Plutocrats: Adulation A Must


Plutocrats are embodiments of psychopathology unchained. Plutocracy is in no way a recent phenomenon. The success of republics such as Sparta, Athens, Rome, was entirely caused by the ferocity with which they made plutocracy unconstitutional..

Similarly the beyond-Homeric war between the free poleis of Greece and fascist Persia, was fundamentally a war between democracy and plutocracy. The battle of Lepanto, between Western fleet of free men and the slaves of the Sultan, can also be viewed as a similar clash of civilization.

Democracy & Gracchi Murdered Together

Democracy & Gracchi Murdered Together

The Gracchi Brothers explained the problem thoroughly, and tried the radical remedies necessary against the fascist/plutocratic cancer that was devouring the Roman Republic. We have the same problem. And we have two major, civilization crushing examples of what will happen if we do not eliminate the criminality of hyper wealth: we will be poor, we will have to live on our knees, and our survival will be compromised.

Krugman ponders in Plutocrats Feeling Persecuted the psycho psychology of plutocrats. Well, as their name indicates,  if some ought to be psycho, that would be them, plutocrats. Let me quote Krugman’s conclusion:

“Well, I have a theory. When you have that much money, what is it you’re trying to buy by making even more? You already have the multiple big houses, the servants, the private jet. What you really want now is adulation; you want the world to bow before your success. And so the thought that people in the media, in Congress and even in the White House are saying critical things about people like you drives you wild.

It is, of course, incredibly petty. But money brings power, and thanks to surging inequality, these petty people have a lot of money. So their whining, their anger that they don’t receive universal deference, can have real political consequences. Fear the wrath of the .01 percent!”

Although I respectfully salute Krugman’s effort, and I do agree with what he relates, let me help with an abstract of my own, much more general theory.

Christ said rich individuals would find it harder to get to heavens, than a camel through the eye of a needle. Why? Plutocrats put greed, for money and power, above all other human values. Thus, they belong to hell.

Let’s be a bit more explicit: human beings, even those most reviled, and most abandoned, are born out of love. Indeed, so fragile they are that, for many years, they are completely dependent upon caregivers. If one gives care, one gives love. Thus love, not hatred, is the most basic instinct. Hence the remorse pulling plutocratic minds asunder.

The Greek “Pluto” depicted a 2,000 year old psychological complex elucidated in Mesopotamia in the religion of Ahura Mazda (later boosted by the most ancient philosopher known, Zarathustra). The ancients understood the vast entanglement of obscurity, the underground, riches, invisibility, lying and dissembling, with all other horrors of the Dark Side.

The antidote to this hell was truth and light. That, too was in the old philosophy of Zarathustra.

For plutocrats, to pose as victims is essential. They want to be adulated. Adulation allows not just to satisfy their greed, and also to increase their power (and be called “philanthropists” and thus pay no tax).

But there is more. Adulation goes beyond vanity and greed. Plutocrats do need adulation, if they just want to be.

Plutocrats know, deep inside, that they are very bad people. Once again, it has to do with the fact that the first interaction with the other is love. Even the worse plutocrats, some day, have been babies and their emotional system’s dawn was called love. Adulation allows them to rekindle vaguely that basic emotion. Love is the ultimate judge, the ultimate god.

The adulation of others, that fake love, compensate that lack of love plutocrats have for themselves, deep inside, as they know all too well that they are the bottom of the barrel of humanity.

Adulation thus allows plutocrats to feel good enough to go on with their abysmal lives. When that adulation is refused to them, only the Will to Power, greed, viciousness, the values they thrive by, are left to inhabit the universe they know. Everything is pain, torture, gloom, dissembling, impossible to ascertain.

No wonder plutocrats hate those who deprive them of it.

But their wrath goes beyond this. Plutocrats are motivated by one of humanity’s oldest instinct, that of man as the greatest enemy of… man. Where did that come from? So it has been for many million years, ever since hominids became the greatest predators.

Then, when too many men exhausted too small an ecology, the only solution was war, and extermination. Even chimpanzees live by that feeling: they go on the war path, to eliminate the chimps in the valley next door, just to make sure.

Typically plutocracy rises when a society becomes too prosperous, too numerous, too undemocratic, wealth concentrates, and fascism starts to peak. Hence the causes of its rise bring further excess, and the need to diminish all this humanity that smothers the ecology (it was no accident that the Nazis were so ecological, and so obsessed by the Lebensraum).

Hence the more power plutocrats have, the more they will use it to satisfy that instinct of destruction. It has happened many times in history.

The longevity of the Roman Republic’s democratic system is entirely attributable to its anti-plutocratic laws, which imposed a limit on the wealth of individuals. The failure of those laws brought the Republic down at the time of the Gracchi brothers. (That was known, and made explicit at the time; there was a direct shock between those, such as the Gracchi brothers, who wanted to impose the existing laws and their spirit, and the plutocrats, who wanted adulation and ever more control.)

Interestingly, the USA’s first billionaire, Carnegie, wanted taxation rates of at least 50% on the wealthiest, and close to 100% on inheritance. Thus, during the first century of its existence, the republic of the Union of the States of America had no real plutocrats. (At least none in the sense of using wealth to deflect the policy of the republic.)

Later, Theodore Roosevelt took direct measures to limit the power of the wealth of individuals on the economy (with his anti-monopoly law.)  American based plutocrats went around all this like their Roman predecessors, by going global (and Germany was the first, and most suitable, victim).

Reinstituting the Roman Republican laws limiting wealth would make the Republic viable again. And we would have to succeed where the Gracchi failed, by limiting wealth and power, globally.

Otherwise, it’s going to be all the way down, and, just as happened under the plutocracies that flourished under the Roman autocrats and in the Middle Ages. If we do not affect to love our oppressors, if we do not kneel and kiss their toes, we will feel their wrath.

Plutocracy, the rule of Pluto, is intrinsically, an insult. At some point, blossoming plutocracy makes it so that it comes to be called “aristocracy“, the rule of the best. Only then do plutocrats get the adulation they need.

There is plenty enough evidence of the sociopathy of adulation blossoming in the USA, and in Europe. The thriving austerity is not about prudent accounting: if we were truly prudent, we could easily avoid austerity by making the wealthy pay just part of the taxes they avoid.

Yet, that’s not even tried. Instead the poor and the public are made to pay for the crimes of the wealthy with austerity schemes. So what is austerity about? Unhinged hatred of the wealthy for commoners.

And this is just the beginning: in both Rome and the Middle Ages, extreme plutocracy ended with not just poverty and debasement, but also the death of most of the population, and direct causation can be demonstrated.


Patrice Ayme


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18 Responses to “Plutocrats: Adulation A Must”

  1. Tom Degan Says:

    Excellent pieces – yours and Krugman’s. We can coin a new term here and now: Socio-plutopaths. It works for me!

    Tom Degan

  2. Alexi Helligar Says:

    “We have major, civilization crushing examples of what will happen if we do not eliminate the criminality of hyper wealth: Rome, Middle Ages.”
    The Middle Ages is also known as the “Dark Ages”. Ironically, it took the “Black Death” to lift the veil of darkness and set the stage for the Renaissance, which literally means “rebirth”.

    It is possible that our modern day flirtation with plutocracy will lead to another “dark age” with a subsequent “black death” and “renaissance”. Perhaps we are already in a new “dark age”.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Well, dear Alex, I both agree and differ. I agree with your second sentence 100%.

      However, one has to be careful with the first. The “Black Death” was tied in to plutocracy: only one aristocrat or so died (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). In the rest of Europe, the death toll may have been as high as 60%. OK, let’s say it was 50%. All survivors were instantaneously twice richer. Actually workers were able to ask for much higher salaries. So the Black Death caused a renaissance of wealth.

      When did the Renaissance start? Well, in 486 CE, when imperator Clovis took control of the Roman army in Gaul. As the Franks were (still) Pagan, that meant the end of theocratic terrorcracy of the Christians. In the Seventh century the Franks outlawed slavery (1,000 years before the Americans reinstituted it). That outlawing of slavery forced tech, science, thinking, freedom, productivity, etc. UP. A succession of renaissances then unfolded… Contradicted, in the late Middle Ages by a resurgence of plutocracy and terrorizing theocracy. We are still in the tail end of this, in spite of the re-apparition of the full republic, sans slavery, in 1792…

  3. Dominique Deux Says:

    It sounds bizarre for plutocrats to seek love, adulation and warm blanket approval from the very same people they squeeze dry, spurn, insult and occasionnally kill with gay abandon.

    Yet it makes perfect sense. They are smothered in love and affection from all sides – but coming from their parasites and sycophants vying for scraps. and they know that bought love is worth nothing. For a Buffett, being loved by the slavering Sarkozys and Barrosos of the world comes with the job, but carries no satisfaction. Even the most stupid among them got the warning from their wise old moms’ very lips – “She don’t like you, she likes yer money!”

    Whereas love and applause coming from the wretch you just relieved of his last coin has great emotional value. It must mean that, obviously, you are “loved for yourself” not for your money – since you hoard your money in safe places. The illusion of being loved by the masses is no luxury, but vital for love-challenged individuals. And for it to have any value, the masses must be squelched flat and scourged bloody – their gratefulness is valued, but only if it is wholly unearned.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Excellent explanation Dominique! So now we have several explanations of why it is that plutocrats crave for adulation, Krugman’s “they have got everything else” being the simplest!
      That explains a lot of the mentalities of the likes of Stalin, Napoleon, Hitler, Clinton, etc.

  4. Alexi Helligar Says:

    Alexi Helligar Interesting analysis, Patrice. Your mark for the beginning of the Renaissance (1st Century!) differs greatly from the date given by most scholars (14th – 17th Century). Your mark renders the scholarly meaning of the “Dark Ages” (6th – 13th Century) meaningless. The Black Death peaked around 1350CE. To my thinking, the consequences of the Black Death, which you cited, helped drive the Renaissance. Certainly, the outlawing of slavery (especially in England and the USA) helped drive the Industrial Revolution. The Greeks might have had an Industrial Revolution back in the time of Hero of Alexandria had they not been addicted to slavery.

    It would be great to see your source for the degree of impact of plague on the aristocracy.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Alex: I trace the turn-around to the FIFTH century. By 400 CE the NW Roman empire was a government of bishops… when the Franks took total control (they had partial control since 400 CE), theocracy was out. Thus the Renaissance was PHILOSOPHICALLY DRIVEN. I say.

      Major tech advances: beans (yes, beans): 10 C. G, Caroligian script and German by 800 CE, giant draft horses by 8C, massive iron architecture by 1150 CE (Frankish style, insulted as “Gothic in 16C), hydraulic presses, then gravity clocks (all 17C mechanics therein) by 1200 CE, etc. Mechanization was extreme, with thousands of wind and water mills per province… Aristocrats did not get the plague because they stayed away from rats and crowds. I literally don’t know the name of one aristo that died from the Plague. Buridan had invented the principle of inertia (“Newton First”!!!!), graphs, heliocentric system, etc. by the time the Plague struck…

      Putting the “Dark Ages” AFTER the collapse of the Roman imperial state allows to exonerate fascism, imperialism, and Christian terror from the civilizational collapse. That’s why those who are paid for this sort of propaganda did so.

      Yet, considered on objective indicators (total population, military might, oecumenism, religious tolerance, inclusivity), the Imperium Francorum (486 CE-800 CE) was clearly an upswing, culminating in the official re-establishment of the Roman empire in 800 CE.

  5. Patrice Ayme Says:

    Alexi Helligar Like I said, a very interesting view point as always!

  6. Michael Fenichel Says:

    Hi Patrice,

    Followed the Krugman>Patrice posts with interest, as a social scientist, psychologist, and history/politics watcher. I certainly agree that there are historical examples of self-serving ‘me-me-me’ plutocrats, billionaires, and egos who would have their names and likenesses carved into Mt. Rushmore and engraved in our Cheerios! (And currency.)

    Spending my life observing and working with ‘narcissists’, ‘sociopaths’, and power-lovers (including clients), I mostly – but not completely – agree with the role of ‘adoration’, though I see the central feature (in pure ‘sociopaths’) as that of ‘entitlement’, and what others would surely call greed and callousness among the already-super-wealthy. They feel smarter, better, more deserving.

    I think you hit on an interesting dynamic, at a core personality level, that of transitioning from complete dependence as an infant to a learning machine taught values and noticing what ‘the good life’ entails. Envy &/or entitlement. Not every super-powerful (aka ‘successful’) plutocrat is oriented towards adoration, despite the many notable examples otherwise in entertainment and business. If you are the ‘king’ of economic circles, with politicians coming to beg, and owning bully pulpits like newspapers and talk radio/TV, it’s easy to get a ‘puffed up ego’ from all that ‘success’, be it with admiration, fear, or the power of all their corporate-people dollars.

    There are narcissists that are not ‘sociopathic’ but just hungry for adoration, fame, or power. But the ‘true sociopath’ who is successful at it, may think s/he is superior to everyone else to begin with, making it just a fun game to manipulate, charm, bully, connive, whatever, in order to get what is ‘rightfully theirs’. Others deserve what they get, as does the sociopath (in his/her mind). And there are for-hire yes-men, people in awe of all that money/wealth, and some who are smiling at all their ‘influence’ while others are focused on me-me-me, more-more-more, in evil or pathological ways more than ‘psycho’ (a term reserved this century for Alfred Hitchcock and antiquated notions of ‘mental illness’). These guys are not crazy, they are busy scheming and feeding the machine, which in turns ‘adores them back’ by handing them the keys to Congress. Evil, greedy, sociopathic, maybe even a bit delusional given their ‘master-of-the-universe’ sense of owning it all and being invincible. Not ‘psycho’, just twisted in a dangerous way for our once-shared country. No cognizance of “We the People”. IMHO. 🙂

    Problem is, although Congress enjoys the ‘platinum healthcare’ at taxpayer expense (all the while fighting to keep access and benefits for themselves while yanking them from us), there’s little interest there in mental health, as should be obvious. The only interest is in reaction to daily massacres, in which case mental health is targeted as the problem. (Funding services, however…. ‘fuggedabout it’)

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Hello Michael, and welcome to the comments! Your long comment is thought-provoking, and provoked in me several thoughts at first read, so I hope you come back often! I need quality critique and commentary to help me out, and extirpate me from my torpor…

      One thought that came to me, reading you, is the difference between individuals and the systems of thought and moods they feed. Plutocrats are individual, plutocracies are systems of thought and moods. Those thoughts and moods are vastly amplified and leveraged, depending upon the exact nature of the polis they live in.

      For example Sparta, superficially a double headed monarchy, could also be viewed as a ferociously anti-plutocratic republic (although it ended down on the payroll of the super plutocracy of Achaeminid Persia!

      Thus plutocracies do not reduce to the class of plutocrats. Plutocracies are set-up by all sorts of classes of individuals, circumstances, institutions, and traditions. That means plutocracy, and plutocrats, can capture a state, even though individual plutocrats do not look that powerful, or that psychopathic.

      So the fact that Buffet and Gates don’t look psychopathic does not mean their influence is not psychopathic. Quite the opposite: the more innocuous plutocrats look, the worse it is. If Stalin had been known as “the big ogre of the Peoples”, he would have been overthrown (by the Politburo or Marshal Joukov). Instead he was the “Little Father of the Peoples”… a depiction quite opposite to the psychopathic and sociopathic influences of the worst kind, the mass murdering kind, he truly had. But a completely misleading description that enabled those influences to proceeed under cover.

  7. George Says:

    It’s common sense that people who are denied love as infants tend to submerge that life-long need to “obtain”, the history of “great men” and achievers is riddled with parental disaster. Worse still, the systematic and earliest training of the most elite almost always includes substitute mothering, rigid interpersonal rules, early exile from the family unit – usually rationalized as education – and other nurturing deprivations. Hence the very rich train their offspring to stay that way, very rich. Childhood issues of the most malign sort are the fuel for their anti-human, materialistic, and, being core to the infant, insatiable drive. That’s the proximate cause of the plutocrat’s psychopathy. Looking for an adult analysis for this illness will be interesting, figurative and literary, but weak tea compared to the true origin of the disease.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      George: Wellcome to the comments! Yes, I agree with you that the Rich always made sure their offspring would be like them. Since ever the aristocrats trained their children to be as nasty as themselves (or as good as themselves, the way they saw it!)

      What I was talking about was, intrinsically to explain Christ’s hard line on the rich (OK, I don’t even believe Christ existed… most probably; but the myth of Christ sure exists). How simply being a big time pluto makes one craving for appreciation, adulation, adoration… a supplementary factor in their madness…

  8. Ken Says:

    I enjoyed this post. Thank for the time you have spent 🙂

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Thanks Ken! Plutocracy is all about deviant psychology, and there is a bit more to say on this subject, as Dominique, Michael and George pointed out… we need to know our enemy…

  9. Our broken ways. | Learning from Dogs Says:

    […] Ayme has a parallel essay over at his […]

  10. Truth, Justice, Sanity and Brotherhood. | Learning from Dogs Says:

    […] Ayme has a parallel essay on this […]

  11. JMcG Says:

    Nobody honest would deny that greed is one of the most important “drivers” in technology development, nor that amassing huge amounts of cash, often much more than is really needed to run the business well, is what tech companies habitually do.

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