ignored, scoffed at, and even rewritten in some form of Orwellian double-speak where the meanings have changed while the forms continue on. Look at the notion of democratic government. The tripartite separation of powers between the administrative, the legislative, and the courts still exists. On paper anyway. Congress meets and goes about its business. Sure, there are Bush's signing orders that effectively override the laws passed by Congress, but who in the media is really talking about those? We still have elections. The Supreme Court meets and hands down its rulings. On the surface, everything looks like it has always been.

But you know that under that shiny surface, brought into your living room via Fox News, things have changed dramatically.

This transformation did not happen by chance; it was neither haphazard nor random. It was the culmination of an ongoing process. The process is called "ponerization", which means the infection of groups and individuals with evil, from the Greek word poneros.

While that may sound like a moralistic statement, or even a religious statement, you might be surprised to know that it is a scientific term from psychology. It is possible to objectively and critically describe the infection of individuals and groups using knowledge that comes from the psychological study of pathological individuals. Certain branches of psychology are able to diagnose the twisted modes of thought that arise from damaged brains, whether that damage is genetic or comes as the result of an accident or the effect of upbringing. For example, lesions in the brain can affect a person's ability to think and feel, leaving them with a dulled emotional or intellectual capacity. If an individual receives a shock or trauma to the brain at certain moments while the brain is forming, say during birth or early childhood, that leave a small part of the brain unable to do its job, the brain rewires itself and offloads the task to another part. However, the replacement sector is unable to be quite as refined and subtle in its ability to carry out that task, and so the emotions may not be felt so strongly or the ability to think may be blunted.

Some individuals are even born without any ability to empathize with other human beings, that is, they are incapable of putting themselves in another's shoes, incapable of feeling what another person feels or thinking what another person thinks. They are unable to get out of themselves. These individuals walk, live, and work among us, and, according to a growing body of research, they wreak more havoc than the rest of humanity combined. Research in the field suggests that the majority of acts that you or I would define as "bad" or "evil", that is, physical or psychological violence committed against others, are carried out by individuals who would be clinically diagnosed as pathological were they to be examined.

You may have had one as a boss or a colleague at work. Or maybe you were in a relationship with one. This individual would lie and back stab, provoke and refuse to take responsibility for any of his or her actions. They could also be the most charming person you've ever met, charming the pants off of you or the money out of your bank account.

These individuals believe the rules don't apply to them, that anything goes in getting what they want. Their basic make-up is that of the predator, and they view us, the outsiders, as their prey.

Now imagine the result when such individuals attain positions of power, be it in government, business, the law, the police, the education system, the media, or any of the other institutions that have some form of control over our lives. Imagine the United States being run by people like this, people with no conscience.

Would it look any different than the USA today?

Who are the Insiders, Really?

The first point to note about the insiders is that while they preach all the values that we were taught represent the best of America, or whatever country over which they rule, they practice none of them. They use the words to con and to manipulate, presenting an image that can be used to gain support and power in order to attain their less than wholesome aims. The mainstream media is the major means by which this manipulation takes place. The insiders are deviants. By this I mean that their way of perceiving the world and their place in it deviates from the way the majority of humans perceive the world. And yet it is this small group that is in a position to dictate values, standards, and the future direction of society to the rest of us.

Take Bush, please (as the old joke goes). He was born into a family with money and power. His grandfather, Prescott Bush, was part of Eastern establishment money. Prescott Bush's investment firm gave financial support to Hitler and the Nazi Party in Germany. Father George H.W. Bush spent time with the CIA, moved on to the vice-presidency under Reagan, and then had his own four years of the presidency. He is a member of the Carlyle Group, an important investment firm involved with selling guns, oil, junk health care products, and phony news bites in their media concerns.

Obviously, these family connections helped George W.: they helped him when he went AWOL during his career in the National Guard, helped him when his companies went bust, helped him with his baseball franchise, and helped him become president. So we can note a second point about the insiders: it is more than a collection of individuals; it is a system and a network working together to ensure its goals can be attained. If George W. Bush is president today, it is not simply that Dubya wanted to be president; there are many people who aspire to that office. If he is president, it is because the Insider network wanted it that way. He was chosen. He is the front-man, the puppet, the image for public consumption - the every day Joe, a guy like you and me - that masks the predatorial beast pulling his strings.

The individuals that make up this system share a common outlook on life. Some of the elements of this common viewpoint would include ideas that:

- Power is important. - Money is important. - It is OK to impose one's will to get one's way. - The ends justify the means. - Reality is what they say it is.

If you look at these points, you will see that the welfare of others doesn't enter into the picture. One of the things these ideas share is a lack of conscience. Treating their fellow humans with respect and dignity is less important than attaining money and power, and if people have to be hurt to achieve their aims, so be it. Think of the lives that were ruined by Enron. Think of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have died, and the millions more whose lives have been ruined. Think of the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast who will never get their homes and their land back because of profiteering and well-organized land scams.

For these individuals profiting from this suffering, the needs of another will never outweigh their own desires.

Conscience

The psychologist Martha Stout, in her outstanding book The Sociopath Next Door, writes the following about conscience:

"Psychologically speaking, conscience is a sense of obligation ultimately based in an emotional attachment to another living creature (often but not always another human being), or to a group of human beings, or even in some cases to humanity as a whole."

So conscience, as it serves as a guide to our actions and interactions in the world, is intimately connected with our relationships with others and the world. But if someone is incapable of feeling empathy, if that person is incapable of feeling someone else's pain, how can they form true emotional attachments to anyone else? If someone's emotions are dulled, the emotional effects of their actions on others will never come home to roost. If someone's emotions are so dull that they can not be emotionally touched by someone else, either feeling deep love or even deep, emotional suffering, how will they learn to respect those feelings in others? If someone is completely trapped in fulfilling their own desires to the point where others exist only as instruments to serve that end, how can they develop a conscience? In the examples we gave above of the world view of the insiders, there is no concern whatsoever for others, at least those outside of the clique. The rest of us exist simply as labor power, as batteries to be sucked dry for the needs of the powerful to use the imagery of the film The Matrix.

Psychology has a name for those who have no conscience. They are called psychopaths.

I suggest that when we look at the data we have at hand, we can only conclude that we are governed by psychopaths (1). The insider system, which is a fairly innocuous name for what is really going on, is a system of individuals without conscience, either by birth or through events that have dulled or killed what spark of conscience they might once have had. Such a system is known as a Pathocracy, that is, a government of individuals who, were they to be clinically diagnosed, would be found to be psychologically deviant. They are unable to think and feel in the way the rest of us think and feel, that is, the way people of conscience think and feel. They are incapable of forming empathetic bonds with others. Moreover, they consider the deeper emotions experienced by people of conscience as a hindrance to getting ahead. It is that ruthless, killer instinct that best sums up the insider.

These individuals, suffering from various forms of pathologies, form a small percentage of the population, somewhere between 4 and 6 percent. However, they hold the power.

So the next time you look at the news from Washington and you can't believe what you hear, that your representatives could come up with such ideas, that they could be so callous about human life and suffering, be it in Iraq or New Orleans, consider the possibility that it is because these so-called insiders are ill: they are incapable of empathy, they have no conscience, and they are suffering from psychological problems that could and should be diagnosed. They should be removed as the leaders of society because their basic values and experience of the world have nothing in common with the people they are supposed to represent, the 94% percent of the population they lord it over.

The problem of pathological leadership is the fundamental political problem of our time. It is no coincidence that our society feels to us as if it is sick. How could it be otherwise when those defining that society at its highest levels are sick themselves?

Notes

(1) The actual system in place includes people who suffer from a wide variety of psychological problems: paranoia, narcissism, etc. Not all of them are psychopaths. Each pathology has its place in the system. There is also a certain section of the public whose own conscience has not been developed, and who fall under the sway of the charm and demagogy of certain pathocrats and their media. The details of this system are discussed in great detail in the book Political Ponerology by psychologist Andrew Łobaczewski.

This article was published in a slightly different form on ronpaulonline.com.

Original

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