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Mad leader
Mad leaders surround themselves with mad people, devoted followers and blind killers who are equally clueless about what it means to be a feeling human being


January 23, 2006

A mad leader is not a funny caricature for political satire, but a sad picture of a possible catastrophe. He is a dangerous psychopath.

While many, if not all, psychopaths seem to be misfits, spending much of their lives incarcerated in psychiatric hospitals and penal institutions, it has been recognised that a few of them were enough clever to enter the history of mankind, creating catastrophes.

A mad leader with uniform or more recently with turban is enough characteristic. Generally, there is no difference in certain characteristics, he would never abandon the idea that he is above all and would refuse to allow negative ideas cramping his style.

A compromise with such a mad is impossible because the mad leader is often a product of a whole system.

While it was not until the nineteenth century that doctors began to elucidate the nature of that disturbing category of human beings that we now call psychopaths, history shows that they have always been with us.

A mad leader can be mad about an ideology, religion, or cult, like a Hitler, Stalin, Khomeini, or many other big and small fanatical dictators. He can be also a megalomaniac dictator, like a Shah, Idi Amin, Nero, or any God’s handpicked “divine” pasha. He is a person who uses his intelligence in the service of his primitive drives (belief, aggression, power). Being fairly bright, he learns, imperfectly, to imitate emotional expressions suggestive of some higher emotions (compassion, sympathy, sociability, patriotism and moral), but his reactions hardly fool any intellectual because they ring hollow as there is no truth and authenticity in them. Their fraudulent behaviours distinguish them from the normal people.

The psychopath can use lofty words when needed -- an easy thing for a fairly intelligent psychopath -- but there is no emotional content to them.

Mad leaders surround themselves with mad people, devoted followers and blind killers who are equally clueless about what it means to be a feeling human being.

It is nothing new or surprising, the guiding principles and policies, like fear and fraud, have always been used to control people and groups in the population whom government leaders and other authorities, including different experts of ideological or religious institutions, have judged to be non-believer, anti-revolutionary, dissident or difficult to control.

Fear is more selective and widespread in all dictatorial systems.  Fear is a powerful motivator in enforcing conformity, obedience and making people submit to authority, belief and rule of a religious dictatorship.  Historically, inducing and manipulating fear has always been a threat of policy and practice in all fascist, religious and cult systems, such as Italy under Mussolini, Nazi Germany under Hitler, the Soviet Union under Stalin and Iran under the Shah and Islamic regime.  The threat of punishment, torture and the threat of being killed is enough to cause fear. Fear has systematically been spread by state institutions in dictatorial systems.

According to most psychiatrists, the mad leaders are individuals whose narcissism is so extreme and grandiose that they exist in a kind of splendid isolation in which the creation of the grandiose self takes precedence over legal, moral or interpersonal commitments.

But a mad leader is not alone in the arena, his followers and supporters are the most reliable helps for him. A dictator would not win without his followers’ helps -- his regime would achieve nothing, eventually collapsing in chaos. A dictator's subordinate has to be a devoted follower and blind obedient. He should administer a Khomeini’s fatwa to purge political prisoners. He should arrest, torture and kill innumerable individuals as a sign of his loyalty. In other words, the more devoted the dictator’s followers are, the more sinister their people are. Even though the same devoted followers can be the future pathetic victims, as Stalin’s purges of his communist comrades.

While the psychopath gives no real affection, he is quite capable of inspiring affection of sometimes fanatical degree in others. In deed, he has no noble human qualities. We remember the famous Khomeini’s response when he was asked about his feeling in his flight to Iran after 15 years in exile, when he surprised a whole nation by saying: "I have no feeling on my return to Iran!“  His  spontaneous, unscripted and unadvised reaction to a simple obvious question that would require him to express either empathy or caring and compassion for others, including the millions of his followers waiting enthusiastically for his arrival, shows his real side and his lack of human qualities.

Although this little statement in itself was very revealing, it was not seriously taken in consideration at the time. Khomeini’s fumbling with statements and phraseology was not a proof that he was merely unintelligent in the conventional sense, but also showed a typical apathy of the whole Islamic leadership for Iranian identity. what little was known is now easy to verify that Khomeini and his followers, or anything  with the word of Islam attached to it, is a guarantee catastrophe for Iranian society. It is now clear that an acceptance of an Islamic system under any pretext, like relation to ones religion, or tolerance of Tudehist culture, cannot justify a compromise with such an Islamic system.

Normally, Cult leaders have an outstanding ability to charm and win over followers. They beguile and seduce, but Khomeini did not have such an intellectual ability -- he was not even able to properly speak Farsi-- his success to garner all attention was due to a fatal lack of political personality under the effects of another dictator.

Even later, when Khomeini learnt to answer questions on advice of his advisors who reminded him to be sensitive, he could hardly express his sympathy for his people. This lack of emotional sphere remained dangerously underdeveloped in Al-Khomeini and his leadership as an Islamic legacy of Arab invaders.

All religions share, to one degree or another, a denial of the modern civilised world. All "true" believers subscribe to a belief in divine ideals of their archaic thoughts. They believe in a selective class of elite believers (Mullahs). They eliminate the possibility of any critical thought. While this is true for most religions, it is especially true for the IRI as the most recent example of the dark period of the Inquisition. By the time the IRI came into power, the civilised and secular world had already many centuries far from the effects of the Inquisition.  

However, the difference between these two archaic systems is the danger of religious ideology, which not only is found in mentalities as before but also in methodologies of Islamism. It has actually promoted denial of the civilised world and has pathologically accepted an unhealthy social backwardness. In its paranoid and naive fashion, it develops its own perverse ideology of a new”Dar-al-Islam”, pushing the methods of divine violence into an extreme and dangerous level of a jihadist strategy of atom-Allah.

It is in the realm of politics that the psychopath comes closest to the psychotic. While seemingly in full possession of his political ability, the psychopath demonstrates an inability to comprehend the meaning and significance of his behaviour for other people and to judge their probable reactions to his behaviour. The psychopath is often astounded to find that people are upset by his exploits, as acknowledged by the Shah. Although he knows intellectually what punishment is decreed for certain crimes, when caught, he puts up elaborate rationalisations and defences, and seems surprised when he is actually punished, as seen in the Saddam’s process.

The psychopath is free of anxiety. He can be under rare circumstances a national hero, war hero, symbol of pride, but mostly he is a traitor, deserter, or symbol of shame. If he is a hero, who is very rarely, then his “bravery” helps the psychopath win the affection of followers, who accord him a respected place in society to become the leader; even if the same followers are later disillusioned by his subsequent exploits, as shown by the advent of the IRI.

Another aspect of the thoughtlessness is the obliviousness of the psychopath to punishment. Not only the threat of future punishment has no power to deter him, but actual punishment does not reform him. All historical experiences and most psychiatrists consider psychopaths untreatable. It is historically proved that there is no way to handle with the psychopaths when possessing the political power.

Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot were not born despotic monarchs or sacred imams, but they became, at least for a period, heroes of people. People, especially to its powerless and politically underdeveloped members, they rally around their “heroes”, seeing in them both a reflection of themselves and a promise of a "victory" that would release their fears and frustrations, and avenge their sorry and hopeless fate. Of course what they do not realise is that their leaders would not care about people’s fate. To such a fanatical leader, his people are an echo chamber for his words and cannon fodder for his belief.

Tragically, as a nation, we will remain in the dark ages as long as some of our people keep choosing or tolerating religious psychopaths as their leaders. Some of our people ignore the choice of most people for secularism and democracy for all.

For letters section
To: Jahanshah Rashidian

Jahanshah Rashidian


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