Be wary of sociopaths

From The Guardian:

A former Newman government minister has urged Queensland voters to beware the ambitions of sociopaths as he gave an extraordinary indictment against his former party in power.

Dr Chris Davis, who quit parliament in protest at his government’s “betrayal” of Queenslanders last year, features in a new TV advertisement for the Wilderness Society in which he recommends voters put the Liberal National party last on ballots in the upcoming election.

“We’re talking about betrayal of thousands of public servants, the winding back of political scrutiny and donor influence, contempt for the professionalism of doctors and judges, jeopardising our environment and sustainable farming and deception on vital issues such as employment and cost of living,” he said.

Davis said that citizens needed to have trust in leaders to “serve us rather than themselves or their powerbrokers”.

Davis also said voters needed to “be particularly wary of sociopaths”. Asked if the character of the Newman government had been sociopathic, Davis said he left it to voters to “make up their own minds”.

Dr Davis said that the sacking of respected independent member Liz Cunningham as chair of the committee overseeing corruption was “one of the defining moments of alarm”.

“For me, that was the death of accountability in Queensland,” he said.

Meanwhile Galaxy individual seat polling shows “massive swings of up to 12 per cent against the Newman Government across southeast Queensland”, and the LNP to be “wiped out across north Queensland”.

The Courier Mail thinks Labor is in with a chance. Dare to hope!

I have my doubts about automated individual seat polling. It had some wild results before the last Federal election.

Labor’s economic strategy has not had much comment, indicating the the Friday timing of the release was probably a mistake. The Australian gives it a fair run, while Fairfax highlights treasurer Tim Nichols “voodoo economics” response. Aunty played it with a straight bat.

Essentially Labor proposes to use two-thirds of the profits of the entities marked for sale to pay down $5.4b debt in six years and $12b in 10 years.

Nicholls says:

“The money from the dividends from the GOCs is already allocated in the budget,” he said. “They can’t spend the money twice.”

But nor can he if he’s sold the damn things! Am I missing something here?

Labor is going to save hundreds of millions by rolling back taxpayer support for the Carmichael mine.

Labor is also going to merge Ergon, Energex and Powerlink, as well as combining the two electricity generators — CS Energy and Stanwell.

Mark has done a longish essay for The Guardian State of emergency: this election will show whether Queensland really is ‘different’ and a piece for The Monthly Shadowboxing.

Queensland can be different in ways that affect the whole country.

24 thoughts on “Be wary of sociopaths”

  1. Today we had the launch of the LNP campaign, wherein Newman urged voters to “just vote one”.

    Seems he can do without the second preferences of those who are inclined to vote PUP, KAP, Family First etc. or independent.

  2. Well there you go. There is a medical person who has had a close encounter with a sociopath, recognised the condition, and come away to warn others of the danger. The problem is that one needs enough direct observations to make the evaluation that some one is a sociopath. With Abbott it was fairly obvious, but Newman came out of nowhere with a far lower public profile and was parachuted into the premier’s role, so people did not get the opportunity to observe his nature. Sociopaths are are still people, but their lack of empathy and lack of connection with the “truth” makes them unsuitable as political leaders.

  3. There is so much distrust of the Foreign and Casino Owners’ Party that, in Central Queensland, the 12% you mentioned will be their maximum vote. Pity about a couple of worthy, hard-working LNP candidates; they’ll be sacrificed on the altar of sociopathic vanity.

    What’s happened to some graziers further west – though not strictly a state government matter – seems to have shocked a lot of traditional, rusted-on LNP voters so much that I myself expect them to change hands.

    BilB: Though they tend to be both inefficient and destructive in those positions, sociopaths are attracted like blowflies to the legal profession, to the armed forces and to politics. They thrive on appearing to “get things done” even if what they do causes great harm to all concerned and is completely unnecessary.

    It would take massive and very radical changes to the pre-selection processes to screen out the most florid sociopaths – sadly, the worst of the sociopaths, because of their ability to disguise their malignancy and ruthless evil, will still slip through.

  4. The real problem, GB, is that the LNP are so hungry for power that they have actively promoted 2 sociopaths to leadership positions, the worst case being Abbott as party leader and subsequently prime minister. They are so blinded by their desperation to advance their ideological ambitions that they are accepting blatant dishonesty, disregard for human situations, environmental destabilization, and demolition of scientific basis for good governance, as being acceptable compromises.

  5. I am advised that submissions close on Monday on changes to the regulations to the Resource Common Provisions Act. The government is proposing that when landowners start negotiations with a CSG company they will be on their own without legal representation.

    This is a denial of a very basic right.

    Dale Stiller as president of Property Rights Australia reckons that there is widespread abuse of rural landowners’ rights from the resource industry. The help they are getting form the LNP is inadequate, as it was from Labor.

  6. Alan Jones has paid out big time on Campbell Newman.

    As one example Newman assured Jones the the third stage on the Acland coal mine near Toowoomba would not go ahead. It did.

    It was already well-established that the Acland mine was too close to established populations and was having adverse health effects.

    Jones told radio 4BC the Newman government had an appalling track record.

    “Make no bones about it – this is as bad as anything we’ve ever seen in government in Australia anywhere,” he said.

  7. GB: Part of the problem is that sociopaths are attracted to positions of power such as party executives, “numbers men”, faction leaders etc. Real power is often out of sight and can be very nuanced.

  8. I just heard that Jones called him a bully-boy, a prostitute and a liar.

    He also said something about Gillard, a chaff bag and a part of the sea.

  9. Jumpy, Jones has an odd connection with The Greens. He coached Greens activist Drew Hutton in athletics when Jones was a teacher at Brisbane Grammar School. Hutton enlisted Jones’ support in his anti-CSG campaign. They both grew up on the Darling Downs and Jones has taken an interest in rural issues.

    I can’t stand the guy, but he has a way of getting his massage across!

  10. John D. @ 8: Thanks for that. Is another part of the problem that some sociopaths want to put on a display of their power – yet others delight in being hidden, being the power behind the throne, being the puppeteer?

    BilB @ 4: Whilst I do agree with you about the nastiness of this shower of losers and born-to-rule dunderheads – I have to disagree with you about them being ideologically driven. Unlike many conservative parties elsewhere in the world, this bunch of pompous leaners don’t seem to have much in the way of ideology. They have slogans aplenty, of course, as well as unbridled, short-term greed and arrogant gullibility in spades – but they are really short of ideology.

    One of the problems we have in Australia is that we haven’t had a strong conservative party for donkey’s years. What we have had is a bunch of bully-boys and mouthpieces for magnates (foreign as well as domestic) running around calling themselves ‘conservative’ willy-nilly without ever having to prove they are just that – and nobody in our glorious mainstream media dares ask them for proof (is there a D Notice on the topic, I wonder?). It’s no wonder so many genuine conservatives are cutting their ties with this bunch.

    Brian: My jaw dropped when I saw Alan Jones on TV. It reminded me of what was said about American TV decades ago concerning TV anchorman Walter Konkrite , “We’ve lost Alan Jones” . Thanks for the info about his interest in the darling Downs.

  11. Brian @ 13: Sorry to disagree with you but I think she – or rather the very stale back-room boys and screen-jockeys – wasted a brilliant opportunity.
    Everybody and their dog is fed up with the dreary Tweedledum-Tweedledee bickering; it’s a real vote destroying turn-off.

    Astonishing that her script-writers didn’t include an admission of past mistakes and a sincere promise that the ALP will not repeat them.
    Doing so would have dismasted the Weakling Party’s leaky old galleon so late in the election campaign that they would not have been able to give a convincing response in time – even with a colossal slush-fund and the fantastic STRONG leadership of The King Of Tunnels (here all genuflect at mention of His Strongness himself).

  12. It is important to understand that sociopath does not automatically equal power. Someone can be powerful without being a sociopath or a sociopath without ever acquiring power. For that matter there is no automatic link between sociopathy and evil. This is particularly true if we are talking in terms of an outcome based moral system. Sometimes a ruthless sociopath is what is needed to overcome a serious evil or do something that really makes a positive difference to the world.

  13. Bilb: I did read the definitions. I also noticed that the spell check wanted to change sociopathy to psychopathy. My take is that there are degrees of sociopathy. In some cases this manifests itself in the form of different behaviour towards people depending on what group they belong to. In other cases the sociopath is able to control behaviour to the extent of being able to get the support and even love of some while being an absolute B to others.
    BTW, I was thinking of Churchill as an example of the sociopath we needed at a point in history to deal with a far more extreme sociopath..

  14. John D. @ 17: Suggest that sociopaths who have produced good outcomes for all concerned are very rare indeed. Passionate, tenacious innovators who are decidedly not sociopaths are far more likely to produce good outcomes for everyone.
    b.t.w., Churchill is not universally respected – in Poland, he runs a close third place after Hitler and Stalin; after having been on the receiving end of his deceit, the Poles still think of him as an out-and-out malevolent sociopath.

  15. Zoot: There are lots of candidates for the sociopath title.
    One of the issues here is the question of who/what is considered of “deserving of moral consideration.”
    From a personal perspective I think of sociopaths as people whose boundaries for deserving of moral consideration doesn’t include everything within my boundaries.
    GB: There is the occasional innovator who can be a wee bit sociopathic in their relationship with competing peers.

  16. Brian: Statutary declaration says Seeney said that:

    climate change ‘semi-religious belief’:

    Seeney has denied he said this but

    On Thursday, Mr Seeney publicly denied he made the remark.

    Allan Sutherland, of the Moreton Bay Regional Council north of Brisbane, stated Mr Seeney made the comment during a discussion about the council’s regional plan in October. The meeting was also attended by four council officials.

    A participant in the meeting confirmed the mayor’s version of events to the ABC.

    Newmans great big asset pork barrel is getting more and more blatant. Asset sales have gone from doing something about the alleged debt crisis to paying for promises for a raft of things including cutting power prices (Until the pork barrel is empty.)

  17. John D. @ 21. Edison for starters. The other Bell was an ideas thief rather than a sociopath. Not sure about Gates.

    Brian @ 20. A drowning man clutching at any straw – as though making one area of criticism sub judice is going to stop all the other revelations and criticism. He has wrecked his own reputation unaided – so now he is keen to blow his own fortune as well: on STRONG (TM) lawyers.

    John D. @ 22: If Mr Seeney had spent more time listening to primary producers his own electorate and less time prancing-and-dancing on the world stage, he would have heard about concern over the increasing frequency of droughts, floods and unusual weather events – as well as hearing all the comforting fully-imported tea-party slogans from the claque.
    P.U.P. candidate for the same seat, John Bjelke-Petersen, seems to have one purposeful message: he is listening.

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