Dear President Trump,
Dr. Bandy Lee’s quote in the HP (article by S. V. Date) about what you’ve learned from having been acquitted gets it right:
“He, more than anyone, ‘knows’ subconsciously that the acquittal is undeserved …. He will likely act with increasing belief in unlimited power and impunity.”
Unfortunately, the article ends with this quote by Norman Ornstein from the American Enterprise Institute:
“Narcissistic sociopaths do not change, do not learn lessons.”
Ornstein is a political scientist and as such you’d think he’d have a basic grasp on learning fundamentals and would know that living beings (I almost said ‘sentient beings’ but can’t bring myself to use that label in reference to you) learn to do more of what is reinforced, whatever that might be. So yes, even narcissistic sociopaths like you learn lessons – generally not the lessons those of us with integrity and solid moral codes would have you all learn, but you do learn. You learn what you can get away with and you learn where you need to be more careful. You learn who you need to feed carrots and who you need to send veiled (or not veiled) stick-threats to promote your agenda. You learn how to time your struts and swaggers for maximal impact. You learn how and when to poke your opponents in ever more precise and diabolical ways to get the rise you want when you need it. You learn how to use dog whistles, fear mongering, and attacks on “enemies” to stir a crowd. You learn over time how to skate closer and closer up to the defensible line in the plausible deniability game. You learn how to superficially disavow those elements that do your mischievous dirty work while simultaneously sending them reinforcing winks and nods.
In short, narcissistic sociopaths like you are constantly fine-tuning their approaches in service of their egos and their quests for more power, more money, more security and whatever else it is you all so desperately want. It’s a full-time job, isn’t it? Even if it comes naturally and you don’t have to consciously attend to any of that learning, it’s still full on all the time because, as Dr. Lee points out, at some level you know you’re behaving badly, that you’re screwing others, and that just around the corner might be The Thing that finally trips you up and lands you in a NY State prison cell for the rest of your life. It’s a lot to manage, isn’t it? That looming threat hangs over you like the sword of Damocles and to keep it from chopping off your head, you’ve got to keep moving, to keep feinting and jabbing and engaging in whatever other fighting moves are apropos here.
Most of us would like to believe we’re constantly growing and learning and there’s a big push for people to become “lifelong learners.” But most of us don’t have to stay one or two steps ahead of the law or protect ourselves from complete and utter humiliation at being caught and convicted because we aren’t addicted to evil. Thus, most of us aren’t nearly as intrinsically motivated to keep learning as narcissistic sociopaths are. The bottom line is that narcissistic sociopaths who aren’t good learners (and who don’t inherit vast amounts of wealth from their father) are unlikely to make it past the age of 35.
So actually, when you say you are a “stable genius” I think you might be right – you are pretty damn genius at keeping your whole narcissistic sociopathy-thing going quite stably.
May we be safe from ever more adept narcissistic sociopaths.
May we be willing to stop enabling such people.
May we learn to anticipate and thwart such people.
May we do the above while not stooping to their level.