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I'd be more nuanced than that. The sociopathy runs on a continuum from simple stupidity and lack of awareness at one extreme to outright clinical personality disorder at the other.

As someone I know who used to work for an MP said - "These people are nuts."

Usefully, politics is set up so that it's possible to avoid awareness of political consequences until a mob turns up and burns your house down.

Lack of direct experience of consequences is built into economics as a feature. If I have to fire X people to cut costs, the fate of those people no longer interests me. But the state of my balance sheet does.

Exploring all of this in detail would be a book-sized project.

But in practice, it does boil down to poor punching - unrestrainedly so in the US, slightly less so in the UK (at least for now), and moderately less so in countries like France, perhaps because the poor have more of a history of punching back.

Anyone who wants to know more about how far rhetoric and action by the Right would go without opposition could do worse than review the 19th century history of the English Poor Laws - which I had to write about recently for a UK magazine, and which I'm still traumatised by.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Dec 3rd, 2010 at 11:31:15 AM EST
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