Dark Tetrad

The GOP Gun Policy Reveals the Dark Tetrad Personality Characteristics at Work

Responding to mass shootings has gotten old and worn thin, hasn’t it? We seem only to repeat ourselves no matter which side you’re on. The biggest problem is that the talking points of the other side:

  • Harden schools
  • Arm teachers
  • Mental health
  • Loose morals
  • Broken families
  • They’re coming for your guns.
  • A good guy with a gun

have insulated the rank and vile MAGA voter from any kind of reasoned argument about gun reform laws. The GQP politicians, their media allies, and their funders purposefully promote these bogus arguments to keep their base misinformed, agitated, and convinced they are right. They’ve proven repeatedly that Hitler’s propaganda techniques work. You can keep a significant percentage of people from reality by using them. In this case about 25% of the US population is drowning in this bullshit, convinced that it is necessary for 30,000 + Americans have to die every year for the Second Amendment and that guns have to be the leading cause of death for children in order to be free.

We know that these politicians media outlets do it for the money. They’re paid to repeat this crap and make these arguments, and they do.

Pro-Gun = Pro-Death, Injury, and Misery

The question that leaves me scratching my ass is why. Why would anyone so steadfastly advocate for so obvious a bankrupt position that only results in more violent deaths and injury? They want us to believe more guns will produce less gun violence, but they produce more. Don’t take my word for it. Here’s a solid review of the research from Scientific American that demonstrates that more guns produce more crime, injuries, and death. Let’s quote three paragraphs from the article:

First, one demonstrating the misguided or deliberately misguiding rhetoric of pro-gun politicians:

After the Uvalde killings, the attorney general of Texas, Ken Paxton, said he’d “rather have law-abiding citizens armed and trained so that they can respond when something like this happens.” Sen. Ted Cruz emphasized “armed law enforcement on the campus.” They are two of many conservatives who see more guns as the key to fighting gun crime. They are wrong.

The Science Is Clear: Gun Control Saves Lives

Second, one demonstrating how damaging guns actually are:

The science is abundantly clear: More guns do not stop crime. Guns kill more children each year than auto accidents. More children die by gunfire in a year than on-duty police officers and active military members. Guns are a public health crisis, just like COVID, and in this, we are failing our children, over and over again.

The Science Is Clear: Gun Control Saves Lives

And last, one agreeing with Ye Olde Blogge’s analysis from way back in June 2016 that treating guns like we do cars would do the same thing for gun deaths and injuries that we’ve done for car deaths and injuries, namely reduce them! So, uh, gold star for Ye Olde Blogge, right?

In the U.S., we have existing infrastructure that we could easily emulate to make gun use safer: the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Created by Congress in 1970, this federal agency is tasked, among other things, with helping us drive a car safely. It gathers data on automobile deaths. It’s the agency that monitors and studies seat belt usage. While we track firearm-related deaths, no such safety-driven agency exists for gun use.

The Science Is Clear: Gun Control Saves Lives

Seriously, it is clear that guns are the problem, right? The evidence is overwhelming for anyone willing to look at it. The logic is airtight for anyone willing to think about it. And, the morality is consistent with the whole Judeo-Christian-Humanitarian ethos that we in the West purport to live by.

So, why the fuck do right wing politicians sell themselves to the gun lobby, lie about guns and gun safety, and allow tens of thousands of us to die violent painful preventable deaths every year? It can’t just be the money or else the more Democrats than just Manchin would be barking the NRA’s talking points.

The Dark Tetrad

It’s personality. As Adam Schiff said in his book, Midnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still Could, when he was a federal prosecutor during the Cold War, they would look for people who had a certain set of personality characteristics as being corruptible. These were people who had loose morals, who were willing to break the law or rules or norms in one area because they’d be willing to bend the rules in others. These were people with poor judgement or lacked discipline and would get themselves into trouble financially. These were people who put their own interests above those of the country, their profession, the institution they worked for.

These folks had a substantial number of the dark tetrad personality characteristics. They were narcissistic, psychopathic, Machiavellian, or sadistic or had heaping helpings of all four baked into their personalities. None of these personality types puts anyone’s interests before their own and all of them are willing to bend or break rules, laws, and morays. In short, they are compromisable, buyable, corruptible.

The rise of the Ol’ Pussy Grabber has brought all these folks out from under the refrigerator and cabinetry even when the lights are on! The Republican Party is chock-a-block full of them now, and they are all grabbing at the non-corrupting dark money free speech being thrown their way be all those corporations-as-people that John Roberts thinks is okay.

Nowhere is this as clear as in the reaction to the Uvalde elementary school mass shooting. Here, let’s consider.

The esteemed governor of Texas, Greg Abbott has blamed the numerous mass shootings in his state on a mental health crisis and mental health services not being provided to “the community.” If he really believed this, you’d think he’d be rushing to provide these services. Instead, he famously slashed the Depart of Health and Human Services budget by $211 million dollars last year so that it could fund his political border stunts. He refuses to expand Medicaid even though it is the nation’s largest provider of mental health services, and it won’t cost the state under the Affordable Care Act. And, the Mental Health America ranks Texas last in access to mental health services. He has actively hurt Texans mental health by failing to improve access to treatment and services.

In addition, he’s made guns easier to access by lowering the age that guns can be purchased at and approving unlicensed concealed carry.

The hypocrisy is staggering. The lying is blatant. It reflects his total lack of empathy for his constituents and his willingness to manipulate them emotionally to secure political support, even though what he is doing is literally killing, injuring, and maiming people.

Let’s see how this type of behavior compares to the descriptions of the dark tetrad cluster of personality traits. Here is the brief description of each from The Coming Psychopathocracy: How the Dark Tetrad has taken over the Republican Party and a comment on how Abbott’s advocacy for more gun violence, pain, and death stacks up.

  • Psychopathy is characterized by a callous disregard for the well-being of others, an inability to feel empathy or guilt.
    • Can anyone doubt that Abbott and the other politicians and media figures who are actively preventing gun safety legislation and spreading lies about the causes of gun violence are callously disregarding the well-being of others? Can anyone doubt that they don’t feel any empathy the dead, injured, and grieved or any guilt for the pain and suffering they directly cause? It isn’t that they don’t know. It is plainly evident that these policies cause gun violence.
  • Machiavellianism is the willingness to use deception and manipulation to achieve your goals without regard to the harms they may cause on others. These people frequently use ends justify the means type reasoning.
    • After listening to Abbott lie about mental health being the cause, you can only conclude that he is using this deliberate deception to manipulate the electorate.
  • Narcissism is the overwhelming concern for one’s own self, needs, and well-being without acknowledging the needs of others or understanding that they exist.
    • Clearly Abbott is driven by the belief that the most important thing in this whole entire world is that he hold political office and continue his ascension in politics. He has no concern — how can anyone be willing to condemn over 30,000 people to death every year if they are not only concerned with themselves? Obviously, this is the result of narcissism.
  • Sadism is the enjoyment of pain in others this can be physical or psychological pain, it can large amounts of pain or minor discomforts that people feel.
    • If Abbott et al. aren’t enjoying the pain and suffering that guns cause us, they are at least enjoying owning the libs by deliberately defying common sense and increasing their own income and that of the merchants of death.

One of the clearest example of the consciousness of guilt that “conservative” politicians and media types have is Ted “Why Just An American Problem?” Cruz being chased around a reception line unable to explain why mass shootings seem to be an American phenomenon that the rest of the world has managed to avoid. From the opening of a smug Cruz hamming it up for the cameras by his version of sorrow that he learned from the Mitt Romney School of Authentic Emotion to him looking the reporter firmly and bravely in the eye and accusing him not liking American exceptionalism to him walking quickly away and studiously ignoring the repeated question, Why is it just an American problem?

The dark tetrad personality types are uniquely suited to corruption. They are so well positioned that those who need corrupt politicians and other professionals go looking for them. They know their morals are lax, and they are willing to break the law for their own gain. Of course, once the pay-to-play favors get rolling, there is enough kompromat to keep them on the hook if any motivation other than payola is needed. Unfortunately, it is as simple as that. Maybe we could start a GoFundMe and buy the Republican Party back from the NRA and their Russian masters.

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Manly Hands” by cole24 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

11 replies »

  1. Add to all that the slightly veiled (but increasingly proudly proclaimed by the militia types and mass shooters) assertion that all those guns and more will be needed for the inevitable Race War or Civil War.

    A fine analysis of the tetrad enabling a twisting of logic, deliberate ignoring of history, grammar, and semantics to redefine a single phrase, there is this: https://repository.uchastings.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2086&context=hastings_constitutional_law_quaterly

    Liked by 1 person

    • Howdy Bob!

      Thanks for the article. It was a good read. Essentially, Alito and the conservative court just ran roughshod over their originalist rhetoric and went straight to the, it means whatever we say it means edict. Very illuminating. Good thing we know that money doesn’t corrupt otherwise I might have to think that the NRA had bought Supreme Court justices as early as 2006.


      Liked by 1 person

      • I knew you’d like it. The far right has been selling the notion that the 2nd grants a virtually unrestricted personal right to own and carry guns wherever and whenever, and is about being able to “resist tyranny”. Alito and company simply lopped off the subject half of a sentence to make it so. I had some English teachers who would have had their red pens all over that opinion, and history proffs as well. They went one step beyond what they accuse the Court of having done with Roe to create a right. Originalists and Textualists, my ass!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Howdy Bob!

          There is an arrogance and narcissism at work on the far right. They don’t feel like they need to be restricted by fairplay or to even mean what they say or say what they mean. It is quintessential authoritarianism. The law is what I say it is. It just pisses me off. They have abandoned any semblance of democracy or self-government.


          Liked by 1 person

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