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Ponerology: Why the Corrupt Few Wreak So Much Death, Destruction, and Suffering on the Rest of Us

ponerology link
© Red Pill Press
Political Ponerology: A Science on the Nature of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes
Perhaps the most important question of our time why, throughout human history, have despicable characters repeatedly risen to the pinnacles of power. The 20th Century alone witnessed an estimated 140 million war deaths and another 16 million from genocide. Mass starvation kills millions in an era when there is plenty enough food to feed the world. And not coincidentally, in the world today 40% of the world's wealth is held in the hands of 1% of its inhabitants, while the bottom 50% owns only 1% of the world's wealth. That means that the top 1% owns 40 times more than half the world's population. There are of course numerous reasons for this sorry state of affairs. But certainly the tremendous wealth and power disparity in the world, along with the abuse of that power by so many who have the most of it explains a great deal. Why have so many despicable characters throughout history acquired the ability to inflict so much suffering on the rest of humanity?

I have read two books in particular that provide much insight into this issue: The Authoritarians by Bob Altemeyer (This link is to a free electronic version of Altemeyer's whole book); and, Political Ponerology - A Science on the Nature of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes by Andrew M. Lobaczewski. Both books talk about much the same process, but Altemeyer approaches it from the individual psychological perspective, whereas Lobaczewski approaches it more from the societal level. Both books were recommended to me by fellow DUer Larry Ogg.

Footprints

Reflections on Political Ponerology

ponerology link
© Red Pill Press
Political Ponerology: A Science on the Nature of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes
After reading the incredible book Political Ponerology: A science on the nature of evil adjusted for political purposes by Andrew Lobaczewski, I had a transcendental moment of realization (sort of an "Eureka!" moment). I have to conclude that ponerology and psychopathy are two significant concepts that best explain the sorry state of human affairs in this world which continue to negatively impact on our society, our lives, and our future. No, I don't think it has anything to do with "greed" or even "moral weakness" (however you define it). It has to do with psychopathology and its influence on the nature of evil in society.

People in positions of power that systematically perpetuate evil behave as if they were a different human species; a 'para-Homo sapiens,' if you will. No matter how much good will there is in the world, there continues to be much war, suffering and injustice. It doesn't seem to matter what plan, ideology, religion, or philosophy great minds come up with, nothing seems to improve our lot. And it has been that way for thousands of years, repeating over and over again. We rationalize evil's existence as being part of "human nature," a necessary part of the complexity of the world, due to perennial greed or lack of enlightenment, triggered by mutually exclusive competing interests, etc.; however, those who subscribe to these principles and attitudes may have rendered a premature judgment and closed the book on evil without examining all evidence from different, previously unexamined points of view.

Ponerology and "successful" psychopathology (i.e. not the "violent serial killer" type, but the Stalin, Pol Pot, Cheney, Rockefeller, Kissinger, Bill Clinton, or Donald Rumsfeld type) clinically explain how "pathocracies" - the system of government created by a small pathological minority that takes control over a society of non-psychopaths - are generated and dominated by those that possess an inborn error (psychopathy) prevalent in 4-6% of the population, which is physiologically unable to feel normal human empathy. They are emotionless, selfish, cold and calculating, and devoid of any moral or ethical standards, yet they are intelligent, charming, driven, focused, and therefore tend to achieve the highest positions of power by concealing their true nature under a "mask of sanity." This concept applies to all existing hierarchical power structures.

Magnify

Danger! Empathy and Psychopathy as Competing Value Systems in Politics and Economics

suit skull
© Michael Herring
Four to five percent of the population is born without a capacity for empathy. It is a neurological lack. A psychopath may be a genius and become a multimillionaire, but he will never be able to understand empathetic values. In fact, because of the grandiosity of these personalities and consequent intense denial they have toward their shortcomings, they are arguably less capable of understanding empathy than a congenitally deaf person is of understanding music. Their minds are closed. Psychopaths treat the empathetic majority as the defective ones and seek relentlessly to remake the world in their own image, to proselytize their viewpoint and values and to "teach" their "defective" empathetic fellows to think like them.

Unfortunately, they can. A psychopath can never learn to think like an empathetic person. The functioning brain tissue is just not there. But people with a normal capacity for empathy can turn off that capacity and think like psychopaths.

To a certain extent, the empathetic do this as a matter of evolution. As studies of war, racism and genocide indicate, humans draw what Martha Stout called circles of empathy. They behave empathetically toward those in the circle and psychopathically toward those outside the circle. However, we are not hardwired for xenophobic violence like chimps. For us it is a function of learning and culture.

Eye 1

Ponerology 101: The Truth Behind the War on Terror

scared kid

Fearful children - fearful adults. Grist for the psychopath's mill.
Human relationships are plagued by fear. This cycle all too often begins in our first relationship with our parents. Too self-absorbed to recognize what their child truly requires of them, many parents betray their own child's weakness and dependency on his caregivers - his emotional need for comfort, security, trust, and the loving acceptance of those closest to him. Having missed out on these important periods of growth, this boy, now a parent himself, may come to feel threatened by the emotional needs of his own child, becoming dependent on his own children and spouse to provide what he never had. The vicious cycle spirals on, and in turn, his own children learn to stifle their needs, deny their own feelings, and live as hollow reflections of the needs of their father. When a child must meet the emotional needs of a parent, and not the other way around, the parent-child relationship is inverted. Stephanie Donaldson-Pressman and Robert Pressman call this the 'narcissistic family dynamic', and the problems it causes are directly relevant to the vast geopolitical problems the world currently faces.

Such children, like their parents, seek some source of comfort, some sense of security, but not knowing where to look and what to look out for, they often find it in all the wrong places: their own children, their lovers, their work, some religious or political cause. As much as they may deny it, they are motivated by the very fears they experienced as children - afraid of being alone, not belonging, uncertain, unloved, confused, abandoned. They find shelter from the pain in some literal or symbolic arms of embrace, yet it is incomplete in some way, like the 'security' of a sinking ship or of a castle built on foundations of sand. Not wanting to let go, and face that pain again, they shore up their defenses - a rallying of troops to give 'the people', their own fragmented personalities, a sense of security. But such a cover-up is built upon and dependent on lies, things half-seen through the lens of denied and distorted emotion. We may be denying that we are in a relationship with a psychopath, someone who, despite the abuse and mental torture they subject us to, offers us some sense of comfort and stability in life. Or we may deny our own betrayal of our loved ones' emotional needs: the child we criticize and deform according to our own twisted ideals or the lover we demand to be someone they are not.

Comment: Go to Part 6 in the Ponerology 101 series


Bad Guys

Ponerology 101: The Political Psychopath

Netanyahu

Political psychopath, Benjamin Netanyahu
Before their research into corporate psychopathy, Paul Babiak and his colleagues raised several questions in need of answers. They are equally relevant to the study of political psychopathy and can be rephrased as follows:
- How could a psychopath outshine other candidates and achieve success in politics?
- Why would a psychopath want to enter politics?
- How long could a psychopath successfully operate in such an environment?
Jim Kouri, who served on the National Drug Task Force, has trained police and security officers throughout the United States, and is currently the fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, answers the first question in an editorial for examiner.com:
Quite simply, most [psychopathic] serial killers and many professional politicians must mimic what they believe are appropriate responses to situations they face such as sadness, empathy, sympathy, and other human responses to outside stimuli. ... If violent offenders are psychopathic, they are able to assault, rape, and murder without concern for legal, moral, or social consequences. This allows them to do what they want, whenever they want. Ironically, these same traits exist in men and women who are drawn to high-profile and powerful positions in society including political officeholders.

Comment: Go to Part 5 in the Ponerology 101 series


Newspaper

China: Toddler Who Survived Van Crash Now Addicted to Cigarettes and Beer

Image
© Quirky China News
Three-year-old Ya Wen smokes a cigarette. She took up the vice after being hit by a van in Huizhou, China
A three-year-old has mysteriously picked up an addiction to smoking cigarettes and downing beers after surviving a road crash.

Ya Wen has been smoking up to a pack a day since the accident last year when she was hit by a speeding van.

Her parents say that her personality has changed since leaving hospital, where she recovered from five days in a coma and severe injuries.

Her mother Gao said she has started acting like an adult.

'She likes drinking,' she said. 'Three glasses of beer is no problem to her.'

Her mother, who collects rubbish to sell in Huizhou, China, said she found her daughter hiding in a toilet and smoking her father's cigarettes.

Book

The Psychopath: A New Subspecies of Homo Sapiens

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© AgentSeta
Contrasting Several Evolutionary Hypotheses

The psychopath is a unique and quite dangerous subgroup within our species. He, or she, is capable of deadly manipulations executed with unbelievably cold, calculated intellectual and emotional maneuvers. Charming, lacking in empathy, guilt, responsibility and the normal range of human emotion, they move among us with an often impeccable mask that makes them virtually undetectable. There are several evolutionary hypotheses which attempt to explain their behavior, however the best fit is that they represent a cheating reproductive strategy, one geared towards the production of many offspring for which they afford no long term care.

Support for this thesis comes in a various forms. We know that psychopaths are callous, deceptive, promiscuous, and egocentric (Cleckley, 1941: 337-364). They are also mostly male: almost four times as many more psychopathic men then women (Sigvardsson, et al, 1982). This makes them ideal for mating with many women and then leaving them subsequently, once the deed is done, so to speak. It also confers a psychological advantage in that they have the ability to manipulate women by mimicking emotional attachment, or deceiving them about resources they can offer. The same is also true for female psychopaths, who can often create the impression of being in distress which elicits more financial and physical support from the men they mate with. There is a genetic basis to the trait, demonstrated in many twin adoption studies (Viding et al, 2005 & Larsson et al, 2006: 221-30).

Eye 2

Ponerology 101: Snakes in Suits

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The criminal psychopath has been observed and studied for almost a century. But except for a short mention by Cleckley, the idea of a successful psychopath - ordinary by almost all external standards - has remained shrouded in that pervasive "conspiracy of silence". As this series progresses, it will become clear why this is the case and what exactly are the ramifications of such a dangerous gap in knowledge and awareness. So far the only in-depth presentation of the problem of successful psychopaths has been Paul Babiak's and Robert Hare's book Snakes in Suits, published in 2006. The book is essential reading, and has the potential to save your life, literally. The information it contains is universal and can be applied to interactions on any social level.

Babiak, as an industrial and organizational psychologist, encountered his first corporate psychopath in 1992. By studying operators like "Dave" in the corporate environment, Babiak not only brought into focus the methods by which psychopaths infiltrate and ascend the corporate ladder of success, he shattered previous illusions about what was and wasn't possible for psychopaths to accomplish. Many in the industry thought psychopaths wouldn't be able to succeed in business. They thought that psychopaths' bullying and narcissistic behaviors would be off-putting to potential hirers, and that their abuse and manipulations would inevitably lead to failure within the company. In fact, the so-called "experts" couldn't have been more wrong. They seemed to have neglected the uncanny ability of psychopaths to present an image of extreme normality, and even excellence, to their victims. And that is what we are to them: victims, potential "marks", suckers.

Comment: Go to Part 4 in the Ponerology 101 series


Bell

Kerry Cassidy of Project Camelot Interviews Laura Knight-Jadczyk

Laura PC Interview
© 2010, sott.net
Kerry Cassidy interviews Laura Knight-Jadczyk
When Kerry Cassidy of Project Camelot stopped by to interview Laura Knight-Jadczyk in early February, we had our own cameras and microphones set up to record.

Laura shares a personal account of her search for the true nature of existence and her inquiry into the paranormal, past lives and the unknown, that has served as an inspiration for so many.



Bulb

Israeli Settler Syndrome? Barry Chamish Barely Groks Ponerology

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© Chabbad Info
Barry Chamish
Investigative journalist and critic of the Israeli government Barry Chamish has recently published a strange and telling review of Andrew Lobaczewski's Political Ponerology. Chamish is best known for his UFO research in Israel and theory that Israel's former minister of Foreign Affairs, Shimon Peres, and the Shin Bet were responsible for the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, not the crazed Israeli "settler" Yigal Amir. He has also been highly critical of Ariel Sharon, the psychopath behind the massacre of Sabra and Shatila. And we at SOTT grew to appreciate his, as it appeared in the past, keen insight into the true nature of Israeli leaders.

But his recent review has caused the editors at SOTT.net to ponder some interesting questions.

Chamish begins his piece, "The Two Faces of Political Ponerology", with a poorly researched statement:
Ponerology is a term invented by the author and it means the study of the nature of political evil.
While Lobaczewki did invent the term pathocracy to describe a system of government saturated with psychological deviants, he didn't invent the term ponerology. Actually, as Lobaczewski makes clear in his book, ponerology is a theological term that means the study of evil. Lobaczewski adopted it for his own purposes in studying the nature of political evil, thus the title of his book: Political Ponerology. Chamish then writes:

Comment: The problem with this situation is that it is exactly what the pathologicals in power love to see - people that are mostly on the same side of the fence (compared to the elites) at each other's throats. It is unfortunate that the "good guys" (even the ones with blind spots) can't be smarter about how they are being manipulated and allow themselves to be manipulated (and confused). In this case, Barry is not being very smart.