Sunday, January 10, 2016

exposed in all its whorey glory - two parties one psychopathocracy...,

NYTimes |  IN a typical presidential campaign, the most successful candidates lay claim to leadership with their high-mindedness. They reach for poetry. They focus on lifting people up, not tearing them down. They beseech voters to be their biggest, best selves.

Not the two front-runners in this freaky Republican primary. They’re unreservedly smug. They’re unabashedly mean.

If you’re not with them, you’re a loser (Donald Trump’s declaration) or you’re godless (Ted Cruz’s decree, more or less). They market name-calling as truth-telling, pettiness as boldness, vanity as conviction. And their tandem success suggests a dynamic peculiar to the 2016 election, a special rule for this road:

Obnoxiousness is the new charisma.

NYTimes |  Wealth can be bad for your soul. That’s not just a hoary piece of folk wisdom; it’s a conclusion from serious social science, confirmed by statistical analysis and experiment. The affluent are, on average, less likely to exhibit empathy, less likely to respect norms and even laws, more likely to cheat, than those occupying lower rungs on the economic ladder.

And it’s obvious, even if we don’t have statistical confirmation, that extreme wealth can do extreme spiritual damage. Take someone whose personality might have been merely disagreeable under normal circumstances, and give him the kind of wealth that lets him surround himself with sycophants and usually get whatever he wants. It’s not hard to see how he could become almost pathologically self-regarding and unconcerned with others.

So what happens to a nation that gives ever-growing political power to the superrich?