Politics / Uncategorized

5 Ways to Build a Destroyer

I have a Workplace/Domestic Issues column through the examiner.com. Here’s an article I just published, that is suitable to include on my Angry (American) Birds blog. http://www.examiner.com/article/5-ways-to-build-a-destroyer

5 Ways to Build a Destroyer     ~Aimee Fant

If you want to build a good and decent human-being or an ethical business model from the ground-up, there are many well-traveled roads that can probably take you there.

This is what most parents want for their children. This is what most of us want in our business dealings, too.

You could implement the strategies of Jean PiagetErik Erikson, Carl Jung, Dr. Spock, or Abraham Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs”.  You could probably pick up just about any parenting book, read parenting blogs, or ask pastors and teachers for some solid advice, if you want to build a good kid, that is.

The Wicked Witch of the West
The Wicked Witch of the West
      Photo credit:

With regard to ethical business practices, you could follow the advice of entrepreneurial gurus and thought leaders on Linkedin, You could consider Nobel-Award winning economist Milton Friedman’s business ethics ideas on disciplined capitalism for the collective greater good, or in contrast, read “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand to reflect upon the economic and liberty rights of the individual entrepreneur through principles of objectivism.

But if you want to build a destroyer, you may want to pay close attention.

Housed within the many books, screenplays, and film adaptations written or inspired by L. Frank Baum’s “The Wizard of Oz” is the idea that Wicked Witch of the West was not always wicked.  After all, that kind of wickedness does not just materialize on its own, even in fiction. Her name was Theodora and her descent into madness was cultivated by heartbreak and was coaxed by the lies of her sister Evanora: the Witch of the East.

The story of  “Oz the Great and Poweful” -a box office success set to return to theaters July 29th-31st as a $3 dollar AMC summer cinema feature boasts an ironic title. The story is not so much about the upward movement of protagonist Oscar Diggs – An opportunistic magician who develops the capacity for moral growth and later becomes “The Wizard of Oz” as it tells the parallel story of a downward spiral and how a tiger got its stripes; How Theodora became so wicked.

“Star Wars”Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader much the same way in “Epidsode III: Rise of the Sith”

But that is fiction.

If you want to make a destroyer of someone or something, here are 5 ways to do it:

1.      Lie. Lie. Lie. Lie to them. Lie to others in front of them.  Lie to others about them (to cover up for them or to throw them under the bus).  Don’t keep your word to your family members, friends, employees or investors, deliberately.  Model dishonest and unethical behavior. No matter the lie-big or small, just keep lying. But do it a lot.

2.      Hurt and manipulate them, and others in front of them, and never apologize or take accountability for it. Or if you really want to soup this one up, say: “I’m sorry that you felt you were hurt by (insert-whatever hurtful thing you did to them-here.)” Blame them for your destructive behavior. Even better, blame others they’ve hurt for their destructive behavior toward victims of their destruction.

3.      Treat their mom/dad, pets, things they love, etc. very poorly, in front of them.  “Show no mercy.” Cobra Kai -style. OR on the other hand give blatant and chronic preferential treatment to their siblings, while treating them very poorly. Even better, give them preferential treatment that was not justly earned, and see how that works out for them down the road when they become entitled, and believe they are above the law.

4.      Enable them over and over again. Or feed their delusions of grandeur. Even better, look the other way when they hurt others, and make sure you invalidate those they have hurt. (See definition of an invalidator)

5.      Never, ever teach them (or demonstrate) empathy. Be that belligerent win-at-all-costs-even-if-it-means-cheating, hyper-competitive parent with supremely poor sportsmanship at the ____field.  In business, be a vulture capitalist that buys out and liquidates the assets of companies that are circling the drain for your own benefit. Better yet, develop a Ponzi scheme.

You could get on-board with the Koch brothers‘ (arguably America’s economic asian carp) efforts to begin hydraulic fracking and polluting American communities, turning tap-water flammable (David Letterman had some words for this practice) for continued astronomical profit margins.  You could then condemn those communities for “whining” about it, in another exercise in rejecting empathy.

Now sit back and watch your work come back to you like a boomerang.

Someday it will.

Cultivating traits of the  “Dark Triad”

Machiavellianism Psychopathy and Narcissism

The “Dark Triad” is a sociopathic combination, psychologists say is the most difficult to manage, in our relationships, in the workplace or any environment, with the exception of the professions that thrive upon and sometimes require the underpinnings of sociopathology and the ability to behave unethically with a warm smile. Discussed in Forbes, is the idea that there is an unsettling link between the propensity toward dark triad traits and some largely successful business leaders. In the Scientific American, Kevin Dutton discusses the parallels between political ideologues and psychopathy.  To learn more about these connections, read about political ponerology. However, before we begin throwing sociopath diagnoses around, it is important to note that as we learn healthy boundaries, grow and develop- we all weigh emotional currency or leverage against whatever we are attempting to access avoid. Most of us sort it all out eventually through trial and error. Some don’t.

Here is a quick behavioral/personality test, courtesy of Psychology Today-June 2013-edition and scoring chart to measure Dark Triad traits in your interpersonal, professional-macro/micro relationships:

1. I tend to manipulate others to get my way. 2. I tend to lack remorse. 3. I tend to want others to admire me. 4. I tend to be unconcerned with the morality of my actions. 5. I have used deceit or lied to get my way. 6. I tend to be callous or insensitive. 7. I have used flattery to get my way. 8. I tend to seek prestige or status. 9. I tend to be cynical. 10. I tend to exploit others toward my own end. 11. I tend to expect special favors from others. 12. I want others to pay attention to me.

The total score can range from 12 to 84, but you can also break down the scales into the three traits as follows: Machiavellianism= 1, 5, 7, 10; Psychopathy= 2, 4, 6, 9; Narcissism= 3, 8, 11, 12.

If we are modeling these behaviors for our children and those who learn from us, maybe we should stop it. Perhaps we should stop building destroyers, now- so that we don’t have to spend so much time fighting them, later.

“Beware that, when fighting monsters, you- yourself do not become a monster… for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you.”-― Friedrich Nietzsche

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