The worldwide rise of sadistic political pathology
Charles Krauthammer has an excellent recent piece on the political logic of ISIS, the most recent demonic cult to emerge from that hellish part of the world. Krauthammer easily knocks down all the clay pigeons in Obama’s “foreign policy of the week.” Dr. K makes only one misstep, in my opinion, and oddly enough, it’s a diagnostic mistake about ISIS.
As a psychiatrist Dr. K knows all about the difference between psychopaths and sadistic criminals, but in this case he calls the latest jihadis only “psychopaths.” But they are obviously sadists (as well as psychopaths) because they show pleasure in torturing and killing people.
What’s the difference? It’s very simple: psychopaths don’t feel guilt about hurting other people, but sadists take active pleasure in committing horrors that civilized people can’t even look at. In his pornographic novels the Marquis de Sade wrote about taking sexual pleasure from torturing and even murdering innocents. That is where we get the term “sadism.”
Dr. Krauthammer must be aware of the modern rise of a very different kind of criminal behavior in politics, the rise of sadistic politics. As you might expect, sado-politics goes along with a long, growing sadistic streak in the arts and media, hand in hand with the rise of the radical Left in US and European culture. Those trends are not accidental.
We could draw a timeline for the rise of sadistic culture in the West, starting in the 1950s with Hitchcock dramas and rising visibly in each decade after that.
ISIS is a sadistic war cult. It attracts people who take joy in torturing women and children. You can easily see the difference in their facial expressions. Psychopaths have “flat” expressions, like Vladimir Putin. Sadists show a kind of demonic joy when others are suffering. They are the classic face of human evil.
Look at typical violent perps in American courtrooms, and most of the time you see flat emotions. But then watch 1930s films of Hitler’s speeches, and he is constantly mixing hysterical rage with laughter. Mussolini and Hitler pioneered the use of radio to whip up millions of followers, who were inculcated in the dark arts of sadistic mob hatred to destroy the scapegoat of the moment -- the French, the rich, the Jews, the bankers, the gays, Gypsies, on and on and on.
Thus the most highly educated country in Europe, Germany, was rapidly indoctrinated into becoming a war and suicide cult little different from Jim Jones. The 1930s showed the rise of mass sadistic cult politics throughout Europe and Japan after the middle class was broken by mass inflation and poverty.
Today we are seeing the identical mass psychopathology -- just using different flags, slogans, hats and uniforms. The psychology of mass murder cults remains the same. That is why we see ISIS versions of KKK-types today, recruiting young, depressed, alienated teenagers from many nations by using snuff videos on social media. For those eager recruits, murderous barbarism for some cult delusion is a magnetic attraction. They need a faith, any faith, and if they feel desperate enough, ISIS will do. These were the same kinds of kids who wanted to join the Hitlerjuegend and a hundred other totalitarian youth cults in the last century.
Raw sadistic cults are much more dangerous than merely psychopathic ones. The mafia pays psychopaths who kill without qualms, but it’s strictly business. The mafia is self-restrained because too many murders are bad for business -- even in Chicago.
Sadistic laughter is much more primitive, less controlled. In sadistic violence emotionally-driven evil comes to the surface of the human mind. This is where we find Jim Jones, murder-for-pleasure cults, and Ayatollah Khomeini’s waves of indoctrinated kids on motorcycles wearing green plastic “Keys to Paradise” around their necks, ready to blow themselves up in Saddam Hussein’s minefields during the Iran-Iraq War.
The ruling cult in Iran today consists of survivors of that suicide war --- which is why mullahs with nukes are much more dangerous than, say, the French. The French aren’t into mass suicide, but the mullahs talk about it every day. It’s therefore not the weapons, but the crazies in charge who are so dangerous. Naturally, the Obama admin doesn’t get the basic truth.
The rise of sadistic war cults is not an accident. It has been well-funded ever since the Saudis got rich from oil. What we see today is the highly predictable outcome of billion-dollar hate campaigns launched since the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973.
If you want evidence, the MEMRI.org website features daily English translations of videos and political news stories from Arab, Iranian, and Urdu mass media. MEMRI gives you the daily Rogue’s Gallery of the Jihad War. It is indispensable. It also rings an international danger bell that only our willfully ignorant media can ignore. Normal people can now see the stream of war propaganda, day after day, and get around media censorship.
Here is one example: two white-robed imams on Hamas TV are whipping each other up about the evil Jews. (MEMRI TV clip #4477.)
Older Imam to eager young disciple:
“The Jews are the enemies of the Christians worldwide. They are the enemies of the Americans and of all the nations, not just of Palestine and of the Arab and Islamic nation. [...] the most important thing for the Jews and their leaders is to appeal to the sentiment of their people by quenching their thirst for sucking the blood of others.
“The killing of children brings joy to the Jews. The killing of children brings joy to the Jews. The Jewish people rejoice at the killing of children, women, and the elderly, at the uprooting of trees, the plundering of money, and the burning of lands. This is true of all of the Jews, of the entire Jewish people.”
You have to watch the clip to see the eager expression of the young imam -- he loves to hear this stuff. He’s heard it all he life, but he needs to hear more and worse hate talk. You can see him asking for it with bright-eyed expectation.
This is pure political psychopathology, a major mental epidemic that holds millions of people in its grip. It destroys the haters just as surely as it threatens to destroy the victims of hate. What you are seeing here is a two-person cult in the process of creating shared reasons for war, war fantasies. Truth doesn’t matter -- it is the pleasure of hating together that counts. Like any kind of racial hatred, it is monomaniacal, compulsive, and addictive. Race hatred always has only a single target -- no other explanations are tolerated. In the Palestinian context, the face that fourth generation “refugees” are constantly misled and manipulated by their leaders and by other Arab countries, as well as the UN, is never discussed. But the corruption of the elites is well known to Palestinians. The monomania against Jews does not allow of any other idea in the minds of whipped up mobs. Children who see these programs every day end up addicted to hatred.
Liberating oneself from deep indoctrination is very, very difficult -- but it must be said again and again that there are indeed Muslims (also shown on MEMRI) who are tired of seeing hundreds of thousands of their own dying for nothing in Iraq, Syria, Gaza, Libya, Yemen, on and on. There are indeed heroic voices of resistance -- if you don’t believe it, look for them on MEMRI.org.
The key to victory in the Jihad War is to split the sane folks from the crazies, so these voices must be supported by the civilized world. We have seen this before. We have dealt with it before. We know how to win a Cold War with dangerous hot episodes. All we need is genuine leaders who can explain the stakes, like Churchill, FDR, and yes, even Truman.
The rise of sadistic war cults represents a great primitivization of world politics. Europeans still remember the hate propaganda of the Nazis and fascists, and have laws against it -- but new mass demagogues like Italy’s Five Star Movement easily get around the laws by using the web, and by recruiting ignorant young teenagers who are easy bait. Today Five Star controls a quarter of the Parliament in Rome, about the level Mussolini reached before he staged his coup d’etat.
It is not limited to the politically dysfunctional world. The American Left has been applauding open death wishes against conservatives and Republicans at least since 9/11/01, in ways that were inconceivable for a previous generation of Democrats.
With the rise of routine meth and cocaine use in American and European politics, we see a predictable rise in public of ungoverned expressions of rage and sadistic laughter. Today, young entertainers often die young from heart attacks, which do not normally happen to young, healthy people -- unless they are meth or cocaine addicts. They reflect very severe cultural pathologies, and conservatives cannot ignore what is happening.
What Miley Cyrus does today a million kids will try tomorrow. (“Twerking” is a submissive exhibitionist act, far out on the self-destructive fringes of human sexual behavior. It is the predictable result of sexual escalation for bigger and bigger kicks at earlier and earlier ages, and it doesn’t matter one bit how the addict gets her kicks. This is not new in human history: It was done by French aristocrats like Marquis de Sade, by Roman Emperors like Caligula, and by absolute despots in China, Africa, Meso-America, and all the rest. It always goes along with absolute power. Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson saw it in pre-revolutionary Paris.)
ISIS leaves nothing to the imagination. Public acts of sadistic murder and mayhem dominate their purposeful PR strategy. Several sources report that ISIS volunteers are initiated by forcible anal penetration, probably gang rape, a major sadistic, humiliating act. In parts of the Muslim world dominant homosexual aggression is admired, but the passive role is treated with contempt. Anal assaults are a kind of hazing of newcomers, making them submit to the ultimate humiliation in that culture. It initiates them into a sadomasochistic culture, much like the Afghan mujahedeen in the war against the Soviets.
Suicide bombers are also recruited from sexually humiliated Muslims, who are seen as having shamed the family. In the First Intifada young “dishonored” Palestinians were indoctrinated to carry a suicide belt, to kill and die and thereby regain their family prestige. In shame cultures like Islam, sadistic laughter is the most feared event -- if the tribe starts laughing at and ridiculing your family, violence is the only resort.
Bottom line: The world has entered a new, reactionary stage of war psychology, one that is driven by mass sadism, not merely guilt-free psychopathy. This is political psychopathology, and can only be viewed accurately as such.
Making this truth available to all civilized peoples is a key to victory. The media censorship of sadistic hate propaganda will defeat us in the Jihad War.
The key to victory, like the Cold War, is to separate the sane Muslims from the crazies. There are plenty of sane Muslims (see MEMRI.org). The civilized world desperately needs to help and support them, to defeat sadistic war cults like ISIS and its ilk.