Sunday, March 9, 2014

Yep, these people are sick

Uppity Wisconsin had a post yesterday that hits at something that is apparent about a whole lot of today's corporate executives and the GOP politicians that they buy. These folks just aren't wired like most of us.

The Uppity Wisconsin post references an excellent article by Paul Rosenberg titled "The Sociopathic 1 percent: The Driving Force at the Heart of the Tea Party." The article first discusses the mindset that many high-income CEO's have, and it's dished out from one of their own.
Venture capitalist Nick Hanauer — who has advocated a $15 minimum wage and for raising taxes on people like him “to reward the true job creators,” ordinary middle-class consumers — rightly called them sociopaths when he recently appeared on “All In with Chris Hayes.”

“These are the people who did not go to their kid’s soccer games. These are borderline sociopathic people and they don’t care about other people,” Hanauer said, to which Hayes responded, “I don’t want to diagnose anyone from afar, I just want to stipulate.” That’s an honorable, well-meaning liberal sentiment. But it’s a bit misplaced, particularly since it meant a missed opportunity for deeper understanding. The point isn’t to stigmatize any one particular individual, but to identify and arm ourselves against a pervasive, corrosive mindset. It’s a mindset devoid of empathy or conscience, for whom other people simply are not real, a mindset that has gripped us collectively, ever more tightly, over the past 30 to 40 years, regardless of how much mayhem it creates, as the richest 1 percent has roughly tripled its share of income, while the rest of us, collectively, have seen our incomes stagnate, despite rising productivity, year after year after year.

Remember Margaret Thatcher’s remark, “There is no such thing as society, only individuals”? That’s the sociopathic mindset in a nutshell. Of course, Thatcher added, “and their families,” an obligatory conservative feel-good trope. But as Hanauer told Chris Hayes, “These are the people who did not go to their kid’s soccer games.” In short, Thatcher was lying when she tacked on “families.” Sociopaths are like that — they lie a lot.
Near the end of the article, it talks about the influence of Ayn Rand on right-wing policy-makers, and the often-delusional self-belief and superiority complex that those individuals would have. This includies former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and a certain Wisconsinite.
...there’s an eerie similarity between [Rand's] loathing for the public with their unnamed “worse sins and crimes” and the contempt shown by the likes of [Tom] Perkins and [Sam] Zell (billionaires who complained they were being persecuted) for average Americans who simply long for the promise of the American Dream that their parents and grandparents once took for granted. How dare some of them seek food stamps to feed their children! Or seek unemployment insurance, simply because there are three job-seekers for every job! Surely, they are guilty of worse sins and crimes than the wheeler-dealers of the 1 percent who destroyed the economy in the first place.

As for Rand’s direct connection to Greenspan’s thoughts and actions, in May of 2012, Gary Weiss, author of “Ayn Rand Nation,” wrote a most illuminating piece, “Republicans and Ayn Rand, a love-hate affair,” in which he dealt with Paul Ryan and Alan Greenspan’s attempts to distance themselves somewhat from Rand. For Greenspan, this was particularly difficult, considering how close they were. “Greenspan wrote essays for Rand’s newsletters, including one in which he espoused an extremist vision of capitalism, in which all forms of regulation, even building codes, would become a thing of the past,” Weiss noted. “That essay, written in 1963, was published in an anthology called “Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal,” which is still in print.”

Weiss also took note of Greenspan’s so-called “flaw speech” in October 2008, when he said he had found a “flaw in the model that I perceived is the critical functioning structure that defines how the world works, so to speak.” Adding that “those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholders’ equity, myself included, are in a state of shocked disbelief.”

But after some research, Weiss concluded it was “less a mea culpa than it was a public relations exercise,” saying, “He backtracked on his ‘flaw’ remarks almost as soon as he made them, and he contradicted them at every opportunity.”

Ironically, [U.S. Rep.] Paul Ryan was far more dishonest, which paradoxically made him a better psychopath, and hence truer to Rand’s ideal. Unfortunately for him, he was swiftly caught out. Ryan had once been such an open Rand enthusiast that he assigned her books as reading material for all his staffers. Weiss noted that Ryan had tried to pass off his allegiance to Rand as an “urban legend” in an interview with The National Review, but that the Randian Atlas Society shot back by releasing a recording of Ryan praising Rand, saying, “But the reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand. And the fight we are in here, make no mistake about it, is a fight of individualism versus collectivism.”
Now that we see what kind of self-absorbed sickos these people are, let's take a look at Paul Ryan's latest foray into the news. At last week's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Ryan relayed a story told to him by a woman in Wisconsin, and used it to explain Ryan's belief in the (lack of a) role for government.
She once met a young boy from a very poor family. And every day at school, he would get a free lunch from a government program. He told Eloise, he didn't want a free lunch. He wanted his own lunch, one in a brown paper bag, just like the other kids. He wanted one, he said, because he knew a kid who had a brown paper bag had someone who cared for him. This is what the left does not understand.
You're right Pau-lie, I really don't understand your statement at all. Is Rep. Ryan saying that the kid doesn't want to be so poor he has to be on free school lunch? Well, that may be true, but that doesn't change the fact that HE'S A KID WHOSE FAMILY IS POOR, and just because Paul Ryan doesn't want that situation to exist does not mean that it doesn't exist. Is Ryan saying that this kid should go hungry because this somehow "teaches him a lesson"? Big talk from a man who's the son of a millionaire that never had to worry about going hungry, and Pau-lie apparently has never spent a day in a classroom with a teacher (despite having kids of his own), as any teacher would tell you that a hungry kid is much less likely to learn and excel in the classroom and have a chance of lifting themselves out of poverty.

It's also telling who Paul Ryan got the story from- the Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, Eloise Anderson. In addition to apparently plagiarizing the story from a book titled "The Invisible Thread" by Laura Schroff, Anderson apparently misinterpreted Schroff's point, where Schroff said "It is the story of how two people who needed each other somehow became unlikely friends, against all odds. It is the story of the mysterious, unseen connections that exist between people who are destined to meet—and how, if only we open our eyes and our hearts to them, these connections can be the great blessings of our lives." This is the exact opposite of the Thatcher-like "there is no such thing as a society" mentality of people like Paul Ryan and Eloise Anderson.

And it speaks volumes that Scott Walker would appoint someone like Eloise Anderson to head up an agency that deals with child care, pre-Kindergarten education, and W-2. When you have such a warped mentality that you believe feeding hungry children makes them lazy, you don't worry about cutting off lifelines to hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin families. You just see them as bucks on a balance sheet. Anderson is hardly alone in this manner of thinking in Walker World. Look at the released emails from Walker's inner circle, including a comparison of welfare recipients to dogs, and whose first concern when a teen was killed by falling concrete was to worry about political ramifications for Walker 2010 and drag their heels on releasing requested information. And those people weren't just rogue low-level staffers, they were people Walker personally put into those positions and got promoted.

THIS IS WHO THESE PEOPLE ARE, and they aren't anybody that should be expected to do what's right for anyone other than themselves. Because to today's elitists and GOP politicians, if you're not in the inner circle, you don't matter. There is no you, there is only me.

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