Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Political Personality Disorder

I am currently working my way through P J O'Rourke's latest effort,  "Don't Vote - It Just Encourages The Bastards" (a book whose insight and humor make it one that I would highly recommend). While I'm not one prone to sharing long passages, when I came across this particular one, I found it crying out to be shared with those of you not willing to spend your all too brief leisure time reading books on history and politics. 

I present it for your amusement, enlightenment, and edification without explanation or comment.

"Political power, however, remains the most powerful of powers, so people will continue to be drawn to it.  What kind of people we know too well.  The politician's personality has been brilliantly described.

A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fanstasy or behavior) need for admiration ... beginning by early adulthood ... as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
  1. has grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents and, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
  2. is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance
  3. believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
  4. requires excessive admiration 
  5. has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
  6. is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her ends
  7. lacks empathy:  is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
  8. is often envious of other or believes that others are envious of him or her
  9. show arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
The authors of the above passage had no idea they were writing about politics.  They thought they were writing about mental illness.  This perceptive analysis of politicians appears on page 717 of the American Psychiatric Association's 'Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Medical Disorders', fourth edition, under the heading 'Diagnostic Criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder'."  

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