Sunday, February 05, 2017

When You Normalize Your Demons

Some commentators have been surprised by the ascension of Donald Trump. Nick Cohen writes that they shouldn't be. Trump comes from the world of business. And, in the business world, his type has been in the driver's seat for sometime:

The radical economist Chris Dillow once wrote that, while the fall of communism discredited the centrally planned economy, the centrally planned corporation, with the autocratic leader who tolerated no dissent, not only survived 1989, but blossomed.
Dillow is not alone in worrying about the harm the little Hitlers of the corporation might bring. Since the crash, economists have looked as a matter of urgency at how hierarchies encourage petty tyrants to brag their way to the top. They exhibit all the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder: a desire to dominate, overconfidence, a sense of entitlement, an inability to listen to others or allow others to speak and a passion for glory. If you want to know how they can win the votes of those around them, remember Fred Goodwin’s vainglorious decision to takeover ABN Amro. Perhaps the single worst decision in UK business history, whose consequences we are still paying for, was not opposed by a single member of the RBS board.

Narcissists in business are more likely to seek macho takeovers and less likely to engage in the hard work of innovating and creating profitable firms, the researchers found. They are more likely to cook the books to feed their cults of the personality and make, if not America, then themselves look great again. Academics from the University of California have asked the obvious question: why would rational companies let the fascism of the firm survive? Surely they ought to be protecting their businesses, as free market theory dictates, rather than allow dangerous and grasping men and women to risk their destruction.

They found what most of us instinctively know to be true: in the right circumstances, compulsive liars can create compulsive believers, as Trump has done. “Overconfident individuals attained status” because their peers believed the stories they told about themselves. It should not be a surprise that Donald Trump, Arron Banks and oligarchs backing the Russian and east European strongmen come from business. The age of the dictators never came to an end in the workplace.

In business, we have normalized this kind of behaviour for decades. Moreover, this kind of behaviour has become the stuff of reality television. Trump made his name on television for fourteen years. Last night, Kevin O'Leary -- of Dragon's Den and Shark Tank fame -- participated for the first time in the Conservative leadership debates.

When you normalize your demons, all hell breaks loose.

Image: SGT


the salamander said...

.. “enlightened capitalist,” Judeo-Christian, nationalistic vision ..
That would be Steve Bannon's shining vision of Donald Trump ..

Now I'm not that informed re Kevin O'Leary being also such a shining vision
but during the debacle of the Halifax debates I found him suavely vague
perhaps even a little low key after brilliantly concluding a video clip
of him shooting off automatic weapons, inc one belt fed machine gun
was an 'exciting opportunity' to elevate his Boston based 'platform'
as murdered muslim parents were being buried or bodies expatriated

Overall, the evasions on black & white policy questions
whether Nova Scotia - provincial, or federal.. were wandering & wondrous
O'Leary helped contribute as cryptically as possible..
But he's neither more or less tone deaf than the others..
In fact aside from Michael Chong (who needs to create his own party)
the responses were either insipid, read from scripts or jovial anecdotes

Rona Ambrose of course in hiding.. that shocking tan or sunburn
from 10 days upon a billionaires yacht in January with her rodeo broker guy
is almost as elite a baked on look as poor Justin the Trodden on Surfer Guy's tan
But Rona is there to assist the ascension of an O' such th Leary or Toole
or a tres etrange Kellie minus the Kouvalis quotient..
They all want to share years of luxury in Stornoway
the chefs, the limos, the extra $ & the front row center seat in Commons

Dont speak the French eh? No worries.. its just some 100 plus seats
not including francophone ridings in other provinces.. not in New England

Owen Gray said...

O'Leary's rifle range clip was --for me -- what did him in, salamander. Trudeau certainly has his troubles and his disappointments. But do date, I can't see a Conservative challenger -- with the exception of Chong.

Anonymous said...

The Democratic and Liberal parties normalized establishment capture, right-wing economic ideology, false promises, corruption and pretending to represent the people. Of course they were unoriginal – they got all these ideas from conservative parties.

Funny how liberals and progressives fought tooth and nail against the Reagan/Mulroney eras. But were accepting when Clinton and Chretien expanded on them. They were hysterical against the Bush/Harper eras. But where accepting when Obama and Trudeau expanded on them.

Now they are ultra-hysterical over banning Muslim immigrants from dangerous countries and keeping illegals from crossing the Mexican order. They associate these policies with racism. (Rather that's how the establishment frames it.) Now they get to play the anti-racist 'knights in shining armor' virtue-signaling till they're blue in the face.

The funny thing about this, is that if corporate Democrats got power they would keep these policies in place. Because that's what Americans want. (Not because they are racists – these policies are really about protection.) Then liberals and progressives would be accepting of them.

Perhaps the 'neo-Left' should think to start fighting for something rather than fighting against something. Then they might actually get something – aside from being played.


Owen Gray said...

I agree that progressives are paying for their past sins, MAGA. But Trump campaigned on a Muslim ban. As much as he may present his ban as a security measure, he has been entrapped by his own stated intentions.

thwap said...

Democratic work places would be frustrating to the petty tyrants. But they'd be more efficient and humane.

I thought your post would be about the political monsters we've normalized. And I agree with MAGA. The Clinton's demonized welfare recipients. Obama has spread Mayhem throughout the Middle East. He's made due process-free assassinations part of a president's tool belt.

But in the end, all these politicians are products of the evil economic system we slave under.

Owen Gray said...

More efficient maybe, thwap. More humane -- I'm not so sure. The Final Solution was a model of efficiency.

thwap said...

Owen, ... I was saying that democratic workplaces would be both efficient and humane.

I can't see any genuine democracy actually voting for genocide.

Owen Gray said...

I agree that both outcomes are possible, thwap. But they are only possible in genuine democracies. Authoritarian regimes can deliver one outcome but not the other.