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View Diary: Has anyone looked at you like this before? (142 comments)

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  •  A very small % of humans are born "bad" -- (0+ / 0-)

    my scientific term for a very small subset of the 2-4% of sociopaths in the population. Most sociopathic people can be socialized well enough to function in general society. But these bad-to-the-bone people, from the outset, are recognizably abnormal, they never relate to parents and others the way almost all other babies do, they exhibit no capacity for empathy and little or no conscience development, are especially interested in manipulating others and/or causing others distress, and once they become mobile parents must take extreme care to protect other children and pets from them.

    But while I suspect Hitler and Goebbels would have tested as decided sociopathic, I doubt they were of the "bad" subset (most of the latter cannot tolerate military discipline, school study, etc.). The key to their twisted personalities lies the way in which they were raised. For decades, European publishers would not touch any biography of Hitler that included accounts of his father's extraordinary, relentless, mind-bending cruelty because it was thought that readers might feel sympathy for this monster of monsters. Humiliation-based childrearing practices of the day were appallingly ignorant, draconian, and physically and mentally brutal, and often sexually intrusive.

    •  The Hitler who was tormented by his father wasn't (0+ / 0-)

      the person who murdered millions. When Hitler was a child, he wasn't evil. As he developed in adulthood, he made choices that were evil and by making those choices became our modern embodiment of evil. But he wasn't born evil.

      •  We don't know his temperament and proclivities (0+ / 0-)

        when he was born. But when a child is beaten so constantly and brutally that he develops the capacity to turn off the pain (and has the conscious memory of turning it off), he has developed a capacity that can be used for enormous evil. And he wasn't just "tormented" by his father, he was systematically tortured, physically and psychologically.

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