Fifteen years ago the world was introduced to the research of Polish psychologist Andrzej Łobaczewski in his seminal work Political Ponerology. In it, he outlined the danger of pathological revolutionary movements, the poisonous influence of psychopaths in positions of power, and the real origins of totalitarianism - as well as why relatively normal people are left woefully vulnerable to pathological thinking and psychological 'infection'. When the book was first published the "forever war on terror" Neocons were at the forefront in the United States, and the world is still reeling from their atrocious foreign policy, not to mention the Patriot Act. But times sure have changed since then, and with them, the rise of far-left pathologies whose scope and influence is nearly universal in Western society.

On Christmas Day of 2020, James Lindsay of "the grievance studies affair" fame published an important article on his website New Discourses: 'Psychopathy and the Origins of Totalitarianism.' Lindsay, a mathematician by training, is also an expert on the nonsense that is Critical Social Justice Theory (i.e. Wokeness). There's no one better to expose Woke ideology for what it actually is: psychopathic. So this week on MindMatters we discuss a range of topics stemming from Lindsay's article: Critical Race Theory, cancel culture, and the pipe dreams of revolution-induced utopia we're witnessing now in the West. Meet the new psychopathic fervors - same as the old ones. Using concepts from Ponerology like paralogic and paramorality, and Pieper's idea of pseudo-realities, Lindsay provides an indispensable account of what's really going on, peeling back the mask of the in-your-face thought virus threatening to sicken and destroy everything it touches.

Running Time: 01:24:51

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Here is the transcript:

Harrison: Welcome back to Mind Matters everyone. Today we will start out with a recommendation. If you haven't heard of New Discourses, it is the website set up by James Lindsay. If you haven't heard of James Lindsay, he's the guy along with Helen Pluckrose and Peter Boghossian who wrote the grievance studies papers. I think they started writing them in 2017 and wrote them into 2018 and caused quite a controversy because what they did was write a bunch of hoax papers - well they started out writing hoax papers but then wrote fake papers in all of these feminist and women's studies and race studies journals where they'd start with a ridiculous conclusion and then just write a ridiculous paper to support that conclusion.

They were long academic articles and got many of them published in these journals and then eventually it came out, their cover was blown before they wanted it to be, and it came out that these were essentially fraudulent articles written just to show how low the quality is for these kinds of journals and how they're really not academic disciplines at all. That's what catapulted Lindsay, along with his co-authors, into the news sphere. Since then he and Helen wrote a book called Cynical Theories which we will eventually talk about. That one just came out late last year.

So on New Discourses, on Christmas Day, Lindsay published an article called Psychopathy and the Origins of Totalitarianism. We'll include a link to it in the description. I recommend all of our viewers and listeners check it out if they haven't already because in my opinion, it's probably the most important and the best article I've read in years and it's one of the only articles written on a topic approaching, utilizing or expanding on the book Political Ponerology by Andrew Lobaczewski which of course we talk about regularly and which is one of my favourite books.

In this article he focuses on a few concepts in Ponerology but puts them in his own words and develops these ideas on his own. Two of those concepts are paramorality and paralogic which we'll get into a bit, and of course psychopathy. The one that ties them all together is the idea - he borrows the term from Joseph Peeper's 1970 essay Abuse of Language, Abuse of Power - of the word pseudo-reality. So it's about ideological pseudo-realities.

He ties these ideas together - pseudo-realities, paralogic, paramoralisms, paramorality and with psychopathy as well, to deliver his take on what's going on in the world; not just what's going on now but what has gone on for a large part of the 20th century and before that, with the development of these ideological realities. Some examples of them are communism, Karl Marx, but in this case, what he's the expert on is one of the newest pseudo-realities, which is critical social justice theory.

You can find examples of that in the types of journals that I mentioned and in diversity, equity and inclusion boards all over the country, all over the western world. Critical race theory, all of those sorts of social justice-oriented ideas and really practices, center around this ideology. The reason he calls it a pseudo-reality is because there's nothing in it that matches up with objective reality. It's a fictional world that just manages to resemble reality enough so that its believable so that a lot of people can believe in it. One of the ways in which they do this is by using a plausible language that people can then identify with, understand to some degree and then use that language and that framework to project that reality onto the world around them.

So the way that works with racism, for instance, is that everyone knows racism exists and for most people, the vast majority of people, at least in our cultures, and see racism as a problem because that's been the trajectory for years and years and years; to increasingly accept that it is a problem whereas in previous years, even 60 years ago, or less, you'd find more people more willing to express openly racist views and to have a openly explicitly racist policies.

So when we acknowledge that there is such a thing as racism and that it is a problem, pretty much everyone can do that. But what critical social justice theory does is redefine what racism is to the point where racism doesn't mean what it used to mean. So there's an inversion of concepts, an inversion of language that goes on that is very Orwellian, to say one thing and mean another thing because when a social justice theorist or practitioner talks about racism, they're not talking about what ordinary people think of as racism. They're talking about something like systemic racism.

In a previous show we mentioned a video by I think PSA Sitch who's a funny, very creative YouTuber and he did a couple of videos - it must be a couple of years ago now - on what racism actually is according to these people. If I can find those I'll put those up to. But if you search PSA Sitch and racism you should be able to find them on YouTube. Because it's not what you think it is. When they're talking about racism, it's not what you actually think it is. It's actually a form of racism. Lindsay calls it neo-racism because it is one of the most racist things you can see. You are seeing yourself and everything and everyone in terms of their skin colour. It has become what I'd call a fad or a trend, to explicitly and endlessly signal your race, whether positively or negatively.

So you're either part of the problem because of your skin colour or not part of the problem because of your skin colour. You'll find it in Twitter profiles or in tweets where people are explicit about what race they are. While Lindsay doesn't talk about it in his article I don't think, in some of his other writings and podcasts and things of that sort, he defends colour blindness, this idea that what we should actually be doing in a liberal society is to foster these notions of colour blindness, that your race should not come into play in any way. That was one of the roots of the civil rights movement, this notion of colour blindness, the ideals of it. But that's totally flipped around where now colour blindness is itself racist because you can't escape being a racist if you're part of an oppressor class or an oppressor race.

So these ideas are being taught in schools, being taught to children and essentially, most likely and almost certainly, creating more racism and creating things on top of that in addition to racism. To me, if I were to imagine teaching these things to children, to young children who don't have fully developed frontal lobes in their brain, who can't think for themselves, I'd see one of two things happening. I think a lot of the sensitive kids would be wracked by guilt for a belief they don't actually have or a privilege that they don't actually have, certainly beliefs that they don't have because if anyone has grown up in a multi-racial environment, they know that kids really don't care about race and oftentimes are literally colour blind. They won't even realize that their friends who are of different races are different in any way until it's pointed out to them. I've found that to be common, not only in my own experience, but with people I know who have interacted with kids like that.

So on the one hand you instill this sense of undeserved guilt and blame onto some students, and then on others, if you're constantly teaching white kids that they live in a culture of white supremacy, for instance, I'm sure there are some kids that will be like, "Oh, I'm white. That must mean I'm at the top" and would actually reinforce that stereotype for them to the point where they're going to grow up to be an asshole because they've been told their whole life that...

Adam: They have privilege.

Harrison: ...that they have privilege and that they're important. This is just a guess on my part, I don't know if anyone's actually tracked this kind of thing, but it wouldn't surprise me if that's one of the effects; to actually reinforce and create a degree of that supremacist attitude that wouldn't have otherwise existed if they had just been raised in a normal environment without this ideological brainwashing.

But anyway, that's getting a bit away from the article that Lindsay wrote. Maybe I'll just say, "Read it", especially if you've read Ponerology before and you want to see someone who understands it and who can apply it to the present day and real life examples of what's going on.

Elan: Well Harrison, before you do that, just a quick note for those who may be new to our channel, the book that Harrison was mentioning is Political Ponerology by Andrew Lobaczewski and in a nutshell, it describes the psychological processes by which a society becomes influenced or ponerized by a network or even a small number of pathological individuals and discusses the weaknesses that many normal people may have in dealing with the influence of psychopathic thinking and not knowing, being vulnerable to what psychopathic thinking or paramoralisms or ideas that are just based on twisted ideas and ideology, what affects these ideas can have and what influence they can have at a macrosocial level. So I just wanted to give a quick recap on that. Of course I'll just add that this article is a really wonderful kind of update in a way and revivification of Ponerology and a kind of affirmation of its value to us, especially as we use it to re-evaluate what we're seeing in terms of Ponerology.

Adam: How do we want to take this? We can take it as just a further development or investigation or expansion of James's article or we can use it to look at what's going on right now, as you had mentioned, all the different social justice theory, invasion of education and everything else and what might it look like? Because this isn't just an American phenomenon either. This is global. You have Justin Trudeau bowing before the social justice warriors and the same with some of the European prime ministers and electors.

So it's a lot more complex now than just to examine one particular nation and see what it would look like to evolve in that kind of a way and how to see what things might look like moving forward on this wider scale.

Harrison: Maybe to start with I should say something about psychopathy. Last week we interviewed Dr. George Simon who wrote In Sheep's Clothing about dealing with manipulative people and the types of manipulation tactics that they use. As he mentioned when he first wrote the book, he didn't get a very good reception among the academic world or even in conferences. But over the years he's gotten a lot better reception. People are a bit more aware of it. I think nowadays it's in the zeitgeist enough that people are more receptive to this idea. But still, people have a hard time imagining the level of malevolence that comes from a psychopath. As we move on I'll explain why this is so important.

Most people are familiar with criminals and serial killers. There's an entire book market for books on serial killers and TV shows and movies. David Fincher for years has done stuff on serial killers like...

Elan: Zodiak.

Harrison: Zodiak.

Elan: Seven.

Harrison: Yeah, Seven and Mind Hunters the Netflix show. So people are kind of aware of that. One of the most popular shows that we did on this channel was on Israel Keyes, the famous Alaskan serial killer. Most serial killers are psychopaths. So that might be the extent of awareness that most people who don't look into this kind of thing, have about the phenomenon. But that's not the extent of psychopathy. Only a tiny percent of psychopaths are serial killers. So for whatever reason some psychopaths become serial killers. But you can learn a lot by looking at serial killers. If you take away the serial killing part of them, that mentality that they have, that worldview, that mindset, that total lack of conscience and total disregard for the rights and well-being of other people, that extends to a large chunk of the population. By large I mean the estimates are around one percent of the population are psychopaths.

Nowadays there's more research on what's called the dark triad. I think we did a show on that; Machiavellianism, psychopathy and was narcissism the third one? So depending on how you measure psychopath - because there are various different psychometric instruments to determine if someone's a psychopath - in the clinical sense if you use the Hare checklist I think the cut-off is 30 out of 40 that that person is deemed a psychopath. It seems to be a pretty accurate test for prison populations and things like that. But when you're measuring psychopathy in the general population among non-convicted criminals, you can still pick up on psychopathic traits and using the more toned-down versions, I guess you could call them, of these sorts of tests, I think I've read in some articles some researchers hypothesize that even up to four or five percent of at least the American population can be deemed psychopathic to some degree or another.

So the boundaries are a bit blurry as to what the actual percentage is, but Lobaczewski estimated 0.6% of the Polish population back in the 1960s and 1970s when he was working in Poland. So you could guess that it's going to be around there, one percent, give or take. It could be more, could be less. But when you factor in other types of personality disorders and the effects of various things on the brain and the minds and the values of non-psychopaths, you get a lot of people that can perhaps approach that level and, as Lindsay calls it, become functional psychopaths. They may not actually be psychopaths but they've adopted the worldview to such an extent, the beliefs to such an extent, that they can act in certain psychopathic ways.

So as an example of that, I'd cite the show we did on the book Ordinary Men. Of course there's the Milgram experiments and things like that, that show that if you put people in certain situations, they can do horrendous things that appear for all intents and purposes and probably can be classified to some degree, as psychopathic even if they themselves are not essentially a psychopath. A psychopath is pretty much a personality structure. The research suggests that kids are born that way. There are structural differences in the way their brains are formed that lead to the development of what we call psychopathy.

So you'll find very young children who display what they call callous and unemotional traits. So even from a very young age you'll find that psychopaths don't have a conscience. They are not moved by the types of emotions that the vast majority of people are moved by. It might come across in a young child as a total self-centeredness, which is not necessarily abnormal when you phrase it that way, for a young child, but total self-centeredness to the exclusion of considering anyone else; kids who won't share, who use violence to get their way, who torture animals, who show no signs of remorse or guilt over harming other people.

As psychopaths grow up, they keep that mentality. Not only do they keep that mentality but they learn how to fake being a normal human and that's the thing that gets a lot of people. Psychopaths are con men. They know how to manipulate other people so that other people don't realize what they're like on the inside. I think it was Robert Hare, one of the preeminent researchers on psychopath who tells a story - I think he was even consulting with a blond, 1990s actress. It wasn't Sharon Stone I don't think, but someone else who was filming a movie where she played a psychopathic character and one of the scenes was her witnessing a car crash and looking at the faces of the people around her who were horrified and shocked and crying and then she went home and while looking at herself in her mirror, learned to mimic their facial expressions so that she could then...

Adam: Fake it.

Harrison: Fake it. Be able to blend in with the crowd and pretend to be horrified by something that didn't affect her at all.

So psychopaths do not have the same emotional make-up that humans have. They totally lack any sense of value for other people. They use other people as strictly objects for their own purposes. They will sacrifice other people, manipulate them, use them, abuse them, just to get what they want and manipulate them, whether it's in the workplace - Hare wrote a book with Paul Babiak called Snakes in Suits about corporate psychopaths who just steamroll anyone in their path, steal other people's work, blame people for problems, create problems for other people, make things up about other people to get them fired to then move into their position and slash people down as they work their way up the corporate ladder with no regard for those other people.

These are the kind of people who steal money from grandmas. Psychopaths are excellent at any type of con or manipulation because they have no regard for the other people to whom they are doing these types of things. That's a very brief and incomplete overview of what a psychopath is actually like.

The reason that Lindsay includes psychopathy in the title of this article and in the content of it is because even if it's not immediately apparent, psychopathy is probably the most important driver of what we see as these destructive ideological movements because one of the things about psychopaths - and is that this probably isn't the best way to phrase it, there's probably a better word to use - but they can't cope with reality. Now when I say that I don't mean that some people can't cope and it's just too much for them, this existential grief and anguish about the nature of reality, they can't cope with reality in the sense that most societies are designed for normal people. It's normal people interacting and doing normal things Maybe it's better to say psychopaths don't fit in a normal reality.

They're almost like aliens in this alien world surrounded by all these weird people where they're this tiny minority who see the world completely differently and they are forced to pretend to be part of the mainstream reality because when people realize what a psychopath's like, they want nothing to do with them. That's why something like 80% of criminals that have been put away in prison for serious crimes are psychopaths. That's where societies tend to put psychopaths. They tend to segregate them in some way, mostly in prison. I'm sure in other societies it was other means of separating them from the social body. There's a northern Inuit group who have stories of this particular type of person and when no one is looking they'll push them off an iceberg and let them float away because they cause so much damage to the tribe or whatever social unit they have.

So naturally psychopaths have their own type of resentment because they live in a world where they can't be who they want to be, openly for sure, and they can't get what they want and they feel like they deserve everything handed to them. They don't necessarily feel like they should have to work to gain anything. Other people should just give it to them because they are such great people. That's why a corporate psychopath will use another person's work, appropriate it and then create a situation to get that person fired or make them look bad and take all the credit. It's because they don't actually want to do anything. It's much easier for them to use someone else's work or steal it to get what they want.

It gets back to the idea of the criminal mind that we mentioned in George Simon's interview and that we've talked about before. The criminal mind is totally entitled, that they think that they deserve whatever they have just out of their sense of self-entitlement. They don't have to work for anything. A great example is the cash me outside girl and several people on Dr. Phil where you see these totally entitled kids who think it's okay just to steal someone else's property or destroy someone else's property either just because they want to or they think they need it or they're not thinking about it at all. It's just a whim.

So this is this concept and reality and like I mentioned at the start of talking about psychopathy, a lot of people can't fathom the depths of the malevolence. That's why it's a good practice to do a little reading on serial killers because you'll get a very good idea of just how far the depths of that can go, the most horrendous types of torture and murder that you can imagine, the psychopath, the serial killer in this example, enjoying it. You can add an element of sadism on top of everything else. There are some psychopaths who are actually sadists, who enjoy making other people suffer, who enjoy toying with and experimenting with people and seeing what they can do, seeing what they can get away with.

So there's a wider sphere of what you might call a grouping of mental illness of a sorts, of psychopathy and other personalities disorders, of people who don't fit in the world, don't feel like they fit in society, who feel wronged by society, not necessarily because of anything that's actually been done to them but simply because society isn't set up in the way that they want, they feel wronged by the world for the way the world is set up.

Adam: Like you were saying, psychopaths don't fit in the world because the world is not suited or meant for them. It's very similar in the way that when a society is structured one way and just a group of normal human beings don't get what they deserve, which is to say they are oppressed in a real way, their rights are trampled on or they're not being allowed to have jobs or what have you, they will naturally revolt in some way, shape or form. So that's very similar to what you see with a psychopath except that it's not really justified...

Harrison: Right.

Adam: I guess to them it's justified because again, they're not getting their needs met. The difference is that their needs are antithetical to the survival of the species and therein lies the problem. So you can't really build a society for them because they'll just go around killing, maiming, torturing, raping, pillaging, the whole nine yards, of everyone and there'd be no society left for them to do anything with, which is kind of like what can you do except to separate or segregate them in some way. Regarding what you were saying with researching or reading about serial killers, getting an idea of the sheer malevolence of being able to torture, like you were saying, and not have any qualms about it, is a very drastic change of - I don't even know how to describe it other than it's an inner landscape that's so completely foreign that it's difficult if not impossible to actually get into that mindscape.

Then adding on top of that, which may not be as readily apparent, as if you were looking at something like cult leaders, would be the ability to manipulate in subtle ways and their ability to get people to do what it is they want them to do. Again, they're trying to get their needs, their wants, their whims met in some kind of a way and they don't care how they do it or who they have to hurt or manipulate to get there. But it's not cut down or so myopic to only apply to one person or even a couple of people. It can be applied to hundreds or thousands or millions, depending upon the size of the audience that the person has in front of them, which also depends on whether they're a successful psychopath or not because if you are successful, which is to say that they're able to move within a society undetected because they have this mask and they've worked on it, assuming they have a really good mask, well then they can manipulate their way to the tops of different hierarchical structures one way or another.

And then they have this huge swath of people that are below them that they can use to manipulate and get from them all of these things that they want and they think they are owed. But the rest of us would disagree.

Elan: Well there are a couple of things there and one is that we've talked about how difficult it is to really viscerally understand the level of malevolence that exists among psychopaths and individuals who are not necessarily sadistic or on the level of serial killers but even just successful psychopaths, Snakes In Suits, as was mentioned earlier, people who would act out of a Machiavellian, narcissistic imperative to better themselves at the cost of all others but with these buffers of civility and personality and charisma and the vulnerability that many individuals have in being biased and in projecting their own human qualities onto people who don't deserve it.

So I think one of the bigger points here about having a healthy psychological outlook is to realize that we quite often unconsciously just assume as a matter of course, that many people are healthy and normal individuals who aren't so willing to screw over someone else to better their position.

On the subject of numbers, we said as a conservative estimate one percent of the population is a full-on psychopath. Let's take a moment and think about what that means because in the United States, what do we have? About 270 million individuals?

Adam: More than that. It's over 300 million.

Elan: Is it?

Harrison: 330 million or something like that?

Elan: 330. Okay. Let's say it's 300 million for instance. That means that one percent of the population, one percent is three million psychopaths! Three million. Now, you imagine not all of them are intelligent or successful or smart enough to get over on a lot of people. Many of them might be incarcerated. But just imagine that half of them - a million-and-a-half - can you imagine what a million-and-a-half people, a portion of which will go into politics, a portion of which will go into Wall Street, a portion of which will go into the technocracy or law enforcement...

Adam: Health care or psychological health.

Elan: Yes! In any number of fields, you have tens if not hundreds of thousands of individuals who are willing to say and do anything in order to bolster their own position of power. You don't need that many to wreak havoc on a large scale.

Harrison: So we've introduced some of these ideas. The way this all fits together, I'll start with this. Is there a reason - I'll ask a leading question - is there a reason that when you look at a lot of the protests and riots over the last six months, since somewhere last year, why a lot of the people who end up being arrested or investigated to any degree, a lot of the leaders of these antifa cells or whatever, turn out to be convicted felons, pedophiles, sex offenders? What is it about a protest - I wouldn't even say a protest movement - what is it about an ideological movement bent on revolution and restructuring society that attracts these types of people?

Adam: I was just going to say that there's two aspects to that. There's the particular and then there's the general. In the particular, you can see why they're attracted to this particular movement because it is founded upon the critical social justice theories which are psychopathic in nature. It's a completely restructured pseudo-reality that's all based on lies and manipulations. So they're attracted to this movement in particular because it reflects what they want, which is a restructuring of society along their lines.

And that's in the specific sense. In the general sense it provides them cover for being able to do the very things that they've wanted to do the whole time. They want to go out and burn stuff, smash things and kill people and rape and whatever. These are the things that they've wanted to do all along.

Harrison: Right.

Adam: And now they have an ability and a reason and a whole justification, whatever, to be able to do it and possibly get away with it.

Harrison: Most likely get away with it.

Adam: And most likely get away with it.

Harrison: Yeah. So it's the perfect breeding ground for criminals because they know they can get away with it. The ultimate payoff that they perceive I think, could be in the future for them, is power. This is why it's the same whenever you look at a revolutionary movement. You have a lot of examples to look at in the 20th century where it was the same kind of people involved. And when I say that, 'the same kind of people involved', I don't mean that every revolutionary movement is always composed of all these types of people. There are always individuals of this sort who are within revolutionary movements for these reasons.

Look at what happened in the Russian Revolution. Who ended up getting power? Who ended up on top? It was the worst of the worst. Same in Mao's China and not only that, in the Russian Revolution you had a whole bunch of competing socialist revolutionary movements and groups, Marxist groups and it was Lenin and the Bolsheviks who were the most radical of the bunch, who ended up on top because they were the most conscienceless. They were the most willing to stab and shoot their way to the top.

On top of that, then you have a series of successive purges among the ideological movement. The best example I've read recently is in Frank Dikötter's books on Mao's revolution. He's got a trilogy of books. The one I read was on the great famine and it was even going on for 20 years, successive purges of the weak members of the party, of the ideological movement whose absence then created a vacuum for the most cutthroat, blood thirty elements to rise to the top.

So you have this increasing concentration and refinement of the movement to the point where Lobaczewski argues that when this process essentially completes itself, you have what you might call a total inversion of society's structure. In a relatively normal society, as we've been discussing, psychopaths tend to end up either in exile or in prison, in some way taken out of the body politic or marginalized in such a way that they're on the outskirts of society. They're the criminals and the con men on the fringes of society getting by going from town to town, city to city conning people and not really integrating in the social framework, in the social fabric because it's difficult for them. They can't keep a job for the most part in a lot of cases.

What you have in this pathological process is an inversion where all of the leadership positions and positions of authority are then staffed by and held by psychopaths. Lobaczewski argues - I don't know if this is necessarily true or not or if this is just an ideal case - but he argues that 100% - I'd say at least approaching 100% - the vast majority of the psychopaths in any given population will then be part of the ruling structure. So it's a total reshaping of the fabric of society because the way societies normally function, it's almost this natural process. It's unconscious for the people involved in it, but we naturally have a way of structuring ourselves. We'll notice this in any small group or large group, where people tend to find their place within a group.

Some people gravitate to leadership positions who are good leaders, who are fit for the role and some people are happier in a supporting position. Some people find some degree of fulfillment just doing a menial job every day. I know people like this. I know there are people like this, who work the same job every day and aren't going to launch a revolutionary movement because they feel they aren't getting enough out of life. They've got what they want. They've got their job. They've got the things they do when they get home and that they do on their weekends and they're at least relatively satisfied with their place in life.

That naturally shapes itself and in an ideal case the people who are really smart do things that utilize their smartness. The people who are really good with their bodies become athletes and do great things in sports and athletics. People who are great at the arts are able to support themselves by doing what they're good at and what they love. People who are good at business become businessmen, etc. People find their place and for the most part the people who make up society aren't psychopaths and the people find their place within that social hierarchy and framework.

Adam: So similarly there's a restructuring of society along these psychopathic lines where there is this utopic vision in the psychopath's mind of what they dream of. They have to start off small. They have to start off with something that's reasonable, a pseudo-reality that maps to reality to at least a great degree in order for it to start to take hold. And then as it progressively comes closer to fruition, it gradually has to change in order for the utopian vision to come to full fruition. So it has to subtly change.

Then I guess along certain points somebody starts to question things or it can only go so far. Is that kind of the way that it works? That it reaches a certain point where they can't really take it any further along these lines so they need to change it and they need to purge? Or what's the mechanism there? Because it was an interesting aspect of James's article that I hadn't really thought about as to why the purges.

Harrison: Which purges though? I'll go off on a bit and let me know if this is what you mean. I was describing the way things normally work but things go wrong. So Lobaczewski at least identifies certain aspects of a society that weaken it, weaken the social structure. One of the examples he gives - and this is just one - he says a very important thing for any society and their health as a vaccine against this sort of thing taking place, is their general psychological knowledge of the way things work.

So he would argue that if you compare different societies, different cultures, you'd be able to rank them on their overall psychological knowledge for the individuals in different cultures. So a society which has a great psychological knowledge - and that would mean awareness of different kinds of psychological problems like psychopathy as well as ideas about actual mental health and what's good and what's healthy - as opposed to people and societies who have maybe an overly simplistic view of human nature and who have structured their society based on this simplified view of human nature, which applies - Lobaczewski would argue, and I agree - to most social philosophies, most philosophies applying to humanity and societies for the last two hundred years. Probably the majority of famous philosophers have a very over-simplistic view of human nature, for instance.

But the other thing is something as simple as that social structure I was describing. That can be perverted and inverted in a certain way very easily. He calls this over and under adjustment or something like that. I can't remember the exact phrase he uses, but basically if you're an incompetent person and somehow you get put in a position of power and authority above your level of competence - it could be through nepotism or just circumstance or you might be a shady individual and you have manipulated your way into this position for some reason - that creates two types of problems. First, a person who's incompetent in a position and doing things that they're not competent to do will tend to act out in certain ways that aren't healthy for the organization or the rest of the people over whom they have authority.

Lobaczewski says in his experience that such people tend to adopt a totalitarian, overly controlling method of leadership because on some level they know that they can't actually do the job that they're there to do. It reminds me of a couple of people in Ertuğrul. {laughter} But then of course the people working under them will feel a resentment towards that person because it's like, 'Well here's a person who's no smarter than I am in this position that's way above me and he doesn't deserve it. So why don't I get that?' People are very, you could say, class conscious or they're just aware of the social hierarchy. That's one of those natural things about humans. Unconsciously we are constantly noticing those kinds of things; who's above us in the social hierarchy, who's below us. Then you can have a person who's very intelligent and creative who is in a position below their station and that breeds resentment too.

So Lobaczewski at least argues that to the degree that that's going on in a society, that can be the primary weakness towards this kind of, let's say, ideological, social and societal infection taking hold, when you have all of this maladjustment within the social structure. So you'll get a whole bunch of resentful people who are a perfect breeding ground for revolutionary movements because society is so unequally, unfairly structured that, as you were saying, we might as well have a revolution to make things right.

But then one thing that Lobaczewski actually doesn't talk about but which I think is something to keep in mind, is that in a society like that, especially in a society that is falling prey to various kinds of societal sicknesses, illnesses, is that you will always find, probably even in the most healthy societies relative to others, psychopaths who do manage to make it into positions of power. It's probably just a constant no matter what society you live in. So I'd also argue that to the degree to which that happens, it also weakens a society and makes them more susceptible to this kind of macrosocial, revolutionary, pathological process. I'll just leave it at that.

So you've got all these things that can create a weakness and start fracturing the ties that make up the network of society, the naturally forming network of society. The way I picture it is if you picture a family tree or something to represent a social hierarchy or network - it doesn't have to be pyramidal, but all of these nodes - the way I see it is various points of disease popping up and sometimes they spread. Sometimes you might have a society that is relatively, mostly healthy with little bits here and there and you might have one portion of it that's just totally diseased. That's the way I've seen the United States. Here's the CIA and the intelligence community {laughter}. There's a bunch of corruption here, a bunch of psychopathy here but there's one group that's oversaturated, right?

But for the most part, people can and do deal with this sort of thing. We still put psychopaths in prison when we catch them because they commit crimes. We've got laws on the books in pretty much every society where it's a natural sorting mechanism that takes out the criminal element and puts them away somehow. Even in a natural setting - and I could be wrong about this - overall, people tend to be able to survive this kind of situation. It's not like everything just gets destroyed constantly because of the influence of psychopaths. People are pretty good at surviving and making things better to a degree and that's kind of the way I see most western societies for recent years. For all of the things wrong with them, they still manage to at least croak by and get by without a total collapse.

So I think that's one reason for the necessity of purges to some degree and other phenomena. There's just so many relatively normal people that it's impossible to naturally invert that social structure without some kind of revolutionary knocking over of the chessboard, basically.

Adam: You mean coming from normal people?

Harrison: No. This would be coming from a revolutionary movement. The way to reorder society is only ever to totally reorganize it. So that's why in the 20th century at least, the way that pathocracies, as Lobaczewski calls it, the way that these kinds of social systems have come into being is through a revolutionary movement where they wipe out the entire existing elite class, replace them with their own members and then enforce a totalitarian regime where everything is controlled and there are no independent cells of freedom to any degree. It's not like a totalitarian revolutionary movement gains control of an entire country and then says, 'Oh we're just going to leave this area of society alone. They can do their own thing.'

Elan: Right.

Harrison: That never happens. It's always total control.

Elan: Yes. I was going to say that if the ultimate goal is to develop some kind of centrally controlled pathocracy where you have a very tight knit, unquestioning order or new order to society, then it becomes necessary to even target and purge those who may have initially helped things along to start with, who have their own ideas and version of what the revolution and utopia might look like in order to make the power structure as pure as possible.

Adam: Yeah.

Elan: Now we've mostly been applying it to the left and to communism and socialism. But we can also look at the far right in Nazi Germany where one of the earliest groups of Hitler sympathizers were the brown shirts who themselves after a while, outlived their usefulness because they were quite thuggish and disorderly. In order to make a more tight knit, finer order of power and hierarchy with Hitler at the summit, they knocked all these guys off.

Adam: The actual question that I was thinking about in my mind was specifically along those lines. Once the pathocracy has already started, why do they continue to purge themselves, which got me thinking about something you had said about Mao's revolution where they had their quotas that they had to meet and they couldn't meet it so they had to lie. Then some of the people said 'This isn't entirely accurate' and so instead of being, 'Ah, okay, let's fix that', they said, 'Ah, okay, you're dead'. So that's kind of I think where part of it at least comes from; the fact that eventually, no matter how far along the pathocratic movement is, some normal people will adopt some, but not all. Others will adopt more, but not all.

So it just reaches a point where somebody says, 'Actually this doesn't map to reality here.' So that's why they have to have purges because they are willing to point out that it doesn't map to reality...

Harrison: Right.

Adam: ...at whatever point.

Harrison: And admit it.

Adam: And they're willing to admit it.

Harrison: Yeah. Not even necessarily intentionally.

Adam: Yeah!

Harrison: If through their actions, for some reason or another, the falseness of the pseudo-reality is exposed, then they must be destroyed.

Adam: Yes.

Harrison: For having it revealed.

Adam: They could have completely altruistic purposes, wanting the revolution to succeed, but simply because they point out a simple fact that exposes a wider narrative, they get exposed and done away with. That actually reminded me of something else and I can't remember who it was, but there was a corporation where there was a new CEO put in and things were not looking good for the company and they were doing badly but nobody was telling the top brass about it because they were afraid.

So they'd bring in this new CEO and everybody's really anxious, not knowing how it was going to go because it can go one of two ways. Somebody can ask you 'What's going on? How's your department?' And it can be like Mao's China where it's just a bunch of yes-men and you lie.

Harrison: 'We're over target!'

Adam: 'We're over target!' Or you can have, as this corporation did, where when asked 'What's the situation?', they say, 'Actually, we're down five percent.' That was the crucial moment because if you have a psychopathic person trying to push this pathocratic system and the pseudo-reality, that exposes the pseudo-reality. You can either get punished or you can get supported from it. In that particular instance they said, 'Good. Thank you. Someone's actually telling me the truth for once so we can actually build something that is actually functional!'

Elan: I think you're talking about how Ford Motor Company might have...

Adam: Was it Ford?

Harrison: Yeah!

Elan: ...a big turnaround about 20 years go?

Harrison: It was from 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I think that was one of the examples he gave in the book.

Adam: Yeah, that was it.

Elan: I thought it might have been from the book Insight. But the whole point was that this guy was willing to listen to even people outside the company and on the lower echelons who were willing to say what the people he was immediately surrounded by were not willing to say, which was, "This is what you have to do to make things better."

But anyway, Harrison I know you wanted to delve a little bit into the actual article. There are some gems in there, especially defining what pseudo-reality actually is and the ideological paralogic.

Harrison: Do you want to go into that?

Elan: Sure.

Harrison: I want to make one comment about the Mao thing that you were talking about and the reason for these purges. One comment: 'there's no honor among thieves' first of all and so even if you are a diehard true believer in the revolution, that doesn't mean that your head might be the next one on the chopping block. If you're a pathological exploiting the movement like all the other pathologicals, that still doesn't mean that you're in the free and clear. If you manage to screw up, you'll be just as heartlessly thrown out with the trash as anyone else, just by virtue of circumstance.

Psychopaths don't have any type of interpersonal bond with each other so it's not like "Oh, he kind of screwed up but he's such a great guy and he's my friend." It's like, "Okay, less competition for me." So it is a totally ruthless and heartless environment. You can't apply normal human interactions and the motivations for normal human interactions to a group of people like this. One reason that these types of purges happen once a movement like this is in control, in addition to there being people who aren't 100% onboard or 100% in the know, is that - and this is one of the points that Lindsay argues in the article - is that something like the further away your ideology is from reality, the more it conflicts with reality, the more it is going to fail.

So in the case of Mao's China and the great leap forward and the resulting famine, the famine happened because they were so divorced from objective reality that everything fell apart. Just like in the Soviet Union, it was an entire culture founded upon lies and you had to lie about everything. So when you have everybody lying about everything, nothing's going to work. So when nothing works, someone has to take the blame and then that creates a vacuum for even worse people to come in and just compounds the problem.

Elan: Well, taking it to the types of developments that we're seeing in the west and in particular in the US, as a child of the 1970s and 1980s - and I'm sure I've said this before here - to wake up one day a couple of years ago and realize that reality has been inverted yet again - first it was in the 2000s under Bush and a neoconservative version of reality - and then it has swung in this other sick direction towards far left, communist, socialist thinking with what we're seeing now. To realize and to see how pervasive this is in the US, to see how it has taken over the discourse, the language, the thoughts and ideas and what people are saying and doing to the extent that it has, I can't stress this enough! It's mind boggling!

So to read an article such as Lindsay's that describes in some detail how this process takes place and what the levels of intelligence are and how these paralogical ideas get foisted upon individuals and how individuals who may be very intelligent, as he says...

Harrison: Very smart people.

Elan: ...very smart people is how he calls it - how they assimilate and respond to and go along with to the extent that they do, all of these, in real, truthful, logical terms, these illogical ideas, is fascinating and a new kind of way for us to immunize ourselves from the types of things that we're seeing on a daily basis.

So this is from a section of this really long but worth reading essay called, Ideological Paralogic. Lindsay says,
"Because the pseudo-reality is not real and does not correspond in any faithful way to objective reality, it cannot be described in terms that are logical. In the realm of how it thinks about the world, a pseudo-reality will employ an alternative logic, a paralogic, an illogical, fake logic that operates beside logic, that has internally comprehensible rules and structure but that does not produce logical results. Indeed, it necessarily must correspond not to reality but to pseudo-reality and it must also therefore violate the law of non-contractions; that is, a pseudo-real paralogic will always be internally and often unrepentantly inconsistent and self-contradictory."
Just like anti-Fascists, but they're Fascists! Inclusiveness, but don't include conservatives! As but one obvious example.
"This can be taken as a symptom that a paralogic is being presented in support of a pseudo-reality as can be any sustained attack on principles of objectivity and reason."
One of the ways that we're seeing this sustained attack on principles of objectivity and reason is to shut everybody up across the board. If you have an opinion that's opposed to this larger, critical theory discourse, then you must be racist, you must be evil, you must be pro-Hitler, you must be xenophobic!

Adam: That's exactly why they're against free speech. They hate free speech because they can't control what people say and they can't control the fact that they don't control reality. But if they control the narrative they think they can control reality. So that's why they hate free speech.

Elan: And this is where this movement that we're seeing is so ruthless because what it says is that if you're not going along with this way of thinking, this pseudo-reality, this paralogical way of thinking, then you are evil! Because how can you not be against racism? How can you not be against xenophobia or any one of these phobias?

Adam: It's so masterful, I hate to say.

Harrison: Yeah. It's devious.

Adam: But it's so devious that they take these things that are ostensibly true in the sense that racism is wrong in the sense that it doesn't really map to reality and causes all kinds of harm, and xenophobia. We can all agree that these aren't good things. But that's where they get you in the trap because once you acknowledge this little portion of their pseudo-reality as being true, then they can start using their paramoralistic word games that just smash you to pieces! It's devious and sick!

Elan: And because people are afraid to question this sort of thing, there is a tendency to go along with the crowd, to submit, to not be subject to the attacks. So it's an absolutist, totalitarian approach to psychology, towards rebuilding society, towards really destroying the mental health of a good part of the population that doesn't realize what they're undergoing, what this ponerization is doing to their minds, to their responses to things. It really takes a certain amount of looking back at objective reality and weighing of the messages that are being inflicted upon people. That image of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer and the rest of them kneeling and wearing the culturally...

Harrison: Culturally appropriate African robes.

Elan: African garb. This couldn't be more insincere. But they realize that this is the ideology of the moment that is going to help secure their own positions of power when, at the end of the day, all of their policies, however they're branded, whatever they're called, are destructive to their own constituency.

Harrison: I was just thinking of how heartless, how devious and malevolent it is. I can't remember what I was reading recently, but I think it was an article in the Federalist on just what's going on in American society at the moment and how every kind of revolutionary and every authoritarian thinks that they're doing the right thing. They don't see themselves as authoritarians. You'll see this on Twitter currently, at the present moment, all of the people who are cheering the banning of Donald Trump from all of these social networks, not seeing the wider implications of it. They're just happy that it happened and can't see that THEY are the authoritarians. Just like a lot of anti-Fascists can't see that THEY are the fascists. In their mind they are righteous and just people doing the right thing against evil people who deserve it.

So there's that element. There are examples going around. You can have children and young adults turning in their parents or uncles or aunts to the FBI because they know that they attended the rally on capitol hill on the 6th, whether or not they were involved in any kind of violence or whatever. "I know my uncle was there. I called the FBI and I turned him in," giving the names of their parents or whatever. A lot of these people, I'll say, think that they are actually battling evil, fighting evil by doing this.

Now as evil as that is to a degree, because that's what always happens - every time this happens in human history you're going to get people like that - what a lot of people don't realize is that there is a significant portion of those kinds of people who are psychopaths. They're doing this for psychopathic reasons. It's like "I'm going to destroy this person's life. I don't care whether they were at the rally or not. I'm just going to destroy them." That's what you see a lot on Twitter. A lot of it is hidden. It's not on the surface.

You can't tell just by reading a tweet but social media, the internet, has always been a perfect breeding ground, a perfect playground for psychopaths and pedophiles because of the anonymity. They can create 10s, 100s of accounts, however many they need. They can go into anonymous chat rooms. They can groom children. They can do whatever they want and you won't be able to tell. I'd argue that a lot of what's going on, a lot of these people that are doing these sorts of things on social media for instance, a lot of the cancel culture and a lot of the snitching and the Stasi and Gestapo type activities that are going on is just totally manipulative, malevolent people who are just out there to ruin people's lives. When they're going through someone's Twitter profile and find something eight or 10 years ago, it's like, "Ah! I've got this guy! I'm going to ruin him!"

Elan: Isn't it something?

Harrison: "I'm going to destroy this person." And they get a kick out of it. It's fun. There are people like that. There are people out there who just want to destroy your life completely, to whatever degree possible that they can. That's not even the depth. That's one of the depths.

Adam: For no other reason other than the fact that they just don't like you. That's all it takes. They don't like you for any reason at all. You looked at them in a mean way. You criticized them for doing something that was rightfully criticized even.

Elan: Well there's another dimension to this and that is that critical race theory and to some degree black lives matter and to some degree antifa and black block groups, are all seeking to accrue power to themselves in a way that would include sometimes, attacking. It's a tearing down of something in order to feel empowered and it's not an authentic integration or a constructive individuation or realization of one's abilities and earning their way through a job and a relationship and a family. It's seeking to tear down in order to build themselves up and that's part of the utopian philosophy.

So it happens on this micro level and then we see it on this larger level which manifests itself in the burning of cities, in the attacking of civic institutions, in the propping up of leaders who pay credence to their philosophy or at least tacitly permit them to do what they're going to do. But I think we'd also do well to realize that so much of these movements have become institutionalized. The types of thinking that we're seeing reflected in far left liberal culture these days is being literally taught in universities across the board! And, these organizations that are protesting and at worst, causing civil discord, are highly organized in many cases and financed and the brain child and thought out, by people that they don't even realize are pulling the strings, all for larger kinds of policies and movements that are beyond the scope, beyond the vision of the individual protestors' imagination.

Adam: Yeah. Thinking specifically about the riots in these major cities and then they go around and someone tells them, "Hey, go burn down that building" and they're getting paid for some of this stuff. They go and they burn down the building. "Alright, cool. I get to burn down a building and I get paid for it. Sweet! I'm all for it." Unbeknownst to them, they're actually clearing the real estate for whoever it is to come in and buy it all for pennies on the dollar later. Like you're saying, these are all games within games and the people on the bottom level who are just either opportunistic or blind believers, are getting used and played in ways they cannot fathom, to their detriment and our own.

Harrison: Everyone's getting played. Let's say you've got a corporation. First of all, woke ideology has infected universities, education on all levels from kindergarten up, big tech, woke finance, every corporation on the planet - not on the planet but in our western world...

Adam: All the mega corporations.

Harrison: Well not even mega corporations. Every at least semi-large corporation has these diversity, equity and inclusion boards. So pretty much every aspect of society - and that covers a chunk of them - the most important people on the internet in finance, in business and largely in politics, it's everywhere. But let's say you've got a corporation, some mega corporation that is kowtowing to the mob and doing these photo ops and doing everything right, or think about a similar example, a Joe Biden supporter on the street of where one of these riots is taking place with his Joe Biden sign at the front, they're somehow destroying his property and he's on his porch - I'm thinking of a real video - saying, "You guys! I support you! I'm Joe Biden!"

Adam: "Look at my sign!"

Harrison: "Look at my sign!" That doesn't matter. All of these cowards and lackeys at the top of these corporations who are selling themselves to virtue signal and be part of the crowd, they're not safe. No one's safe. The people on the bottom are being used. The people on the top are being used. Like in Mao's China, any one of them could be next. I think that's one important point that a lot of people supporting this don't realize. You could be next. You probably will be.

Adam: As many billboards and signs and commercials and everything else, like Nike and Apple have done to be inclusive and to virtue signal, guess what? New York City, Chicago, wherever it was, they still broke into the stores and stole all of your stuff, you dumb asses!

Elan: That's right. And how sincere can a rioter be who's fighting for all of these things if they're destroying a minority-owned business in their own neighbourhood or someone else's neighbourhood. How do you reconcile - and that's what Lindsay's talking about, these contradictions, these illogical motivations. How do you not question because you're told to shut off your conscience in the pursuit of this great cause.

So what's right in front of you to realize is not there. You've been told to shut it out, or ignore it, or to opt for the pseudo-reality. And therein lies the problem because what we're seeing, this larger movement is pretty darn big. It's not just the signs touting inclusivity in companies that you might work for. It is the bolstering of people into positions of power that will basically use the ideology, like we've said on many shows previously. It's not that the ideology needs the psychopath. The psychopath needs the ideology. That's their vehicle. That is their road to power.

Adam: And that was something that we had discussed one day talking about a new version or an updated version of Ponerology, was that quote in particular. What struck me about it, trying to figure out why that was and what was it about it that really made things work. Well now we can understand the reason why the spellbinders need the ideology. It's because the only way that they can invert people's natural conscience and moral structures to the extent that they become on top and what is immoral is seen as moral and good and that's the only way. And that's why they need it.

So if we don't buy into it, if we don't feed into it, there's nothing that they can do and they will always be seen for what they really are.

Harrison: That's why one solution is to ruthlessly mock...

Adam: Yes!

Harrison: ...everything that's going on. Maybe we'll close this. I recommended the article. I also recommend you check out James Lindsay's Twitter feed because he's gloriously sarcastic and funny and effective at pointing these things out. So it's a daily string of insights from James Lindsay on Twitter about how this kind of thing works. If you want to see a person who is not shy about telling idiots that they're totally idiotic and pointing out the total paralogic and paramorality of everything that's going on, give him a chance and check him out. Maybe with that said, we're going to end the show for today. We'll be revisiting these topics, probably pretty regularly throughout this year because it's probably one of the most important things that we can talk about this year because of everything that's going on.

So with that said, check out the article. We'll put some links in the show description and we'll see you next week.