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Leadership is a Form of Mental Illness - Scott Adams' Blog

Leadership is a Form of Mental Illness

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I will now present my case that leadership is a form of mental illness. To begin, let’s divide the leaders of the world into two groups: friends and enemies. Please forgive me for taking a U.S.A.-centric approach in this argument, as it is just for simplicity.

In Exhibit One, we note that the leaders of countries we consider enemies are undeniably bat-spit crazy.

Kim Jong-il: crazy midget

Ahmadiniejad: crazy holocaust denier

Khadafy: designs his own hats

The list of crazy enemy leaders is long:  Hitler, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Hussein, Stalin, Khomeini, and so on. I would be willing to bet that you have never heard anyone describe the leader of an enemy country as level-headed, as in “He wants to kill or enslave everyone I love. He seems like a reasonable guy.”

The leaders I named are quite obviously psychopaths and nut-bags. That’s exactly what made them dangerous enough to be enemies.  But it is worth noting that the people who have been led by those psychopaths and nut-bags probably thought the leaders of the United States were, at various times, pathological liars, astrology followers, and end-timers.

I think the evidence is clear: The leaders of enemy countries are always crazy. And logically, since every national leader is someone’s enemy, all national leaders are crazy. The only exception to the rule is the leader of neutral Switzerland, who is actually a refrigerated chocolate rabbit.

Sometimes you think the leader of your own country is crazy, especially when that leader is not a member of your own political party. Take President Obama, for example.  He’s a radical Islamic sleeper cell terrorist who plans to destroy the United States by expanding health care coverage. That guy is frickin’ nuts.

For this discussion, I think it is useful to consider the grey area – our frenemies, such as Karzai in Afghanistan. He designs his own hats, which is a big red flag for crazy. But because he’s allegedly on our side, we don’t call him crazy. We say he’s a snappy dresser.

Here’s a little test that you can try at home: Design your own special type of hat and wear it all the time. See if the people who already hate you say you are crazy or well-dressed.

Let’s talk about corporate leaders. A CEO has something called a “vision.” That is a view of the future that is not supported by evidence. Coincidentally, that’s a fairly standard definition of insanity. A CEO can sometimes be faking insanity, by lying about having a vision, so sorting the delusional nuts from the plain-old pathological liars can be problematic. Sometimes a CEO gets it right, when reality coincidentally turns into something a lot like his vision. But being right once in a while doesn’t mean you’re psychic. It just means there are a lot of blindfolded monkeys throwing a lot of darts and one of them killed a stranger carrying a bag of money.

The primary function of a CEO is hurting other people, specifically the stockholders and employees of competing companies. He wants to take their market share, their wealth, and their happiness. And a CEO isn’t too affectionate with his vendors and employees either. Psychologists will tell you that one test to see if you are dealing with a future serial killer is his willingness to hurt animals without remorse.  I’m not saying CEO’s are that bad. But let me ask you this: When you need someone to feed your cat, or watch your dog while you’re on vacation, do you ever consider asking a CEO?