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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

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© 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.


Alarm Clock

I, Psychopath

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Despite the best advice of the world's top experts, Australian documentary-maker Ian Walker was naive to think he could study a psychopath in the wild and not get hurt.

"I didn't really understand how manipulative a psychopath can be," the director of I, Psychopath now admits. "I thought it would be a fair fight. After all, the filmmaker has the power, really. The power of the camera and the edit."

But, as it turns out, Walker chose his subject well. 47 year-old Israeli-born Sam Vaknin is a former corporate criminal and a self-proclaimed master of manipulation and reinvention. Walker first interviewed him several years ago as the author of the book Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited.

Walker was intrigued by a throwaway line where Vaknin professed he thought himself a "corporate psychopath". Afterwards, the film-maker spent several years researching the subject, but always wanted to make a film which might show psychopathic behaviour in action. Because of his narcissism, Vaknin was almost certain to say "Yes".

So, in February 2008, joined by Vaknin's long-suffering but ever-loyal wife Lidija, the threesome embarked on a diagnostic road trip to the world's top experts in psychopathy. Via a battery of psychological testing and brain scanning experiments, Vaknin becomes the world's first civilian to willingly seek a diagnosis for psychopathy.

Comment: Watch or download the I, Psychopath documentary online here.


Eye 2

Ponerology 101: The Psychopath's Mask of Sanity

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© M.C. Roessler 2010
A Wall Street Psychopath?

In 1960 Bernie Madoff founded his Wall Street firm, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC. As chairman of its Board of Directors until his arrest in December of 2008, Madoff saw his firm (and himself) rise to prominence on Wall Street, developing the technology that became NASDAQ, the first and largest electronic stock exchange in America, in the process. A multimillionaire with over $800-million in shared assets with his wife and high school sweetheart, Ruth Alpern, Madoff was well-regarded as a financial mastermind and prolific philanthropist. He exuded an aura of wealth, confidence, and connections, and many trusted him as a pillar of the community. Sounds like a great guy, huh?

His humanitarian image was supported by his work for various nonprofit groups like the American Jewish Congress and Yeshiva University in New York, the various commissions and boards on which he sat, and the millions he donated to educational, political, cultural, and medical causes. As his firm's website made clear at the time (it has now been removed): "Clients know that Bernard Madoff has a personal interest in maintaining the unblemished record of value, fair-dealing, and high ethical standards that has always been the firm's hallmark." It's funny how things change with a little perspective and a pattern emerges only in retrospect. It wasn't until December of 2008 that the public became aware that this "personal interest" was anything but one of integrity, and that image stopped being taken for reality.

Comment: Go to Part 3 in the Ponerology 101 series


Eye 1

Is Your Favorite Politician a Psychopath?

Psychopaths rule our world
© Sott
What do John Edwards, Bob Barr, Rod Blagjevich, John Ensign, Eliot Spitzer, Mark Sanford, William Jefferson, William Jefferson Clinton, David Vitter, James McGreevy, Tom DeLay, Charles Rangel, Newt Gingrich, and David Paterson have in common?

Obviously, they're all politicians who've been caught doing something illegal, unethical, mind-bogglingly self-destructive, or all of the above.

But what also binds them is that none of them seem to believe they really did anything wrong, in spite of vast evidence to the contrary. When they finally have no option but to appear contrite, their apologies feel stilted, scripted and anything but heartfelt.

The latest offender, New York Governor David Paterson, hasn't even gotten around to apologizing yet. In the meantime, he's apparently managed to convince himself that it's okay to phone up and intimidate a woman his top aide just viciously beat up. Then there's John Edwards. I've just finished reading The Politician by his aide, Andrew Young -- an irresistibly salacious takedown, but one that never gets near understanding Edward's breathtaking brazenness and utter obliviousness. Or how about the much-indicted Rod Blagjevich joining the cast of "The Apprentice?" while he awaits his own criminal trial -- and continues to profess his utter innocence despite dozens of tape recordings that make it clear exactly what he did.

Comment: The unsavory personal lives of politicians undoubtedly brings much destruction to individuals directly involved. However, it's important to recognize that their toxic influence extends far beyond their personal life to involve whole nations. The results of having a pathological leadership, a pathocracy, is nothing short of devastating for humanity.

See Lobaczewski and the origins of Political Ponerology for more information.


Eye 2

Ponerology 101: Lobaczewski and the origins of Political Ponerology

Psychopaths rule our world
© Sott.net
Beginning immediately after World War II and continuing in the decades after the imposition of Soviet dictatorship on the countries of Eastern Europe, a group of scientists - primarily Polish, Czech, and Hungarian - secretly collaborated on a scientific study of the nature of totalitarianism. Blocked by the State Security Services from contact with the West, their work remained secret, even while American researchers like Hervey Cleckley and Gustave Gilbert were struggling with the same questions.1 The last known living member of this group, a Polish psychologist and expert on psychopathy named Andrzej Łobaczewski (1921-2007), would eventually name their new science - a synthesis of psychological, psychiatric, sociological, and historical studies - "ponerology", a term he borrowed from the priests of the Benedictine Abbey in the historic Polish village of Tyniec. Derived from poneros in New Testament Greek, the word suggests an inborn evil with a corrupting influence, a fitting description of psychopathy and its social effects.

Most of what we know about this research comes from precious few sources. Łobaczewski's sole contact with the researchers was through Stefan Szuman (1889 - 1972), a retired professor who passed along anonymous summaries of research between members of the group. The consequences for being discovered doing this type of forbidden research were severe; scientists faced arrest, torture, and even death, so strict conspiracy amongst their little group was essential. They safeguarded themselves and their work by sharing their work anonymously. This way, if any were arrested and tortured, they could not reveal names and locations of others, a very real threat to their personal safety and the completion of the work. Łobaczewski only shared the names of two Polish professors of the previous generation who were involved in the early stages of the work - Stefan Błachowski (1889 - 1962) and Kazimierz Dąbrowski (1902 - 1980).2 Błachowski died under suspicious circumstances and Łobaczewski speculates that he was murdered by the State police for his part in the research. Dąbrowski emigrated and, unwilling to renounce his Polish citizenship in order to work in the United States, took a position at the University of Alberta in Canada, where he was able to have dual citezenship. A close reading of Dąbrowski's published works in English shows the theoretical roots of what would become ponerology.3

Comment: Go to Part 2 in the Ponerology 101 series