This is one of the least surprising news stories I've encountered in quite some time:
Los Angeles Times, June 15, 2009
By Andrew Malcolm
Using his law enforcement experience and data drawn from the FBI's behavioral analysis unit, Jim Kouri has collected a series of personality traits common to a couple of professions.
Kouri, who's a vice president of the National Assn. of Chiefs of Police, has assembled traits such as superficial charm, an exaggerated sense of self-worth, glibness, lying, lack of remorse and manipulation of others.
These traits, Kouri points out in his analysis, are common to psychopathic serial killers.
But -- and here's the part that may spark some controversy and defensive discussion -- these traits are also common to American politicians. (Maybe you already suspected.)
Yup. Violent homicide aside, our elected officials often show many of the exact same character traits as criminal nut-jobs, who run from police but not for office.
Kouri notes that these criminals are psychologically capable of committing their dirty deeds free of any concern for social, moral or legal consequences and with absolutely no remorse.
"This allows them to do what they want, whenever they want," he wrote. "Ironically, these same traits exist in men and women who are drawn to high-profile and powerful positions in society including political officeholders."
Good grief! And we not only voted for these people, we're paying their salaries and entrusting them to spend our national treasure in wise ways.
We don't know Kouri that well. He may be trying to manipulate all of us with his glib provocative pronouncements. On the other hand ...
"While many political leaders will deny the assessment regarding their similarities with serial killers and other career criminals, it is part of a psychopathic profile that may be used in assessing the behaviors of many officials and lawmakers at all levels of government."
The American political class amounts to a gaggle of certifiable sociopaths and incorruptible saints -- and the latter class includes but one member, Ron Paul.
It'd be easy to explain away the fact that Americans are governed by such vile freaks as resulting from the vulgarities of our current culture... but the cause seems to lie much deeper.
A friend of mine once asked a group of us seated around a table to imagine what it'd be like if George Washington had run for office in the 1790s as candidates do nowadays. Could you imagine such a man walking into a New England Weavry passing out sugarlicks, grinning from ear to ear, while his staff waved a bright blue banner emblazoned with the latest catchphrase "Go With George!"
Political culture wasn't necessary more dignified all around in early American -- print publications were wilder and more full of fact-free invectives than the blogosphere -- but national leaders were embarrassed by the thought of "taking part in the democratic process," as they should have been, and they campaigned passively and for short periods. None gave anyone the idea that if he were elected, citizens wouldn't have to pay their heating oil bills no more.
As Hans Hermann Hoppe has detailed, democratic systems inherently promote not only short time horizons but certain kinds of behaviors that can only be termed sociopathic.
Aristocrats governed with a healthy, long-term goal in mind: they wanted their great grandchildren to inherit a prosperous, powerful realm. (And if a madman happened to land on the throne, he'd quickly be disposed of by his relatives, who didn't want their legacies ruined.) Not only does such an outlook promote sound, economical policies, but aristocrats would never in a million years consider taxing their subjects' income at 25-40 percent, as is the norm in the Western democracies.
Democratic leaders, unlike landed property owners, are essentially renting out the state apparatus for a short period of time -- two, eight, 12 years, rarely longer. It's to their advantage to, say, amnesty in millions of foreigners who'll vote for their party, use the national "defense" to start wars on behalf of their buddies, or attack the productive at the behest of the better connected or vast tax-eating underclass. No American politician thinks that the state will one day actually pay of its debts -- with the exception of Ron Paul, they don't think about paying them off at all. Better to just leave that ugly business to some fool down the road who'll get blamed for the mess.
As long as we have a democratic system, we shouldn't be in the least surprised by studies like the one above, nor by the slithering reprobates who rule over us.