In a previous post I discussed the harmful effects that right-wing billionaires have on our sociocultural lives. Because of their enormous wealth and power, their evil influence penetrates all strata of American society–in politics, business, education, medicine, the environment, and our collective values (or lack thereof). A new article published in today’s Op-Ed News redirects my perspective on this matter. Writer and Op-Ed publisher Rob Kall asserts that billionaires are sociopaths, and we should treat them as such. What is a sociopath? Most psychologists define sociopaths as people who lack a conscience. They are rapacious and greedy without regard for others, and they will say or do anything to get their way. There is a streak of narcissism in sociopaths, who by and large care only for themselves and not one whit for others. This is in line with the American conservative’s political philosophy, in that Republicans support policies that promote individual wealth and autocracy at the expense of the greater good.
In his article entitled “Monuments Men, Gestapo Generals, Billionaires,” Kall goes even further with his indictment of conscienceless billionaires: “These people are not just wealthy. They are parasites who exploit workers, who are the biggest welfare hogs, using and taking advantage of the government, the commons and the middle class. They are the generals in the class war– a war that they and their ilk started and have been ginning up. They are enemy generals. Their spending, which I would estimate runs in the billions of dollars, more if you include the welfare and parasitization they engage in, is used to destroy lives, and it actually kills people, or kills their hopes and dreams. They are indeed far worse than billionaire Tom Perkins whined when he spoke of comparing the wealthy to the Jewish victims of Kristallnacht.
“Let’s talk about Perkins. This man recently sold his yacht– the biggest sailing yacht ever built– 289 feet– for about $100 million dollars– at least $50 million less than he paid for it. The Megayacht news website that reported this stated that Perkins kept the personal two man submarine he had built. This man attacks the people of Occupy for challenging the one percent. He feels threatened. He should feel threatened. No, I don’t want to do to him as I would do to a Nazi general. But I do want to end his life as a billionaire. I do want to eliminate all billionaires from the planet.
“That doesn’t mean I want to kill them or harm them. No. I want to take away what they do not deserve– their wealth. No sane person deserves, wants or needs billions of dollars. No person needs a 289 foot private sailing yacht. No person needs to privately own a painting or work of art that costs over $100 million. People who feel the need to possess that much money and such obscene, even pornographic possessions are sick. More and more people are saying it takes a sociopath to run a fortune 500 company or to become a billionaire. I’ve learned a bit about sociopaths and they are part of a collection of predators and malevolent personalities, which include psychopaths, anti-social personalities, narcissists and Borderline personalities. I’d also throw in addicts and hoarders to the list.”
What Kall is saying is that the same traits that define someone as mentally deranged in psychological terms are also the traits that propel one to enormous wealth in the dog-eat-dog world of capitalism. This makes me wonder if sociopaths are born or made. DSM, the bible of Psychology, asserts that many sociopaths come from homes where one or both are parents are tyrants. The home is a rigid, tense place where mental or physical abuse may be used on the developing child. The sociopath exhibits then the tendency to be deceptive, discompassionate, and desocial in childhood. He learns that in order to succeed in the world, he needs to amass more power than those who have subjugated him, and by any means necessary he goes about accumulating this power. Since, in America at least, power is wealth, the sociopath’s overriding ambition is to gain and hoard as much money as possible.
All this makes me wonder–can we identify the “sociopath” in early life and quarantine him before he does society a great deal of harm. Just think, with this knowledge we might have saved the world from Adolph Hitler, Strom Thurmond, Benito Mussolini, Anthony Scalia, Dick Cheney, John Schnatter, the Koch brothers, and Allen Dulles among many other criminally insane sociopaths. Alas, if we could diagnose and isolate sociopaths, the Tea Party would claim that we were doing too much social engineering. Hey, I can still dream, right?
Kall concludes, “Billionaires are predators who step on, step over and remorselessly destroy, harm or even kill people to reach their goals– usually to win and dominate. And these people don’t become billionaires or successes alone. They corrupt and buy (infect) many people– politicians, regulators, judges along the blood way to get to the top. Just as generals in wars make decisions to spend the lives of troops, billionaires and CEOs consider the costs of people who are sickened by pollution or who die because they didn’t have access to healthcare to be an acceptable part of doing business. And don’t dare try to tell me that everyone can go to the emergency room. If that’s what you are thinking, crawl back under your rock, like a good insect.”