If one person kills another, he is a murderer. If he kills 100, he is a monster. But if he kills 10,000, he is a hero. And the only way one can become this type of "hero" is through the agency of the State.
The victims of the worst serial killer in the world are but a drop in the ocean compared to the political victims of Mao Tse Tung, Pol Pot, Stalin and Hitler. They are still but a drop compared to the victims of Lincoln, Wilson, and FDR. They're a drop compared to what Clinton, Bush and Obama have done, and to the murders that will be committed by those who come after him. The State is the worst serial killer in the world.
How people can engage in such enormities with a clear conscience is something I understand imperfectly. But I do understand it to a degree. It has to do with our inborn narcissism, which perhaps may be a modern term for Original Sin.
To a degree, everyone is narcissistic. What psychologists call "primary narcissism" is an inescapable -- and universal -- phrase that all people go through as babies and children. We never grow out of it, a good thing in certain circumstances. But taken to an extreme, especially when politics is involved, and we have Hobbes' quote: "The evil man is the child grown strong."
Our narcissism is what allows us to treat others as things -- to "objectify" them, to see them as objects. Perversely, the more power one person has over others, the more it is necessary to objectify them. Considering the history of the human race, power over others leading to the objectification of them appears to be inescapable. It would certainly explain the accuracy of the story of Satan, as told in the Bible, and in John Milton's “Paradise Lost.”
Taken far enough, this objectification is an example of the saying, "Power is the horse that evil rides." Power over others is intimately tied to doing evil to them. And power over others -- when those others can do little or nothing about it -- is the definition of political power...
I don't think it's possible for a surgeon to open someone up with a scalpel and root around in his insides if he always had it in his mind that it's a living human being he's working upon. It's easier for the surgeon's peace of mind (and I'm sure for the horror-free, anxiety-free exercise of his abilities) to imagine the patient is a "thing" that has to be fixed, much like a mechanic working on a car.
Unfortunately, that "objectivity" is almost always part and parcel, in varying degrees, of grandiosity, the belief one is god-like. It explains the popular joke: "What is the difference between God and a doctor?" Answer: "God doesn't think he's a doctor."
Healthy narcissism can turn into malignant narcissism. The Greeks called malignant narcissism hubris, and the Bible calls it pride. A one-sentence definition of it is: you're a thing, and I'm a god. It's the reason why humility -- a realistic appraisal of oneself -- is considered such a virtue.
Perhaps anyone who actively seeks political power over others is already a malignant narcissist. If that is true, then Satan is a politician, the obverse being, all politicians are Satanic. I think history backs up that observation.
Writes Sam Vaknin: "The narcissist's pronounced lack of empathy, off-handed exploitativeness, grandiose fantasies and uncompromising sense of entitlement make him treat all people as though they were objects...the narcissist regards others as either useful conduits for and sources of narcissistic supply (attention, adulation, etc.) -- or as extensions of himself."
Vaknin is speaking of clinical narcissists, but what he wrote applies to everyone in some degree. It especially applies to some people more than others.
Christopher Lasch, in his book, “The Culture of Narcissism,”, had some relevant comments about narcissistic people: "He praises respect for rules and regulations in the secret belief that they do not apply to himself. Acquisitive in the sense that his cravings have no limits, he...demands immediate gratification and lives in a state of restless, perpetually unsatisfied desire."
Lasch's quote about praising respect for rules they don't believe apply to themselves explains the Chickenhawk ("You fight and die; I'll yell directions from the sidelines"). And that desire for immediate gratification and "restless, perpetually unsatisfied desire" does not bode well for the U.S. and the world, since they plan on using the former to conquer the latter.
Some people can handle political power. The ones who don't want it. But those who seek out this power are the ones who shouldn't be allowed near it. They are invariably more childish and narcissistic than more healthy normal people. They are the child grown strong, doing evil to others.
"In malignant narcissism," writes Vaknin, "the true self of the narcissist is replaced by a false construct, imbued with omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. The narcissist's thinking is magical and infantile. He feels immune to the consequences of his own actions...the narcissist cannot afford to be rejected, spurned, insulted, hurt, resisted, criticized, or disagreed with."
Magical, infantile thinking. Is that not the thinking of anyone who truly believes the U.S. can invade, conquer and remake entire countries in its image? "Resisted, criticized, disagreed with"? That’s behavior that militant nationalists exhibit when people point out how mistaken they are..
Ultimately, the State is childish, narcissistic, and murderous. I can't see any way around that, except to get rid of it. It's astonishing so many people see the State as a good thing. It's almost a form of insanity, if insanity is defined by that old joke: "Trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result."