Neuropolitics: They’re so lifelike!

Courtesy SystemsThinker, we were alerted to this Onion article, Nation Tunes In to See Which Sociopath More Likable this Time. To wit, in true Onion form:

. . .“Last debate, Romney was a great sociopath,” said Florida voter Jeff Yu, 28, who remarked that the Republican candidate’s impressive ability to simulate the appearance of caring had improved markedly since the beginning of the campaign. “He looked very comfortable and confident up there, even against a seasoned sociopath like Obama. He really helped me ignore the reality that to him, as to any politician, social interaction is nothing but a never-ending game of deception and psychological subterfuge, the only object of which is personal gain.” . . .

We rate this article up there with “Black Man Given Nation’s Worst Job.”

As SystemsThinker stated, although the article is hilarious,

. . . the Onion article bitingly reinforces some of the points I attempted to make in my series on the potential biological basis of evil, namely:

  • There is little doubt that some proportion of those in positions of power – whether politicians, corporate executives or parents – do actually have conscience- and empathy-reducing conditions.
  • It is very important to educate the public about these conditions and the processes by which they can influence our systems.
  • It is likely – especially as the advance of technology in our extremely hierarchical systems amplifies the ability of small groups or lone individuals to do disproportionate harm – that we will be increasingly faced with challenging decisions such as whether or not to screen certain people in certain situations for the presence of these conditions


We’re inclined to give the run of the mill politicos a pass — they’re human, and sure a proportion, maybe more, maybe less, have psychopathic wiring.

But, just because we’re inclined, we’re really not so sure. Maybe there is a self-selecting population. Every time we hear stories about some ex-politico getting rich from some deal they set up while they were in office, we get a cold creepy chill up our spine.

We heard a story about the political dynasty who had a holding company (Carlyle Development Corp.)  for real estate — and owned some defunct train yards (“Southern Railway”) in Alexandria. And, when the US Patent and Trademark office (through the GSA) was looking to move, they bought guess which land? The land owned by the politician that OK’d the purchase (the original RFP was put out in Bush 41, although the final approval seems to have been approved under the Clinton administration). The scam seems to be that the Bushes/Carlyle owned some backwater dilapidated old railroad property and unloaded it at a premium on taxpayers (via GSA for build out and lease of the USPTO).

Now this is all just rumor and innuendo, but I’m sure some smart journo type will want to check this out considering the political family we heard is named after a botanical form coughnottreesorvinesbutbushescough.

If Obama loses (and we don’t think that’s the case, but who knows) and we were to write an Onion piece, it would be:

“Presidential Family Credit Limit Increases Pending Non-Re-election Due To Lucrative Private Job”.

Dateline, January 2013, somewhere around the 495: Today, Sacha and Melia got a special treat: their own Titanium cards. This increase in their credit limit comes just on the heels of their father’s new job promotion with a big bank since he didn’t win re-election.

“Bo  is getting an  Hermès collar!” squealed the girls as the ever popular Michelle Obama looked on, giving Bo nibbles of her organic goose liver paté, “Shh,” Mrs. Obama signaled, “Don’t tell the Californians!”

Mr. Obama now joins the ranks of Mr. Clinton and Mr. Blair in earning zillions once out of office, no matter what shape the country is in, so long as banks remained unregulated during their tenure in office.

“It was tough to act like I was really regulating banks,” chuckled Mr. Obama,”but Larry and Tim were a great help in preventing any kind of regulatory enforcement, even if that pesky legislature did pass some laws. Plus that old school marm Liz Warren isn’t getting a Christmas Card from us any more! Wire rims, oh puhleeze. Getcher eyes lasered, Liz!  And before I leave office I’m going to make sure she isn’t getting any of that Native American gambling royalty until she has her DNA done. In fact, I’m going to make sure on line gambling is everywhere just so Native Americans don’t have that unfair advantage of being the only ones who can set up casinos. They think they’re so big just because they were here first. The Vikings really screwed up by being too peaceful once they got here,” Mr. Obama opined, showing his strength as an academic well versed in history.

Mr. Romney, the president-elect currently under criticism from the DoJ Civil Rights Division for under funding his binder budget,  is finalizing his post-presidential private equity position. “We’re going to do what we do best in business — increase efficiencies!  We’re going to put every private company into massive debt, call in the loan, foreclose on the companies and fire all the workers,” Mr. Romney told reporters, “And don’t worry, we’ll have plenty of those whatchamacallems. . .women. I’m putting women in tablets, no more binders, it’s the 21st century for goodness sakes!” he remarked as he boarded his own jet,”I’m going to be going downscale on Airforce One, so gotta take one last round-the-globe trip on this baby before everyone starts whining about those private jet depreciation schedules. What a bunch of crybabies. They’re almost as bad as Big Bird.”

Mr. Obama, while currently technically president, was last seen at the fancy shopping mall in the fancy suburb, purchasing a bunch of really shiny loafers with tassels. “I’ve always wanted tassels, and once I leave office, that’s all I’ll wear, loafers with tassels, because when you’re rich no one can make fun of your tassels” he was heard saying to the salesperson.