Monday, March 28, 2011

Qaddafi the Narcissist

New York Times columnist David Brooks wonders how Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi has remained in power for 42 years. After chronicling behaviors that clearly suggest Qaddahi has narcissistic personality disorder, the column concludes:
Yet this very megalomania seems to be both the secret to his longevity and to his unhinged nature. The paradoxical fact is that if you want to stay in office as a dictator, it is better to be a narcissistic totalitarian than a run-of-the-mill autocrat. Megalomianiacs like Qaddafi seek to control every neuron in their peoples’ heads and to control every aspect of life. They destroy all outside authority and civil society. They personalize every institution so that things like the army exist to serve their holy selves, rather than the nation at large.

They are untroubled by doubt or concern for the good opinion of others since they already possess absolute truth. They are motivated to fulfill their World Historical Mission and have no interest in retiring peacefully to some villa.

Jeane Kirkpatrick was right years ago to make the distinction between authoritarian dictatorships and totalitarian ones. The totalitarian ones are both sicker and harder to dislodge. Qaddafi’s unhinged narcissistic oddness seems to be the key to his longevity. So remember: If you’re going to be a tyrant, be a wacko. It’s safer.
It's not only safer for a tyrant to be a narcissist, it can also be better for his people, at least if you believe in the principles of Realpolitik (which approach I was pleased to see a frank NY Times article not only addressing openly and honestly with regards to Libya and other recent uprisings, but was also essentially endorsing that pragmatic approach to diplomacy).

Of course, a sociopath would be even better at ignoring conflicting global moral considerations in favor of "his people's needs." But I'm afraid most sociopaths simply do not have the motivation to stick with politics long term, as opposed to selling out and "retiring peacefully to some villa."

89 comments:

  1. I think what someone would settle for in this situation is something only a person like Qaddafi would know. From a logical stand-point, if you could wield something close to absolute power indefinitely, why wouldn't you? Kim Il Jong's father did it until he died, and so will he as well, most likely. The revolt in Libya would have never happened if the Egypt incident didn't. Most people are perfectly content with being shit on, day in and day out so long as they don't see a feasible alternative.

    If I had the choice between playing dictator, and having a peaceful villa retirement, I'd probably say fuck the villa until I had too many guns pointed at me.

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  2. "If you’re going to be a tyrant, be a wacko. It’s safer."

    LMFAO

    Just when I thought I was/and you are/and everyone is/ a fuckin socio, and feeling a bit down, I see this and realize I don't give a fuck one way or another.

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  3. a "bad" sociopath, that is.

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  4. "But I'm afraid most sociopaths simply do not have the motivation to stick with politics long term, as opposed to selling out and "retiring peacefully to some villa."

    Really? I think Gaddafi's done okay to dig his heels in for the past 42 years or so – he's been in positions of political office for longer to date than his pathological counterparts Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, Magabe, Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong-il, al-Bashir, Than Shew, or Dubya.

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  5. M.E., I was going to mention that you forgot to call him "Colonel" Qaddafi.

    Also you have me pegged. I really would sell out as fast as possible and retire early to a peaceful villa. Unless you're implying there exists a society worth my not doing so. Then it's different, of course :)

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  6. "It's not only safer for a tyrant to be a narcissist, it can also be better for his people, at least if you believe in the principles of Realpolitik."

    Depends on your type of narcissist. If you're a Steve Jobs or Napoleon kinda guy, then realpolitik fits like a glove and there's never the risk of you betraying your intentions towards a 'greater good' for your people. The only risk lies on your notion of "greater good", wich often makes you clash against popular intentions. But the marriage in intentions is still there.

    Qaddafi, on the other hand, is the evil megalomaniac. While Steve Jobs/Napoleon serves a higher purpose (in a way, he's still serving himself, but he transcended his 'self' to something in accordance to his people), Qaddafi serves his interests in detriment of the people's. It's not like he's a leader reallying them towards greatness. He's like 'it's either me or them'. He's a slaver.

    So in short, realpolitik works fine in both situations. But on Qaddafi's case, its not on anyone's interest.

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  7. Yes, it's brute force realpolitik.

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  8. hehe "brute force".

    Yes, people ultimately respect this and complain about it later. To me it has always suggested they're not capable of respecting respect itself. It must be like a nightmare trying to get their lives to mean something.

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  9. Gaddafi Is a malignant narcissist, it's narcissistic personality with extreme paranoid and antisocial traits.

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  10. "Are you a good malignant narcissist or a bad malignant narcissist?"


    From the upcoming 'Wicked II'
    ----

    Opens 9/2014

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  11. Notable, you walk out of the room when you feel angry so you don't abuse your partner, what makes you think you are anywhere near Quadafi? He makes you look like school girl.

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  12. How can there be a good malignant narcissism? Malignant means bad. You mean healthy narcissism.

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  13. Oh. Good to know!

    :)

    What about:

    I am taking over your business because I can do it better. Get the fuck out because I can serve the people better, make some money at the same time, and assassinate/smear you for being mediocre?

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  14. But terrible lazy as fuck. Ur stuck, I'm afraid.

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  15. Why would you retire and relinquish all your power? I would squeeze the country with a iron fist until they rebelled against my tyranny and burned themselves alive in protest of my brutal regime. They would have to either exile me or hang me in the streets, but I wouldn't step down without a fight. I would have people in the streets fighting to until the last man to keep me in power.

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  16. Why ever give people a chance to rebel? Squash anything that raises its voice against in the most grand of fashions. Just make sure your country is strong enough to stand up when some other country tries to burn out your injustices. Who cares about a country? I want the whole fucking world. No retirement needed. No one can rule the way I want but me. So I wouldn't be able to retire.

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  17. That is why Hitler, Cleopatra and many more departed at their own hand. Reliquish power? Not a law of gravity for charmers, alarmers power hungry or rebels.

    REALPOLITIK - The political organism of human society, the state, originates and subsists in virtue of a natural law which man, with or without consciousness or will, carries out… leads to the conclusion that the law of the strong over political life performs a function similar to the law of gravity over the material world.

    Careful: this post is M.E. seeding his master plan of making us all tools. Yet it will never take off because everyone wants to rule the whole fucking world on their own. Herding cats I say M.E.

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  18. Tyrannizing a country as it's leader sounds like a pain in the ass to me. Too many people to deal wtih, too much work.

    Want to tyrannize the world while hiding under a cloak that most people are to stupid to see?

    Become Lady Gagag.

    You don't need force, just billions of muppets.

    That's more my style. Except I don't suck and I prefer to keep my mouth shut.

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  19. Lady Gagag our fearless leader!


    All hope is lost.


    Yoda replies " . . . there is another.

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  20. OMFG she is even using my word muppet *facepalm*

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  21. You fakeass dumbass... get your own personality and ego stupid head. Predictable, as if I didn't know you would say that.

    If you had been around a while you would know my obsession with Muppet muppets.

    And 'muppet' is the perfect description for fucks like you.

    'Puppet' or 'marionette' just doesn't have the same ring to it.

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  22. "You fakeass dumbass... get your own personality and ego stupid head."

    OK but you first. and lol "stupid head".

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  23. ukan what happened to you are you back for good???

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  24. in my experience psychopaths are intellectually and emotionally shallow, when you try and dig deeper you find nothing.

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  25. I don't like chaos and destruction, it's not nice, I love seeing society flourishing. If I was in charge i would pour billions into making my cities gorgeous, ugly and badly dressed people would be deported, if you didn't have a unique talent or you were considered common, I'd have you removed, drug dealers and petty criminals would be tortured, not because i hate them but they would tarnish my perfect vision.

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  26. Don't even get me started on blacks, at least you get a few asians with style.

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  27. Ha, forgot my name imposter.

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  28. Who else feels utterly superior when you walk by a wheelchair bound person?

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  29. What are your unique talents Adam? Make a list.

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  30. They are limitless Misanthrope.

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  31. Then you should have no trouble writing a few of the down for me.

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  32. I can't put my finger on it i just always had something that other people don't have, i can't give specifics because I'm not better at one thing than I am at another, you can always improve.

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  33. That was pretty pathetic, Adam.

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  34. "That was pretty pathetic, Adam."

    Yeah thats what I was hoping for. Think about why you can't go into specifics Adam.

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  35. Hm, for me, I don't think I have any true unique talents.

    What I do have is the potential to get incredibly good at whatever I put my mind to. I either don't give a shit about something, or I'm in one hundred and crazy percent. Driven to a fault.

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  36. run the country vs retire to a villa = run the country, but you gotta do it through delegation. just have an overview of things, don't micromanage or it'll become a chore. so if any of you become a dictator remember that! :p

    "Who else feels utterly superior when you walk by a wheelchair bound person?". When i walk past everyone...

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  37. My talent is spotting . I'm good at finding things in situations and people that I can use and then figuring out how to use. I don't care until I find something thats worth caring about. Up until then I'm lazy and everthing is fun and games. I also just figured out how to blow smoke rings.

    I'd run the country from my villa.

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  38. Not unique, but quite useful.

    Running the country from your villa sounds fun, until one of you old General friends rolls up with a few tanks. You need an underground bunker villa ;)

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  39. That's something else about revolutions. If you want to succeed you have turn the army against the government or raise a better one. If the army turns on or stops fighting for Gaddafi he's fucked. I haven't been paying much attention to the details so I don't know if there's any chance of that happening.

    I heard that his personal guard are all women and he calls them "the amazonian guard".

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  40. what is the plans for the summer guys and girls?

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  41. My unique talent would be my evasion, I'm the last person you'd expect of being ruthless, If someone tells me something very deer to them and asks me to promise that I will keep it a secret then I'm bound to say it back to someone, I have no loyalty, obviously that would change if i chose to be around cut throat people, I'd have to shut up. I surround my self with a bunch of naive fools who only see the goodness in others.

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  42. I don't consider myself a grammar nazi, or elitist when it comes to the language, but you either have no handle on what unique means, or you're a complete moron.

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  43. "obviously that would change if i chose to be around cut throat people"

    ye that's called cowardice.

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  44. How so? I'm not as book smart as you, we all aren't blog writing nerds.

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  45. Adam, you've not done anything on your blog after promising great things. I was looking forward to it.

    Hey Res. Anything new come up recently, blog wise? ;)
    Someone stalking you?

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  46. I'm to important for a blog, blogs are for all of you.

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  47. Adam has decided to switch personality disorders.

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  48. Lol! Good one imposter. Uhmm, I'll write one when I get time.

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  49. "Adam has decided to switch personality disorders."


    What?

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  50. IPD, Indecisive Personality Disorder.

    Me joshing. :DDDDDD

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  51. oh my golly gosh!!!!!!!
    bbc are running that GCSE bitesize revision thing - i used to use that back in the day in the middle of the night! hahaha. nostalgia.
    Misanthrope, dare i ask if you did too?

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  52. back in the day in the middle of the night

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  53. lol haha, that's funny.
    Isn't that an oxymoron.

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  54. I'm the least indecisive person here, I stick by my guns.

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  55. Quit your crying babies, I come on here when I'm bored to get a rise out of you people, anyway I'm off to terrorize my poor aunt, have fun being bad ass sociopaths, every criticism i got on here is going down on her ass, so I hope you all feel very ashamed.

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  56. Heh. I didn't revise at all. The school I was going to at the time had kicked me out but they let me return just for the exams. I still didn't show up for most of them. Lol. I never had the patience for schoolwork.

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  57. If someone tells me something very deer to them

    Is this code for notme?

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  58. You really don't know what unique means? That's just sad.

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  59. Man that impostor is having a field day today. It is actually kinda funny today. Glad I stopped by.

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  60. Is this code for notme?

    lol. Are you subliminally messaging me Adam?

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  61. My favourite movie character is Daniel plainview, it's like looking into a mirror.

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  62. "No one can rule the way I want but me."

    One gets tired, after all. Why not Charlie Sheen it, and blow yourself up out of convenience.

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  63. Unique is a opinion. Where is the truth in self-observation, for this troop. I guess we all have to look within to see our own special snowflake.

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  64. Sheen's publicist is set for life. She took Uncle Sleezy's 'madness' and made sure it turned into a franchise.

    Considering he hasn't had a good, serious movie probably since the 90's, she didn't have much to work with, and instead of focusing on his actual fame, they capitalized on his media coverage and he started using Meme-worthy one liners. He even shamelessly dropped a Chuck Norris Joke. Talk about touching the internet-generation.

    Even if he eventually fires her (or more likely, her quitting) she'll have no problem getting new clients, without a doubt.

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  65. meme-worthy? Oh lord .. are you one of those ED freaks?

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  66. not able, sheen made more in two episodes than you'll probably earn in your lifetime. Can you speak?

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  67. "Raise the spirits and let's defeat those conspirators, those scumbags."

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  68. "Clearly I have defeated this earthworm with my words - imagine what I would have done with my fire breathing fists."

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  69. My uniqueness in my perspective to see things from a different angle. I come across rather flighty here. I figure it's my "role" in SW. In the other world, people value my ruthless yet practical opinions. I can make quick assessments of people, places and environments. I have travelled quite extensively alone so it comes in handy.

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  70. What's your point, WINNING?

    And what's an ED freak?

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  71. Unique is not an opinion. It's relative.

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  72. Unique is one of a kind.

    So, if someone said that their skill of spotting how to use people was unique, they'd be wrong. But if they said, 'I have a unique twist on spotting how to use people' (and then explained) they'd either show their uniqueness, or at the very least, an uncommon deviation.

    It's very difficult to see real cases of something that is proven to be unique in regards to abilities, unless it facilitates emergent technology.

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  73. Unique is also rarity.

    Wearing a sari in the U.S. is unique. Wearing one in India is not.

    A sociopath in the Peace Corp unique. A sociopath on SW is not.

    Relative.

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  74. In most instances my travels and opinions are unparalleled. Unique can also be viewed as outcast. And one can choose to cast-out.

    A sociopath wearing a sari on a Peace Corp assignment in Bolivia is very rare. They would considered an outcast, a mystic or costumed fool.

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  75. *smacks Medusa with a dictionary*

    Also, a sari is not rare in the US, you just haven't been to many Indian neighborhoods.

    I also applied for the Peace Corps when I got out of college :P I like to travel.

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  76. I don't even know why you try, except just to be a dick, because you know your entire comment was full of shit.

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  77. It's the fact that it isn't bullshit that infuriates you the most.

    Medusa, wrong? INCONCEIVABLE!

    (the end of that montage is highly appropriate, considering the context)

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  78. I met that guy once.

    His brother was a teacher of mine.

    Both snide.

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  79. Wow a website for evil people. Just when you think you've seen it all

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  80. He will deliver the goods to those who worship him. It couldn't get any simpler than that.

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