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This is a reprise of a four-year-old Duty to Warn column published the week before the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election.
A megalomaniac is a pathological egotist, someone with a psychological disorder who exhibits symptoms like delusions of grandeur and an obsession with greatness, power or wealth.
A sociopath is a person whose behavior is antisocial, often criminally greedy, who lacks a sense of moral responsibility, empathy or social conscience. Sociopaths never sincerely apologize nor are they capable of exhibiting remorse for wrongs that they have committed.
A narcissist is person who has an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration, sexual gratification, applause and a lack of empathy for others.
A paranoid person or group exhibits excessive or irrational suspiciousness and distrustfulness of other individuals or groups.
A xenophobe is a person who is fearful or contemptuous of that which is foreign, especially of strangers or of people from different countries or cultures.
A demagogue is a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument.
Once upon a time, there was a megalomaniacal, sociopathic, narcissistic and paranoid national leader who was attempting to rise to political power in his politically-divided, post-war nation. This deeply flawed demagogue, who was worshipped by millions of rabble-rousing, beer-drinking, racist, sexist, gun-toting, anti-Semitic, flag-waving, uber-nationalist, xenophobic white supremacists, professed that his goal in running for national office was only to make his supposedly-weak, supposedly under-militarized country great again.
This sometimes charismatic political leader was one of the richest persons in his country yet he was often joked about by comedians at the time. He was sometimes regarded as a buffoon, but he impressed his followers at his frequent campaign stops by dramatically flying in to his political rallies on a private airplane.
This leader often used inflammatory and hate-filled language in his speeches, actually inciting violence among his listeners. He was thus widely covered by the press as an aberration in the struggling, once-civilized, democratic nation. He amassed a devoted coalition of angry, under-employed, white supremacists, especially among the millions of psychologically-wounded combat veterans from the last war who were easily recruited to participate in street-fighting for the cause – indeed, even being willing to start a violent revolution. His followers revered and exuberantly pledged allegiance to the flag.
This leader’s nation had suffered the loss of a recent war that had essentially bankrupted the nation – both economically and morally.
The lost war had resulted in serious economic challenges. The war had been stupidly started by out-of-touch, over-privileged, ultra-wealthy, right-wing, all-male leaders that included the nation’s bankers, industrialists and militarists, all of whom had promoted the war because they sought military glory and potential economic benefits by pillaging the wealth of other nations, especially their oil wealth.
The foreign nations targeted by the banks and assorted corporations were actually not realistic military threats. In fact, in order to get full support to start the ill-advised war, the political and military leaders of the nation secretly conspired to orchestrate a false flag operation that alarmed the nation into war-readiness – indeed,, and unstoppable patriotic war eagerness.
After the Big Lie/Pro-War agenda had been accepted as truthful by the gullible masses (thanks to the eventually corporate/government-controlled print and radio media [which never questioned the deception]) the soon-to-be-invaded nation was accused of provoking a war and the brain-washed, duped electorate endorsed the invasion.
This particular megalomaniacal political leader had successfully purged from his adopted right-wing party many of the old establishment leaders that had originally been somewhat center/right, although still agitating for less regulation, less corporate taxes and less regulation.
This leader had seemingly come out of nowhere and gained notoriety and political momentum after a sudden, world-wide economic collapse and recession that had been created by powerful Wall Street speculators and predatory investors. The leader chose not to blame the disastrous war on the traitorous uber-wealthy corporate war-hawks because were economic supporters of his.
Instead, this paranoid politician blamed the disastrous situation on his left-wing, antiwar enemies s who had taken on the nearly impossible task of resolving the nation’s economic depression and huge unemployment situation that they had not been responsible for in the first place.
The US stock market crash in 1929 that tanked the world economy had led to planetary chaos, but it had been ignited by the reckless actions of the predatory, multimillionaires who amassed their excess wealth in finance, banking and investments in an over-blown stock market. These millionaires had escaped the punishm for the world’s media to allow their investigative journalists the freedom to expose their corruption. to allow their reputations to tarnished in the media.
This megalomaniac and his followers were citizens of one of the most advanced, cultured, literate and highly Christianized nations the world had ever known. Sadly, the religion professed a belief in a god was a punitive, vengeful and angry god rather than a merciful, all-loving, nonviolent one as had been the belief of the religion’s founders.
The nation was also highly militarized. It had had a long military tradition that was universally revered by most sectors of the society, even though the military’s officers and soldiers were frequently guilty of actions that were considered international war crimes and crimes against humanity. The nation’s police and military had possessed the best military intelligence, the best spyware and the most lethal weapons systems that the world had ever known – all at crippling cost and little or no return on investment - to the tax-paying population. The nation’s child-rearing tactics were often punitive (the spare the rod/spoil the child doctrine) which resulted in very obedient children and obedient future soldiers who did not question the orders of their superiors – even if ordered to torture enemy non-combatants, for example. Thus the nation’s soldiers quite easily became willing executioners.
The leader and his followers thought that their nation – albeit “weakened” at the time, had been mighty in the past and would soon again be powerful. Some of the nation’s religious leaders believed that the leader had been ordained by a punitive god to have dominion over all the other nations of the world.
Because god had supposedly blessed the leader, the nation’s right-wing church-going citizens thought that aggressive action against dissidents was needed, even to the point of censorship, deportation, and even imprisonment, torture and even extra-judicial execution.
In other words, the followers of this sociopathic demagogue – who had a history of being a serial liar and an over-whelming desire to increase his already significant power and wealth – abandoned all logic and actually believed that the leader could make 1930s Germany great again.
In order to convince voters to support and vote for him in the next election, this leader instilled a paranoia among them to irrationally fear non-whites, non-Christians, people whose first language was not native tongue, immigrants and other economic refugees f(rom destabilized nations that his nation’s giant multinational corporations had caused in the first place.
The megalomaniacal, sociopathic, narcissistic and paranoid national leader/fuehrer described above was, of course, Adolf Hitler. The militarized nation was Germany, not America; the war that economically and morally bankrupted Germany was the First World War (1914-1918) – not America’s Gulf War; the flag was the swastika – not the Stars and Stripes; the right-wing political party that hated liberals, progressives and socialists with a lethal passion was the Nazi Party - not the Republican Party; the targeted 1% minority were Jews – not Muslims; and the false flag operation that gave Hitler a reason to start World War II by invading Poland was Operation Himmler (Google it) – not 9/11.
But the historical similarities between what seems to me to be American Neo-fascism and classical German Fascism do indeed exist and it is not just the fault of Donald Trump. Indeed, Donald Trump probably has never taken the time to study – much less read - ANY history books at all, so one cannot claim that he is following the historical playbook of fascist dictators. What he is doing is just the nature of demagogues.
And the historical similarities between the psychological aberrations of the fascist fuehrer Hitler and the various leaders behind what is becoming a reality in America do exist. Therefore, in the interest of educating those who are open-minded enough to sit still for some historical enlightenment, the remainder of this essay will try to make some of the connections between what has been said in this political season and what might be in store for America. The commentary below is mine but the criteria are from established documents that are easily available in the literature. I invite readers to do their own psychological evaluations. Recall that both sociopaths and fascists are not to be trusted with political power, military power, police power or economic power. Both sociopaths and fascists consistently lie and deceive and may not even realize that they are doing it. It is also important to understand that, for all intents and purposes, sociopaths and fascists are incurable and need to be isolated from society.
Essential addendum to the previous column
The Criteria for A) Antisocial Personality Disorder; B) Narcissistic Personality Disorder; and C) Paranoid Personality Disorder from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV). Plus D) the 14 Characteristics of Fascism
A) Donald Trump (and Adolf Hitler) Scores 7 out of the 7 on the Criteria for Antisocial Personality Disorder (DSM-IV 301.7)
The official Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders criteria for Antisocial Personality Disorder (aka Sociopathic Personality Disorder) is listed below in bold letters. In each of the seven categories I have added a few examples from the life and times of Donald Trump – as of 2016) - that supports his qualifications for being diagnosable as a sociopath. Readers should make their own determinations on Trump’s qualifications for the US presidency.
Individuals with this disorder are sometimes called psychopaths or sociopaths.
According to the DSM-IV, only three of the seven criteria re required to qualify for the diagnosis.
1. Repeated Acts That Could Lead to Arrest
(Recall the multitude of highly believable charges of sexual assault or sexually-inappropriate behavior that have come from some of the women from Trump’s past. What happened could easily have resulted in Trump’s being charged with criminal sexual assault. On the infamous Access Hollywood interview where he bragged about his approach to women and one of his many appearances on the Howard Stern Show, Trump actually laughingly admitted to being a sexual predator - in the presence of his approving daughter Ivanka and son Donald, Jr.)
2. Repeated Lying, Conning Others for Profit or Pleasure, or the Use of Aliases
(Recall Trump’s lying about knowing Russian President Putin; his refusing to pay creditors for work done on his projects; and his infamous acts of self-promotion on radio programs by pretending to be somebody else.)
3. Being Impulsive or Failing to Plan Ahead
(Recall Trump’s infamous investments in THREE Atlantic City casinos in the 1990s, including Trump Plaza, Trump Castle and the Trump Taj Mahal in the already over-built casino sector. Analysts knew, but Trump didn’t realize, that the three casinos were certain to cannibalize each other and that debt-service of the high-interest loans would be impossible. Within two years all three Trump casinos declared bankruptcy.)
4. Repeated Assaults on others
(Recall his numerous sexual assaults, his infamous attack on the owner of a professional wrestling association during a match and his verbal assaults on foreigners, Muslims, Mexicans, protestors, assorted minorities, the disabled and the media.)
5. Reckless Disregard for the Safety of Others
(Recall Trump’s reckless disregard for the victims of his sexual assaults, his numerous frivolous lawsuits and his many bankruptcy filings.)
6. Failure to Honor Financial Obligations
(Recall his numerous bankruptcy filings that stiffed a multitude of creditors and workers that then resulted in dozens of downstream bankruptcies of smaller businesses.)
7. Rationalizing the Pain He or She Has Inflicted on Others
(Recall Trump’s refusal to apologize to anybody that he has hurt, including President Obama, his sexual conquests and those he has victimized financially.)
B) Donald Trump Scores 8 or 9 out of the 9 Criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder (DSM-IV 301.81)
This disorder is characterized by a behavior or fantasy of grandiosity, a lack of empathy and a need to be admired by others. A useful definition is “pathological self-love”. Narcissistic individuals have an unrealistic or inflated sense of self-importance, an inability to see the viewpoints of others, and are hypersensitive to the opinions of others as indicated by five or more of the following nine traits:
1. A Grandiose Sense of Self-Importance, Superiority and Talent and Expects to Be Recognized as Superior
2. A Preoccupation with Unlimited Success, Beauty, Brilliance, Ideal Love, Power or Wealth
3. A Belief in Being Special and Unique and Can Only be Understood by (or Should Only be Associated with) People of High Status
4. Requires Excessive Admiration (Especially Applause)
5. An Unreasonable Sense of Entitlement and an Expectation of Being Treated with Favor or Expecting an Automatic Compliance to His or Her Wishes
6. Is Interpersonally Exploitative, Taking Advantage of Others to Achieve His or Her Goals
7. Lacks Empathy
8. Believes that Others are Envious of Him (or is Envious of Others)
9. Exhibits Arrogant or Haughty Attitudes or Behaviors
C) Donald Trump (and Hitler?) Score 6 or 7 of the 7 Criteria for Paranoid Personality Disorder (301.0)
Paranoid Personality Disorder is summarized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as a “pervasive distrust and suspiciousness of the motives of others that are interpreted as malevolent”.
Documentation is best determined during a thorough psychiatric examination, but, in the highly competitive culture of America’s “dog-eat-dog” capitalism, paranoia may be the norm, especially among the “take-no-prisoners”, “fight-to-the-death” multimillionaires or billionaires at the top - like Donald Trump.
Four or more of the following seven criteria are needed to make the diagnosis:
1. Suspects Without Reason that Others are Exploiting, Harming, or Trying to Deceive Him
2. Has Unjustified Doubts About the Loyalty or Trustworthiness of Friends or Associates
3. Believes Without Reason That if He Confides in Others, the Information May be Used Against Him.
4. Finds Hidden or Threatening Meanings in Harmless Remarks or Events
5. Persistently Bears Grudges and is Unforgiving of Insults or Slights.
6. Is Quick to React with Anger or To Counterattack When He Perceives that People Are Out To Attack His Character or Reputation
7. Is Suspicious of The Fidelity of His Spouse Or Sexual Partner
D) The Political Views of Donald Trump and Hitler are compatible with 14 out of the following 14 Characteristics of Fascism (google “Fascism – the 14 Points”)
1. Powerful and Continuing Expressions of Nationalism
2. Disdain for the Importance of Human Rights
3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause
4. The Supremacy of the Military/Avid Militarism
5. Rampant Sexism
6. A Controlled Mass Media
7. Obsession with National Security
8. Religion and Ruling Elite Tied Together
9. Power of Corporations Protected
10. Power of Labor Suppressed or Eliminated
11. Disdain and Suppression of Intellectuals and the Arts.
12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment/Law and Order
13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
14. Fraudulent Elections