Ah, me. I have just read Doddson’s letter to the Prime Minister in full. Every few seconds I found the corners of my mouth turning upwards, then drooping in dismay. Because, truthfully, I am sad to see a man of Davíd Oddsson’s stature sink to this level. Whatever dignity he once possessed has been completely eradicated by the events of the last few days and, finally, by that lengthy tirade. He’s foaming at the mouth, completely livid with rage, because … what? Because the new Prime Minister chose to inform the Icelandic public, the vast majority of who want Doddson gone from the Central Bank, of the progress of events? He throws a bloody tantrum because his wife didn’t open a letter that everyone knows was just a formality? I mean, come on – the entire nation, including Doddson himself, knew exactly what was in that letter and what Jóhanna planned to do the moment she took office.
There is much talk these days of whether all this is fair, whether Davíd Oddsson is being made into a scapegoat, whether he is the subject of a witch hunt, etc. Which is SO not the point and only proves that, once again, Doddsson has managed to cast himself in the central role – and it is entirely through his unwillingness to lay aside his own narcissistic pride and step aside. It is not about Oddsson, is the point – it is about restoring credibility to the Central Bank, and building trust in the bank amongst the Icelandic nation and amongst other nations. In most other civilized countries, the head of a Central Bank would have resigned immediately under similar circumstances. Not here. Instead we have a seriously deranged individual who plans to fight tooth and nail in order to deflect all blame from himself.
In the last few days, this whole Doddsson affair has reminded me of a passage I read many years ago and which I go back to often. It’s from a book called Further Along the Road Less Travelled by M. Scott Peck, and in this particular passage he is talking about narcissists, whom he calls “people of the lie”. His use of the word “evil” may upset some; however I think it is important to keep in mind what Peck’s small daughter said to him, and which for him defined the meaning of the word: “Evil is live spelled backwards”.
The evil are very strong-willed men and women. And because they are narcissistic, self-absorbed and their will is supreme, they are the ones who are most into inappropriate and destructive blaming. They are the people who cannot – who will not – take the beam out of their own eye.
For most of us, if there is evidence around us that might point to our own sin and imprefection, if that evidence pushes us up against the wall, we usually come to recognize that something is wrong and we make some kind of self-correction. Those who do not I call “people of the lie” because one of their distinguishing characteristics is their ability to lie to themselves, as well as to others, and to insist on being ignorant of their own faults or wrongdoing. Their guiding motive is to feel good about themselves, at all costs, at all times, no matter what evidence there may be that points to their sin or imprefection. Rather than using it to make some kind of self-correction, they will instead – often at great expense of energy – set about trying to exterminate the evidence. They will use all the power at their disposal to impose their wills onto someone else in order to protect their own sick selves.*
To hear Doddson tell it, he is absolutely blameless in his part in Iceland’s economic collapse. However, the evidence speaks for itself. Also, a letter has been making the rounds today [the one Gummi linked to in the comments to the last post] that illustrates just how far Doddsson is unable to take the beam out of his own eye. In 1996, when he was Prime Minister, he wrote the following letter to the Director of Landsbanki, after the latter had been caught out spending too much of the bank’s money on salmon fishing trips for himself and his friends [NB this was before the bank was privatized].
Doddson: … if you don’t fix the inanity of the latest interest rate debacle, it is final proof that you don’t know what you are doing and I will see to it, sooner than anyone suspects, that men take positions in the bank that know what they are doing. I want an answer from you immediately, other than retorts in the media, because I will no longer be still.
And this is a man bemoaning the fact that the current PM is issuing “veiled threats” in her letter to him. Oh, the irony!!
One last thing: he makes one credible point in that letter, and that is that the Social Democrats were also in power during the lead-up to the collapse, and did nothing to avert it. Very true – and I suspect many of them are hanging their heads in shame. This is also why they shoved Jóhanna out front to be Prime Minister [her excellent political record notwithstanding] – because if there is anyone in their ranks that can be trusted, it is she. In fact, ex-PM Geir H. Haarde once joked that there were three parties in the coalition – the IP, the SDA, and Jóhanna. Because she held her own and was such a tough negotiator. Still, that does not make them blameless – however, in my view, the current form of interim government is the best possible option at present [a national government was out of the question, and the former coalition was paralyzed] – they have 80 days to prove what they can do, and then we will hold elections.
Weather: pretty much same as in last post. Two posts in one day! And I didn’t even get to the really juicy gossip about the President and the First Lady …
* Further Along the Road Less Travelled, M. Scott Peck, Simon & Schuster, p. 38.