Resurrection and the Sociopath

Rand, Hickman and Greenspan: United in Common Purpose

By Volaar

Last year about this time I found myself steeped in a post-graduate rhetorical analysis of the front pages of the website Stormfront.org and two Patriot Movement sites.  The details of contemporary rhetorical analysis go beyond the mere study of words, so I won’t bore you.   But the “a-ha” moment I received at the end of my qualitative analysis is worth mentioning, at some point, in light of all the ballyhoo surrounding the latest remake of Ayn Rand’s last novel, Atlas Shrugged, and Rand’s many “contributions” to the neo-conservative movement of the post-industrial, post-modern United States of America.

First, I think that it is important, perhaps an epoché, to mention that I read Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead during my first attempt at an undergraduate Computer Science degree in 1982.  I found her writing rather dull but her less-than subtle attempt at providing an air of plausibility for the malignant narcissism of her character, Howard Roark, thought-provoking.  It allowed me to make some kind of sense out of the madhatter Libertarian prognosticators who began finding their way onto my high school campus several years prior.  I believe my love affair with the ideas of Libertarian Objectivism lasted about six months due in no small part to the massive quantities of alcohol, marijuana and psilocybin mushrooms I was consuming in a quest to understand the life that I later discovered I did not have.

Rand’s basic problem with altruism, and the phony characters who often people movements known for their well-publicized altruistic intent, was that it represents an unqualified evil to the human species.  When people, especially theologians and philosophers, start pulling out loaded words like “good” and “evil” to describe their pet theoretical constructs, it becomes very easy to get lost in the weeds of side-discussions long before a viable premise of their pet theory can be identified, described and critiqued.

But let’s indulge this tendency for a moment.  It is highly illustrative.

The heroes of Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead and all of Rand’s novels, find their genesis in Rand’s notes and interviews with none other than child murderer William Edward Hickman.  Hickman, by most every psychological analysis of his behavior, was a sociopath of the psychopathic type.  To highlight the conscience-free, malignant narcissism of humanoids like Hickman, we have a description of the crime in the nineteen year old killer’s own words, a crime that resulted in his death, by hanging, in October of 1928.

“It was while I was fixing the blindfold that the urge to murder came upon me,” he continued, “and I just couldn’t help myself. I got a towel and stepped up behind Marion. Then before she could move, I put it around her neck and twisted it tightly. I held on and she made no outcry except to gurgle. I held on for about two minutes, I guess, and then I let go. When I cut loose the fastenings, she fell to the floor. I knew she was dead. Well, after she was dead I carried her body into the bathroom and undressed her, all but the underwear, and cut a hole in her throat with a pocket knife to let the blood out.”

And a description from a different newspaper account of what Hickman did next.

“Hickman packed her body, limbs and entrails into a car, and drove to the drop-off point to pick up his ransom; along his way he tossed out wrapped-up limbs and innards scattering them around Los Angeles. When he arrived at the meeting point, Hickman pulled Miriam’s [sic] head and torso out of a suitcase and propped her up, her torso wrapped tightly, to look like she was alive—he sewed wires into her eyelids to keep them open, so that she’d appear to be awake and alive. When Miriam’s father arrived, Hickman pointed a sawed-off shotgun at him, showed Miriam’s head with the eyes sewn open (it would have been hard to see for certain that she was dead), and then took the ransom money and sped away. As he sped away, he threw Miriam’s head and torso out of the car, and that’s when the father ran up and saw his daughter—and screamed.”

I bring this information to your attention, gentle reader, because most everything put forward by the neo-conservative movement since 1980 has been in service of the ideas espoused by Ayn Rand, pseudonym of Alisa Rosenbaum, a Soviet émigré and, yes, a Jew.  The debauched calumny against the great, unwashed masses who made Rand’s popularity even possible is evident in all the neo-conservative epithets directed at the poor and disadvantaged, all the anti-altruistic legislative agendas and all the malevolence of the nation’s bankers and investors against the “collectivists” who, “don’t get it” – it is all there in stark relief.

A world made safe for sociopaths and psychopaths like Rand’s hero, Hickman, and, arguably, Rand herself – this was the purpose and point of Rand’s “philosophy.”

I know it is a little late to be suggesting this, but, “Houston, we have a problem.”

Freakishly detached from human concerns though they may be, the psychopathic personality is a throw-back, a genetic anomaly and evidence of the continued presence of our ancestors, the dinosaurs, still demanding their day in the “evolutionary court of appeals.”  Their legal representative in this regard is none other than Ayn Rand herself, and the fact that these lizard-brained anomalies also have control of all the levers of governance and justice, species-wide, bears some mention.

Mercifully, Ayn Rand is dead and her legacy has been frozen solid in the minds of those closest to her.  These people knew Rand for what she was, good and bad, and their testimony is available for all to read and see.  Personally, I am neither surprised nor impressed by Rand’s legacy.  She died of lung cancer with only a hired nurse at her bedside, a fitting epitaph for an individual who both sucked the breathable oxygen out of nearly every room she ever walked into while also demanding the slavish devotion of admirers she neither admired nor appreciated.  Every other human being was just an object to Rand and objects have no purpose other than the one the “assigner” assigns to them.

Were it not for the fact that Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve from the Reagan Administration to nearly the present day, spent most of his lifetime locked in sadomasochistic “devotion” to his mentor, the life of this sociopath of the psychopathic type, Ayn Rand, would be pitiful and pathetic, rather than the force to be reckoned with that it has become.  Strange, is it not, how the alienation and isolation of profound mental illness drives these creatures together to re-experience the defining moment of mammalian evolution — the moment of “cooperation.”  The moment where two apparently separate and unequal entities came together to harmonize, legitimize and validate their devotion, however warped, to one another, causing a stir in the ethos of an entire civilization.  And, as we have already surmised, this has been a toxic stir, indeed.

Objectivist philosophy requires the presence of slaves and widespread exploitation in order for it to provide the fetid fruit that it has been able to provide thus far.  This is the same problem that all atheists come across as they dig deeply into their rival theistic paradigm.  Objectivism is parasitic and incapable of standing on its own.  If every living, breathing human were capable of adopting objectivism as a lifestyle, the world would become a battleground of bad neighborhoods as each warlord attempted to actualize his or her own will to power.  Sort of like it has become now, only worse.  Think Afghanistan in every subdivision and hamlet around the world.

This prejudice begs the question, however: can cooperative, mammalian-friendly civilization stand on its own without the benefit of the lethal pursuit of sociopaths of the psychopathic type?  Granted that we could certainly use less malignant narcissism at this time in our history, but could we sustain ourselves in a world completely devoid of fear and its exploitation?  Do we truly have more choices available to us than the current objectivist economic repression and the collectivist intellectual repression?

This might be a good time to mention that “a-ha” moment I came upon as I completed my qualitative analysis of the angry fascists, racists and xenophobes who provide the websites for Stormfront.org and the “minuteman” patriot movement.  All of these humanoids, and in fact all of us who regard ourselves in a relatively mundane, milktoast fashion with regard to ethnocentricity, are after just one communal peak experience.  Just one.

Utopia.

That’s it, folks.  Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die to this world we have manufactured together.  Everyone wants to be able to say to themselves of the people they meet on the street every day, “they’re just like me,” but no one wants to fully concede to their innermost selves that they could ever be as dysfunctionally warped as, say, a William Edward Hickman, or an Ayn Rand.  Everyone wants to see themselves in some sort of perfect light, but no one wants to completely release their belief in “sin,” whether they are atheists or theists.  And so we are trapped, imprisoned in the jailhouse of the human mind, completely incapable of loving one another and, by extension, ourselves.

We should strive to refuse to have our regard for each other, and our very selves, to be limited by the machinations of mental illness, neurological impairment or treatable psychological disorders.  No matter how widespread or how often these dysfunctions are taken as standard-operating procedure, we cannot continue to allow psychopaths, or the mentally ill, to dictate the quality of our very lives in any way at any time.  We do this every time we turn our backs on people like Ayn Rand or Alan Greenspan.  These pitiable creatures need to be identified and kept far away from the levers of power, lest the present circumstances be repeated.

On this Easter Sunday, pull a rabbit out of your proverbial hat and let your fellows be free to be as dysfunctional or functional as they are without the benefit of your secret need to pass judgment on who you think they are or what you believe it is that they do.  This is the Final Judgment any man or woman can ever make for themselves. 

But do not mistake this foolhardy tendency to make dramatic every trivial or dopey aberration in human behavior for a trangression against the beating of your own heart.   Those we have regarded as “evil” or “outside humanness” should be seen only as infirmed.  This “turning of the cheek,” this “shift in perspective” to regard the despicable as only temporarily impaired is the one that opens the gateway to the Utopia we all seem to crave, but have never actually chosen to live in for long at all.

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12 responses to “Resurrection and the Sociopath

  1. Pingback: The Progressive Mind » Resurrection And The Sociopath | COTO Report

  2. I found some telling Rand quotes that take on ominous significance once one knows about Hickman. Many thanks for the info!!

    from: http://www.michaelprescott.net/hickman.htm
    “In her journal circa 1928 Rand quoted the statement, “What is good for me is right,” a credo attributed to a prominent figure of the day, William Edward Hickman. Her response was enthusiastic. “The best and strongest expression of a real man’s psychology I have heard,” she exulted. (Quoted in Ryan, citing Journals of Ayn Rand, pp. 21-22.)……… Hickman was a forger, an armed robber, a child kidnapper, and a multiple murderer.
    …..But before we assume that her admiration of Mr. Hickman was merely a quirk of her salad days, let’s consider a few other quotes from Ayn Rand cited in Scott Ryan’s book.

    In her early notes for The Fountainhead: “One puts oneself above all and crushes everything in one’s way to get the best for oneself. Fine!” (Journals, p. 78.)

    Of The Fountainhead’s hero, Howard Roark: He “has learned long ago, with his first consciousness, two things which dominate his entire attitude toward life: his own superiority and the utter worthlessness of the world.” (Journals, p. 93.)

    In the original version of her first novel We the Living: “What are your masses [of humanity] but mud to be ground underfoot, fuel to be burned for those who deserve it?” (This declaration is made by the heroine Kira, Rand’s stand-in; it is quoted in The Ideas of Ayn Rand by Ronald Merrill, pp. 38 – 39; the passage was altered when the book was reissued years after its original publication.) “

  3. If, having read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, you came up with the Neo-Con philosophy, you obviously read the wrong book. I can not say it more plainly than that.

    If anything at all, Rand was against the big bloated massive government, like the one that we have, taking money away from the producers (looting) and swallowing it up in bureaucracy.

    Currently, we live in an atmosphere that is becoming closer to Italy in the early 20’s than anything else, yet, somehow, the person who wrote books demonizing this sort of thing receives the blame.

    Interesting how it came to that.

    Ciao, CZ

    • Both neo-cons and neo-libs have hardened their hearts and rejected a democratic world view: they would like to see a new aristocracy of feudal lords dominating 99% of the world.

      The main point in Volaar’s article above is that they idolize the sociopath. Our movers and shakers have adopted these merciless and abhorrent attitudes quite openly. Passive resistance or legalism doesn’t work with this type of insanity, or its craven followers.

  4. Precisely, ww…”means define ends.” Another way of putting it: “the story ends the way it ACTUALLY began.”

    That’s a hard pill to swallow, especially, say, during a divorce, but it is nevertheless true in my personal experience.

    So when I look at the mess that the US has become, I know what to look for in our beginnings to recognize what needed to be rooted out at the very start to avoid the unpleasantness under which we now live.

    As Olberman said the other night on his site, FOK News, telling a blatant lie for every truth is not, “fair and balanced.” That’s absurd. In the same way, compromising with scoundrels and criminals doesn’t yield a positive result.

    To whit, the Boston “Tea Party” wasn’t about taxation without representation — that was a political sales pitch. It was actually about a smuggler being cut out of the profitable middle between colonial tea drinkers and the East India Tea Company. The East India Company, the Walmart of its day, was able to negotiate a tax cut/price cut on tea going to the colonies, virtually ending tea smuggling into the colonies with the stroke of the King’s pen.

    The name of the smuggler, you ask?

    Why it was none other than JOHN HANCOCK. Making the world safe for gangsters everywhere.

    Muhahahahahhahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!

  5. “I bring this information to your attention, gentle reader, because most everything put forward by the neo-conservative movement since 1980 has been in service of the ideas espoused by Ayn Rand”

    Nope nada… I am actually thankful that you are speaking against Libertarianism, because if you were speaking FOR Libertarianism the way you speak against it, I would be embarrassed.

    What do I know of Ayn Rand the woman? I know as much as I know about Dr Freud, Dr Timothy Leary.. How bout Stalin? Pol Pot?? No a lot about them? they were in positions of power, they took control of their societies, and their people died as a result of their respective philosophies..

    Who was following Libertarianism, or objectivism when they were out murdering?

    Your arguments have been used before, less than 10 years ago, FYI….

    Ciao, CZ

  6. The convenient thing about binary choices is that real learning can take place quite quickly and will be irrevocable. One will be considered sane while the other infirmed or impaired.

    I regard your thinking as twisted and engaged in the confusion of false equivalencies and differing levels of concern. Since we are at polar extremes, you may well regard me similarly. This makes real communication of the type I’ve tried to engage in, above, impossible for us to indulge in.

    This circumstance is far more severe than you realize for it leaves only open warfare, or bullying, as the only means left to resolve the disagreement. This is why the traditional progressives have always tried to strive to find the middle ground and inhabit it.

    Once the middle ground was taken away by the neoconservatives and their libertine lapdogs, progressives have been slow to accept this reality. For progressives language was reality; for neocons, language was just a means to an end. The end, in case anyone is still uncertain, is the enslavement of the human species and the mass murder of billions of “surplus eaters” in a relatively rapid manner.

    This is the price WE must all pay because of the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the systematic dismantling of his social and international programs by conservative administrations since LBJ. Those programs were the last best hope for avoiding the global trauma of mass murder, systematic neglect and environmental sabotage. But the “southern strategy” and its activation is a matter of history now.

    William Tecumseh Sherman should have been allowed to finish the job, bloody though it would have been. Allowing the Old South to continue its pathological idiocy, unabated, has created a nightmare of global proportions. I think we should have stolen a page out of Israel’s playbook with the Palestinians and simply destroyed southern culture when we had the chance. Once at war, war should be total or it is lost. Of the two cultures, I think the Old South deserved the treatment of systematic genocide much more than the Palestinians ever have.

    If you live south of the Mason-Dixon Line, enjoy the fruits of your labor. Even if you do manage to devastate your northern enemies, there isn’t a country on the face of this Earth who will forget your transgressions.

  7. your fallacious arguments are amazing.

    “This circumstance is far more severe than you realize for it leaves only open warfare, or bullying, as the only means left to resolve the disagreement. This is why the traditional progressives have always tried to strive to find the middle ground and inhabit it. ”

    First off, Libertarianism is not created from the point of a gun. History teaches that traditional “Progressives” are open minded right up until someone challenges their statements. Then a remarkable thing happens. the substance of their arguments disappears as evidenced by the above post.

    Now, while it has been amusing to read these absurdities, it is getting past my bed time… Good night, and have a pleasant day tomorrow.

  8. I am rather worried about the phrase “pursuit of sociopaths of the psychopathic type”. But http://www.fisheadmovie.com/videoclips is for you- illustrating what psychopaths are like.

  9. Sociopaths of the non-psychopathic type are idolozed in this country and promoted to the highest level. Few CEOs or cabinet officials etc are exceptions. We adore bullies–> therefore we get GW Bush and The Donald.

    American refusal to recognize the dangers of neo-Liberalism (Globalism) has beggared us. The neo-Cons and their perpetual War are the other half of the “two party” system of destruction.

    “The lunatics are running the asylum” has become literally true.

  10. Terrific project! Love to be a part of it in any way I can.

    I think you missed the distinction we were making, Claudia. Psychopaths are running the things of this world. I suspect these folks are genetic throwbacks; the psychologists either claim that this is a personality disorder or have refused to make a hard distinction between sociopaths and psychopaths.

    I defer to the DSM-IV’s classification system because a) it is all we have in the way of consensus on the matter and b) they have some academic credibility.

    I prefer to simply label them all, “psychopaths,” but I think there is a big difference between a true psychopath and the sociopaths these monsters leave in their wake in the form of damaged, angry adult children.

  11. The DSM does lump them together, and they’re the “experts” :)

    However, the poor impulse control and recklessness that I associate with psychopaths make them unlikely CEOs. Personally I prefer to think of sociopaths as more organized and able to plan (if equally guiltless and lacking empathy) – and thus much more dangerous. But that’s just my personal definition.

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