Dangerous Times: When Paranoids Do Politics
In 1927, Jozef Stalin summoned the Russian neurologist Bekhterev to give a medical examination of the dictator. Later that day, Bekhterev returned to a medical meeting and told colleagues, "I have just examined a paranoiac with a short, dry hand." Stalin's left arm was shorter and weaker than the other. The following day, Bekhterev was poisoned and died. He was killed for calling Stalin a "paranoiac." He did not mention Stalin by name, but his medical colleagues knew exactly whom he was talking about.
Writing in European Neurology, the historian Juerg Kesselring says that Stalin met all the clinical standards for paranoia:
Excessive sensitivity to rejection; bearing on slights, suspicion; tendency to distort experiences; neutral or friendly actions of others misinterpreted as hostile or contemptuous; unjustified suspicions regarding sexual fidelity of spouse or sexual partner; contentious and continued insistence on their own rights; inflated self-esteem and frequent, excessive self-absorption.
The psychiatrists J. Lieb and J.D. Hershman have done a careful study of other murderous dictators. They conclude that Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, and Kaiser Wilhelm were manic depressives with paranoia.
We uncover manic depressive disorder as a hidden cause of dictatorship, mass killing and war, and show how the psychopathology of the disorder can be a key factor in the political pathology of tyranny.
Key to the destroyers is an indifference to the suffering of others, a need to control everyone and everything, a resistance to reason, and grandiose and paranoid delusions. The paranoid and grandiose delusions of manic depressives are as infectious and as virulent as a deadly microbe, and can easily infect those in thrall to the host figure.
Which brings me to some truly crazy folks in Europe today. It would be nice to examine each one in private. But we have a huge public record on the websites of Beppe (Joseph) Grillo and his close partner, Gianroberto Casaleggio (called Guru). While they are scrubbing their sites and blaming bad things on "trolls" planted by their enemies, both have been beating the drums for 14 years. They cannot erase it all.
Grillo likes to perform Hitler-like rants (see YouTube). His Guru stays in the background, but Guru's web business has a page devoted to Armageddon fantasies from sci-fi writer Robert K. Dick, who was both brilliant and schizophrenic. Guru has spun R.K. Dick's fantasies into a dystopian image of the future. He expects World War III by 2020, followed by a die-off of 80% of humanity, a crumbling of the state, and universal web democracy. Guru and Grillo believe they are bringing a whole new stage of human history.
Germany's Der Spiegel has called Grillo "the most dangerous man in Europe." Yet Grillo received 9 million votes in the Italian election. The European media are still blind to the obvious: these people are mentally disordered.
Europe's economic and emotional crisis is bringing unstable Nazi-like and fascist types out of the woodwork -- the worst outbreak since World War II. American tourists may think that Europe is "cute," but the Europeans themselves know better. Every major world war since Napoleon has started over there.
Paranoid personalities may act very rationally outside their delusional beliefs. They are deceptive and can hold jobs or run a political campaign. It's only when their delusional "islands" are triggered that they go off the rails. Because paranoids are hyper-suspicious and see enemies everywhere, they can be dangerous. Any psychiatrist who treats paranoid patients has to be careful. Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, and Kaiser Wilhelm ended up killing millions of innocents.
What about Beppe Grillo? Well, look at the checklist.
1. Delusions of grandeur or persecution.
In 1998, Grillo, then a failed comedian, published his Messaggio all'Umanità. You can find it on the web today, and Google Translate will turn it into some kind of English. Grillo was a minor comedian at the time, but his "Message to Humanity" is a typical paranoid statement of grandeur and persecution. It has no coherent logic, jumps from one topic to another, and begins the long, long list of Grillo's imaginary enemies, including the Jewish bankers, the Masons, the Illuminati, the Americans, the drug companies, and the "chemtrails" (jet contrails) that are spreading poison in the skies.
Grillo's message reads like word salad, as if he is drunk. But he is crazy like a fox; witness the 9 million votes he received. Grillo refuses to negotiate with other parties because his "Five Star Movement" (M5S) is not a political party -- just like Hitler's Nazi Party. No, it is a movement to abolish all parties -- a "cultural revolution, not politics."
"We want 100% of the Parliament, not the 20% or 25% or 30%. When the movement reaches 100%, when the citizens become the State , the movement will extinguish itself."
This is precisely what Karl Marx claimed in 1848.
2. Suspiciousness and rage.
The Five Star Movement, according to its spokesman, "channeled all the rage in this movement. They should thank us one by one: if we fail Italy will be driven by the violence in the streets. "
So they claim to channel other people's rage, and if you don't obey them, there will be violence in the streets. It's damned if you do, damned if you don't.
3. Tendency to distort reality.
"All that we in Europe know about Israel and Palestine, is filtered by an international agency called MEMRI. And behind MEMRI is a former Mossad agent. I have proof: Ken Livingstone, the former mayor of London, has used Arabic texts with independent translations. Discovering a mystified reality, completely different."
This is a guy who could hop on a plane and be in Israel, Syria, Jordan, and the rest in a matter of hours. He thinks all his information about those places is filtered by MEMRI.org.
MEMRI.org happens to be the most accurate and complete translation site of daily Muslim news, including videos, translated from Urdu, Arabic, and Farsi. It is an extraordinary source of scholarly translations and analysis. If you doubt it, just visit the site. MEMRI is an awesome model of the web at its best.
Grillo, meanwhile, routinely flips the truth, and inserts his own fantasies.
Israelis are compared to Attila the Hun or a military dictatorship. Islam is not a fundamentalist religion. "We Italians are under occupation of America, [which is] guilty of the European economic crisis."
4. Some paranoids are natural cult leaders.
Paranoid cult leaders can spread their delusions to indoctrinated followers.
As Lieb and Hershman wrote, "[t]he paranoid and grandiose delusions of manic depressives are as infectious and as virulent as a deadly microbe, and can easily infect those in thrall to the host figure."
The Five Star Movement seems to have a dictatorial internal structure.
In the weekly L'Espresso on March 14, Marco Morosini , a scientist close to M5S, describes its dictatorial structure:
On the first step, there are 8.5 million voters who voted for the movement, the second, millions of users frequenting the blog of Beppe Grillo, the third, the 250,000 registered party members, the fourth, the 40,000 who took part in the vote to nominate candidates of the Five Star Movement on the fifth, then 163 elected officials, and finally, on the top floor, there are two chairs.
One is for Beppe Grillo; the other is for "Guru" Gianroberto Casaleggio.
Clinical paranoia is nearly impossible to cure. It can be aggravated by crack cocaine or marijuana, and longtime drug users are especially vulnerable.
With a background rate of 2-5% in the general population, paranoids and other seriously disturbed people necessarily show up in politics. If we assume 1,000 top politicians in the US, then by chance, 20 to 50 out of the 1,000 will suffer from serious mental disturbance. For example, Jesse Jackson, Jr. was recently revealed to be suffering from manic depressive disorder, which can manifest as paranoia.
5. Euro-paranoia is spreading.
Here is little web gallery.
In Greece, an athlete gives the Hitler salute on the ball field.
In the U.K., the same thing happens.
The leftist U.K. Guardian points out that Greece's Golden Dawn Party has global ambitions.
Norwegians are sending money to Hamas and Hezb'allah, whose chief goal in life is to kill Israelis and Americans.
Europe's new crypto-fascist parties all have amazingly similar goals, symbolism, appeal to old-fashioned nationalism and ethnic hatreds, along with glorification of Islam and a hatred for Israel and America.
We have previously pointed out that the cryptos may be getting money from Iran and maybe Saudi Arabia. They are amazingly alike, like so many goose-stepping Hitler wannabes.
Ultimately, Europe's leftist ruling class is responsible for spreading despair and economic disaster in the weaker economies of Europe. Thus, the fascist movements like Beppe Grillo's are taking advantage of the misrule of the European aristocracy. They have opened Pandora's Box, and all the ills of mankind are flying out.