A Short History of Human Error by Oliver Thomson

By Oliver Thomson

It is a candid, occasionally debatable examine of the mental or different flaws of political, non secular and monetary 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 enterprise- males. we glance at how the minor character problems and illnesses of the few have led usually to massive distress for the various. with out slavish adherence to the most recent psychiatric models the writer makes use of not less than a few of these thoughts to aid examine the anti-social behaviour features of leaders earlier 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 contemplate the questions: what number hundreds of thousands died as the Archangel Gabriel supposedly looked as if it would either the Virgin Mary and Mohammed? what number hundreds of thousands died simply because Napoleon was once 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 awareness deficit hyperactivity disease? ' it's not reasonable that the lives of hundreds of thousands rely on the judgement of a guy whose brain is warped through arteriosclerosis.' C.MacLaurin,1925 'Civilization as we all know it's mostly the production of psychopaths' Clinton Callaghan

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Cecil Rhodes (1853-1902 - see also under Sex) combined his creation of a hugely profitable diamond monopoly with an obsession for empire- building. All these men tended to be generous in giving a portion of their huge wealth to charities, but did not reduce their level of stealing. In the Soviet Union one of the classic scams was the so-called 'Cotton Scandal' of Uzbekistan, masterminded by Sharof Rashidov (1917-83) who falsified cotton production figures for years so that Moscow cash could be syphoned off to Samarkand.

In the Roman Empire debasements occurred quite frequently to support its huge military budget. The Emperor Caracalla (188-217)did it by 25% thus reducing the wealth or income of his people by a quarter to help him give a wage increase to the Praetorian Guards and pay for his new baths. Philip IV of France in 1295 diluted his double florin or masse d'or with copper, one of the early medieval examples of bimetallic debasement, a popular method for governments to rob their subjects. The Burgundians funded their wars in this way.

The huge size of his statue at Abu Simbl is a clear indication of megalomania especially when it is noted that he is larger than the nearby gods (see also next chapter). When Persia became the next superpower round about 600BC it too fed its treasury at Susa with looted gold from Egypt and elsewhere which was in turn stolen by Alexander the Great in 331 BC, probably one of the largest single hauls in history. A century or so later it was the turn of the Romans, a people whose only route to progress was by robbery, who began stealing gold from Spain around 220BC and Julius Caesar bought his way to power by looting huge quantities of gold from his conquest of Gaul.

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