The inmates are running the asylum

EriK RushWND

© 2011

I don't think I would have lasted very long during the American slave era. I probably would've gone Nat Turner on everyone and fallen in a hail of musket fire. Slavery is generally justified for largely economic reasons, but it does play to the baser nature of the slaver: the ability to hold sway over another. Psychological professionals have long since come to the conclusion that the compulsive need to control others is in fact a psycho-emotional defect. Many possess this to varying degrees, but some are wholly obsessed; the controlling boyfriend, the psycho boss – quite a few of those with whom we find ourselves at odds on a day-to-day basis have control issues, as it were.

The idea of one's self-worth being determined via controlling others is primally revolting to me. Perhaps this makes me the quintessential American, because there is very little that angers me more than that usurping of another's personal liberty. Whether it is the pathologically controlling spouse, or the supervisor whose life sucks so bad that he is not happy unless he's making someone feel less than – it is difficult to find other significantly redeeming qualities in such people.

Author M. Scott Peck is best-known for his 1978 book, "The Road Less Traveled," but in 1998, he published another called "People of the Lie." In this book, he encapsulated the presence of evil in individuals in one trait: narcissism. Although I'm not a psychologist, I have studied the work of those who are and know that a great deal of the difficulties we currently face in America have their genesis in narcissism and the deliberate cultivation of same within people in our society.

In the days before moral relativity reared its ugly head, it was a simple matter for people to discern why those who cruelly wielded power over others did so: They were evil, period. Since good and evil have become relative, the motivation for someone wishing to stultify our liberties, confiscate the fruits of our labor and devalue our lives remains largely unexplored.

Another baser trait that's part of human nature is indolence, or laziness. Our founders understood how tenuous liberty and freedom can be, as do people who have lived in oppressive regimes, but like the Israelites of the Old Testament, Americans quickly grew comfortable in their relative peace and prosperity.

Read more: The inmates are running the asylum