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Eureka: Narcissism, power or statesmanship?
by Jay Gutman
2017-06-21 09:49:33
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Can you defend your country’s interests when your children are not even citizens of the country whose interests you are defending? Or impose legislation on public schools when your own children are attending elitist private schools? Or impose austerity measures when your family members get caught spending a fortune on luxury goods? Of course you can, but this here is one of the toughest ethical puzzles to solve this century.

narc01_400_01People enter politics for many reasons. Three reasons come to mind. One is that seeing your name and picture in all sorts of different media is a very good ego booster. Another is that carving up legislation and imposing it, which gives a sensation of power and of being able to impose measures on others. A final reason to enter politics is that you actually want to make people’s lives better.

Defining what makes people’s life better is complicated. For some, better lives means double-digit growth, at the expense of dignity and human rights. For others better lives means people get to live better qualitatively as well as quantitatively. Better pay, but also a good balance between work, culture, sports, leisure and family. Some give more importance to numbers, others to overall happiness.

As for politicians, they can be broadly categorized into three categories, although some fit two or three categories. Narcissist politicians enter politics merely because they derive pleasure from seeing themselves everywhere in the press. They often try to be present at as many important events as possible to have their pictures taken and are careful when it comes to their image being displayed. They carefully choose their attire and the way they look. State building or initiatives is often not what interests them, although they may use a few slogans that they want associated with their image.

Politicians who enter politics because they want power often delegate a lot of work and take too many decisions at once. As soon as they enter politics, they change the rules of the game completely, hoping that the new rules will fit how they believe the country should be ruled. Such politicians view everything as a power struggle and respond to power struggles with new legislation. When people or organizations oppose their decisions, they often formulate rules or laws that harm such organizations.

Statesmen finally are politicians who see the bigger picture and try to build the state to make people’s lives better, both qualitatively and quantitatively. They don’t try to fix what isn’t broken, but try to fix what is broken to improve the general well-being of the nation. They know that there are several actors involved when fixing what is broken, but they try their best to make the nation more citizen-friendly.

All three categories of politicians have always existed and will always exist. The stereotype tends to be that politicians who come from privileged backgrounds tend to be narcissistic and politicians who come from powerful backgrounds tend to pursue power. That is not always the case. You can have politicians come from a privileged background and be state builders while politicians who come from humble backgrounds can be narcissists or obsessed with power. Labels also often do not match the politician: someone who has a background in labor unions won’t always be a state builder, while someone who comes from a long line of privileged politicians can be a state builder.


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Emanuel Paparella2017-06-21 17:25:02
And then we have the narcissist Caligula style. We have one such as commander in chief as we speak? Is that a normal kind of power grabbing narcissist or one that is abnormal and psychotic? One is left wondering.

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