Friday, February 5, 2010



By : Dr. U. B. van Flucken, Ph. D., Yale University (Behavioral Science); Former Fashion and Women's Issues Editor, Men's Health Magazine (2003-2007); Fellow, The National Favorable Results Society (Washington, D.C. Chapter); Author, "Say What You Need To Say : A Beginner's Guide to Getting What You Want from People " (Doubleday Press : New York 1999); Semi-Professional Water Polo Competitor (Greater Northeast Elite Sports Network) (1989-present).

No matter where you turn in this country, people tell you that it is bad to be a scoundrel. They say that it is wrong to lie, exaggerate, deceive, betray, backstab and abuse people's trust. They say it is wrong to borrow money without paying it back. And they even say it is wrong to two-time on your girlfriend.

But these folks just don't know how to be a no-good scoundrel. Contrary to all the propaganda, there is nothing wrong at all with being a no-good, morally-destitute scoundrel. You just have to know how to play your cards right. In fact, great people know how to be great scoundrels. And they become great because they know how to disguise who they really are: Scoundrels.

I started the National Brotherhood of No-Good Scoundrels, Dishonorable Pricks, Low-Down Punks and Plain Lousy Sonofabitches Who Never Call You Back for a simple reason: To show Americans how vital we really are. Since founding the organization, I have struggled to demonstrate that honorable responsibility is not the pathway to success. To the contrary, it is my mission to show that only a dishonorable scoundrel can prevail in this world. And it is not a hard job: If you know how to be a low-down, dishonorable punk and not get caught, there is nothing you cannot accomplish.

Success is all about image. When you're a successful scoundrel, no one knows just how big a scoundrel you really are. If they did, they'd ostracize you and no one would want to talk to you. Scoundrels need people; you can't be successful without them. But real scoundrels know how to control their image. They don’t let people get the right idea about them. They carefully monitor how people perceive them, then skillfully play one unsuspecting idiot off the other to gain all the advantages. Contrary to all the rhetoric, scoundrels aren't haphazard bums. They know exactly what they're doing at all times.

Not everyone has the guts to be an unrepentant, conniving knave. Most people buy into the propaganda and try to live honorable, "decent" lives. A lot of good that does: They wind up working loser jobs for bad pay, then skulking around with their wives and boring children for years on end. Sure, they might get some inward satisfaction from "treating people with respect" and "telling the truth, no matter what."

But at what cost! Wouldn't it be so much better to twist a few arms and tell a few tall tales here and there to really get what you want? Wouldn't life be so much more rewarding if you played some putz like a fiddle, then refused to call him back when he needed you? Why not? As long as you make sure that the guy isn't important for your advancement later, screw him. Tell him what he wants to hear. Inflate yourself. Get what you need from him. Then just forget about him and move on to the next sucker. Remember: Life is a ladder with human rungs. You need to keep moving up if you want to get to the top.

Dishonor, manipulation and double-dealing bring untold rewards. Still, a skillful rogue must make sure he does not generate the wrong impression. Good scoundrels effortlessly master disguises. You can't just trample on people and expect them to take it. Rather, a skillful rogue knows how to totally screw a person over without them knowing until it is too late--if ever. Scoundrels like us only got a bad reputation because some jerk tried to be clever and got caught in the act. And scoundrels only get caught when they are not paying attention to what they are doing. In that sense, true scoundrels are not scoundrels at all: They are virtuosos who know how to spin a story and exploit the hell out of people without anyone ever catching on. That takes skill--not everyone can hack it.

Life is tough enough without worrying about whether you're responsible or ethical. Everyone wants the same things: Money, success, happiness, women, recognition. You know, the usual stuff. Everyone is chasing after the same rewards. It is hard to win even without rules. That is why it amazes me that people insist on "honest dealing," "telling the truth" and "propriety" in their quest for success. That's like tying a boulder to your leg before swimming the English Channel: It greatly impedes your chances to succeed. In fact, it will probably sink you long before you even come close to your goal.

But scoundrels don't bother with boulders. They dress for success. They think about where they want to go and just do it. They do not distract themselves with abstractions. They don't overthink issues; they just deliver results. To that end, it makes no sense to respect everyone. In fact, most people on the road to success are hopeful scoundrels, too, and why would you respect someone who is trying to hoodwink you? No, a skillful rogue simply acts like he respects his fellows, when in truth he knows what they are: Just another low-down sonofabitch determined to block his advance up the ladder. To be a successful scoundrel, you must hold certain assumptions about your fellow man. And that means you expect to be deceived, deluded, used, abused, tossed away, manipulated and forgotten. It’s all part of the ball game: You need a tough heart to keep playing.

Great scoundrels don't get discouraged. They seek out weakness and capitalize on it. Sure, they know that people are out to use them, but they use others before they can be used. And in the off chance that someone actually trusts them, all the better. Clever scoundrels always come out ahead.

In this light, it is inconceivable why society holds us in such contempt. We are the go-getters. On the other hand, we recognize that no-good scoundrels, dishonorable pricks, low-down punks and plain lousy sonofabitches occupy the highest positions in our society. We run the banks. We run the Senate. We run the stock exchange. We run the insurance companies. We control everything. And the beauty of it is that no one knows we are scoundrels--or, if they found out, there's nothing they could do about it. People only ridicule us when we commit some faux pas that blows our cover. Great scoundrels, however, are extremely discreet. They don't make faux pas: They screw everyone else over their whole lives and no one ever notices.

For that reason, all the social criticism against scoundrels makes no difference to a truly dishonorable punk. A masterfully rotten scoundrel never makes a mistake to invite rebuke. He just keeps moving over people until he quietly reaches his goal.

We prefer it that way. The moralists and ethicists can whine all they want about "irresponsibility." They are only talking about amateur scoundrels. Little do the moralists know that professional scoundrels are the ones paying them to do their little jobs. Little do the ethicists know that professional scoundrels are the ones who own the printing companies that publish their little books. Undiscovered, virtuoso scoundrels run this world--and no one will ever know the difference. That's exactly how we like it.

So what is our secret? If being a scoundrel is so advantageous, why do so many people refuse to follow our path? We wish we could provide specific advice in this regard. The most we can say is to put yourself above others, keep your eyes on the prize and do what you need to do to get it. Don’t slow yourself down with categorical loyalties, philosophical principles or--God forbid--conscientious worries.

In a word, a great scoundrel is a great actor. He can play any part. But he must remain believable. In fact, a scoundrel has failed when the world calls him one. Great scoundrels appear to be everything, even if they are nothing. They seem to be friends with everyone, when in truth they have none. In the scoundrel's world, it's all about presentation. It doesn’t matter if there's really nothing there. Very few people ever really look to see if there is, anyway.

So if you really want to be scoundrel, start thinking about your image. Stop thinking about dignity and worth. Stop thinking about honesty, unless it would help to be honest in a particular situation. For a scoundrel, the truth is never absolute. It is just a tool. Mark that and you will go far.

Tread softly. Flatter. Connive. Ingratiate. Betray. Lie. Win.

Be a no-good scoundrel. Because good never got anyone what they wanted. And there's nothing wrong with getting what you want.


Sarah said...

I know a couple of them. They are in my blog. In fact, I just finished one today but haven't posted yet. The only crime is getting caught. Is that it?

Balthazar Oesterhoudt said...

Unfortunately, that seems to be it, Sarah. It certainly was true in my law practice experience, and it appears true in many other human enterprises.

Bottom line: It's hard to be ethical. It's even harder when you inhabit a world in which most people are just trying not to get caught.