[Paleopsych] psychopathic leaders

Lynn D. Johnson, Ph.D. ljohnson at solution-consulting.com
Sun Nov 27 23:05:19 UTC 2005

An ongoing thread in this group, psychopathic leaders. I have long 
believed such psychopaths more attracted to politics (esp. the left) 
than business where they are more likely to be weeded out. Anyway, a 
local story about a new book:


Historians delve into Mao's evil

*By Dennis Lythgoe <http://deseretnews.com/dn/staff/card/1,1228,95,00.html>*
Deseret Morning News
Although it is doubtful that most Chinese citizens will ever learn about 
it, Mao Tse Tung may have been even more vicious than Adolf Hitler and 
Joseph Stalin in his determination to kill his own people. From the time 
he conquered China in 1949, Mao caused the deaths of more than 70 
million Chinese in peacetime.
Lisa Weiss
So claim two historians, Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, who have published 
a magnum opus, "Mao: The Unknown Story."
During a conference call from California, the authors expressed pride in 
finishing what they are not shy to call the definitive work on Mao's life.
Chang is a native of China, having been a Red Guard briefly at the age 
of 14, and then he was a peasant, a "barefoot doctor," a steelworker and 
an electrician before becoming a university lecturer. Her previous book, 
a more personal one about life under Mao, is called "Wild Swans."
Halliday, a Russian historian formerly on the faculty of King's College, 
University of London, has written or edited several books, including a 
biography of filmmaker Douglas Sirk.
Chang and Halliday are married, and their talents complement each other. 
She dealt with all the Chinese sources, while Halliday speaks six 
languages and is fluent in Russian. So "95 percent" of what he 
contributed to the book came from Russian sources.
Mao was "worse than Stalin two ways," Halliday said. "Whereas Stalin 
used elites to torment or torture people in secret, Mao pushed torture 
into the public domain to terrorize the whole population. So most people 
saw his atrocities. He got the larger part of the population to 
participate in the torture. Mao brutalized the society more than Stalin. 
He also threatened people's private lives — with respect to sex and 
information, especially — more than Stalin did. In terms of fear and 
horror, life for the Chinese was more horrific than for Russians under 
Lisa Weiss
Jon Halliday and Jung Chang are authors of "Mao: The Unknown Story."
In addition, Chang asserts that "Mao destroyed more culture in China 
than Stalin did in Russia. Mao criticized Stalin for allowing the 
classics to be read. Books were burned in China on a large scale. I grew 
up in China and we had virtually nothing to read. The only thing we 
could read were the quotations of Chairman Mao."
Halliday said that it was clear early on that Mao had ambitions to lead 
the entire world. "Most people don't know the extent to which Mao 
destroyed the visible signs of Chinese culture — the walls, the city 
gates and numerous monuments — so that the cities look completely 
different. Mao wanted to destroy everything that was old. In doing so, 
he cut modern China off from its past. He visually brutalized the 
landscape of China."
Chang added that "in the so-called 'leap forward,' Mao bought nuclear 
technology from Russia and Eastern Europe at the expense of the 
starvation and overwork of his own people. He imported huge industrial 
products and used food to purchase it, leaving his people to die. He 
wanted China to be a military superpower so he could himself dominate 
the world."
And how does the current Chinese regime deal with Mao's considerable 
legacy? In Chang's view, current Chinese leaders "choose to perpetuate 
the myth of Mao, in part to enforce their own legitimacy. Chinese 
leaders have made it an offense to criticize Mao. The Chinese banned my 
first book, and they are banning this one as well. People may only read 
things praising Mao. The generation growing up today have no idea what 
Mao was like."
Chang is now immersed in the translation of "Mao" into Chinese. It will 
be published next year by a Taiwan publisher. "Many people in China have 
heard about this book," said Chang, "and some will find ways to read it. 
As the truth about Mao trickles into China, pressure will build to 
reject Mao and his legacies, many of which still dominate the country."
Although Mao was never known for charismatic leadership, he may not have 
needed it. Halliday said: "He never had to run for election or consult 
with the people. When he came to power, there was no uprising. Mao had 
the skills to operate in a room with a few people who would turn out the 
vote. He hardly ever appeared in public. Most people never heard his voice."
On the other hand, Mao was also haunted by fear, causing him to build an 
enormous security network, including numerous guards, underground 
tunnels and bomb-proof shelters. Halliday said: "He was a fanatic — he 
knew that there were people who wanted to kill him."
It is essentially unknown in the West that Mao wrote poetry, "very good 
poetry," in Chang's opinion, "until he took power, then the quality went 
downhill. He lost his flair. But he was educated in the Chinese 
tradition, in which poetry played an important role."
That doesn't mean Mao would have become a great thinker had he not 
chosen government, Halliday said. "When you examine his statements 
philosophically, they were pretty empty. If you ask people to provide 
one good idea Mao had, most would have a hard time coming up with anything."
While one of Mao's most important means of control was the use of 
torture, Chang said, "He depended on terror and torture. He gave 
instructions about how to apply torture and when to stop it. He said if 
you stop it too early, it defeats its purposes. But it you apply it too 
late, the subject might be dead. Mao was a torture /artist/."

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