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Response to "Capitalists And Other Psychopaths"

Updated on August 28, 2012

Response to a Progressive’s Propaganda

If you have not read “Capitalists And Other Psychopaths” by William Deresiewicz in this weekend’s (Sunday, May 13, 2012) New York Times weekend paper, please do so at your earliest convenience; it is a great example of the proverbial psychoanalytic shadow that liberals like to avoid seeing in themselves and projecting onto others, particularly Christians.

The article exposes a basic error in liberal thinking, which is that “capitalism is predicated on bad behavior.” He then goes on to cite types of commercial crime that in his view define the capitalist as a “psychopath,” which is defined as one lacking in empathy and filled with narcissism and impulsivity.

But what of the vast capitalistic system in the United States that is based on the profit motive which has created the most prosperity for the most in the history of the world and created the possibility of scientists, artists and others (non-capitalists whom he lauds) to prosper as well? Capitalism’s success in providing the most goods and services people want and making them available to more people than any other system is unrivaled. Socialism in contrast is a dismal failure.

Moreover, psychopaths love to manipulate people for power, which manipulation socialism exploits to control people; capitalism does not.

Criminal behavior in the capitalistic system is not because of capitalism; it is found in every human endeavor. Capitalism itself is to produce goods and services that most people want at a price most people can afford. It has been more successful in doing that and in creating wealth, not just for the capitalist, but for everyone. Bad behavior, on the other hand, is found even among those who Mr. Deresiewicz writes about as “good,” those scientists, artists and scholars as having as much brains as entrepreneurs, as if their choice of vocation somehow makes them good or better persons. However, we have found increasing amounts of fraud among scientists in their research, writing and self-promotion. The NY Times itself published an article on the many “scientific” studies in recent years whose results have been manipulated or falsified. Scholars have their problems too in plagiarism, defamation and outright falsifications.

This article is leftist propaganda in its purest form. Take this sentence, for example, in its first paragraph. “A recent study found that 10 percent of people who work on Wall Street are ‘clinical psychopaths,’ exhibiting a lack of interest in and empathy for others and an unparalleled capacity for lying, fabrication, and manipulation.’ (The proportion at large is 1 percent.) Another study concluded that the rich are more likely to lie, cheat and break the law.”

First of all, I don’t know what study William Deresiewicz (the article’s author) is talking about with regard to psychopaths, but it was also in this weekend’s New York Times Magazine (enclosed within the same paper as his article) an expose on psychopathic children (Trouble, Age 9) that put the psychopathic population at 1 percent of the entire population (which he admits) and stating also that psychopaths “…but constitute roughly 15 to 25 percent of the offenders in prison who are responsible for a disproportionate number of brutal crimes and murders.” The article did go on to mention “some financiers” and “business people” possessing psychopathic tendencies, already configured within the 1 percent total psychopathic population, but mention of Wall Street containing 10 percent of the psychopathic population was disproportionate to the study just mentioned and, quite frankly, out of the ballpark, however inconvenient this might be to Mr. Deresiewicz’ exaggeration of the facts.

Mr. Deresewicz is also mistaken that Capitalist values are antithetical to Christian values. On the contrary Christianity concerns itself with spiritual matters, totally and exclusively within the heart of the individual, and the interests of others in spiritual matters as well. And, like capitalism, which allows for a person to choose whom he will service of his own “free will,” Christianity never demands conformity from individuals, thus insulating them from an attack of unfair judgment or “manipulation.” It is, after all, the “love of money” that is at the root of all evil, not money itself. Mr. Deresewicz is obviously maligning Christianity with a “love of money” or “love of profit” philosophy that is totally contrary and antithetical to Christian teachings on the subject, which has the added consequence of maligning Christians in his article to the level of “psychopaths” if one cares to connect the dots in his logic.

He goes on:

“Like Christian ethics, the principles of republican government require us to consider the interests of others. Capitalism, which entails the single-minded pursuit of profit, would have us believe that it’s every man for himself.” Obviously, since Mr. Deresewicz’ postulation of Christian values has many flaws both in his interpretation of Christianity, it is no surprise he feels compelled to malign capitalism, admitting, of course, that he believes the two are contingent upon the other. Capitalism, unfortunately, does permit “pursuit of profit,” but at least for the last 100 years and up to the last decade, most people yearned to “be somebody” and do something they enjoy, more than merely profit, which capitalism not only allows, but because of the “free will” inherent in its philosophy, encourages people to do.

Capitalism, like Christianity, allows one to decide with his own heart and conscience whether he or she is going after profit, or going after a fulfillment far less shallow and barren than one who lives for profit only. Freedom in a republic allows for the individual to choose the road he travels, and capitalism (especially with an unemployment rate of 5 percent), when it is allowed to operate, provides the “revenue” to cushion the fall when he or she messes up. What other government system on earth comes close to this efficiency? Although no system is perfect, capitalism gives us one thing for sure: recognition that there are two kinds of people in the world: those that want to control others and those that do not want to be controlled – and the power to avoid the former. Like a psychopath, socialism does not.

However, if we imagine Mr. Deresewicz assumptions to be true, then it would also follow as true that any person, whether wealthy or not, who lusts after profit only – without love of other persons or any other meaningful purpose in his or her life except to control others – or who lives life totally envious and jealous of those who have money – is also greedy and wanton as any individual on Wall Street (if we accept his premise as true), which may account for the 25 percent defined as “psychopathic” within the prison system in the study heretofore mentioned (the true study, I mean).

Rather, this article stinks more of anti-Christianity then smells of anti-capitalism, being for the fact that Christianity and capitalism spring from the same root and, although hidden between the article’s rhetoric, purposely associates Christianity, and thus Christians, with wealth that he attaches in one fell sweep to people possessed with lack of empathy and “unparalleled capacity for lying, fabrication, and manipulation.” Clearly, therefore, it is not capitalists who are psychopaths, but the “anti-capitalists” who are more like psychopaths if we are true to the definition of “psychopath”; but I, for one, will not stoop so low to say a socialist is psychopathic, only that a socialist agenda would fulfill a psychopathic need to manipulate and control others, while a capitalist agenda would not.


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  • David Cuperman profile image

    David Cuperman 

    5 years ago from London, United Kingdom

    Dear cynthtggt

    From one of your previous posts I understand that you are concerned with the direction of education and its general inability to provoke creative individual thinking.I am lucky in that regard as missed that programming, processing fase early on in my life and had space to think rather than learn,due to this I feel that I have had a chance to develop in a original way and now in my late 40s I am engaged in learning.Psychology has taught me some interesting facts about the cognitive process and combined with social science

    some insight into historic and contemporary culture.A degree of collectivism is and has to be inherent in all systems and underpins democracy.''Collectivism has been used to refer to a diverse range of political and economic positions, including nationalism, direct democracy, representative democracy and monarchy''(

    In recent times it has become linked to the previous system and culture of the soviet union in fact it simply refers to the organisation of people.

    Without collectivism there would be no fire brigade or police service.

    in fact the collectivism that you are probably referring to is vertical collectivism where as horizontal collectivism is different and altogether promising as a alternative way of doing business so to speak

    here is another quote from Wikipedia '' Horizontal collectivism stresses collective decision-making among equal individuals, and is thus usually based on decentralization and egalitarianism. Vertical collectivism is based on hierarchical structures of power and on moral and cultural conformity, and is therefore based on centralization and hierarchy.

    In regard to Capitalism it was resuscitated by Roosevelt who implemented collectivist schemes in his new deal such as work programs union support,the social security act amongst others.

    Christianity has nothing to do with Capitalism and none of the concerns that I have raised have been addressed in your post.lets examine Capitalism.First we had feudalism with a monarch granting land rights to a vassal who intern pledged military and financial support and at the bottom peasants who were taxed and obliged to fight (bum deal)

    and then there was mercantilism based on the scarcity of bullion and the driver of Global expansion and trade(the birth of Capitalism) finally Capitalism based on fiat currency(generated by Government)non convertible to bullion and of no intrinsic value.The father of Capitalist economics was Adam Smith who based the intrinsic self governing factor of the freemarket on the invisible hand'' the invisible hand of the market is a metaphor conceived by Adam Smith to describe the self-regulating behavior of the marketplace.The exact phrase is used just three times in Smith's writings, but has come to capture his important claim that individuals' efforts to maximize their own gains in a free market benefits society, even if the ambitious have no benevolent intentions

    In other words he leaves things to the hand of God.what this has lead to is firstly a requirement for continual growth to sustain the labour market and consumption.This has involved wars to generate profits expansion into third world countries to reduce the cost of labour(at a human rights cost) Companies compete for the cheapest possible way of producing their goods to create profit often competing against the cost of using Chinese prison labour quite simply the continual growth sought is impossible it is a ponzi scheme that results in depressions and

    repossession of homes by banks who initially created the initial mortgage out of thin air (fractional reserve banking) Here's a link as I wish to move on quite simply human beings are both collective and individual in nature and we have the ability to apply technology and end the slavery to labour where human existence is measured by our ability to consume and our values reduced to displaying our social status in the consumer choices we make. Shouldn't we start creating culture rather than consuming it.Our planet cannot support continual consumption never mind the fact that the whole purpose of a consumer society is to placate the masses with trivial shallow induced desires in order to prevent original thought and evolution to the point that they demand equality. every human being should be given the chance to be as good as they can..On every level intellectually creatively and spiritually.Didnt god make us equal .Where I have to disagree with you is on the subject of organised religion which has historically been attached to the state.

    I am sure Jesus would be quite upset with the Christianity that exists that requires a codified set of beliefs and a central core of dogma.There is good reason why he never wrote down his teachings directly he understood the danger of authority be it spiritual or state.

    Quite frankly peoples belief's are a result of cultural conditioning.

    A person born in India will most probably be Hindu and likewise in Tibet Buddhist. All these religions or systems have one thing in common.

    They are born from a individuals Spiritual experience and only later codified and packaged for sale. Nazi Germany was 89 percent Christian

    and this tells me that a closed cognitive style(one that puts the source of information above the content)as required by organised religion,is the single most contributing factor to stupidity.If there is one thing that is certain in life it is change and anything that prevents change will in the course of time be swept away and currently the biggest driver of change is the a footnote on Capitalism,look what it has done to your now corrupt and useless political system that has become a vehicle for the corporates. I Am on a roll now lets look at your private medical system.It appears to me that the sicker the population gets the

    more money the system makes and the more taxation.

    Where is the drive to create cures rather than expensive treatments.

    We love the NHS in the UK its based on a Christian understanding that we are all equal unfortunately the vultures are circling.

    I would lastly say that intelligence is not the answer, we have plenty of bright people in the world,it is the reduction of ego and the evolution of conciousness.(along with limiting beliefs).

  • cynthtggt profile imageAUTHOR

    Cynthia Taggart 

    5 years ago from New York, NY

    Dear David Cuperman. I had problems with my computer so I apologize for the delay in responding. Thank you for your thoughtful comment, even though I disagree totally. I can tell you are young and perhaps not educated in the same way others that have gone before have been. In truth, collectivism is older than capitalism and individualism. Collectivism is what prevailed in the Dark Ages. You are young so you do not know how long "collectivists" have chipped away at our individual freedoms for "power" only. Capitalism, before you were born, gave abundance in goods and services and jobs to all Americans. My mother did not benefit, however. She became sick. But out of all the governments resurrected on this planet, capitalism fed, housed and clothed more people than any other country on this planet. The destruction of it (and the hate of Western Civilization) arises out of the need to control that which others are jealous, and a hate of Christianity is the driving force, for to be different than another or apart from the "group" is a distinctly Christian thing - there is NO other religion on the planet that holds the individual up ("Don't ye know ye are Gods") than Christanity. The hate of capitalism is the hate of Christ, that is all it is, and the hate of individualism is the hate of Christ. For to have the individual succeed is to exalt the truth of Christ, which the world wants to deny, and that is the reason this country - to you now - appears to have fallen due to "capitalism," when in fact it is falling because of anti_Christian philosophy that exalts Collectivism. It is a paradox, isn't it, that when you give a man or women his or her individuality and privacy and you teach them genuine history, they will bear fruits and move mountains - but to allow this is to exalt Christ. The hate of Western Civilization is the hate of Christ, and if you look at history you will know that we came out of the Dark Ages when Christ died on the cross. And you would know too that NO MAN has ever been able to give credit to any individual as to why our calendar changed after that monumental event. All we know is that Western Civilization began with the worship of the individual above the "collective" idea that prevailed all through the Dark Ages. To recognize this is to admit Jesus Christ was God. But this will not be admitted for to admit it is to uphold capitalism as supreme.

  • David Cuperman profile image

    David Cuperman 

    5 years ago from London, United Kingdom

    Capitalism is based on scarcity(that no longer exists) the free market economy is completely divorced from human needs with built in and planned obsolescence, consumption based on the manipulation of peoples emotions (pioneered by Edward Bernaise in the 20s) is in opposition to the carrying capacity of the Earth and man competing against man in a Darwinistic nightmare that leads to inequality and the stratification of society,mental illness, crime and as it is plain to see ultimately collapse..this is all foreseen and agenda 21 with b-labs is seen as the new model however this is just the same thing on a different day

    conceived by the people in power who wish to keep their property and wealth..the advancement of civilisation is the application of science and technology to meet all human needs the collaboration of mankind in all endeavors Capitalism doesn't cure cancer it treats cancer it holds us back in every technological way to the cost effectiveness premiss

    so many instances of tech getting bought and shelved by corporations who wish to keep the status quo.. we are running cars on 19th century technology due to the power of companies like standard oil .This is not where the future of man lies and yes the top 1 percent must have a degree of psychopathy at the very least conditioned lack of empathy for the 25,000 people who die every day from poverty..its a holocaust

    and its largely ignored as there is no profit in feeding them. History will look back on Capitalism and it will be viewed as part of the dark ages.

  • cynthtggt profile imageAUTHOR

    Cynthia Taggart 

    6 years ago from New York, NY

    Thank you! I do try to get around, but I have a VERY complicated situation that prevents me from spreading my wings (and I cannot say more). It is why I get so fired up when I read articles like these. I am a victim of left wing shannigans; worked in the financial sector and all that crap and seen the worst of all of it. Believe me when I tell you that they really know who's not one of them. I never said a word about what I believed or my politics, but, Boy!, they can tell. It is what they hate that intrigues me most of all, and it is usually that which they feel lacking in themselves. But, as I attest on these pages, it is not a material kind of thing as much as it is a "countenance" kind of thing. Often it is sad, but there comes a point when kindness makes one mere prey, and I learned that the hard way. Thank you for stopping by, one capitalist to another.

  • James A Watkins profile image

    James A Watkins 

    6 years ago from Chicago

    This article is stupendous! I absolutely love it. You should have wide readership. Perhaps you should go round the HubPages Community and introduce yourself to other writers a bit more. Because your work is the cream of the crop. Brilliant!

  • cynthtggt profile imageAUTHOR

    Cynthia Taggart 

    6 years ago from New York, NY

    So true; and amazing also because the article reflects a trend that is at the heart of that thinking. Thanks, Dave.

  • Davesworld profile image


    6 years ago from Cottage Grove, MN 55016

    That's the kind of thing that passes for critical thinking in the leftist media. No surprise that it was published by the New York Times.


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