“He’s a psycopath … like Stalin, except that he doesn’t kill people”

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Jonathan McLeod

Jonathan McLeod is a writer living in Ottawa, Ontario. (That means Canada.) He spends too much time following local politics and writing about zoning issues. Follow him on Twitter.

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26 Responses

  1. Avatar MikeSchilling says:

    That is, Murdoch is a successful businessman. (No, I’m not joking. At all.)Report

  2. Avatar North says:

    Yet another gem from Canada’s gallstone.Report

    • Avatar GordonHide says:

      Canada? Did you mean Australia?Report

      • Avatar North says:

        He originated in Canada, rattled around and caused some discomfort and then we rid ourselves of him. Quite like a gallstone.Report

      • I believe North is referring to His Royal Knightiness (or whatever the official title is) Conrad Black, who is, indeed, Canadian (or was, or is again, or will be, or… whatever, it was a very silly “scandal” that sent him to Britain).

        Murdoch is Australian, and AFAIK never held Canadian citizenship.Report

        • Avatar Procopius says:

          I know I should just look it up, but didn’t Murdoch become an American citizen? Of course in this day and age he might have retained his Australian citizenship — does anybody know if there’s a limit on how many countries you can be a citizen of now?Report

        • Avatar North says:

          Yes my esteemed collegue is correct. I was referring to Sir Black.Report

  3. Avatar Aaron says:

    “Mr Murdoch is a psychopath, a person of no emotional or ethical thought, governed entirely by an expedient analysis of what his self-interest requires.”

    Whereas Conrad Black, as a media magnate, would think hard and wrestle with his conscience before acting in his own self-interest?

    On an author of a critical biography, “‘I assume [Bower] was engaged to write a smear job and that he has been indemnified because if he isn’t we’ll take the fillings out of his teeth and the roof off his house when we finally get around to dragging him into court here. He’s a dead man.”

    Yep, that Conrad Black, all sweetness and light.Report

  4. Avatar GordonHide says:

    That’s one of the reasons why the combination of free markets and democracy works reasonably well. Capitalism harnesses human greed to make pots of money. Democracy allows the poor man to dip into the rich man’s pocket. – As long as he doesn’t dig too deep and kills the goose that lays the golden egg.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      unstable, that. game theory says that the rich should make oodles, piss the poor people off, and then flee to… Barbados.
      names not pulled out of a hat.Report

  5. Avatar Morat20 says:

    I’d imagine pyscopathy would, in fact, make you a better CEO in a cut-throat business environment. At least in the short term.

    Whether or not such businessmen (and their businesses) are good for society is another question. And whether Murdoch is one is, of course, yet another.

    My personal take is that to the extent to which a total lack of empathy, narcissim, and ruthlessness creates success in today’s economy is probably a bad thing. I wouldn’t know where to begin addressing it.

    I have no opinion about Murdoch, one way or the other.Report

  6. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    It seems remarkable how often the personalities of rich people who run businesses correlate with All That Stuff I Don’t Like.Report

  7. Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

    Takes one to know one, I suppose.Report

  8. Avatar dhex says:

    the watering down of sociopath and psychopath to mean “people i don’t like” is kinda lousy. it’s been going on for years – every online troll is not merely a malcontent or insulated from social realities for their actions becomes some kinda ascended monster.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      a psychopath is merely a psychopath. as stated above, our current economy selects for them in CEO positions, and you can argue whether that’s good or bad.
      I may hate Paul Ryan (no, not really), but he’s no sociopath.
      I know psychopaths: they’re the type of person that when they see someone bleeding on the street, starts calculating odds. “What’s in it for me?” and “what are the odds he’s going to shoot me if I try to help?” and “what are the odds the police are nearly here, and are going to call me the assailant” and on and on.Report

      • Avatar dhex says:

        those last two don’t seem too cray cray, but…nypd.Report

        • Avatar Kim says:

          Psychopaths can be very moral people. I have more of an inclination towards that than most people, actually.
          I don’t use the term, always, as an insult. It’s just a reasonable assessment of who a person is — and, more importantly, what they’re likely to do.

          Nixon was a psychopath — but his self-interest aligned with our nation’s to a surprising degree. also, the man was smart — if you gave him one intelligent way out of a situation, even if it meant losing face, he’d take it.

          I’m not certain people would say the same for George W Bush. Which made keeping him out of Iran a lot more dicey.Report

        • Avatar Kim says:

          and the first one isn’t so crazy if you understand that there’s a LONG list of reasons why you ought to help someone…
          1) Not being seen as an absolute monster
          2) Because creating a somewhat altruistic society is a net good.
          yadda yadda.Report

  9. Avatar Mopey Duns says:

    My understanding is that the real problem with psychopaths isn’t so much the lack of morality, as their tendency towards boredom, and their often extreme reactions to that boredom. Since they don’t tend to feel as much, psychopaths are often prone frustration and to seeking excitement through extreme behaviour.

    Psychopathy is quite interesting. Here’s a good article, for anyone who is interested: http://www.damninteresting.com/the-unburdened-mind/Report