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Having been convinced of the merits of the Italian realist school of political science, I harbor no illusions about populism, socialism, democracy, or other versions of fantasy by which the American fairy tale - we the sovereign people - would come to life. There will not be a regime in which somehow the people rule their country themselves. The arguments for why this is true are too involved to be rehearsed here. Only some of them are addressed in an earlier post to this substack, and in my book, The Managerial Class on Trial. Suffice it to say that the space for human freedom lies exclusively in the circulation of elites. The longer any faction of ruling class rules, the more entrenched it becomes, the more prone it is to corruption, decay, insularity, incompetence, and knee jerk-reactive lashing out in over-compensation for its own faults. The only means of replacing it, though, from an Italian realist perspective, is for it to be overthrown by what Peter Turchin describes as a surplus elite: those of the ruling class for whom there simply is not sufficient place in the ruling faction and its regime, as the spoils of ruling class privilege are squandered by the ruling faction's increasing sclerosis and enfeeblement.

Pushed thus to overthrow the ruling faction of their own elite class - consistent with the long history of real-life politics - this surplus rebel elite can usually be expected to find a valuable ally in the excluded ruled people: those marshalled to sustain the regime that provides the elite their privileges. However, as discussed in my last post, the very nature of the managerial class ventriloquism is such that its modus operandi lends itself to pathocratic capture.

So, the general population's hope of freedom lies in the circulation of elites, but that same circulation, with each cycle, once again leaves that general population vulnerable to the effects of the surplus elite's pathocratic capture. Given the horrific atrocities that occasion the triumph of pathocracy, discussed here, this is a dilemma to say the very least. Is there any intervention that might strengthen the surplus elite against such pathocratic capture and so increase the prospect that the next circulation cycle introduces more freedom than atrocity?

Of course, here one is always tempted to lapse into some fairy tale of democratic regulation, another of Mosca's political formula. That though, of course, would be to entirely collapse the logic of our foundational axioms. For all the reasons a fairy tale democracy is not going to eliminate elite rule, so also will it not be able to prevent pathocratic capture of the surplus elite's class coup. The only hope here is that the surplus elite itself become sufficiently aware of and vigilant against such pathocratic capture. That can be a hard sell. Conspiring against the king is a deadly business; if you don't succeed in killing the king, you can hardly be surprised if he concludes the matter by killing you. With the stakes so high, it can hardly be surprising either that the rebels of the surplus elite gravitate toward and indeed invest much of their aspiration in those willing to make the hard decisions and do the ugly things that are necessary for victory. And of course, it is the psychopaths, with their deficit in empathy and conscience, who are most readily available to play this role.

This essential insight was provided by Andrew Łobaczewski, in his book Political Ponerology. However, in that same book Łobaczewski also emphasized the incentives for the clinically normal members of the surplus elite to prevent their class coup from degenerating into pathocracy. Once the psychopaths have genuine power - the power of life and death - the original, loyal cadre, who were honestly committed to the ideology informing the class coup, are likely to be among the first heads on the chopping block.

The temptation for the surplus elite to weaponize psychopaths in their class coup is great, but the potential costs of such a strategy may simply not be worth the tradeoff. The challenges, then, seem to be: first, sufficiently alerting the surplus elite to the dangers to their own hide of allowing pathocrats to capture their class coup. This of course is complicated by the fact that such surplus elite are masquerading as members of some aggrieved class who they have coopted through their ventriloquism (e.g., the workers, the deplorables) and hardly want to own up to their actual historical role.

And second, there is the challenge of identifying or developing or highlighting a strategic mechanism that would facilitate the objective of weeding out of the ranks of the surplus elite the psychopaths that would lead their class coup astray, down the road of pathocracy, toward the fate of genocidal atrocities, the victimhood of which they would share with rest of us. Having already demonstrated how the class character and modus operandi of the managerial class all too welcomingly invites pathocratic capture, in posts to come, I'll see if I might be able to tease out the rough shape of what such a strategic mechanism might look like.