Elizabeth Mika posits that the process through which the tyrant gains popularity and power usually baffles the outside observers and historians looking at it from the perspective of time, as its main ingredient, narcissism, somehow remains invisible to both participants and observers.
The tyrant's narcissism is the main attractor of his followers, who project their hopes and dreams onto him. Through the process of identification, the tyrant's followers absorb his omnipotence and glory and imagine themselves as powerful as he is, the winners in the game of life. This identification heals the followers' narcissistic wounds, but also tends to shut down their reason and conscience, allowing them to engage in immoral and criminal behaviors with a sense of impunity engendered by this identification. Without the support of his narcissistic followers, who see in the tyrant a reflection and vindication of their long-nursed dreams of glory, the tyrant would remain a middling nobody.
The interplay of grandiose hopes and expectations between the tyrant-in-the-making and his supporters that suffuses him with power and helps propel him to a position of political authority is an example of narcissistic collusion: a meshing of mutually compatible narcissistic needs. The people see in him their long-awaited savior and a father substitute, hinting at the narcissistic abuse implicated in the authoritarian upbringing that demands obedience and worship of the all-powerful parental figure. In their faith and unquestioning admiration, he in turn receives a ready line of narcissistic supply, thousands of mirrors reflecting his greatness.
We're in Ames, Iowa, the last stop on our year-long national listening tour. We'll be talking with Iowans about the way ahead for America.
Tom Ashbrook broadcasts Friday morning, November 10, 2017, from Ames, Iowa on Iowa Public Radio. He is joined by a panel of Iowans, speaking about the political and cultural climate in Iowa. (Christopher Gannon/Iowa State University)
This show always travels. This year, we’ve traveled a lot. After Donald Trump’s election to the presidency, we wanted to get as close as we could to hear what people in communities around this country were saying about our politics and shared lives now. About where the country stands. Where it’s headed. We’ve called it our national listening tour, and today is our final stop. Ames, Iowa – in the state where it will all start up again. This hour, On Point: We are in Iowa. Paying attention. Listening. --Tom Ashbrook
Cheryl Johnson, farmer.
John Scheppler, owner of Orning Glass.
Marlu Abarca, bilingual services assistant at the Des Moines Public Library and marketing and community outreach specialist for Hola America Media.
Jill Niswander, director of communications and development at Ethnic Minorities of Burma Advocacy and Resource Center.
Tom Ashbrook broadcasts Friday morning, November 10, 2017, from Ames, Iowa on Iowa Public Radio. (Christopher Gannon/Iowa State University)
This program aired on November 10, 2017. http://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2017/11/09/on-point-listens-from-iowa-t...
The tyrant makes many good-sounding--but also openly unrealistic, bordering on delusional--promises to his supporters, and usually has no intention or ability to fulfill most of them (if any). He holds his supporters in contempt, as he does "weaker" human beings in general, and uses them only as props in his domination- and adulation-oriented schemes.
The Paradise Papers keep delivering. A trove of leaked documents on the world’s elite. The commerce secretary. Apple. More. We’ll dive in.
The massive leak of offshore financial records called the Paradise Papers is causing heartburn in super-rich circles this week. Billions and billions of dollars stashed in tax havens, brought to light. Some strange bedfellows, too. The Queen of England is in there. And Madonna. Bono. But also the US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, with lucrative ties to Vladimir Putin’s circle. Apple, with a huge stash abroad. This hour, On Point: troubling ties and tax avoidance revealed in the Paradise Papers. --Tom Ashbrook
International Consortium Of Investigative Journalists: Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross Benefits From Ties To Putin's Inner ... — "U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross Jr. has a stake in a shipping firm that receives millions of dollars a year in revenue from a company whose key owners include Russian President Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law and a Russian tycoon sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department as a member of Putin’s inner circle."
New York Times: After A Tax Crackdown, Apple Found New Shelter For Its Profits — "Apple has accumulated more than $128 billion in profits offshore, and probably much more, that is untaxed by the United States and hardly touched by any other country. Nearly all of that was made over the past decade. The previously undisclosed story of Apple’s search for a new tax haven and its use of Jersey is among the findings emerging from a cache of secret corporate records from Appleby, a Bermuda-based law firm that caters to businesses and the wealthy elite."
BBC: Apple's Secret Tax Bolthole Revealed — "The world's most profitable firm has a secretive new structure that would enable it to continue avoiding billions in taxes, the Paradise Papers show. They reveal how Apple sidestepped a 2013 crackdown on its controversial Irish tax practices by actively shopping around for a tax haven. It then moved the firm holding most of its untaxed offshore cash, now $252bn, to the Channel Island of Jersey."
New York Times: Kremlin Cash Behind Billionaire's Twitter And Facebook Investments — "Behind Mr. Milner’s investments in Facebook and Twitter were hundreds of millions of dollars from the Kremlin. Obscured by a maze of offshore shell companies, the Twitter investment was backed by VTB, a Russian state-controlled bank often used for politically strategic deals."
This program aired on November 8, 2017. http://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2017/11/07/paradise-papers-roil-the-wor...
The narcissistic collusion between the tyrant and his supporters is also driven by the latter's need for revenge, for the tyrant is always chosen to perform this psychically restorative function: to avenge the humiliations (narcissistic wounds) of his followers and punish those who inflict them.
Narcissistic wounds often date to the supporters' personal ancient past and more often than not are perceived rather than real, the choice of the object of this vengeful punishment is not based on reality. Rather, it is based on the displacement and projection characteristic of the scapegoating process that becomes an inextricable part of the narcissistic collusion between the tyrant and his followers.
The tyrant and his followers typically choose as vessels for their negative projections and aggression the members of society who are not just different but weaker. The tyrant fuels the aggression in order to solidify his power but also to deflect it from himself, shield his own narcissism, and repair his own narcissistic injuries dating to his childhood. The figure of narcissistic parental abuser/tyrant is protected through the scapegoating and the return to the authoritarian, order-and obedience-based mode of social functioning promised by the tyrant, as he himself assumes the mantle of father-protector and directs his own and his supporters' aggression onto the Others, who have nothing to do with those supporters' real and perceived wounds.
The tyrant's own narcissism hints at the level of woundedness in his supporters. The greater their narcissistic injury, the more grandiose the leader require to repair it. While his grandiosity appears grotesque to non-narcissistic people who do not share his agenda, to his followers he represents all their denied and thwarted greatness, which now, under his rule, will finally flourish.
Narcissism is blind to itself.
The natural consequence of scapegoating that stems from the projections of the narcissist's devalued parts of himself is dehumanization of the Others, which then justifies all kinds of atrocities perpetrated on them. The ease with which this attitude spreads in narcissistic groups is frightening, and indicative of a narcissistic rage that fuels it, a rage focused on purging, psychically and physically, all that is weak and undesirable from the narcissists' inner and external worlds.
That rage, along with dreams of glory, is what makes the bond between the tyrant and his followers so strong that it remains impervious to reality. It also makes the tyrant's rule easier, as he does not have to exert himself much to infect his followers with contempt for the dehumanized Other and incite aggression against them. In fact, the tyrant's permission for such aggression appears to be a large part of his appeal to his blood-and revenge-thirsty followers.
Once we dehumanize the Others and imbue them with a murderous motivation directed at us, we can easily rationalize any act of violence we perpetrate upon them as self-defense.
It must be noted that the tyrant's supporters and especially sycophants within his closest circle tend to share his character defect. The sycophantic echo chamber around the tyrant magnifies but also hides his pathology. His surrogates usually serve as ego substitutes to his rampaging id, and are responsible for introducing and implementing his destructive plans in ways that would seem rational and acceptable to the public.