Category Archives: do power and hormones make bad behavior inevitable

Boys Just Want to Have Fun

The FBI, the CIA, the Secret Service – all the boys have gone off the reservation. What is up? Has this been normal operating procedure for agencies which, until recently, have been basically gentlemen’s clubs (in terms of gender make up)?  First we had the Secret Service guys in Latin America, now we have generals and power girls acting like many other politicians – behaving badly.

The “boys” used to cover up each other’s sins. Maybe that is what has changed – the women they are involved with are more powerful than previous playmates and more assertive. These guys are trying to keep their dalliances under the radar with very little success. Is all this estrogen/testosterone stuff hurting the effectiveness of our intelligence community? I believe we have to assume, given recent events, that it at least damages the perception we have of these agencies.

Yesterday, Huffington Post Divorce posted the results of a survey they conducted on Twitter in which they asked people to answer the question Why Do Men Cheat? They published the result in a slide show that gives 26 of the most interesting answers they received to this question. The link is at the end of this article.

In The Daily Beast for today, 11/17/12, there is an article called Petraeus May Have Been Felled By His Own Brain Chemistry (link below), which reports the results of scientific studies that have looked at the connection between power and hormone production. In powerful men, apparently, the body is flooded with extra testosterone and cortisol, which at first enhances the ability to make decisions, but with time, according to the article, “makes the person stupid”, or, in other words, hurts their ability to make good decisions.

This article also states that it is possible to fight the lures of biology and behave well inspite of the hormones your system is manufacturing. Not all men give into chemicals and circumstance. Maybe the pull is not as powerful for some men or perhaps the opportunity to “go wild” simply doesn’t come up for them.

Time to change the climate boys – you’re making America look bad, you are making our President look bad (which America cannot afford), and you are ruining the gravitas of our intelligence agencies. All of this loosey-goosey behavior is inappropriate right now given the volatility in the Middle East and the unpredictable outcomes we face in Europe and Asia. We also face uncertainty in our own economy and with our own national security issues.

Either control your libidos or learn how to keep your activities secret in a community of sleuths. Good luck with the latter in the age of the internet. You may have to soft pedal the party culture. Quel dommage.