What is the fate of the average individual when psychopaths openly govern a country and pathological individuals occupy every office of importance across society? Join us today as we seek answers to these questions and continue our conversation on Chapter 5 of Andrew Lobaczewski's Political Ponerology.

In previous shows we discussed how schizoid individuals create grand ideologies, character-disturbed people weaponize them and turn them into a mass movement, and how psychopaths infiltrate these movements and, through their influence, serve as conduits for something that is as close to 'hell on earth' as we can imagine.

But today we talk about what comes after the pathocracy has firmly established itself. How do ordinary people learn to navigate a labyrinth of evil while still maintaining functioning families, economies, and society as a whole? And how is all of this relevant for the West today?

Running Time: 01:11:27

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Previous installments in our series on ponerology: Here's the transcript of the show:

Harrison: Hi everyone. Welcome back. Today we are going to be continuing our discussion on Chapter 5 of Political Ponerology by Andrew Lobaczewski. This is the chapter on pathocracy. Several weeks ago we covered the first bit in two shows. Now we're going to continue on. There's a section in the chapter called More Contents on the Phenomenon that gives some interesting insights into what Lobaczewski means by the term pathocracy and how it applies in real life.

So in the last show we did on the topic I mentioned one of the definitions that Lobaczewski gives for a pathocracy and that was the absolute domination of a government in a country by what he calls pathocrats. But right away he goes on to add that this definition, this phenomenon that is pathocracy at the summit of governmental organization does not constitute the entire picture of the mature phenomenon. So that's essentially what this section is attempting to do, to give a broader picture of what he considers the mature phenomenon of pathocracy.

The first thing he says is that such a government has nowhere to go but down and that is because by its very definition the government will always be the rule of a small minority. It's limited in numbers essentially. They're always limited to a small percentage of the population. There will always be a majority of the population that will eventually come into opposition with that government.

That's why you saw in a lot of the eastern European countries before the fall of communism in those countries, all of the people were against the government. There were running jokes in those societies about what politicians were like, what the government was like. So you had this polarization of society like we discussed in one of those previous shows where instead of the polarization that we see in western democracies between the left and the right and that increasing polarization between two relatively large segments of the population, you have this polarization of everyone against the small ruling elite which were the communist elite class, the party essentially.

So right away he tries to get into some of the features that explain that, the reasons for that happening as well as the techniques and the things that the government has to do to take that into account in the way that they govern. And of course for reference for people who are just tuning in again, he's using the communist system as a starting off point. He's essentially trying to describe that system in the most general terms possible. So right after making that point about the pathocracy not just being the phenomenon of pathocrats at the summit of the government. He says,

"In a pathocracy all leadership positions down to village head man and community cooperative managers, not to mention the directors of police units and special services police personnel and activists in the pathocratic party, must be filled by individuals with corresponding psychological deviations which are inherited as a rule. However such people constitute a very small percentage of the population and this makes them more valuable to the pathocrats. Their intellectual level or professional skills cannot be taken into account since people representing superior abilities are even harder to find. After such a system has lasted several years one hundred percent of all cases of essential psychopathy are involved in pathocratic activity. They are considered the most loyal even though some of them were formerly involved on the other side in some way."

So right there that pretty much encapsulates one of the main reasons that Lobaczewski gets into for why the communist bureaucracies were so inept. It was because there's a certain type of selection process going on. For people versed in Jordan Peterson, he often talks about competence hierarchies and how basically in any kind of system - I used the example of an orchestra - there is a very tiny percentage of the population that are proficient in any given sphere of activity. You sample 100 people in the general population for their proficiency on the violin, chances are none of them are going to be any good. It's only a very small percentage of the population that can do anything extremely well.

So in a case where people are relatively free to self-organize you'll get a symphony that manages to find these people and make a semi-decent orchestra out of them. But if you change the selection process and you make that a secondary feature then you have to look at what your primary selection criteria are. In this case, the primary criteria for a government of this sort is to find someone who's kind of on the same mental wavelength as you, that is having a personality disorder of some sort.

So you immediately limit your selection pool to six-to-ten percent of the population or something like that. You can only hire from that pool. So the point Lobaczewski is making is that once that procedure has come into practice and it's this organic thing that just happens in the lead-up to a pathocracy - we've described those phases in previous shows - once you get that, you have the pool that you've selected from but within that pool you're not going to have the people who are actually competent for the positions that you're putting them into.

So for the pathocracy, they've got this small pool of people that are very important to them. They need to find all these people who have certain personality disorders but they're not actually going to be very skilled in the positions for which they are selected. That's a reason for the incompetence, the ineptness of the system and also for why, as he said, 100% of cases of essential psychopathy eventually get into these positions. Just for reference, when he says essential psychopathy he's describing what we in the west understand as psychopathy.

So this isn't just serial killers. It's corporate psychopaths, psychopaths in everyday life, people who aren't necessarily extremely criminal but who have the psychopathic personality, that lack of emotion and ruthlessness in everyday life.

That's the first point and that leads to this next point. He points out that no area of social life under these conditions can develop normally. He lists economics, culture, science, technology, administration, that this system when you have this selection process that has gone on, that system progressively paralyzes every sphere of human activity because you've removed the freedom or natural ability of people to self-organize into things that work, more or less. It's never a perfect process but we still manage to create groups and self-organize in the sense that we assign ourselves and each other roles within a group. So some people naturally take on a leadership position. Some people naturally are more comfortable just following orders. For all its flaws and for all the interpersonal problems, you end up getting, like I said, relatively decent symphony orchestras or any other type of social group that is all oriented towards the same aim.

That can't happen in a pathocracy. Well it can happen but under certain specific conditions and that's what he gets into next. One of the things that he points out is that because of this system, because of the selection process, because there is this this fundamental divide between the inner world view of the leadership and the vast majority of people, they're naturally at odds and you have these inept and incompetent people in positions of power. So how can anything get done in such a situation?

The way that Lobaczewski describes it is that there is what he calls a special kind of pedagogy that goes on, a special kind of teaching and this is that normal people have to adopt the role of being psychopath whisperers. They have to learn how to instruct their incompetent leaders in such a way as to not incur their wrath on them. I don't even know how to do that, but it's a way of just being extremely careful and circumspect in the way you approach your social interactions with these kind of people and hinting at certain things that need to get done without stepping on their self-importance or anything, just in order to get the basic minimum done.

So he gives the example of the kind of conditions that they're working in and the example of the factory builder who's required for building a factory and getting it up and running. He says in such a system those people will be tolerated but as soon as their work is done they'll be fired, thrown out, maybe even arrested because they are needed for their competence for that specific role but they don't fit within the party system necessarily. They don't have the essential makeup to be part of that so they just get discarded after use, essentially.

This is the way that Lobaczewski describes that phenomenon. He says that,

"Normal people must develop a level of patience beyond the ken of anyone living in a normal man's system just in order to explain what to do and how to do it to some obtuse mediocrity of a psychological deviant who has been placed in charge of some project that he cannot even understand, much less manage. This kind of special pedagogy, instructing deviants while avoiding their wrath requires a great deal of time and effort but it would otherwise not be possible to maintain tolerable living conditions and necessary achievements in the economic area or of intellectual life of a society. Even with such efforts pathocracy progressively intrudes everywhere and dulls everything."

So these are the kind of conditions that develop in such a system. What he's basically saying is the only reason such a system can survive at all is because of this phenomenon, because there are competent people who just through sheer survival instinct have to learn how to instruct their incompetent overseers in order to just get the basic things done. He's essentially saying in these socialist, communist systems that were in place in these countries, the only reason they managed to succeed at all was because of this very phenomenon.

I thought that was a pretty interesting psychological look at a phenomenon that's often only looked at in terms of economics or politics or sociological methods. So you'll often see debates about socialist versus capitalist economics or the totalitarian and authoritarian systems versus free democracies and things like that. But those labels and those levels of analyses don't really get to the heart of the matter which, for Lobaczewski is the psychological matter. It's the matter of the individuals involved and the way they actually interact.

So in this case it has to do with the types of individuals who are interacting at the level of a worker and the political bosses or factory bosses that he's dealing with. It's at that level. The differences between them and the methods of interaction and communication that have to be developed that allow any kind of economic progress or even just tolerable living conditions, as he said, to manifest and to occur.

Do you guys have any thoughts on those points so far?

Corey: Something that comes to mind is an analogy that he makes early in the chapter - I believe it's in this chapter - where he compares the pathocratic system to a farm being run by people who are colour blind. They take over the farm and they don't want any red berries to be picked yet they're colour blind. They can't see. They have no idea what colour the actual berries are so they need go-betweens in order to actually tell the people which berries to be picked.

So I thought this was a really useful analogy and then you could also make a similar analogy because you keep on bringing up the orchestra. It's a similar thing with a conductor who is deaf and can't hear the music and he doesn't like music but he takes over and so he decides, "This is the kind of music we'll play" and he has no idea what kind of music is going on but he wants the power and prestige of being a conductor but he needs go-betweens to tell him how thing are actually being conducted since he's deaf. And I think that's a really good analogy because that's what you're dealing with. Psychopaths don't have the senses or the sense for the intricacies of human life and they're just confused, bewildered and filled with hate for the normal goings-on of human life.

So when it comes down to it, they need people. In order to maintain their position of power, they have to create some sort of a symbiotic relationship with the world of normal people even though they'll do that and then just turn around and kill them off in mass bloodshed just in order to remind everybody who's in charge. That's something that you saw quite a bit of in the communist system. The way that Lobaczewski describes that special pedagogy that you were discussing of trying to teach some obtuse, mediocre deviant how to do something, it sounds comical until you put yourself into the position of this person whose livelihood is at stake. Maybe it wasn't their livelihood before but now it's their livelihood and perhaps they have some patriotism. They need to feed their family. It's like in a time of war; it's life or death that they get some project done correctly.

Harrison: Yeah.

Corey: And yet directly above them is someone who has life or death power over them and who is just completely oblivious to a) the importance because those kinds of values -- the importance of life and death struggle -- those are just normal human emotions that the psychopaths don't have and don't care about and b) if you say something in the wrong way you're dead.

Harrison: Yeah.

Corey: So it's walking this fine line of saying things in the proper way, really trying to put yourself in the shoes of this obtuse, mediocre deviant and understanding how you can word things in such a way that things can get done, even if it's just in the most mediocre way possible, but that you don't lose your head because of it.

Harrison: Well you brought up a good point that I hadn't made clear when I was originally talking about this. If you take the example of a factory worker, it's not just that the factory worker or the builder or whatever specialized person is involved, it's not just that they want to do their job well because they want to and because it's their place to do it and they feel an obligation. It's not just that they have to convince their boss in a way to get those things done. It's that they have to because on the one hand the boss is saying "You have to do this" but the boss is so incompetent that they can't just do it. They have to convince him of the ways in which to actually get it done.

So on the one hand they have to argue for themselves in order to just do their basic job well or correctly, but they also have to do it because if they don't they'll be punished. So it's a double bind where they feel like they can't get their job done because they're blocked essentially by the incompetence of their boss but at the same time, if they don't get their job done then it's their head on the line.

Hopefully that kind of makes clear the live or die situation that they're placed in and the emotions that that must provoke.

Corey: And also know that it could be totally arbitrary as well.

Harrison: Right.

Corey: You're probably going to be killed anyway. If he decides that you're dead or you've spoken to him wrong, you could just be shipped off to the Gulag as well. Then you add in the conditions you're probably working in which, because of the paralysis of the entire community or society, are probably dreadful, I can't imagine - how many hours you're working and knowing that the work that you're doing is being done wrong and so horribly inefficiently that you know that it's for nothing. You add all of those little details in and it makes for probably the most challenging situation that you probably live in because the split second decisions, the listening to your gut, understanding other people, learning how to separate people you can trust from who you can't trust, being able to tolerate completely unreasonable demands while knowing that in the end it's for nothing and it could just blow up in your face anyway. You'll probably be slandered or you'll die a worm in the press or whatever or no one will even know what happened to you.

It just creates a picture of this really bizarre kind of pedagogy on the other end for the human being involved.

Harrison:. Solzhenitsyn gives a lot of examples of this kind of thing in The Gulag Archipelago in the Stalin era, these kinds of things going on in factories and how even the competent people, the people who would come in to solve problems, they often were the ones who were then rounded up as saboteurs and counter-revolutionaries. Whenever they might not meet a quota or something or the economic performance wasn't doing as well as possible then the party leadership needed a scapegoat so they would talk about all these saboteurs and wreckers, people deliberately sabotaging the economic productive efforts of the workers. Then the people that they would go after were the ones who were actually doing their jobs and the ones who were actually responsible for anything good in the system.

So it's a completely Kafkaesque nightmare where the people that are least deserving of the wrath of the party, of the leaders, are the ones that get the worst punishment. This gets back to the example you gave of working on a farm and having to pick green berries instead of red or green tomatoes instead of red tomatoes. It's just living in this completely arbitrary world. The way Lobaczewski describes it is when this kind of government and entire social system is first solidified, it comes as a complete shock to the system. He says that social ties get disintegrated. So you lose your social ties partly because of the paranoia and the distrust. That's essentially what the system is designed to produce, the complete dissolution of normal social organization. So that's the first shock and it's a complete shock.

All of a sudden you're alone. You can't share your feelings even with your closest family, your loved ones because it might be your kids, it might be your wife that gets fed up with you and goes and talks to the party or the police and gets you arrested. At first there is this complete dissolution of social ties but as Lobaczewski points out, that's only in the first phase. As years go on, the social ties redevelop because that polarization happens. The majority of people realize who they can talk to after awhile and so they end up talking to each other and they end up developing strategies and ways of reconnecting that manage to work within the system.

The way he describes that - let me just read a little bit here. He says,

"During the initial shock, the feeling of social links between normal people fades. After that has been survived however, the overwhelming majority of people begin to manifest their own phenomenon of psychological immunization. Society simultaneously starts collecting practical knowledge on the subject of this new reality and its psychological properties. Normal people slowly learn to perceive the weak spots of such a system and utilize the possibilities of more expedient arrangements in their lives."

So they find the weak spots in the system, the blind spots of the system, the places in which they're actually able to function normally and then they can exploit those for their own purposes. That might be just talking together about how to deal with the obtuse, incompetent that's above them in the social structure.

"They begin to give each other advice in these matters thus slowly regenerating the feelings of social links and reciprocal trust, a new phenomenon occurs - separation between the pathocrats and the society of normal people." That's the polarization I was talking about. "The latter" - that is the normal people - "have an advantage of talent, professional skills and healthy common sense. They therefore hold certain very advantageous cards. The pathocracy finally realizes that it must find some modus vivendi (mode of living together) or relations with the majority of society." He puts it in a quotation. "After all, somebody's gotta do the work for us." That's the mentality of the party members because psychopaths are innately parasitic. They don't like working and they expect other people to do the work for them and they expect to get the fruits of other people's labour essentially.

That phenomenon then leads to what Lobaczewski describes as a further phase in the process of pathocracy. In the previous shows we talked about the first three phases of pathocracy which were the development of it. It starts with the schizoids and the ideology and then it gets slightly more pathological with more antisocial personality disordered people acting as spellbinders and brutalizing the system and then the third one would be as the psychopaths gain more influence with the social movement starting out as low-level enforcers and then through manipulation, gaining positions of extreme influence within that system.

So once that government is in place we have this initial shock which is the shock of terror and intimidation, coercion, torture. This is what we see in the first years of the Soviet Union with Lenin and Stalin, just a complete butchering of the social fabric at that time. But then after so many years of that, as this polarization happens it leads to a new phase, what he calls the dissimulative phase. He compares this to a patient in psychotherapy that has some serious problems but he says it's a common phenomenon in psychotherapy where a patient of this sort will enter a dissimulative phase, a lying phase where they pretend that they're all better. They pretend that they're normal and they live this fake life where they're pretending to be normal even though they know they're not. It's a complete act.

This is a phase that happens on a mass level as well. This is the PR phase of the pathocracy where the pathocrats have figured out an arrangement with people. "Okay, we need you and so we're going to make certain concessions. We're going to give you certain things and you're going to keep working for us" essentially. So it's kind of like this quid pro quo relationship develops. At the same time the pathocracy needs to maintain their image as just a different form of government to the international community. So this affects who they choose as diplomats, who they choose as the public face of the government.

I'll have to find the point. I forgot the last feature I was trying to get to.

Elan: I was thinking of the types of points that Jordan Peterson has been making recently, specifically regarding some of these dynamics. One of them is that you can't think about equality without also considering hierarchies of competence. So the main point that he's trying to get across is that people are - on the far left especially - in decrying the amounts of unequal wealth distribution which admittedly is a problem and he'd be the first to admit that it is a problem in western society - are not taking into account the fact that in many cases the reason that things are structured the way they are, even if they're unequal, even if they're unfair in many instances, is because there are hierarchies of competence where capitalism is working well, where the encroachment of monopoly capitalism and corruption hasn't gone full bore. There is something to be said for the fact that there are people in positions of power who are good at their jobs and who aren't tyrannical and who aren't in it necessarily for the acquisition of power over others.

It's very interesting. There was this interview that Abby Martin had with a historian recently where they were criticizing Jordan Peterson for his use of the term cultural Marxism. Of course they were nitpicking and saying Jordan Peterson doesn't understand Marxism, but what they seemed to be missing and which seemed to me to be the crux of the matter is the whole idea that if you take away the term cultural Marxism, I think it's almost interchangeable with pathocracy, especially in the way that Lobaczewski uses the example of a kind of socialist or communist regime that ostensibly is in power because it's supposed to care about the worker when really it has become about the party member or the person who is in a position of power. And that's exactly what he's been pointing out to everyone, that this is really just a cover for those people who are using the benevolent, altruistic idea of socialist policies to accrue power for themselves.

In that sense I think Peterson is a kind of latter day ponerologist. We've heard him say or evoke the psychopaths who are in positions of power before, but I think it might even make his case stronger, if not make him more subject to targeting on the path of the left because for him to say that people are acting pathologically in the context of these radical left political movements would bring him under a tremendous amount of fire. But then again he would be stating things in a much starker way.

So the hierarchy competencies, especially in the context of this conversation, is where these characteropaths and schizoidal types who lead these movements are exactly out to destroy because it's not about competency. It's about the accrual of power to themselves and that's where I think he's quite successful, for those who are willing to listen to him and not get a knee-jerk reaction to the fact that they're criticizing leftist ideology. That's the big takeaway from his work, if we want to update Political Ponerology to the types of phenomena that we're seeing today.

Just one other point. You said that at some point in the process of society fracturing and people not talking to one another and the bonds of even families being broken, it's very sad to notice that you have right now - this may have been brought up in a prior show - you have this kind of children's movement about the environment, especially in Europe but also in North America where they're being encouraged to take a day off from school and protest. And what happens is they're ostracized by their teacher and by their fellow students if they don't want to participate in this. It has become this very divisive issue where, as the thinking goes, if you're not out there championing the cause of saving the earth in the name of global warming and the climate crisis!! then you are somehow part of the problem.

So there is this kind of flavour of pathology that has been instilled and drilled into the minds of western society right now. And this is just one way it's happening but it's insidious and it's really sick to hear these stories of children who are being punished and ostracized by their teachers, bullied by their fellow students, because they don't agree with or are willing to go along with, going out, taking a day off from school and protesting and being part of this political movement! When in fact, whether they know it or not, they're correct in not falling prey to these ideas that are entirely politically motivated and steering a whole segment of society in the direction of emotional fervour, all based on lies.

There's a lot of prescient information right now that we can look to Political Ponerology to decode and deconstruct these things that we're seeing in the here and now.

Harrison: Well that just reminded me of this quote that I recently read in this book on socialism by Christian Nemitz. He's giving a summary of Jonathan Haidt's work and talking about the dangers of political self-segregation and hyper-tribalism. On that he writes,

"In such environments people with similar political views cease to be just a loose alliance and become a moral tribe which commands loyalty and punishes dissent. People with opposing views meanwhile cease to be just political opponents and become an enemy tribe. Their views cease to be just wrong and become actively malicious."

So this is actually the environment in which what Lobaczewski would call a pathocratic social movement, would thrive because they manage to not only feed on this hyper-tribalism and the hyper-polarization of groups, they feed that, they feed into it, they egg it on because they essentially want to use that as the fuel that propels them to their rise to power. That's what the Bolsheviks did in Russia at the time, in the early 1900s. There were all these socialist/communist groups and revolutions even. There were multiple revolutions and the fracturing of society that they caused was what the Bolsheviks used to rise to power. They used that vacuum in order to place themselves on top and gain that kind of supremacy. That is the ultimate danger that these phenomena pose to the societies in which we live where we're seeing these sorts of things.

That's why Ponerology I think is so important. It is that vision of hell that Peterson talks about that you should keep in mind in order to avoid it by any means necessary. We do not want to go in that direction. But the people involved in this hyper-polarization may even have some vague fear of that hell but it isn't properly defined and because it's not properly defined they can't successfully prevent it from coming about. In fact they will almost inevitably feed into it because they can't understand it properly.

So that's why it's possible for a pathocracy to develop on the right or the left. It's not like either one is intrinsically right or wrong. Just depending on circumstances, whichever one comes on top can be manipulated into this total degradation of human society. On the point you'd made before that, I think that leads into the other point that I'd forgotten about, the result of this kind of polarization that happens in a pathocratic society. The point I wanted to make is that this dissimulative phase that Lobaczewski is talking about essentially results in a more benign version of the pathocracy.

This would be like the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s which isn't comparable in many respects to in the 1920, 30s and 40s and the 50s even, in Stalin's era for instance where it seems like it's not as bad. Part of the reason for that is because that relationship did develop, what Lobaczewski calls the modus vivendi between the people and the leadership. So that's why you can get the Soviet Union in the 1970s or 1980s, or the GDR, East Germany which was never as brutal and genocidal as the Soviets were in the early years. They seem to have gone straight to the dissimulative phase, avoiding that early tumultuous period of the development of pathocracy. We'll get into this when we discuss further into the chapter on pathocracy but Lobaczewski basically details certain different means by which pathocracy is effected in a certain country, whether it's by revolution from below or an infiltration or revolution from above where the leadership is converted and then institutes the new social system from the top, avoiding that initial revolutionary period. And there are a couple of others.

But in that context, one of the things I wanted to bring up is this idea of socialism as this ideal that is then perverted into something that the socialists themselves say is not real socialism. There are several reasons for that that go deeper than I think even the analysis of someone like Peterson or even Slavoj Žižek when he's talking about these sorts of things. I'll just give Lobaczewski's point of view on this. I'll try to combine a few different points of view.

So in the 1930s for instance, there was the image of the Soviet Union as this workers' paradise to the point where a lot of western socialist pilgrims would go over to the Soviet Union and come back just singing the praises of the Soviet Union, talking about how it is this paradise and Stalin is this great leader and he's not a dictator, he is the representation of the people. He is the people and the people are him and he is the Soviet Union and he's not a dictator. What actually happens is you have all of these workers' collectives and every week they meet and they talk with the leaders and they discuss their problems and then the leaders and then the leaders listen and Stalin listens and then he institutes policies that are in line with the people.

So these western leftists would come back just singing the praises saying "There's nothing wrong with the Soviet Union. This is the way the world should be. This is a new way of society, a new life, a new society. This is what we should be striving towards." Of course totally unaware of everything going on beneath the surface. Not even totally unaware because a lot of the information about what was really going on was available but the western socialists made excuses for it. They were deliberately and willfully blind about the situation to the point where they would downplay the Gulag and say, "Oh it's just a re-education thing. The people there are happy and once this progresses, once they're re-educated there will be no crime and it's really like a vacation. They get to work outside."

The holocaust deniers will say the same thing about the concentration camps in Nazi Germany. "They weren't so bad", totally ignoring all the horrible aspects of that type of imprisonment, especially when you consider people like Solzhenitsyn and the circumstances by which he was put into the Gulag for nothing, for criticizing the Soviet military leadership, just making a criticism. He didn't do anything and he was put in for years.

But anyway, you have these groups. There was this perception in the early years even, which were arguably the worst years in terms of torture and death and the terror that was instituted, you still have people that were convinced that this was a worker's paradise. But then as things progressed within the Soviet Union that actually led to the more benign form in the 1970s and 1980s. But by the 1970s and 1980s the reputation of the Soviet Union was totally shot. It didn't have very many supporters in the west anymore. In the 1970s and 1980s you didn't have many western leftists looking to the Soviet Union as this workers' paradise. There was a general recognition that the system wasn't so great. By then they'd moved on to other socialist countries.

That's the point in this Christian Nemitz book actually. The point he makes about all of these socialist experiments is that in the early days, what he calls the honeymoon period, there was widespread support for and pilgrimages to the new socialist experiments and people would come back just singing the praises of these countries. Then after that a bit more information would start leaking out and people would start realizing this wasn't all it was cut out to be, first it was "Yes, this a great socialist experiment. Socialism is finally here and it's doing great". Then as soon as all the bad stuff came out, then it was "Well that wasn't real socialism. It never was."

And then they'd move on to the new socialist utopia. It might have been Cambodia or North Vietnam. It's the same pattern that happens every time and it goes decade-by-decade. "Oh, Soviet Union not anymore. Okay, well we'll move to China. Oh, China not anymore? Oh, well now let's go to Albania." And so each time it was the same process, the same series of reactions that took place. I thought the irony of it was that for the socialist countries that were arguably doing the best job, like East Germany which economically was doing the best out of any of the socialist countries at the time, it had the worst reputation. It had the least number of people that were actually looking to it as this socialist utopia.

The western leftists were more into the countries I mentioned, the Soviet Union, Maoist China, the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and Cuba, etc. But the GDR had some of its supporters but never as many as the new experiments because each new experiment was a new opportunity for socialism to be proved right. This is actually how the dissimulative phase manages to work in a pathocracy. Because socialism has such great ideals, great aspirations, it's hard to look at the aspirations of socialism and disagree with them. "You know, workers should have a say and people shouldn't be oppressed and everyone should be living together in harmony." It's like, oh yeah, that'd be great. How can you not get behind that?

So it's the power of those aspirations that is the fuel that pathocracy uses in order to maintain itself over several years. It's because they can put up that image. The Soviet Union could put itself forward as a socialist economy that worked. It may have had its problems but it's still a live option. Lobaczewski would say that was the mask with which the Soviet Union was able to survive for so long internationally. You had of course all the anti-communist propaganda coming out of the west but without the acknowledgement of the system as being psychopathological in nature, it was still able to survive, even despite all of the propaganda and the Cold War.

But the main point Lobaczewski is making is that if a psychological diagnosis were to be made of a country and for it to be widely recognized and understood, that would be the end of the pathocracy. It wouldn't be able to survive any longer. That's why he thought that these ideas were so important because that's really the Achilles' Heel of the pathocratic system, making an accurate diagnosis.

One of the examples that came to mind while reading was when I mentioned that in this dissimilar phase it's necessary for a pathocratic leadership to choose international diplomats essentially, to be relatively normal in order to be able to interact with people in other countries and not be so obviously pathological. Can you imagine ISIS having a foreign ministry that sends out someone like Omar the Chechen or whatever to practice international diplomacy. It wouldn't work because already they have the rightful reputation of being just a bunch of savage barbarians. But that would be an extreme version of this kind of dynamic.

What you need is you have to pick someone who's presentable. In order to maintain your image as being a relatively normal group of people with emphasis on the term relative because politicians normally aren't very normal people. Political life tends to select people that already aren't very normal. So even then you have to make an effort.

The example that came to mind was Saudi Arabia. I think Prince Mohammed is doing a good job at being the face of a reformer and a great guy. When you actually look at the Saudi system, it's pathological to the core. I can't remember the name of the documentary but it came out a couple of years ago. I think it was done by a news channel but they basically got cameras into Saudi Arabia and just took a look at life there and what it's really like, what the morality police are like and the position of dissident groups and critics of the government. It was like looking at a real life example of everything that Lobaczewski talks about. It was like looking at a pathocracy, this system of government that is totally repressive and in reality a complete nightmare.

But the image that is projected into the international sphere is one of at least relative normality. Of course there's a lot of criticism and things that come out like the number of executions and the methods of execution and the whole anti-feminist I guess you could say, politics, but even all of that seem relatively normal when you're looking at it. And again, the emphasis is on the term relatively - not normal but at least normal enough that there isn't totally widespread condemnation of the Saudi government.

You could imagine certain things coming out to the point where the US couldn't even put up the pretense of supporting the system. And the only way they manage to do that is by downplaying the realities. So imagine everything coming out and being publicly known about Yemen - a lot of that is coming out so at least that's a positive that that stuff is coming out - but everything down to the daily life of average Saudi citizens when that would happen and if a psychological diagnosis were to be made, that would be the end of the Saudi kingdom. There would have to be major efforts at PR reform or actual reform.

But actually that's already happening. I think that what bad coverage there is, is largely probably an impetus for the recent efforts to present Saudi Arabia as moving in the right direction and instituting these reforms and giving more rights to women in society and all that. But I think probably all of that would be too little too late if everything else were to be exposed. That's just a sidebar over on that.

Elan: I don't know how much of a digression this is. Maybe this can be worked into the discussion a little bit. Earlier in the week we were talking about a YouTube personality named Steven Crowder who is this crass comedian public commentator who is not politically correct. He makes fun of his staff racially, sexually. He is kind of this in-your-face personality that a lot of people tune into and quite recently there was this journalist by the name of Carlos Maza from Vox who took issue with a lot of Crowder's insults.

Carlos Maza is a very effeminate gay man, Latin and basically in response to Crowder's criticism of some of the things that Maza has been saying and doing which may in fact be legitimate, Maza ranted and raved to YouTube about Crowder's behaviour and so YouTube basically said Crowder is well within his rights in terms of agreement with YouTube and there's not much that they were willing to do.

But Maza doubled down on Crowder and so what this pushed YouTube to do, given the amount of attention it began to get from the major media, the Washington Post and the Daily Beast and a few other media outlets in Washington, was to demonetize Steven Crowder, to leave his videos intact but to not permit him to earn any money through sponsorship on YouTube. So all this Carlos Maza had to do, this one guy, is to yell vociferously enough about the offensiveness of Steven Crowder in order to take away his livelihood which was these programs.

It's quite interesting because Carlos Maza has been speaking in support of groups like Antifa, has tweeted about humiliating people that he didn't agree with on the right or who were somewhat conservative. So at the risk of beating this dead horse that we've been discussing for many months now, this whole germ of a pathocracy of the far left in the United States is quite willing to support violence in the imposition of leftist policies in the form of Antifa. It's quite willing to insult people, to encourage others to humiliate others publicly in rather awful ways. But then when it happens to them, it has suddenly become verboten. It is suddenly a thought crime that the kind of forces behind the mainstream corporate media get behind and enforce this societal ostracization of the individual.

The reason I mention this is because I see this as part of a constellation of radical left policies and thinking that have everything to do with an emotional fervour to destroy the enemy, for people that shouldn't be enemies, that should be acknowledged as people who have different moral taste buds, people who see things differently even if you don't like them, even if you find how they say things distasteful. And the truth of the matter is at this time in the US, the right or the conservative branch of the population, does not have the same power over this radical left-leaning sentiment that we're seeing in the censorship and the squelching of voices that we're seeing against the more conservative and commonsensical voices out there.

Corey: I definitely wouldn't say that it's beating a dead horse because we are witnessing ponerology in action. We're witnessing the ponerization process in action and it gives you a chance to look at it and if you're reading Ponerology and you're following daily events, you're able to kind of pick out some of the things that are happening. Harrison, you talked a little bit about stuff that we covered in the phases of pathocracy that we covered in previous shows. People like this Carlos Maza are a lot like the characteropaths that brutalize an ideology and really contribute to its warping and to its complete counterpart.

Of course he's not alone. There are countless other people who have been busy doing that. I've spent a lot of time trying to think "What ideology is it? It doesn't seem like there is an ideology." But of course it's postmodernism. Deep down it's just the postmodern ideology and in its many different forms it just circulated in very small groups exactly like Lobaczewski discusses in the book. It was intersectionality. It was all these different kinds of ways of viewing the world in terms of oppression/oppressor. It was the philosophers who spoke about there being no truth, about there being no reality. Everybody basically creates their own reality through linguistics and narratives and there should be no metanarrative, even though that is a metanarrative.

But anyhow, it was these ideologies that were created by, most likely, a lot of very schizoidal people who just wanted to create a castle to live in, floating in the air. And then it was people like this Carlos Maza who then weaponize it, who take it into the streets because they can sniff out how to use it against people that they don't like. I haven't listened to what Steven Crowder said but I listened to Glenn Greenwald's take on it. Apparently he said some crass and very naughty things about this gentleman. He pulled no punches, basically bar room brawl talk about him and his conduct. The way this guy reacted - can you say it? - he probably deserved it.

Then the way he reacted is to use this intersectional, "I'm oppressed. I'm being oppressed by this white man" and to whip up everybody into ruining this guy's life - not ruining his life but taking away his livelihood, even though at this point "You are not the oppressed! You are not the weak victim! You have all of the power and you are using it to crush a marginalized, oppressed person." It's absolutely phenomenal lunacy. But at the same time, that's exactly what Lobaczewski talks about. That's what happens. You have characteropathic individuals who weaponize ideologies in order to use them to their own advantage and then over time as the process goes on you get more and more snakes that just creep in and continue turning it into its total pathological counterpart where it is Satan in the sheepskin. {laughter}

Harrison: Well maybe on that point, just one final point from this chapter that relates to that. Lobaczewski talks about how it is the original believers in the ideology that are the first to become the most bitter once their vision is actually enacted, put into place. So as a warning to the people that are enamoured of this new identity politics and the way that it's taking shape in western societies primarily, just keep this in mind. The way it would progress is something like this. You're on the backs of this great social movement that is fighting for equality and social justice and diversity and inclusivity and all these things. Great things, right? That's what you think.

So then because of the kind of street efforts of the pushers of this kind of ideology, let's just say that it was totally put into power. So you had the first truly progressive President who made all of these things policy and you had a Congress and Senate that managed to put it all in. Or some of the features of the American system were dissolved just to help the process along. Well historically, it is those supporters who are the first on the chopping block. They're the ones that look and say, "Wait a second. This isn't what I was actually fighting for." So as bad as identity politics is now, it will get worse to the point where all the true believers in these identity politics talking points will be the ones criticizing the new system saying, "Oh, that's not really what we're talking about. What's going on?"

Then you're going to be on the vanguard of all these people that are against the new system. So this gets into one last point from Ponerology. This first of all is what I was alluding to back when I was talking about socialism. He writes,

"However it must be understood that the primary ideology was undoubtedly socially dynamic and contained creative elements otherwise it would have been incapable of nurturing and protecting the pathocratic phenomenon from recognition and criticism for very long."

I guess this is more applicable to socialism and when I talked about as the socialist aspirations as being something that most people in the left part of the political spectrum couldn't really disagree with. That's the reason that a socialist government can last for so long or a pathocratic government using socialism as its ideology. But then Lobaczewski goes on to get a closer definition of what pathocracy means. So this is the last paragraph of this section.

"Defining the moment at which a movement has been transformed into something we can call a pathocracy as a result of the ponerogenic process is a matter of convention. The process is temporally cumulative and reaches a point of no return at some particular moment. Eventually however, internal confrontation with the adherence of the original ideology occurs, thus finally affixing the seal of the pathocratic character of the phenomenon. Nazism most certainly passed this point of no return but was prevented from all out confrontation with the adherents of the original ideology because the Allied armies smashed its military might."

So what he's basically saying is the first thing that will make a pathocracy a pathocracy visibly and uncontrovertibly so, is when the pathocratic government goes after the original adherents of the ideology. You often see commentators on the right, conservative outlets talking about the left eating itself. You see former progressives that are then put on the chopping block of the identity politics left. Well that's nothing compared to what's coming. It will be a literal chopping block in a lot of cases where all these supporters of these identity politics policies and viewpoints will be the ones doing a lot of the suffering. They will be the ones targeted. But it won't just be the people on the right. It will actually be the left too, to the point where it's everyone against this tiny minority of people in charge.

And then you get something that is actually worse than what's going on right now and worse than the things that the critics on the left are criticizing. If things go according to this pathocratic plan then the left today will be the creators of a system far worse than the thing that they are criticizing in the first place. So I just think that people should keep that in mind when they want to get politically active for a cause like inclusivity, diversity and equity.

Corey: I watched a really great video by Bret Weinstein earlier and he discusses the fact that by lumping all white men together and trying to ostracize and repress them you run the risk of creating the enemy that you supposedly hate, that you're supposedly out to destroy. Now clearly at some level that's what they want, a lot of these people leading these movements. They need that enemy. They need white supremacy. They need reaction. They need violence. They need lashing out. And people will lash out if they get backed into a corner. Probably not a lot of our listeners are on the fence with identity politics but if you are, then as Harrison pointed out, this ideology is not what you think it is. It's nothing like what it once was. Even if it did have some positive characteristics, at this point in time it is out to create hell on earth.

Elan: I would just add Corey, because I had a similar kind of thought on that, the reaction to this radical left movement can also take the form of a political movement that could in fact be very successful and be so reactionary in its response to the policies and attitudes and behaviour of the left that we've been seeing in the past five or 10 years that, like you were saying Harrison, it could very well create a system that is far worse than anything that we're seeing today and that is going to make inequality sound like a Sunday picnic compared to the kind of reaction that we may be seeing from a far right group.

Corey: I'm not a betting man, but if I were to place a bet on whether it's the left that has the future control, this focus on the dispossessed and minorities or a radicalized right led by people who just years ago were advocating torture and murder and illegal invasion after illegal invasion, I would put my money on these radical loonies on the right. But I'm not a betting man.

Harrison: Well with that said, I think we'll call it a day there. So thanks for tuning in everyone and we'll see you later.