[ No laughing! This is serious business. I don't want to even see the hint of a smile out there. Got it? ]
It's important to label everything, as if giving something a name somehow establishes control over it, mastery. If it's a disease, just being able to say, "It's obvious that this person suffers from catalomistic phrenapsidia," puts us well on the road to a cure.
An acronym is even better! Three or four letters does the trick. Knowing that 10.2% of our children are ADHD, coupled with the understanding that we can douse them with all sorts of miracle drugs prescription meth puts us all at ease. Situation under control!
I've come up with both a new pathology and a self-generated acronym that sums up what seems to afflict our political leadership or lack of leadership might be more accurate.
Doesn't it just roll off your tongue?
While phonetically it's a cousin of LSD, and you could certainly speculate about possible fanciful connections, LSD is just short for its chemical name lysergic acid diethylamide. ASD tends to be more descriptive and incisive, comprehensive, and indeed incriminating. It says just about all that needs to be said about behavior that seems counter-productive, anti-social, self-serving, self-obsessed, even ultimately self-destructive, manifestly driven by values most of us don't understand, much less share.
ASD stands for Advanced Sociopathic Disorder.
What are the symptoms of sociopathy?
- Glibness and Superficial Charm
- Manipulative and Conning
They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.
- Grandiose Sense of Self
Feels entitled to certain things as "their right."
- Pathological Lying
Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie-detector tests.
- Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
A deep-seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.
- Shallow Emotions
When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.
- Incapacity for Love
- Need for Stimulation
Living on the edge. Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are normal. Promiscuity and gambling are common.
- Callousness/Lack of Empathy
Unable to empathize with the pain of their victims, having only contempt for others' feelings of distress and readily taking advantage of them.
- Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature
Rage and abuse, alternating with small expressions of love and approval, produce an addictive cycle for abuser and abused, as well as creating hopelessness in the victim. Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for their impact on others.
Not concerned about wrecking others' lives and dreams. Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause. Does not accept blame themselves, but blames others, even for acts they obviously committed.
- Promiscuous Sexual Behavior/Infidelity
Promiscuity, child sexual abuse, rape and sexual acting out of all sorts.
- Lack of Realistic Life Plan/Parasitic Lifestyle
Tends to move around a lot or makes all-encompassing promises for the future, poor work ethic but exploits others effectively.
Given this characterization, maybe I'm being unfair in exclusively singling out our leaders. Perhaps it's an affliction that is spreading virally down through much of our society.
Certainly there are good, decent, caring, kind, compassionate people all around. Yet we tolerate, even celebrate, egomania and narcissism like it's a national religion. A sign of the times? Or a symptom of societal malaise, massive disillusion, and a spiritual vacuum. Is there no public path to self-aggrandizement and extravagance that isn't acceptable now? Can we make it through a day without taking a selfie?
They say desperate times call for desperate measures.
Maybe desperate times create desperate people.
And desperate people? What is their future?
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