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But do they see themselves as causing it to happen? Or are they each just dealing with their little part of a bad situation?

Psychopaths exist and are over-represented at high levels of power (but do they get along with each other?), but we also know that ordinary people are capable of performing horrendous acts if someone in authority tells them to or they perceive that their group loyalty and institutional role demands it. Being a minister even in normal times involves a responsibility for people dying but I don't think anyone who accepts that responsibility is going to be a minister. Swedish movie/theater writer/director Lukas Moodysson (most famous for Show me love or Fucking Åmål in original Swedish) wrote a play about 23 people died at the same day as Swedish foreign minister Anna Lindh was murdered, except they died trying to get into Europe. This was the year after the murder and writing a play that highlighted the murderous consequences of Anna Lindh was to sensitive so I don't think it was ever performed. Nobody (except fringe people like Moodysson) saw her as a murderer and I doubt she did either.

If most in the ruling group are not psychopaths but acting on perceived institutional restraints (for example a lot of parliamentarians probably believes that the state is out of money) then analysing the restraints does matter. Or well it does if a way is found to act upon them.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 04:09:48 PM EST
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Stop it. Soon you'll be treating the evil elite as human beings an we'll have to exile you.

Repeat after me: "The elite are not human."

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 04:31:22 PM EST
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I think we need to take into account what I call The First Law of Narcissism: Everyone needs to think well of themself. People will go to great lengths to be able to maintain a good opinion of themselves, and a lot of those lengths involve psychological tricks. These include rationalizations, projection, splitting, and, especially, denial. I am certain that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson thought well of themselves - even though they were slaveholders. The injustice of slavery even bothered Washington enough for him to take action. He willed that his slaves be emancipated upon his wife's death. She emancipated them a year after his death. Jefferson would have liked to do so also but debt prevented him and his estate from freeing more than a few, though he was more conflicted on the subject of slavery. These are just two examples on one subject from US History.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 04:52:09 PM EST
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That's true, but I've yet to see any evidence that anyone in the Troika or the ECB is losing any sleep over the horrors happening in Greece or Spain - and I mean losing sleep because they have a conscience and they're finding the consequences of their actions disturbing, not because they're worried about pitchforks and torches?

There's certainly nothing but cheering coming from Tory HQ about the chance to finally put the boot into disabled 'scroungers.'

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 05:34:47 PM EST
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And yet the Tories as well as the members of The Troika manage to think well of themselves, just as did the top officials in the Nazi Government under Hitler. This is where the need for TINA becomes especially important. It enables those who embrace TINA to rationalize that they are only doing what has to be done. That is another major reason for the resilience of the CW in economics - it justifies those in power doing what they really want to do and also what they are under great pressure from their wealthy backers to do. That psychological gallon of salve covers over anything that might be annoying from a vestigial conscience.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 05:59:14 PM EST
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Perhaps coincidentally trending news headlines and the prospect of a libel suit or two suggest that some of the architects of Thatcher's Tory Party and possibly of New Labour too are literally child murderers and child rapists.

Again this might sound far-fetched. But the BBC's Newsnight was close to naming names last night - with evidence - and apparently only dissuaded by violent legal action.

Meanwhile some of the names have appeared on Twitter. And at least one lawyer has gone further and implicated four individuals. It might be relevant that the lawyer is himself an institutional 'care' survivor and has some personal interest in seeing justice served.

Clearly someone who gets off on torturing children to death isn't going to be too bothered about the fate of a few disabled or unemployed people.

Which brings me back to my original point, which is the increasing evidence that these individuals are criminally and morally insane, and incapable of rational policy of any kind.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Nov 3rd, 2012 at 07:58:15 AM EST
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I don't think it is a case of either/or, but more one of both/and.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Nov 3rd, 2012 at 11:31:48 AM EST
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But isn't this evidence of Jefferson's narcissism?

...Jefferson would have liked to do so also but debt prevented him and his estate from freeing more than a few,...

Specifically the debt he accumulated because his land and slave holdings didn't produce enough income to support him in the style he felt entitled to.  

 

by Marie2 on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 05:20:42 PM EST
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«[...] about 23 people died at the same day as Swedish foreign minister Anna Lindh was murdered, except they died trying to get into Europe. This was the year after the murder and writing a play that highlighted the murderous consequences of Anna Lindh was to sensitive so I don't think it was ever performed. Nobody (except fringe people like Moodysson) saw her as a murderer and I doubt she did either.»

I don't understand. In which way Lindh was more guilty than most Europeans?

res humą m'és alič

by Antoni Jaume on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 07:28:20 PM EST
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Lindh was foreign minister during the negotiations of common carrier sanctions that prevent asylum seekers from using normal commercial transportation like aircrafts. Apparently on the foreign minsters table in the Council, I find a question in Swedish parliament that confimrs that. The answer to the question of why the government did nothing to stop it in the Council despite massive majority against among Swedish MEPs is mostly avoided and the traditional answer of "Now we have to pass this, EU says so" is trotted out.

Essentially it means that if a company transports somebody who applies for and is denied visa it is fined 5000 euros and the costs of repatriation. Here is a summary of the consequences:

Carrier Sanctions - European Council on Refugees and Exiles

The adverse consequences of carrier sanctions on asylum seekers have been pointed to by many observers, most recently by a study carried out for the European Parliament. Yet the use of carrier sanctions continues across the EU. Moreover transport companies will continue to comply with the rules as long as it is more economically beneficial to avoid a fine by not allowing a passenger to travel rather than let a potential asylum seeker travel and risk making the wrong decision and incur a fine as well as the costs of repatriation.

ECRE objects in the strongest terms to the very existence of carriers' liability, which strips many refugees of the possibility to reach a country of asylum.

Also problematic is the way carrier sanctions confer on private actors responsibilities which by nature pertain to public authorities. They privatise functions in the field of migration control to non-state agents that cannot be held accountable for ensuring the rights of refugees under international law.

So people crossing into Europe in unsafe vessels instead of flying in and applying for asylum is a consequence of the carrier sanctions for which Lindh was the primary.

Exactly what part Lindh was considered to have in the negotiations in the play is unclear, in particular since it appears never to have been performed. Moodysson says in one interview that she was a leading proponent of this legislation, but that the focus of the play is not really on Lindh. But it is clear that the theather (Dramaten in Stockholm) that commissioned the play thought it would paint Lindh as a murderer. And that was unacceptable no matter what facts there was.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sat Nov 3rd, 2012 at 06:59:53 AM EST
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Psychotic, narcissist, ignorant tendencies are indeed easy to assume. But they may form mostly proximate causation. What I imagine that there are power holders, advisors that see the nature and extent of what is happening, but they do not see a "nice" solution, or other course more profitable or benefiting them at all. So they deliberately go for management of worsening (overall) situation, focusing more on manipulative narratives than actual resolution. Someone is sure that the civilization is taking a long turn downwards, or something.
by das monde on Sat Nov 3rd, 2012 at 06:48:53 AM EST
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