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April 29 2011

An interview with Jerrold Post in Budapest | Hungarian Spectrum - 2011-04-28

[...]

Péter Zentai of HVG had a fascinating interview with Jerrold Post a couple of days ago. The Hungarian journalist wanted to know whether there is a general portrait of dictators that is independent of time and space.

Post answered in the affirmative. "The psyche of all dictators, terrorist leaders, mafia chiefs has four essential components. The first is a messianic belief in their own destiny. The second is a type of paranoia. The dictator-types blame others for their smallest failures and are constantly trying to find or create enemies. The third is a limited conscience and hence a lack of inhibition that often originates in problems that weren't handled in childhood. And fourth is an uncanny ability to influence and possess the mind and soul of people in their closest circle."

When Zentai inquired about the intelligence level of these dictator-types, Post's answer was that there are some who are clever or intelligent and some who are not, but "almost all of them are half-educated." All dictators believe that their pronouncements are terribly important, while listening to them from the outside one can see the inner contradictions and outright stupidities. Their penchant for creating enemies can also be found in their public speeches where at the center of their ire is their or their country's enemies. Their attitude toward "these enemies" becomes obvious not only in words but also in gestures. For example, they often make their visitors wait or they arrive late for an important meeting only to show who is boss.

[...]

 

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