• They are raised that way. There is a fairly large subset of people who don’t understand how to relate to others in a personal way. They can only relate to other people as objects, as chess pieces. They see other people only in terms of their material value: status, leverage, sex appeal, amusement. They don’t understand empathy or fairness. They aren’t taught to be this way explicitly, of course, but it is passed down in families.

  • raisedbywolves commented on the blog post The Math Skills Lacking Among the Uninsured

    2014-10-29 14:47:57View | Delete

    I’d like to add that I brought this point up on several forums before the ACA passed, and literally no one else cared or even thought about this aspect of the ACA at the time.

  • raisedbywolves commented on the blog post The Math Skills Lacking Among the Uninsured

    2014-10-29 14:40:32View | Delete

    The selection of a health insurance plan for a small company can take up to a year and usually involves a few specialists in HR and accounting, plus at least one lawyer to look at the fine print. I designed a spreadsheet for employees to compare three plans within *the same insurance company* (different deductibles, drug plans, etc) and it took me several weeks and a dozen conversations with an HR specialist to get it to work.

    There is a special place in hell for the people who sold the ACA as something the average person could do without screwing themselves accidentally.

  • The culture of impunity for elites reaches far further than our political sphere. It is a permanent, pervasive feature of American culture, and it will be our undoing, as it has undone all empires.

    American businesses – and not just large corporations – are all absolutely entrenched in this culture as well. It is the norm and the expectation that as long as you are in management, and you don’t physically or sexually assault someone on camera, you can get away with just about anything. I’ve lately asserted that those who’ve made it to the director level or above are sociopaths. People think about it just for a second – and they all shrug and agree. They scan their memories and find no exceptions – it’s been their experience as well.

    We are in very deep trouble because a collapse of character and competence in leadership, not just in politics but in the culture at large, is what immediately precedes the collapse of empire.

  • “People like Wittes identify with this fervent belief among elites who have held and still hold power…”

    This statement really waters down what is happening. As long as you talk about someone’s single, separate “belief” as apart from their character, you’ll never get anywhere – because taken belief by belief, belief is always benign.

    What is going on, as a larger event, is that more and more of our nation’s spokespersons (formal, or informal) are authoritarians. And as we all should know, authoritarians beg for a fascist/despotic style of government:

    “Authoritarians like Wittes identify with this fervent belief among authoritarians who have held and still hold power…”

  • raisedbywolves commented on the diary post Are We An Oligarchy Yet? by letsgetitdone.

    2014-04-29 20:40:08View | Delete

    “We need a new social invention; an institution that will enable us to restore bottom-up self-organization, distributed problem solving, and critical knowledge processing to their proper place in reinforcing open society, populist democracy, and adaptiveness to environmental and societal change” There is no “institution” that can accomplish the above. What we need to come around [...]

  • A little insight into why the right is so bent on denying climate change, from someone who has spent their life surrounded by them:

    Authoritarians value ‘having’, and that ‘having’ is always something material. Money, status, fame, influence, power, dominance – it’s all tangible, external, and ego-driven. On the other hand, they loathe and resent internally-driven values, which are about ‘being’: ethics, empathy, wisdom, justice, fairness… They have a special distate for true responsibility and accountability, which they try to skirt and short-cut as much as possible. In their value system, they do the math, and if there isn’t a clear-cut, tangible benefit for them personally and immediately (authoritarians aren’t big on delayed gratification), they aren’t interested.

    To authoritarians, even if they don’t reject the science, global warming is “someone else’s” fault, in the sense that it started in the 1800s, and billions of people have contributed to it since then. To them, it is unfair to make them pay for “someone else’s” deeds. Then, they are being asked to take accountability for something that they see no benefit for personally and directly. Until they lose their job due to the global economy crashing, or their house gets swept away in some monster storm, it will be too late for them to make the cause-and-effect connection.

    Progressives need to develop a deeper understanding of the authoritarian mind, not just what they think in a disjointed sense, but that underneath, they reside at a pathological, crippled level of character development. They aren’t going to change, we have to shove them aside with as much shame and force of will as we can muster.

  • raisedbywolves commented on the blog post Grading Exchange Premiums on a Curve

    2014-04-17 12:50:34View | Delete

    7% increase? The article already pointed out that this is well above inflation, and we know that salaries for the 99% have been flat-line for some time, so this leaves one obvious place where the money is going: insurance company execs.

  • I had to work with the SEC a few years ago on the mutual fund scandal of 2003 a few years back. (Looking back, I’m shocked the SEC did anything at all.)

    I never met them in person, but in my telephone conferences with them, my mental image was of old, obese, nearly comatose white men, who were retired in place. They would pause for ten or fifteen seconds before responding to conversation or attempting to answer a simple question, and then wouldn’t ever really say anything.

    The whole organization needs to be razed to the ground and re-populated with people who actually give a crap.

  • raisedbywolves commented on the blog post Jim DeMint Makes Odd Claims About History Of Slavery

    2014-04-10 11:11:48View | Delete

    “staggering amount of cognitive dissonance”

    Cognitive dissonance is the discomfort someone feels when they become aware that their beliefs or assumptions that they hold dear completely contradict other beliefs that they hold dear.

    You need a certain level of self-awareness to experience cognitive dissonance. That’s why authoritarians (sociopaths) can so easily lie, manipulate, and misinform. They have the self-awareness and the moral development of a toddler. Their character development is frozen in pre-school, before they attended Kindergarten and learned the things they should have learned in Kindergarten (fairness, sharing, being honest, etc.).

    My fantasy is that someday, the Hare Psychopathy test will be required before you can run or be appointed for public office. If that were in place, half of Congress, most of the Presidential staff, and half the higher judges in the US would be out of a job tomorrow.

  • raisedbywolves commented on the blog post How Many Selected the Correct Plan on the Exchange?

    2014-04-03 13:54:28View | Delete

    EmployERS, when choosing a new health plan for their employees, typically take OVER A FUCKING YEAR to do so, and bring in a team of lawyers and HR experts to comb over the fine print. They dither back and forth with the insurance companies for months, often because they’ve caught a nasty “gotcha” or two in the paperwork, that, if not caught, would cost them a lot of unnecessary money.

    But sure, yeah, someone with a high school education can do so much better than a team of lawyers and healthcare insurance experts…

  • See comment 56 above. Only when we realize that people without a conscience are mostly “above” us, in terms of power, can we do anything about upending that power cycle.

  • “..the best clue [that you are dealing with a sociopath] is, of all things, the pity play. The most reliable sign, the most universal behavior of unscrupulous people is not directed, as one might imagine, at our fearfulness. It is, perversely, an appeal to our sympathy.”

    “Sociopaths have no regard whatsoever for the social contract, but they do know how to use it to their advantage. And all in all, I am sure that if the devil existed, he would want us to feel very sorry for him.”

    The Sociopath Next Door, Martha Stout, Chapter 6

  • “via prison van, bus or “conair” plane”

    I recently met a Federal Marshall who is a “Conair” pilot. The most abusive, sociopathic, soulless dude I have ever personally met in my life, and that is not hyperbole.

    I am so afraid for John if that happens to him.

  • I keep seeing left-leaning bloggers refer to Obama’s dropping of chained CPI as a “victory”. Since when is: “I was going to beat up on your Grandma, but I’m not going to, at least not next year” a “victory”. Bollucks to that soulless freak of a man.

  • raisedbywolves commented on the diary post Charles Lane is Wrong on NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership by Dean Baker.

    2014-02-05 11:42:05View | Delete

    Although it’s appropriate to say that power corrupts, it is probably more accurate and fitting to say that the corrupt seek power, and the totally corrupt seek absolute power. You are right that finding “good” people is difficult, because most “good” people don’t want to put up with the absolute corruption that now defines US [...]

  • raisedbywolves commented on the blog post Late Night: Bubble Trouble

    2014-01-30 20:49:43View | Delete

    I think now is a good time to refresh our memories on exactly what that means to be an authoritarian (hint – they are dangerous to freedom, justice, truth):

    Authoritarians (As defined by Bob Altemeyer): http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/

    1. Poor logic and reasoning skills
    2. Poor integration of ideas and beliefs (beliefs come from different sources but don’t fit together)
    3. Double standards (heavy use of rationalization to justify conflicting opinions)
    4. Hypocritical (want standards for themselves and their beliefs that are different from “others”)
    5. Poor self-awareness (tendency to overestimate own abilities and strengths, can’t answer the question of why they did something)
    6. Ethnocentric (the belief of “in” groups and “out” groups based on their personal belief system)
    7. Dogmatic – unjustified certainty, opinions not able to be backed up with facts but they don’t care

    Authoritarian followers:

    1. Authoritarian Submission
    2. Fear
    3. Self-righteousness
    4. Hostility
    5. Lack of Critical Thinking
    6. “Our Biggest Problem Is…” (hyperbole)
    7. Compartmentalized Thinking
    8. Double-Standards
    9. Empowerment in Groups
    10. Dogmatism
    11. Ethnocentrism
    12. Prejudice

  • raisedbywolves commented on the diary post When the Night Comes Falling by Isaiah 88.

    2014-01-29 22:10:26View | Delete

    Butter knife? Ha, if only. “Democrats keep showing up to a knife fight with a Pez dispenser” – Karl Frisch

  • From what I understand, the APA is a failed institution. Besides their collusion and obfuscation on their involvement in torture issues, they are basically bought and paid for big BigPharma. Their newest diagnostic manual (DSM-V) has gotten big raspberries from all around for its lack of scientific rigor or peer review.

    But perhaps the APAs biggest failure is that they are completely ignoring monumental shifts in US mental and psychological functioning. When politicians, media figures and business leaders openly exhibit delusional, pathological and even psychotic behaviors in public – and the APA has nothing to say about it – then they are as sick as the people they should be figuring out how to treat.

  • I’ll just keep repeating this until people begin to realize that they are dealing with: the number one indicator you are dealing with a sociopath is their claim to be the victim when they clearly are not (Stout, “The Sociopath Next Door”).

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