A Short History of Human Error by Oliver Thomson

By Oliver Thomson

This can be a candid, occasionally debatable learn of the mental or different flaws of political, spiritual and fiscal leaders from precedent days to the current day: from Rameses II to Colonel Gaddafi, from Genghis Khan to Stalin and Hitler, from Buddha or Saint Paul to Martin Luther or Ron Hubbard, from bipolar, insecure, asthmatic or sex-addicted presidents to alcoholic top ministers, mad kings, overweight emperors and kleptomaniac dictators. among their fans we discover psychopathic police chiefs, homosexual generals, crazed philosophers, epileptic prophets and ludomaniac company- males. we glance at how the minor character issues and illnesses of the few have led usually to huge distress for the numerous. with no slavish adherence to the newest psychiatric models the writer makes use of at the least a few of these ideas to assist examine the anti-social behaviour qualities of leaders previous and current and to evaluate the measure to which their psychological or actual country contributed to many of the world's worst man-made failures: wars, genocides, famines, persecutions, enslavements and recessions. We think of the questions: what number thousands died as the Archangel Gabriel supposedly looked as if it would either the Virgin Mary and Mohammed? what number thousands died simply because Napoleon used to be bullied in school, simply because Hitler did not get into the Vienna Academy, simply because Stalin had an alcoholic father or simply because Mao suffered from consciousness deficit hyperactivity ailment? ' it's not reasonable that the lives of thousands rely on the judgement of a guy whose brain is warped by means of arteriosclerosis.' C.MacLaurin,1925 'Civilization as we all know it really is mostly the construction of psychopaths' Clinton Callaghan

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Tax farming was a feature of France until 1790 and similarly created a class of super-rich contractors, as was also the case in Russia till 1862, Ottoman Turkey, Mogul India and Qing China. Particularly profitable in regions like Russia were taxes on alcohol or later tobacco where addiction drove the takings upwards. Business men exploiting fluctuations in supply and demand to drive down wages or the costs of raw materials are a natural facet of capitalism but equally a variant form of kleptomania.

We should remember that many of the damaging personality flaws of the men and women we are looking at did not develop until late in their careers and in many cases may have been the result of the stresses to which they exposed themselves or the role models they copied. Most of those later described as 'mad' or 'bad' had simply, as Acton put it so memorably, been corrupted by power of one kind or another. So pleas for diminished responsibility are largely irrelevant and clearly many great so-called heroes of the past would be indicted as war criminals including at least half a dozen English kings and several heroes of the Old Testament.

Mao Tse Tung (1893-1976 see also under Paranoia,ADHD,etc ) during the Cultural Revolution of 1966 exploited the fact that the teenage members of his Red Guard were invading numerous middle class homes to encourage them to steal cash, jewellery and other family heirlooms some of which he used to prop up the government's ailing finances, but a lot also for the personal wealth of himself, his wife and a few chosen colleagues. The word kleptocracy was coined to describe the number of recent leaders mainly in third world countries who used power as a means of amassing huge wealth,most of it usually placed in secret bank accounts in Switzerland.

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