Before you start calling Clinton and Obama hypocrites…

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

Consider the following.


At an international conference on democracy and human rights in Krakow, Poland, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton railed against governments intolerant of human rights:

“But we must be wary of the steel vise in which governments around the world are slowly crushing civil society and the human spirit,” she said. Social activists, Clinton said, are being harassed, censored, cut off from funding, arrested, prosecuted or killed.

President Obama unequivocally echoed her righteous sentiments in a public statement:

President Barack Obama, in a statement released in Washington, said the United States is particularly concerned about “the spread of restrictions on civil society, the growing use of law to curb rather than enhance freedom and widespread corruption that is undermining the faith of citizens in their governments.”

Then Dave Lindorff reels off around twenty reasons why they are such flagrant freaking hypocrites that their pants should be effectively on fire, while Glenn Greenwald has the temerity to call the US a police state in cahoots with British Petroleum.

Normally, I’d gladly join in the outrage at the blatant hypocrisy, but an alternative hypothesis has been creeping around in the back of my mind lately.  

Remember how Lloyd Blankfein and the other bankers couldn’t understand the public’s outrage at their taking exorbitant bonuses from bail-out money because they were “doing god’s work,” or how they were simply incredulous that anyone would consider blaming them for “the shitty deals” they foisted on unsuspecting clients?   Remember how hard it was to understand their incredulity?  I do, because that’s when it became clear that these people are psychopaths:

When others fail to accept immediately [the psychopath’s] “word of honor as a gentleman,” his amazement, I believe, is often genuine. The term genuine is used here not to qualify the psychopath’s intentions but to qualify his amazement. [The psychopath’s] subjective experience is so bleached of deep emotion that he is invincibly ignorant of what life means to others.

His awareness of hypocrisy’s opposite is so insubstantially theoretical that it becomes questionable if what we chiefly mean by hypocrisy should be attributed to him.

Having no major values himself, can he be said to realize adequately the nature and quality of the outrages his conduct inflicts upon others?

In a similar fashion, perhaps Clinton and Obama are not acting in bad faith after all.

I guess that’s a long-winded way of wondering aloud whether I think Clinton and Obama are mere hypocrites or psychopaths.  Ping.  Pong.  Ping.  Pong.

Update via watertiger: Speaking of “Social activists being harassed, censored, cut off from funding, arrested, prosecuted or killed.”



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  1. whether they are true psychopaths or merely well-trained to behave that way, the outcome is essentially “psychopathic.”

  2. Just doing their jobs.  Almost all of us, in the course of our work, find ourselves doing something that we wouldn’t ordinarily do in any other situation, compelled by the requirements of employment.  The first function of the jobs of Obama and Clinton is to be mouthpieces for Hegemony and Empire.  Therefore, as people who take pride in their work, they do the very best they can to be truly outstanding mouthpieces for Hegemony and Empire.

  3. and the two characters above that you identify.

    They and their ilk cannot show empathy, and thus do not operate with any moral guidance. For them, laws are not written to promote justice and equality but to regulate behaviour.

    They look at our Constitution, the Common and Statutory Laws, and the “Laws of Property” as protecting individual rights but not to be used to promote the general welfare.

    Strict Construction will once again be used as shackles to control the masses and rein in Liberalism. It’s the same old story being told again. I firmly believe that once the Colonies obtained their independence from England, the race was on to structure the new consitutional government as a very limited Republic, maintaing the aristocratic penchant for priviledge and disdain for the people.

    And this does not mean that they are smart, only that they have mastered the art of sophistry and marketing just enough to bamboozle the electorate. And they’re handsomely remunerated for it too.  

    • Xanthe on July 6, 2010 at 12:04

    if all of us hippies would be as upset with these two and the rest of their court if times were good here – bigger houses, more cars on road, new fancy restaurants on every block and the church of stocks high kickin.

    I am wrestling with the fact that perhaps all of our good times were the result of our heel on the necks of others.  Now we pay the price.  Since the Westphalian mode has been proven not to be as profitable to our rulers as the global marketing plan, we have now become as vulnerable as all those demonstrators in the middle east I watched burning our flag on tv in the 50’s, 60’s.  Lightbulb.

    Why can’t we outsource our presidency and Congress.  This one isn’t working and they’re too expensive.  All that medical, etc.  If they’re going global, so should we! If the conservatives want Dick Cheney – I say let’s give them Vlad – he’s younger and let’s face it, tougher.  Let me think about the progressive pols.  Some of those guys in South America seem promising.

    They’re the ones in a vise – in a small box – Let the sunshine in.


  4. I worked as a counselor with sex offenders for a number of years and have a master’s degree in counseling. The psychopath diagnosis is categorized as an axis 2 diagnosis and is now called the antisocial personality disorder. In my experience the majority of counseling professionals have the most difficulty working with axis 2 diagnosed people. In fact they dread it. Axis 2 includes narcissistic personality disorder and borderline personality disorder. In general people with these types of disorders are incredibly destructive and create pain and misery anywhere they go. The sick thing is that people with axis 2 personality disorders do well in the American system. They are ruthless and do not care about the consequences of their actions. they have a killer instinct and a ruthlessness that allows them to easily reach positions of wealth and power. And they can be very believable and charming. That is why Obama was able to convince us all that he was a agent of change when really he was a ruthless cooperate thug who was going to put the finishing touches of moving the meager remaining wealth upward.  

  5. …but it seems to me that the entire value system of the Western World, especially the good ole USA, is certain to create, if not psychopathy, at least sociopathy.  

    The whole idea that winning may not be the only thing, but it is everything, to win at all cost, to do whatever it takes to win, regardless…

    …is so sick!

    We have created what we have valued and what we have taught.

    And now we wallow and drown in it.

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