There are some recent trends in the field of psychopathy: whitewashing, denial, and glorification of psychopathy. On this edition of the Truth Perspective, we go into the reasons why they are completely wrong.

We also discussed the latest shooting in Chattanooga with its similarities to other shooting events in the US, and the recent rumors surfacing that the Dutch Safety Board may be implicating Russia in the MH17 crash.

Running Time: 01:52:00

Download: MP3

Here's the transcript of the show:

Harrison: Hi everyone. Welcome back. This is The Truth Perspective. It is something like July 18, 2015, depending on which calendar you use. It's probably different for some people and species, but that's the day today. We're all in the studio. We've all got our smokes lit and our tea hot and we're ready to rip into some controversial topics today. I am your host for today, Harrison Koehli. With me, as always, is Elan Martin.

Elan: Hi everybody.

Harrison: And recently as always, SOTT editors Shane LaChance and Carolyn McCallum.

Shane & Carolyn: Hi

Harrison: Today we're going to be talking about the myth of the myth of the psychopath. The trend has been going on for the past several years, but in the last month or so there have been a few articles that have come out on popular psychology websites and any kind of mainstream magazine or newspaper reporting on various books that have been published recently saying essentially that psychopaths don't exist or yeah, they exist, but they're not so bad.

Carolyn: Apologetic.

Harrison: Yeah. So we're going to get into that because we think it's particularly odious and misleading and when you actually get into it, pretty disgusting. So let's just start out with the article called; 'The Myth of the Psychopath'. This is an article published in the Pacific Standard earlier this month, July 9, written by Peter Vigneron. It is a pretty bad piece of journalism on these people. They've written a book called; The Myth of the Born Criminal. It's by two Canadian psychologists, Stephanie Griffiths and Michael Maraun, or maybe a moron might be the correct pronunciation of that one.And also criminologist Jarkko Jalava. He actually had a star appearance in Star Wars.

Shane: Was that Jarjar Binks?

Harrison: Yeah. It's a distant cousin. He's half Jarjar species and half Jabba the Hut species. Jarrko Jalava.

Shane: That makes sense.

Harrison: So they wrote this book Myth of the Born Criminal. The article starts out talking about a story from his personal life. He had a friend that he'd met, a Kenyan. He then went to Kenya and this guy showed him around the place and demonstrated some strange behaviours that he realized over time, and then, in retrospect, looked back at and said "Oh, is this guy a psychopath?" This Kenyan was known as a liar and he'd always show up late and have really outrageous excuses for not being there. People told him not to trust him and rolled their eyes at the mention of his name because he was known as a shady character and not the kind of guy that you'd want to hang out with. The journalist writing this article says that he wondered afterwards if this guy was a psychopath; so he looked into it, looked up psychopath and saw the characteristics from the PCLR, the psychopathy checklist by Robert Hare and said "Oh yeah, this guy kind of sounds like a psychopath."

But then he had a great conversion to realize that maybe he was wrong. First of all maybe he's wrong because you can't make a diagnosis on a dime like that and expect to be accurate, so of course there's going to be doubts that this guy was actually a psychopath. He gets into that at the end of his article. But moving on, he's writing an article about this recent book Myth of the Born Criminal and these people that wrote it say that psychopathy - this is paraphrasing: Psychopathy is a flawed and ill-defined concept, largely unsupported by the neuro-imaging data its proponents often cite. Unlike discrete psychological disorders such as schizophrenia or depression, the authors argue, psychopathy is a disorder sustained by rhetoric rather than by science. Psychopath is just a strong word for obedient in the same way that jerk describes someone you don't like but reveals little about that person's psychology.

Quoting the book:
"The term jerk does constitute or imply a real thing. It is simply a linguistic convention for displaying moral disapproval."
To the extent that that explains anything, they serve to highlight society's fears and neuroses and allow us to rationalize and remove ourselves from a human tendency toward evil.

Carolyn: So it's just all a projection.

Harrison: Yeah.

Carolyn: Okay! That' wraps it up.

Shane: It's really disturbing. There's this whole science on psychopathy, all this literature, all these case studies and are these authors just completely ignorant of that? No! Because they're saying that they have different neuro-imaging data. Hare has gone into this and so many others; it's really bizarre that suddenly these creatures don't exist.

Carolyn: Well the fact that Hare produced hundreds of MRI image testing on people who were identified as psychopaths, does show really clear, clear differences in the way they process or don't process different emotional situations and their reactions to them. And to just dismiss all of that out of hand is like saying "Oh, it's just anecdotal folklore, bizarre."

Harrison: Well, a paragraph itself is pretty embarrassing to read because there were just so many things wrong with it. I'll get into a couple of them. First of all they say it's not a discrete disorder like schizophrenia or depression. Well obviously, if you read the descriptions of psychopathy, it's not even comparable. "Oh I had a little bit of psychopathy last year and I got over it though."

Carolyn: The meds really helped.

Harrison: Yeah. It's comparing two different categories. So on the one hand they're right, it isn't something like depression or schizophrenia and no one said it is, but to say that a so-called disorder like depression is a disorder, to say that they're different, well yeah, they're different.

Carolyn: It's like they're trying to compare something that is, in some cases, completely innate to something that is a phase that can come and go. A psychopath behaves like a psychopath where as schizophrenia can go into remission, depression can be gotten over. Yeah, apples and oranges totally. Inflating them is really not kosher.

Shane: Yeah, there are mental disorders, mental illness, and then there are personality disorders which are pervasive. They're permanent and there's not really any treatment. And I think that's one of the scary things that we see in this article, but also others, is that there's this idea that psychopathy can exist on the spectrum and yeah, you can have a little bit of psychopathy. That's what Dutton promotes. We'll get into some of his stuff in a little bit. There's this idea that you can take some pieces of psychopathy and use them however you'd like, blah, blah, blah, and just throw them out there.

Carolyn: The thing that was really interesting is how much he's brushing aside solid science, but also the idea that the local social network that had evaluated this person he was dealing with in Kenya, the consensus of everybody around this man was that he was bad news and the journalist just seemed to go "Well you know, maybe not". He was basically brushing aside his own experience.

Harrison: That's the funny thing. These guys use the word 'jerk' as an example for why psychopath's not a good word. Well, on the one hand they've got a point. Someone can act like a jerk and you say "Oh that guy's such a jerk". It doesn't mean he's a psychopath and it doesn't mean he's a jerk with a capital "J". He might just have been in a bad mood or something may have been affecting him at that moment to make him act in that way. It might not be a pervasive personality trait. So in that sense, what this guy's writing about is right. We shouldn't come to snap judgments about something like this. It takes a lot of observation and data to be able to see if someone is fundamentally a psychopath or not. But the thing is; why do we have a word like jerk? I think it's because some people really are jerks! They are psychopaths and that's just one of the words that we've come to use as a linguistic contrivance - its colloquial - to describe these people.

Carolyn: It's a layman's term but it's born of experience. It's born of observation. Just because it's a social consensus doesn't mean it's invalid.

Harrison: Exactly.

Shane: They also associated psychopathy with this degenerate theory, which is based on this idea that people can have this faulty genetic lineage. The Nazis used part of that and there is this association in there that really doesn't connect. There is lots of data about psychopathy being a genetic condition. I'm hesitant to call it a disorder too because it's a condition. It's not something that...

Harrison: We can get into genetics a bit, but go on.

Shane: So, there's this association with this theory and really, they're two very separate things. The book's thesis is that once the degenerate theory fell out of favour then there was this upsurge in psychopathy research which Cleckley really promoted in the '40s.

Carolyn: What was the name of the doctor who was doing studies on psychopaths and mixed in with all of these MRIs he was taking was his own?

Harrison: Yeah.

Carolyn: And he...

Harrison: James Fallon.

Carolyn: That made him a proponent of the genetics. He said, 'the only thing that saved me from being a truly classic jerk was the fact that serendipitously he had almost a perfect upbringing', but even his own relatives would describe actions and decisions he would make and he had to look back at them and go "Yeah, that's what a psychopath would do."

Shane: The family said they were not really too surprised that he's a psychopath.

Harrison: Okay. We'll get into him too later on. That's an interesting case that is used by Kevin Dutton in ways in which it probably shouldn't be used and to say things that probably shouldn't be said, just come to wrong conclusions. Back to the moral derangement thing, psychopaths used to be called morally insane.

First of all you've got the hereditary thing, bad lines of blood and that just makes a degenerate race. Of course that's too overly simplistic to actually describe anything accurate about how heredity or personality develops anyway. The moral aspect has also gone out of favour, but I think for different reasons. It too is seen as unscientific and it's only been seen as unscientific because of the totally materialist framework that's going on here.

So I think there's actually a lot of insight to be gained from looking at psychopathy from a moral perspective. Really, psychopaths are morally insane because, first of all, morals or values are something that is real. They're not materially real, but when you get into aspects of philosophy and theology, I think that you can't deny there is a moral component to the universe, even if it is non-materialistic. It's taboo to say anything about morals in psychology because morals don't exist, just like purposes and aims don't really exist; it's just our electrons bumping into each other that make us do things.

By cutting that off, sure some of the foundations of the theory are cut off but that doesn't say anything about whether psychopathy is real or not, or what its nature is. That just shows the degenerate trends of modern science with their inability to see what's actually going on, particularly in psychology in this instance. Because when you look at psychopaths and the way they operate and what their inner landscape is probably really like, they do not have any moral compass. And what I mean by that is that there is nothing outside of themselves that is more important than themselves. So their moral compass is really...

Shane: Self interest.

Harrison: Yeah. "What do I want? This is what I want and I want it now and nothing's going to stop me from getting it and I'm just going to be really clever about the way in which I go about getting it." So psychopaths are morally insane and morally deranged and amoral. The thing is, there is a fundamental difference between psychopaths and non-psychopaths in the sense there is something lacking in a psychopath. They don't have the ability to experience certain things. This is even accepted by this guy in his article. He has a pretty good description of psychopathy in the beginning of the article and says:
"Psychopaths are real and relatively common and some researchers have estimated that at much as one percent of the world's population are psychopaths. They are unable to feel the full range of normal human emotions, especially compassion and empathy. They're often violent and because they're ruthless, they may be over-represented at the upper levels of business and government."
Carolyn: How can he go off from there? He started telling it so well.

Shane: I think he's positing what the general consensus is.

Harrison: I think his editor probably just said "You have to write an article on this book" and so he tried to get into it and then just didn't really think about it too much and didn't end up seeing how much he embarrassed himself by what he did say. On the topic of the violence thing, he says psychopaths are often violent, first of all we can't really say with too much accuracy if "often" is the right descriptor for that because we really don't know 100% how many psychopaths actually exist in the general population, just because of the nature of the research done on psychopathy and the fact that most psychopaths researched are the violent ones.

So, of course the statistics are going to be skewed in the direction of violent psychopaths. We're not going to have an idea of the exact amount of non-violent psychopaths there are. So, right there you're going down a false trail by accepting that as one of your prime assumptions about the nature of psychopathy because that is unknown at this point. He gets into the direction that psychopathy research has gone later in the article, and goes into an off-the-wall direction, but the more different areas are researched and the influence of psychopaths in different areas, like business, politics, Wall Street or whatever, there's a picture coming up about the corporate psychopath or the political psychopath who is non-violent and who is a professional and able to function in the world to a degree that they are successful. Of course Dutton gets into this stuff as well.

It's funny because on the one hand all these articles about psychopaths from this point of view say, "Oh psychopaths are not necessarily like Hannibal Lecter or Ted Bundy. They're not all like that." And then as he proceeds to read through the article, they still use that assumption about psychopaths, that these are the full-blown psychopaths and this is what it really looks like. So they acknowledge that it's a myth and then they assume that myth for the rest of the article, which just shows that they haven't really thought about it. I think that they're just paid to write these articles and they don't really have any idea of what they're doing. Or they do and they've got an agenda like I think that Kevin Dutton does. That's a whole other topic.

Shane: Well it's interesting because SOTT has been covering psychopathy for over 10 years and it's been really fascinating to see the developments over this past decade regarding all these different areas and topics being explored. While the mainstream does cover bits and pieces of psychopathy, occasionally will even get into the business aspect or the political aspect, we really don't see the parts where they talk about the actual influence of psychopathy over groups.

Carolyn: It's like studying a bug. It's a really interesting bug, without looking at it in the larger ecology.

Elan: Yeah right. And I think the other component of this is how do we define violence? Do we measure violence by the act of someone shooting and killing or maiming somebody? Is there another measure of violence that's inflicted economically? Is there another kind of outgrowth of violence and negative detrimental effects on people and society that we haven't yet qualified or quantified that is just as much a result of psychopathic thinking as someone committing a murder?

Carolyn: You look at these corporate raiders and the guy's name just flew out of my head. There was a guy who took over a company called Sunbeam. They manufacture small appliances, gadgets and things like that. He had a reputation going in. They called him Captain Axe or something like that. He would be ruthless. He took the company in, parted out the bits he didn't want, kept the bits he did want, cut the workforce by a third and for him it was all about the profit and no concept, no consideration for the misery that he was inflicting on thousands of people. They were just expendable numbers on a page. Because they didn't suit his agenda, off they went.

Elan: That reminds me of a story about; Lee Iacocca and Chrysler, a huge car company in the late '60s. You had them producing this car called the Ford Pinto and there was some kind of mechanical defect to it.

Carolyn: It blew up.

Elan: It blew up on point of contact. The lawyers and head honchos at Chrysler figured out that to recall each of these cars and to replace the piece of mechanics would cost about $3 or $4 a car. But then they did the math and they figured that it would actually cost them less money if they settled out of court or in court with lawsuits for wrongful death. So instead of fixing this three or four dollar piece of mechanics in the car, they decided to allow all these people to die, of which there were many, in car accidents, because of their faulty engineering, whoever ended up suing them and getting some money, that was less expensive. We digressed a little bit.

Carolyn: But that's a form of violence.

Elan: It is.

Carolyn: Absolutely.

Harrison: And as these authors point out, at first they say that in the '80s and '90s psychopath became a household word and it was invoked to explain serial killings. So we had these serial killers and that was the image of the psychopath so it was a violent phenomenon. Then in the '90s and 2000s we suddenly had the internet age and that transformed society so the diagnosis was now used to expand it to the digital realm and the fear of internet predators. Then after that in 2008 we had the financial crisis and all of a sudden psychopathy was used to explain this, so they say this is obviously a sign that psychopathy has an "adjustable portfolio". So psychological orders are supposed to exist, independent of culture but obviously psychopathy, because the definitions and diagnosis have changed, it's obviously a function as an index of generational fears.

So they're saying first, we're afraid of serial killers, then we're afraid of online predators, then we're afraid of financial psychopaths or baddies or evil bankers that are just out to get us and don't care about our savings and will steal everything from us. So, it's just a cultural phenomenon, that we're just projecting our fears of what's going on, onto this murky label of psychopath, which is total hogwash.

Carolyn: He's completely invalid there because just about every culture in the world has a concept of this kind of person. Some anthropologists went up and talked to the Inuit, when they were first being studied and they have a term for somebody who doesn't do their share of the hunting, sleeps with your wife while you're out hunting and just generally doesn't share - that's their big thing, everything is shared and these are people who would keep whatever they got for themselves. They had a specific term for this type of person. The researcher asked "Well how do you deal with them?" The Inuit responded "We'd all go out hunting and when nobody was looking, somebody would push him off an ice flow". That was just their way of handling these people who were so, detrimental to the society as a whole.

Elan: On that passage you just read Harrison, it seems completely lost on the author that instead of societies growing a larger conception of what psychopathy is and what its deleterious effects are and what forms they take, there's this project, an appropriation of the use of the word psychopath, to describe certain things that aren't really quite there when of course there is an objective problem that we're seeing many different facets of. I think that there is a greater understanding that seems to be undercut with this article and I think that's the point of looking at the way people are describing and defining psychopathy these days because they're misleading us.

Harrison: Yeah. This idea that our image of psychopathy changes as we experience these new things that make us scared. It's just so juvenile; did these so-called researchers not consider that perhaps there is a thing called psychopathy and that these psychopaths exist in all these different areas? First of all maybe researchers just weren't aware of the scope of the phenomenon at first so they were focusing on serial killer, which is an over-simplification, but let's just go with it. So everyone thought that only serial killers were psychopaths. First of all, maybe they were just wrong. Maybe there were psychopaths all over the place and they just weren't aware of it. Then as we get these fears that come about, these are not just our definitions changing according to how society changes. This is society changing because of the influence of these people and these psychopaths actually taking advantage of these changes and these opportunities.

So you have the financial crisis that happens as a result of these peoples' actions and that reveals the hand behind the curtain, so you realize if we look at what happens, that explains it. So the reason these things happen is because these guys had this personality type and they were doing all these things that we didn't know about and just robbing people and engaging in all sorts of criminal activity. And the explanation for that is that, they're psychopaths. That's the conclusion that one should probably come to.

Carolyn: First of all culture doesn't develop the fear without at least some seed event.

Harrison: Exactly!

Carolyn: And then it's not culture projecting this idea to explain itself. You could just say that psychopaths are adapting culturally as each new niche to exploit has opened up. They're just widening their activities.

Shane: It is very juvenile - like you were saying Harrison - this idea that you can't change your conception of something. There's no development there. That in itself is a very pathological way of looking at the world, that you can't make your understanding fuller. It's in politics all the time. "You can't be a flip-flopper. You can't change your thinking. If you change your thinking then you're some kind of a delinquent."

Harrison: It would be like, if we used an example from schizophrenia. One of the examples that these guys gave about the diagnosis of psychopathy changing was the rise of the digital age and these online predators. Okay, so before the digital age, there was no digital age, so there were no online predators. All of a sudden we have the internet and these new fears arise. Even 200 years ago, there wasn't CIA surveillance, for example. The technology wasn't there. The concept wasn't there. So it would be like saying that schizophrenia is just a totally culturally created hallucination or disease because these guys are saying that the CIA is spying on them and if you had a paranoid schizophrenic with these types of hallucinations "Well they didn't say that before. So it must just be this culturally created phenomenon because we've never seen these hallucinations before! Where did this come from?!"

Carolyn: It's like saying paranoia never existed. But if you want to talk about exploiting niches, I read a really interesting article once about when the telegraph became common and cheap to use, it was like a nascent version of the internet. People were making friends. They were communicating. They were conducting affairs and they were making these by telegraph. So it's another niche for them to explore, instead of scamming your neighbours you could scam somebody at the other end of the country. It's just basically gotten easier.

Harrison: So in sum, psychopaths adapt as society adapts because there are new ways to exploit people and new ways to get what they want.

Shane: What a thought! [Laughter]

Harrison: Is it that difficult to think about it in those terms? If you read the descriptions that all these people are obviously familiar with, like Robert Hare's work and Cleckley's and the vast literature out there, because there's a ton of it, that psychopaths are mimics, they're liars, they put on a mask of sanity, they adapt to a situation, they present an image or façade that is designed to fool you. They are con men.

So they use what's available and they use whatever assumptions or weaknesses you have. So of course that's what they're going to do in any cultural context with any new societal or cultural development. When the internet comes along, they're going to adapt. They're going to figure out "Oh I can use the internet and it's really easy if I send an email and pretend to be someone I'm not. I don't even have to change my facial expressions." So of course they're going to exploit it and of course there are going to be online predators and of course people are going to be afraid because this is a real phenomenon and people are getting scammed all the time.

So just to say that it's this cultural phenomenon and it's a projection of our fears is post-modern BS. I can't even fathom how people think like this. It's like they want to be so divorced from reality that they come up with these harebrained ideas about how things work that have no relation to reality and they're happy in castles in the sky that they've made with their grand ideas that don't actually make sense.

Elan: Well, this is the thing. It's very easy to label someone who is a psychopath killer or psychopath but to begin to make all the distinctions between the different types of psychopaths and how their inner landscape manifests, what their actions are, this is a whole other kind of sphere of understanding. For anyone who has read very much of this, it's scary. It's just like finding out that all the politicians' and leaders', the level of corruption that's at work. It's frightening.

So there are implications in knowing for a fact that there's a fundamental 'not-giving-a-shit' attitude that exists within many people who have a lot of power over us. I think what we're seeing here is a way to buffer that, a way to make all of this knowledge much easier to swallow in a half measure.

Carolyn: By making a flawed theory that's somewhat comforting.

Shane: When you first get into psychopathy and you're reading the case studies, it's so foreign and it is so frightening. Just the description is foreign. It's like alien. I think that really scares people to the core, but it's a useful approach to it because it is a way to look at it and understand it. What a lot of these theories that we're seeing today are trying to do is say "no, these people are actually like us and we can make them better" and that really demolishes that understanding and that way of looking at it.

Carolyn: Or worse they'll say "They can be useful. They can be valuable." Dutton really goes off the rail with that.

Shane: Yeah. He presents it as an ideal.

Harrison: I want to go back to what you were saying, Elan, about the fear involved because these guys that wrote this book, The Myth of the Born Criminal are using a kind of psychoanalyzing method of projection that these are all just societal fears that we are projecting out onto some 'Other' in order to make ourselves feel better about ourselves and the evil that humanity is capable of. That's their explanation in a nutshell.

I think what's really going on is that these people themselves are projecting their own fear because their own fear is that this is real, that people like this actually exist. Because if people like this actually exist, that means that there are millions of people on this planet who have the ability to rape, torture, mutilate and murder people, including infants and babies, and to not feel a thing about it and to even enjoy it in some instances. That is a scary thought.

Of course it is a totally rational thought because we see this happening all the time and we looked at these crimes and we're disgusted by them because it's totally alien. It's totally outside of our frame of reference, how anyone could do such a thing, and not only do such a thing but to enjoy it.

Carolyn: Well the thing that's even more jaw-dropping is that it is happening and somehow they're just brushing it away.

Harrison: And so by engaging in this kind of mental gymnastics, what they're really doing is calming themselves, doing it in the guise of being politically correct, liberal, nice and kind, "Oh, everyone's got a bit of humanity and everyone's just got a bit of evil in them". But by doing so, what they're really telling themselves is that these psychopaths, these people that do these things, actually do have a little bit of good in them and that means there's a little bit of hope and that means I don't have to be totally afraid that these people are just non-stop monsters and that evil doesn't exist. So it's a way of shutting out the perception of the existence of evil in the world and that is a comforting thing if you don't want to look at it.

Shane: Another ironic thing too is that in studying psychopathy it was really the first time that I had a smidgen of hope for humanity because when you do look at the world and you do look at the massive evil that's committed all over the world all of the time, what kind of hope can you have? But when you realize that there is this aspect of so-called humanity that doesn't have a conscience and that really is a big part of the root of the problem, then you have a way to approach these things.

Elan: That reminds me of something that Lobaczewski says or quotes from I think in the original Latin. "Do not attempt to cure what you don't understand." So you have all of these well-meaning NGOs and various organizations that are working towards peace in the world. And I'm sure many of them are well-intended and I'm sure many of them aren't under the employ of George Soros, but working on the basics, having an objective understanding of what the state of affairs is in the world, has to be the point from which we start from.

That's not to say that we have the answer as to how things should be addressed necessarily, although the Inuit culture seemed to have their own solution. But at least we're starting from basics. We're saying "There are some people who care about others and there are others who absolutely don't have any sort of feeling for their fellow humans". As soon as we can acknowledge that and really understand what it means at a base level, that's the point from which I think we can start to seek solutions.

Harrison: It is even reassuring because when you can see that this almost absolute evil can exist within humanity, then that does give a little hope in the sense that there is the possibility for good. Everyone isn't totally evil.

I think we'll move on to some more topics from this article because they need to be addressed. We need to shine the light on this nonsense. Let's get into a little bit about the genetics thing because one of the arguments these guys are making is that the genetic link isn't clear, so the direction of causality isn't totally established. The simplistic view would be that there's this psychopath gene and that everyone that has this gene becomes a psychopath and that's the way that people tend to look at it.

Carolyn: Well then that would be giving rise to the phrase, "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree" which is a very simplistic way of viewing a complex subject. But again, that's the folk wisdom.

Harrison: But like they point out, there is no 100% known genetic link. They find these genes that may be involved somehow. They do the heredity analyses where they say that psychopathy in some instance is 80% influenced by nature and then 20% by nurture, for example. It's good that people are looking into it, but I think at this point it's really barking up the wrong tree because we really don't know enough about heredity to be able to say with any degree of certainty how genes affect a personality and affect how a person works in that sense. We can find these physical links between certain genes and conditions but psychopathy, when it comes down to it, really has more to do with a person's mind, their consciousness, with the way they work on the inside, not necessarily in their guts or in their actual brain, but the way they actually operate on a mental level.

This comes back to this whole materialism thing, that genes determine everything, to the genes and nurture. Well there's more to the universe than just that and there's probably even more to heredity than that because first of all, genes aren't the only form of physical heredity. We're discovering new forms of heredity all the time and that could even be information encoded into the shape and structure of a cell.

There's no gene that determines the shape of a cell wall, for example. It's transmitted directly so the cell divides and that information is passed on from cell to cell with no genetic influence. So even on a physical level, there are types of heredity that aren't determined by genes and these configurations have information; they are essential for the way that our bodies work, even though they're not genes. And we don't even know if all heredity is physical or not.

That's where you can get into stuff like reincarnation. Can a consciousness transmit from body to body and is that a form of heredity; what effect does that have on genes and on the body and vice versa? We just don't know enough about this. So to point out that there's no genetic link, is not the same thing as saying that psychopathy doesn't exist. There may not be any genetic link. On the other hand there may be. It may have something to do with gene networks and the way all these things come together, which affect the brain in some way that we don't fully understand yet and that brain/mind interface is somehow skewed in such a way that results in the personality type we see as a psychopath.

But again, we just simply don't know. So to use this as an argument against the existence of psychopathy is I think totally wrong-headed because, as I've been saying, we just don't know at this point. We're not smart enough. We don't know enough.

Shane: We don't know and science is directed in a way where we don't ask why and scientific literature is not going in the direction of those non-material aspects. That's really unfortunate because there have been plenty of really good scientists who have put effort in that direction and they get pushed aside and laughed at.

Harrison: I'd like to speak to a few more things from this article then we'll move on to another one. This guy, Vigneron actually says that the DSM diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder is actually clearer, direct and more valid than the psychopathy diagnosis because it focuses only on these behaviours, so you can just check off the list of the behaviours and there you have antisocial personality.

It's just laughable because on the one hand he's saying that a psychopathy diagnosis robs a person of their inner complexity and what's going on inside and then on the other hand he says "oh this is a great diagnosis because you just check off the behaviours". There's no better way to ignore what's going on within a person than to just focus on behaviours. That's what behaviourism taught us three generations ago and that's why behaviourism is dead in the water because it's totally false and doesn't give any picture of what's going on.

Carolyn: They're not looking at the source of the behaviours; you're just seeing the end product of a very complex process.

Harrison: And there can obviously be multiple causes for the same types of behaviour.

Shane: But even if you're just looking at that argument, it's not valid anyway because Hare has a checklist when you're looking at that behaviour as well.

Harrison: Yeah, come on! And then this is one of the last points he makes, which is just rich. He says "Perhaps the distinction between a psychopath and a person suffering from APD seems unimportant." First of all, do people really suffer from APD? I think they're pretty happy with themselves, but anyway, "The authors argue that it is not. Media and pop culture diagnoses of psychopathy are prevalent and they warp our understanding of evil. Denying psychopaths the full range of human emotions denies them full nuanced biographies and presupposes the possibility of clinical knowledge about how someone actually feels." [Laughter]

Carolyn: That's the absolutely appropriate reaction there. I don't know how we can dignify this statement, but go ahead and try.

Harrison: Then he goes on to say "Maybe Gregory, the guy he knew in Kenya actually had a rich and nuanced biography and I was just denying him that by supposing that he might be a psychopath." Again, there's a simple answer for this. These psychopaths don't have full and nuanced biographies because they don't have the full range of human emotions. We're not denying them anything. It's not there! They don't feel it. "To have the hubris to think that we can know what another person feels!"

That's a whole philosophical issue, but I think it's just totally overstating his case. We can have some idea of what a person feels, some hint here or there, but we don't even have to go that far because a consistent way of life and behaviours will tell you something about a person and when a person consistently behaves in a way where they take advantage of other people, manipulate them and are just jerks all the time, that says something.

Carolyn: Well not only that, but especially in Hare's work, there's been a lot of self-reporting and by their own reportage, these people don't feel pity. They don't feel empathy. It's like something that's a puzzle to them. These are real statements by these folks, like "No, that never occurred to me".

Elan: Or when it does occur to them it's after gaining some kind of psychological knowledge of what normal people do experience and feel and as we were saying earlier, they're fantastic mimics of personalities and emotions. They've simply found this adaptive strategy to present themselves as normal, feeling, thinking individuals.

Carolyn: It's just more data for them to make use of.

Harrison: That's a good transition to this next article that deals with some of Dutton's work. I love this guy's name. This article is written by John Haltiwanger, published by Elite Daily and titled; "People with Traits of Psychopaths Actually Make the Best Leaders". That's the name of the article. It's got a charming picture from American Psycho.

Shane: If anybody's familiar with Elite Daily, it's a fairly new but pretty popular, pop news type organization so it's kind of ironic in the previous article at the Pacific Standard, Peter Vigneron talks about pop psychology and all these diagnoses. So let's get into some of that.

Harrison: I'm looking at it right now and there are over two million likes for this article at this website. So I've just got a few references. I think you guys might have some more too, but the idea in this article is that psychopaths aren't all that bad.

Shane: It literally says that. That's one of the headings, "Not All Psychopaths Are Bad".

Harrison: There are some good psychopaths out there apparently. This guy writes:
"In other words, some of us might have more psychopathic tendencies than we realize. And when our friends say "you're a psychopath, dude," they may be more correct than they even realize.

This shouldn't necessarily be viewed in a negative light, though, as there's a great deal of evidence possessing psychopathic traits has a number of benefits.
Actually, you could make the argument many of the most successful leaders and individuals in history were psychopaths in some respects.

Being a bit of a psychopath can help you achieve success in many walks of life, as crazy as that sounds (no pun intended).

Not all psychopaths are bad.

Almost anyone you know could be a psychopath, but that doesn't mean they're bad people."
So regarding, "some of the most success leaders and individuals in history", what are your standards for success I would ask. Yeah, for sure, some of the most successful leaders were psychopaths in the sense that they were very successful at murdering a whole bunch of people, not really giving a shit one way or the other and just being in it for themselves and getting a lot out of it, being very successful. So yeah, I wouldn't disagree with that statement actually.

Shane: There's a blurring of the lines though, of this idea of what it means to be a successful psychopath and a good psychopath. Dutton's latest book that he published last year was the good psychopath's guide on being successful nonsense something-or-other. It's that twisting that we see from psychopaths of this language to turn a successful psychopath - meaning one who has a really effective mask, who's a really effective manipulator and succeeds in doing that - versus a good psychopath who has some kind of admirable traits.

Carolyn: And then you get the altruistic psychopath?!

Elan: He goes on in the article and says, "People want to know you'll be there for them during tough times, but they also want to see you can handle yourself under pressure. When you've conquered your emotions, you can do anything. It appears many psychopaths have this advantage." What he seems to be missing is that there is this whole psychological component of intent. What is a psychopath? What is their actual intention? It's to be a leader for the sake of accruing power to themselves in any form that they find most attractive. It isn't altruistic.

So "It appears many psychopaths have this advantage" [of conquering their emotions]. What does it even mean? With their emotional state, they don't run into the same types of conflicts we can surmise that most normal people would have. There is no nuanced full range of emotions, as you were saying before Harrison.

Harrison: They have no emotions to conquer. It's based on a false premise.

Carolyn: And not only that, it's that in this society that's been held up as a standard to emulate. A lot of it goes back - and we won't drag another term into it - if you have a group of people that are authoritarian followers, that's exactly what they're looking for. They're looking for someone who has no doubt because that preserves them from having any doubt. They just put their faith in whomever they've elected to have. So that person's strong and fearless and goes out and does whatever they're doing and we're all like, "rah-rah" behind him because we don't have to question ourselves then. It's a happy marriage.

Elan: Another point he makes is that according to research Teddy Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton all possess psychopathic characteristics. That certainly may be true of Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, and possibly Teddy Roosevelt, but as you were saying before, Shane, there's this strong blurring of the lines. Why can't we attribute good intentions and strong leadership, to being assertive and authoritative, being morally righteous and having indignation towards injustice? You don't have to connect that to psychopathic traits and therefore psychopathic traits are this positive thing. They can all be seen on their own as a kind of authentic power, if you will; a power that is born of intent to lead as constructively as possible.

So, once again you have one of these articles that makes it okay to be a little psychopathic because "hey, some of our best leaders had psychopathic traits". I think what we're missing here and in that earlier article, is a full other set of distinctions that seem designed, if not unconsciously, to confuse people terribly about what psychopathy is and how it affects people.

Harrison: Well even on that, the study showing that all these psychopathic characteristics, the article goes on to quote this guy Scott Lilienfeld, a psychopathy researcher. But in his work on psychopathy he goes off in his own directions. He defines psychopathy in terms of fearless dominance. He uses these descriptive words to give attributes to psychopaths that aren't really culled from the PCLR. He uses words like fearlessness and boldness and resilience. He writes:
"An easy way to think about it is as a combination of physical and social fearlessness.

People high in boldness don't have a lot of apprehension about either physical or social things that would scare the rest of us.

It's often a kind of resilience because you don't show a lot of anxiety or frustration in the face of everyday life challenges."
So, like you're saying Elan, he's basing this on totally wrong ideas because he's taking these normal human traits that psychopaths may have in common with other people and then saying that these are psychopathic traits and therefore these people are psychopaths.

Well a person doesn't need to be a psychopath to be bold or to be fearless because what is fearlessness? It seems like their talking about courage and a person can have courage while still feeling fear. The only reason we don't think they're afraid is because they're acting above the level of their fear. They're choosing to do something in spite of their fear. In this sense the other guy, Vigneron is right. We can't know what they feel in a situation like this, just by looking at their behaviour. We can come to conclusions about it but they'll probably be wrong.

We can get an idea though, about what people actually feel and we can do this by reading biographies and looking at their life patterns and how they live across the course of their lives.

Carolyn: And the consequences of their actions; were they positive or negative? Did they help or hinder?

Harrison: And even from introspection, you'll see yourself it's not like people are these black and white creatures that either are afraid and powerless or totally fearless and psychopathic. It's possible to be scared of something and to still do it because it's some higher goal or higher value that overcomes that fear, and to be bold and assertive and to act in spite of fear or anxiety. It's just totally wrong to look at a person making these kinds of decisions and say they must be a psychopath or have psychopathic traits. No, in fact what they're doing is actually the exact opposite of psychopathy because they're acting in a way that is often for good, for some higher value, in spite of these lower emotions that often determine behaviour in people without as much self control.

When we compare that to psychopaths, first of all they don't feel these emotions in the first place so they have nothing to overcome. They don't conquer their emotions. They act totally mechanically. It's strictly based on the drives, the acquisitiveness and what they want and the drive for power. That's it.

Shane: And they're really preying on peoples' internal conflict. They're saying "Okay, throw all this conflict that you're feeling inside out the window. Just be confident. Don't have any kind of struggle." That really takes the meaning out of life because, as we've talked about in past shows, it's from that struggle that we do find meaning in life, that we do grow. This is saying "Just revert to a very primitive level."

Harrison: Haltiwanger goes on to say:
"Correspondingly, there's evidence psychopaths can be fundamentally heroic. Their impulsivity makes them less hesitant to take risks in dangerous situations. This makes a lot of sense. While heroism is often linked with selflessness, you also have to be somewhat reckless to sacrifice your own safety for that of others. This all goes to show we live in a relative world. Something that is seemingly negative can lead to great and wonderful things. In the words of the late, great Robin Williams, 'you're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it.' So the next time someone calls you a psychopath, thank them for the inadvertent compliment."
Carolyn: Just on the heroism thing, somebody did a study of some very well decorated Iraqi veterans who were famous for leading the charge. But if you went and talked to their combat companions, they were really down on it because these guys would just get out there and do something without a thought for what situation they might have been creating for the rest of the company. It was totally about their own glory and what they were going to pull off. From a distance you're going "Well you did this, you did that. Let's give him a medal." But to the people who actually had to work with him, they don't call them lose cannons for nothing, just creating very, very dangerous situations around them because they had no thought.

Harrison: He defines heroism in a pretty okay way when he says that it's to sacrifice your own safety for that of others. But what he's actually doing is he's flattening out the features that are here because there is a difference between recklessness and heroism. So, on the one hand he's saying that heroism is doing something for others even if it might harm you, but nowhere does he actually say this is what psychopaths do because psychopaths don't do that. They won't put themselves in that situation for someone else. It will simply be because they're reckless and they might get a high out of it. They just do it for the fun of it, for the thrill.

So there's this flattening out and making an equivalence between total, selfish recklessness and actual heroism. So to say that it's heroism is plain nonsense and then to use that quote from Robin Williams, 'little spark of madness', he wasn't talking about psychopathy! It's ridiculous. Yeah, psychopathy can lead to great and wondrous things. Talk about total ignorance!

Carolyn: Look around. Great and wonderful.

Shane: If you look into case studies and you read the awful destruction that psychopaths commit, you don't even have to look at the global scale, if you look at personal relationships. People who have psychopaths in their lives and have had close relationships, they're scarred and some don't come out of it.

Carolyn: They're traumatized forever.

Shane: Yeah, it's really awful and grievous.

Carolyn: Then you go back to the guy in Kenya, what he was hearing about this person that he had hired to be his driver, was the result of this kind of personal path of destruction he had taken through their lives and they all knew from painful experience that this guy was not to be trusted. Then he goes back and says "Oh well maybe his upbringing was just not the best and yada, yada, yada."

Harrison: For that article I never did come to any conclusions because this guy obviously has no clue about anything really, so I wouldn't even be confident saying this guy might have been a psychopath. Is the story actually true? He could have just made it up for the sake of the article and sometimes there are people that a lot of people don't like and it doesn't mean they're a psychopath. So I'd like to read a case study on this guy if someone can root around for a while and see what he's up to because that would actually be more interesting than Vigneron's article.

Getting back to Kevin Dutton and this guy, he quotes a couple of things from Dutton's latest book, The Good Psychopath's Guide to Success: How to use your inner psychopath to get the most out of life which is co-written with Andy McNab, a retired SAS sergeant. He argues that psychopaths achieve success because they have the ability to turn off the empathy switch when necessary. "They're not always completely cold-blooded but can be ruthless in the appropriate context." So this guy's idea is that psychopaths can actually feel empathy but they just have the ability to turn it on and off whenever they want.

Elan: I feel your pain.

Carolyn: Oh god!

Harrison: This is just a total fantasy. I don't know where McNab is getting this because there's no clinical data to show it, unless he's being totally disingenuous which I think is a big possibility. The only thing I can think of that might lead him to come to this conclusion is that he's just been taken in by psychopaths. He can see when they pretend that they have empathy because it'll benefit them in some way and psychopaths are excellent at that. They're great at appearing to be perfect and empathic, kind people and then the minute they get what they want then you're a used tissue.

Carolyn: They're almost better than regular people because it's almost a study. Empathy is extended towards weak and hurting points, so they're experts at identifying those weaknesses and playing to them. And of course if you're hurting and somebody is playing to that pain and to whatever it is that is bothering you and giving you grief, then of course you're going to lap it up.

Shane: I do question what Dutton's psychology is. In his first book, The Wisdom of Psychopaths - I haven't read it and I won't - he writes about how psychopaths can have more empathy than normal human beings. [Laughter] And his reasoning for this is because they can identify empathy from others and their suffering. Identifying suffering and getting off on it isn't the same as feeling empathy and having empathetic moments. It's really bizarre that he makes that distinction when it's so far off base.

Elan: You know a few moments ago I said half jokingly, "I feel your pain" which is a reference to Bill Clinton. I think he said that when he was addressing the mourners of the families who died in the Oklahoma City terrorist bombing of the mid-'90s. Clinton's 'genius', if you want to call it that, was that he was able to go in there, address all of these families, tell them that he felt their pain at the country's low point, when all of these people are suffering because of these few hundred people or so who died in this terrorist act, and then he goes around and supports the policy of spraying depleted uranium over Iraq, causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of children and god knows how many adults, executes the war in Serbia via NATO. How many egregious, horrible things has Bill Clinton been able to do simply under the cover of, "I feel your pain"?

Harrison: Well, you see these are some of the 'great and wonderful' things that you can do when you have the ability to turn off your empathy.

Elan: Oh, is that it?!

Harrison: Yeah. You see? If you can just turn off your empathy, that will give you the ability to make the hard choice to bomb an entire country and kill hundreds of thousands of people. It's gotta be done, right? Just that empathy switch that you've gotta turn off every once in a while and it's a great and wonderful thing apparently.

Elan: I wasn't sure, but thanks for clearing that up.

Harrison: That's the way it is.

Carolyn: The mark of a truly great leader!

Harrison: Just wait. That also reminds me of Angela Merkel's recent faux pas in the high school talk to a bunch of kids and this 13-year-old Palestinian refugee asks her a question.

Shane: The title of the discussion was, Great Life in Germany.

Harrison: Yeah. So, she basically tells this girl...

Shane: It's a young Palestinian refugee living in Germany who is 14-years-old and she has the chance to talk about what's she's going through to Merkel. She says, "I'm just like everybody else. I want an education. I want to be able to go to school when I'm older. I want what everybody else has." And Merkel, just so cold and heartless in her response says, "Germany can't take all these refuges like Africa. We can't cope with it."

Harrison: So she says, "So we're going to have to send some of them back". She doesn't address what the girl has said at all. She just says, "This is one of the hard things about politics because yeah, we can't take the refugees and we're just going to have to send some of them back."

Elan: We can't help everybody.

Shane: So the girl starts crying and she's being consoled by her friend sitting next to her and Merkel goes over and it's so icky and so revolting and she said, "You did a good job. Don't cry."

Carolyn: "You handled that well."

Shane: Yeah, "you handled it really well". And the moderator says it's not about her handling it well. She's having a tough time with her situation or something along those lines and Merkel just brushes it off. "Oh, I just want to hug her". It's just so sickening to see her response to it after telling her, "Yeah, we don't want you here" and then to go over and try and give her a hug?! Ugh!

Elan: Well on that note, in a geopolitical situation and regarding what these people are doing, how they feel and the almost unquantified, unqualifiable damage and violence that they do in different terms, we've heard Max Keiser who has been doing his show on RT for several years and who really seems to have a good grasp on the situation in no uncertain terms. He comes off as a bit of a stand-up comic. He used to do some stand up comedy. But he did also work on Wall Street for a number of years and had an insider's view of how money gets made in Wall Street. We have a little sound byte from him here that we're going to play.
This piece of news was interesting. The world's wealthiest people have at least $21 trillion in assets hidden in offshore tax havens, maybe $32 trillion stashed in the Cayman Islands and in Switzerland. What was your reaction when you heard this?

Well it's well known that this figure exists for quite a number of years. It's been hidden because of the growth over the past 25 years - nobody paid it much attention. But now that the world's entering into this synchronized pullback or recession and in some case a depression, then these items are coming to the surface, for example the 20 to 30 trillion of wealth that's held offshore.

And most of that wealth of course goes through Britain, goes through the UK because Britain has the least regulated financial markets in the world. That's why MF Global was in Britain. Lehman Brothers went through Britain. Bernie Madoff went through Britain. The latest Peregrine scandal went through Britain. JP Morgan's two-to-nine billion dollar loss on their balance sheet happened in London.

So London is really the headquarters for global banking fraud. And even though the economy is contracting in Britain, I notice that the banking sector is still making huge profits. The Barclays Chief Operating Officer that was caught committing fraud just got a golden parachute of £8 million. So as I've said, until you get rid of the financial terrorists, then you're going to have these weapons of mass financial destruction blow up in your face and cause all kinds of death and destruction. It's as simple as that really.

If you see a banker with Gucci's and a brief case, don't let him on an airplane. Don't let any bankers on airplanes because they fly to countries around the world and they have weapons of mass financial destruction, whether it's in Greece or it's in the UK or all over Europe, and they blow up economies with fake debt and then they just strip those economies clean for any assets.

So that's your big terrorist threat. Barclays just caught laundering, along with HSBC, hundreds of billions of dollars in Mexican drug cartel. Barclays caught in a LIBOR scandal. HSBC caught in a LIBOR scandal. So what more do you want? The HSBC funded the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Tony Blair, his response this week, he said "Well I'm not sure hanging 20 bankers at the end of the road is a great idea." Well at least he's thinking in kind of the right way. He finally understands that it is the bankers. He of course is on the board of directors for JP Morgan, doing deals in the Middle East, leveraging his contacts after his genocide in Iraq.

So all is good in the rosy city of London.
Elan: So one of the things that we're aware of in Greece, over the past few years in particular, are the number of people who, out of desperation and tough times, have actually killed themselves. This is to say nothing of the numbers of people who are suffering just trying to live day-to-day. Why? Because of the behaviours and the policies and the actions of psychopaths who aren't coming in there with automatic weapons, Gladio style. They're doing it much more covertly. I think that's really what Keiser's getting at here. These are financial terrorists. They're inflicting terror on people and it's all the more dangerous in some ways because it's done under the auspices of official government and banking institutions, people in ties who are sitting down in offices and making deals with one another.

Carolyn: Well if you want to take Greece as the most current example, the Minister of Finance of Greece who resigned the day after the referendum...

Shane: After the vote he resigned.

Carolyn: Because he knew what was coming. So this guy, Varoufakis, did an interview and he was talking about what it was like to go and sit down with the IMF and the EU and the World Bank. He described particularly the German Finance Minister, Schäuble and what it was like to deal with him.
The complete lack of any democratic scruples, on behalf of the supposed defenders of Europe's democracy. The quite clear understanding on the other side that we are on the same page analytically - of course it will never come out at present. To have very powerful figures look at you in the eye and say "You're right in what you're saying, but we're going to crush you anyway."

It's not that it didn't go down well. It's that there was a point-blank refusal to engage in economic arguments.
He came in with this incredibly detailed plan, which they had asked for and took them months to put together.
You put forward an argument you've really worked on - to make sure it's logically coherent - and you're just faced with blank stares. It is as if you haven't spoken. What you say is independent of what they say. You may as well have sung the Swedish national anthem - you'd have got the same reply. And that's startling, for someone who's used to academic debate. The other side always engages. Well there was no engagement at all. It was not even an annoyance. It was as if someone had not spoken.
So, these people had gone in with a preformed conclusion that Greece was going to be crushed one way or another, either by their agreement or without their agreement, and there was nothing that he could say or do that was going to shift it because their minds had already been made up and they had absolutely no concern for the consequence.

Harrison: This is like a situation when you're engaging with a psychopath and they have no reason to even put up a mask anymore because they are in total control. So they say "Well screw it. I don't even have to pretend, so I'm just going to lay it out like it is. I don't care and I'm going to crush you."

Elan: Well I was kind of thinking, inspired by this story, that we should have a new segment on the show. A short segment.

Harrison: Yeah?

Elan: Yeah. Psychopath of the week.

Harrison: Okay.

Carolyn: There you go.

Elan: Because the guy who Varoufakis was going head-to-head with, was Germany's federal minister of finance, Wolfgang Schäuble and he's the guy whose descriptions of indifference Varoufakis is describing. So we know a little bit about this guy Schäuble. He's a long-term German politician. He's been in a bunch of cabinets. He was a vocal opponent of, Open Source software. Controversy was sparked by Schäuble's recommendation in a 2007 interview of a book by Otto Deppenhauer who defended the Guantanamo Bay detention camp as a legally permissible response in the sight of constitutional civilization against the barbarity of terrorism. So he's got a bit of a history of fascist right-wing violence, financial terrorism. So, I think we can look at him and hold him up as an example of precisely the type of person who we're talking about here, who is a psychopath, who has an incredible amount of power and influence. Merkel depends on this guy to make all the decisions in these areas and look at what he's done. He's basically destroyed and is perpetuating the destruction of Greece because of his values. And I think he has a financial interest in keeping things that way.

Carolyn: That's almost a given. And he couches it in patriotic terms of protecting the German tax payers and their investment. It all sounds so good on paper.

Harrison: What else is going in the news?

Elan: Well I think we have a second clip of Max Keiser. This is where he really takes off the gloves a bit.
I want to go back to this Tim Geithner comment that you talked about where he was talking about removing the incentives in terms of LIBOR fraud. If you think about that statement for a second, what he's saying is that these criminals shouldn't be prosecuted for committing crimes, but the incentives for them to commit the crimes should be removed.

For example Jerry Sandusky is a football coach in America who was caught raping children at the Penn State University. So if Tim Geithner was asked to adjudicate about what should be the penalty for Jerry Sandusky, his solution would be "well to remove the showers from the locker room; remove any suggestive material within Jerry Sandusky. Remove the incentive for Jerry Sandusky to commit rape. But Jerry Sandusky committing rape, that's not the problem."

And the public unfortunately doesn't understand that Timothy Geithner is a financial rapist and they should see him in the same repulsive manner they look at Jerry Sandusky. Timothy Geithner should not be able to show his face in public without people vomiting in the street as they would if they see Jerry Sandusky, a serial rapist. Timothy Geithner is a serial financial rapist. Barclays Bank, HSBC, JP Morgan, Jamie Diamond, Lloyd Blankfein, these are serial kiddie rapists.

Now this is what we're dealing with. What do you want to do about these serial kiddie rapists? Do you want to remove the incentive for them to commit kiddie rape - that is to say rape children - or do you want to prosecute them for the crimes that they have committed? Unfortunately America believes that kiddie rape or financial rape, if it's committed by Tim Geithner, is okay! Give him a pat on the back, a big bonus and maybe he'll be running JP Morgan next year. Who knows? Kiddie rapists get great jobs in America.
Harrison: I think he's more right than he thought in making the comparison.

Shane: There are multiple parallels going on.

Harrison: Most of these guys probably are actual, literal kiddie rapists.

Elan: I think the other point here is that if we don't allow ourselves to think of these people in just those terms, even if we take the literal kiddie rape out of the equation, the incredible amount of damage that these people are doing, if we don't take it that seriously, if we're not disgusted and repelled by their actions to that degree, then we don't have a grasp of the situation, as it is. It will just be business as usual for a very long time.

Harrison: I was just riding my horse back there and I think I had a conversion experience to what all those guys in the first article were thinking. I think Keiser's wrong and what he's actually seeing is the projection of cultural fears onto kiddie rapists and bankers. Whenever we're repulsed by a kiddie rapist, we're just actually projecting our fear of our own evil that's inside of us and that humans are capable of. And we're just doing the same thing with the financial kiddie rapists. I think I might be convinced. [Chuckles]

Carolyn: Do you feel better?

Harrison: No.

Shane: Now that you've realized that? Does that help? [Laughter]

Harrison: No actually. It makes me feel dirty inside.

Shane: That's the bizarre thing with these ideas, is that they don't really provide anything of use. How can you apply these nonsensical things?

Carolyn: They add to the noise and the confusion.

Shane: Exactly.

Carolyn: That's probably the function, just to muddy the waters even further.

Elan: Well that's very useful now because if in the future you have somebody of significant weight saying, "You know, Obama kind of reminds me of a psychopath in all that he's doing" then somebody can just say "Well, that's a good thing or that can be a good thing! And thanks for the compliment." And Roosevelt apparently had psychopathic traits.

Harrison: Everyone loves JFK.

Shane: I found another article on this glorification of psychopathy. It's from Time by Eric Barker. It's from his column, Barking Up The Wrong Tree, ironically. It's called, Three Things A Psychopath Can Teach You About Being A Happier Person. It covers our favourite disinfo guy, Kevin Dutton and his book The Wisdom of Psychopaths where he talks about going through an experiment. Earlier I was saying I question what Kevin Dutton's interior landscape is but apparently he does have reactions to these images that are revolting.

So, he did this experiment where some scientists apply a powerful magnet to parts of your brain. It's called a trans-cranial magnetic stimulation. Apparently what this does is turn down the electrical signals in parts of your brain. They set it up so the brain responds the way a psychopath would respond, where those parts of the brain are absent. So they mimic that in a so-called normal person's brain. Dutton describes it as:
'It's as if you've had a six-pack of beer but don't feel the tiredness and sluggishness that goes with it. Your inhibitions are gone but you're very alert. A lot of us are driving around with the foot hovering over the brake pedal too much. Psychopaths drive around without any thought to the brake pedal at all, with their foot flooring the gas. It was a beautiful feeling I must say. It was really, really good.'
The article continues with making this comparison between the psychopaths and Buddhists, the Buddhists brain and how similar they are and how they both have this increased rationality, this idea of living in the present, keeping cool under pressure; some of these topics we've already explored.

Of course psychopaths don't have increased rationality. They don't have any rationality having to do with the external world, which you need to make appropriate conclusions. Everything is defined just through the self. So this idea about living in the present is something that Hare brings up in Without Conscious and it is interesting to see this idea promoted so much in Western pseudo-spirituality, Western Buddhism, all these ideas of this; it's the key to our happiness and the key to a productive life.

So, if this is how psychopaths operate, maybe we should question this idea instead of saying "Okay, well this idea's out there and it's popular." Again, the article's called, Three Things a Psychopath Can Teach You about Being a Happier Person. The first is focus on the positive and just do it. Dutton was talking about this when he went through this magnetic brain-deadening, that it makes you feel energized and confident and that your foot comes off of the brake. Well brakes are there for a reason! They're useful to not get into accidents.

Carolyn: And you could also focus on what positives.

Shane: Yeah, exactly.

Carolyn: Whose positives? My positive. Alright let's go for it!

Shane: Yeah, this idea of positivity is often defined in a very selfish way and it's all about the self, what can I do to make myself and my life more enjoyable. It's a more modern way of looking at life, particularly in the past 50 years or so; this idea that everything should be about an attempt to make ourselves happy.

Carolyn: Add to your personal quality of life.

Shane: Yeah. It really does take out the meaning that we can find in life and all the other emotions that are necessary to experience.

Carolyn: It takes out the idea of social relations, interrelations in that it's not just your own good, but it should be the good of the general situation that you find yourself in. I read a couple of things on character, but our idea of what a good character is - in fact that word doesn't even get used very much anymore whereas it's very much a 19th century idea, that the highest goal in life was the cultivation of character, which I guess is another way of saying good morals. But encompassed within that, was the idea that a person of high character always acted as best they could, not just for their own good, but for their social milieu and that idea has pretty much disappeared.

Harrison: I've got an image of Dutton after he takes this thing, and let's say he managed to find some technology to permanently turn off those sections of his brain because it would be such a great thing, and he encounters this little kid that's eating a nice candy bar or something. He really wants it and ordinarily he might have some pang of conscience like "I can't steal candy from a kid" but you turn off those sections of your brain and there's no brake lights, it's just "Oh, steal the candy bar, eat it and it just feels great! This feels good."

Carolyn: Yeah. "I want this."

Elan: "I'm living in the present."

Harrison: "I've got the candy and I don't feel bad because I just stole from this little kid who's crying and wants mommy." Is that the kind of life that anyone would want? Well maybe someone like Dutton and I think that says something about him.

Elan: I was just thinking this Time Magazine article comparing psychopathy to Buddhists is abhorrent. It's offensive. Not that there aren't Buddhist psychopaths. I'm sure there are.

Shane: I'd say there's plenty if you look at their history.

Elan: Right. But in its ideal you're talking about mindfulness and he conflates that with living in the present which is really in his thinking, self-gratification, stealing candy from a baby because it's going to make you happy in that moment. In theory anyway, there's a big difference between being mindful, which means exercising consciousness and awareness to everything you're doing and how you're being, to self-gratification. In fact it's the very opposite.

Carolyn: The whole point of mindfulness is having the ability to choose, to be aware and to observe and then to make a conscious choice. But this isn't choice at all. It's just impulse. I wonder if Kevin admires them all because he really would like to be one.

Shane: It sounds like it.

Carolyn: God! That's a frightening thought.

Shane: That was pretty much it from this article. The other two were to live in the moment, which we pretty much already address and to be able to uncouple behaviour from emotion. Now psychopaths don't uncouple behaviour from emotion. They don't have emotions. They just have behaviour. So there's no uncoupling involved. When we do look at being able to self-observe and see you outside yourself that can be a useful thing. But that's not something that psychopaths do.

Carolyn: Well the whole point of it is to inhibit impulsive behaviour.

Shane: Exactly. It's to have some brakes.

Harrison: So that's what came out for me, reading these articles, these people are ascribing all these abilities to psychopaths that they don't actually have, even Dutton and McNab saying that psychopaths just have this ability to turn off the empathy switch. They don't have any such ability. What they're describing is a distorted, perverted version of what a real human should have, which is some ability to detach emotions from behaviours, to not be controlled by the behaviours, but to be informed by them; so to make a good choice based on the stimuli coming from your own body, your own emotions, and from the world around you, to make an appropriate choice based on that.

Psychopaths don't have that and that's what these people just don't seem to realize. So not only are they projecting this human ability onto them, they don't even realize what that ability actually is and how to do it in their own lives.

Carolyn: It's not an ability. It's a lack. And they're totally mistaking it.

Harrison: I want to talk about one story in the news. We can probably find a relation to psychopathy but I won't. I just wanted to mention because it's interesting, the recent resurgence of the MH17 story in the news and what's going on because apparently some journalists have heard from unnamed, anonymous sources that the official Dutch safety board or whoever is doing the investigation for MH17, that they've come to the conclusion that Russia did it. Big surprise!

So with no evidence cited, no actual sources cited, but they're saying this and it's making headlines all over the place. Then a couple of days later this video comes out that it was allegedly shot at the MH17 crash site. It looks legit to me. So the militia guys there found the crash site and the translation of what they're saying and walking around the crash site videotaping it and looking through bags and stuff and looking at ID tags and finding out who these people are.

And there are some things that they say in the course of conversation that these western news agencies are blowing way out of proportion. There's been a whole series of articles the past week or so from,, an Australian news agency.

Carolyn: If you read the actual transcripts of what they're saying, the news agencies have completely twisted it around.

Harrison: They're saying that this is the moment that the rebels realized their fatal mistake, that they thought they were shooting down a different plane and they accidentally shot down this passenger airliner and it's the ultimate proof that Russia was behind it and it's a rock solid case, slam-dunk, case closed, smoking gun, this is it. And it's anything but!

When you listen to what these guys are saying, first of all they're saying "Where's the Sukhoi? Where's the jet that we shot down?" Or that crashed or whatever. And "Oh, this is a passenger airliner." And they're saying stuff like "They shot down the airliner to make it look like we did it and they're saying "Why is this a passenger jet? Who gave them clearance to fly in this area? This is a war zone." So these Western news agencies are interpreting this as if these guys were attempting to shoot down these jets and they accidentally shot down the passenger jet.

I remembered something from the time because I was reading updates and press conferences about what was going on in the area during that time. Well it turns out that the night before; at 11:00 at night on July 16th, there were reports coming from not only the NAF, the Novorussian Armed Forces as they were calling themselves at the time, but also in Western newspapers, the militia side was saying that they shot down an SU25, a Ukrainian fighter jet and in the months before that they had shot down several Ukrainian military planes and they shot them down using hand-held surface-to-air missiles.

Because this is a humiliating thing to happen to Kiev, they didn't publicize it a lot, but they blamed Russia for this one that happened on the 16th. They said "Russia shot down one of our SU25 fighter jets." So, when you listen to these guys talking, from what they're saying, it sounds like they're looking for that jet because the report had come out of town very close to where MH17 came down. So that's where the initial report came out of that there was this SU25 that was shot down in this region.

So, when they were there, they were looking for that jet that had been shot down.

Carolyn: "We got the jet! We got the jet!" That's what they kept saying.

Harrison: Yeah. So they thought that they had found the jet that they shot down the night before, but they were saying "Oh, it's on fire. Oh, my god!" That's when they realized that this isn't the plane that they were looking for. This was a passenger jet that had been shot down.

Shane: Newly.

Harrison: Newly, yeah. So they were surprised. It wasn't the moment when they realized they had accidentally shot it down. It's the moment they realized that they weren't looking at the plane that they had shot down the night before.

Carolyn: Exactly. But they took that transcript and just mangled it.

Elan: Yeah, and it's very specific. I don't know how anyone can twist it around. [Laughter]

Carolyn: Oh it's easy! It's easy!

Shane: You just take off the brakes Elan. [Laughter]

Harrison: You'll feel good. [Laughter]

Elan: Show me the photo.
Mohammed Jatry [Background].
Commander: They're the plane that fell down. They are after them, the pilots.
The second one?
Yes. There's two planes taken down. We need the second.
The second one is civilian too?
The fighter jet brought down this one and our people brought down the fighter. They decided to do it this way to look like we have brought down the plane.
How do you twist that?

Shane: They omit it.

Elan: Yeah.

Harrison: So, there were several events going on because there had been several planes shot down in the days and weeks beforehand. Then this happened. From that part of the transcript it sounds like they were very aware that there were jets in the air because there have been reports from eyewitnesses, not connected to the militias that they saw and heard two fighter jets. So, it's very plausible that yes, one of the fighter jets was shot down by DPR. We don't know. And one of the reasons that we don't know - and it's kind of murky, I think - is that first of all Ukraine/Kiev wouldn't like to admit these sorts of things, that they're losing so many planes because they lost several planes. And second, it doesn't look good, even to the DPR from a PR perspective, to admit that they shot down this jet. In the minds it would give a lot of easy, ample opportunities for doing exactly what these guys are doing in the media now. They say, "Oh they actually shot down this other plane" when they were using technology and weapons that can only reach a certain height. So, they couldn't have shot down the passenger jet with this, but they could have hit a fighter jet at the lower altitude.

Carolyn: Well, the most telling thing to me was the comment; "What is a civilian jet doing here? This is a war zone. There's shouldn't be any over flights. It shouldn't even be happening." And then you go back to the mysterious air controller who actually directed that civilian flight over the area, who suddenly didn't exist and then suddenly was on holiday.

Harrison: Well, even that statement is telling in a different way because apparently there were several passenger flights that were still using that as a flight corridor; at least that's what some of the news reports coming out at the time were that that air space hadn't been totally shut down. For those guys to be saying that these planes are so far overhead and they weren't even on these guy's radar so-to-speak. So, what's a passenger jet doing here? Well, that just says to me that these passenger planes in general were so high up that they weren't even considered as anything to worry about. But then here it is it has fallen down. It's crashed. It's been shot at.

"How did this happen?" is the first response because the weapons that they were using didn't have the capability of reaching those altitudes. So, they were just shocked. I think maybe that's one of the reason that guy said that. It's not that there were no passenger flights flying over, they weren't flying at the same altitudes. These jets were constantly flying but they were flying at low levels to bomb the cities.

Elan: Well, one of the other stories of interest this week were the shootings in Chattanooga where an individual was identified as 24-year-old Mohammad Abdulazeez, apparently shot up two military facilities leaving four marines dead in an act that's called domestic terrorism. A couple of interesting things have come out. His father had been investigated for "possible ties to a foreign terrorist organization and added to a US terrorist watch list". So, it's just funny how yet another suspected terrorist was on some intelligence agency's list or family member was on a list.

Carolyn: So, the FBI had been looking at these guys for years.

Elan: Yeah.

Harrison: I think with these watch lists; they're not actually watch lists.

Elan: Patsy lists?

Harrison: Yeah, they're the patsy list. "The guy's either directly or indirect under our control." So, whenever they have one of these things they just say, "This guy was on our watch list."

Elan: And then the other dimension to this whole story - which should raise questions in the minds of anyone who has read about the Fort Hood shootings of a few years ago - was the fact that there's this black Porsche or BMW that was also suspected of being at the scene of these shootings and that several tweeters thought might have had some participation. Everyone that knows the supposed shooter is totally shocked that he would have done such a thing because he was a kind, sweet guy according to people who knew him and went to school with him. So, just that other piece, that there's this second possible car involved when he had a silver Ford mustang, this young guy.

So, these are just a few pieces to question regarding this. I think you can almost look at it, without reading the details of this article to know, "Yeah, this guy was shooting at the military base, he was Islamic. If he was shooting up a church he was a white extremist." There's this pattern that's emerging that's been shoved in our faces for a very long time. It's so mechanical and it has such predictability in a way, nothing is surprising anymore. So, we'll probably hear a little bit more about that as the facts come up.

Harrison: I think that about wraps it up.

Elan: I think so too.

Carolyn: Yeah.

Harrison: So, thanks to everyone for listening to us rant about the things that get our blood pressure up.Hopefully it was somewhat entertaining at the same time though.

Elan: Thanks for listening everybody.

Harrison: We'll talk to y'all next week. Tune in tomorrow for Behind the Headlines. I believe they're interviewing William Blum. That's going to be a good one so tune in. Good-bye.