Sociopaths make the Kool-Aid. The Crazies are the ones who drink it. Both are channels for the spreading of "brokenness" in America in our times.
(Article changed on October 19, 2013 at 11:30)
[The cover of Bloomberg Businessweek -- at http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1414255/original.jpg -- shows a sly-looking Ted Cruz as a Mad Hatter, along with a text that ends with the statement, "Now crazy is the new normal." This piece is a reflection on that cover.]
Sociopaths make the Kool-Aid. The Crazies are the ones who drink it.
Sociopathy and craziness have this in common: they are both forms of human "brokenness."
Sociopaths are broken in their not being connected with the rest of humanity by bonds of empathy. They serve only themselves, using and exploiting others, caring nothing about the consequences for others or the greater good. This captures well what Ted Cruz has been doing, and before him, on the right, the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, and Karl Rove.
The Crazies, such as we see on the right, are broken in the fundamental disconnect between what they believe about the world they're living in and the realities of that world. Sociopaths can manipulate them into obsessing about non-existent threats, and into ignoring the genuine threats to their well-being, their liberties, and the prospects for their children.
Both sociopathy and craziness create channels for the advancement in the world of a force that could appropriately be called "Evil." Evil can be understood as a pattern of brokenness that works to spread itself, and that imparts its brokenness --does damage-- to everything that it touches.
This "Evil" not only creates brokenness, but it also exploits brokenness as it works to increase its power in the human world.
There are always some sociopaths in a population, but Evil succeeds by enabling sociopaths to rise to positions of power in a socio-cultural system. That a voice like Limbaugh's wields such power in America, that a politician like Ted Cruz can be mentioned as a presidential contender, is a sign of how far the force of brokenness has advanced in our times.
There is always a degree of craziness in a population. While the detachment from reality may arise out of faulty genetics, the politically more important source is giving people an experience of growing up -- in the family, in the culture -- that entails the brokenness of trauma, and the brokenness of internalizing cultural demands that constitute a declaration of war on human nature.
These kinds of fracturing -- experiences difficult to integrate -- create avenues for Evil to exploit for the purposes of extending its domain.
This destructive force -- which operates in a manner like what our culture has called, for millennia, a force of Evil -- can use the brokenness already embedded in a culture to channel the rage and fear and hatred of wounded souls to serve its purposes in the realm of power. But it can also work to cultivate a kind of politically craziness in the minds of mostly sane people.
That's where the Kool-Aid comes in. Most people are largely ignorant of the large world of macro-politics. So if this force can elevate sociopaths into positions of power, if it can isolate a population from other influences, it can then over the course of years cultivate and exploit the brokenness of craziness we now see rampant on the political right.
Ted Cruz is the latest of these power-lusting sociopaths to rise to prominence to do the work of spreading brokenness. Not "mad" himself, Cruz has no qualms about fostering madness in others to further his own lust for power, and also to satisfy his apparent appetite for manipulating and exploiting others.
Keeping the likes of Ted Cruz from making "crazy.. the new normal," is an imperative for all Americans who don't want Evil to be ruling our world.
Submitters Bio:Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. His new book -- written to have an impact on the central political battle of our time -- is WHAT WE'RE UP AGAINST. His previous books include The Parable of the Tribes: The Problem of Power in Social Evolution, for which he was awarded the Erik H. Erikson prize by the International Society for Political Psychology.