Minutiae
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"Chuck Norris doesn't read books; he stares them down until he gets the information he wants out of them."
- ChuckNorrisFactsdotcom

Wednesday, June 22, 2005
So that's 28% of the population that would be starving within a month if they all lost their jobs. Not to mention paying their debts once the bankruptcy rules change so you can't walk away regardless of what happened to you.
Eeesh. We've taken to believing that fat poor people are the natural state of things.

Tighten your belt and do what it takes to get your variable rate debt paid off ASAP. Then put some big chunks toward your fixed rate debt. And read this book. If you don't see the potential for major financial turbulance, you've got your head in the sand.

posted by Rachel 6/22/2005
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Oish. I've never read such a dangerously pseudo-informed article. This 1-4% of the population occupy some key positions. Ascribing mythical freudian criminological labels to them is playing with fire. The one and only key feature of a psychopath or sociopath is the lack of empathy. That feature comes with all kinds of determinative secondary characteristics. The inability to feel (or ability to turn off,) fear and empathy, are what enable people to do extraordinary things both good and evil. Fighter pilots, bomb-squad guys, James Bond types - the people you hear described as having icewater in their veins - those people will score much higher on the P scale than normal, and yet we need some of them to do those jobs more competently than a "normal" person could.

The mistake people run into is failing to realize that the natural state of the world is psychopathic. Only human agency softens the edges of survival with empathy. When dealing with mechanisms not under the direct control of empathic humans, one should expect a "look out for number one," "survival of the fittest," "efficiency and economy first," kind of environment. That is the natural state of the world, and only artificial and sustained group effort (society) allows us to experience anything different. Be sure you're dealing with society (people or systems) before you expect anything other than the law of the jungle.

The key element is nurture. People lacking in empathy can function fairly well within society if they choose to do so. Meeting their basic needs as children is an excellent way to induce them to choose to do so. If their needs for stimulation and challenge are met, and if they're provided with an acceptable external moral/ethical framework (the military or religion for example,) they can be very valuable members of society. Labeling such people monsters, and hacking away at the legitimacy of their compensatory consciences, is utterly suicidal.

posted by Rachel 6/22/2005
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Read it. I can't think of a more timely or clarifying reminder.

posted by Rachel 6/22/2005
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