From the Vault
Aug. 10, 1967
Most people’s reaction to the following would probably be, “True, True.”
A Boston psychiatrist has just made the rather interesting, if impractical, suggestion that all world leaders should be screened as to sanity. Immediately one asks, who is going to do the screening?
Let us say a learned Chinese physician says to Mao tsu-tung, “You are as nutty as a fruit cake.” How long do you think he would last?
The danger of selecting psychopathic leadership is not a new warning. Before the Second World War, the International Mental Hygiene meeting in Holland, attended by some of the world’s greatest doctors, dealt with the subject. They pointed out then, that there were at least three psychopaths in public life who were emerging as world leaders. These were Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini. They pointed out clearly that these three were on a collision course and that a world catastrophe was in the making.
The world listened briefly and turned to other things. Within a year the hysterical Hitler, the paranoid Stalin and the megalomanic Mussolini had begun what became the bloodiest war in history. And so long as people respond to the hysterical, the paranoic and the vainglorious, you will have that kind of world leadership.
– ‘Up and Down the Street’
By the Hartford Courant Reprinted by Frank Hornstein
Sept. 23, 2015
The definition of psychopath is as follows; “a person suffering from chronic mental disorder with abnormal or violent social behavior.” What makes someone elect a leader who is now considered a psychopath?
Perception is key in this discussion. Why were these psychopaths elected? They were what the country’s populace thought they needed at the current time. The majority believed that these politicians could usher in a new age of change for them.
Hitler was elected because he was able to show the German people, through his charisma, that he would be able to turn their lives around. Germany was in shambles, and they needed a strong leader to get them through those rough days and nights. It’s dysfunctional to say that the leader whom employed thousands of German workers became the destruction for millions of innocent lives.
Mussolini was a large supporter of nationalist pride. He believed Italy could be just as great as it had been before, and he wanted to help restore it to its former glory as the second Roman Empire. These two were elected by popular vote, all while Stalin was a predetermined leader by the Communist party.
These politicians were able to come into power because they were there at the right time and place. Nowadays, if someone like Hitler came along again, I’m fairly certain he or she would be considered ridiculous. But this is what is important with politicians. We elect our leaders based off of our needs at the current time. It’s why some people love Donald Trump, they believe a man with a mind for business could bring us up and out of debt. It is the reason why young college students rally for Bernie Sanders. They want lower tuition costs and more liberal ideas. People first were drawn to Carson because of his story of lifting himself up by his bootstraps.
What I’m trying to say is that we all elect leaders for a specific reason, but sometimes good reasons hide horrendous outcomes.
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