Tuesday, March 16, 2010

My Inner Psychopath

Digby and el cid point us to this:

"It may be that because of these exaggerated dopamine responses, once they focus on the chance to get a reward, psychopaths are unable to alter their attention until they get what they're after," Buckholtz said. Added Zald, "It's not just that they don't appreciate the potential threat, but that the anticipation or motivation for reward overwhelms those concerns."

Digby says it reminds her of John Galt but as for me, I experience nothing but a kind of political envy. I recognize the entire Republican Senate and Congressional team, as well as the ancillary players like Rush, Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck and Gingerich. The one thing these guys seem to have in common--in politics as well as in their sex lives (see Craig, Larry and Vitter) is an inability to say "enough." We talk often about zombie lies--well zombie lies are lies that won't die. They are impervious to attack, decay, and death. We see them often on the Republican side of the aisle because they are created and marketed by Zombie politicians who also seem impervious to correction, attack, decay and death. That, I take it, is because they experience intense pleasure at pursuing certain goals to the exclusion of all rational or humane second thoughts. Isn't that the perfect description of Michelle "burn down this house" Bachmann? And of Beck? And of the entire Republican Senatorial Caucus?

I find myself wishing, just wishing, that the Democrats had a few more of them in office. We have very few politicians and legislators who are really fixated on getting what they want. They don't seem to care enough to rise from the dead, over and over again, as Newt Gingerich, Rush Limbaugh, Beck, Boehner, Romney, et al do. You hardly ever see a perennial also ran on the Democratic side. You hardly ever see anyone (other than Grayson or Moore) willing to fight to the bitter end, regardless of other people's comments, or bitching, or knifing. Or, if we do, its a true psychopath, like Kucinich--someone who would rather score an "own goal" than advance an actual legislative success. And so we are left with a Democratic organizational and legislative style which (generally speaking) is limp, self effacing, self critical, and loses even when it wins, while on the other side we see the Republicans winning even when they lose. Its not because they have one or two psychopaths--we do too--its because they are all psychopaths, and there's a certain power in consistency and energetic vigor even in the worst causes.

I'm actually way more upbeat than SteveM on the subject of HCR and its future. If the Dems pass it I think it will go well and I see a lot of this week's Republican intransigence and anger as the last ditch whining before the inevitable. But I don't think for a moment that the Democrats can't snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by winning with HCR and then blowing the win by retreating back into comity (a la Dodd) and compromise.


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