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The Handmaidens of Capitalism: Psychopaths at the Helm
Psychopathic "leaders" are placed in positions of high power to carry out the politically expedient atrocities mandated by an economic system that places top priority on the profiteering whose end is held to justify any means.
The founding precept of capitalism is that profit matters above all else and any crime committed by business or government is acceptable as long as it generates revenue. Capitalism fosters insatiable greed and devalues the environment and life in the quest to attain material gain. It sets up 1% of the population with obscene wealth while the 99% underneath have to scramble to survive. The big corporations take over the government, infesting and corrupting its executive, legislative, judicial, and political functions.
I recognize that people who grow up under a capitalist system become desensitized and view cutthroat business practices, extreme social inequities, rampant domestic civil injustices, and hegemonic international relations with complacency and nonchalance. But I still maintain that in order to do what the government does, it has to be staffed with congenital psychopaths. Capitalism is an evil system, but it has to be coupled with psychopathic "leaders" whose lack of conscience enables them to promote and execute the system's most unprincipled objectives.
I see the issue of psychopathology to be the core problem. It takes psychopaths to wage war on civilian non-combatants of other nations in order to steal rather than legitimately pay or trade for the resources they covet. It takes psychopaths to throw people in prison when there's no evidence that they've committed a crime. It takes psychopaths to draw up a "kill list" and assassinate people without due process. It takes psychopaths to convert a government into an Orwellian police state.
We all grew up under capitalism and have internalized and lived by its values. I'm not defending capitalism when I say this, but, in my opinion, it per se cannot cause the behaviors I mentioned in the above paragraph. Rather, it takes psychopathology. However, capitalism will see to it that people naturally afflicted with that disease and capable of carrying out mindless politically expedient atrocities are placed into positions of high power. Lacking a conscience and awarded prosecutorial immunity, they're not burdened with personal remorse or legal accountability.
The mammalian species have evolved with the impulses both to co-operate and compete. Co-operation favors group cohesion and survival, whereas competition pits individuals against each other. The former encompasses concern for others, whereas the latter is preoccupied with the self. When resources are plentiful, everyone shares in the bounty. When they are scarce, acquisition for one means deprivation for another. For some reason, psychopathology has co-evolved with these two biological adaptive mechanisms and the particular brand of cognition that characterizes human mentation.
It's interesting that even the psychopaths have to cloak their behavior in terms acceptable to the citizenry. I don't think it would fly if the government said, "We're going into the Middle East to steal oil. In order to do so, we will have to kill tens or hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women, and children. But we'll make lots of money, and that's the objective." Instead, they have to fabricate a "war on terror" and cast the victims as "jihadists who want to rob us of our freedoms." And let's not forget the egregious false flag op that demolished the New York skyline, sent 3,000 innocents to their graves, and provided the needed segue into perennial war and domestic Orwellianism. Another reason they have to make their activities more "palatable" to the public is that the latter might get the idea that, if the government can commit crimes, it also should be able to do so: "If they can go into another country to steal oil, why can't I go into my neighbor's house to steal jewelry?"
I do agree that some circumstances or opportunities can make people act in sociopathic ways - especially if they've grown up in a system that encourages and desensitizes them to such behavior. I think any one of us, suddenly made obscenely wealthy, could fall into some greedy or otherwise unsavory behavior patterns. But I'm talking about acts - like mass murder, genocide, and torture - of a type and severity that transcend the "normal" culturally imposed sociopathy. These behaviors, to my mind, are the trademarks of psychopaths - the handmaidens of capitalism.
Psychopaths at the helm will destroy the best system, while good leaders can ultimately make a bad system passably workable. Of course, the objective is to have a good system with good leaders.