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Why Tyrants Go Too Far
Transcript of Why Tyrants Go Too Far
Madness vs Disorder
exempts tyrant from responsibility
"does not prevent us from judging"
Paradox of the Tyrant
"claimed expertise in variety of of fields where he actually had no training such as economics, biology, physics and especially military science."
"once compared himself to Jesus"
"saw the failed assassination in 1944 as "new proof" that he had been selected for greatness by Providence"
legitimacy based on God
claimed expertise: if not for war--best architect in the world
thought himself to be the successor of Sargon
massively purged the military
refusual to face realistic danger
lack of trust-ignored valid intel
halted advance in Iran (1980)
openlythreatened Saudi Arabia
deserved to die because of his failure (Munich Putsch 1923)
Identifying with Napoleon
distrust of "Jewish physicss"
What is a Tyrant?
rules without law
looks to his own advantage
uses extreme and cruel tactics
needlessly creates enemies
"the neurotic creates an idealized self image as a cover for underlying feelings of unworthiness"
"as idealized self becomes more grandiose, he loses contact with his real feelings and thus the capacity for change and growth."
Basic Inferority Complex
"Victories may provide a temporary elation but they cannot heal the underlying feelings of inferiority."
Campbells’ Psychiatric Dictionary: "defines malignant narcissism as a mix of narcissism, antisocial personality disorder, aggression and sadism.
"Most complete description of the basic character structure of the tyrant"
Advantage in securing power in a chaotic or difficult situation
Machiavelli The Prince
ability to form and shift alliances
ability to kill actual and potential threats
establish spy networks
to ferret out opposition
undermine the trust of citizens
"Cruelty by the ruler is improper when it is resorted to more and more frequently with the passage of time."
"...his grandiosity and the consequent limited reality testing are apt to lead him into behavior that turns out to be self defeating"
"Tyrants may tempt fate by challenging the fundamental morality of the people they govern. Or they may surround themselves with persons who have motivations to kill them, or undertake reckless adventures."
Hitler: "a charismatic prophet, but a destructive and paranoid one."
Role of Narcissism in Leadership
"many leaders are narcissistic"
identify with followers
advance their causes as a part of his grandiose missions
project own devalued self-image on other people
attack people as means of maintaining a precarious psychological stability
"manic depression has been a crtical factor in propelling some individuals to seek political power, to abuse it, and to become tyrants."
Stalin: "moody to the point of capriciousness."
Hitler: "alternated between euphoria at his successes and depression when checked."
Borderline Personality and Malignant Narcissism
"no real attachment to others, and thus no capacity for empathy"
projects own dark side and vulnerabilities onto external source
internal conflict to external
"create an environment in which the manifestations of his disorder -cruelty, paranoia, and what would normally be criminal behavior- become legitimized and justified behavior."
his paranoia infects the nation
Absolute Power and the Self-Destructive Cycle
tyrant can minimize his frustrations and thus the experiences that can lead to depression
"adulation that is orchestrated cannot heal his underlying lack of self-esteem."
"no longer thinks he needs to be careful and becomes convinced that he can act out his most extreme fantasies."
His ability to act without restraints - advantage in struggle for raw power
Securing absolute power- meets some of psychological needs
Can orchestrates support of idealized self image and secure "friends" and punish "enemies" as he sees fits
Once achieving absolute power can act out grandiose fantasies
individual is apt to overestimate his capabilities, fail to appreciate realistic obstacles in external environment and act in increasingly chaotic ways.
Major psychological defense- paranoia- breaks down