kremlin leadership USSR
What is it like to live in a country with a brutal, totalitarian government? According to Dr. Andrew Lobaczewski, the only way to truly know is to actually experience it. Literary accounts and news reports can provide some data, but even that will only be theoretical. Actually experiencing it is something else entirely: a punch in the gut that can cause anxiety, depression, and PTSD. But there's one other way to get an idea: a first-hand experience with malevolence at the hands of someone with a severe personality disorder.

Today on the Truth Perspective we discuss chapter 6 of Lobaczewski's book Political Ponerology: "Normal People Under Pathocratic Rule". The reason people who have lived with a pathological individual know what it's like to live under a pathocracy is because the two experiences are analogous: they both involve personality-disordered individuals in positions of authority. And without an understanding of psychopathology, we can't understand totalitarianism.

In this chapter, Lobaczewski discusses the experience of living under pathocratic rule: the deformations of normal human psychology that result, as well as the skills and values that develop after years of terror. The current polarization we are experiencing in our own society is not a good development, but if we don't do something to stop where it is leading us, the time will come when both sides of the political spectrum are equally terrorized. Ironically, it may only be a real pathocracy that will bring both sides together: a solidarity bred by shared suffering that seems unimaginable to us now.

Running Time: 01:35:11

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Here's the transcript of the show:

Harrison: Imagine the following world: There are some people with red/green colour- blindness, just like in our world but for some reason they've gotten together and taken over a country. So the leadership is composed almost entirely of people with red/green colour blindness with a few chosen deputies who can still see colour but they can get away with pretending that they can't see it. And from on high comes the stated or unstated dictate that it is now against the law to perceive the difference between red and green.

So how would this society look? Well there would be armed guards patrolling the orchards, the fields and the farmers, and the regular people picking fruit or vegetables wouldn't be able to tell - or they would be able to tell - when fruit are ripening but they would not be able to do anything about it without being punished, perhaps being thrown in prison, tortured or killed. So what would happen in such a society, given those conditions?

Well people would have to pretend that they couldn't see red or green, and maybe on an unannounced visit from the security personnel during dinner they would be forced to display a selection of ripe and unripe fruit and vegetables and to eat them with no visual sign that they are unpleased with the taste of the food they are eating.

This is how Andrew Lobaczewski in his book Political Ponerology introduces one of his chapters on normal people under pathocratic rule. There is an analogy to be made with what he calls pathocracy. He makes the comparison between psychopaths and people with red/green colour-blindness, not because of any essential features that they have in common but because in the same way that people with colour blindness can't perceive the distinction between, say, red and green, psychopaths can't see certain emotions. They can't feel them. They can't perceive certain depths of human interactions and feelings.

In a pathocracy when such individuals gain power over the majority of people who can feel those distinctions and recognize them, what they essentially do is make those feelings illegal, if not explicitly illegal. There's no law on the books, for instance, saying you can't express certain emotions. They are signals, like a target on your head. If you were to display certain emotions they would target you as a potential dissident or threat to the system.

So in the same story Lobaczewski describes what happens when the minion, the security personnel, leaves your house. People would naturally get rid of the green tomatoes and make a great salad and enjoy it. They might not say anything about it but everyone gives a knowing look and they continue on with dinner. That is a view into life under a totalitarian pathocracy, where the people in that society are forced to behave in these artificial, forced ways. Everyone knows on some instinctive level what's going on, realizes that there are certain things that are not allowed, and that there is a certain front that you have to put up, a certain mask that you have to wear in your dealings with most people because you'll never be sure who among that group of people will be an informer or someone within the party, someone who will out you and keep an eye on you as a potential danger or a potential trouble-maker.

So the purpose of this chapter is to focus in on what the experience of people is under such a system. This is the Truth Perspective. I am your host today, Harrison Koehli. Joining me is Elan Martin.

Elan: Hi everyone. Welcome back.

Harrison: The reason he's doing this is because in the previous sections of the book he has described all of these historical and psychological processes behind the creation of a system of government which he calls a pathocracy. The example he's going off of is the USSR and the eastern bloc communist countries. So this chapter looks at the dynamics of how this system affects normal people, the different kinds of reactions and the different kinds of things playing themselves out in individuals' families and society in general.

So one of the first points he makes is that, just like the red/green colour blind people in the little thought experiment story that he gives, these people in power have a particular agenda. The red/green colour blind people might have the agenda to make people stop perceiving the difference. But just as you can't force a person to stop distinguishing between red and green, because a person will just naturally see red and green - they can pretend not to, but it will always be there, it's inescapable, it's unchangeable - in the same way, the psychological dictates of a totalitarian system do not have the effect that the pathocrats desire. This leads to various unforeseen consequences for both society and for the pathocrats themselves.

For instance, they don't realize that because their vision of transforming humanity into their image is impossible, there will be a backlash, and that's what often happens. Which country, do you remember was Ceaușescu the leader of?

Elan: That's so funny because I was just thinking about Ceaușescu. He was Romanian.

Harrison: Romanian.

Elan: I have a little story to tell.

Harrison: Yeah, go ahead.

Elan: Because it illustrates this quite well I think. I had a friend who lived under Ceaușescu's rule in Romania. This was about 30 or 40 years ago. What would happen was that he would go on these photo ops around the country where people would be convened to cheer his name and give him adulation when he was pretty much reviled and hated among most people because he was such a greedy bastard, basically. Poroshenko comes to mind as a good current day comparison.

But anyway, what would happen was - and I think she had witnessed this - she was in the market one day and a bunch of workers came around a particular stall and started to populate it with all kinds of meats and products that were not normally available for the public. So my friend asked what was going on and she was told that Ceaușescu was going to be arriving soon for a photo opportunity where he can stand in front of this very well-populated food stand that had all of these wonderful meats and salamis and various things that were just never there or available to people. Then the TV crew could film him saying "Look how wonderful I am. Look what I provide for you."

Anyway, it just struck me as a particularly interesting little anecdotal story. It's so blatantly obvious and egregious. You wouldn't realize that leaders behave that way unless you had heard about something like this firsthand.

Harrison: Yeah, it's almost hard to believe until you experience it for yourself.

Elan: Yes.

Harrison: It sounds so over the top. Of course not to anyone who's politically informed because we know that stuff like that happens even in the west, paying for a crowd to appear at your rally or something like that. Similar things happen, but when I hear examples like that from the communist countries, they're so over the top and so blatantly manipulative that it's kind of the same dynamic but on a whole other level.

Elan: Right.

Harrison: They're literally putting on a complete fiction. It's a theatre play from top to bottom and it's quite remarkable. Do you know the story of his fall from grace, when communism fell? He was torn apart.

Elan: He was brutally shot. He was taken out back and shot along with his wife who was a real piece of work too apparently.

Harrison: Yeah.

Elan: Just to add on, this was a country that got a lot of support from Soviet Russia at the time. I forget what it's called. It was their version of a legislative white house that they were creating, this gigantic structure that had gold leaf and marble floors and chandeliers that Elena Ceaușescu had requested be rebuilt and redesigned several times at the expense of what was basically a very poor country and cost billions to produce and was larger than the Pentagon. I visited this place many years ago with my family because my father is Romanian and it was shocking because it's completely unused - at least it was over 20 years ago.

So just an example of the incredible amount of waste, also that comes at the expense of a public that's being led by a pathological leader under such an ideology or government.

Harrison: So the point that Lobaczewski is making right in the beginning of the chapter is that guys like Ceaușescu, pathological people in power, can't seem to foresee the inevitable negative consequences to themselves that will result from the very policies that they're putting forward. They will literally be lynched given the opportunity, because they will never be able to mind-control the people, to brainwash them to the extent where they will accept this form of rule. It is just so foreign to most people and so oppressive and not only that, it is so anti-human, that you can't transform a population into your image. Inevitably you will fall, either at the hands of some backstabbing competitor within the party or from the people themselves when there is a revolution against the form of government.

Just to give an idea of the way this plays out, what the actual so-called policies are - I don't even think that's the right word. It's like a force of nature, techniques and routine behaviours. This would be methods of manipulation and terror like torture, arbitrary arrests, and all of the things that you associate with a tyrannical totalitarian regime; the most horrible things you can think of. This is the kind of Gulag Archipelago type stuff that you'll read in Solzhenitsyn's work, the kind of stuff that is just designed to break your soul and to utterly destroy you. Some people do get destroyed of course, killed, psychosis, people will go mad, but on the whole, a society will never actually become what psychopaths want.

Psychopaths have this kind of arrogance that it is self-evident to them, that they'll be able to just bring people around to their point of view. "Well no, this is just the way things are and you're going to accept it." Just as psychopaths can't see very well into the future, they can't project into the future to see the consequences of their actions or they just don't care, by their very nature, because they have this kind of colour blindness, because they've got a deficiency in their emotional, instinctive basic psychology, they can't see things from the perspective of a normal person. A normal person can come to at least understand where the psychopath is coming from by a method of subtraction. You remove everything that makes you distinctly human and then project that onto the psychopath and you can get some idea of what they're like. It's still difficult and a lot of people have trouble even contemplating that, but it's at least possible.

But it doesn't work in the reverse. Psychopaths can't understand a normal person. They can't comprehend the range of emotions, values, patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving that normal people do. In fact they do have a bizarro psychological knowledge of other people, but it's just a behaviourist observational knowledge of other people. 'This happens and then that happens. You do this to them and they do that.' But they don't really understand how or why that works or what's going on in people's minds. They're very expert at picking up on people's weaknesses but they don't really comprehend the emotion that's going on there.

Robert Hare in his book Without Conscience observes, if you ask them "Have you ever experienced love before?" or something like that, they respond "Oh yeah, sure." But when you get into the details, love is just sexual pleasure. Or if they're asked "Do you ever get afraid?" they'll respond, "Oh yeah, that's when my heart's beating really fast when I'm running away from the cops or sticking a knife in some other person." It's just an adrenaline rush. They don't actually understand what fear is. They can see fear on a person's face but it's just a strange facial expression. So for a psychopath looking at a normal person, for example if they're robbing them on the street or something, they'll see their reactions. They'll see the startle response and then the freeze response and their eyes open up wide and it's just this weird observation that they're making. They're kind of like a strange scientist observing some foreign life form.

They say, "Okay, that's weird. So if I approach a person like this, they stop, their eyes get wide, they lose the ability to speak coherently, they're more likely to give me stuff, and I can make them do things in this state." They don't understand what the actual emotion is that the person is going through. They have this stimulus response understanding of the way things work.

This plays out on a macrosocial level when a group of psychopaths gain control of a country.

Elan: Before you get to that Harrison, I'd just like to get back to something you said a moment ago, and that was that normal people typically have a very difficult time understanding or realizing what happened to them when they've been victimized by a psychopath. If there's nothing in their experience to explain that these people exist as a certain percentage of the population, that they have these effects on other people, that we can look at certain examples in A, B or C person for instance, the person's thinking, the person's being is left much more vulnerable to the predation of a psychopath.

One of the big valuable takeaways from this particular chapter is Lobaczewski saying that people need to, in a way, immunize themselves with the knowledge that these people exist so that they have some measure of ability to act and think when they would otherwise be stripped of those things by people who behave pathologically. This can be on an individual basis or, as you were getting to, on a macrosocial basis. Lobaczewski describes this as a kind of naïveté and what he says about western psychotherapists in particular, at least when he was writing this decades ago, is that they generally didn't have a good grasp on the way that psychopaths make people feel and the types of things that they do to them.

So where he had a lot of experience with it, especially as he was persecuted by the government police and tried to bring out this information during his career and they were onto him, he was jailed, abused, tortured on some occasions, and he had eventually built a kind of strength once he was able to understand exactly what it was he was dealing with. Now maybe from our day-to-day lives we don't have that much experience directly being impacted by people of a pathological nature. Some of us do. Some of us have had connections to people on a milder level but the way things are going, the way the police state has evolved over these past many years since 911, the way that new policies have been coming into effect that are directly as a result of the pathocracy that's been growing in the west, we are in one way or some form, vulnerable and subject to pathological victimization.

That's his point. We don't want to be caught unawares. We want to have some awareness of things as they happen, some insight into ourselves and our own responses and our own reactions so that we can mitigate whatever effects may be in store.

Harrison: I want to give my perspective on something you said. I don't think we're living in a pathocracy or there's even a pathocracy developing. I think that our society in the west, in the US in particular, is very sick. We have a different type of disease and that would be the hysterical disease that Lobaczewski talks about in an earlier chapter which makes us vulnerable to a pathocracy. If we were living in a pathocracy we wouldn't be having this conversation right now. We just wouldn't and chances are that either you or me or multiple people in our immediate circle of friends would have been arrested, probably multiple times, interrogated with false accusations made against us for some kind of political crime or some other crime that's tagged onto us just to give them an excuse to torture us. That's what it's like living under an actual pathocracy.

Now that's why when I use an example of a modern pathocracy I use ISIS because that's essential what the areas in Syria and Iraq were like, and still are for the tiny pockets of places where ISIS still has some kind of influence. It's the same with Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra, Al-Hariri, Al-Sham Fata or whatever their names are, HST, HTS. But the rest of your point is accurate, that what Lobaczewski is saying in this chapter - and we'll get into the details - is that over a period of decades, 10 to 20 years in a system like this, people naturally develop a kind of immunity and adaptation. But in a later chapter he gives a kind of prescription for societies who aren't pathocracies but are at risk of becoming pathocracies, that these same principles need to be applied to prevent it from happening because one it starts developing and once it actually happens, you're trapped. There's nothing you can do at that point.

You find yourself in Nazi Germany and it's like what can you do now? What are you going to do? Are you going to start a little protest movement? Are you going to try to take over the government? There were some people who tried those things in Nazi Germany and in the Soviet Union and look what happened to them. They were destroyed. At that point it's just a matter of time before these processes which Lobaczewski lays out take their course and society gains a solidarity of the majority of people that are against the system of government and at that point change is possible.

That's why it's so important to put these things into practice now - to prevent that situation from happening.

Elan: Right.

Harrison: Because if you don't do anything right now then it's going to be decades before you see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Elan: I think that's what I was trying to, basically, that there are so many pieces in place that are either quasi-pathocratic or well on their way...

Harrison: Yeah.

Elan: ...that it's like all of the pieces are being prepared, all the ducks are getting put in a row and at some point it just seems almost inevitable to me that it'll be full-blown. But obviously we don't have the Stasi-like organization yet that would be that rigorous.

Harrison: Now I'll affirm your point of view. I think there are organizations and institutions like that. They just can't and don't operate on the scale that they would in a full-blown pathocracy. There are elements of the CIA, for instance, that behave exactly like some kind of communist dictatorship secret service. They do the same things. They kidnap. They torture. They assume your guilt before any trial and they just torture you for the information that will confirm your guilt. They use Soviet torture tactics.

But it happens on a relatively small scale. They're not going around doing that in every city and every town in the United States to the point where, as I said, you know multiple people who have been arrested multiple times and had these things done to them. So when you walk down the street you don't know if you're going to be taken to the police department or a new Homeland Security detention centre for a few days or a few weeks or months and you don't know when you're going to get out and what's going to happen to you. Chances are you're going to be tortured, that kind of thing. But like you said, the things are in place and the trends are there.

That just leads me to another point, an overarching observation on all these phenomena that comes out of reading this book. All these phenomena are always present everywhere. In fact that's one of the big takeaway points. All these phenomena are there in waiting or active at any given point in any given country because, like Lobaczewski says, this comes back to the statistical thing, it goes both ways. On the one hand he points out that people who have been exposed to a pathological person, either in their personal life or on a macrosocial political level, just providing them with accurate statistics and information on the nature of psychopathology has a curative, psycho-therapeutic effect, realizing "Oh wow! That's the way it is?" Just that has a cleansing effect on the psyche.

But on the other hand, that small percentage is always present everywhere, to a greater or lesser degree in different cultures. So you will find these same dynamics in pockets and distributed throughout any given country. In the west we tend to see it just in the sphere of crime and criminals. That's why we're so fascinated with serial killers and true crime and the mafia and drug lords and all that kind of stuff. That's where it's most obvious to us. What's really disturbing to most people is when they realize that there are institutions like the CIA that engage in the same behaviours and that are often indistinguishable from the very criminals that people are so fascinated with. That's a real shock.

Just for anyone listening to whom that might be a shocking statement, I recommend reading a recent book by two guys, John Duffy and Ray Nowosielski called The Watchdogs Didn't Bark. It's all about the CIA, NSA, FBI in the lead-up to 911 and their so-called intelligence failures and then how the very people responsible for these so-called intelligence failures, specifically Alfreda Bikowski and Rich Blee at the Al-Qaeda center in the CIA Alec Station, how these same individuals and the people in this station went on to be responsible for the CIA torture program, the rendition program, targeted assassinations. When you read about the stuff that they were doing it's quite horrifying to actually see. And this is just what's publicly available, what's come out and it's pretty horrifying.

Elan: Along those same lines, we did an interview with an author a few years ago who had written a book called CIA as Organized Crime.

Harrison: Doug Valentine.

Elan: Doug Valentine, thank you. His point was that what the CIA was doing in Vietnam and other East Asian countries in the 1960s was a kind of preparation, a stage rehearsal for a lot of the types of things we're seeing today in the Middle East and other places and he makes a very compelling argument.

Harrison: We'll go on a bit. First I wanted to read that paragraph that you alluded to about western psychiatrists and then another one on western critics of Soviet pathocracy.

"The pathocratic world, the world of pathological egotism and terror is so difficult to understand for people raised outside the scope of this phenomenon that they often manifest childlike naïveté, even if they have studied psychopathology and are psychologists by profession. There are no real data in their behaviour, advice, rebukes in psychotherapy. That explains why their efforts are boring and hurtful and frequently come to naught. Their egotism transforms their good will into bad results."

And then on the next page,

"If a person with a normal instinctive substratum and basic intelligence has already heard and read about such a system of ruthless autocratic rule 'based on a fanatical ideology', he feels he has already formed an opinion on the subject. However, direct confrontation with the phenomenon will inevitably produce in him the feeling of intellectual helplessness. All his prior imaginings prove to be virtually useless. They explain next to nothing. This provokes a nagging sensation that he and the society in which he was educated were quite naïve."

So Lobaczewski at various points is quite critical of the western anti-communist propaganda, not because he's pro-communist but because the propaganda is so wrong-headed and misguided. It's aiming at the wrong target and is therefore totally ineffective.

Maybe to make an analogy, this would be the equivalent of some western expert on jihadism for instance - and there's a lot of these guys. Usually they write op-eds and stuff for major publications. They're experts. They know what's going on. They know all about the ideology. They know all the features of ISIS and what was going on there. But if you were to throw one of these people down on the ground in ISIS-occupied territory, this would be their response. They would feel completely helpless, like they actually knew nothing. Nothing would prepare them for what they saw. Even if they know all the things going on, to actually be in the situation is a totally different experience.

This is because, like you were saying earlier Elan, some people do have the preparation for this kind of experience. Maybe they've had a personal interaction with a full-blown psychopath who has terrorized their life. They've got a dose of the nasty medicine. They know what it tastes like and they can recognize it. These people actually play an important role in the pathocracy for normal people, normal society but for someone who really hasn't experienced that level of malevolence in their personal life, when you first experience it, like Jordan Peterson points out in several of his talks, that experience produces PTSD. Lobaczewski calls it neurosis and psychophysiological shock symptoms. It sends you into a short-term catatonia. It really messes up your brain and the way you think and feel.

Some of the symptoms of that are that your emotions become numbed. You go into a state of shock and your emotions get numbed but then they leak out in inappropriate ways and inappropriate moments. Sometimes this is even worse for the person involved because they might be shocked into a sense of not necessarily complacency but submission but then at the most inopportune time they will choose to express their displeasure with the authorities, which just gets them arrested, tortured and maybe killed.

So they're almost authors of their own destruction because without the real understanding of what's going on and without the control over their emotions, which are the result of their encounter with malevolence that leads to PTSD, they have no control over their reactions and no real understanding of the situation, it just leads to more disaster. So that's what it's like for people in the west who have relatively decent lives, unaware of and not having experienced these types of things, thrown in the middle of it, it is a shock to actually experience it. It is something completely outside your realm of experience.

Elan: Yeah. The thing is, Lobaczewski is not saying 'understand that psychopaths exist and you'll be okay' period. He's advocating for processing this information and putting out more information that would help someone to incorporate it, to integrate it into their being. So like you were saying Harrison, it's not just this flat, two-dimensional, intellectualized understanding that psychopaths exist, that there's something in the process of gaining this information that would add to us in a way that is invaluable in a way, but it would inform our responses and our thinking in situations that called for it.

I wanted to read something that he had written on the subject of psychological terror that psychopaths induce. He writes,

"The methods of psychological terror, that specific pathocratic art, the techniques of pathological arrogance and striding roughshod into other people's souls initially have such traumatic effects that people are deprived of their capacity for purposeful reaction. I have already adduced the psychophysiological aspects of such states. Ten or 20 years later analogous behaviour is already recognized as well-known buffoonery and does not deprive the victim of his ability to think and react purposefully."

So there he's just saying that individuals can grow a skin, a mind, a being and an emotional apparatus to respond to these types of things by thinking of certain pathologicals as buffoons.

Harrison: That's the lesson that we can take away from it. In the context of him writing though, that was the kind of natural progression and that's the natural progression for people living under that kind of system. At first it is such a shock and it really throws you for a loop - if that's the right phrase. It takes you off guard and it is traumatic and then over the years it happens so often and so repeatedly that by 20 years later...

Elan: Yeah, yeah.

Harrison: 'Yeah, yeah. We get it. We know what you're all about.' Did you want to say something else about that?

Elan: I could read a little more from it, but you mentioned Solzhenitsyn a little earlier.

Harrison: Wait. Maybe finish that quote. Where did you end off on that one?

Elan: "His answers are usually well thought out strategies issued from the position of a normal person's superiority and often laced with ridicule. When man can look suffering and even death in the eye with the required calm, a dangerous weapon falls out of the ruler's hands."

Harrison: Right.

Elan: "We have to understand that this process of immunization is not merely a result of the above-described increase in practical knowledge of the macrosocial phenomenon. It is the effect of a many-layered gradual process of growth and knowledge, familiarization with the phenomenon, creation of the appropriate reactive habits and self-control with an overall conception and moral principles being worked out in the meantime. After several years, the same stimuli which formerly caused chilly spiritual impotence or mental paralysis now provoked a desire to gargle with something strong so as to get rid of the filth." Which is great!!

Harrison: Then right after that he tells a little story of his own life and how he was arrested for the first time in 1951 and he wasn't given water for several days and he was tortured. He said they could do whatever they wanted with him and his mind just shut off. He was confused. While he was in prison he couldn't even remember the event that got him into prison and didn't even realize that it had been a manufactured event. They basically just played a trick on him. They entrapped him in some way. It might have just been a minor way but then 17 years later when he was arrested for the final time in 1968 - it's a good little bit so I'm going to read it.

"When I was arrested for the last time in 1968 I was interrogated by five fierce looking security functionaries. At one particular moment, after thinking through their predicted reactions, I let my gaze take in each face sequentially with great attentiveness. The most important one asked me, 'What's on your mind buster, staring at us like that? I answered without any fear of consequences, 'I'm just wondering why so many of the gentlemen in your line of work end up in a psychiatric hospital.'

They were taken aback for a while whereupon the same man exclaimed, Because it's such damned horrible work!' Lobaczewski responds, "I am of the opinion that it is just the contrary."

Then he's taken back to the cell. So three days later he has the opportunity to talk to the same guy, and the guy's much more respectful of him, takes him out and they let him go and he takes the train back to his house and just collapses on his bed and he says that he just fell asleep. He said the world was not quite real yet to him. He fell asleep and then when he awoke he said out loud, "Dear God! Aren't you supposed to be in charge in this world?!"

But if you compare the responses, he approached that last arrest, the guards, in full control of himself. That's those little moments of heroism and courage that just really move you.

Elan: He empowered himself.

Harrison: Yeah.

Elan: And he was able to look at them with the eyes of a scientist and put on full display his intelligence and really his superiority.

Harrison: And that there was nothing that they could do to break him, essentially. He'd become at that point an integrated individual, a hero in a sense in that moment, where he was willing to face torture or death with a stern gaze. He wasn't cowering in fear. He was like "Bring it at me" and like he said, his response was tinged with ridicule. "Well, I think you guys just like it. It's not that bad." But the point he was making that he points out after that is that it was true that 20% of people in those positions, security guards, torturers, actually did go to psychiatric hospitals. They went mad. He points out that you can't engage in that kind of work if you're even slightly normal without it taking a severe toll on your psyche. That is an extreme example of the negative effects of a pathocracy on normal people. Did you have something relevant on that to go to before I get to my next point or do you want me to move on?

Elan: I do. You mentioned a little earlier Solzhenitsyn and I've been slowly reading In The First Circle, one of his great novels because I thought he illustrates a terrific example of what it's like for an individual who doesn't have that sort of preparatory knowledge and work on understanding what's happening to her. This is just a little description of a young woman who's a grad student and lives in a dormitory in Soviet Russia.

"Muza was writing to aged parents in a remote provincial town. Papa and mama were still as much in love as newlyweds. Every morning as he left for work papa kept looking back and waving to mama until he turned the corner and mama waved to him from the ventilation pane. Their daughter loved them just as dearly as she had gotten into the habit of writing often and describing all her experiences in detail.

But now Muza was at a loss for words. Something had happened last Friday evening that for two days now had overshadowed her tireless labour, day in and day out on Turgenev, the work that was her substitute for all else in life. What she felt was deep disgust as though she had smeared herself with something obscene that could not be washed away or concealed or shown, something that made existence impossible.

What had happened was that on Friday evening when she got back from the library and was getting ready for bed, she had been called into the dormitory's office and told to 'step into the next room please.' In the next room sat two men in civilian clothes. They were very polite to begin with and introduced themselves as Nicolai Ivanovich and Sergei Ivanovich. Quite unconcerned that it was so late at night, they kept her there for an hour, two hours, three hours. They began by asking the names of her roommates and fellow students in the department although of course they knew them as well as she did.

Then following a leisurely discourse on patriotism which focused on the patriotic duty of all in the world of learning not to shut themselves up in their own particular subjects but rather to serve their people with all their resources and in every way possible. Muza saw no need to contradict. What they said was absolutely correct.

But then the Ivanovich brothers invited her to assist them, meaning to meet one or the other of them at fixed intervals in this same office or at a site where political agitators gathered or in a club or perhaps in the university itself, the venue to be arranged, and there to answer specific questions or report in written form, what she observed. That was the beginning of a long nightmare. They began talking more and more rudely, yelling at her, addressing her with insulting familiarity. 'Why are you such a pig-headed fool? Anybody would think we were foreign spies trying to recruit you! She'd be as much use to a foreign spy as a fifth leg to a horse.'

Then they told her straight out that they wouldn't let her present her thesis. She had only a month or two to go and the thesis was nearly finished and that they would ruin her academic career because snivelling ninnies like her were not the sort of scholars the country needed. This frightened her very much. It would be only too easy for them to get her expelled from graduate school. But then they took out a gun, accidentally, pointing it at Muza as it was passed between them.

The effect was the opposite of that intended. Her fear vanished. To be expelled from the university with a black mark against her would be worse than dying. The Ivanoviches released her at 1:00 in the morning giving her until the following Tuesday, December 27th to think things over and first making her a signed statement not to divulge any of this. They assured her that they got to know everything and that if she told anybody about their conversation or the documents she had signed she would be arrested and imprisoned immediately.

But what unlucky chance had the choice fallen on her? Now she was waiting hopelessly for Tuesday, incapable of working, remembering how so very recently she had no need to think about anything except for Turgenev, when she had no oppressive weight on her but had stupidly failed to realize how lucky she was."

So there's a lot going on in those few passages. I hope it didn't go on for too long. Certainly it reflects a lot of the kind of shock and difficulties in processing such an interview of sorts. But also I guess she couldn't respond cohesively or coherently to them. She could only just go along with what they had suggested. But the interesting part of it to me was that the effect was the opposite of that intended. "Her fear vanished. To be expelled from the university with a black mark against her would be worse than dying." So she was still able to maintain some of her value for education, for her aim, her goal, her life's work. How realistic a thing that is for someone who experiences such an interrogation is uncertain but there were certainly a lot of resonances in the passage to some of the things that Lobaczewski describes.

Harrison: I don't think it's implausible. I'd even speculate that that was a true story because Solzhenitsyn was one of the classical tradition in Russian literature to only write fiction that is true, which is kind of a contradictory statement but it was his philosophy to write real events and real stories in a fictional format and not create something. He wasn't into fantasy and just creating scenarios that weren't grounded in real examples and in real life. I'd speculate that he might have even known a woman like that, that that happened to.

That's also in line with some of the things that Lobaczewski says. What pathocrats will do is they will go on fishing expeditions. That's what the indoctrination classes are. They go in with the hope of converting everyone and they only get a small number because the number that they get are the ones that are susceptible and there's only a minority who are susceptible to those kinds of tactics. Maybe they just made a mistake. They thought she'd be susceptible. Some people too, would go along with it but they wouldn't like it of course. Now if they had any illusions about the system before they might be shattered or a whole bunch of possible reactions that people can have to that situation. That's what the book gets into-all the different types of reactions that people have because there are all different types of people.

Maybe to move on to some more of the points in this chapter, he lists some of the positive and negative responses to this kind of environment. I'll do the negative ones first. He doesn't give the impression that there's a majority of people who reject the system, but it's not that simple and it's not like everyone retains their natural aversion to the system and everything goes on as normal. There are some psychological effects.

For instance, there is a general widespread negative effect. The people who are born in such a system have what he calls an impoverished personality development as they grow up. He says that they grow up with weak values. They have a lack of self-respect for their own self, for their own body, brutalization of feelings-strong violent emotions and something he calls a demonological worldview. I'm not quite sure what he meant by that. I think he might have intended something like a Manichean world view where you see the oppressors as evil demons, essentially in moralistic terms. It's not necessarily that there's an actual demonological worldview because demonology in religions is the study and the categorization of different demons and things like that and how they influence people.

That's probably true for a lot of religious people under pathocracy where they see the influence of Satan and things like that so he might be talking about that. But in more general terms I think it would be seeing the rulers as the incarnation of evil as opposed to taking the point of view that he takes, as a scientist looking at things psychologically and in terms of psychopathology. So you've got a lack of self-respect, brutalization of feelings but also there's an adaptation and resourcefulness. This would be a positive thing. So despite these negative emotional effects on people, they do become canny and resourceful in a situation. They know how to get by. They know how to survive within a system. That will require you to do things that you wouldn't otherwise do in a different system that might require a lot of lying and your own kind of manipulations just to get by but it is a type of adaptation to the system and it is survivable.

There is a period in pathocracy that he calls the dissimulative phase where the leadership is putting on a show for the world to show that they're a normal country when really they're not. When that's happening you can actually get by relatively easily compared to the terror situation at the beginning of the pathocracy. Basically it would have been easier to get by in the USSR in the 1960s and 1970s than it would have been in the 1920s and 1930s. It's a different type of environment, given the stability of the system that has set in.

One other interesting thing that I found was that he talks about the children of the pathocrats themselves. These would be the kids of the leadership and people in important positions of power. He describes how they were protected until school age, insulated from the rest of normal society but then once they actually went to school and now for the first time they're exposed to normal people, the normal people actually have a positive effect on the children of pathocrats because for the first time in their lives they see that there are decent people. So while their personalities are deformed by the fact that they've only really been exposed to people with personality disorders, when they finally experience real people, that has a mitigating effect on the negative aspects of their development.

Elan: Yeah. It's a point he comes back to a few times in the book I think and he experienced it himself having gone to school and suffered the attempts of a particularly pathological professor to indoctrinate him. What this professor would do is sit them down for lectures that were filled with what Lobaczewski would call paramoralisms and illogical statements that, if you had taken any time to examine critically, would be proven false. The thing about it was that you were being pounded with these ideas that were nonsensical. If you've ever had a meeting with a pathological boss, you might come out of it and ask the other co-workers, "Do you understand what the heck he just said?" But to bring it back to his point, there is value in seeking out other people and just being able to have a normal interaction after such experiences.

Harrison: At a different point in the chapter he lists the effects on the younger generation, the people born within the system who didn't have an experience of society before the imposition of pathocracy. He says, "The younger generation however was raised under pathocratic rule and thus succumbs to a greater world view impoverishment, reflex rigidification of personality, a domination by habitual structures, those typical results of the operation of pathological personalities." So this is analogous to the experience of a child raised by someone with a personality disorder. They do have an impoverished development growing up in that situation because their parent isn't normal.

The way he describes it is that it is possible in this situation, like I said, there's a majority of people that are against the government, aren't in agreement with the government but some percentage of those people will still have negative effects on their personality. They don't become psychopaths themselves but they do assimilate certain pathocratic, psychopathic ideas and pseudo-values and he says this leads to neurosis and that the solution, as we've said a couple of times and alluded to, is giving accurate information on the nature of these phenomena. You can give a run-down of the effects of pathological personalities on normal people and normal development and what normal development actually looks like, what normal values are like and the kind of statistical information. One of the downsides he says to this is, from his own personal experience giving psychotherapy, once young people like this get that kind of information, they go a bit overboard because they've still got this brutalization of feelings. They're still young and a bit over-aggressive in a sense.

Elan: More excitable.

Harrison: Yeah, excitable. So what will often happen is that they would become reckless and that's the example I gave of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. All of a sudden they think...

Elan: They know something.

Harrison: They think they know something and they're like "Oh, I know what you're all about." So they'll tell off someone in a position of authority and they'll regret it afterwards because you still have to be careful in such a situation. There are just certain things you can't say in public, certain ways you can't believe and that's why he says that he had to be very careful in his psychotherapy. He could only allude to certain things.

He gives one example of a woman that he was treating who had been an inmate at a Nazi concentration camp and how she'd survived and gone on to have three children but when she had children, the way she behaved to her children was as if she was an SS guard. She was a very controlling, domineering parent. So he worked with her and gave her information on personality disorders and what they're all like and the statistical information, like I was saying. She came back the next time and she's got a checklist of all these local political personalities and her diagnoses of them. Lobaczewski said that she was mostly correct but he gave her a "Shh-shh, Don't talk about this. Don't tell anyone. Be careful."

But just that information, he hadn't even told her anything about that and how these politicians are bad and you've got to watch out for them. No, he'd just given her information in the context of her concentration camp experience and she'd made the connection on her own just because she was smart.

Elan: And better to use that information in helping herself to rear her children in a constructive manner.

Harrison: Yeah.

Elan: As you were saying some of that I was wondering about how sometimes we're surrounded by family or friends who aren't reading. They're not really interested in the types of things and developments that we're seeing in the world and it's a difficult thing to live with some knowledge of how horrible certain developments are. At the same time, we can take some solace in the fact that there are a lot of people seeing a lot of the same things and sharing it, at least in the alternative media. Something he writes is,

"The specific role of certain individuals during such times is worth pointing out. They participate in the discovery of the nature of this new reality and help others find the right path. They have a normal nature but experienced an unfortunate childhood being subjected very early to the domination of individuals with various psychological deviations including pathological egotism and methods of terrorizing others. The new rulership system strikes such people as a large-scale societal multiplication of what they knew from personal experience. From the very outset such individuals saw this reality much more prosaically, immediately treating the ideology in accordance with the paralogistic stories well known to them, whose purpose was the cloak the bitter reality of their youthful experiences. They soon reached a truth since the genesis and nature of evil are analogous, irrespective of the social scale in which it appears."

So in lieu of being able to discuss a lot of what it is we're seeing, I'm thinking about a lot of the articles that we post on SOTT Harrison. There are a lot of people who see things pretty much as they are and are calling them out, even if they don't use the term pathological or say that this is the result of a government that's on its way to being a pathocracy, even if they don't frame it in quite that way. They're still saying "This is not normal. This is not healthy. This is not constructive. This is so far away from our traditions and our norms and our understanding of reality that it's okay to be outraged about this and to become aware of it and to share it with other people who may be too young to have lived in a time when these things would seem outlandish."

So there is value, even if it's in the form of an article, to look at these people. There are a lot of dedicated writers and journalists and people who fall outside of the mainstream media who are quite willing to call bullshit on so much of the things that we see in the world today. Jonathan Haidt, Jordan Peterson, these are the guys who are doing it. These are the guys who are coming out and saying to us "What you're seeing is not normal. What you're seeing is not healthy. What you're seeing can be compared to the disasters that have befallen other countries." They don't get into psychopaths so much. They take, I think, a little bit of a distance from that point of view, even if it has come up in some other talks, especially Peterson. I forget exactly how he terms it, but Lobaczewski at some point says it's as though there is a naturally occurring healthy balance or response. Let's take advantage and value what we can see right now before things take a turn for the worst.

Harrison: Unfortunately it's kind of a Cassandra situation, like it usually is, where there are people ringing the alarm bells and no one else really listens. But then again, one difference today is the internet. How many people in Soviet Russia would have heard a guy like Jordan Peterson? He, maybe would have been like Solzhenitsyn, right? Maybe that's not a great example because Solzhenitsyn wasn't really that outspoken before his arrest and before all of the experiences that led him to become a big critic of the government. But for an individual like that who goes public with a criticism, how many people are going to hear it and what's going to happen to him? Whereas today millions and millions of people can hear it and make the connection and who knows? Maybe that can have some kind of prophylactic effect, like Lobaczewski would put it. Maybe that will have a positive effect to make the eventual destruction of western society a bit more improbable. But who knows? We'll see about that.

I'll go on that paragraph that you just read about the specific role of people who have previous experiences with psychopathological individuals. He also gives examples of various other groups within normal people that play a role because one of the things he says is that as this process of getting accustomed to this form of government, as that proceeds and as society learns different tricks, people fall into certain roles. So those people play an important role.

Another role that people play is the people who become expert in this third language. He describes the first two languages as one being the normal language that everybody speaks. The second language is the double-speak of the politicians and the party members. They say one thing and they mean another thing. People who have experienced this for several years grow accustomed to it. They understand the double-speak and they learn to speak it themselves.

He says there are two groups actually. There's the one group that can totally ape this language. They can go into a party meeting and totally sound as if they're a total communist party member and get away with everything. They just sound like one of the club because they totally understand the system and the semantics of this double-speak. But there's a more distributed third language that people develop ridiculing the double-speak. Not having lived in this situation, I don't know that language and Lobaczewski even points out that you only understand that language if you've lived it and that westerners that come into contact with that third language don't really understand it and they create theories on what's going on and the social system and why things are bad that don't really get close to reality because they can't understand this kind of language and they end up producing bad propaganda.

But for the people who do, I think it would be something akin to the jokes that people make. It's almost like an early form of meme culture where you take the language used by the crazy people and you turn it against them. So the whole NPC might be analogous to this or the jokes of whenever the US invades a new country, all the jokes about democracy bombs and freedom bombs and things like that. There's this subversion of the subversion of language. First of all there's the subversion of language that says that bombing other countries is bringing them freedom and democracy. Look at Iraq. That hasn't worked out very well. Or Afghanistan. But you turn that around again just to point out the absurdity of that language. "Do you want a little freedom or a little democracy?" [laughter] That's understood as being sarcasm by the majority of people.

So they actually develop a language that pokes fun at the system and at the language that the pathocrats themselves use and it becomes a way of interacting with each other and communicating with each other that brings a solidarity, a community feeling to all the people who see the reality of what's going on. So there are those kinds of groups.

One other thing about the divisions within society, I want to read this paragraph from the chapter. He writes,

"Since those factors subject to the laws of genetics prove decisive, society becomes divided by means of criteria not known before, into the adherence of the new rule, the new middle class mentioned above and the majority opposition."

Just to get into that sentence a bit, he's saying there's a biological division that plays out between the people with these personality disorders and the people without them and then this middle class which can go a little bit both ways. Maybe they've got some brain damage or something. They're not totally normal but they don't have a total personality disorder either and they create the middle class. Say there's six percent personality disordered people in the government, there's maybe 12% of the society that collaborates, basically willing collaborators. That's the middle class he's talking about and then the majority opposition.

"Since the properties which caused this new division appear in more or less equal proportions within any old social group or level, this new division cuts right through the traditional layers of society. If we treat the former stratification whose formation was decisively influenced by the talent factor as horizontal, the new one should be referred to as vertical. The most instrumental factor in the latter is good basic intelligence and as we already know, is widely distributed through all social groups."

So one way of saying it is that in a normal society there are all kinds of divisions within society. You've got class, racial and political divisions in society. What happens in a pathocracy is that all those get split down the middle. This is how it would play out in the US. Right now we've got polarization between the right and the left. What would happen when a pathocracy breaks out in the United States, the right and left would each, within themselves, fragment. So cut down the middle you would have pathologicals in both the right and the left. All those individuals would go on to form this social structure, like at the apex of each little power hierarchy, individuals from both those groups would be distributed into this new power structure.

All of the old divisions become meaningless. You'll get members of the party coming from the poor and from the rich. You'll get them from the left and from the right, women and men, communists and capitalists. It doesn't matter what the previous divisions were, there's a totally new structure that emerges out of all of the old structures. He uses the word talent. Now we've got another way of saying that, new words to put that into context. This is what Jordan Peterson is talking about when he talks about competence. In normal human societies, hierarchies form based on competence in any field that you choose.

I like music so I'm going to go with music. In music you get a hierarchy of competence within the musical community, the community of musicians. The best musicians tend to get parts, tend to get jobs. A way of looking at the perversion of these hierarchies would be no longer does your musical position depend on how well you play your instrument. It now depends on whether you support the party or not. The psychological reason for that would be whether you have a personality deformation or disorder. So all of a sudden, the people at the top of all of the musical organizations, bands and schools are there no longer because they are actually talented but because of what an outsider would see as political reasons but what a real insider or someone who understands the situation, understands to be a psychological reason.

So this goes through everything. Now you have society structured not on competence but on this new personality disordered dimension. That leads to all sorts of things on its own but you get the idea. Those old hierarchies are no longer relevant. Now one of the effects of this that he points out is that after all these years - I mentioned earlier this idea of solidarity - he points out that all those old divisions, like different economic beliefs, political beliefs, different political leanings or things like that - let me see if I've got this written down - economics, ideology, politics, all of these previous dimensions lose their relevance as time goes on.

Again, bringing it back to the example of the US and a hypothetical scenario, let's say tomorrow the US was a full-blown pathocracy. In 10 or 15 years you'd get people who were traditionally left and right who are now friends, who are now helping each other, who are now looking out for each other and watching each others' backs because they become united because they have more in common than they have with the leadership of the government, the rulership at every level of society. All of these things that are so polarizing to us now, like the abortion debate or the migrant debate, all of those things will become irrelevant, all of those things are irrelevant when looked at in comparison to things that actually matter like all these dynamics in Ponerology.

So in 20 years people would look back and think "How could we be so stupid? That stuff was so trivial in comparison to what we're dealing with now!" So that develops what Lobaczewski calls a network of normal people in society, where there is a shockingly strong degree of social cohesion among the majority of people. So you'll actually get a majority consensus among the people, so what he calls that biological division is actually very strong, that all of the people band together against the psychopaths. They might not have political power. They might not be able to do anything, but there's this solidarity within them to the point where he says that people help each other out. If you're in trouble, you'll probably get helped out in some way and you might not even know who helped you.

Elan: Right.

Harrison: Because people are watching each others' backs, as I said. Now he said that if you get in trouble and it's your own fault, you did something stupid and you get caught, you'll be called out for it from your peers but they'll still help you. It might be "You really screwed up. You've got no one to blame but yourself" but help is still offered.

So that's another one of those unintended positive effects of pathocracy. It tends to bring people together which is totally not what pathocrats expect or want. They can't predict when that happen. Do you have anything to say on that?

Elan: I was just thinking about all the science fiction books and movies that anticipate what the United States would look like after such a development should occur. When you were describing all that Harrison, I was wondering how it may come about here, what banner that pathocracy would fly under. Who would lead it? What are the types of things that would be said that would make all of these political divisions seem irrelevant, if indeed it turns out that way? It could look very different from all of that also. Creative people, filmmakers, authors, have been speculating on these types of questions all the time. They don't call it a pathocracy of course. Watch The Hunger Games or Handmaid's Tale or any of these visions of what a full-blown pathocracy looks like and they each have their own perspective or idea of what they could look like. But the bottom line is a lot of people took a lot of care in creating these stories, like Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 457.

Harrison: One.

Elan: One. Fahrenheit 451. Thank you. How many articles do we read that make reference to Orwell's 1984? It's unbelievable because we're already on the road of double-speak. We're already on the road of this kind of language that you were describing before, but also seeing it for what it is.

Harrison: I want to read the paragraph that comes after the one that I just read.

"Even those people who were the object of social injustice in the former system and then bestowed with another system which allegedly protected them, slowly start criticizing the latter."

One example that we could use from history for this would be the people living in Czarist Russia, the oppressed in Czarist Russia. So then the communist government comes along and presumably it's the new communist regime that is protecting them and it was for them, even those people start criticizing the new government.

"Even though they were forced to join the pathocratic party, many of the former pre-war communists in the author's homeland Poland, later generally became critical using the most emphatic language. They were first to deny that the ruling system was communist in nature, persuasively pointing out the actual differences between the ideology and reality. They tried to inform their comrades in still independent countries of this by letters. Worried by this treason, these comrades transmitted such letters to their local party in those other countries from where these were returned to the security police of the country of origin. The authors of the letters paid with their lives or with years in prison. No other social group was finally subjected to such stringent police surveillance as were they."

This is a lesson for political ideologues today, whether you're Antifa or some white nationalist group. If you really believe in your ideology and what your party or movement is saying, you're going to be the first to suffer and you're going to suffer the worst because the true believers are actually the first enemies, the first ones to go in the purge.

Elan: The brown shirts in Nazi Germany.

Harrison: Mm-hm. There's even a great character in the book In The First Circle that you read from Elan, an old communist who's in the prison with the main character who is quite a character. I've read that book and I really recommend it. It's a great book.

I had a comment about that. So these are the "That's not real communism" people in these communist countries. The irony is that technically they're correct. I'll just leave it at that. That's a whole other show I think for that topic. But I want to read a couple of other things because there's just so many great quotes in this chapter. Another paragraph:

"The world of normal people is always superior to the deviant one whenever constructive activity is needed, whether it be the reconstruction of a devastated country, the area of technology, the organization of economic life or scientific and medical work. They want to build things but they can't get much done without us. Qualified experts are frequently able to make certain demands. Unfortunately they are just as often only considered qualified until the job has been done, at which point they can be eliminated. Once the factory has started up the experts can leave. Management will be taken over by someone else incapable of further progress under whose leadership much of the effort expended will be wasted."

So again, this is just an example of the lack of a competence hierarchy where talented individuals are still necessary in a society and nothing can get done without them but because of the power structure, because of the actual nature of the hierarchy in such a country, that talent is wasted. Even when it's put to good use it gets wasted.

I wanted to give one example of the old communists that Lobaczewski gives. Maybe I'll just read that one bit that comes after the part I read about them being under the most stringent police surveillance.

"Regardless of whatever our evaluation of communist ideology or the parties might be, we are presumably justified in believing that the old communists were quite competent to distinguish what was and what was not in accordance with their ideology and beliefs. Their highly emphatic statements on the subject, quite popular among Poland's old communist circles, are impressive or even persuasive."

He gives an example of one of these quotes. This is how the old communists referred to the party, people in charge:

"A hoard of sons of bitches who climbed up to the feeding trough upon the backs of the working class. Because of the operational language used therein however, we must designate them as overly-moralizing interpretations not in keeping with the character of this work. At the same time, we must admit that the majority of Poland's pre-war communists were not psychopaths."

Elan: Just to get back to Russia, Soviet Russia wasn't in its true form communist. It purported to be in support of the workers in a kind of egalitarian society but as we now know, it was just a full-blown pathocracy. It was all about those who had it in them to, to climb the ladder to the feeding trough and supporting the party and becoming an apparatchik. Most of the rest of the people lived fairly difficult lives and suffered the consequences of being told that they were leading the good righteous life but had their evidence right in front of them in an incredible amount of corruption and self-serving behaviour on the part of the politicians who took their direction from the very top.

Harrison: A couple more quotes before we end the show today:

"The necessity for constant mental effort, so crucial for finding some tolerable way of life not totally bereft of moral sense within such a deviant reality, causes the development of realistic perception, especially in the area of socio-psychological phenomena. Protecting one's mind from the effects of paralogistic propaganda as well as one's personality from the influence of paramoralisms and the other techniques already described, sharpens controlled thinking processes and the ability to discern these phenomena. Such training is also a special kind of common man's university."

So this is in the context of Lobaczewski basically saying that many people in the west might think that culture and intellectual life is stunted under pathocracy because of the widespread censorship, the lack of access to scientific material and the lack of freedom to pursue certain scientific quests, but that's not actually the case. He's arguing that under such an environment you're actually forced to think even harder and that such a society is actually in a good place to create a new society, essentially, to renew their own society when given the opportunity.

All the material is there. They haven't actually lost any of their abilities. In fact they've been strengthened. Their values have been strengthened. Their cognitive abilities have been strengthened. They're actually in a much better place to create a good society than otherwise, than like what we find ourselves in-a bunch of complacent people living in a society that's decaying and the institutions are decaying and stagnating and there's so much minor and major corruption and waste and stupidity. People who have actually suffered a lot are in a much better position to create a system that actually works.

This is one of the warnings he gives that should have been taken. Ideally this book would have been published, widespread in the 1980s and people would have read it but that didn't happen. Remember, he's writing this in 1984. At the very end of this chapter, I want to read these last three short paragraphs.

"Those whose attitudes are more penetrating and balanced see the original ideology as it was before its caricaturization by the ponerization process as the most practical basis for effecting society's aims.

What he's saying there is, let's say the old communists for instance, actually see that as the basis for actually following through with society. 'Let's go back to the original ideas of this social system and actually put them into practice'. He continues,

"Certain modifications would endow this ideology with a more mature form, more in keeping with the demands of the present times. It could thereupon serve as the foundation for a process of evolution or rather transformation to a socioeconomic system capable of adequate functioning. The author's [so himself, Lobaczewski] convictions are somewhat different. Grave difficulties could be caused by outside pressure aiming at the introduction of an economic system which has lost its historically conditioned roots in such a country. People who have long had to live in the strange world of this divergence are therefore hard to understand for someone who has fortunately avoided that fate. Let us refrain from imposing imaginings upon them which are only meaningful within the world of normal man's governments. Let us not pigeonhole them into any political doctrines which are quite unlike the reality they are familiar with. Let us welcome them with feelings of human solidarity, reciprocal respect and a greater trust in their normal human nature and their reason."

Russia in the 1990s did not follow this advice. This is where I'm going with that.

Elan: Yeah.

Harrison: As Putin often says, one of the greatest tragedies for Russia in recent years was the collapse of the Soviet Union, not only because they lost so much territory and so many people and the relatively minor civil wars that started as a result, in all of these ex-Soviet states and the problem of refugees - all of a sudden these people are stateless. You have all of these Russians living in other countries that are no longer tied to their country and that led to all kinds of civil conflicts all over the periphery.

But you had westerners who thought they knew what they were doing, thought they knew what the best prescription was for Russian society, totally reinventing the economic system, imposing a new economic system that was a total disaster, where really the approach to take would have been what Lobaczewski's talking about here, an evolutionary approach where you keep the existing system - this is the conservative approach - you keep the existing system and you transform it. You keep what works and then you slowly introduce new things and start doing things slightly differently but you don't just totally restart the system. That's almost as bad as a revolution.

In some ways it is as bad. Millions of Russians died in the 1990s because of this. It was a total crap shoot. It was bad news. Just read Grand Deception by Alex Krainer. He's got all the details. So again, this comes from not understanding what life was like and the specific psychological realities of a situation like this, just the arrogance of the westerners to look at this situation and assuming they didn't have malevolent intentions, and some of them did I assume, but there were others who didn't, who had nothing but good will and good intentions, to look at that situation and be arrogant enough to think "I know how to fix that. We just have to introduce an American-style economy and government and adapt it slightly for the Russian mentality" and it doesn't work. That will never work.

Elan: Yeah. It's an excellent example. It came to mind for me as well. I specifically remember Gorbachev who in the late '90s was the President, was saying exactly that and for a brief time he was power-sharing with Boris Yeltsin who later became not only a horrible drunkard but opened the floodgates to all of this intervention and economic advice and empowerment of not only the oligarchs but of western economic interests and political interests so that Putin would come in, take the reins. The very last thing Yeltsin did shortly before he died was to pass off the baton to Putin, wisely, so that Putin would come in and do what he did and turn everything around and try to revitalize everything that was or should have been working and to revise a lot of the political and social policy of Russia.

To do that was just incredible! I can't be overstated what a turnaround it's been. Russia was for all intents and purposes, in the palm of western interests and it was lost to them that it has empowered itself, that it has built on the old and even come to comment on how bad Soviet Russia was for so many people. Putin was a big fan of Solzhenitsyn. It's just a huge disappointment and loss for those interests that would have Russia be this gigantic vassal state in the way that so many other Asian and European countries have become.

Harrison: Well with that said, do you have any other things you want to comment on Elan?

Elan: No, I think that covered it pretty well except maybe to say that it's good to be thinking on these things. When we think of protection from psychopaths we don't usually think of it in terms of a macrosocial thing to defend against but it's a good way to conceive of it. It's one of the great things about the book and for anybody who hasn't read it yet, it's a little dense in some places but it's well worth the effort. If you can read it with current events in mind and make connections and connect the dots in your own way, you'll get a heck of a lot out of it.

Harrison: Alright. That said, thanks everyone for tuning in. Tune in tomorrow for NewsReal and Friday Health and Wellness and we'll see you next week.

Elan: Bye everyone. Take care.