By Olivia Pierson
[First published on Incite Politics]
Outside of Western civilisation, it seems that psychopaths easily rise to power. I put this down to the virtue of a system that requires men to have to make their cases by the strength of their arguments to win voluntarily given votes. This superior system serves as a bulwark against the type of man who seeks to make a case through violent means.
When I look back over the last one hundred years of world leaders who acted insufferably, I see Kaiser Wilhelm II, Enver Pasha, Vladimir Lenin, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Hideki Tojo, Josef Stalin, Chiang Kai-Shek, Idi Amin Dada, Mao Zedong, Yasser Arafat, Saddam Hussein, Robert Mugabe, Fidel Castro, Ho Chi Min, Pol Pot, Gaddafi, Kim il Sung (and his offspring), Vladimir Putin and Bashar al Assad.
Out of this list of 20 leaders, only three came from Western countries: two from Germany, Wilhelm II and Hitler, and one from Italy, Mussolini.
The 20th century was utterly brutal. It has gone into the historical record as the most bloody century in the existence of man because war had become heavily industrialised. Ubiquitous written commentary on this century usually lays the blame for such marked bloodshed at the feet of entrenched patriotic nationalism, but I do not believe that the problem lies here. It lies at the feet of psychopathic leaders who came to the fore pretending to be patriotic.
I’m not certain that Kaiser Wilhelm II could properly be labeled a psychopath (though Chancellor Otto von Bismarck probably thought so), but this eldest grandchild of Queen Victoria was obsessed with aggressively expanding German power to rival his English relatives, none of whom had thought very highly of him since childhood. His hatred of the Jews in Germany would later be equalled only by Adolf Hitler’s, who actually implemented in deed the genocidal fantasies what Wilhelm had only ever dared to dream of. So, perhaps he was a psychopath after all; he was most definitely a rabid warmonger.
All leaders – those who are angels and those who are devils – will speak to the feelings of patriotism, which they know will resonate within the hearts of their people. There is nothing wrong with this since an unpatriotic man is the most impractical of all men. In 1973 famous author Robert A Heinlein addressed the US Naval Academy in a speech titled The Pragmatics of Patriotism where he made this insightful claim:
“Patriotism is NOT sentimental nonsense. Nor is it something dreamed up by demagogues. Patriotism is as necessary a part of man’s evolutionary equipment as are his eyes, as useful to the race as eyes are to the individual. A man who is not patriotic is an evolutionary dead-end. This is not sentiment but the hardest of logic.”
Aside from their empty appeals to patriotism, psychopaths show no love for their countries and countrymen; they love power more – and they are particularly besotted with violence. If Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Saddam, Gaddafi, the Kims and Mussolini loved their countries, why did they unleash on their citizens the deadly forces of their secret police squads to engage in chronic terror? If Arafat loved the Palestinians, why did he not agree to a two-state solution for them to have a home? If Putin loves his country why does he not allow his countrymen to choose their government voluntarily instead of resorting to heavy-handed dictatorship and manipulated election results? No, psychopathic leaders are not patriotic in the slightest. They take abominable risks with their countries and citizens, which always spells infernal disaster. They are as comfortable in the chaos of hell as angels are in the delights of heaven.
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