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Earlier this month we spoke with Stefan Verstappen, Canadian writer, artist, and martial arts expert. This world traveller is also one of the few people who understands that psychopaths rule our world. Creator of the viral YouTube video documentary 'Defense Against the Psychopath', based on his book The Art of Urban Survival: A Family Safety and Self Defense Manual, Verstappen has lots to share, not only about defending ourselves from the predators in our midst, but also about what we can do to prepare for natural disasters and social breakdown.

Running Time: 01:52:00

Download: MP3

Here's the transcript:

Niall: Hello and welcome to another show on SOTT Talk Radio. This is Niall Bradley and with me is Joe Quinn.

Joe: Hi.

Niall: Pierre Lescaudron

Pierre: Hello.

Niall: And Laura's joining us tonight. We also have a very special guest on our show this week by the name of Stefan Verstappen.

Stefan: Hello.

Joe: Hi Stefan.

Niall: Stefan is a Canadian writer, adventurer and martial artist. He has worked as a youth street counsellor in Toronto and later as a wilderness survival instructor for the Outward Bound program of the Toronto Boys Home. As an instructor for St. John's Ambulance in Toronto, Stefan has helped plan and run natural disaster drills and trained police and rescue workers in first aid and CPR. He has traveled extensively and spent four years in Hong Kong and Taiwan studying Chinese martial arts. He's a regular contributor to Black Belt Magazine and the author of several books including The Art of Urban Survival: A Family Safety and Self-Defence Manual, The Thirty-Six Strategies of Ancient China, Blind Zen: Martial Arts for the Blind and Visually Impaired and - I like this one - Little Warriors: A Home and Street Safety Booklet for Kids. Welcome Stefan.

Stefan: Thank you for having me on. I really appreciate this. It's a big honour to speak with you all today.

Niall: Thank you for agreeing to be on the show. Perhaps I should explain how we heard of you. Your YouTube video: 'Defence Against the Psychopath', which is based on an excerpt from the first book I mentioned, The Art of Urban Survival. Now, we've been researching and writing about psychopaths and psychopathy and their effects on society for years, especially Laura and Joe here. Your main interests seem to be in east Asian culture, history and martial arts. How did you find yourself researching this topic?

Stefan: Well I guess it was a convergence of two separate interests. One interest, and the reason I included it in this book, The Art of Urban Survival, stemmed from my martial arts teaching experience. I've taught a lot of self-defence courses and what the students expect when they come to a self-defence course is for me to show them how to escape from a hold, what to do if they're attacked. People want to learn kicks and punches and so forth and how to disable an attacker. And that's fine, but for me having a background in, for example, strategies, the book The Thirty-Six Strategies of Ancient China, I learned a lot about strategy and I always thought that if you found yourself in a situation where you are in a physical fist fight with an attacker, you've already done three things wrong, from a strategic point of view.

First of all, you didn't spot the trouble ahead of time. Second, you didn't evade the trouble. And third, you didn't manage to escape. To find yourself in a hand-to-hand combat situation, which is a horrible experience, especially for anyone that's not used to physical violence, the shock value of being attacked is so overwhelming people tend to blank out.

So even if I were to teach you how to punch or kick and things like that, chances are if you're attacked by a professional criminal, you are not going to be able to respond using those techniques that I've taught you. That has to become second nature and you can only learn that through years and years of study. You can't learn it on a weekend self-defence course. So what could I teach them that really would be effective? What is the premiere strategy to avoid becoming a victim? And a premiere strategy is to spot trouble and to avoid it. And in order to do that, you have to be street smart. And that was something I could never teach in a class.

I can't take a group of students that sign up for a self-defence course and sit them down behind a desk and say: "This is what it is like to be street smart. This is what you have to look out for. These are the signs, the symptoms, the little clues of an impending attack. These are the situational awareness that you would need in order to be able to sense and smell trouble way ahead of time and to leave so that you never, ever have to find yourself in a situation of kicking or punching somebody." But I could never teach that in a physical self-defence class.

So I began writing the book as a way of trying to give my students something to take home with them after the self-defence course. I wanted them to get some ideas about crime prevention and evasion tactics, escape and evade and situational awareness. So I started off by handing students a page of my writings at the end of every class. And then I continued to add more and more to it until I had a small booklet. And finally I decided to expand that booklet into a full-fledged book on all the possible types of crimes and situations you could get into in an urban environment, everything from carjacking to being kidnapped by a taxi driver and all the way through to what would happen if there was a national disaster, or if you're suddenly under martial law, or if you live in a society that is corrupt or engaging in warfare. What would be the techniques? What would the situational awareness tell you to do under those types of circumstances?

Pierre: I guess in order to not be a victim anymore, not be a prey anymore, one of the knowledge you have to acquire is knowledge of predators, psychopaths and maybe in a way you connected the self-defence, martial arts, street smart behaviour with a psychopath topic.

Stefan: Exactly. So for example, I make the analogy if rabbits were to learn a self-defence course, wouldn't the first line of study be foxes and the behaviour of foxes?

Pierre: Exactly.

Stefan: The same thing with humans. If you want to learn self-defence against crime and predation, well who are the greatest predators of human beings? Well, it's other human beings, but actually not other humans. It's psychopaths. And they look human and they act human but they're almost a different species. But they are our predators. So in the similar sense that the FBI profiles serial killers, everybody themselves should be able to profile potential predators. And in order to do that, you have to know about psychopaths. So that's why the very first chapter in the book on self-defence is the study of psychopaths.

Pierre: Yeah, and unlike most authors who write about psychopathy, you seem to suggest that psychopathy is not an acquired trait. You write somewhere in your book "the malevolent psychopath can show signs of their illness as early as age three." So it seems to be a rather wholesome kind of psychopathy, a genetic condition that you cannot change, you cannot cure.

Stefan: Yeah. What I did in the book is first of all I did a lot of research on psychopaths, not only for the self-defence point of view, but also the second - what I said earlier, it was from divergent study - my second study has been from history. And I'm also, what can you say?, a seeker of the truth, if you want to call it that. I've studied most of the religious texts that are in existence today. I've followed numerous philosophies and have immersed myself in finding the ultimate answer to those big questions. And one of the questions I always had was "Why does everything turn to shit?" Excuse my language. Why is it that so many good intentions and so many brave initiatives end up becoming its own opposite? And how is this possible? If we are all trying to be good and we are trying to be decent human beings, how is it that we manage to continually create the kind of monstrous cultures that go off and slaughter each other in wars and prey on their own people through slavery and so forth?

So that second divergent study was how does this happen all the time? What is it? Because when you look through history, it's the same game replayed over and over ad nauseam. I mean, it's always the same pattern. It's always the same characters. It's always the same results, that misery, suffering. How is that possible? What is the mechanism behind that? And so the solution to finding out the reason for so many of our social ills and finding the cause for so much of the crime in society is one and the same. That is the psychopath.

Pierre: And also unlike most authors who deal with psychopathy, you show that psychopathy does not only occur on the individual level but also on the collective level. You describe some groups, some gangs, even some groups of policemen or armies or even governments, nations, being victims of collective ponerization.

Stefan: Yeah, I make the distinction as other researchers have also made it, that there are two basic types of psychopaths: one that is, as you mentioned earlier, probably the result of some sort of genetic component. I myself have been torn back and forth between nature and nurture in all my research as I'm still trying to differentiate which is the predominant influence. But I can't fall on either side. I'm leaning currently towards the genetic influence but perhaps there is still also an environmental influence that triggers a gene to come into play. So who knows? Environment/genetic.

But there are a certain type of people, they are born that way, whether their genes were triggered through behaviour or abuse early in life and that triggered a gene in them to change their mental makeup or not, or whether that mental condition was there present from birth, without an external influence, I don't know. But there is the primary psychopath and they're just born bad.

And then there's the secondary psychopath, or what I call secondary psychopath. Other researchers designate different terms for this, but they all basically describe the same phenomenon, the same condition. And that is, people who are through culture and through a group, absolved of moral responsibility for their individual actions. And therefore, once you are absolved of moral responsibility, then you are free to behave as a psychopath would. And often they do because depending on the leadership of the group, the group may be a psychopathic entity. And so everyone within the group now must behave that way.

So for example, we know during the - it's often quoted that during the Nuremburg trials after World War II, that many of the Nazi accusers used a defence saying they were simply following orders. Well, that certainly is a statement to their secondary psychopathic nature. Yes, they're just following orders, the orders of psychopaths, for them, in order to behave like psychopaths. I find that most groups tend to be consciousless. They don't have a conscience. The mob is an irrational entity composed of the components of the individual members that compose a mob. But a mob itself cannot not have a conscience. It cannot behave like an individual human that has a heart and an intelligence and a soul. A mob is a monstrous amalgamation of individuals. So I'm not a big fan of mobs. That's why I don't go to sports games. I'm not a big political fan of any of the political parties. I don't belong to any major religions. I don't like belonging to a large group because I find those large groups tend to be without a soul, without a conscience and basically psychopathic.

Laura: Well, don't you think that there's a possibility that that could be turned around and worked the other way? Because it seems to me that we evolved because of social ties and social cares and concern for one another. And there is a lot to be said for groups of people that work together for a positive goal, a positive future. And I think that perhaps the key element would be leadership, I mean real leadership. And of course we know that psychopaths mimic the traits of leadership so well, but they turn everything, as you say to shit.

Because we've done some research with Bob Altemeyer's ideas with the authoritarian personality, the follower. There's the leader and the follower. This is what he calls them. But I think his authoritarian leader is more a psychopath than anything else though he doesn't use that terminology. And he did some studies at the university level and I think they were pretty much psychology students that he was working with. But he found that 45 percent of the students in his study, in his survey, were the authoritarian follower-type personality. So that's a pretty high percentage. It's kind of scary.

And then another study was done in psychology courses, psychology students, to show that 25 percent of them had the Machiavellian traits of psychopaths. So I think that the only way people will be able to do anything about the psychopathy in our world, would be as groups, but they would have to achieve a different kind of limbic resonance as Martha Stout calls it, than that induced in them by a psychopathic leader. What do you think? Do you think we could do that?

Stefan: Yeah, I'm working with a bit of a paradox because on the one hand, I am very mistrustful of groups. On the other hand, I think the only way we can save ourselves is by forming groups. For example, are you familiar with the Robbers Cave experiments that they did back in the '50's with boy scouts? And they set it up one month that all the boy scouts were divided into teams and they were set into competitive games against each other and after a month the blue team hated the red team and the red team hated the green team and so forth. And they caused a lot of division and even the boys started to get violent and into fist fights with each other. Then the next month they eliminated the teams and they had all the boys work together communally to solve problems and lo and behold, after a month the violence ceased and the cooperation increased and things went back sort of to normal.

Another experiment that comes to mind was - actually it wasn't an experiment, it was a documentary on the effects of stress on the heart. And this was a mainstream documentary. I believe it was National Geographic. And I don't remember the researcher's name right now, but what he did is he was in Africa and he studied the behaviour of baboons. And they did autopsies on the baboon and they did autopsies on the various baboons down through the pecking order, because a baboon tribe has a very strict hierarchical order. And they found that the baboons at the bottom of the order had the most stress and therefore had the most heart disease, irregardless of what they had eaten or their diets, which they used to show that all our concern about high fat foods and cholesterol, all of this pales in comparison to 'how stressed are you'? Because stress is the major cause of heart disease, not so much diet at all.

Laura: Right. I agree.

Stefan: Then a strange thing happened with this baboon tribe that they were studying. The dominant male baboons were very aggressive and they would beat the females and the females would then go on and beat the lesser females and they would go in turn and beat the children. So the violence started at the top and it worked its way down. The dominant baboons abused everybody else and then everyone in that hierarchical order abused that baboon below them on the pecking order.

But what happened was the dominant baboons had gotten into a garbage dump where a bunch of medical waste material had been dumped. And because they were the dominant baboons, of course they got first pickings on the food that was dumped into this garbage dump, this medical dump. And they all got sick and died. And so the remaining baboons were not the dominant ones and it turned out that their entire structure changed. Instead of this violence starting at the top and working its way down and every baboon beating the one that's lower than them in the pecking order, now the researchers discovered that there was much more a grooming behaviour, and cooperative behaviour and that the level of violence completely disappeared in this baboon tribe.

And then even when dominant male baboons from another tribe tried to infiltrate this one, the females would no longer endure the type of beating they had received previously. And so now these dominant male baboons, they either had to submit to the group values of mutual cooperation and mutual grooming and 'you're not getting away with this smacking everybody around nonsense anymore because we've done with that'. It turned out that they also adopted the more peaceful and cooperative types of nature that the females and the lower ranking members of the previous baboon tribe now adopted.

So I thought - the entire documentary was regarding stress and heart disease. And of course they did autopsies on the now new type of baboon society and lo and behold, their heart disease had completely disappeared. So without these dominant - call them what you will, but they were bastard baboons, violent, aggressive, really obnoxious baboons - with them gone, everybody else was happier. Not only were they happier, they no longer had heart disease.

So to me, both of those, the Robbers Cave experiment and the baboon tribe study, show that if we can rid ourselves of the leadership from these malevolent monsters that have taken over the organs of our culture and our society, if we can rid ourselves of their influence, the rest of humanity could probably return to being productive, cooperative, happy, peaceful and loving beings, that we really were meant to be.

Laura: I think so. And there's another thing that I notice in this story, which is really a great story and it kind of gives you hope, is the factor that these baboons, well not only did they turn peaceful but they started taking care of each other.

Stefan: Exactly. They did.

Laura: Yeah. We've got this weird feedback.

Stefan: I know, it's like a five second delay.

Pierre: Something else I find interesting in the boy scout experiment, it was interest to see how dividing population triggers the violence and aggression and might explain why our psychopathic leaders keep dividing the population. You see all those mainstream medias talking about white versus black, Muslim versus Christian, or unemployed versus employed, or public servants versus private employees, or homosexuals versus heterosexual men against women. All those division that are created within the population.

Laura: There's another thing too, which is the idea of the violence coming down from the top and everybody behaving the way the leaders behave only towards those that are lower than them. Nowadays we see this in our society. Since 2001 when everything went to hell, our society has just completely - it's just unbelievable to have been a witness to what's happened. And now it's to the point where nobody dares to call a policeman to come and help them because they'll break in their home and shoot everybody. The behaviour of children, this game that they're playing. What's it called? Where they go around and beat up on ...

Stefan: Knockout.

Niall: Yeah, they knock someone out, a random stranger.

Laura: Yeah, that knockout thing. And then these flash mobs and the shootings, whether or not they're engineered or created to induce panic in the population is kind of irrelevant because a certain amount of that sort of thing is happening. So it's like the entire society is behaving like the leaders: psychopathic, angry, rage, greed, people who go to the shopping malls for a sale that trample each other, knock each other, people get killed for godsakes, going to a sale or for a laptop or one of these - what do they call those things with the finger ...

Pierre: iPad.

Laura: The iPad. Yeah, those things. I'm not technologically advanced here.

Pierre: You don't miss much.

Laura: So this is what I'm seeing and I'm seeing that human beings are acting according to the example, as it's been set for them. And at the same time what's happening is the people at the top are imposing more and more laws on the people at the bottom to control this kind of behaviour and they don't realize that the easiest way - of course they can't realize it because they're psychopaths - but the easiest way to improve the behaviour of a society, is for the people at the top, for the people who represent law and order and so forth, to behave circumspectly and decently themselves. Look at this crazy guy who's President of France with his serial philandering for godsakes. Geez! Rant over.

Niall: Then there's the mayor of Toronto.

Stefan: Oh yeah (laughing).

Joe: Do you have an opinion on him, Stefan?

Stefan: What? Just another psychopath! Please! The guy lied and lied and lied. What don't people understand about him? They asked him a hundred times, "Did you smoke crack? Did you know anything about a video?" "No! Never!" Outrageous indignation. "Oh my god, how dare anybody ask me such questions!" Then "Oh, well yeah I did." The same with all of them, with Clinton and all those guys. "Did you sleep with that woman?" "Oh no, not sleep with her. I just got oral sex from her."

Laura: "I did not have sex with that woman!"

Stefan: Exactly. "Oral sex is not sex." And then afterwards, of course it comes out. "Oh well, mea culpa. Yeah, I guess I did but I've moved on. You know, I don't want to play the blame game now. We've moved on. Let's not bring up the past." Hey, please! You know? Anybody that is a compulsive liar like that, to get up in front of 2 million people and say "Oh, no, not me. How could you dare say this!" I could not do that, okay? Because I have a conscience. I can't look you in the eye and bullshit you that badly. I'm not capable of it, alright? I would blush. I would sweat. I would be ashamed. I would stay home for months and not face people if I ever had to do something that psychopathic. But this guy does it every day and then goes back to work and then puts on the chains of office, and the robes, and runs around and becomes indignant that anybody should ask him twice whether or not he smoked crack. Well, he's already answered that question. We've moved on. How dare you? He's a politician. What do you people think?

Niall: Well something that strikes me about Rob Ford, the mayor of Toronto we're talking about here... I think 20 years ago he would not have been able to continue, never mind not resign and actually run for election again. Now, that doesn't mean that the quality of the psychopath has changed. I think what's changed maybe is that ...

Laura: Acceptance!

Niall: It's accepted now.

Laura: And you know, we started writing about psychopathy in 2002. And we started getting death threats, believe it or not. And we watched how things moved and developed and then we had our own personal defamers and blah, blah, blah, moving along. What happened was, we started noticing - once it started really getting out on the web, ponerology, psychopathy, psychopaths in power, etc. etc., with a little help from other quarters, this guy, what's his name Ron somebody-or-other who writes this book about the advantages of being a psychopath.

Niall: Kevin Dutton.

Laura: Kevin Dutton. Sorry. So he writes - so now psychopaths are cool. You're supposed to be one. They have all these advantages. We should celebrate our psychopaths and put them in positions of power or put them in positions of control because they never get nervous, they never sweat, they never blush, they never feel fear, etc. Even if they can fake it.

Joe: Well it was interesting that that book came out in the past few years because for me it's symptomatic of the problem, which is that, like we've just been talking ...

Niall: Normalized.

Joe: It's been normalized, it's accepted. It's at the point where he can write a book like that and it can become a bestseller and people can...

Laura: And people actually quote it. They have come on our forum and quoted it favourably as though "Well, he's got a point here". And talk about blood pressure going through the roof. Mine just shot up through the top of my head.

Stefan: I'm actually embarrassed to say I'm not familiar with this book, but I think the concept is nothing new. They've been glorifying psychopaths for thousands of years now. The whole, for example, I've been recently researching the 100 Years War of England and the whole veneration for the royal blood line. I mean ...

Laura: A bunch of damn psychopaths!!

Stefan: They're a bunch of - exactly!. They're psychopaths. Look at what these people did. Most of them murdered their entire families. And then they went on to murder tens of thousands and in the case of Genghis Khan and some of these far eastern wars, millions of people died! And the suffering. And people don't even understand that it's not just the number of people that they've personally killed. It's all the families that have lost people, the devastation that results in alcoholism and drug abuse and divorces and child abuse. It's a ripple effect. One person is brutally murdered because of some psychopath and that affects the entire community that that person had come from. And so the ripple effects of poverty, drug addiction, prostitution, child abuse, all of this ripples away from these initial acts of violence, all instigated by the royal blood line. And then everyone has to get down on their knees and bow and scrape and worship these people. I mean, it's madness. I read history and I go "How could they do that?"

All these poor peasant for example, in the siege of Agincourt, or the battle of Agincourt, the most recent of the many endless slaughters that one reads about in history, instigated by some psychopath. Well, and even the documentarians, and I really object to their type of propagandizing that they use in this because they blithely state that peasants were fighting for country. No, they weren't fighting for country. They were attacking France so that the psychopath in charge could rob the French people. They weren't going to get any of the money from occupying Aquitaine. They were going to go back to their pigsties and live in their mud huts and pay their taxes unless they died a brutal death at an early age. Why the hell would they be fighting for country? They're not fighting for country, but everybody says, the documentarian, the narrators, the authorities say "Oh, well they fought for country and king". No, the didn't. They fought for a psychopath in his attempts at robbery.

Laura: Exactly! And it's the same thing now. We've got this so-called War Against Iraq. Want to bomb Iran. War in Afghanistan. Here, there, everywhere. All that mess that went on down in Central America, South America. All of this stuff that the U.S. has been doing for all these years and it's supposed to be protecting the world for freedom or exporting democracy, etc. And all it is, is just a freaking land, goods, power grab. It's just going out there to get more booty for themselves.

Stefan: It's mass rape and robbery. That's all it is.

Joe: One of the things that interests me or got me thinking the most when I was reading your book or rather the excerpt from your book, the Defence Against Psychopaths, is at the very beginning, the very first paragraph says "In the urban environment, criminals fulfill nature's role of predators". And of course we can probably substitute the word criminals or as you explained, for psychopaths. So in the human society, in terms of human life on planet earth, psychopaths fulfill nature's role of predators. And that's something that people don't really think about a lot I think because people tend to think that we're so much more evolved than the animal kingdom. They recognize that there are predators. You see it everywhere, every single species on the planet, of animals has a predator. But we're so detached from that animal kingdom that we're somehow fundamentally superior and different. We what? We don't have predators? But of course we're just part of this living, natural system, so we're just another species on the planet. But yes we are more evolved in many ways, but that simply means that the rule that all species need to have a predator apparently means that our predator, as a more evolved species, will be more evolved, more subtle and will be much more in tune with our evolved capabilities. And the psychopath fits that role perfectly. It's one of the blocks for people, for them to accept the idea of psychopaths and maybe that there are predators of normal human beings. Because that automatically makes them think of the animal kingdom and "Well that's not us. We're better than that. That can't happen. We're all one."

Stefan: Absolutely. Psychopaths are our predators. I have one foot firmly in the path of spirituality and the other foot firmly in the path of science and I'm often trying to find a natural scientific explanation for it. So when I was researching psychopaths I also decided to research predator/prey ratios in wildlife. And you find that the predator/prey ratio is pretty much similar to what I believe the psychopath's normal ratio is among humans, which is about 20 percent. So for every 10 wildebeests there will be two lions that will prey on them. And it seems for every 10 humans there are two psychopaths born. Now I know the official figures are three to five percent. But I tend to believe that it might be a little bit higher. It might be higher now because we've been breeding for psychopaths for so many years that those humans that are born with a lot of empathy and a lot of compassions, well, we know what happens to them. They get tortured and murdered.

Joe: I was just going to interject there and say that talking about the number of psychopaths in human society, you said it's three to five, we tend to think six percent.

Niall: No, I think Stefan said 20 percent.

Joe: We tend to think six percent but Stefan's saying 20 percent.

Laura: We say six percent because we're kind of like ...

Joe: No, but here's the point that I'm trying to make is that people think six percent, well that's pretty small. But what people don't understand that, as you say in your book, at a particular point you say the reason that the more competitive a particular environment is, the more ruthless the use of achieving strategy become. You're saying that basically in a very competitive environment there will be more ruthlessness and it will select for psychopathy, so the point being, take six percent. You say 20, some people may say six.

Laura: I think he's right with that 20 percent.

Joe: Okay. But listen. The point is, six percent is 400 million people. They're unlikely, given what Stefan says, they're unlikely to be spread equally across the globe.

Laura: They're concentrated in places, depending on where they're attracted.

Joe: Exactly, i.e., so in big cities, for a start, and in particular countries that are very competitive ...

Pierre: Washington.

Joe: ... and that select for psychopathy, take New York. In that situation, even with a number of six percent of the population, you could have 25, 30, 40 percent of the population of New York for example.

Niall: Concentrated, yeah.

Joe: Concentrated in that city. So that makes it much more scary.

Stefan: I think that is what has happened, that they've certainly concentrated. I don't think you're going to find 20 percent of psychopaths in a rural community. I don't.

Joe: No.

Laura: But I think the number is a lot higher than the experts acknowledge. And I think you can get that just from your experience, if you interact with a lot of people like we do. We go with six percent when we write about it because that's the upper limit of what some of the experts have said, so we kind of go with that. But my personal experience is that it's got to be higher than that and like you, I've observed down through history again and again and again, the people with heart, the people with conscience, the people with creativity, have been selectively exterminated and the people with the power and the money, like you're talking about the royal families and so forth, they have selectively bred up superstrains of psychopathy. Then as we know, they spread their genes in certain ways. So it's got to be higher than one percent, three percent, five percent or even six percent. It's got to be.

Stefan: Well that's been my experience too. Now it may be that the three-to-six percent are the primary psychopaths that are actually born psychopaths and then perhaps the other 14 percent are made up of secondary psychopaths, people that, let's face it, they have a weak will. They don't have a strong character or otherwise you could not be converted into a psychopath. For example, I've joined Boy Scouts. I've been parts of groups and things like that, but if that group engaged in a type of criminal behaviour that I morally objected to, I wouldn't go along with it. I have the independence and the strength of character to say no to a bunch of people. It doesn't bother me. I'm not going to compromise my values in order to fit into a group. However, there are lots of people that will. So it may be that the other 14 percent are these people that don't have a strong conscience, don't have a strong, what can you say? Dare I use the word soul or spirit?

Laura: Yes you dare. Yes you dare.

Stefan: They don't have the soul to resist it. And so they may not have been born psychopaths. They may have been lovely children, but for some reason they now are psychopaths. And whether you are born a psychopath or you become one through a group and through indoctrination or through the lack of a soul, to fight the tendency, it doesn't matter for the rest of us victims, because to us you will all act the same. So whether it's genetic, whether you (inaudible), we're still the victims as some guy rapes you and robs you, do you want to hear the story about his abusive upbringing? You don't care. You're being raped and robbed. So the same thing. Do I feel sorry for people that had horrible upbringings? Absolutely I do. But once you're a psychopath, I can't bare my throat to you because I can't trust that. And maybe that percent is partly made up of the two different types of psychopaths.

Pierre: How do you defend yourself against psychopaths?

Stefan: Well I'm working on an article called 'Antidote to the Psychopath'. And that is something that we as individuals can do and change in our lives that would try to mitigate the influence of the people. But on a personal level, the most important thing I think is awareness. First of all you have to understand the subject. You also have to face the fear that this subject would raise in people.

I find one of the biggest obstacles to people realizing what they're dealing with is this idea that everyone is born with this soul and everyone is unique and special and that somehow you can reform these people. I find that this is not true. People are not born equal. They're born with wide ranging sets of skills and moral behaviour and you cannot feel sympathy for these people. You have understand what you're dealing with. That to me is the first thing. And that's why I came out with the video Defence Against A Psychopath which is just the first chapter from the book. Again, I wanted to do a very quick, clear and a brief as possible. I always call it a Reader's Digest version of psychopathy, so that you can have the tools in order to understand what it is you're dealing with. So the first thing is facing and understanding the subject. And to face the fact that there are really nasty people out there.

And then to defend yourself against them, the best course of action is disengagement, keeping your distance from them. Don't get involved with them. aAnd attacking them, I never recommend attacking a psychopath. Most people can never pull it off. They are so clever in the way they manipulate you, that you really need to have what I call a warrior spirit to tackle these people head-on. You have to be first of all fearless. And also you have to be incredibly intelligent and quick thinking, because they can quickly change manoeuvres and tactics and if you can't follow along with that, they will blindside you. They'll come up behind you. They'll sucker punch you. Just like a combat situation. You have to maintain a fluid state of mind and be able to adapt quickly.

And most people can't do that. It's not something you were ever taught in school how to do, the kind of mental agility. Some people are born with it. They're clever. They're articulate and glib perhaps. They can think quickly and they have a strong core from which to draw their strength. They might have a chance of attacking a psychopath and defeating that person at their own game. But for the vast majority of people, my best recommendation is to understand what you're dealing with, try to recognize when someone is behaving like a psychopath and then simply cut yourself off from them. Try to escape and evade.

Laura: There's another kind of psychopath that we've encountered which is described by Martha Stout, who we interviewed recently.

Stefan: In her book The Sociopath Next Door?

Laura: Yeh. And they talk about the kind that gets you by pity, that their tactic, their strategy is to evoke pity in you and get you under their thrall because inside their mind they're laughing like crazy at all the things they're making you do through pity. And this is something quite different from what you would call the violent, street type of psychopath. But they are what you call a non-criminal psychopath, but they are just a devastating. They destroy peoples' lives. They destroy relationships. They cost people lots of money. They create division and discord in groups. Just really create problems in society. But how do you deal with that? People get taken in by pity all the time.

Pierre: Ann Salter is the author you were referring to I think. Ann Salter.

Laura: Anna Salter. And she's not the only one. Martha Stout also talks about it right at the end of The Sociopath Next Door and I think she made a big mistake calling it sociopath. She should have just been courageous enough to use the word psychopath.

Stefan: Yeah, in my chapter, that type of psychopath is listed under the professional victims. And I'll be honest with you, I have been suckered this way many times. I tend to be a very sympathetic person. I feel badly for people. It's easy for me to see somebody who's suffering and for me to want to help them. I've always been a big tall guy and pretty strong and rough and tumble and so I really had the old white knight type of syndrome ingrained in me at an early age. I always wanted to be the hero and save people and to help them. I also feel for them.

So it was easy for me to assume that type of persona of the white knight and it's also helped to inspire my study of the martial arts too, of course. If you're a white knight you have to know the ways of war. But that had been a weakness that a few psychopaths have used to prey on. And it's really difficult for me, for example I have family members that are that type, victim psychopaths. They're cerebral narcissists. They can do no wrong and they know everything. But they're always suffering and they always need my assistance. And after I would say, 40 years of doing everything I thought I should do to improve their lives and to help them and to help them find the way to a better life and to happiness and health and giving them money and going doing things for them, taking them places, driving them around, cleaning their houses.

And always the end result is I've spent a lot of time and received - not that I expect thanks, but instead I received more misery and more manipulation. So what happened is I had to cut them off. So I am completely alienated from my family. I don't have a family anymore. I can't be around them because (bad audio). We have to stop (bad audio). So I cut them off. (bad audio)

But for me, I feel it. Like they just kind of have an empty inner life. They have no soul. They don't understand the joy of being alive on this planet and how inspiring that is. They have no creativity, no joy, no happiness, no internal life. And I feel terrible for them. I really do. I wish I could go there at Christmas and bring presents but I know that won't do any good. It's not going to help them.

And so trying to fight against the victim type of psychopath is very difficult because usually if you're going to have a victim psychopath feeding off you, it's either somebody you're married to or dating or it's somebody in your family. The stranger on the street hardly ever gets their hooks into you that way. So it's probably somebody that's probably close to you already in some way. And now you have to get that hook out of you and you have to cut them off. And who's going to suffer for that? Not them. They don't feel anything. It's you that suffers. So that makes it doubly hard on people.

Laura: Yeah.

Pierre: Stefan, you mentioned this white knight syndrome. At the same time in your book you recommend a lot of caution and awareness. So how did you find the right balance between this natural intrinsic kindness and this almost paranoid but legitimate stance? How do you find the right balance?

Stefan: I know, I know. And that is difficult because you want to tell people "Listen, you can't trust everybody. You can't trust them." And at the same time I don't want to be a mistrustful person. I don't want to alienate myself from humanity. I am a very friendly person. I love people. I love to get together with people and share things and enjoy good times together, music and food and nature and activities. To me, that lifts me up and that is my joy in life. But how do you balance that? On the one hand you can't trust anybody because you can't tell immediately whether or not somebody is a psychopath. That's something that only comes out through careful observation and watching their behaviour. And at the other hand, do I want to condemn all people because some of us are psychopaths? So it is a difficult balancing position to make.

What I do, first of all it helps because, like I said earlier, I'm a big guy, I'm tough, I've studied martial arts for 25 years, so there's nothing too much that scares me. I'm not afraid of these psychopaths. So I can be a little bit more open towards people and not worry that I will be screwed by the psychopath because number one, I'm a big guy. Number two, I've also studied the subject now. So what I do is, I've learned to give people - first of all I don't want to ever see anybody suffer. If somebody's lying on the side of the road, I will be the first to stop and see if they're okay. If I see somebody that's hungry, I will be the first one to go and buy them a sandwich. I can't tell you how many cats we've rescued because I'll sound like the crazy cat lady. But I cannot stand by and see suffering.

But on the other hand, I limit how much I give. So if I see a homeless person, we've had homeless people in for Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas dinner, after seeing them on the street for weeks and months I get to know them a little bit, then I will invite them into the house for dinner. The same thing if I'm going to try and help somebody. I need to know them a little bit. I'm willing to give five bucks to anybody, I don't care, psychopath, alcoholic, whatever. Five bucks, I've got it, fine, take it. A hundred bucks? No. Not a hundred bucks. So what I do is I limit what I give to people based on the time I've known them multiplied by the degree I trust them. So I will keep an open mind. I still want to be loving and caring for fellow human beings, but they are just not going to get my PIN number to my credit card. They're not going to get a key to my house. I'm not going to let them know all the details of my life. I tend to keep it a little bit closer to the shirt now until and unless I've seen through their behaviour, over time, that they are more trustworthy. And then I'll be willing to give more.

Pierre: A slight change in topic, but I find it interesting, this Kicking Tiger technique. I guess we won't spend much time on self-defence and weapons and all that, but this Kicking Tiger, I find it very interesting for kids, women that might be a victim of aggression, so could you expand a bit more on this topic?

Stefan: Sure. You're referring to my book The Little Warriors and that series of books came out of, again, my martial arts instruction. I used to teach the children and to be honest with you, I didn't want to teach children. I personally thought kids are too young to learn martial arts. I don't want 6, 7, 8 year old kids learning martial arts. That's something that's good for teenagers in order to develop esteem and especially for young men because once they get into their teens and the hormones start raging, let's face it, they need vigorous physical activity to burn off that energy. And a physical activity that will contribute to their self-esteem and their self-confidence. So I've always been a big fan for teenagers to go and be part of an outward bound program, to learn canoeing, camping and wilderness skills and also martial arts. It's a good way to develop some self-discipline. It's a great way to develop confidence because they're actually working towards goals and achieving things. But I thought young kids, they shouldn't learn it because it's too violent. I didn't think it was right to teach young children violence.

Pierre: But at the same time many young kids are victims of kidnapping. You see those pedophile rings, so there might be a need.

Stefan: Exactly. But then there you go. Here again we come to the predator. What is the predator of young children? And the predators of young children are pedophiles. So we can't say "Well let's wait until they're 16 before they enrol them in a karate class because by the time they're 16 they're not likely to be targeted by a pedophile. So that's why I changed my mind with teaching the young kids. But what I did was I changed it differently. I'm not teaching them sparring. I'm not teaching them how to break fingers and how to punch and kick. Well, a little bit of punching and kicking, but it's not in the context of combat. It's more of an exercise. But in the context of teaching them how to defend against stranger abduction and also pedophiles, and not just stranger abductions because most pedophiles would be somebody that they know, a family friend, a priest, a school teacher, counsellor. So what I did was I started to indoctrinate the kids. I was brainwashing them. I was manipulating them.

Pierre: But in a good way.

Stefan: But in a good way because first of all, you're not going to take a 6 year old kid and explain to them what a pedophile is and what a pedophile is going to do to them.

Niall: No.

Stefan: You can't do that. So what I did instead is I used a bit of manipulation and I taught them things about what behaviour patterns are suspicious. And so if an adult tells you to keep a secret from your parents, that's suspicious. Nobody else should ask you to keep a secret from your parents. So I would slip that into the karate class, a lesson about it, and we'd talk about it. And then I would do some role playing.

The other thing would be if you're walking down the street and an adult comes up and he grabs your hand and starts to pull you in a direction, that behaviour is suspicious. And so through a role playing technique I would have a kid come up to the front of the class and I'd say "Okay, pretend you're in the park and I'm a stranger. Now I'm going to walk up to you and I'm going to grab your hand. What do you do?" Well all of them would walk along with me. And I would say "No, wrong. This is what you do."

And the technique, the best self-defence technique that a child or an adult can do to prevent being dragged away, is to drop to the ground so that you become a dead weight. You have the resistance, the friction of your body on the ground that they now have to deal with. I mean, a kid standing on his feet, you grab his arm and they're still walking, well it's nothing to pull them into a car. But if now they're lying flat on the ground with their full body spread out, using as much resistance and as much of their body weight to resist you pulling them, this now become a little bit more of an ordeal for the kidnapper.

And finally, to use the leg that is facing the kidnapper to kick against the knees and kick against the hand and kick against the shins because the feet of a child and the legs of any human being is the strongest part of their body and will deliver the most vicious blow. So Kicking Tiger is a technique whereby if a child is being pulled away against his or her will and they want to resist that attacker, then forget about punching them or doing a karate chop or doing a spinning sidekick to the side of their head. That doesn't work.

Pierre: But if the attacker turns around the kid, the kid cannot kick the attacker in the shin anymore, or is there a trick.

Stefan: Of course. I know, and I can't tell you how many karate schools I went to and watched their children's classes and the instructors all told these kids to kick some guy in the head that's bothering them. You don't kick anybody in the head. It never works. So that's Kicking Tiger. That's what I called it to give it a name for the kids, but it's the best resistance. And women can use this too.

Pierre: Yes.

Stefan: Just down to the ground, get onto your side and you kind of pivot. You use your hip as the balance point. You use your arms to turn and then your legs are always facing your attacker and those legs are like cannon on a turret. As soon as the attacker moves left or right, you keep those legs pivoting, aiming those legs at him. And as soon as they come in close, you stomp down as hard as you can on their knee, on their shin, because the weak spot for everybody, no matter how big and fast you are, if somebody takes out your kneecap, you go down. And so that's Kicking Tiger. I hope that explains it.

Joe: Yeah. There's another thing in your book that really kind of struck me and it's just, like we said at the beginning, the way you describe it in a very concise, simple and to-the-point and understandable way, was where you talk about motive, the nature of the psychopath is basically just doing things more or less for kicks, not really having any motive as normal people understand it. So you give the example of a millionaire psychopath would readily rob a starving child. And then you go on to say: "There's no obvious logic to what motives could underlie that kind of behaviour and for that reason psychopaths often elude justice for this very reason."

And it struck me that that was a very important point and it also explains why, as we were talking about before, so many politicians and people in positions of authority can get away with so many things because they do things that to the normal human mind, don't make sense in terms of the way that they are explained or, for example in a court of law. You mention this as well. In a court case they're looking for motive to prosecute someone. But if there's no obvious, understandable from a normal human perspective, motive, well then they're more likely to acquit or be able to get away with what they're doing. I think that really explains a lot of what we're seeing and what we have seen in the world for the past - forever.

Pierre: Too long.

Stefan: Yeah, you're absolutely right. We tend to think other people are like us, that our internal dialogue so to speak, our values, are what other people share. The thing is that the psychopath is so completely alien to our thinking. We can never understand exactly what goes on inside their minds. So their motives are completely unknown to us. We really can't fathom what's going on there. I always tell people the human mind is a black box. You can measure the effects of it from the outside, you can do tests on it and you can try to find some metrics, but you can never open up the box and see exactly what's going on inside.

And the same thing with the human mind. I think I know people. I think they must think like I do, they must have similar values and thought processes that I do. I assumed that. But to be honest with you, I don't know because I can't open up a human mind and compare and see whether or not they are exactly like that. And one thing we do know for sure is that the psychopath's mind is alien to what all the rest of us would think. So what motivates them are things that would never occur to you, never occur to me, otherwise.

Before I studied this subject, it would never occur to me that somebody would literally cut their nose off to spite their face. And this is often the case with psychopaths. They will kill the golden goose. I mean look at what's happening here in North America, in the United States and here in Canada. The richest, most productive nations that the world has ever seen throughout its history, and it's being destroyed from within by the very psychopaths that profit from it. Go figure. How can you predict something like that? You would think that "Well, if I'm a slave owner, I want all my slaves to be happy, producing lots of goods for me to exploit and become rich from." And yet here's the slave owners that are poisoning the wells the slaves drink out of and making sure they have inferior food and that they're working longer hours and producing less. Who would figure out their plan? But obviously it is.

Niall: That's part of the problem, isn't it? They don't actually plan to destroy everything. It's just what comes naturally to them. It's a natural by-product of who they are.

Stefan: Yeah, that's who they are. But I'm not so sure they don't plan for it. I'm not that sure. Again, who knows? Can we open them up and find definitively, find evidence that that's what they're doing? No.

Laura: That's the problem because as you say, when you encounter somebody who kills the goose that lays the golden egg and then you begin to inquire of them why they did it, they usually come up with all kinds of justifications and they'll spout off philosophical folderol and it's just really weird. Because they will give you answers if you inquire, but you know it can't be the truth because it's not true. And they can see the evidence if they were really evidence-based, that what they're doing is wrong and bad and it's bad for them, it's bad for other people, it's bad for everybody. But it's just really an incredible phenomenon. We've just witnessed it recently and it's just an incredible phenomenon. It's baffling.

Stefan: Yeah, I'm the same way Laura. I keep saying "I don't understand". The older you get you find out the less you know and add this to the thing. I don't know. But apparently they do it - I've seen it on a personal level. I've seen psychopaths do things that really ultimately hurt them as well, but then there's this sly little grin that kind of sneaks to the surface when they think nobody's watching. And so you know that in fact they did plan this. That this wasn't an accident, that yes, they suffered, or they are facing some sort of repercussions from it as well. But actually there is some sort of sly delight in it.

Joe: You can imagine at that point where a psychopath would get its comeuppance in some way or other and a normal person would say "Now, did you see what happened? See what can happen to you and I hope you've learned your lesson" and there'll be this little sly grin "Uh-huh, I learned my lesson" and all the while they're just planning to go and do it again. But thinking that "Next time I won't make that mistake".

Pierre: And it might not be black and white, this planning thing. In your book you mention, I think you're quite right. Psychopaths can plan. Short-term planning like they will do this action to get this subsequent reward, short-term reward, but what they lack seemingly is long-term planning.

Niall: Well actually just to slightly correct you there. I remember what Stefan wrote was that you might get a situation where there is a kind of long-term plan. For example George W. Bush. Was he aiming for the Presidency from, let's say, 20 years ago? He could well have been, right? Let's assume he was for a second. But what Stefan says is that their short-term greed normally sabotages their efforts to have a kind of a long-term plan. However if you're, let's say, in a super privileged position like W, maybe in spite of all your mistakes, you still get there.

Joe: Yeah.

Stefan: Yeah, with George W. Jr., it might not even have been his, his dad's plan or his grandfather's plan. Who knows. I certainly think he's a psychopath. I don't think you could get up in front of the press luncheon there and joke about the missing weapons of mass destruction. Here are millions of people murdered and thousands of American citizens coming home without their legs and thousands more dead, and all based on this lie and then he gets up there and he's making a big joke about it.

Joe: That was a perfect example of what you describe in the first chapter of your book 'Defence Against The Psychopath' where you describe them learning social mores or social rules and regulations but at a certain point they'll just totally miss out on what's appropriate and what's not and you give the example of a psychopath at a funeral, commiserating and then afterwards hitting on the grieving widow, or something like that. And W. Bush doing that, at that, I think it was the White House ...

Niall: Press dinner.

Joe: Press dinner, yeah, ...

Laura: His mask slipped.

Joe: When he came up - yeah, and started laughing about it. And the thing is, but everybody laughed with him. Everybody else thought it was funny just because they're idiots. And maybe they're psychopaths themselves. And even Obama did something similar ...

Niall: The drones.

Joe: ...when he made the joke about the drones. And that just serves to distance everybody in the U.S. They see this as a funny thing. It has that insidious effect on ordinary people that weren't psychopaths who then are encouraged because they see their authority figures laughing and making light of these horrible things. And you think "Oh well, then it must be funny."

Laura: So the kids start going around playing this knockout game because George Bush thought it was funny ...

Joe: Thinks it's funny to kill people.

Laura: Yeah, thinks it's funny. And Obama. It's really a sick, sick, sick society and I don't know - I don't see a good outcome.

Joe: Well speaking of sick society, one of the other aspects of your book Stefan, or one of the things you talk about, is in terms of - the book's called The Art of Urban Survival and you go into all sorts of things about how to survive. And you also talk about planning for and surviving various kinds of catastrophes or cataclysms or whatever that might happen on a society-wide basis. And one of the things that you talk about in regards to that is a community survival plan of basically people getting together and forming these kind of communities that you say are much more beneficial for all involved. So could you talk a little bit about your ideas on that?

Stefan: Sure, I'd love to. First of all, let's make a couple of assumptions. We know now that psychopaths will tend to accumulate at the apex of every power pyramid. Once you understand how they work and you see that in a fair competition with a psychopath, anybody who's honest and upright and decent is going to lose, there's no way around it, you are not going to win. So what is the logical conclusion? The logical conclusion would be that power structures will become dominated by psychopaths. And I think there's ample evidence of that now. The governments of pretty much most western and most governments in the world are run and controlled by psychopaths. Probably the heads of corporations. Certainly the heads of many of the major religions, dominated by psychopaths. And why wouldn't they be there because those are cushy jobs. You're an important person. You have lots of power. You can manipulate and influence tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of people. It's a psychopath's wet dream. Of course they're going to be attracted to those positions. And of course, with their ruthlessness and their ability to lie and manipulate, they're going to succeed in achieving those positions.

So now we find ourselves, those of us that I call "normals", we are in a society where just about every aspect has some sort of a psychopathic agenda, from media, to movies, to music, to games like the knockout games. It's all psychopathic. It is. It's anti-human. So what can we do to protect ourselves against that? One of the tools I've come across is to basically resurrect what used to be called mutual aid or mutual benefit societies. For example, we see in the States now, they're cutting pensions. Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act of course is the opposite of what it claims to be. It's going to be the Unaffordable Care Act, so they've now destroyed most middle class and working class peoples' access to medicine.

As we've seen in such natural disasters as Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy, that the emergency response services of the government is falling apart. The infrastructure's falling apart. So we no longer can rely on the government. First of all we understand that the government in charge is controlled by psychopaths, malevolent mentalities that are there not for our interests whatsoever and we will now have to learn to rely more and more on ourselves and each other. Now the funny thing is, when I began researching this, I realized the first problem that we have is we're not organized. I keep saying "Where's our secret society of multi-billionaires trying to work for the good of humanity?"

It seems that all the power is arrayed against us on the battlefield. They have the secret societies. They have their think tanks. They have their governments. They have the corporations and the banks and the media. They have untold endless streams of money to further their agenda. And what do we have? What are we going to do to fight against them? We're all individuals, working by ourselves, a handful there in France, working desperately to try and change things, individuals like me from our bedroom office, trying to speak out to the world, trying to say "Listen".

What we lack most of all is unity and organization. So I started to think of ways - how could we organize ourselves better so that instead of everybody just all by themselves, divided and conquered, how can we unite, to address this issue. And one of the things that came across was the old mutual benefit societies, mutual aid societies. And these were groups that have been around for thousands of years. And the first time I came across this type of structure or this organization, was when I lived in China and they had sort of lending circles. And this was a group of people that would pool their money together, and then that money would be lent out as business loans, to their own members, in order for them to start small businesses.

In the States and even here in Canada, it's well known that most of the convenience stores are run by Koreans. And I remembered some report back during the Rodney King riots about when they attacked the Korean convenience stores and the African Americans were complaining that "How come the Koreans get to buy up all the convenience stores?" Well, because they belonged to a lending group. They had 20, 30 people, family members, friends, school friends that all pooled their money together so that they could buy that convenience store. They did not have to go to a bank because the bank wouldn't have lent them the money anyways. So how else would you do something like that?

So I remember underseeing the wisdom of that. Yeah, if I want to start a small business, let's say I needed $50,000, I couldn't go to the bank and get that money. They wouldn't lend you money for that, not unless you had a house and you decided to take on a second mortgage. So how do you afford to start up a business like that? Well the Chinese, the Koreans, the Japanese, they had instituted these organizations and that had been a pat of their culture for thousands of years. This is nothing new.

In the west we had something like that previously. These friendship and benevolent societies where working class people would pay a monthly membership, and it wasn't usually a lot of money, probably less than what most of us pay for car insurance right now. And for that small monthly membership, because of the multiplication factor of having a group of people contribute, they were able to buy group insurance policies and group health insurance policies. They had emergency disaster relief funds. They had unemployment insurance. So all the things that the big nanny state government has provided us since Roosevelt, welfare and unemployment and Medicare and things like that, previously, these were all provided by community groups, people that worked together and helped each other out during times of hardship or times of emergencies.

So I thought this is what I wanted to try and understand and find ways of doing this. And so my next book that will be coming out at the end of the month is called The Community Survival Plan and it's basically just a blueprint. It includes a set of by-laws and a charter and a structure, a team structure and a plan of action that people can adopt so that they can get together, sign a mutual agreement, because you have to have a common set of values and understandings. We can't just kind of all meet together at the coffee shop and say "Listen, if everybody lends me a hundred bucks I'll invest in a business" or "Everybody give me a can of food and I'll give it back to you during an emergency". It doesn't work.

I've been a part of the prepper community. I've been to lots of meetings with preppers. Everybody is always saying "Well let's work together in case of an emergency". And I said "Yeah, I agree. So if an emergency were to happen tomorrow, exactly what would we do? Who's going to meet who? Where are we going to go? How exactly are we going to help each other?" Well this is where it all breaks down. We don't have a way of doing that. We don't know where to meet. We don't know how we're going to help each other. We don't know what responsibilities each of us are willing to assume during an emergency or during a crisis.

So The Community Survival Plan is aimed at giving people those tools. This is how you would organize. This is how you run a meeting. These are the type of by-laws you may or may not want to adopt. Because the primary principles of these groups are that they are completely egalitarian and democratic. There are no presidents. There's no elected officers. There is no hierarchy. There is only mutual cooperation and any decisions made by the group is a result of the majority of members voting on that decision.

And I think by working together, first as a way of preparing for an emergency or a disaster, but also the same structure that is presented in the book can be adapted. And again, as I mentioned earlier, one of the most important principal skills to have during an emergency, as it is in hand-to-hand combat, is to be able to adapt what you have to the changing circumstances. So this community survival plan is a plan that initially I'm establishing it as a way for communities to make some preparation that in case of a disaster or in case of a plague or in case the power goes out and you are stuck without food, water, electricity, access to a bank machine, access to cash, and you're stuck without those services for a couple of week, a couple of months, maybe even a year, that you have a group of people that can fulfill the functions that the government used to fulfill before the disaster. And those functions would be like a social security net. Provide food and water. Provide basic medicine, first aid and treatment. And provide some communications. You want to know what's going on. You want to be able to communicate between members of the group and other groups and also provide some security, somebody that will watch the cars or watch the storage locker or protect people from being robbed and attacked because they might have some more supplies than somebody else.

So while this is really an important type of service to provide community members, the same structure can then also be adapted and go further. So if you're unable to afford health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act, perhaps the same group that had united to work together to prepare for a disaster can also decide to incorporate into their by-laws a new by-law that says "We are going to buy a group insurance policy." When you belong to a group insurance policy your premiums are way down and your benefits tend to go up. So you could adapt that group to now buy health insurance.

You could also adapt that group to be a purchasing power. For example, I know 10 people they're friends of mine and family. Everybody goes to the grocery store and everybody buys their groceries every week. But what if we decided to buy our groceries together. Let's say we all spent a hundred bucks a week on groceries. But now I have 10 friends. Now I've got $1,000 to spend on groceries. I can go and buy those groceries wholesale. I can buy them in bulk. So instead of each individual spending say, $5 to buy a pound of rice, they would together pay $20 to buy 100 pounds of rice. Your food costs would be reduced dramatically.

And in a time like now, going through where we know what's going to happen and that is the government is going to try everything in their power to squeeze every last penny out of you. If you have 20 cents lying between the cushions on the couch, trust me, the government wants that 20 cents and they are raising the taxes and the licences and the fees and it's going up with the police issuing tickets and it's coming at you from 100 angles. So we are being financially squeezed. We are getting desperate. So does it make sense for each of us to continue going by ourselves to the store, paying premium dollar for our food goods or does it make sense to pool our money together, buy on bulk and reduce our costs tremendously?

So organizing together into small groups, I'm suggesting groups of between five to maximum, let's say 50 people, and combining your resources to provide those services as a buying block, as a self-defence block, as an emergency preparedness group, and all the other benefits. And actually that's what the old mutual benefit societies used to do.

Pierre: That's a very appealing idea, this community idea. I have a question relating to it though. Previously in the show you mentioned some family members of yours that were not totally collinear, let's say it this way. You mention in your book as well that one of the major threats in those dire times is your neighbours. You mention somewhere else in your book that groups can be infiltrated by agent provocateurs or police officers undercover. And you mention as well the existence of psychopaths. So how do you ensure that your community is made of reliable, collinear members?

Stefan: Well in the plan, I put in the suggestion that all members vote for new members to come into the group. And that you start with one person. One person can form a group. So let's say you decide you want to form a group. And you approach first of all those people you trust, the people that you trust and that are on the same wavelength as you are, that have the same values as you do. So maybe you find three other people that think like you, that agree with the need to form some sort of a group and they understand the purpose of the group and they're willing to go along with it. So now there's four of you. If you want to bring in new members, those initial four members vote on the fifth member. And that member has to be accepted based on the trust that the existing four members would place in that fifth member. And then now you have five members if you decide to accept that person. And you want to bring in a sixth member. Now those five people have to vote for the sixth, and so on and so on. And again, voting members in is based on whether or not the majority of the people feel that they can trust that other person.

Laura: But what if you vote somebody in that you feel that you can trust and then you find out that they are destroying your group from within?

Stefan: You can then vote to expel that person. Again it would be brought up, a motion to expel. I'm using some of the terminology found in the old lodges and the old community mutual aid societies, and you would have a regular meeting and the order of business for the meeting is to first of all discuss any major emergencies that may need to be brought up at the beginning of the meeting. But then the second order of business would be to discuss any motions. So at any point, at any meeting, any member can bring forth a motion to expel. And they would be given a certain amount of time as agreed upon by members of the group ahead of time.

For example, you may set it into your meeting protocols that anybody who wishes to set a motion is allowed 15, 20 minutes, half an hour to speak. So any member can bring a motion to expel a member they think is being destructive to the group and make their case for that. Then the person that is being accused of being a disruption to the group and is being asked to leave, they now have an equal amount of time to rebut the argument that the first person had brought up. Then the rest of the members of the group can talk among themselves and through a vote, decide on which argument they would follow and whether they would choose to expel the person or choose to issue a warning, or choose not to expel them at all.

Laura: Here's the problem: If you're dealing with a real psychopath, they're going to be very compelling in their argumentation and they're going to sway everyone over to their side. You know that for a fact, don't you?

Stefan: Oh yeah.

Laura: So, there's got to be a little bit more to this than just having a democratic meeting and voting. There has to be something along the line of what Hare and Babiak were doing with their Snakes In Suits, you know, where you start collecting information about the individual, about everything they've done, everyone's observations of their behaviour, things they've said, things they've done, etc. etc. You need to collect something up. It just poses - because we've dealt with this, see?

Stefan: Yeah, sure.

Laura: Because the interesting thing is, that I've followed a very similar - and we're going to come back to this in just a second - but I followed a similar line of thought because in Florida what we had was, we had people from Pakistan who were buying up all the convenience stores. And they had these groups, the families and friends and everybody would get together, they'd pool their money. They'd send somebody over to the U.S., give them the money. They would come over, they would buy the store. Then they would get it going and then they would send for two or three other members of the family. They would all sleep in the back room of the store. They were saving every dime so they could bring more of their people over, right? And then they would buy another store, etc. etc. And I saw this back, 12, 15 years ago and I said "That's really brilliant because these people are coming from a situation that is absolutely horrendous and they are, by cooperation, by familial and friend cooperation, they are making really good lives and they work really hard." And people around, your standard American, all they do is whine and complain, whine and complain, right?

Stefan: Right.

Laura: So when we came here we kind of did that ourselves. We've got this house. We've got 14 people in it.

Pierre: 13.

Laura: Thirteen, I'm sorry. Well it's a really big house. It's got 17 bedrooms in it, so and we've got a studio and office space and so forth. And we decided that it was cheaper to rent this place as a group than it was to get a bunch of small houses. And it was. It turned out to be cheaper. Plus we also had our office space in it so we could work all the time, because we're workaholics. So then we started learning about - learning how to get along, because these are some of the biggest issues, is learning how to get along with people who have different standards of cleanliness or people have different OCD habits and some people want things cleaner than others. So you have to make a lot of adjustments along that line. But then you also, everyone once in a while we would vote somebody else in, in the early days. And they would come and we've had four - three were schizophrenic and one was a psychopath.

Stefan: Oh goodness, yeah.

Laura: Okay? And sometimes it takes a while for this to come out. And then you have to start taking observations. And I was really at one point, with this psychopath, I was getting up early in the morning to go and look out the window and watch him take the dogs out in order to see what was going on, because the dogs were acting weird. And then I caught him kicking the dogs.

Stefan: Right, right.

Laura: And then there were other things. And then finally there were lies and so on and so forth, but it was one of these kinds that is just completely disruptive, covert. And this man was 6-foot 4-inches tall and he could cry like a baby if you confronted him about anything. Tears rolling down his cheeks. The pity game that you just absolutely would not freakin believe. So you see what I'm saying? We've kind of gone through this crucible of learning a lot of these different things. And now we've got other communities starting up that are kind of under our non-profit aegis, and we're really interested in what you're saying because it's powerful stuff and it's an idea that we think the time has come. It really has come. But we've had a little experience on this and we've found some issues that we don't really know how to teach somebody how to deal with these things. That's our problem.

Stefan: No, I sympathize. There is no other alternative. There is no solution.

Niall: You've got to try it.

Stefan: I've thought about this. Yeah. The fact that a psychopath could infiltrate a group and destroy that group is always going to be present. There is almost no way that you can 100 percent guarantee that that's not going to happen, unless - and I'm a little bit concerned because when you say "well then you have to gather a whole bunch of information about them and go back throughout their history" and all that. On the other hand, I want to kind of respect people's privacies too. I don't really want to have a group where we're going to sniff you a new one in order for you to become a member because personally, I wouldn't join that group myself.

Laura: Well we don't do that to begin with. That's not something that starts, because we try to give the benefit of the doubt, like you say. We trust you, blah, blah, blah. The person tells you who they are, what they are. You've had some interaction with them for a period of time and you grow to trust them and so on and so forth. And that's how we've done it. And it's only afterwards, and I want to be clear about this, it's only afterwards, when the problems start coming up, that we start gathering the observations. Because one person will say "Something is really weird. So and so said such and such but then I found out that that wasn't true" and then you say that and then the other one says "Yeah, the same thing happened to me" and dah, dah, dah, and then you start putting this information together and you get a picture. Because you know, psychopaths operate in darkness. And they are enabled to operate because people do not share information because the powers that be, and particularly our religions have said "Don't talk about other people. If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." Or "Least said soonest mended".

So we've got all of these little cliché sayings that prevent us from sharing data. And this is something Sandra Brown talked about in her book How to Spot a Dangerous Man, that women have been labelled as gossips because they talk about relationships. And yet anthropologists have shown that this talking about relationships and talking about what people do and sitting around the campfire or whatever, and just talk, talk, talk, talk, talking, until you know everything about everybody. And then it creates bonding, it prevents psychopathic infiltration and so forth.

So there's a lot of interesting things we've looked at about it, because we've had to deal with it. And it's been a real problem.

Stefan: Yeah. You know I've gone over that myself. I've investigated all types of organizational structures and so forth and there is no escape from it. There is no foolproof method. Perhaps there would be a foolproof method if all the existing members were enlightened beings and incredibly shrewd and perceptive and even have a sixth sense, an intuitive sense, then yeah, they could probably prevent a psychopath from infiltrating.

Laura: I don't see that happening.

Stefan: Yeah, how's that going to happen? A group of enlightened people coming together? Yeah, I'd like to see that.

Laura: Existing to begin with.

Stefan: Existing, exactly. How spread out are they throughout the population in the world? But thank god for the internet that at least we can talk to like-minded people. I can talk to you folks in France and you get me. I can't go to my neighbours and talk to them, you know. But no, Laura we're stuck with it. We have an impossible situation. I've tried with the community survival plan to try to factor in as many of the possibilities of a psychopath infiltrating and causing disruption, but the balances between being able to have a structure that people can join fairly easily and cooperate and be a part of and also not be so rigidly enclosed with that, only a few people could ever become members because they wouldn't qualify to be accepted by the group.

It's a balancing act. I leave it up to the founders of whatever group to institute however rigorous membership requirement they want. And if people don't qualify to become part of that group, they're of course free to join another group or even free to start their own group. So I don't think that's being discriminatory against anyone. Everyone can start their own group if they can't get into one whose standards are that tight. But I would leave it up to the individuals. And also the whole point of keeping the group small. Psychopaths have I think an easier time of it when there's more and more people, because they can sort of hide and they can create factions.

Laura: I agree.

Stefan: And they can turn people against each other. It's a little bit harder for them to get away with that when your group is the size of a small tribe or extended family size.

Laura: Yeah.

Stefan: And it's a lot faster to spot them then, also when they're part of a smaller group. Like you said, you suspect something, the dogs are coming back and they're limping after a walk. Well, what's wrong with this. Now because you're there and you're able to observe it, you're now able to follow the guy and see him kicking the dogs. If you weren't there and it was a bunch of other people and they might not have been as acute at noticing the dog limping, they might not have gotten it into their mind to investigate it or he might have been too far away for them to be bothered with it. So I think the key is keeping the group intimate and also sharing a lot of group activities, a lot dinners together and things like that.

Laura: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. We do that. We have karaoke nights. We have dinners together. We work together. We have our own private space because like I said, it's a big house, so you can go an entire day without seeing anybody if that's what you want.

Pierre: One question Stefan. Obviously you cannot get it both ways. You cannot create a community without taking the risk of integrity and disruptive or psychopathic individuals. Maybe in order to minimize the threat, having some prerequisites as far as knowledge of psychopathy is concerned, would it be the right thing to do? Kind of classes or making sure that all the members of the community know as much as possible about this threat?

Stefan: Absolutely, yeah. I really think psychopathy should be the subject of study for everyone. So would I love everybody to study it and understand the signs and the symptoms and be able to spot them a lot faster? Absolutely. And if a group would say, one of their entrance requirements is to watch a video on psychopathy or read one of the books by Dr. Hare or even read the pamphlets, and that would be a requisite for their acceptance into the group, by all means. The founders could institute that into their by-law and have - for example, I would want, before I would give out a black belt, everybody had to have advanced first aid and CPR. I just made that up because I think you should know that. I think if you spend 10 years of your life learning how to break elbows and learning how to break kneecaps, I think you should also know how to put those elbows and kneecaps back together again. It's a balance. You have to balance the yin and the yang. So I will not give a black belt to anybody that doesn't also know first aid and CPR. I mean, what are you doing? You cannot focus only on destruction without focusing on creativity.

Laura: If you knock them out, you've got to be able to revive them.

Stefan: Exactly. And certainly in the Chinese tradition, both of my Kung Fu masters were - their primary occupation was as Chinese medical doctors. My master in Hong Kong was what they called a bonesetter, which is kind of a category of Chinese doctor. And my Kung Fu teacher in Taipai was an acupuncturist. And I was very inspired by that because I thought it made a lot of sense. I was also inspired by the old barefoot doctor's manual, where they had peasants trained in medicine and they would go along to villages - this is back in communist China - and they would provide first aid and basic healing techniques on a village level. So I instituted that rule for my school. You want to be a black belt, get your CPR and your first aid. So if you're forming a community survival group, you could say "listen, you have to pass a test on psychopathy". Why not. Put it in there.

Laura: That's a good idea. I like it.

Stefan: You know how when you join a company they often bring you through a training program or you're brought into the boardroom and you have to learn the OSHA standards and safety protocols and what your benefits and everything are. The orientation program that they put on, usually with a video or a slideshow, well, why don't we institute that as part of your community survival group? Here's your orientation program. This is what psychopaths are. This is how to recognize them. And also this is the basics of group dynamics and the importance of cooperating and working together and communicating. And these are the procedures by which issues are raised within our group and how they're dealt with. So make that pat of your orientation program before you join the group.

Laura: I think another thing that would be important would be, what you mentioned earlier, shared values, like having standard moral understanding so that you don't have conflicts of that sort of thing.

Stefan: Yeah, the old tradition of mutual aid groups were all formed around commonly held values. So protestants would have their own type of mutual aid society. African Americans, who benefited the most from these mutual aid societies, especially since the Civil War, that provided them with education and job opportunities, well of course that was restricted to African Americans and former slaves. Catholic groups would have catholic mutual aid societies. Atheist groups even had their own. I think the Odd Fellows was a group that would accept anybody from any denomination.

So shared values, of course, yeah. So you could have people that belong to the same hockey league coming together. Well, we're all fans of hockey, all in the same middle class neighbourhood in suburbia. You have a lot of shared values. Kids go to the same schools, you go to the same churches. Well you have a built-in connection right there with those people. And if they were to get together and form a community group, that would be fine. And then if Muslim immigrants wanted to form their own group and restrict it only to other Muslim immigrants, fine. What's wrong with that? So you can form along your own ethnic and religious lines and even socio-economic lines. The unions started off in a similar way, the textile workers' union and steel workers' union and things like that. Their common unifying characteristic was they all worked in that industry.

So finding a group of people with your shared values, absolutely. It makes sense to start there first. And if you don't want to accept members from outside that community, that's your prerogative because I do not recommend legalizing these groups. For example, I do not recommend you filing for a 501 status or was it 401 status, non-profit charitable.

Laura: Yeah, 501(c)(3). That's what we've got. And it works well. You have to really get on the fast track, learning about non-profit law and tax law and that sort of thing because you don't want to mess up in that respect. But I think your book is going to be really exciting and I'm really looking forward to it. So you will keep us posted and give us the first copy won't you?

Pierre: Yes please.

Joe: And we'll do a book review.

Stefan: Yeah, I'm going to send you copies as soon as it comes out. You'll get the first complimentary copies.

Laura: Aaah. That's sweet.

Niall: Thank you Stefan.

Stefan: I admire what you're doing. Seventeen people in a house. I'd love to join you. I really would. I've lived in ...

Laura: Would you like to come visit?

Stefan: Oh, so much.

Laura: You would?

Stefan: I loved Europe so much. I loved France, especially the south. I was in Avignon and that was my favourite area there.

Laura: Alright, we'll arrange a visit.

Joe: Yeah, if you're ever planning a trip, no problem. Okay Stefan, we're kind of reaching the top of the hour here and I think we've kind of covered most of what we wanted to cover. And I just want to say thanks again for coming on and talking about your book and your project. The book is called The Art of Urban Survival and the first chapter that we've been talking about is 'Defence Against The Psychopath'. Very important information for everybody to understand and to get.

Laura: And Stefan has another book coming out. What's the title going to be?

Stefan: It's going to be called The Community Survival Plan.

Laura: Excellent.

Joe: Sounds very important as well in the times we're living in.

Laura: So all the listeners be looking for this book.

Joe: Okay Stefan. Thank you again for being on and hopefully we'll talk to you again soon.

Stefan: And I want to thank you.

[Audio cuts out - again!]

Joe: Yes, I think we're back on. I think people can hear us again. But for some reason we just got cut off yet again.

Niall: I think we need to organize a boycott of BlogTalk Radio.

Pierre: A demonstration.

Niall: Or a takeover. Let's pool together and take over.

Joe: And fix the bugs!

Pierre: The community purchase. Okay, we are back anyway and we were reaching the end in any case.

Joe: Stefan, are you still there? No Stefan's gone. So it booted us, it booted Stefan. Modern technology and modern society. It kind of fits with the topic of the show really.

Niall: Yeah. Everything crumbling.

Joe: Everything's going to hell.

Pierre: Even BlogTalk Radio.

Joe: Stefan, are you there by any chance?

Stefan: Yes I am, sorry.

Joe: Good. This has been a real doozy of a show technology-wise.

Pierre: Sorry about that.

Joe: The show just booted us all off and cut you off.

Stefan: Well no problem for my part.

Joe: Alright well listen, once again, thanks for being on the show.

Stefan: Thanks for having me. And do you guys run this show as a broadcast later?

Joe: Yeah, it's archived automatically so people can download it. It's on the BlogTalk Radio website. Just search for SOTTNet on BlogTalk Radio. You can find it.

Stefan: Oh terrific. I'll link to it and share it on my social media then.

Joe: Okay, we'll probably get it up on YouTube as well.

Stefan: Oh, okay. Great. So thanks for having me on again and if you ever need me to come back on, offer some commentary on some subject or whatever, in future, feel free to let me know.

Joe: Yeah. We definitely will.

Alright folks, that's the end of this week. We hope you enjoyed it despite all of our technical difficulties. We hope we imparted some useful information. Thanks to all our listeners, etc. and we'll be back next week with a show on a topic... as yet to be decided on!

See you then!