Post by S. D. Finch
Tee heeeee. Another crackpot and his lies. Disliking Bush's incompetence
isn't "hating America", silly fool.
But if they stoop to that level, it's telling that they have no case in
terms of actual substance. Trying to claim that belief a policy is
counter productive is hatred for ones' country is an attempt to swing a
debate to raw 'them vs. us' emotionalism, and is a tactic favored by
those who cannot win on substance.
Post by S. D. Finch
Iraq is no where near "Democratic" and never will be.
At least not in the foreseeable future. The whole policy was doomed
from the start because experts on the Mideast were ignored, voices of
opposition in the CIA were pushed aside, and decision makers allowed
their illusions and wishful thinking about the ability of military
power to create desired political outcomes to lead policy. It's the
kind of error Barbara Tuchman describes in "March of Folly," and has
all the attributes of what Irving Janis calls "Groupthink." I fear
that the impact on the country and price this will cost is immense.
And as the father of two young children, whose future will depend in
part on the vitality of this country, it angers me that so much damage
has been done, unnecessarily, and through manipulation of public
opinion and appeal to fear.
Groupthink is: A MODE OF THINKING AND A KIND OF THINKING PEOPLE ARE
ENGAGED IN WHEN THEIR EFFORTS TO ACHIEVE GROUP UNANIMITY BECOME MORE
IMPORTANT THAN EFFORTS TO REALISTICALLY APPRAISE ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS
When groupthink exists, "fiascos" tend to result. Groupthink is a
variable to explain fiascos and non-fiascos.
Symptoms of Groupthink
1. Overestimation of group power
a. People in a group have a tendency to view their group as
invulnerable - this leads to over optimism, and a willingness to
b. People also tend to believe in the inherent morality of the
group. They ignore the morality of the means, focus on morality of
ends: the ends justify the means. That clearly was the case with
North's explanation for why they violated the law - it was assumed
that their cause was moral and Congress was wrong, and thus anything to
achieve their goal was OK. This is a symptom of groupthink.
2. Close mindedness
a. Collective rationalization, discounting warnings and dissonant
info. Here people bolster each other by rationalizing continuation of
a course of action, and discount warnings or information that might
lead them to a different conclusion (sort of like the stock market
recently before it crashed - group think is all over, not just in
b. sterotyped view of opponent, group becomes confident opponent
won't act. (common in military history). Here you look at opponents
as weak, flawed, and often a caricature of what they really are.
Others in the group bolster that view, and it increases group
3. Pressures for uniformity
a. self-censorship (no one wants to go against others in the
b. assumption of unanimity, partially as a result of
c. Direct pressure against members who take negative views.
d. Self-appointed "mind-guards."
MINDGUARDS: People with information, but won't bring it to the
attention of the group. Janis looks at Korea, with many examples.
Chinese capabilities were known by military officials, but they were
not brought into the discussion because these officials did not believe
that the Chinese would fight, and thus didn't want to hinder the
achievement of a decision. Thus, a shared superficial unanimity is a
result of small group dynamics.
Causes of group think:
Necessary conditions: Group cohesion, members value the group and
desire to protect group integrity. Whether or not it occurs with these
necessary conditions depends on three other conditions:
1. Insulation of decision making group
2. Leadership -- if the leader has a strong opinion and expresses it,
the group is less likely to consider alternatives.
Can Governments Learn by Lloyd Etheredge.
Etheredge refutes the idea of groupthink as being the primary cause of
fiascos, claiming that the errors that led to fiascos like the Bay of
Pigs invasion were NOT caused by Groupthink. Rather, people thought
that way BEFORE the small groups were organized. This is due to the
socialization process that goes on for policy makers (both as American
citizens and as people involved in this particular sort of endeavor)
and the personality traits that are rewarded by the social environment
confronting policy makers.
Etheredge claims that causes of non-learning can be attributed to
imagination driven understandings.
People believe things despite reality. These beliefs are almost more
irrational, there isn't a search for data, but a real sense that they
simply believe what they imagine.
This has two components:
1. Individual component: The hardball politician: Tough ambitious,
interested in holding on to power.
2. The systemic factor: Political socialization in the United States.
The way we are socialized to understand our government -- it is a
powerful force, in some sense above us as individuals.
THESE two interact: The political socialization encourages hard-ball
politicians to reach for positions of authority in government. This is
not just a phenomenon of the U.S.: any great power would tend to
exhibit such behavior.
Hardball politician: In Washington, I met quite a few of these,
without naming names. Thus for me, Etheredge rings true intuitionally
in a certain way.
The HP has low self-esteem, self doubt, and a fear of genuineness,
candor and self-revelation. They are secretive, put on a persona of
what they want others to see, and deep down doubt their own genuine
personality. Power and prestige are an ersatz for their lack of
This leads to
1. Ambition -- often a singleminded obsession.
2. Deficiencies in love: Cool, cold detachment. Loyalty important.
Uses people for his own good. (Stories...) Denies people independent
lives, including wives, friends, staff-- molding them to live for him,
expecting them to serve his ambitions (Etheredge).
3. The HP also sees others like his/her self. Others are HPs too.
The world is cruel, you have to win.
4. The HP has weak ethics and disconnected moral restraint. Fear of
social shame, and exposure of his insecurity mix to weaken moral
5. Defective humor. Makes fun of others, doesn't like jokes about
6. Cold, condescending, aggression and vanity.
7. Mental life preoccupied with power
Post by S. D. Finch
Bush was warned but Bush is too Sociopathic, stupid and idiotic to listen to
Individuals with this disorder have little regard for the
feeling and welfare of others. As a clinical diagnosis it is usually
limited to those over age 18. It can be diagnosed in younger people
if the they commit isolated antisocial acts and do not show signs of
another mental disorder.
Antisocial Personality Disorder is chronic, beginning in adolescence
and continuing throughout adulthood. There are ten general
not learning from experience
no sense of responsibility
inability to form meaningful relationships
inability to control impulses
lack of moral sense
chronically antisocial behavior
no change in behavior after punishment
lack of guilt
People with this disorder may exhibit criminal behavior. They may
not work. If they do work, they are frequently absent or may quit
suddenly. They do not consider other people's wishes, welfare or
rights. They can be manipulative and may lie to gain personal
pleasure or profit. They may default on loans, fail to provide child
support, or fail to care for their dependents adequately. High risk
sexual behavior and substance abuse are common. Impulsiveness,
failure to plan ahead, aggressiveness, irritability, irresponsibility,
and a reckless disregard for their own safety and the safety of
others are traits of the antisocial personality.
Socioeconomic status, gender, and genetic factors play a role.
Males are more likely to be antisocial than females. Those from
lower socioeconomic groups are more susceptible. A family history
of the disorder puts one at higher risk.
There are many theories about the cause of Antisocial Personality
Disorder including experiencing neglectful parenting as a child, low
levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, and belief that
antisocial behavior is justified because of difficult circumstances.
Psychotherapy, group therapy, and family therapy are common
treatments. The effects of medical treatment are inconclusive.
Unfortunately, most people with Antisocial Personality Disorder
reject treatment. Therefore, recovery rates are low.
More of Bush-----
This is a fascinating clinical list. I leave it to you to apply these
elements to Bush or Fox TV show host you choose.
1.. Glibness/superficial charm.
2.. Grandiose sense of self-worth.
3.. Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
4.. Pathological lying
6.. Lack of remorse or guilt
7.. Shallow affect
8.. Callous/lack of empathy
9.. Parasitic lifestyle
10.. Poor behavioral controls
11.. Promiscuous sexual behavior
12.. Early behavior problems
13.. Lack of realistic, long-term plans
16.. Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
17.. Many short-term marital relationships
18.. Juvenile delinquency
19.. Revocation of conditional release
20.. Criminal versatility (Hare, 1986)
(Narcissism also a characteristic)
"It must be remembered that even the most severely and obviously disabled
psychopath presents a technical appearance of sanity, often with high
intellectual capacities and not infrequently succeeds in business or
professional activities for short periods, some for considerable periods
.Although they occasionally appear on casual inspection as successful
members of the community, as able lawyers, executive or physicians, they do
not, it seems, succeed in the sense of finding satisfaction of fulfillment
in their own accomplishments. Nor do they, when the full story is known,
appear to find this in an ordinary activity."
--H.Cleckley, "The Mask of Sanity"
"Psychiatrists are often helplessly manipulated by the psychopath; just as
are the psychopaths other victims."
--Dr. Ken Magid, "High Risk, Children Without a Conscience."
"There are psychopathic personalities in the highest echelons of
government, and even within religious hierarchies in America. You can t just
assume that a person with the title judge or hospital orderly got there
honestly and won t manipulate the hell out of you."
--Personal communication from Psychologist Schreibman to H. Cleckley,