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Friday, December 13, 2019

Sociopath alert: Elizabeth Warren

When Elizabeth Warren's claims of Indian ancestry first became public in 2012, I found her subterfuge funny -- if mildly despicable -- and even wrote two posts to that effect, here and here. At the time, I figured it was it was just a one off, a single fib that she had felt obliged to defend, and which then took on an embarrassing life of its own. 

At the time it didn't occur to me that Warren might be a sociopath because she seems such an unlikely one: her cherubic cheeks, tremulous voice, and slight build are the opposite of threatening. But I shouldn't have been swayed by such superficialities. 

Sociopaths come in all sorts of guises, even genteel lady academic.

Since 2012, Warren's behavior and character have become more public. A closer look at her overall slipperiness shows that her most famous lie wasn't an anomaly, but part of a pattern.

Most people, when caught in a lie, are, at the very least, a little embarrassed. Not Warren. Rather than admit to her most famous lie, just kept brazenly going with it. She commissioned a DNA test (not from an established DNA service but from a friendly colleague). When it revealed that she was somewhere between 1/256th and 1/1024th Native American, she insisted this proved her right. 

Those tiny fractions might make an interesting tidbit for a cocktail party conversation; they certainly don't justify categorizing oneself as Native American. But Warren had actually listed herself that way during her stints at both Penn and Harvard law schools. (Harvard Law School actually advertised her as their first tenured "woman of color" on their faculty during the 1990's, an era in which the school was under pressure for not having a more diverse faculty.)

Warren claimed that her academic career had never benefitted at all from her having claimed minority status. (But why else would she have done it?) 

She got a number of people from Harvard and Penn to back up her claim that she hadn't been an affirmative action hire. But what academic in his right mind would ever publicly admit that a certain professor wouldn't have been hired if he hadn't been a minority? Any university spokesman knows such honesty would result in instant termination. (Warren obviously counted on this.)

It also turned out that Warren had contributed two recipes to a "Pow Wow Chow" Indian cookbook. She claimed that these recipes, one of which included crab with tomato mayonnaise dressing, had been in her family for generations. But then it was discovered that she had stolen these recipes from French chef Pierre Franey.

When Trump mocked Warren's dishonesty by referring to her as Pocohontas, she responded by saying that Trump was using a racial slur and insulting all Native Americans. But this was obviously not the case: he was merely mocking her for claiming to be something she is not. Twisting the truth this way is a sociopathic specialty.

Warren also said that Trump "likes to call my mother a liar." But Trump has never referred to Warren's mother: he simply calls Warren a liar. (Warren's mother never gained professional advantage by claiming to be Native American.) But Warren knows that she will come across as if she is nobly defending her family (and motherhood) by phrasing it that way. Again, twisting the truth.

Warren's "apology" for her big lie was a masterpiece of obfuscation"I'm not a tribal citizen. My apology is an apology for not having been more sensitive about tribal citizenship and tribal sovereignty. I really want to underline the point, tribes and only tribes determine tribal citizenship." 

In other words, by claiming to be Native American, she didn't actually lie -- you see, it was just a little matter of misinterpretation, of emphasis, of sensitivity, of semantics. That's all.

This is the kind of word-parsing that's reminiscent of Bill Clinton's lawyerly evasions about what the meaning of "is" is. Or of Wendy Davis saying "My language should be tighter. I'm learning about using broader, looser language. I need to be more focused on the detail."

Sociopaths almost never admit to dishonesty; they just try to wriggle out on technicalities.

More recently it emerged that Warren's claims of having been fired from her first teaching job because she was pregnant were untrue. 

Warren has campaigned against school vouchers and against charter schools. Three weeks ago in Atlanta a woman said to Warren that she wanted her children to have the option of where to go to schools, just as Warren's had. Warren replied, "My children went to public schools." 

Technically, that's true: her daughter attended public schools, and her son attended public school through junior high. But after that, he was sent to a private school which cost $17,000 a year. So Warren's reply was disingenuous, at best. 

When Warren announced her candidacy from her kitchen, she said, "I'm gonna get me a beer" and then drank it from the bottle to show she's just a regular down home gal. But she's about as much of a regular gal as she is an Indian. 

You can say that a certain amount of posturing is unavoidable with a political candidacy. After all, kissing babies and trying different cuisines has long been a staple of campaigns. And getting elected usually requires pandering to different constituencies. But pretending to be something you're not is the essence of sociopathy.

And that seems to be second nature with Warren.

Warren was a Republican until she was 47. There's nothing wrong with that; people are allowed to change their minds. But her justifications for her switch simply don't ring true. She says now that she used to be a Republican because they seemed to be the party which supported the markets, but that she no longer thinks so. But Republicans are still more supportive of markets; in fact, they are still frequently criticized for being supportive of the financial asset-owning classes at the expense of the poor. Warren's reason for switching parties is simply not credible. 

Look at this picture of Warren closely. What you see is not an expression of sympathy, but rather an attempt to mimic one. 

The only genuine emotion showing on Warren's face is the pride she feels for looking so "sympathetic." One of the hallmarks of sociopathy is a fake emotionality.

I find it impossible to imagine Warren feeling embarrassed, or ashamed, or guilty because of her lies. If she were capable of those emotions, she wouldn't continue to lie the way she does. And that is the essence of sociopathy. 

Verdict: a well-disguised sociopath.


Anonymous said...

Trump is a sociopath. No disguise can hide his pathology. The fact that you do not recognize Trump as a sociopath illustrates your own political bias. Trump is also dumb.

John Craig said...

Anon --
I'm going to write a post about this at some point. I agree that Trump isn't all that smart. But if he were a sociopath, he'd be better at hiding his narcissism, and his ugly side. And he'd lie about who he is, which he really doesn't. His attitude is more like, here I am, warts and all, and if you don't like it, fuck you. That's now how most sociopaths come across. Most of them, especially the ones in politics, pretend to be caring, and giving, and noble, and dignified. Trump doesn't bother with any of those things.

He's an extreme narcissist. But that's not the same thing as being a sociopath.

BTW, I'm not averse to pointing out Republicans as sociopaths when I see them. I've written about Newt Gingrich, Joe Arpaio, and Carly Fiorina in that regard.

Anonymous said...

Extreme narcissism. Not regular old narcissism. Pathological lying. Not just regular old lying. By themselves, and by your own definition of a sociopath, he is a sociopath. Your repeated deflections of his sociopathy is a pattern that just doesn't hold water.

Basically you say that Trump is too transparent to be a sociopath. But remember- Trump is a dummy. But the more likely explanation is that Trump could care less if he is a sociopath. He has gotten everything he has wanted so why should he care if he is "considered" a sociopath. That's for the peons to worry about, not him.

Just call a spade a spade!

John Craig said...

Anon --
I'm actually writing a fairly long post (in which I quote you) which explains him right now. It'll be up sometime in the next couple days. I'm not quite saying he's too transparent to be a sociopath, I'm saying he doesn't pretend to be something he's not, which is a little different.

And I've actually said (in the post I'm working on) that he's extremely narcissistic. You'll see.

Anonymous said...

Let me save you the trouble. Trump is extremely narcissistic and he is a sociopath.
BTW, he is a vile man.

John Craig said...

Anon --
Your opinion has been registered.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you regarding Elizabeth Warren. The whole Indian heritage lie, using it to her benefit herself, speaks plenty about her. She disguises herself as just a liberal Democrat. Elizabeth is a NWO Globalist politician. The Democratic group of politicians running for President typically refer to our nation as a Democracy, deliberately failing to mention that the USA is a Constitutional Republic. Their goal is to shred the Constitution and national borders, creating a One World Government, also known as the NWO. In the end, whatever they throw at us, Jesus wins.

- Conservative Woman

John Craig said...

Conservative Woman --
It sounds as if you're partly basing your judgment of Warren's sociopathy on her political stances. (I'm not; I'm just basing it on her personality.)

There's plenty of room for honest disagreement about politics without it necessarily meaning that one side or the other has an identifiable syndrome (though I personally find the intersection of politics and personality fascinating).

Anonymous said...

Trump is a brilliant man, or at least was. If you see interviews from the mid 80s it is very clear that is the case. Trump himself admits he gets 4 and at most 5 hours of sleep a night. Being chronically sleep deprived is terrible for complex intellectual speech and analysis. That’s why he speaks his mind and is blunt because he doesn’t have the capacity to be deliberate and calculating. His deal making and negotiating prowess in the 1980s were tremendous and then by 2000s he did very well in golf courses but nothing revolutionary. Sleep deprived or not, he is right about the biggest issues more than anyone else with credibility. Everything Trump says aside from supporting the war on drugs and police state is right on the money.

John Craig said...

Anon --
I'd say what Trump has is common sense more than brilliance. /a friend sent the following via email earlier today, which I completely agree with:

The most remarkable thing to me about the Trump era is how the anti-Trump hysteria has obscured even more the basic common sense which Trump has in abundance, whatever you think of him and his policy efforts.
- get out of the Mid East and Afghanistan
- stop uncontrolled illegal immigration on the Southern Border
- have a strong economy
- bring jobs back to the US
- don't do stupid things based on climate hysteria
- ask (rich) allies to pick up more of the tab for THEIR OWN defense
- make some common sense improvements to the healthcare system, like price transparency and drug cost reduction

In any other era/country wouldn't this be a unifying policy platform??? But the entrenched interests of both parties have us instead fighting the endless culture wars and protecting vested interests of the corporate-military-healthcare-uberlobby complex.

Anonymous said...

I based her sociopathy on her personality, not her politics. If someone has a habit of lying, that's a red flag to me. Not being embarrassed or having no shame over their deceit is another red flag.

- Conservative Woman

John Craig said...

Conservative Woman --
Okay, in that case we agree completely. Warren does seem to be without the capacity for embarrassment.

Dave Moriarty said...

at first i was prone to state that the worst person for the country to have as its next president would be Elizabeth Warren. But upon further review Liz takes the second seed behind Hillary.

Bernie was the original democrat way out on the left so far maps were needed to find him. Bernie ran as Santa Claus with wall street paying for everything because Bernie understands business so well he figured biz can pony up for everyone to sit around and get free education health care loans wiped out and snacks to eat while sitting home unemployed watching home shopping network. But now Lizze camped out further than Bernie and figures business should be non profit ( pharmaceuticals an banks) . The good news is "the people" will s be sensible and vote in a manner as they did in England and reject socialism and abandonment of meritocracy. The whole angle of the is to wipe out meritocracy and replace it with "inclusion." If this were a movie the title would be "Revenge of the Mediocre."

John Craig said...

Dave --
Yes,the Democrats got into a race to the left early on, and they basically haven't recovered, which is partly why the polls have been tilting in Trump's favor. (The impeachment also seems to be helping his popularity, especially with the swing vote.)

The real problem is going to be further down the road when the demographics change both in the UK and here, and the socialists start getting elected to national office. It's easy to be optimistic at the moment about 2020, less easy to be optimistic about 2036.

GT said...

Well She went for it... Warren attended the Native American Caucus meeting at the DNC. about tone deaf - It's like Rosie Ruiz hosting a marathon running clinic

John Craig said...

GT --
Ha! Good analogy with Rosie Ruiz. it took a lot of gall for Warren to show up, but she's never lacked for that particular quality.

I'm afraid these internet chatroom cancellations are the wave of the future. I was disappointed -- but not surprised -- when Yahoo stopped allowing comments after their articles. They are a left wing news service and virtually all of their articles are written with a transparent slant. Most of the most popular comments would always point this out, often in witty ways. So, of course......