The Commons is a weblog for concerned citizens of southeast Iowa and their friends around the world. It was created to encourage grassroots networking and to share information and ideas which have either been suppressed or drowned out in the mainstream media.

"But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place;' some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it; whom to disobey were against all proportion of subjection." (Henry V, Act V, Scene 4)

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

George Bush: Sociopath

George Bush: Sociopath
by tardcat

Tue Sep 6th, 2005 at 04:39:01 PDT
After reading Bob Herbert's excellent column in the New York Times concerning the Bush administration's apalling response to Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, I wrote the following letter to the columnist, inspired by this sentence:

"What we witnessed, as clearly as the overwhelming agony of the city of New Orleans, was the dangerous incompetence and the staggering indifference to human suffering of the president and his administration."

Someone indifferent to human suffering, someone incapable of empathy or consideration for the well-being of others is defined as a sociopath. My letter below the fold.

Dear Mr. Herbert:

The above sentence reminded me of something I read concerning the definition of a sociopath (a term that replaced the use of the word "psychopath"; now referred to as "Antisocial Personality Disorder" in professional circles): someone unable to empathize; someone with little regard for the feelings and welfare of others.

It would be a mistake to assume that only people like Dennis Rader or Jeffrey Dahmer are sociopaths; there are many, many such individuals that exist in far less extreme incarnations. The core component defining any individual of a sociopathic nature is not necessarily the depravity of his or her actions, but the underlying inability to truly experience empathy or consideration for most other people.

I added that disclaimer because I do not want you to think that I am someone speaking carelessly or using hyperbole when I say that I believe that George W. Bush is a sociopath. (Indeed, if I were speaking in such a manner, I could say that from my observation anyone currently aligned with the Republican party and its policies is a sociopath, but I digress.)

To say that the president is a serial killer would be, obviously, untrue; but to say he is responsible for the deaths of thousands upon thousands of people both in the U.S. and in Iraq because of his callous disregard for other human beings, particularly poor people of color, is not, in my opinion, even debatable. He is the walking definition of a sociopath, and it seems that he has gone out of his way to surround himself with like-minded indviduals as advisers and handlers. It is beyond my ability to express the horror and despair that I feel at the realization of this truth.

In the past few years I have sometimes wondered to myself if this country was really heading down as dangerous and frightening a path as it seemed to be. I would think "Come on now, it's only been three and a half years, things cannot possibly have gone that bad in this amount of time. As bad as things are, I can't believe that we are in an irreversibly dire state quite yet, it can't be possible." And then I thought of something else: Adolf Hitler was elected in 1933 by a very troubled, yet free German republic. By 1939, just six years later, this freely-elected madman unleashed the unthinkable nightmare of World War II upon the globe. I am absolutely not comparing George W. Bush to Hitler; there is some evil that cannot be compared. My point here is the speed at which disastrous, monstrous change took place in a nation. Yes, there were decades of contributing factors that paved the way for an individual like Hitler to come to power. But until his election, things had not yet descended into total madness. And, again, not comparing the men, nor the actual state of the two countries, but the rapid nature of the national change of direction, I realized that here in this country there have been decades of factors leading up to the election (or, appointment, I should say) of a man like George W. Bush; indeed, I grew up under twelve years of what I had termed semi-jokingly the "Reagan-Bush Reign of Terror." I think that the Clinton years were a merciful respite, not a true break from the painful trend that began in earnest in January of 1981. Nonetheless, even accounting for all the years of dangerous far-right encroachment, the state that this country finds itself in today, so graphically illustrated by the chaos of last week, was unthinkable four years ago. Things do change that fast, and my country is in very, very dire trouble.


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