Many democracies have encouraged their citizens to behave like narcissists, for two reasons: Most of our leaders are narcissists, and capitalism rewards narcissists in particular and sociopaths in general. This is not good – the narcissists-in-charge care only about themselves, not us or the nation. And a narcissistic nation will tear itself apart, as we are doing.
Most of us have had the…experience of living with, working with, or otherwise being in close contact with a sociopath, though we may not have known it. I had the fortune to deal with some ‘challenging’ characters in work and personal life, and I learned a few things – some of them the hard way. (I have anonymized these people so they don’t have an excuse to sue me.)
And at the rate we’re going, our time will be up soon! Think the climate emergency is a huge threat? It certainly is. Plastic pollution? Slowly poisoning us. Ocean acidification? Killing not only the fish we eat but the plankton that make the very oxygen we breathe. Putin’s wars? Russia’s and China’s espionage and cyber warfare and suborning of African countries?
In case you don’t know what a narcissist is, they are people who care only about themselves and their life revolves around self-glorification. They have “an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others.”
In case you don’t know who Dr Bonnie Henry is, she is the provincial health official who has been guiding Canada’s province of British Columbia (BC) through the pandemic. And she has displayed troubling, tell-tale signs of pathological narcissism.
Narcissism is not simply excessive vanity or arrogance. It goes much deeper and is very dangerous, because narcissists will gladly sacrifice other people for their own glory. Henry has exhibited some strong signs of narcissism. She published a book on the pandemic shortly after it started. She has a line of wines. And most importantly, she has repeatedly relied on her own mind rather than science or what is actually happening around the world with COVID. Oh, and she has lied publicly, repeatedly, and shamelessly.
Have a sense of entitlement and require constant, excessive admiration
Expect to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
Exaggerate achievements and talents
Be preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
Believe they are superior and can only associate with equally special people
Monopolize conversations and belittle or look down on people they perceive as inferior
Expect special favors and unquestioning compliance with their expectations
Take advantage of others to get what they want
Have an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
Be envious of others and believe others envy them
Behave in an arrogant or haughty manner, coming across as conceited, boastful and pretentious
Insist on having the best of everything — for instance, the best car or office
Does Henry display some of these? Indeed she does. She seems to operate in her own world. She has lied, repeatedly, aided by a corrupt government and fawning media. This is a Twitter thread entitled Henry vs Henry by Tom Jackman. He shows Bonnie Henry flip-flopping and lying repeatedly on masks and clearly seems to believe “that “strong” people like her shouldn’t need to wear anything but a cloth mask.”
The Stone Cold Ignorance of Bonnie Henry
Henry is so awful at accepting science and reality that a very prominent epidemiologist gave her his “award for the worst health official of the 2021 pandemic response.” Dr Eric Feigl-Ding went on to say that Bonnie Henry won the ‘award’ because she’s “the anti-mask & airborne-ignorant & kids-COVID-dismissing health chief of British Columbia—Dr Bonnie Henry. There were many award finalists—but it’s hard to top her stone cold ignorance.”
But if Henry is ignorant it is because she has chosen to ignore all the science about COVID. Dr. Feigl-Ding rips apart Henry’s insanity in a Twitter thread:
1) Chief Health Officer of British Columbia @DrBonnieHenry, is caught on camera **ENDORSING NO MASKS**—giving a [peace] sign to fan shouting “no mask”. She didn’t flinch one bit. Dr Henry notoriously downplays masks.
2) This behavior of @DrBonnieHenry is inexcusable. Yet Dr Henry has constantly downplayed and frequently lies on camera claiming “no way did we ever say it’s not appropriate” to wear masks… well, roll tape.
3) Still not convinced that B.C. health chief is anti-mask? A longer video of her “no mask” selfie shows her smiling and chuckling with her “no mask” fans.
Henry is not an honest person, clearly. But wait, there’s more from Dr Feigl-Ding. One of Henry’s many fans attempted to defend her, but the good doctor had the receipts:
I’ve seen literally 2-3 dozen Bonnie Henry video clips and press conferences. She has consistently denied airborne, denied kids need to mask, denied masks over and over, denied the need to worry about variants, constantly spread downplaying misinfo too.
It’s no surprise how someone like this becomes a health official in a country like Canada, which is very corporate: Henry is doing what government/industry want. (In fact, a case could be made that Henry’s boss, Premier John Horgan is some type of sociopath himself. Following many deaths due to a heat dome that his government did literally nothing about, he said that “fatalities are a part of life.”)
Canadian mainstream media is also very corporate-friendly, same as billionaire-owned media everywhere. You don’t see very many editorials calling for higher taxes on the rich, for example, or to renationalize one of the telcos in our oligopoly. However, some reporters are still honest and trying to expose the truth. Here’s Salim Jiwa on Bonnie Henry:
I cannot disagree with your assessment of BC PHO. Dr. David Fisman and I’ve had the same assessment of Henry. Failure to accept masking for 8 months, denial of airborne transmission, failure to protect children, not acting until cases rise through the roof. She’s a disaster.
She’s a narcissist – a type of sociopath. Everything they touch dies.
This reveals an even bigger problem than having a lethal narcissist as a Health Officer: a complicit media. With a few exceptions like Mr Jiwa, the media has been less than worthless. They have been spreading untruths as if they were gospel. If the media had been calling Henry and the government early on, as they should have, Henry would have been unmasked as a fakir before she could cause the deaths of so many.
This week, the premier of the province, Horgan, actually advised those who feel vulnerable from the lifting of provincial mask mandates to carry hand sanitizer with them.
It was a remarkably stupid comment in light of all we’ve learned from scientists over the past two years…. But was Horgan ridiculed in the pages of newspapers or on talk shows or on Global B.C. News or CBC for advertising his ignorance in this way?
Canadian media is routinely tagged with #CdnMediaFailed on Twitter, and it’s not hard to see why. Most of it is as corporate as the government. Putting the failure of billionaire-owned media aside, Bonnie Henry is still in place and is still killing and disabling people. Of course we’d all like COVID to be over or mild, but it is neither.
BC had 2,600 excess deaths in 2021, meaning that many more people died in 2021 than prior years. Only 1,200 were put down to COVID. BC has one of the worst reputations in North America for concealing data. “Dozens dead, hundreds infected, but health authorities fight to conceal B.C. hospital outbreak findings,” reads the headline by Penny DaFlos, another of the rare honest reporters in BC.
Fraser Health fought a months-long battle with a freedom of information request, ultimately resulting in 79 pages of written documentation, of which 55 pages’ worth were redacted.
This is not an honest government or health authority. The have lied their way through the pandemic, supported by Bonnie Henry all the way. Henry, meanwhile, is picking up awards all across Canada for…appearing to do a good job. Here she accepts an honourary doctorate, unmasked:
You’ll note that everyone else is masked, because there is a mandatory mask order in place. Henry ignores it because she’s just that special – she’s a narcissist. As Max Wright on Twitter put it:
The fact BC’s Public Health Officer accepted an award totally unmasked, while everyone around her was under a mask protection order 1: unlawful 2: disrespectful 3: as per @LaceyLaceyp ‘no interest in protecting herself and others’
(As an aside, degrees from this university should be viewed with suspicion.) Based on her behaviour and my strong suspicion that she is a narcissist, Henry isn’t interested “in protecting herself and others” because she believes that a) COVID is mild, like a cold, and b) the strong and worthy will survive. This is not unique to Henry – every narcissist in power believes it. Look at the actions of Johnson in the U.K., Bolsonaro in Brazil, or Trump in the USA. All are narcissists and COVID minimizers who treat COVID as a test of character.
The BC government has heaped awards on her, likely to feed her narcissism and keep her on track. It’s getting ridiculous, really. “It’s a day that ends in “-day,” which means it’s time for [the BC government] to give Dr. Bonnie Henry yet another award before the pandemic is really over. This time, the Medal of Good Citizenship.”
Bonnie Henry has made any number of flat-out wrong statements during the pandemic. They were obviously wrong, proven so by scientists and/or by other areas of the world being battered by COVID. She ignored everything she didn’t want to hear, and still does. She will not and cannot change, because she is a narcissist – her brain is what it is.
Narcissists never end well. As CEOs of corporations, they must eventually be removed or they’ll tank the company. Elon Musk is in the process of doing this with Tesla. Narcissists surround themselves with sycophants and Yes-people. Loyalty is far more important that competence, and this inevitably leads to the downfall of the narcissist and the organization.
Bonnie Henry and the BC NDP will not be well-regarded in the not-so-distant future. Many more people died and were disabled than needed to because of their narcissistic arrogance. All these awards heaped on Henry will be seen for what they are: attempts to conceal the failure of the system itself while preserving the privilege of the elites on top. They are the equivalent of the statues we are now tearing down because they were put up for people who did great evil.
If you still don’t believe that Bonnie Henry is an evil narcissist, consider this latest news: Henry announced that there was minimal danger of COVID transmission between kids in school. This is such an obvious lie it’s hard to believe she wasn’t laughed out of office, but welcome to the pathocracy. The thing is, she knew this to be false because she was conducting a study on transmission in schools which showed that kids catch COVID in school (duh) while lying that it did not. Normally there is an ethics analysis to ensure studies are ethical, for example not experimenting on children without their or their parent’s knowledge or consent. Bonnie Henry waived the ethics requirement.
I’ll close with a classic example of narcissistic nonsense. This occurs when a narcissist, caught up in their own brilliance, says something that is incredibly, obviously nonsensical. Trump is famous for his meaningless word salads. Here’s a sample from stone cold ignorant Bonnie Henry, courtesy @frozen:
“If a virus infects a tree in the forest and if nobody goes to hospital, that’s where we need to be.”
Apr 6: The Slow-motion Flip-flop, Phase 1. She finally admitted silent spread was real and that masks could help prevent it but explicitly refused to recommend them…
Apr 13: Her story changed: asymptomatic testing does work after all, but “the false negative rate can be as high as 30%.” That’s how she justified refusing to mass test after an LTC outbreak had begun. Catching 0% of the infected was apparently better than catching 70% of them.
May 21: Slow-motion Flip-flop Phase 2. Mask use is “something that people can consider, and we would recommend in certain situations…where you may not be able to control your distance.” Clearly Henry does not believe COVID is airborne, despite piles of evidence to the contrary – never mind the Precautionary Principle that should have been her default.
July 6: Henry rules out airborne transmission, calling a letter from hundreds of scientists a “tempest in a teapot” intended “to foment a bit of controversy“
Oct 26: Slo-mo Flip-flop Phase 3. Henry: “It is now the expectation that people will wear a non-medical mask in public spaces.” “evidence is showing us that those are situations where we can’t always keep our safe distance.”
Nov 20: “people are sometimes most infectious, just before they start to show symptoms, is also the period of time where the (rapid) tests work least well.” The exact opposite of what experts like Harvard’s @michaelmina_lab said repeatedly.
Jan 7, 2021: Bonnie’s excuses for the Long Term Care (LTC) data blackout were so transparently deceitful that critical media stories promptly appeared. 3 days later the “people power” and IT problems melted away. Once again, she did the right thing only after a public shaming.
Jan 14: Henry claimed there had been no change in policy re declaring LTC outbreaks, that they had always been declared when one resident tested positive but not always when one staff member did so. Another lie.
Mar 14: Henry blames others for her not seeing the next wave of COVID.
Mar 17: Henry wrote in her 2009 book “Soap and Water & Common Sense: The Definitive Guide to Viruses, Bacteria, Parasites, and Disease” that asymptomatic spread was a serious problem in the SARS epidemic, but she has repeatedly downplayed it since. [The book is not linked because it’s rubbish.]
March 29, 2021: Slow-mo Flip-flop Phase 5a: Henry, choking on her words: “public health guidance [will] support mask-wearing for all students down to Grade 4, across [BC].” She doubled down the next morning: it was guidance only, “not an order.”
Apr 1: “What a fustercluck. For a moment or two on Monday (March 29), it seemed that B.C.’s increasingly beleaguered provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, was coming around to what her colleagues across the country, and the U.S. Centres for Disease Control, have acknowledged for months: masks are a key layer of protection in K-12 schools.
Apr 5: Henry and Dix told outright lies about BC testing in March 2020. Since then both have made highly dubious claims about it. E.g. July 27 2020, DBH claimed “there’s widespread testing across the province.” Our province’s testing rate was worst in Canada, 60% below national average!
Apr 7: Henry fumbles the third wave despite warnings due to “wishful thinking, poor data, shying from hard decisions and ignoring independent models and reports”
May/21-Apr/22: Bonnie Henry on vaccine passports. At first it was “no way.” Then passports became “our way” to combat Delta. Now, with the even more contagious Omicron variant raging, it’s “no way” again. Bonnie is “out of the order business.” She flipped; she flopped; she flew.
Aug 31: “Henry said officials could not have predicted such a dramatic spike in cases back in June and early July when they opted to loosen restrictions.” Henry is lying or ridiculously incompetent – a narcissist who prefers her own brilliant mind to actual evidence. It was widely predicted that removing masking and other protections would cause another wave.
Dec 21: Reporters losing patience with a deceitful Bonnie Henry and government: “the provincial health officer and health minister took to the podium several times last week and provided a plethora of reasons for why they won’t be doing anything more any faster. Their reasons range from misinformation to outright lies.”
A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The frog asks, “How do I know you won’t sting me?” The scorpion says, “Because if I do, I will die too.”
The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream, the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown, but has just enough time to gasp “Why?”
Replies the scorpion: “Its my nature…”
Might makes rights
Whether we like it or not, that is a fact. Those with power determine the rights of everyone else. Only when the people rise up en masse – showing those in high positions where the ultimate power really lies – do the powerful cede us some ‘rights.’ That has been the history of every progressive movement, from women’s suffrage to the labour movement to today’s environmental and social justice movement.