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  • GeneticPsychosMom (Tina) 10:05 on February 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply
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    Propaganda: Psycho-Linguistics and Political Psychopathy 

    {A very thorough examination of the different methods employed in propaganda}

    Propaganda is generally to be defined as a calculated, coordinated campaign carried out through media that are capable of reaching a large amount of people, to further a primarily political agenda, (although principles of propaganda can be applied equally to further a religious or commercial agenda also).

    A number of techniques founded on social psychological research are used to generate propaganda. Many of these same techniques can be found under logical fallacies, since propagandists use arguments that, while sometimes convincing, are not necessarily valid.

    A basic assertion is an enthusiastic or energetic proposition presented as a statement of fact, although of course it is not necessarily true. Assertions often imply that the statement requires no explanation or evidence, but that it should merely be accepted without question.

    Examples of assertions can be found often in advertising propaganda. Any time an advertiser states that their product is the best without providing evidence, they are using an assertion. The subjects are supposed to simply agree with the assertion without searching for additional information, or applying any reasoning. Assertions, although usually simple to spot, are often dangerous forms of propaganda because they often include damaging falsehoods or lies.

    “Glittering generalities” is one of the seven main propaganda techniques identified by the Institute for Propaganda Analysis in 1938. It also arises very often in politics and political propaganda. Glittering generalities are words that have different positive meaning for individual subjects, but are linked to highly valued concepts. For example, when a person is asked to do something in “defence of democracy” or “freedom” they are more likely to agree. The concepts of democracy and freedom have positive connotations to them because they are regarded as highly valued principles by the majority of people.

    The “lesser of two evils” technique is an attempt to convince us of an idea or proposal by presenting it as the least offensive option. This technique is often implemented during wartime or economic recession to convince people of the need for sacrifices. This technique is often accompanied by adding blame on an enemy country or political group.

    In the UK, we currently have a Government that exercises an unhealthy and considerable control of the media. It’s often possible to predict when the next round of cuts and austerity measures are going to be inflicted on us because the announcement of policy is typically preceded by media justification prior to the event, usually involving the demarcation and scapegoating of the social group to be affected by the policy.

    We usually have a few weeks of the press stereotyping immigrants as a “free-loading drain on the taxpayer”, or poor sick and disabled people as “fraudsters” and “con artists”. Or unemployed people are portrayed as feckless, idle “spongers”, or lone parents as immoral and irresponsible “burdens”. But how else could a corrupt and authoritarian Government attempt to justify taking so much money from the poorest and most vulnerable citizens, whilst rewarding the wealthy with enormous tax cuts?

    The current Government are most certainly outrageous propagandists, on par with the Nazi Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda, controlling the news media in particular, with the aim of shaping and controlling public opinion. They create and justify neo-feudal subordination, oppressive hierarchical social structures, and the end of our humanist ideal and practice of shared citizenship.

    I almost forgot to mention Cameron’s one remarkable but accidental, blurted out truth: We are raising more money for the richThat is verifiable fact.

    We must challenge this and we must fight it.

    Habitually search for the evidence that refutes what you are being told by any of the Coalition.

    It’s worth bearing in mind that when someone speaks or writes, they are trying to convince you of somethingAsk yourself what it is that they want you to believe, then analyse their basic proposition carefully. Examine what they are saying, look for consistency, coherence, reasoning and logic, and look for the evidence to support the proposition, of course.

    Critical thinking is essential to spark cogent, rational, open debate and provide a framework to support and guide the public to participate in well-informed discussions on current issues responsibly. The Institute for Propaganda Analysis in the US arose “to teach people how to think rather than what to think.”

    Ad hominem – A Latin phrase which has come to mean attacking your opponent, as opposed to attacking their arguments. David Cameron employs this strategy with considerable psychopathic expertise in Parliamentary debate. (See Prime Ministers Questions).

    Ad nauseam – This approach uses tireless repetition of an idea. An idea, especially a simple slogan, that is repeated enough times, may begin to be taken as the truth. This approach works best when media sources are limited and controlled by the propagator. Joseph Goebbels, not known to be driven by the passionate inspiration of the moment, but by the result of sober psychological calculation, was particularly talented in utilising this approach. Iain Duncan Smith has a similar penchant for repeated mendacity. A serial offender.

    To justify his cruel and unwarranted welfare “reforms”, Iain Duncan Smith says that he has taken money that is essential for meeting the basic survival needs from the poorest people because “It’s fair to taxpayers.” Repeatedly.

    Appeals to authority – this technique involves citing prominent figures to support a position, idea, argument, or course of action. The Tories, however, believe there are none who know better, or have more authority than the Tories. According to the Tories. See also Authoritarianism.

    The Tories tend to “unload” or “neutralise” some of their language too, especially in discussion and debate about their policies. For example, using the word “reforms” rather than a more neutral word like changesor a negative (and accurate) one like cuts. This is used to conceal the true aims and consequences of policies, and draws on Orwellian Doublespeak:  language that deliberately disguises, distorts, or even reverses the normative meaning of words.

    Ad Horribilis – Appeals to fear seek to build support by instilling anxieties and panic in the general population. For example Goebbels exploited Theodore N. Kaufman’s Germany Must Perish! to claim that the Allies sought the extermination of the German people.

    This strategy is often employed to justify racism.

    Bandwagon – Bandwagon and “inevitable-victory” attempt to persuade the target audience to join in and take the course of action that “everyone else is taking.”

    • Inevitable victory: invites those not already on the bandwagon to join those already on the road to certain victory. Those already, or at least partially on the bandwagon, are reassured that staying aboard is their best course of action.
    • Join the crowd: This technique reinforces people’s natural desire to be on the winning side. See also Behaviourism.

    Black and White fallacy – Presenting only two choices, with the product or idea being propagated as the better choice (e.g. “You are either with us, or you are with the enemy”). So this involves reducing complex issues to overly simplified and contrived oppositional dichotomies, and uncritically favouring one of the two schemata.

    Big Lie – See also Disinformation. The repeated articulation of a complex of series of events that justify subsequent action. The descriptions of these events have elements of truth, and the “big lie” generalisations merge and eventually supplant the public’s accurate perception of the underlying events.

    Common man – The ordinary folks or Common man approach is an attempt to convince the audience that the propagandist’s positions reflect the common sense of the people. It is designed to win the confidence of the audience by communicating in the common manner and style of the target audience. Propagandists use ordinary language and mannerisms (and clothe their message in face-to-face and audiovisual communications) in attempting to identify their point of view with that of the average person.

    A common example of this type of propaganda is a political figure portrayed in a humble backyard, doing daily routine things. This image appeals to the “common person”. The Tories frequently try this one to attempt to shake off the solid, privileged, aristocratic and insular anti-social situation they inhabit, in vain attempts to appear “ordinary”.

    Demonising the enemy – Making individuals from the opposing nation, from a different ethnic group, or those who support the opposing viewpoint appear to be subhuman. The systematic media demonisation of the recipients of any social support and welfare is an example. This is done to erode public sympathy and support for the poor, so that the Government can then remove such “costly” support and hand out taxpayer’s money to the wealthy and private companies instead.

    Direct order – This technique is an attempt to simplify the decision-making process by using images and words to tell the audience exactly what actions to take, eliminating any other possible choices. Authority figures can be used to give the order, overlapping it with the Appeal to authority technique, but not necessarily.

    Disinformation – The creation or deletion of information from public records, in the purpose of making a false record of an event or the actions of a person or organisation, including outright forgery of photographs, motion pictures, broadcasts, and sound recordings as well as printed documents. And in the case of the Tories, statistics (Iain Duncan Smith). See David “paying down the debt” Cameron also.

    An example is Iain Duncan Smith’s lie about his education and qualifications, as stated in his biography on the Conservative Party website, his entry in Who’s Who, and various other places, which make the claim that he went to the Universita di Perugia in Italy. Mr Duncan Smith’s office has been forced to admit to Newsnight researchers investigating his academic background that he didn’t get any qualifications in Perugia, or even finish his exams. It’s easy to see why Mr Duncan Smith has made it his very own personal campaign to “monitor” the BBC for “left-wing bias.”

    Euphoria – The use of an event that generates euphoria or “feel good”, happiness, or using an appealing event to boost morale, such as the Olympic games. Euphoria can also be created by declaring a holiday, or mounting a military parade with marching bands and patriotic messages. Royal weddings and births are elevated and spotlighted by the media for this purpose.

    Flag-waving – An attempt to justify an action on the grounds that doing so will make one more patriotic, or in some way benefit a group, country, or idea. The feeling of patriotism which this technique attempts to inspire may not necessarily diminish or entirely omit one’s capability for rational examination of the matter in question.

    In the most recent budget announcement by the Chancellor George Osborne, a measure was declared that proposes people who have “unfavourable English language skills should have their benefits cut”. A shallow, populist appeal to the shallow “common man” Daily Mail readers. Those who frequent the far-right saw this as a moment of national pride: “keeping Britain for the British”.

    Intentional vagueness – Generalities are deliberately vague so that the audience may supply its own interpretations. The intention is to move the audience by use of undefined phrases, without analysing their validity or attempting to determine their reasonableness or application. The intent is to cause people to draw their own interpretations rather than simply being presented with an explicit idea. In trying to “figure out” the propaganda, the audience forgoes judgement of the ideas presented. Their validity, reasonableness and application may still be considered.

    Not to be confused with “completely ignoring questions”. This is something of a speciality technique of David Cameron. He also mastered the technique of “getting away with it”, but that tends to come with experienced, psychopathic, aristocratic authoritarians.

    Labeling – A Euphemism is used when the propagandist attempts to increase the perceived quality, credibility, or credence of a particular ideal. A Dysphemism is used when the intent of the propagandist is to discredit, diminish the perceived quality

    Name-calling – Propagandists use this technique to incite fears and arouse prejudices in their hearers with the intent that the bad names will cause hearers to construct a negative opinion about a group or set of beliefs or ideas that the propagandist would wish hearers to denounce. The method is intended to provoke conclusions about a matter apart from impartial examinations of facts. Name-calling is thus a substitute for rational, fact-based arguments against the an idea or belief on its own merits.

    Obtain disapproval or Reductio ad Hitlerum – This technique is used to persuade a target audience to disapprove of an action or idea by suggesting that the idea is popular with groups hated or feared by the target audience.

    Red herring – Presenting data or issues that, while compelling, are irrelevant to the argument at hand, and then claiming that it validates the argument. Or if you are Iain Duncan Smith, invention of statistics is the preferred sub-set technique here.

    Repetition – This type of propaganda deals with a jingle or word that is repeated over and over again, thus getting it stuck in someone’s head, so they can buy the product. The “Repetition” method has been described previously. A good example is “making work pay”, which has also become something of a Tory slogan, (see below). The phrase has come to mean stripping social security, and welfare provision, whilst driving down wages at the same time. Another example is Cameron’s unconvincing “Big Society”. There is definitely Orwellian Doublespeak going on there.

    Slogans – A slogan is a brief, striking phrase that may include labeling and stereotyping. Although slogans may be enlisted to support reasoned ideas, in practice they tend to act only as emotional appeals. Opponents of the US’s invasion and occupation of Iraq use the slogan “blood for oil” to suggest that the invasion and its human losses was done to access Iraq’s oil riches. On the other hand, “hawks” who argued that the US should continue to fight in Iraq use the slogan “cut and run” to suggest that it would be cowardly or weak to withdraw from Iraq. Similarly, the names of the military campaigns, such as “enduring freedom” or “just cause”, may also be regarded as slogans, devised to influence people.

    A Tory slogan of epic farce value is: “we are all in it together”. We know that whilst the majority endure austerity, and life changing cuts to our basic income, the minority of very wealthy individuals are enjoying an increase in their already considerable standard of living, at our expense.

    Stereotyping (Name-Calling or Labeling) – This technique attempts to arouse prejudices in an audience by labeling the object of the propaganda campaign as something the target audience fears, hates, loathes, or finds undesirable. For instance, reporting on a foreign country or social group may focus on the stereotypical traits that the reader expects, even though they are far from being representative of the whole country or group; such reporting often focuses on the constructed and amplified negative traits.

    Testimonial – Testimonials are quotations, in or out of context, especially cited to support or reject a given policy, action, program, or personality. The reputation or the role (expert, respected public figure, etc.) of the individual giving the statement is exploited. The testimonial places the official sanction of a respected person or authority in a propaganda message.

    Transfer – Also known as Association, this is a technique of projecting positive or negative qualities (praise or blame) of a person, entity, object, or value (an individual, group, organisation, nation, patriotism, etc.) to another to make the second more acceptable or to discredit it. It evokes an emotional response.

    Unstated assumption – This technique is used when the propaganda concept that the propagandist intends to transmit would seem less credible if explicitly stated. The concept is instead repeatedly assumed or implied.

    An example of this is the current Tory notion of the “trickle down” effect. This is to justify tax breaks or other economic benefits provided by Government to businesses and the wealthy, on the basis that this will benefit poorer members of society eventually by improving the economy as a whole.

    The term has been attributed to humorist Will Rogers, who said, during the Great Depression, that “money was all appropriated for the top in hopes that it would trickle down to the needy.” Worth remembering that the term was originally mostly used ironically or as pejorative. So to clarify the implicit Tory policy directive, money is taken from the poorest, and handed to the wealthiest, with the hope of it being “trickled” back down to the poorest at some point in the future.

    Virtue words – These are words in the value system of the target audience which tend to produce a positive image when attached to a person or issue. Peace, happiness, security, wise leadership, freedom, “The Truth”, striver etc. are virtue words. In countries such as the U.S. religiosity is seen as a virtue, making associations to this quality effectively beneficial.

    Straw man – This type of argument is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position. To “attack a straw man” is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by substituting a superficially similar proposition (the “straw man”), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position.

    Excerpted from: From Psycho-Linguistics to the Politics of Psychopathy. Part 1: Propaganda.  by Kitty S. Jones, July 2013

     

    Psychopath Test Politicians

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  • GeneticPsychosMom (Tina) 11:38 on November 26, 2015 Permalink | Reply
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    This Thanksgiving, We Say ‘No Tanks’ 

    Towns don't need tanks

    Thanksgiving is not what it once was.

    Then again, America is not what she once was.

    Americans have become so enthralled by the “bread and circuses” of our age—tables groaning under the weight of an abundance of rich foods, televisions tuned to sports and entertainments spectacles, stores competing for Black Friday shoppers, and a general devotion to excess and revelry—that we have lost sight of the true purpose of Thanksgiving.

    Indeed, the following is a lesson in how far we have traveled—and how low we have fallen—in the more than 200 years since George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation, calling upon the nation to give thanks for a government whose purpose was ensuring the safety and happiness of its people and for a Constitution designed to safeguard civil and religious liberty.

    This Thanksgiving finds us saddled with a government that is a far cry from Washington’s vision of a government that would be a blessing to all the people:

    • governed by wise, just and constitutional laws
    • faithfully executed and obeyed by its agents
    • assisting foreign nations with good government, peace, and concord
    • promoting true religion, virtue and science
    • and enabling temporal prosperity.

    Instead, as the following shows, the U.S. government has become a warring empire, governed by laws that are rash, unjust and unconstitutional, policed by government agents who are corrupt, hypocritical and abusive, a menace to its own people, and the antithesis of everything for which Washington hoped.

    George Washington didn’t intend Thanksgiving to be a day for offering up glib platitudes that require no thought, no effort and no sacrifice. He wanted it to be a day of contemplation, in which we frankly assessed our shortcomings, acknowledged our wrongdoings, and resolved to be a better, more peaceable nation in the year to come.

    It is in that true spirit of Thanksgiving that I offer the following list of things for which I’m not thankful about the American police state.

    The U.S. has become a corporate oligarchy. This is the government the founders warned us about As a Princeton University survey indicates, our elected officials, especially those in the nation’s capital, represent the interests of the rich and powerful rather than the average citizen. We are no longer a representative republic. As such, the citizenry has little if any impact on the policies of government. There are 131 lobbyists to every Senator, reinforcing concerns that the government represents the corporate elite rather than the citizenry.

    Americans are being jailed for profit. Imprisoning Americans in private prisons and jails run by mega-corporations has turned into a cash cow for big business, with states agreeing to maintain a 90% occupancy rate in privately run prisons for at least 20 years. And how do you keep the prisons full? By passing laws aimed at increasing the prison population, including the imposition of life sentences on people who commit minor or nonviolent crimes such as siphoning gasoline. Little surprise, then, that the United States has 5% of the world’s population, but 25% of the world’s prisoners. The government’s tendency towards militarization and overcriminalization, in which routine, everyday behaviors become targets of regulation and prohibition, have resulted in Americans getting arrested for making and selling unpasteurized goat cheese, cultivating certain types of orchids, feeding a whale, holding Bible studies in their homes, and picking their kids up from school.

    Endless wars have resulted in a battlefield mindset that is infecting the nation.  The Departments of Justice, Homeland Security (DHS) and Defense have passed off billions of dollars worth of military equipment to local police forces. Even EMS crews and fire fighters are being “gifted” with military tanks, Kevlar helmets and ballistic vests. Police agencies have been trained in the fine art of war. It has become second nature for local police to look and act like soldiers. Communities have become acclimated to the presence of militarized police patrolling their streets. Americans have been taught compliance at the end of a police gun or taser. Lower income neighborhoods have been transformed into war zones. Hundreds if not thousands of unarmed Americans have lost their lives at the hands of police who shoot first and ask questions later. And a whole generation of young Americans has learned to march in lockstep with the government’s dictates.

    Militarized police, shootings of unarmed citizens, SWAT team raids, misconduct and qualified immunity have transformed the U.S. into a police state.   police state - Iraq or USA?What we must contend with today is the danger of having a standing army (which is what police forces, increasingly made up of individuals with military backgrounds and/or training, have evolved into) that has been trained to view the citizenry as little more than potential suspects, combatants and insurgents. Despite propaganda to the contrary, it is estimated that U.S. police kill more people in days than other countries do in years. On an average day in America, at least 100 Americans have their homes raided by SWAT teams (although I’ve seen estimates as high as 300 a day), which are increasingly used to deal with routine police matters: angry dogs, domestic disputes, search warrants, etc. Every five days a police officer somewhere in America engages in sexual abuse or misconduct.

    The barrier between public and private property has been done away with. Call it what you will—taxes, penalties, fees, fines, regulations, tariffs, tickets, permits, surcharges, tolls, asset forfeitures, foreclosures, etc.—but the only word that truly describes the constant bilking of the American taxpayer by the government and its corporate partners is theft. What Americans don’t seem to comprehend is that if the government can arbitrarily take away your property, without your having much say about it, you have no true rights and no real property. In this way, the police state with all of its trappings—from surveillance cameras, militarized police, SWAT team raids, truancy and zero tolerance policies, asset forfeiture laws, privatized prisons and red light cameras to Sting Ray devices, fusion centers, drones, black boxes, hollow-point bullets, detention centers, speed traps and abundance of laws criminalizing otherwise legitimate conduct—has become little more than a front for a high-dollar covert operation aimed at laundering as much money as possible through government agencies and into the bank accounts of the corporate oligarchy that rule over us.

    The technologically-driven surveillance state has become the fourth branch of government. This fourth branch—the NSA, CIA, FBI, DHS, etc.—came into being without any electoral mandate or constitutional referendum, and yet it possesses superpowers, above and beyond those of any other government agency save the military. It is all-knowing, all-seeing and all-powerful. Uncle Sam watching you It operates beyond the reach of the president, Congress and the courts, and it marches in lockstep with the corporate elite who really call the shots in Washington, DC. This age of technological tyranny has been made possible by government secrets, government lies, government spies and their corporate ties. Beware of what you say, what you read, what you write, where you go, and with whom you communicate, because it will all be recorded, stored and used against you eventually, at a time and place of the government’s choosing. Privacy, as we have known it, is dead. The police state is about to pass off the baton to the surveillance state.

    The schools, modeled after quasi-prisons, are churning out future compliant citizens. Within America’s public schools can be found almost every aspect of the American police state that plagues those of us on the “outside”: metal detectors, surveillance cameras, militarized police, drug-sniffing dogs, tasers, cyber-surveillance, random searches, senseless arrests, jail time, the list goes on. Whether it takes the form of draconian zero tolerance policies, overreaching anti-bullying statutes, police officers charged with tasering and arresting so-called unruly children, standardized testing with its emphasis on rote answers, political correctness, or the extensive surveillance systems cropping up in schools all over the country, young people in America are first in line to be indoctrinated into compliant citizens of the new American police state.

    The courts have become courts of order in an age of government-sanctioned tyranny. With every ruling handed down by the courts, it becomes more apparent that we live in an age of hollow justice, with government courts, largely lacking in vision and scope, rendering narrow rulings that have nothing to do with true justice. This is true at all levels of the judiciary, but especially so in the highest court of the land, the U.S. Supreme Court, which is seemingly more concerned with establishing order and protecting government agents than with upholding the rights enshrined in the Constitution. Given the turbulence of our age, with its police overreach, military training drills on American soil, domestic surveillance, SWAT team raids, asset forfeiture, wrongful convictions, and corporate corruption, the need for a guardian of the people’s rights has never been greater. Yet when presented with an opportunity to weigh in on these issues, what does our current Supreme Court usually do? It ducks. Prevaricates. Remains silent. Speaks to the narrowest possible concern. More often than not, it gives the government and its corporate sponsors the benefit of the doubt. Rarely do the concerns of the populace prevail.

    As I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, these are abuses that no American should tolerate from its government, and yet not only do we tolerate them, but we help to advance them by supporting meaningless elections, allowing ourselves to be divided by partisan politics, and failing to hold the government accountable to abiding by the rule of law, the U.S. Constitution.

    Mark my words: if we do not push back against the menace of the police state now, if we fail to hold onto the Constitution and our constitutional republic, and if we allow the government to remain the greatest threat to our freedoms, then future Thanksgivings will find us paying the price with tyranny at home and anarchy throughout the world.

     

    Excerpt from “This Thanksgiving, Let’s Say ‘No Thanks’ to the Tyranny of the American Police State” By John W. Whitehead, November 2015

    Photos courtesy leaksource, beforeitsnews, negotiationisover, censure.centerblog.net

     

    Psychopath TEST Politicians

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  • GeneticPsychosMom (Tina) 10:55 on September 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply
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    The Sneaky Bastard’s (Sociopath) Playbook 

    The Sociopath's PlaybookExcerpt from BOOK REVIEW: The 48 Laws of Power By Ox Drover

    Many times on Lovefraud, bloggers have joked with me that a particular phrase or behavior “came out of the ‘Psychopath’s play book,’“ the kind of book in which a football team would write all their usual plays.

    I recently bought a book entitled, The 48 Laws of Power, by Robert Greene, because it sounded like an interesting book. But the more I got into it, I realized that the heretofore-thought-mythical “Psychopathic Play book” does exist, and this is it!

    Robert Greene, by the way, also wrote The Art of Seduction.

    Here’s what the jacket blurb on the back of The 48 Laws of Power says about its content:

    The best-selling book for those who want POWER, watch POWER, or want to arm themselves against POWER. Amoral, cunning, ruthless and instructive, this piercing work distills three thousand years of the history of power into forty-eight well explicated laws. As attention-grabbing in its design as in its content, this bold volume outlines the laws of power in their unvarnished essence, synthesizing the philosophies of Machiavelli, Sun Tzu, Carol Von Clausewitz and other great thinkers. Some laws require prudence, some stealth, some total absence of mercy, but like it or not, all have applications in real-life situations. Illustrated through the tactics of Queen Elizabeth I, Henry Kissinger, P. T. Barnum, and other famous figures who have wielded, or been victimized by power, these laws will fascinate any reader interested in gaining, observing, or defending against ultimate control.

    The 48 laws are listed in the contentsWolf in Sheep's Clothing

    Law 1: Never outshine the master

    Law 2: Never put too much trust in friends, learn how to use enemies

    Law 3: Conceal your intentions

    Law 4: Always say less than necessary

    Law 5: So much depends on reputation—guard it with your life

    Law 6: Court attention at all cost

    Law 7: Get others to do the work for you, but always take the credit

    Law 8: Make other people come to you—use bait if necessary

    Law 9: Win through your actions, never through argument

    Law 10: Infection: avoid the unhappy and unlucky

    Law 11: Learn to keep people dependent on you

    LiesLaw 12: Use selective honesty and generosity to disarm your victim

    Law 13: When asking for help, appeal to people’s self-interest, never to their mercy or gratitude

    Law 14: Pose as a friend, work as a spy

    Law 15: Crush your enemy totally

    Law 16: Use absence to increase respect and honor

    Law 17: Cultivate an air of unpredictability

    Law 18: Do not built fortresses to protect yourself, isolation is dangerous

    Law 19: Know who you’re dealing with—do not offend the wrong person

    Law 20: Do not commit to anyone

    Law 21: Play a sucker to catch a sucker—seem dumber than your mark

    Law 22: Use the surrender tactic: Transform weakness into power

    Law 23: Concentrate your forces

    Law 24: Play the perfect courtier

    Get a makeoverLaw 25: Re-create yourself

    Law 26: Keep your hands clean

    Law 27: Play on people’s ‘need to believe’ to create a cult-like following

    Law 28: Enter action with boldness

    Law 29: Play all the way to the end

    Law 30: Make your accomplishments seem effortless

    Law 31: Control the options: Get others to play with the cards you deal

    Law 32: Play to people’s fantasies

    Law 33: Discover each man’s thumb screw

    Law 34:Be royal in your own fashion: Act like a king to be treated like a king

    Law 35: Master the art of timing

    Law 36: Disdain things you cannot have: Ignoring them is the best revenge

    Amazing spectacleLaw 37: Create compelling spectacles

    Law 38: Think as you like but behave like others

    Law 39: Stir up waters to catch fish

    Law 40: Despise the free lunch

    Law 41: Avoid stepping into a great man’s shoes

    Law 42 Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter

    Law 43: Work on the hearts and minds of others

    Law 44: Disarm and infuriate with the mirror effect

    Law 45: Preach the need for change, but never reform too much at once

    Law 46: Never appear too perfect

    Law 47: Do not go past the mark you aimed for; in victory, learn when to stop

    Law 48: Assume formlessness

    Perfect advice for psychopaths

    The preface of the book gets right down to business:

    No one wants less power, everyone wants more … in the world today, however, it is dangerous to seem too power hungry, to be overt with your power moves. We have to seem fair and decent. So we need to be subtle—congenial yet cunning, democratic, yet devious.

    This game of constant duplicity most resembles the power dynamic that existed in the scheming world of the old aristocratic court(s).

    The author, Greene, then goes on to perfectly describe the psychopath’s ways, without naming him such “…those who make a show or display of innocence are the least innocent of all.” What else but a psychopath could “recognize…by the way they flaunt their moral qualities, their piety, their exquisite sense of justice … but (they) are merely throwing dust in our eyes distracting us from their power plays with their air of moral superiority….you will see they are often the ones most skillful at indirect manipulation, …and they greatly resent any publicizing of the tactics they use.”

    Emotions

    In directing his readers how to master the most important skills in acquiring power, Greene tells them that the most important foundation is to “master your emotions.” He states that an emotional response is the single greatest barrier to gaining power. In this particular thing, I totally agree with him, because if we are emotional about a situation, we lose sight of the ultimate goal, and as he says, “cannot prepare for and respond to it with any degree of control.”

    Greene goes on to say that anger is the most destructive of emotional responses, and “clouds your vision the most.” Again, I totally agree with Greene in this statement, but then he goes on to add what I would think is directed more toward the vengeful psychopath than to less pathological people, “If you are trying to destroy an enemy who has hurt you, far better to keep him off-guard by feigning friendliness than showing your anger.”

    The mask

    Psychopaths have been described by many writers as “wearing a mask” or even “the mask of sanity.” Greene seems to be very aware of this “masking” when he advises his readers that, “You cannot succeed at deception unless you take a somewhat distanced approach to yourself—unless you can be many different people, wearing the mask that the day and moment require.”

    Psychopaths tend to project blame for their behavior on to other people, to refuse to assume responsibility for any of the things they have done. They lie “when the truth would fit better.” Greene says, “Power requires the ability to play with appearances. To this end you must learn to wear many masks and keep a bag full of deceptive tricks.” He goes on to say, “Playing with appearances and mastering arts of deception are among the aesthetic pleasures of life. They are also the key components in the acquisition of power.”

    Green does not seem to view deception or the acquisition of power as anything immoral, and he actually says, “Power is essentially amoral…power is a game…and in games you do not judge your opponents by their intentions but by the effect of their actions.” He goes on to advise the reader to not be caught by assuming that someone has good intentions, or that their good intentions matter. Greene advises his readers that some sets of moral judgments are “really an excuse for the accumulation of power.” I can definitely agree with that last statement. Frequently, religion and moral judgments are used as justification for a power stance that has no other legitimacy, and does great harm to the victims.

    Chapter One

    For each of the 48 laws of power, Green has a short chapter that consists of the name of the law, the first being, “Never Outshine the Master.”  Then he has a section called “Judgment,” in which he explains more fully the named law of power. The first law is reasonably self-explanatory and makes sense, really, because if you show your boss you are superior to him/her, then he/she will resent you.

    After giving several good examples of using this law, or failing to use this law, Greene finishes up Chapter One by saying, “You cannot worry about upsetting every person you come across, but you must be selectively cruel. If your superior is a falling star, there is nothing to fear in outshining him. Do not be merciful—your master had no such scruples in his own cold-blooded climb to the top. Gauge his strength. If he is weak, discreetly hasten his downfall: Outdo, outcharm, outsmart him at key moments.”

    While this book seems aimed at the “amoral-wannabe-politician on the way up,” rather than the psychopathic “wannabe-gang-banger thug” on the corner who is illiterate, I think that those of us who have had or even will have associations with psychopaths, or “Snakes in Suits” (to highjack the name of the book as a noun), should read this to learn how to discern when we are being played by the power-seeker. If we can recognize the masks for their deceptive cover, we can avoid the consequences of being played, or possibly turn the play back on to the player.

    Disturbing, but necessary, reading

    Frankly, this book made me uncomfortable while I was reading it, I think possibly by showing me “red flags” of power plays that I had experienced in the past, but had not quite recognized at the time I was being played. However, I do think the knowledge I gained by reading this book is well worth the slight discomfort. It isn’t a book that you can “zip through” quickly, but one that must, like the textbook that it is, read and ponder, and even re-read, and ponder again.

    The most personally disturbing part of the book was one in which he was discussing the siege of Troy, and he said, “Image: The Trojan Horse. Your guile is hidden inside a magnificent gift that proves irresistible to your opponent. The walls open. Once inside, wreak havoc.”

    We must learn to protect ourselves from those power-players who have no conscience, the power players who will use calculated acts of kindness or proffered gifts to earn our trust. Selective kindness can be the biggest part of the arsenal of deception. “Aimed for the heart, it corrodes the will to fight back.”

    The 48 Laws of Power is available on Amazon.com.

    Source:  BOOK REVIEW: The 48 Laws of Power, by Ox Drover, December 2010

    Photos courtesy Ged Carroll, Kris Krug, Mary Doodles

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    Psychopath Test Politicians

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