The 'virtues' of CEOs, political leaders, heart surgeons, soldiers and others possessing 'psychopathic qualities' is being heavily promoted through the mainstream media, academia and popular culture. References to psychopaths in TV shows like Dexter and movies like Seven Psychopaths would seem to suggest that psychopaths are not only generally known about and understood, but are also appealing to ordinary people.
But are psychopaths really cool? And what is a psychopath anyway? How many of them are out there and how long have they been around us? Everyone has an opinion about psychopaths, but are we all talking about the same thing? Bestselling books like Kevin Dutton's Wisdom of Psychopaths encourage people to 'unlock their inner psychopath'; does that mean we are all potentially psychopaths?
Running Time: 02:18:00
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Here's the transcript:
Niall: Hello and welcome to SOTT talk radio. Today is Febuary 3rd and tonight the hosts are myself Neil Bradley.
Joe: And myself, Joe Quinn.
Niall: And we're delighted to be joined again this week by Jason Martin. Hey Jason!
Jason: Hey what's going on, I'm delighted so much you brought me back.
Niall: Yeah we had on last week for a cracky show on Guncontrol in the US. If you haven't listened to it yet you can listen to it at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/sottnet/2013/01/27/gun-control-usa-do-guns-protect-civil-liberties
This week we're going to be talking about psychopaths. You may have noticed myself, Joe and Jason discussing this in passing or quite a lot as well last week when we mentioned time and again psychopaths in power. It's something that comes up a lot in our research and on our website : SOTT.net. And we figured we would get in to this topic in more depth this week. We find that, there are perhaps a lot of new people who are not as aware on this issue, if you like, or up to speed with what could be the topic of the times, I think.
Joe: Yeah, absolutely. Last week we, for those who were listening: we were talking about guncontrol and the idea of a revolution, in the US or anywhere in the world. And that that revolution had to be a revolution of the mind more than a physical revolution. And that ultimately the target of such a revolution, or the cause of the social ills that would provoke such a revolution, was essentially corrupt governments. And I think we did mention that we did mention psychopaths and psychopaths in power very briefly. So for that reason we wanted to, as a follow on from last week, get into this topic a little bit more to kind of complete the picture.
Niall: We're going to have a special guest on this week. We've got Harrrison Koehli who'll be joining us and we're going to be asking him a few questions. Harrison is the editor of Red Pill Press which published Andrzej Lobaczewski book on psychopaths in power, on this very topic we'll be discussing, called Political Ponerology. Harrison is also an editor on Dot Connector Magazine and a guest guest writer on psychopathology for Safe Relationships Magazine. So we'll be welcoming him shortly and put some questions to him. I'll remind listeners you can call in, anytime you want, if you got any questions yourself, as this is quite a dense topic. And as we've been saying, it affects a lot of areas, if not all areas of human life, so erveryone's got something to say on it.
Joe: Yeah, or they should have. Of course the guest call in number is on our webpage. Just as a reminder the US number 718 508 9499. So give us a call at anytime during the show. Feel free to interupt if you have something to say or a question to ask. So I think we want to go straight into Harrison here, and ask him a few questions and get a few ideas from him. Harrison are you there?
Harrison: Yeah I'm here.
Joe: You're very welcome to Sott talk radio.
Harrison: Thanks for having me. I'm glad to be here.
Niall: Excellent! Harrison thanks for joining us. You've noticed from the title of our show, we put it as: "Are Psychopaths Cool?" Now, regular sott readers and people who are aware what psychopaths are and what they do, will of course, know the answer to that very well. But we've framed it like that because we can't help to notice that when the topic of psychopathy is being discussed in the mainstream media or the characters that come through in popular culture, you couldn't be blamed for thinking that sometimes that psychopaths are something that is appealing, or that they have appealing traits, that people would aspire to have themselves. Before we get into that, let's just start with some basics. What is a psychopath? Where do we start with this?
Harrison: Well, a psychopath is a certain type of person who lacks a conscience. And that's probably the best, the simplest way you can describe it, is that they completely lack any sort of conscience. And that goes into a certain number of other character traits, so you know, psychopaths are typically very charming, they're very good con-artists, they can talk people out of anything or into anything. They put on a show, they can put on a persona that is perfectly adapted to the kind of person they want you to think they are. That's basically the definition of a good con-artist, they'll be whatever you want them to be or whatever they need to be, in order get something from you. They are extremely manipulative. They are pathological liars. And when they do something horrible, when they do something wrong or evil to a person, they lack any remorse. To the point where they'll even blame the victim. For example: Robert Hare who studies psychopaths, he's got a book called Without Conscience, and in that book there are a lot of great anecdotes of things that psychopaths have done or said, in his experience or in his interviews with them. For example, if they had murdered someone they might completely shirk any responsibility and just blame the victim, and explain to him [Hare], "It was really his fault, if he hadn't done this, I wouldn't have had to stab him". As if it was the other person fault that he had to stab him. So they lack any kind of remorse for anything they do to anyone else. And of course part of that is their lack of conscience. That's rooted in what psychologists call 'a shallow affect', they really have shallow emotions. They're totally different from a normal human, a normal human who experiences just normal human emotions just can't even grok the way a psychopath feels or what's going on in their minds, because they don't have any of those normal human emotions. They don't have any feeling of connection to another being. They don't have any sense of nuturing or caring, or putting themselves in another persons shoes and experiencing what they're feeling. So that's really a complete lack of empathy; they're cold hearted.
Just a couple of other features. According to Robert Hare at least, they lack control over their behaviours, so they'll often make stupid choices, just in the moment, for thrill-seeking or they lack long-term planning. They'll do things just on the spur of the moment, just because they feel a whim to do something and often those things that they do have to do with getting something from someone else. It's usually a selfish motive, to put themselves in a position of power over someone else. So psychopaths are really out for themselves and that's about it. They don't really care about anyone or anything except getting what they want.
Niall: Ok, wow. You touched on what I've come to understand as well; the core defining feature of someone who we might call a psychopath, Namely that there's a complete lack of conscience. And also as part of this, the difficulty that people have with understanding by what is meant by a psychopath. Even when you describe it, as you've just done. Well, everyone assumes that everyone else is more or less the same right? We've all got a conscience. That's the very thing that is not there, so what is there instead? Hopefully we'll find some deeper understanding of this tonight. Another key thing we should get out of the way first is the difference, if there is any between a sociopath and psychopath. Because you'll often hear people jump between the two terms. In some cases if someone is using one word or the other, they mean something else depending on what word they're using. IS there any difference? And if so, what is it between sociopath and psychopath?
Harrison: Well that can be a tricky one, because as you said, people jump back and forth between the terms, so sometimes when they're saying sociopath they might actually be talking about psychopaths, or vice versa. Like a lot of times in pop culture, like in movies, you'll hear someone call another character a psychopath, just because they did something evil or criminal or they're a serial killer or something. Now that's just common language, but in the actual science, pretty much everyone in North America at least, that studies the phenomenon, will use the word psychopath to describe what I was talking about. Now sociopaths, described by a scientist or someone who knows what they're talking about, chances are that they're talking about someone with Antisocial Personality Disorder. Now I'll just get something out of the way first of all. There is a diagnostic tool called the Psychopathy Checklist which was developed by Robert Hare, and it's pretty much the standard. It's used in courts and the penal system for identifying psychopaths. It's got like 40 points and if you score above 30, then you're considered a psychopath. There's also the Diagnostic Statistics Manual, that's used by psychiatrists, that has Antisocial Personality Disorder in it. And the thing about the DSM, is that all the mental disorders in there, are pretty much all classified by behaviour. So, you've got a checklist of certain behaviours, and you check off a certain number of them and if you got a certain number, then you got that. Now the problem is that people tend to equate antisocial personality disorder with psychopathy, but they're actually two separate, but kind of overlapping things. If you take a prison population for example, you'll have a certain number of people that can be classified as antisocial personality disorder, and these will be people, you know, criminals that have troubles with impulse control, they engage in repeated violent crimes; basic antisocial behaviours. The problem with that, is that only about 20% of people, of the criminals in prison populations with antisocial personality disorder, are also psychopaths.
When we're talking about antisocial personality disorder that's typically the thing we mean by a sociopath. So when we're talking about a sociopath, we're talking about these criminals who violate social norms and commit crimes, but, they're not necessarily psychopaths. Sociopath basically means 'caused by society', a sickness caused by society. So these could be people that are just raised in a criminal environment, to engage in criminal acts,. It can also be caused by certain types of brain damage. There's an overlap, but really a sociopath is a bigger catch-all phrase for all kind of behavioural and criminal acts like that.
Joe: So Harrison, when you cite that figure of 20% of violent criminals in prisons have been identified as psychopaths, that obviously suggests that the average psychopath isn't a violent criminal.
Joe: Or 80% of them aren't violent criminals, and that doesn't jive the general public perception of ..
Niall: a knife-wielding maniac!
Joe: Yeah, psychopaths as serial killers and crazed homicidal maniacs.
Harrison: Yeah that's probably one of the most important things that we can learn from the study of psychopaths. Because when we think about psychopaths just in pop culture, like I said, the connotation is usually that they are these violent serial criminals, but there's just one subset of those criminals that are actually psychopaths. In fact there is a subset in any group you can find in society that is are psychopaths. You can find psychopathic doctors or politicians or therapists or bosses in a corporate environment. Literally psychopaths can be found pretty much anywhere and everywhere.
Niall: Yeah, we've seen this in the past few years. I'll just cite a couple of fairly recent studies describing 1 in 10 of Wall Street employees being psychopaths. Something like 1 in 20 CEO's in the US are suspected psychopaths. These figures are not just pulled out of a hat, they're based on studies that are done. But you still get the impression that it's very difficult to get any kind of real number, because first of all, the number that give the best idea of where the psychopaths are at, they're available for study. Robert Hare, I think, himself has said "It's one thing going to prisons and try to get an idea of numbers, but if I could have had it back, I would have been trying to get an idea of what kind of percentage we're looking at in boardrooms in major companies in North America because clearly there's a large and unexplored area there".
You mentioned the DSM manual, and also Robert Hare's Checklist, these two things are, if you like, they're kind of the guidelines you have to go on, for getting an idea of diagnosing a psychopath. Are there any other ways? What kind of clues could someone be picking up on if there say, they have someone in their life, like their boss, or..
Joe: That they'd expect being a psychopath
Harrison: Well there's a book published recently called Almost a Psychopath by Ronald Schouten & James Silver. I haven't read the whole thing yet but there's a good little checklist that they got. It basically comes down to knowing the key traits of a psychopath that I mentioned before. They put them in a way to compare with the behaviours of the person you are involved with that you think is a psychopath. For example they ask: Are they superficially charming and glib with an answer for everything? Is there a lack of empathy? When confronted with a difficult moral choice, do they often, or more often than not rationalize and arrive at a decision to act in their own self interest? Do they lie repeatedly, including when it is unnecessary or for minor reasons? Are they conning and manipulative? When they get criticized for something is it always someone else's fault? When they cause harm or hurt to others, is there a lack of true remorse? Do they seem to have a limited capacity to experience and express feelings for others, or maintain relationships? Do they find it easy to ignore responsibilities? Do people in situations exist solely for gratifying their needs and wants? So, those are some of the things you want to look for.
Jason: I would add to that list: Is your name Bill O'Reilly. That just describes every interview I've seen him conduct. Glibness, superficial charm, lack of empathy . . .
Joe: That's kind of an interesting point, because when Neil was talking about Wall Street bankers and CEO's and stuff, it strikes me that it is possible that psychopaths can get their jollies, which is basically just dominating, fulfilling some kind of destructive principal that they have within them, that they need to destroy, dominate and control. So the 20 % figure of psychopaths that are violent, that end up in prison, they're maybe the ones that couldn't find an outlet for this need to destroy, this hunger to dominate and destroy, that they're just are born with, I presume. Compared to the CEO's for example, or the Wall Street bankers are able to find an outlet for that need to dominate, in ways that don't involve...
Niall: Criminal behaviour
Joe: Well, or extremely violent, you can be extremely violent, just look at politicians, look at some leaders of various countries, I mean, surely there some sense, if they have this need to destroy there's a kind of catharsis there. If they can get a bunch of drones into other countries and blow up some kids and stuff. Surely, for me that's one question, is it possible that a psychopath could get this destructive need fulfilled without going and killing someone himself or herself.
Harrison: I think it also has to do with how smart they are, how much control they have, how much prefrontal lobe activity they have. They've done some studies, there's very few studies on what they call succesful psychopaths or the ones that are succesful in everyday life; that don't go to prison for violent crimes and they find that they do have a higher degree of control over their behaviours. They're just smarter. They find better ways of getting around the system, of getting what they want, without engaging in acts which are so obviously criminal, that will so obviously get you to prison. They're better at finding the ways around that.
Joe: What you're saying is presumably there's a spectrum among people who are genetic or clinical psychopaths, in the same way there's a spectrum among the normal population of intelligence, ambition, all that kind of stuff. The same applies, presumably to psychopaths?
Joe: The smart ones will be able to get away with it. They know how to read the rules of the game , or understand the rules of the game and do it in such a way that they don't run afoul of the law, and obviously getting into positions of power provides a certain immunity to prosecution as well, compared to the average person on the street.
Harrison: Yeah and that's exactly what it is, getting in to positions of power. Even the low-level criminal psychopath, that's what they do in their limited sphere of influence, they'll get into a position of power. It might be a small gang or you know when they're planning a heist or something, they have a way of maneuvering themselves into the position of power. Except when you get the smart ones, that wear suits, then they're the ones that, you could say, could infiltrate, let's say, a corporation. Paul Babiak and Robert Hare wrote a book called Snakes in Suits about corporate psychopaths and they describe how they get into positions of power. So, first they gain entry into the corporation, then they kind of assess the people in the corporation, the people who will be useful to them, the people they can use as patsies, the people that they can frame, the people whose work they can use. So they basically establish these relationships, these power dynamics within the group, within the company. Then they basically play the game, they manipulate, and then they can remove the person whose in their way, using any kind of sneaky and psychopathic ways ... and then they become the CEO.
Joe: We've got a call here, so we're going to take this call.
Joe: Hello, what's your name?
Lisa: Lisa Gulliani, hi. Hi everybody!
Everybody: Hi Lisa.
Lisa: I have a question. Could you get into how psychopaths influence society, like populations, through the media, power centers . . . An example that I put on facebook one day was a picture of a guy sitting on top of a building and he was going to jump. And I asked the people on my facebook list to notice how many of the commenters, . . . the question was: would you tell this guy to jump? And I asked people to notice how many of the commenters were actually wanting the guy to jump, saying they would tell the person to jump off the building. I asked them: what is this telling you about our society when we got people who are encouraging someone to commit suicide? You know, like what's happening to our society? I just thought, maybe you could get into that a little bit.
Joe: Absolutely, yeah. That's a great point and it is something we're going to get into and is probably dealt with most specifically by Andrzej M. Lobaczewski in his book Political Ponerology. Harrison works for the publisher of that book, and he talks about the word ponerology or ponerogenesis, which essentially is the psychopathization of society, and how psychopathic ideals are spread throughout the normal population, i.e. the non-psychopathic population.
Lisa: Yeah, because in trying to get people to understand why it is so important to learn about this, I try to get them to see that it's not just these political psychopaths in power, but these are, . . these crea[tures], things, . . . they're not really very human anymore. They've been changed, or they just are different from, you know, they've always been different. But it seems to me like...people don't understand, why it's so important to learn about this, and I try to tell them that their influence extends through the media and throughout the power-centers, education, organized religion, you know. If you could get in to that I'd appreciate it.
Joe: Ok, we plan to.
Lisa: Thank you. Ok, bye.
Jason: If I were to recommend [inaudible bit] a really good book would be 'Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion' by Robert B. Cialdini, which is very good. It details how the media manipulates.
Joe: Harrison, you heard that question from Lisa?
Joe: Could you just get into that for a little bit
Harrison: Sure. Well, I think the best way to start is, if you have psychopaths that have achieved positions of power in a society, they're the ones that are basically dictating or influencing the way things get presented to society. So when you have a psychopath, let's say, as a president or a dictator, or anything like that, their personality affects and influences the government, the way things are presented, like Lisa was saying; education, you can have it in religion. When you have these psychopaths in positions of power, their worldview, and the way they see things, the way they see the world, that filters down. So we end up having a whole society that really has only these psychopathic ideals to emulate. So you get normal people who kind of internalize these psychopathic values. To be fair you could say that most people are just conned by it, they don't know any better. And at the start of the show and in the description of the show online, you talked about the way things are presented in pop culture and in the media, and so we've got a show like Dexter, which features as its protagonist, a serial killer. And actually I think the first episode of that show was great,. It was a really good presentation of how a psychopath operates, what's going on in their minds, the way they interact with other people. I thought it could be taught in, it could be shown in psychology classes as a good intro to psychopathy. But as the show develops, it gets to the point where, because the guy is the protagonist, you basically want him to get away with it, you're afraid he's going to get caught. We have this kind of twisting of the idea. When you really look at a psychopath, when you read the cases tudies, even the extreme ones like with the serial killers, it kind of boggles the mind, just how dark and evil these people really are; just the depths of depravity that they will go to and what they do to other people.
And then when you in pop culture, when you mix that with the idea of it being cool, or that these people are just being misunderstood, it creates this kind of cognitive dissonance, where we don't really, as a society, know what's going on, and our ideas are twisted on it. So not only do we have disinformation about the nature of psychopathy, we also internalize some psychopathic values, so we don't value other life. And like Lisa was saying, we could be encouraging people to suicide, just because it's just some other person, if they're going to kill themselves, "whatever, what does it matter to me?", so we get this culture of selfishness. And that really goes against all the ideals that we think of being human qualities. I think that with psychopaths in power, the people in society, they come more and more to resemble psychopaths in certain ways. Now they don't become psychopaths...
Jason: Yeah, let me have a . . . because Lisa Guliani was talking about how she asked all her readers you know, to note the posts. And I think that the internet is a rather interesting media for studying psychopathy, because on the internet we have these things called trolls. People automatically have identified psychopaths without having any psychological knowledge and called them "trolls" and Penny Arcade a great net cartoon created this thing called the GIFT , which is the 'greater internet fucktard theory'
Jason: Which basically describes what happens to people when they can act without any fear of punishment; with anonymity. And you see lots and lots of people coming out on the internet and being just absolutely horrible human beings, and I think the source of that is there are a lot more psychopaths in society than we've been led to believe. And when they get on the internet, of course we see these trolls and cyberstalker and all this different stuff. So I just wanted to point that out because Lisa brought up this whole talking about the comments, with people saying 'yeah- jump, jump, jump' - those kind of troll phenomena on the internet. And trolls are essentially psychopaths. That's what I feel from my experiences on the internet, that trolls are very psychopathic people.
Niall: Yeah. This touches on a number of topics that comes to mind for me. I mean recently there was this article about how some research team, I think in the US, are using twitter to try and spot psychopaths. Now this is different from what Jason is describing here I think, but you can see how the two things could easily be conflated. So in this study they were trying to, based on some criteria, they were trying to use certain keyword that people used in their tweets, what kind of punctuation they use, and deducing from that whether or not you can spot somebody as a psychopath based on their twitter tweet. And we got to be careful I think, to distinguish, you know, actively diagnosing someone as a psychopath from the more general observations that can be made of the way society is going based on its overall behaviour. I mean, the thing that Lisa points out with the kind of comments and posts that people make, that's one thing in a hypothetical scenario that she just posited there, but there have been real cases where people on facebook have been urged by their so-called friends to commit suicide. In other words they actually posted on facebook: "I'm feeling blue", "I feel like hell", "I'm thinking about going over the edge", and they actually were egged on by their "friend" so to speak, by their facebook friends and there have been several instances where people have commited suicide live on facebook. It's horrifying, you know.
Jason: I mean that case is horrifying, but think about all the psychological torture that goes on, with people, online. And the kind of characters that come out and do these things. Obviously not everybody who says something mean on the internet is automatically a psychopath, but there is obvious trends of serial cyberstalkers that go around trolling the internet. I mean, it's one thing if you say one or two thing mean or mean-spirited, or you get angry at somebody, that's one thing, but when you see somebody following people around from board to board, searching out their IP, and "I'm going to come do this" and
"I'm going to kill you" and all this thing, and "I'm going to kill you and you family". And you see that kind of stuff, even on youtube. It's absolutely insane. I'm going to call a spade a spade when I say that somebody who's doing that kind of stuff is psychopathic, man! I'm sorry but that's evil, you know.
Niall: For sure.
Jason: That dedication to just hurt, trying to hurt somebody, and stalking them, and searching out their IP address and trying to find out where they live, and stuff likethat. That's psychopathic, man. It's not cool, you know.
Niall: Yeah, totally agree. We're going to be talking about this, hopefully, a lot tonight. It's not just the number of psychopaths, it's the psychopathic behaviour that normal people are aping. And what has drawn them to that? It has been mentioned briefly, and I think its something we should get straight into. Harrison are you still there?
Niall: Harrison, what kind of numbers do you think we're talking about, in terms of psychopaths out there? An overall number or...
Harrison: Well, you mentioned something that's really important earlier, and that's what Robert Hare said. He studies psychopaths in prison populations and he had this population available to him for study. The problem we get into with the general population is that it's really hard to do studies like that, and very few have been done. It's hard to go around and get a completely random sample with enough people in a society and do these tests on them to see if they're psychopaths. The logistics of it are really difficult, so..
Joe: Hold that thought Harrison, we're going to talk another call here. Hello.
Corey: Hi, this is Corey Schink.
Joe: Hey Corey, welcome to the show.
Corey: Hey, thank you. I just wanted to say thank you for bringing this topic up. I think it's amazing. And I love this show, so I added it to my contacts on my phone. Really quick, my comment that I wanted to make was that Harrison, I believe, in the beginning, said that one of the fundamental characteristics of psychopathy was lacking a conscience?
Joe & Niall: That's right, yep.
Corey: And it just seems to me that, in the world today, a lot of people lack that conscience, especially towards someone that's outside of their group, like if they're, muslim, or anything like that. I was wondering maybe if you could talk a little bit about that and how the war on terror kind of seems to keep on spreading out over the whole world, making everyone the enemy, and if that kind of contributes to the sociopathy that we see.
Joe: Ok, yeah, that's a good point.
Harrison: Yeah. That's a really good point. I think that a kind of distinction has to be made, is that a psychopath won't identify or won't have conscience with anyone, and that will include their inner circle, that will include their family, the people that other people might consider their friends, just by watching thei interactions with other people. Psychopaths are really only out for him or herself. They are the only person in their universe that matters. Now you can get people, so called normal people, that aren't psychopaths, who really care about their family or who really care about their country or some causes that they are involved in, and what a psychopath will do is set those kind of people against each other. So that's basically what a war is. That's a group psychopaths that are setting groups of people against each other and dehumanizing and demonizing one group to the other, to the point where that other group doesn't matter to the other group. They don't come within that sphere of influence or that sphere of conscience. You can get a person who really does have a conscience, or at least the bare necessities of one, but that won't extend past a certain circle around them. So you get this divide and conquer tactic, where a psychopath will basically try to convince one person that other people are psychopaths. That's basically what leaders do, in wars is they try to, what they do is project their own traits on to the enemy group. So when you have a war, like the war on terror for example, people will see muslims as ...and if you ask them what kind of people muslims are.. they'll basically be describing a psychopath. That's what the Iraelis have been doing with the Palestinians. When you see comments from Israelis on the street just talking about Palestinians, they speak of them as they weren't human, as if they were just these soul-less, evil people, as a group. And really, you'll get soul-less and evil people in any population, but its a fairly small number compared to everyone else. I think that's the essential point is that psychopaths will project their qualities on other people, and that's how, that's how they get their own people to hate other people. They're [the people] really hating those traits that they themselves [psychopaths] have, but they're projecting it on to another group that it benefits them [psychopaths] to go to war against.
Joe: Assuming..I don't know if we can really say that a psychopath would hate his own traits. He probably loves his own traits, no?
Harrison: Oh yeah, no, that's not what I meant.
Jason: Remember the article that I wrote about psychopaths passing laws to protect themselves from each other. It's like they have this whole game that they play, the psychopaths in power. They know that they're psychopaths, they know that the other side are psychopaths, and they play games. I mean, to them your life is a game, wars are a game, it's all fun - push a couple of buttons, a few million people die, sign a couple of papers, somebody goes off to a camp, all this different stuff. And it's games between them. I think in a certain sense it's fun for them. I think they get an enjoyment out of pulling the wool over people. It's like 'here I am a psychopath and I'm getting you to hate this other guy whose also a psychopath, and isn't it so fun because, HAHAHA , you don't even realize that I'm manipulating you.
Joe: Yeah, it's domination and manipulation and enjoyment of that domination and manipulation. So, Corey does that answer your question more or less? We'll probably continue talking about that but I don't want to keep you on the line there
Corey: No, that was the most satisfactory explanation of war that I've ever heard. Thank you very much. You'r doing a great job.
Everyone: Ok, thank you Corey. Thanks for calling in.
Joe: Ok, Corey see ya. So, actually, someone has just walked into our studio here. I'ts a very special guest. Her name is, and I think she must have been listening and felt compelled to come down and set us straight. Her name is Laura Knight-Jadzyck and she has written quite a lot on this topic, so no better person to join in the discussion and give us some pointers. So, welcome Laura.
Laura: Hi, I hope everyboy can hear me, cause these guys gave me the lousiest microphone in the room.
Joe: That is not true
Laura: The only one left
Joe: It's the best one!
Jason: You're lucky you got a chair! (laughter)
Neil: You're coming through fine.
Laura: I wanna bring the topic back to the title of the show, which is, do people think that psychopaths are cool and why do they think that psychopaths are cool? And if you give me a minute, let me lay a little groundwork. And then see if we can't crank some of these people up and get some calls in here.
Back in October 22nd, of 2002, I believe it was. I began publishing articles pointing out that our leadership in politics and all over the world, not just in the United States. But I was particularly focused on Bush and the Neocons, that they were exhibiting the traits of psychopathy. And for a considerable period of time I came under a lot of attack, a lot of defamation, etc, etc. And then the cat was kind of out of the bag and other people started to get on the bandwagon and talking about it. And, not long after that, as soon as everybody started realizing that it is really true, people in power, people in politics, any kind of authoritative position, you know, basically do exhibit the traits of psychopathy. So as soon as they got on to that, then there was an introduction of kind of like a confusion campaign, like trying to confuse the traits, the terms; sociopath vs psychopath vs antisocial personality disorder. Some fighting and arguing, people blaming other people for being psychopaths. It was a big confusing disinformation campaign. Then, that didn't work, because people kept holding firm to the concepts, they were doing pretty well. And then along came the idea, well, if we can't completely confuse the issue about psychopathy, who is or who isn't, or what a psychopath really look like or acts like, assuming you can get close enough to them to make a long term observation, which is what it really takes when you got the good ones. Because belive me, the ones who are in prison are failures at psychopathy. The really good ones take a long time and multiple 360 degree views from many people in order to really suss them out. Because as Harrison pointed out, it's not practical to go around and give people these brain-scans or whatever. And for all we know brain-scans are not effective, I don't think a brain-scan is the answer.
So what they did then, was that they began to convert the concept of psychopathy to something that's cool! Something that's desirable, somebody who's fearless, somebody who's got everything on top, he can go out there and he can rape, pillage, kill and plunder, and come out on top. Jeez, you look back through history, and that's where I spend most of my time; reading history. Nearly every leader who is commemorated with statuary, and paeans of praise, and honorifics, and is remembered by their country as being their liberator or their hero or their great general or their great emperor, or whatever - was a freaking psychopath, for gawds sakes! I mean, our culture makes heroes out of monsters, that's the problem! And they're doing it again today - they're making heroes out of monsters. Our whole trend towards civilizing humanity, that began sometime in the Renaissance, when we began to look at human values, got twisted and corrupted, and now we're on the verge on entering a virtual dark age because monsters are being proclaimed as the heroes of our age.
Joe: Absolutely, that's a very good point and it kind of speaks to what we were talking about before, about how the ordinary population is psychopathized or psychopathologized.
Joe: Ponerized, if you like. Harrison was talking about just the ideals of the psychopaths, if they are in positions of power will spread throughout the infrastructure of a country, you know, schools, universities, media, everything. But the other aspect, one of the defining traits of the psychopath is lies, is pathological lying, repeated lies over everything and anything, and obviously that's a very good way to.. it's not just a matter of spreading these ideals and people adopting them, but rather that people are lied to on a repeated basis, and you have decent, good people who believes the lies. I mean, if you're a really good liar it's probably really easy to lie to someone and have them believe it. If you do it repeatedly, and with such charm and superficial glibness and all these other traits, this self assuredness. So...
Niall: Yeah what was it Hitler said, that ' the bigger the lie the more people, the more people you'll get to believe it'
Niall: It's the same principal today
Laura: And speaking of which.. I mean Harrison do you wanna kick in anything on this? Because I want to mention Marc Bloch, so if you have something to say first, go for it.
Harrison: Well I just want to say that when you have a psychopath in power, one of the points that Andrzej Lobaczewski makes in his book is that psychopaths know that their different and they know that if people knew about psychopaths, if people had all this psychological knowledge, that that would be the way of diagnosing the problem. So they know if the mass majority of people knew about psychopaths, and could recognize the traits and could recognize them in their leaders, then they'd be out of a job, they'd be out of positions of power. So what they do is they actually engage in this disinformation, these lies that Joe's talking about. So they will actually, like you said; what we were seeing the years after you published your articles, was this idea to conflate the subjects of sociopathy and psychopathy and to just kind of make a muddle, or a mess of the issue, so people wouldn't understand it. Now that didn't exactly work, well I think because, like the internet and social media, and just the way people can be connected, information can be shared a lot more readily, a lot more easily, than it could be in the past. So we got this information available, so then the tactic changes, so that it's not so much the idea of psychopathy is confused, it's that it starts to be something thats cool, allright. So we got people or characters like Dexter, or, you know, young boys who read comic books. They like the really tough characters that can go to war, and kill people and then come back and, you know, just not feel anything. You know, like Wolverine. 'He's really badass', right? That's what I hear kids saying. But the thing is, it's tapping into something, I think, about human psychology, it's that normal people feel fear and they feel anxiety, and people don't like that. So when they see a psychopath who has none of those traits and who appears just totally cool and able to get through anything, a part of them, a part of a normal person would say 'wow, that would be really great, if only I couldn't feel all these negative emotions and this anxiety, if I could just get over myself...
Jason: Here's the problem though. The problem is with the conflation and the manipulation of the definition of psychopathy, what they've done is that they attributed characteristics to people, that when looked at in a certain light will be positive. 'Oh, they're charismatic', 'Oh, they're daring', Oh, they're charming'. (Neil: 'They take risks.') All of these attributes when they're described this way, I mean, who wouldn't want to be charming and charismatic? That's a good thing, that's not a bad thing. I think that the problem is that the emphasis is taken off the essential core concept of the complete and total lack of conscience and the incredible desire and ability to manipulate and destroy and harm other people on a massive scale, and the desire to do it. Those are the things that I consider to be core to psychopathy, not that they're charismatic or even necessarily that they're glib.
Laura: Well that brings up another problem. The problem is that a true hero COULD be charismatic, he COULD be brave, he of course, would feel fear, but he would be like the old saying says; courage is not never feeling afraid, it's feeling afraid and doing what needs to be done anyway. I'm reminded of a silly movie, that we watched a few years ago, I'm sure that everybody is familiar with it, it was called V, not the V for Vendetta one, it was the V about the aliens that came to earth, a TV special over several...
Joe: Yeah, a tv mini-series . .
Laura: Anyhow they had this young girl, little blond girl who was a doctor who was a scientist of some sort, who somehow ended up being the leader of the resistance against the aliens. And at one point she's obliged to fix a leaking pipe for a water system and she begins to cry because she doesn't know how to do anything, and 'why does everybody keep looking to me to be their leader' and 'why does everybody keep asking me what to do' and so forth. And then an older woman says 'you don't have to tell people that you don't know what to do, you don't have to know everything, just act like you do. Because they're looking to you for leadership'. And the thing is, is that she had this inner core of rightousness, of strength and just knowing what was right and that something was right, and she wasn't going to give an inch about it. So when somebody is like that, they can be extremely courageous, they can be extremely charismatic, they can do lots of things... And these are the kind of traits that psychopaths emulate and mimic! Because, remember a psychopath wears a mask of sanity, and the really good ones you can't tell, because they keep their filth and the ugliness and the darkness, you know, the black hole inside them, well hidden. And they constantly live a lie, they live a constant pretense.
Jason: I would point out that I don't really see that sort of, you know, the valiant war-heroes, that goes and shoots 50 people and throws himself off into the lions. I don't necessarily think that that person is a psychopath in that context. A lot of people think that just because someone's a soldier or something, they must be some kind of psychopathic killer, I don't really take with that. I think that psychopaths pretend to be those things. They pretend to be brave, they pretend to be fearless, they pretend all those things with their words but actually when you put them on the field of battle, they're not any of those things. They . .
Laura: They don't give a hoot!
Jason: They don't give a shit. The problem is not being charismatic, the problem is not even being manipulative. The problem is why you do things; and psychopaths always do things for self interest, they don't want to benefit their group. Now if you're a leader, and you tell a lie that's gonna help people get through a difficult time, then that's a whole different story than a person who tells a lie because they want to get something for themselves. You know.
Laura: What do you think Harrison?
Harrison: Yeah. I think that Jason made the most important point about this, is that all of these traits we look at being positive in psychopaths, and you know Kevin Duttons book on wise psychopaths - why psychopaths have traits that are good or we might want to emulate. It's because this complete lack of real psychological knowledge, where we see that all those traits are things that real humans can come to without being psychopaths and they're not even the real traits of psychopaths - they're real things that psychopaths just emulate or fake. So what they've done is conflate the issue, where we've identified these traits that can be really positive and that real leaders do have, like courage and bravery and the ability to get though difficult situations. And by identifying them with psychopaths, the psychopaths get off fine, but what people are really missing is that; when you have a psychopath, you might have all of these traits that resemble good things, but at the core of it, you have this total darkness, this total destructive nature that will just consume another person, and you can't have one without the other in a psychopath, with a psychopath that is always there. So, when you're trying to emulate a psychopath, or you think psychopaths are cool, that's what you're emulating, and that's what it comes down to. If you want to emulate good traits, you can find those good traits in good people. They are not essential features of psychopaths
Jason: I was going to say, because you did mention some things like comic book characters, and I mean, I know there are some comic book characters who are kinda bad, but I wouldn't say that Wolverine really is. In some storylines he is, but since I'm a Wolverine fan, I'm gonna have to defend him a little bit. Or even say for instance Johhny the Homicidal Maniac, that's a real sort of psychopathic character and intended to be. Or, Hannibal Lector, right , these are media characters that are portayed to be psychopathic, but actually in the end they're not, they follow a very heroic pattern, they just kind of end up doing bad things coincidentally. So, they're misrepresented as psychopaths. You know, Wolverine, calling Wolverine a psychopath, is actually not fair because he's extremely brave and he's extremely caring for various other characters in the cartoon, he was very caring for like, Guogulie (?), and stuff like that. That's not psychopathic, he's not psychopathic. Hannibal Lector is not a psychopath by like any stretch of imagination, he's like a composite hero character who does serial killer-like things, but that's only like the gimmick of the movie, whereas the character Hannibal Lector is actually, he's like a gentleman in a certain sense. And all of his killings seem to always be portrayed as having something to do with revenge against people or the punishment of these sort of like people that are around, when he feeds the victim to a whole bunch of posh wannabees, and stuff like that. So I mean, those kind of characters, when they're represented, I mean, I haven't seen Dexter so I don't know but the way it sounds actually is he's like the coincidental psychopath, it's like he was a created hero character that was to go on a heroes journey, and by the way once in a while he stops and tries to kill people. So that's like a misrepresentation of psychopathy, because a real psychopath is to me like this weaselling, he's like the 'Cypher' character. The Cypher character in the Matrix, is like the perfect psychopath. He's always running around in the background talking to people, trying to manipulate things, feeling them out. Like when he has that discussion with Neo and he has that disussion with Trinity's character and in the end he's two-timing them and he waits till their all vulnerable and then he tries to kill them. He's not brave, he's not skilled at anything, he's just a manipulator - he's a psychopath. When I hear of a media portrayal of a psychopath, the first person I think of is Cypher from the Matrix, not Wolverine and not Hannibal Lector. That's all I had to say on the media thing.
Niall: It's not just in popular media and culture that we're seeing this subtle conflation of, or perversion if you like, of the understanding of what a psychopath is. There was a recent study, this was in academia where we're seeing it too, a recent study done on past US Presidents, where they took some of these psychopathic traits that are used in the manuals that we discussed before and they categorized the US presidents based on this; based on ruthlessness, toughmindedness, leadership qualities
Niall: Charm, etcetera. And the result was to put JFK at the top of the pile
Jason: which is absolutely insane, because of course..
Niall: And by the way George Bush was quite a bit down
Jason: Yeah but George Bush has got to have been one of the most psychopathic presidents, all you have to do to see George Bush is go back to that time when that lady was being executed on death row . . .
Laura: Karla Faye Tucker
Jason: Yeah, Karla Faye Tucker. There's a recording of him laughing and mocking her " Oh please don't kill me, don't fry me" , and he's laughing about it. That was him dropping the mask, that was the kind of person he was. Would you ever think of JFK doing something like that?
Laura: What about him crawling around on his hands and knees looking for the weapons of mass destruction under the table of some kind of banquet
Jason: Oh yeah, "Not here", making fun of it! He lied, he went over and killed people. How many Iraqi casualties have there been now?
Joe: Well, there's one and a half million but yeah that's a good point. He was at a Council of Foreign Relations talk and he was making fun of the fact that they couldn't find weapons of mass destruction and that they had launched a war, knowing that they didn't exist, and in the process they killed 1,5 million Iraqi civilians. And Obama in similar style, a few years ago at another kind of dinner, it might have been the
Niall: Annual Press Dinner
Joe: Where he made a joke about drones . .
Jason: Oh yeah, 'Two words. Predator drones'.
Joe: Yeah, 'You never see them coming'. And everybody laughed. And you know, these are on a daily basis, possibly even that day, these drones that he's talking about blew away an entire Pakistani or an Afghani family that were at a wedding or somthing like that. It is quite subtle in a way, because people, ordinary people, non-psychopathic people, do make fun sometime, the term operating room humor- you know when you can make fune, make light of something that's normally quite grave. So, it is subtle and that's the sort of thing that they do that passes muster. Because . . .
Jason: But that's part of their mask.
Joe: But that's part of their mask, exactly. And obviously, they are, when you look behind the details, people who make light of certain situation with operating room humor, they're not going out, or they're not ordering anyone to go out and kill innocent civilians wherever these people are. So, it's always about looking at their actions, more so than their words.
Jason: I can't remember who it was, oh, it was Minnie Driver's character in Gross Point Blank, who said probably one of the greatest lines ever. She said "people tell jokes about the horrible things they don't do, they don't actually do them" and she says it to the main character whose a professional killer and he told some jokes about it, and she said "I thought you were joking" , he says "I wasn't", she was like "I wasn't" - people joke about the horrible things they don't do, they don't do them. That's kind of like the quintessential explaination of a psychopath. Yeah, there are people who joke about that, but if you know, 20 minutes earlier you signed a paper that just killed 10,000 people from some bomb drop, you joking about it is totally not cool!
Joe: That's totally different
Jason: Yeah it's a totally different situation than somebody saying, well there's horrible stuff going on.
Joe: You mentioned this guy Kevin Dutton. What's your take on him, in terms of his motivation in writing this book. I mean, he said himself, he claims his father was a psychopath
Niall: First of all, Harrison before you answer, I just want to for our readers, I just want to explain a bit. There's an author of a book named Wisdom of Psychopaths. The authors name is Kevin Dutton. He's a University of Oxford England Professor of psychology and he wrote this book some time late last year and it's currently THE bestseller, the book, the go-to book on psychopaths. So it's getting a lot of press reviews and seems to be getting a lot of promotion. In fact, it's popping up all over the place on the web. So yeah, go ahead and answer the question there.
Harrison: Well I got to say first of all that I haven't read the book, I've read some of his articles. So I don't know, I couldn't give a total comprehensive view on him, but from what I've read; it appears just like what Laura was saying that he's basically peddling disinformation. He's trying to present something that's really horrible as not so bad. So he's presenting all these traits of psychopaths saying, oh, you know, the fact that they're fearless like 'oh well that's good, because normal people need to be fearless once in a while' or you know, 'it would be a good thing'. And Martha Stout in her review of the book, now she wrote a book called the The Sociopath Next Door which is really good book on personal interactions with psychopaths and it's just a really good introduction to the concept. And she wrote that, in the entire book he mentions conscience in passing once or twice, and he never really talks about the main issue of psychopaths. He never really talk about the fact that they lack conscience. He never talks about the things that Jason mentioned, what really goes on beneath the surface. So it's really this superficial view of psychopaths that just feeds into the disinformation about the topic. So we get this phenomenon where the traits of psychopaths, in the media we may call someone a psychopath, let's say, like I did, let's say someone calls Wolverine a psychopath when he's not. And then, once we've made that connection, we have in our minds disinformation about psychopaths. So we think that psychopaths are a certain way, we think that oh maybe there's a heart of gold underneath the evil exterior, maybe there's something that can be saved within and maybe they're just a soul in struggle and all they need is a bit of nurture to become a good person. And really, that's totally untrue. That's basically how I see Duttons book, at least what I've read of it, that he's presenting these totally pie-in-the-sky fantasies about psychopaths that just have no basis in reality and get people to identify with, and admire these traits in psychopaths. And in turn admire psychopaths and to say that they're not so bad, when really the issue is completely different than the way he portrays it, and way more evil.
Jason: Yeah, I'd like to say something about that whole 'psychopaths are fearless'. Look at the Ken McElroy kind of thing, which we all kind of decided . . we read that book In Broad Daylight which was made into a movie. The psychopaths are only fearless when they think, either rightly or wrongly, wrongly sometimes, that they are in a position of power over somebody. Inordinate power where they can do whatever they want. They're not fearless, because when you see them facing off with the crowd that recognizies them, and they can't control anymore, all of the sudden they run and hide. Why do they run and hide? Because they do have fear. So psychopaths are not fearless. They're shameless and they're unable, psychologically, mentally, from some brain dysfunction, whatever, of conceiving of failure and inadequcy in a situation because they have such a low opinion of everybody around them. "Oh I'm so good, I'm going to go in here and manipulate these people, and they're so easy to control". And you see what happens when those people fail and they get discovered and the mask comes off, that they're not fearless at all. They are terrified. And that's why there's such an effort to bombard the population with propaganda about psychopaths, to twist it. This is why Lobaczewski describes how they went into all the libraries and took out all these books about that topic, because they are afraid, they're not fearless.
Laura: I don't think it's fear. I think it's apprehension over losing food. I don't think it's fear in the same way we understand fear. I think it's rage even, anger. You know somebody is clearly depriving them of their potential food by exposing them. That's been what I've seen, what I've experienced, is that when you seek to expose them they get angry, and they come at you in a rageful way. Because if you think about this, there's this movie, this book, this Ken McElroy. When he realized that he was going to be put in a position where he would no longer have food, he set himself up to be killed, basically. He pushed the envelope too far, and the people in the town where he lived, where he had been controlling everybody for years, they all gathered together and assassinated him, essentially. They got into vigilante violence and killed him. But I don't think that he didn't know that that would happen, if he didn't know that that's where it was going to end ... then we've just seen an extreme example of the Dunning-Krueger effect.
Joe: Well, one of the questions that I've had, that I haven't been able to answer for a long time, is whether or not psychopaths know they're psychopaths; (Neil: Yeah.) know that they are different from other people personally. While I can't be sure, but I tend to think that they don't. I tend to think that they're basically just a force of nature. They just do what they do, in the same way that people don't question, ordinary, normal people don't question whether they're fundamentally different from anyone else. I tend to think that psychopaths will do the same, that they don't sit around and ... they're not smart enough, in a way to notice that..
Laura: But Lobaczewski says they do know they're different, they will ...
Joe: I know, but I, just in terms of ...
Jason: But they think that they're elite different. They think that they're elite and that they have a right ...
Joe: Different in the sense of better (Laura: Ah, yeah) but not different in the sense of knowing their own psychological or internal makeup and knowing that there's this vast gulf between them and normal people in terms of empathy ...
Laura: Yeah, yeah, I agree
Joe: And how we're going to, and to use this then ...
Laura: Well, they have no insight.
Joe: Exactly, because there was always that contradiction in a way, in the idea of them knowing that they're psychopaths but also having no insight and not really thinking long-term but basically just being reaction machines; destructive, reaction machines, you know.
Harrison: I think that they know that if they know that they're different in some sense, it's almost on an instinctual level. Like they'll be able to identify the easy prey. They'll be able to say, 'Ok, well that person's an easy victim'. So on some level they know whose an easy mark and they know that they'll be able to have power over them, but I agree with you that they don't really think about it too much. Like, they don't really analyze and say ' Oh, it's because that person has a conscience', because they don't understand what a conscience is. They just see that this person will act in certain ways that will make them able to be manipulated to get them what they want. So yeah I think that on some level they know they can identify a person who is different from them, who is easy prey, but I don't think they actually put it in the concepts that we do.
Laura: I wanna ask a question to all the listeners out there: Have any of you ever encountered or been involved with somebody you really thought was cool, you really looked up to and admired and then over time you realized that there was something really wrong, that their behaviour was off? That their coolness, their charisma was basically something that was oriented to getting their needs fulfilled at the expense of anybody else and maybe they stabbed you in the back at some point in time. If anybody has had any experience like that, we'd sure like to hear about it, so give us a call.
Joe: Yeah, feel free to call in and share your experiences, because it's in the direct experiences of these kind of people that you really get to understand the nitty-gritty of how they operate, and the little subtle ways, or not so subtle ways that they go about their business. So Harrison, just getting back to the topic of the effect that psychopaths in power have on the human population, you know there's two pretty famous experiments that were conducted I think, in the seventies. One is the Milgram experiment and the other one is the Stanford...
Harrison: Stanford Prison experiment.
Joe: Yes, Stanford Prison experiement. Actually before I get into that someone appears to have responded to Laura's request, maybe. So were going to take a call here. - Hello?
Joe: What's your name?
Shane: Hi, this is Shane from New York
Joe: Hi Shane
Niall: Welcome, Shane
Shane: Hi everybody. Actually I didn't hear what was just being talked about becuase I was dialing. But I just wanted to get into this issue a little bit, about, just this framing of perception of both psychopaths and just pathological behaviour. It seems like it has been going on for quite a long time, perhaps even before psychopathy was being researched but, it's interesting when the issue was first being adressed by Cleckley and some others in the early 40's, there's an old book, Rebel Without a Cause that was written a couple of years after Cleckley wrote Mask of Sanity. And it's basically the description of trying to understand the psychopathic criminal, and that in turn, that very phrase 'Rebel without a cause', then that was made cool via James Dean. Then you have this whole history of these James Bond characters and all sorts of these murderous heroes being idealized for decades. So, it's interesting I think that it's only been very recent that it's been explicitly stated that it's the psychopaths, it's something to be aspired to. It's not just the behaviour that's being twisted but they had to come right out and say that psychopathy is cool, pretty much. Prior to that it was just perception of the behaviour that was being distorted into some ideal, but now I that I think it's being made much more clear what this behaviour is, you know, it being exposed, they had kind of play this thing.
Joe: They've had to ramp up the propaganda you mean?
Shane: Yeah, and they played this pathetic card, you know, just saying well, 'psychopaths are cool', you know?
Joe: Absolutely, yeah. I think there is a process of trying to combat the truth that has been spread about psychopathy in the world, particularly on the internet and the stuff that we've published, that they had to do something about that. And we've just talked about that with these top, best-selling books glorifying psychopaths. But also I think there's a long process of ponerization, of this spread of psychopathic ideals, that may be an actual, a real symptom, you know, in the sense of it's not just propaganda what we're seeing in the media and movies and in social life basically. These aspects of, these psychopathic aspects are actually real symptoms of a problem, you know what I mean? They're not just trying to convince us that we're all psychopaths, there are a lot more psychopaths or at least more people who have been ponerized because of a long term infection, really - a psychological infection.
Niall: It's completely insidious. I mean, on the one hand it's something that's very subtle. On the other hand they are trying to deal with the issue head on, and the message that is coming through is 'Hey you know psychopaths they're not so bad, they're funny, they're witty, sometimes they're even useful to society'.
Neil: So ...
Joe: Allright Shane thanks for your call
Shane: Yeah thanks for having me you guys, love your show, thanks.
Joe: Thanks Shane, take it easy. We're going to go to another call here, Hello.
Lisa: Hi I hope you don't mind me calling again, but I wanted to respond to Laura's question, this is Lisa.
Joe: Hi Lisa
Neil: Hi Lisa, welcome back.
Lisa: I've had a few experiences with people like that. I married two people that were like that. I thought they were very cool, they had a lot of charisma. I was completely snowed. One person I spent almost 10 years with and another person I was with for the better part of 7 years. The things that this person, or both of them actually, did, it's like psychological torture. They change over time. They don't maintain their charm over time and they end up changing you as well, they get you to do things that you normally wouldn't do, over time. And you start acting and behaving like them. Cruel, cruel verbal abuse. I mean, it ends up alienating you from the good people in your life. People you love and care about and changing very basic things about yourself. The person that I was married to, for a total of 3 months, although I was with him for a better part of 7 years, and I really looked up to him and respected him because he was a pretty well known writer. And we did a show together and he ended up doing unspeakable things. This person that I thought was so cool eventually tried to kill me. Literally. (Neil: Whoa!) And uh, this is something I didn't foresee in the beginning, but there were many, many signs along the way and I was warned by others extensively and had opportunities to leave but, and I did leave 3 times. And 3 times, despite better judgement and the wisdom of people who could see clearly what was going on, I could not see. It's amazing how something can be right in front of your face and you just don't see it. You don't see it sometimes until you hit the very bottom and there's no choice but to see it.
I don't know but, there's a lot of people out there who are in these personal relationships with other people and at first you think they're the next best thing to pizza and you actually start convincing yourself of this, despite these red flags along the way; how they treat other people, the little actions that they do in the course of a day. And it's good that you brought up the rage part of it, because once I started reading about psychopathy and being exposed...Laura introduced me to this whole subject, I think it was in 2005 or 2006. I started reading it. And I started reading about sadistic narcissists. I started seeing all these characteristics in the person I was living with and I would try to talk to him about it. His resistance to even talking about the information, he would become so angry, and I remember having Laura on my show. We did a show on this subject, the subject of evil and psychopaths and he boycotted that show. He didn't want to be a part of that show at all, and it was the only one that he wasn't apart of. And I felt that was pretty telling as well. And over time this person broke me down to where I didn't even recognize myself, so I think it's really good that you're bringing this up.
This is the first time that I've really spoken out really publicly on a radio show, about this. And it can be someone that you look up to, someone that you admire, someone that has accomplished a lot of things under the guise of doing good. And when I was with him I thought that I was doing good, a lot of good, for a long time. And what it was doing was destroying me. This person tried to get me to self-erase, to kill myself. He kept trying, saying things, to make me want to die. That's not somebody who is supportive and cares about you. But the public face was that he was very supportive of me. When people would attack me for things I wrote for example, attack me personally, and as a woman and as a mother and a human being, he would publically defend me. But what he was really doing was exploiting what was happening to me for his own personal gain, and I didn't see that at first. Then behind the scenes he would attack me more viciously than the people who were coming after me publicly. It's very interesting how they change and how eventually, eventually you have to see who they are and what they are, you know. I guess it just all depends on the toll; how long it takes you to make that realization and the toll it ends up taking on you and it takes a very, very long time to heal from an experience like that.. that's what I wanted to say.
Laura: I think part of the problem is the fact that it is so painful, coming to the realization that somebody you looked up to and admired is not who you believed they were.
Lisa: Right! Yeah, I didn't want to believe it all. And even when I convinced myself, a part of me knew better and was listening to the people around me that were trying to help me. I wanted, I wanted to still believe that I could salvage this, I didn't want to be a quitter, I thought maybe I could change this person, or it was something that I wasn't doing right. They always make you believe that it's you and deflect off of their own actions and words. Their words and actions, they rarely, if ever, jive and that's a really good thing to look out for, if their words and their actions don't jive. So a person can act one way in front of one publicly and then they act completely differently to you behind the scenes. And it's very traumatic.
Laura: Yes, it induces post-traumatic stress disorder. It's a horrible experience and I think that what we're seeing is, socially and culturally, you know, on a wider socio-cultural level, we're experiencing that. Because, people do not want to see the fact, that things that they have been conditioned from birth to belive are heroic or good or right or proper, are not in fact what they've been told they were. I mean, it's like somebody losing their religion. They're raised in it, it's part of their enculturation. And then they wake up one day and realize, you know, wait a minute, a whole lot of that isn't true, it can't be the true word of god - and it's a...it's a shattering realization. So ...
Lisa: You know Laura, you mentioned that too, about how they have this apprehension about losing food, and that's such a good point to bring up because they really do feed off the good people around them. For example in my case, when we were doing the show, he would feed off of me, I would have to finish his sentences and he would leave me unprepared for every show, wouldn't tell me what it was going to be about, we couldn't discuss it, untill boom, it was time to do the show and I had to somehow come up with responses and talking points, and it was really anxious for me to do these shows and I would be very nervous about them. It was like he deliberately put me on the spot every single show and kind of took pleasure in it, watching me trying to not think and things like that, you know? He couldn't even do the show after I left because there was no one to feed off of.
Laura: Do we have another call. We have another call coming in Lisa, thank you very much sweetie, and you have a good night.
Lisa: You to, bye bye.
Niall: Bye Lisa
Joe: Hi caller, sorry for keeping you waiting there. What's your name?
Joe: Hi Betsy
Betsy: Hi. Just enjoying ya'lls radio show and and was responding to Laura's question about whether or not you've ever had an experience with a psychopath and I've had quite a few. I was actually raised by one but probably the most traumatic for me was Obama. And I know how that sounds but, he came a long at a period in my life when I really didn't think there was much hope for this society, and this is during the primaries, this is even before he was on the ballot. All my friends, most of them members of NOW and what not, were of course shooting for the first female President. But I saw this man, who I thought was a good man. He had, you know, ... He wasn't a career politician. He just, he talked a good story, he talked a good lineand I worked my butt off all though the primaries, all though the elections. I really thought, here we have this man, he's a man of color, he's not a part of the machine yet, I didn't think. Afterwards, once he actually got into office, and I realized 'My god, he's a complete psychopath'. I spent...I'm still kicking myself. It's just...how could I, who has an entire lifetime of experience of dealing with pathological people, how could I have been that dumb?
Jason: I think that Obama really did, sort of (Joe: Do a number?) really did work out any racial kinks in America. I mean there was this whole idea of racism in America and as a black person he really did turn that on its head and showed that a black president can be just as evil as any white guy.
Betsy: I know right? I mean, here he is going around to the indian reservations and doing the whole 'I feel you pain' thing, and I mean that man had me in tears more than once. I truly believed that if we could get him into office that the United States would change.
Laura: I just wanted to say, that I was one of those who knew that nothing would change, because I knew..
Betsy: But I didn't know you then!
Laura: Well, but I knew it, and nearly everybody else I knew, they were saying 'Oh Obama's gonna change things, there's hope, there's hope, there's hope' and I kept saying 'he will not get elected if he's going to do anything different'. It just will not happen.
Jason: It ended up, he actually ended up being actually worse than George W. Bush.
Laura: I never thought I would wish to see Bush back!
Joe: Well, hang on a minute
Joe: Hang on a minute!
Jason: Bush was ignorant and hewas just, he was like this teenage boy and Obama is a very articulate, mature person and also evil. And in a certain sense the fact that he so much wherewithal about him, makes it all the worse, because he's so much more dangerous. He's so much, he has ...
Betsy: And he's incredibly charismatic in person.
Joe: Yeah. Let's just highlight the problem of what we've been talking about with psychopaths and as Laura mentioned is that it's really difficult, basically impossible to know in advance, because you get all this charisma and that wanting to please and you know, helpfulness at the beginning, and it's only afterwards when you start to see their actions that you're able to turn around and say, "uh oh, psycho'"
Jason: There was something I wanted to say when Lisa was calling, and it's all kind of about this, in a certain sense, and I mentioned that book by Cialdini which talk about these 7 weapons of influence and how these people operate. I think one of the problems of what makes psychopaths so succesful is not really their skill and abilities. It's our guilelessness, our just absolute inability to sort of work to say, to be distrustful of someone who comes along and says things. We want, we want...because we have conscience and we project that on to them.
Betsy: That's exactly why I'm still kicking myself, I thought I knew better than that. I really did.
Jason: See,you do. But in a certain sense, I mean, because you're a normal human being. You have a conscience, you love people, you, whatever...you project that on to them. It's us people who have to change, because they never can. Psychopaths can never be anything other than a psychopath but normal human beings, this regular everyday Joe has got to change the way that they look at other people, the way they look at the world and the way that they conduct themselves - not be more psychopathic, that's not what they need to do. They need to be putting in a little more work and being a little bit more discerning and not kicking themselves when they get taken in, because your know, that's what psychopaths do.
Joe: Just to be clear, Betsy, you know, that when we say that, or Laura said she knew that Obama wasn't this kind of saviour, what she's kind of saying is that; we didn't know based on all the things that were so appealing about him to everybody. They were appealing to us as well. But we had just decided, quite a long time ago, that anybody, as Laura said, that anybody who gets elected, isn't really the right stuff, you know. And that's been the case since JFK basically. When JFK tried to effect all this change, and make the world and American society a better place, they shot him for it.
Betsy: And that was a constant fear, as a matter of fact on time his plane was pulled off for bomb threat, and that was a constant fear of everyone who was working on his campaign, was that he would be killed. (Joe: Take him out.) Because we thought, essentially, he was another JFK. Because our history is so cyclic in the United States, the attitude was, it's about time for another JFK, it really is. We were afraid of that. We spent a lot of time waking every morning wondering if he was still alive.
Jason: But they worked that angle on you, you see the thing is, (Betsy: Oh, did they!) they work people like that. Like I'm sure that his own people probably called in the bomb threat, type of thing. I would suspect that, I've become ultra-paranoid, if something like that happens, I'm lgonna say, 'Oh, they called it in themselves', 'It was a PR thing', because that's the kind of stuff that they do.
Betsy: We thought maybe the one thing that might keep him alive was the fact that the black community would burn down every major city in the United States, if he was assassinated. It was that type of thinking that was going on during the primaries, this man is the hope for our future, so obviously one of these corporations are going to try to kill him.
Jason: well, look what happened when he gloriously stabbed the entire black community in the back, by not changing a single damn thing and not you know, keeping any of his promises.
Betsy: None of them, not a one.
Jason: So you see how they reacted there. I mean, you have Eddie Griffin you know, who said a few mean comments about it here and there in his comedy routines but you know..
Laura: Hey, hey, Obama could not have been another JFK for one simple reason, he did not have Papa Joe.
Jason: Ah naah, he didn't have Marilyn Monroe either.
Laura: Yeah, Marilyn didn't get him into office. Daddy had a lot of money and a lot of people who owed him favours.
Betsy: That's true and a lot of our hope came from the fact that so much of his monetary support appeared to be coming from grassroots efforts. Of course now we know better
Laura: That, well, yeah. Grassroots efforts. I mean the only way you're going to get elected, I mean, I don't know. I mean, I wonder how many people have watched the entire 'Evidence of Revision' series? You can get it on Amazon cheap. But in there they talk about how voting was being fixed, I mean, way back when, there was no way that anybody could get elected whatsoever, if they were not selected.
Jason: Well I think the clue that I had that Obama was gonna be evil was the Obama girl.
Laura: We got a call? Ok we got a call Betsy, it was nice talking to you sweetie.
Betsy: Nice talking to ya'll.
Niall: We have another caller, Joe?
Joe: Yes we do. Hi caller, what's your name? . . . . Hello are you there, can you hear me?
Joe: Ok, they hung up, we've got another one.
Jason: You hear them in the background, but okay.
Laura: They went to the bathroom
Joe: Maybe they'll call back. You can call back. They'd been on hold for quite a while. Harrison are you still there? We've forgotten about you
Harrison: I'm still here
Laura: We didn't forget about you Harrison!
Jason: No, and as I was saying the thought that Obama was a fraud, was the Obama girl. You know, I mean, that whole viral Obama girl thing, you know that, the Obama girl? It was some sort of stripper-esqe looking woman, dancing around in very tight shorts or something like that, for Obama. It' basically like porn star ...
Laura: And you think that's a tip-off??
Jason: That's a tip-off because it was so orchestrated! It was so orchestrated ...
Niall: Some kind of campaign mascot?
Jason: Yeah, she was like the campaign mascot. And I was like, oh my god, that is so, that is so conceived, it was too conceived for me you know, it came off too fake. And they jumped on it and they promoted and it was all over the web; and everything was Obama girl, Obama girl, Obama girl, and I as like 'Hmmm, this is a little bit strange'
Laura: That's just a way to get the name Obama spoken at leat 50 million times, (Jason: Exactly!) so it gets imprinted in peoples brains, they get to the voting booth...
Jason: I mean it wast was section advertising, essentially is was what it was, it was a cheap way to get all of the young male population to be like 'Oh Obama girl, hell yeah', you know, and of course they're watching all the campaign videos of it, cause she's doing all these campaign videos for him. And I was like, you know that, that didn't fly very well did it?
Niall: Yeah I completely see what Betsy is saying here, Obama has done a complete number on people. I mean hope and change, look what we got.
Joe: We got another caller.Can you hear me?
Caller: Hello there.
Joe: Hi, what's your name. Where are you from?
Matt: My name is Matt Kramer.
Jason: Matt, where you from?
Matt: Currently I live in Wizard Wells, Texas
Jason: Oh, excellent! Welcome to the show, man.
Everybody: Welcome to the show.
Laura: I want to visit that place.
Matt: It's actually a holistic retreat, you can come get massages and mineral soaks and all kinds of other stuff.
Laura: Oh, I'm ready!!
Jason: Sign us up now!
Laura: Ok, what's on your mind?
Matt: I've got a few comments, One is I'd like to say something in Obamas defense. Are you aware of the global gag rule? The global gag rule was first instituted by Ronald Reagan at the behest of rightwing religious influences, demanding that no funding be provided to any third world health clinic, if they were involved in birth control and abortion. And even if it was just birth control and not abortion, US funding was not allowed. The consequence was, it was the only healthcare for thousands of women and children in Africa and other third world areas, and a lot of women and children died as a consequence of the loss of healthcare. When Clinton was elected one of the first things he did was to rescind the global gag rule, Bush brought it back into play and Obama's first week in office he rescinded it. I heard what you were saying regarding you can't become President without being tied into some very corrupt influences and I was very disappointed to see his choices, with Geithner and people like that when he came into power, or into office, but I did feel he's an improvement over the other options we had.
Jason: Alright, but when you can count on your left hand the beneficial things that someones done and it takes all your fingers and toes to count the bad things, I mean like, you can't give a guy credit for doing something completely and totally reasonable, like one reasonable or two reasonable things. You shouldn't get credit for doing reasonable things. I mean if you start doing a couple of reasonable things and like, 20 bad things, you're an asshole. I mean, that's the bottom line, when somebody like him comes into office and they do a couple of good things, and 'well, at least he did those things', it's like yeah, those are good things and no one is going to argue with you but look at all the other stuff that he does, look at the NDAA, the SOPA (?), and the wiretapping ...
Laura: Gitmo, Gitmo. He didn't close Gitmo.
Jason: Gitmo. He didn't even realize those promises. If his main campaign promise though his entire thing had been "I'm going to remove the gag rule" and that was his only thing and then he did it, I would be like 'Well finally, a politician who upholds his promises'. But those weren't his major promises. It was no war, let's get out of Afghanistan, let's get out of this war kind of bullshit, ah, what was the other thing he had? Let's close Gitmo. And that was ...
Laura: Put everything back the way it was before Bush ruined it!
Jason: Yeah, basically that kind of the platform everyone, that was the implied platform of him. His implied platform was: I'm going to undo all of the BS from George W. Bush. When he didn't do that, he didn't live up to his promises, and then...
Laura: And he made everything worse. He's done worse things than Bush!
Jason: Now there are predator drones patrolling U.S airspace! I'm sorry this is too Skynet, this is too Sci-fi, this is too dystopian future stuff, you know and...
Joe: Matt, you just said he's an improvement on the other options of the time, the other options of the time were McCain and Palin, that's not really a choice.
Jason: That's not really saying much about him, that he was better than Sarah Palin and John McCain, I mean, c'mon!
Matt: Let me change the tangent to another direction relative to that, going back to how psychopaths have influenced civilisation, and I've been studying this for a long time. I believe maybe 100,000 years ago the traits of a psychopath may have helped humanity to survive, in terms of...
Laura: I disagree.
Jason: Well, how so because...
Laura: Develop your argument though, I want to hear it.
Matt: There's a researcher named Christopher Boehm who wrote a book on moral origins, and why did the human animal develop morality and no other animals did. And there's Joe Brewer who wrote an article that you can get, that there are 70 million psychopaths around the world, what are we going to do about them, why do they exist? What is in terms of evolution that allows a psychopath to continue to show up in our culture? And I don't have the answer to that.
Laura: I do. I just wrote a book about it.
Joe: Spell it out there, Laura!
Laura: Just get a copy of my latest book, it's entitled Comets & the Horns of Moses. Basically the title is self-explanatory, because for me the horns of Moses is the big dichotomy in our culture between people with conscience and people without conscience. This relates in a more recent period, for example, the Renaissance Enlightenment, to the decision to separate the body from the mind, the 'I think therefore I am'. And of course for Descartes that meant that he was imagining everything material, or he could be. You know 'I think therefore I am' total subjectivity. And then along comes the materialsts and they turned that on its head, since he had established this, you know, this clear distinction in the mind-body problem between consciousness and matter, or between spirit and matter or whatever. They established that matter was the only thing that absolutely existed and consciousness itself was a by-product of matter. So for example, your cells [are] communicating with each other, and you imagine you have consciousness, or whatever. So those are the kinds of problems I deal with as well as some theoretical speculations about where, how and why psychopaths come along and I think you might enjoy it.
Matt: I didn't catch your last name.
Laura: Jadczyck. (Spells it out).
Matt: Ok, well thank you!
Laura: You can find it on Amazon.
Joe: There's another book that's already out called 'The Apocalypse', Comets...can't think of the rest of title right now, that's very bad....
Laura: Just go on Amazon and put my name in.
Joe: There's one with Apocalypse in the title and that one goes into detail on that topic as well.
Matt: One of the things is, well I'm glad that you folks are doing what you're doing, I feel that the general population is incredebly ignorant of how civilisation has been distorted to its present status, by the influence of psychopaths.
Laura: You're gonna love my book!
Jason: Yeah, absolutely.
Matt: Cool. And I'm working on my own [book]
Laura: Good! Well, send us an email when its done and we'll see if we can give you a little promo there.
Matt: All right thank you very much.
Joe: Thanks for your call Matt. (Goodbyes from studio). Yeah, that's obviously a topic for another show.
Laura: Oh, absolutely, the history of psychopathy
Niall: Where do they come from?
Laura: Psychopaths and history
Jason: That's one thing a lot of people do, is because of the kind of materialistic representation of evolution, it's almost, when sometimes it's presented a certain way, seems like psychopaths should have an edge. Unless you sit down and really, really think about it, it's like yeah why don't psychopaths have an edge. They do have an edge in a certain sense, but the problem is they tend to sort of, they tend to infect a population, abuse it, take everything, and then destroy it, because they're so self-interested and they start to spread and collect together and rule, right. Lobaczewski kind of talks about this. When they get put in charge of the economy, you know, they can't stop making all these backroom deals and raping the economy left, right and center.
Laura: Well, that's what we're seeing today! That's what we're seeing today.
Jason: That's what we're seeing today. So, at first, yes, they do benefit. They get super filthy stinking rich at the expense of everybody else, but eventually the society will collapse because of what they do, which is what happened in Russia, you know, they became SO corrupt that everything fell apart. It was not because it was a revolution of the people that they became what they are now today, it's because the psychopaths were so rapacious and basically ended up just ruining the entire government for themselves because they just couldn't stop with this whole corruption stuff. So in the end it leads to ultimate destruction, but at first it does seem very succesful.
Joe: I just want to give the title of that book for Matt and anyone else who is interested in this topic of the origins of psychopathy, among other things. The book's by Laura Knight-Jadzyck is on Amazon, it's called The Apocalypse - Comets, Asteroids and Cyclical Catastrophes. Anybody who is interested in this topic will find that book very interesting.
Laura: I think Matt will especially enjoy the indepth historical research that I've done and the fact that I've cited everything with the original sources and you will have footnotes galore, if you're a footnote junky like I am, you're gonna love it.
Joe: Indeed. I just want to get back to my point there before, that..those few calls. Harrison, you still there I trust?
Laura: We're getting back to you in a minute Harrison, just hang on.
Joe: This topic of how psychopaths spread their influence amongst society. You've talked about that already, you mentioned basically the spread of psychopathic ideals that are based essentially on a lack of conscience, on a lack of empathy but also a lot of lies, lying going on to manipulate the population. But what I'm wondering here is: Is there a difference? Let's say psychopaths are fundamentaly different, psychologically at least, from normal human beings, but is there a difference potentially, in the normal population that make some people more susceptible to being infected, let's say ,if I can use that word, by psychopathic ideals, than others?
Harrison: Yeah, one of the researchers that gets into this would be Bob Altermeyer, from a, I think he's retired now, but he's from the University of Manitoba, and he talks about 'authoritarians'. Now, if you're going to divide humanity in to certain groups, you have psychopaths and non-psychopaths and then, for all the non-psychopaths - yeah, I think there's a spectrum, where you'll get on one end of the spectrum, you'll get people who will, just, basically obey any authority, for any reason and to any extent. And then at the other end of the spectrum you'll get people that question authority and will actually use their reason to determine the best course of action. So, with authoritarian followers, these are the people that will back any decision made by the authorities. They'll even make excuses for the authorities, so if whoever is in power, if they bend the rules a bit, well, that will be OK for them, but for anyone else, that will justify extreme prison sentences or something like that.
Harrison: You mentioned before the last few callers,a couple of experiments, the Milgram experiment and the Stanford Prison experiement. Now the Milgram one seems to me, a pretty good way of demonstrating this. For anyone who is not familiar with it, Milgram originally set up this experiment where you had two people, one was the confederate in the experiment, so he was basically an actor, and he would pretend to be a person answering questions on basic learning. So the test subject, the person who actually didn't know what was going on, would ask certain questions, and whenever the other person got a question wrong he was to push a button to give the other person an electric shock. And as the questions went on, the more that they got wrong the higher the shock would be. Until it reached a point where the shock would be lethal. And when the test subject would push that button, the person on the other end of the experimenter's room would stop responding, and for all the test subject knew, that person was now dead. Now, I forget the exact figures but I think something like between 60 and 80 percent, somewhere in there..
Joe: I think it was 65.
Harrison: 65 went to the very end, pushing the button for the maximum electrical shock
Jason: One detail about the experiment, the guy who was asked the questions was an actor, and he was supposed to make progressively louder and louder screams as he received shocks. At one point he says 'I have a heart condition, you're going to kill me', or something like that, and he was acting and hamming it up and screaming.
Joe: But the person administring the shocks
Laura: Did it anyway!
Joe: Well, he had an authority figure standing in a white coat standing beside him, (Laura: Exactly!) saying, 'Well you need to continue with the experiment, you need to continue, you need to continue'. And 65% of the people selected went ahead up to the officially lethal level of shock.
Niall: So they virtually killed their subjects
Joe: Yeah, but at the same time, Milgram who conducted this experiment, said that virtually all of those people, for what it is worth, exhibited signs of being under high stress, at being told to continue with what they'd understood to be ...
Laura: But they still did it anyway.
Niall: They didn't enjoy it but they continued
Jason: They continued to do it regardless of their own conscience, so they did have a conscience but...
Joe: But it was overruled by authority. So 65 to 35 % of the population. Then there was another experiment done that pu it more like half and half, where half, and statistically that's not really notable but it seems to be coming out at around maybe half, half of the people who were engaged in this experiment would go ahead and do what the authority told them to do, up tothe point of killing another human being, for no good reason, and half didn't. So Harrison..
Harrison: I think there's a lot of disinformation about this even, because some people will interpret it as kind of the be all, end all of explaining why certain atrocities happen in the world, they'll use it to explain, or they used it to explain the Holocaust for example. That it's just people following orders and that's the end of the answer, that's it. It's just the people who follow orders, and they think that that's the essence of the problem. Now the point that I think that they leave out is that, well, who in normal society would take the position of the authority, would take the position of that doctor, or that experimenter saying 'No, you have to go on. No, you have to go on'. Well, when you look at real life examples, if you look at the nazis, and if you look at any history of psychopaths in power, it's the psychopaths in power that are doing it, that's the essential part of the equation. So, you'll get people who will engage in atrocities, that will kill other people just because they're following orders. Now the thing is, like Jason mentioned, they're doing it even if they don't want to do it, they're experiencing all kinds of inner tension. Looking back, like they've interviewed some of these people years after the fact of doing this experiment and one of the things they found was just how traumatic it was but also how much they learnt from it. So in a society that's ruled by psychopaths you got to take those two things into account; the people giving the orders and the people who really don't know what's going on, that have no experience, no knowledge of this kind of situation and they're just like a deer in a headlight, where they're put in this situation that's completely foreign to them. Normal human beings interacting with each other would never experience something like that, they would never experience someone egging them on to kill someone. So when they are put in that situation they don't have any real alternative, they haven't really thought it through, they haven't been trained in questioning authority.
Joe: Yeah, or maybe they don't fundamentally question authority, because this is one thing. You mentioned Altermeyer, and maybe this is the vision among normal human beings, in terms of people who have just naturally, by definition of who they are, have an inner sense of their own authority and therefore can rely on that. Whereas people who don't have that, and I'm using this term authority very loosely because what it actually mean in terms of difference between people I don't know, but people who don't have that, their own internal sense of authority feel compelled to rely on, or need, an external authority to make decisions for them, make important decisions for them, and if they're in the presence of that authority they will defer to that, because they don't have that ineffable, whatever it is, within in them that will make them resist. Someone who is trying to make them do something against their own conscience, against their own nature.
Jason: What I felt was really interesting from Altermeyers book was that he had students who scored high on this right-wing kind of authority test, right. They were real authoritarians. Then they were put into a very liberal kind of, a very liberal situation and they actually completely changed their authoritarian nature, to follow the authority of a more liberal viewpoint. But what he found, what I thought was the most interesting, which is the the one thing that I grind on, the minute that they left that environment they went right back to the other way. So, sometimes I think that there is, in a lot of those people, an inner,... they almost like it more when the authority is a little bit psychopathic.
Laura: Well, I think the thing is, and they've done some studies on this, that what happens with people is that they have brain chemicals that get released by neurons in the brain, that make them feel good or make them feel bad, based on the kind of feedback that they're getting from their environment. And this is conditioned into you from early infancy. You behave a certain way, and the conditioning can be just a look, or it can be your parent's saying 'You don't really mean that, this is right' or 'You must do this', 'You must do that'. So this conditioning goes on and the child comes to believe, or instinctively believe, that if they do not please the parent the parent will somehow abandon them, will not feed them, will not keep them warm or will not keep them safe, and they will die. So this goes on in the brain of the child, but it continues throughout life. And then when they get older, the idea of the parent gets transferred. It's transferred to the constituted authorities, because of course, the parent is the constituted authority while they're a child. Then it becomes their peers for a while and they go through a rebellion and then it becomes their government, their job, their employer. But you know the biggest one of course, is the head of the government...
Joe: Or the church, or science.
Laura: Or society at large. So even though it makes no logical sense, the feeling that they get, in their brain and in their body, which permeates them when they go against anything that the constitued authority says is right or the environment in which they find themselves, their peers, you know, causes them actual physical pain. They must conform what the authority wants them to do or what their peers want them to do, to relieve that pain.
Jason: This is something that I'm always harping on, is this whole idea, is that I hate rightousness, I think righousness is evil. Being right is the least important thing in your life, but everone when you're brought up, especially in America, especially in fundamental christian homes and christian homes, they have this whole idea of rightousness, the right thing, right belief, right truth, right method of doing things, right behaviour. And I think it's the most important thing in human life is good behaviour, not right behaviour. Being correct is not necessarily a good thing, if that's in contradiction to what is good, being right is not better than being good to people.
Laura: Well, it depends on how you define being right.
Jason: Sure, sure, sure
Laura: Because being right could be, being good
Jason: Right, and we know how succesful splitting semantic hairs are with authoritarian followers, because they have such an ability to conceive of that abstract concept, I'm just saying that if you wanted to teach somebody of that ilk, what's more important is if they were raised in an environment that said that goodness, empathy and conscience were more important than correct behaviour, than just following laws, then...
Laura: Then they might learn to be good.
Jason: Then they would be good, and they would be afraid of not being good, instead of afraid of not being right.
Laura: And goodness would become the authority.
Joe: That would require an authority figure to be good inside of themselves
Laura: Well of course. That's what God's for!
Joe: Yes, exactly. But ultimately what you are talking about is psychological pain, people experiencing psychological pain when they're being asked to disagree with, or ignore the authority figure, what they perceive as an authority figure. That seems something that can't be corrected, can't be changed. If they have fundamental need to obey authority, then what it comes down to is what kind of authority is going to be the one that rules over them.
Laura: The authority could be conceptual, it could be goodness.
Joe: In the presence of authorities like the church, the government, I mean..
Jason: Yeah, because those guys are psychopathic, most of these pedophile priests and stuff are psychopathic people you know, I mean seriously, and government. That's why they're... and they harp on this righteousness, the rightness stuff. Here's an example
Laura: Righousness according to god of course
Jason: Rightousness according to god, but just the word right is wrong in a certain sense when it comes to human behaviour, because being right, being correct is not the most important thing. But look at it this way: In Nazi Germany, I don't have an exact law but I'm 99% sure that there was one, you were legally obligated to turn in Jews. You were legally obligated do these various things, when they went in and invaded areas, you were legally obligated to turn your weapons and turn in any Jews that you know and report them. That was the law, the right thing to do for a german in Nazi Germany was to turn in Jews and send them to the concentration camp, that was the right and correct thing to do. It was not the good thing to do. It was the 'right' thing to do. Laws come and go, good laws, bad laws, all that kind of stuff and when you have a group of people raised on 'You have to be right and correct', then obviously they are ripe for exploitation by psychopaths who harp on righteousness, that's their big thing. I mean whenever...
Laura: They do!
Jason: Whenever you see all these people, I mean like these guys are going to Indo-China for sex vacations and hookers and all this different stuff and yet they have this whole family values and righteousness. They always try to present themselves as righteous, because they know that the people, and they have actively conditioned the people to look at righousness; being right and correct in behaviour according to whatever...
Joe: An authority. An external authority. And that's the problem, if people don't have their own sense of their own internal authority that tells them what's right and wrong, and it seems to be something you're born with, cause there are people that can go against all of the dictates of authority, even if they're all sold as being right and just, etcetera, people will go against those, based on what? Well, there is no authority to tell them to do that, it's their own internal authority that says 'No, I am not going to commit that crime'.
Neil: Do what they know is wrong.
Jason: Christian people do the exact opposite of what is said to be done in the bible, but there's lots of contradictions in the bible, you can always find a page somewhere in the bible to back up almost any kind of behaviour. But the general spirit of most christians is that you should be charitable, that you should be kind, loving, and to your community you should be forgiving to people. Bill Hicks always tells this joke where he's in this comedy show in this podunk kind of town right? So there he is and he does his little routine about christians and stuff like that and after the show he says that some christian comes up and says 'Hey Bill we didn't like what you said about Jesus' and he said 'Why don't you just forgive me'. And that was his response...
because of course they don't follow that kind of thing. Even people, they will do contrary to what the bible itself says, when there is some law or behaviour or paramoralistic kind of behaviour presented to them of a new rightness, instead of a new goodness. Because goodness is a little bit harder to fake than correctness, a little bit harder, it's still hard to fake. I'm just saying it's a little bit harder to fake that goodness. Goodness than rightness, sorry I had that in invert, so that was basically my argument.
Neil: No, no, it's good, good. Thank you Jason.
Joe: So Harrison you were saying, just about this Milgram experimant and Stanford prison experiment. I mean that has been spun, you were saying that that has been spun. Essentially, one of the comments on it, that I read was that, it has been said, that the Milgram experiment and the Stanford prison experiment were frightening in their implications about the danger which lurks in the darker side of human nature.
Laura: Obviously only about 65% of human nature.
Joe: Yeah, or even less. But also, it's under duress. So it's not necessarily that humans, that this idea that humans are inherently evil, but humans are inherently, but 50% of humans, (Jason: They're malleable.) they're either/of. It all depends on (Laura: Who's in charge.) who is giving the orders.
Harrison: But, there's also the thing that you said about the people who have their own internal sense of authority and there's two scary things to think about here, and one is that the percentage of people that do have that internal sense of authority that will allow them to disobey a bad authority or a bad order, in the sense that Jason is using it, it's rare, you don't have as many people. You've got way more people, like the 65%, that will follow that order. So when you combine those small numbers with the vast amount of people that can't do that, and then when you combine that with the fact that there is a psychopath in power, that really points out to me at least, that what is needed or the only way real around this problem, is to have an authority figure that is one of those people that has their own internal sense of authority and goodness.
Joe: And goodness yeah, and conscience
Laura: A good person in charge who can reset, you know, who can give us a do-over on our social cultural values which have been completely destroyed and degraded.
Harrison: Then the authoritarian followers would by their very nature follow that authority, and we'd have an army of good people doing good things.
Jason: Yeah but the one problem with that is; everyone always goes for that solution - 'let's get rid of the leader' and I think it's...
Laura: And they always get another psychopath!
Jason: And then we get another psychopath. I think that no ever stops and looks at the problem from a really pragmatic perspective and saying like you're not going to get rid of the leaders, everytime you see one of these revolutions what do they do? They gather up all the leaders and let's cut off their heads and then they put on a new bunch of leaders and they do the exact same thing. I think the chink in the armor of the psychopath is education, is lifestyle, is belief systems, is people talking to each other, people saying 'Hey this is kind of messed up and we don't believe in it.'
Joe: That's precisely what we're doing right now.
Jason: Yeah, precisely what we're doing, and other people should be doing the same thing. It's not about starting a revolution and 'let's all get our guns, 1776 ..[? ] Oh yeah'. It's not about that stuff, it's all about talking to your neighbours , about saying 'Hey look dude that's messed up' and just say 'Obama, hey yeah he did a couple of good things like taking away the gag thing, but what about these predator drones? What about those extra 60,000 troops he sent to Afghanistan or Iraq?', or whatever it was. 'How about those things?'.
Joe: Harrison, you mentioned those 50, well, theoretically it's 50%, let's say it's 50%. Half of humanity are fundamentally and innately authoritarian followers, and will follow whatever authority is in place during their lives. And the other half, at least have the potential to be their own authority and make their own decisions (Laura: Even if they don't.) based on what is right or wrong. But you said it was a very small number of people these days, it's not 50% or doesn't seem to be 50%. We don't have this mass division amongst society between people who have their own authority and people who follow the established authorities. The way that those people who have the potential or have their own sense of authority and make their own decisions, the way that they deal with them is fear and coercion. Those people have to be coerced to follow the authority of the day and one of the ways that they do that is through fear. For example, 9/11 was one way to get those kinds of people terrified enough to follow the authority that goes against their own nature.
Laura: And they create fear with lies and deception!
Joe: Yes, pathological lying
Jason: That was my point, he made the point that I wanted to make.
Laura: Yeah, I mean, they tell all these lies and they get you into a situation where you think that, goodness is what you're doing, even if you would not be, even if you could clearly see not pushing the button to electrocute somebody. But now the button is concealed and the screams have been hidden from you.
Joe: Exactly. Milgram went nation-wide, and globally. The Milgram experiment, or a version of it with the torture of detainees, that they were, that the psychopaths in power were attempting to have everyone agree with, that this was a good thing, that torture was necessary. I mean, that it wasn't directly involved, but it was a psychological operation to get everybody to sit in their own homes and think 'Well, it's probably a good thing.'
Jason: No, I think their other thing was, their point was 'Look what we're doing, we might do this to you'
Laura: That's what I was going to say. And yeah, that creates the fear in them that makes them conform. So it's not so much that their agreeing that it's right, because inside them they know. And maybe that other 50% are not saying anything because they're too afraid to.
Jason: They don't want to be carted away to a secret prison and now it is becoming more and more likely that this is going to happen to them, declaring that protest, which by the way violates what is supposed to be a constitutionally protected right, is a low level form of terrorism. It's like, 'Are you insane?'.
Niall: Are they insane, or do they know what they're doing?
Joe: They're a force of nature and we need to get rid of them.
Jason: We can't! That's the problem, that's the problem, we can't get rid of them.
Joe: We need to change ourselves so that they no longer...
Jason: We need to change ourselves so that they're are less effective.
Laura: I just wanted to say something about that thing here, because, the way psychopathy comes into being, when we're talking about say, genetic psychopathy, it's through genetic recombinations, through sexual reproduction.Which means that it's not a set of genes. You can't say this gene and that gene or the other gene, is a psychopathy gene. It's not that. It's combinations of genes and it can be also be combinations of genes along with some kind of insult or trauma to the brain or to the body or whatever. Each psychopath can be . . . formed or made from a different set of genes, even if they are very, very much alike and that's why you have a whole distribution curve of psychopathy, where you have at the very small end of the bellcurve, you have the ones who end up in prison, and then the vast majority of them are just like the bluecollar and white collar criminals and then at the other end you have people like, people who get into power.
Jason: Yeah, that kind of stuff, can quickly, like saying 'Let's get rid of psychopaths', quickly leads to someone going to shout out 'Why don't we just kill 'em all!', and that's just the eugenics argument and that wouldn't work. It would be a horrible situation. You would end up having . . . they would actually infect that kind of system theirselves, because that's what they're good at. But you can't, you can't predict it, you can't look at someone and say 'Oh you're going to produce a psychopath' because it's genetic recombination. It is, in a certain sense, a little bit random.
Laura: Two people with the greatest consciences in the world can produce a psychopath, let's face it.
Jason: You can't get rid of it, you have to learn to cope with it and deal with it in a humane way, You can't become a psychopath to deal with psychopaths. It's not a fight-fire-with-fire type of situation. It's a 'you need to become smarter, and not believe the lies, and learn how to detect the lies, and educate yourself against them' [type of situation]. And start looking at your life in terms of not being right but, being, being good. Be a good personYou know, try to so good things. You're not going to always do it...
Laura: There's good, there's evil, and there's always the specific situation that determines which is which.
Joe: Harrison? Have you any comments?
Harrison: I think that pretty much sums up my views on the topic.
Joe: Ok, I think we've done this topic, for this week. It pretty much sums it up, there's nothing really much more to say, I'm sure there is more to say but
Niall: There is of course, and I'm sure it will come up again
Laura: Yes, because Neilly Bob has a whole stack of papers and things that he had prepared for tonight's broadcast, and we didn't let him get to any of it. We just completely bogarted him!
Jason: Last episode of Sott Talk, I had printed out, I had a 114 pages worth of notes and I think by the end of the show after 2 hours we had gotten past the second page ...
Joe: That's what that was?
Jason: All the great stuff, that I had ready and prepared and that's always the way it is
Niall: I thought those papers were just a toaster for your teacup
Jason: No, no, it was ... I mean I had printed out all these really great quotes, the founding fathers and stuff like that
Joe: Well we'll get back to the topic I'm sure, at some point...
Jason: We're going to have to because it's all tied together, all of these topics that we talk about, they are all intricately tied together.
Laura: And we have a couple of really good women authors on the topic of psychopathy that we're gonna try to get on the show here in the next week or so. We'll let you know, we'll announce it on the website. We're going to see if we can get Sandra [L. Brown] and there's another British lady that we've been contacted by recently, and we think we wanna get her on the show. Maybe we could get them both on together and they could talk about women who love psychopaths.
Harrison: On this actually...can I just interrupt? I just wanna read a quote from William March's book The Bad Seed. This ties into some some of the things that came up in the calls, especially Lisa's last call, and I think it kind of sums up some of the things we were talking about. Now The Bad Seed was made into a pretty good movie so you can check that out too, but this is what he says : "Good people are rarely suspicious. They cannot imagine others doing things they themselves are incapable of doing. Usually they accept the undramatic solution as the correct one and let matters rest there. Then, too, the normal are inclined to visualize the psychopath as one who's as monstrous in appearance as he is in mind, which is about as far from the truth as one could well get. These monsters of real life usually looked and behaved in a more normal manner than their actually normal brothers and sisters: they presented a more convincing picture of virtue than virtue presented of itself - just as the wax rosebud or the plastic peach seemed more perfect to the eye, more what the mind thought a rosebud or a peach should be than the imperfect original from which it had been modeled."
Jason: Yeah, that's a really tremendous quote and it comes back to this whole idea that you gotta keep harping on, which is basically that these people wear a mask. And they wear a mask their entire lives, so they're very good at having this mask, which is why you need a bunch of people with this 360 degree view of a person. And you also need to work out the social problems that prevent you from having that, the divisions in society that keep preventing people from talking to each other, the divisions in social groups. That there's this fear of being seen as a gossip or something like that. These things are like instilled in people to prevent them in talking about, you know, 'So and so, pulled me into a corner and told me this about you, and is that true?'. And people are afraid to go and talk about it, but that's how they work, they work in dark corners whispering things. They're not these bold, gun-toting, 'Yeah, let's go kill everybody' type of people, that's not the psychopath. The psychopath is like the soccermom destroying the PTA [Parent Teacher Association], I mean that person is more of a psychopath than the famous soldier that charges on the battleline.
Laura: I don't know, George Bush said 'bring 'em on' and he had on his flight suit when he said it ! [spoken 'with a wink']. (laughs)
Jason: I mean, come on! I've spent more time flying planes in the military than he has. (Laughter). I mean, that guy, it was such a joke, even his record looks faked. I mean, most of the people went and looked at his flight record...
Joe: His codpiece was fake as well. (Laughter)
Jason: That guy was such a complete and totally military fraud.
Joe: He was a fraud in every way.
Laura: He wore a mask of sanity, and his wasn't really very good. He was way over on the left hand side of that distribution curve.
Jason: And he got in because of his daddy, basically. I would like to point out something about Americans. We sort of pride ourselves on the idea that we have a President and that there's no hereditary King. But when you have a father being president and his son being president, why isn't this causing any kind of worry with people, why didn't anybody say 'Hold on a second, this is getting a little bit dynastic here', when his father has been in politics, from the head of the CIA, varous political positions, Vice president, he was vice president at one point wasn't he? (Neil: Yeah, to Reagan), then, President, right? And then his son comes in as president for two terms, isn't this a little bit suspicious?
Joe: It's a monarchy.
Jason: Because, if you look at politics, you'll see that people like Rumsfeld and Cheney and the Bushes and all these other people, they've been in politics since like the sixties.
Joe: They're in and out, it wasn't just politics. It's corporations. There's a revolving door between the two. The same faces, the same usual suspects.
Jason: They go back and forth, they spend a couple of years in politics then they go to a corporation, someone else comes in behind them and they just sort of teeter-totter and leapfrog through politics, making politicy. And it's like 'You are being ruled by the same group of people for the last 40 years."
Laura: I think our topic is finally at the end and I think that what we need to say to everybody is: If you meet somebody who is charasmatic and charming and brave and so on and so forth, don't just take it at face value. Pay attention, do due diligence - they may be the real thing. The real thing does exist, it does. Otherwise psychopaths would not be able to pull that off on people. People respond to courage and they respond to decency and certain kinds of behaviours that are exhibited. But you have to really look, you have to look behind the scenes, you have to have your network, you have to be watching, paying attention and keep your eyes open.
Joe: [On the] discrepancy between words and actions
Laura: That's the big one.
Joe: So Harrison, we're going to end it here, I just wanted to say thanks for calling in, or rather allowing us to call you and ask you some questions, And for your answers.
Harrison: Thanks for having me on.
Laura: Is it cold over where you are?
Harrison: It's actually fairly warm. Just about 4 degrees below, Celsius, yesterday (chuckles)
Joe: That's cold
Jason: C'mon, that's bermuda shorts and sandals weather in Canada.
Harrison: It is! Just a little below freezing!
Joe: All right Harrison, great talking to you, we'll have you back on.
Laura: Have a good night sweetie!
Harrison: Thank you, bye bye.
Joe: And to our listeners, thanks for listening. Hope you enjoyed the show, thanks to our callers as well for calling in. We'll be back next week.
Niall: Same time next week, next Sunday.
Joe: With an all new topic. So signing out, SOTT Talk Radio, take it easy!