13.10 Psychopaths in power

by peter © last updated jan. 2018
I wrote this article in honour and memory of the The White Rose Campaign for Human Rights .

13.10.1 Summary

“It’s all me. I’m the only one who matters”
~ U.S. president Donald Trump [398]
Those who occupy executive offices have been shown by a number of large research studies (please see below for citations) to frequently posses most or all of the traits which diagnose them as functional psychopaths. A functional psychopath is a psychopath who is able to don the mask of normalcy in order to function in society. This is a problem when such people hold power, because as discussed below mental illness is a communicable disease. By which I mean that people can be easily convinced to internalise amoral self harmful norms, cooperating and enthusiastically embracing the insanity of leaders even when the payoff for such cooperation is smaller than the payoff for noncooperation.
Nov. 30, 2017
To the Editor (New York Times):
I am the editor of “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.” We represent a much larger number of concerned mental health professionals who have come forward to warn against the president’s psychological instability and the dangers it poses. We now number in the thousands.
We are currently witnessing more than his usual state of instability - in fact, a pattern of decompensation: increasing loss of touch with reality, marked signs of volatility and unpredictable behaviour, and an attraction to violence as a means of coping. These characteristics place our country and the world at extreme risk of danger.
Ordinarily, we carry out a routine process for treating people who are dangerous: containment, removal from access to weapons and an urgent evaluation. We have been unable to do so because of Mr. Trump’s status as president. But the power of the presidency and the type of arsenal he has access to should raise greater alarm, not less.
We urge the public and the lawmakers of this country to push for an urgent evaluation of the president, for which we are in the process of developing a separate but independent expert panel, capable of meeting and carrying out all medical standards of care.
Dr. B. X. Lee, New Haven [399]
(The writer is a forensic psychiatrist at the Yale School of Medicine)
That an allegedly severely mentally ill person can legally and independently on sole authority of himself, launch a nuclear war capable of destroying humanity ... is abhorrent. What does it say about those who support such a person? I invite you to read about Germany in the 1930s to find out.
The remainder of this article explores the idea that many senior politicians, CEOs, oligarchs, and those is positions of power have throughout history had many or all of the diagnostic traits indicating they were functional psychopaths.

13.10.2 Introduction

Mental illness is a communicable disease.
For if those at the top of society are mentally ill, particularly with an illness which manifests and cruelty and uncaring, it is not long before those of lower social status begin to emulate their behaviour. I demonstrated this fact in my article Is Morality a Payoff Matrix? and give an example how simply the core personalities of people en masse can be changed and manipulated here: Can Your Core Beliefs be Easily Altered? , and finally of how this translates to mass insanity, here: Creating the Fourth Reich? .
All of this points toward one simple conclusion - that the true danger of placing functional psychopaths into positions of power it is not so much what they themselves do as a result of their illness, but rather what others are influenced to do on their behalf.
Before exploring this in some detail, let me begin with two quick examples of classic psychopathic behaviour. I will then move on to discuss functional psychopaths - the class of illness which is not nearly as well know or as well researched.
“Starting at age 6, Samantha began drawing pictures of murder weapons: a knife, a bow and arrow, chemicals for poisoning, a plastic bag for suffocating. She tells me that she pretended to kill her stuffed animals.
’You were practising on your stuffed animals?,’ I ask her.
She nods.
’How did you feel when you were doing that to your stuffed animals?’
’Happy.’
’Why did it make you feel happy?’
’Because I thought that someday I was going to end up doing it on somebody.’
’Did you ever try?’
Silence.
’I choked my little brother.’”

~ Dr. B. B. Hagerty [400], discussing a six year old patient
“As we walked along the flatblock marina, I was calm on the outside, but thinking all the time. So now it was to be Georgie the general, saying what we should do and what not to do, and Dim as his mindless greeding bulldog. But suddenly I viddied that thinking was for the gloopy ones and that the oomny ones use, like, inspiration and what Bog sends. For now it was lovely music that came to my aid. There was a window open with the stereo on and I viddied right at once what to do.”
~ Alex [271] prior to stabbing his friend, from Anthony Burgess’s ’Clockwork Orange’
Dilawar of Yakubiwas was a taxi driver trying to earn an honest living to support his family. He was crucified and tortured to death in a U.S. facility. The evidence of his innocence of any crime was readily available before his U.S. torturers allegedly decided to crucify him, laugh at his screams for Allah (God) to help him, as he died.
“The guards hearing Jesus of Nazareth scream out ’Eli, Eli,’ supposed he was calling for Elias, not clearly understanding his native tongue.
They decided to see if Elias would come to rescue him and took sadistic delight that Elias did not come to save him.
Similarly, American guards returned often during the final 24 hours of Dilawar of Yakubi’s crucifixion to beat his dangling legs with pulpifying blows.
’I would think it was about 100 strikes,’ said the U.S. First Platoon’s Specialist Corey E. Jones.
’Everybody heard him cry out and thought it was funny.’
~ D. Townsand [159], writing in the award wining independent newspaper the National Catholic Reporter, about the U.S. government’s torture program as documented by the U.S. Senate, numerous NGOs such as Amnesty International, many leaked documents, United Nations reports, two U.S. presidents, and many others
There can be little doubt concerning the lack of mental health by those who like the Romans long ago or the Nazis more recently, find the screams of their dying torture victims ... funny. Please see here for citations and discussion: Are U.S. Run Torture Sites Crimes Against Humanity? .
However this is not the subject I would like to discuss in this short article. Rather this brief article explores at the psychology of those in power who order and perpetrate evil without remorse, empathy, or care.
The constellation of the psychological traits I discuss below belong to individuals who possess a unique lust for power and control, coupled with the absence of empathy and compassion common to clinical psychopathologies. It is my contention that these people are predisposed to seize power - corporate, political, military, etc. wherever and whenever they can, but whatever means they can. When they do so, what follows in their wake ... is destruction and harm to others.
“I would do it again [order people to be tortured] in a minute”
~ R. Chaney [163], U.S. Vice president stating that he had no hesitation or regret having ordered prisoners to be tortured (i.e. commit war crimes under numerous international laws and agreements).
“Today in the much vaunted western democracies there exists a great deal of unaccountable state power whose primary function is to maintain the existing politico-economic structure, using surveillance, infiltration, sabotage, judicial harassment, disinformation, trumped-up charges and false arrests, tax harassment, blackmail, and even violence and assassination to make the world safe for those who own it.”
~ historian Dr. M. Parenti [255]

13.10.3 Functional psychopaths

“I remember years and years ago a conspiracy theorist telling me the world was ruled by blood-drinking, baby-sacrificing lizards. These psychologists were essentially saying the same thing. Basically, when you get them talking, these people [ie. psychopaths] are different than human beings. They lack the things that make you human: empathy, remorse, loving kindness.”
~ Jon Ronson [221], author of “The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry”

13.10.3.1 Labels: a caveat

"Idols are the profoundest fallacies of the mind of man. Nor do they deceive in particulars...but form a corrupt and crookedly-set predisposition of the mind; which doth, as it were, wrest and infect all the anticipations of the understanding. For the mind of man...is so far from being like a smooth, equal and clear glass, which might sincerely take and reflect the beams of things, according to their true incidence; that it is rather like an enchanted glass, full of superstitions, apparitions, and impostures."
~ Roger Bacon [43], 13thC, CE
I am not enamoured of labels applied to the rich variety of human experience. Particularly labels relating to psychological, psychiatric or medical diagnoses. Sadly these often do more harm than good, pathologising difference from an artificially imposed norm, as Bourdieu, Faucault, and many others have noted.
Even worse, such pathologising of difference all too frequently results from an ontology based upon classism. Furthermore aggregating individuals into imposed categories such as those of the egregious DSM Psychiatric Medicine is a Fraud , has more to say about the narrow Weltanschauung embraced by some authority figure (i.e. the psychiatrist), than about the individual being diagnosed.
All to frequently those who hold different ideals or express themselves differently from some arbitrary norm such as the DSM or have non-harmful but unusual behaviour patterns, are termed mentally ill. Furthermore mental illness is too often equated with incompetence. When in fact quite the opposite may be the case (as for example, in the case of functional psychopaths such as the neurologist discussed below).
Tragically for humanity as a whole much of the categorisation applied in clinical psychology Is Clinical Psychology a Fraud? , medical iatrogenesis Endemic Iatrogenia and Medical Incompetence , and psychiatric practice Psychiatric Medicine is a Fraud is little more than rampant apriorism. Opinion disguised by terminology to give the faux glamour of being scientific. As I discuss and cite in the three linked articles above, much of this categorisation is, not to put too fine a point on it, pseudoscience. Furthermore, once labelled by the modern version of phrenology which the DSM represents, an individual even if fully recovered, tends to be treated a certain way simply because said label appears in perpetuity upon her medical record.
Furthermore, there is no such person as a “psychopath”. This is merely an invented term - another means of abuse for pathologising another human being. No one ever born is one thing or another. No one is or has ever been the simple dichotomous labels which have enriched the psychiatric community at such tragic cost to the unhappy or disadvantaged. All of us are filled with the richness and variety that is the human condition. Calling one aspect better than another is value judgement, not objective truth.
Having said this however, it is none the less true there are those individuals which appear to have certain distinct similarities. People from the European Caucasus region tend to have light skin pigmentation. People trained in the theoretical end of a hard science tend to have excellent senses of humour - to wit: Why did the robot cross the road? Because it had been glued to the chicken, bruuu ha ha ha!. And heads of state who order others to be tortured tend to have a set of characteristic traits which for want of a better term, may be designated “psychopathology”: Are U.S. Run Torture Sites Crimes Against Humanity? .
Hence I will use the term “psychopath” for the rest of this short article as a designator for a particular constellation of commonalities I outline in the next section, with the very important proviso that the strong and essential caveats mentioned above are kept in mind.
Finally, it is important to consider that there are many psychologists and psychiatrists in this world and as in any other field from plumbing to theoretical physics, they tend to disagree with one another offering different diagnoses for the same patient.

13.10.3.2 Commonalities

“The comparison between totalitarianism and psychosis is not incidental. Delusional thinking inevitably creeps into every form of tyranny and despotism. Unconscious backward forces come into action. Evil powers from the archaic past return. An automatic compulsion to go on to self-destruction develops, to justify one mistake with a new one; to enlarge and expand the vicious pathological circle becomes the dominating end of life. The frightened man, burdened by a culture he does not understand, retreats into the brute’s fantasy of limitless power in order to cover up the vacuum inside himself. This fantasy starts with the leaders and is later taken over by the masses they oppress.” ...
“Before they seize power and establish a world according to their doctrines, totalitarian movements conjure up a lying world of consistency which is more adequate to the needs of the human mind than reality itself; in which, through sheer imagination, uprooted masses can feel at home and are spared the never-ending shocks which real life and real experiences deal to human beings and their expectations,”
~ Dr. J. A.M. Meerloo, psychiatrist, writing in his book “The Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing” [401]
In the former Soviet Union dissidents - those who protested against the actions of the state - were frequently judged to be mentally ill and confined to mental institutions [281]. The great Soviet writer and thinker Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn for example, was judged to be insane in court because he dared suggest that the actions of the state were contrary to the good of the Soviet people [282].
Similarly in the United States when several dissidents leaked documents allegedly proving war crimes (soldiers videotaped joy riding in a helicopter shooting innocent civilians and laughing about it [283, 284]) and illegal activities by the state (such as illegal spying on innocent journalists [285]), some of those accused where called “mentally unstable” by several U.S. government officials, senators, and the like [286, 287, 288].
Or consider the fact that several psychiatrists [289, 290] and psychologists [ibid] judged U.S. president Donald Trump to have a number of serious mental disorders, such as the inability to tell truth from fiction, extreme clinical narcissism, and so on [ibid]. (Certainly he would not be the only head of state in history, modern or ancient, with serious mental health issues.)
The problem here is that in mental illness is all too often seen as a deviation from a norm. In a mentally healthy society such as Bhutan or Denmark, this may have some validity. However in a society such as the United States which has waged war and committed genocide since its inception, deviation from the norm of inflicting mayhem and death throughout the planet may be a sign of mental health, rather than illness.
There are however some commonalities which regardless of culture or background, are universally seen to be unhealthy. Celebrating the death of others (G.W. Bush [291]), torturing others [G.W. Bush [292], B. Obama [293], D. Chaney [306], D. Rumsfeld [307], V. Putin [308], Mao [309]), locking up people known to be innocent of any crime simply because to do so is politically advantageous (R. Erdogan [294]), assassinating civilians without trial or indictment (B. Obama [312]), an inability to tell fact from fiction (D. Trump [295, 296]), participating in the slave trade (A. Al Saud [297]), serial paedophilia, bombing innocent civilians(H. Kissinger [298], D. Eisenhower [302], H. Truman [303], B. Obama [310], T. Blair [311]), killing mentally challenged prisoners (A. Hitler [299], the U.S. state of Texas [300]), racism (Chicago Police Dept. [301], Qutar [304]), attacking the disabled and mocking them (D. Trump [305]), and the like .... do not bode well for the health of the minds committing such actions.
Hence while unquestionably there may be mental illness involved ... calling such illness psychopathy is likely in error. Consider the following statement:
“We need a program of psychosurgery and political control of our society. The purpose is physical control of the mind. Everyone who deviates from the given norm can be surgically mutilated. The individual may think that the most important reality is his own existence, but this is only his personal point of view. This lacks historical perspective. Man does not have the right to develop his own mind. This kind of liberal orientation has great appeal. We must electrically control the brain. Some day armies and generals will be controlled by electrical stimulation of the brain."
~ Dr. Jose Delgado [1], former Director of Neuropsychiatry Yale University Medical School
Was the man who made this statement - a psychiatrist - also a functional psychopath (functional because he can function in society)? Or consider the following statement:
"Well, you know what? I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol. Our spiritual enemy will only be defeated if we come against them in the name of Jesus."
~ U.S. Lt. General William G. Boykin [109], United States Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence discussing the U.S. invasion of Iraq
Or this one:
’I am driven with a mission from God’. God would tell me, ’... go and fight these terrorists ... And I did. And then God would tell me ’... go and end the tyranny ... ’. And I did... I feel God’s words coming to me"
~ U.S. president G.W. Bush [110]
Or perhaps this:
“Actually it’s quite fun to fight them, you know. It’s a hell of a hoot... It’s fun to shoot some people."
~ Lt. General James Mattis [111], a three star Marine general and commander of US Marine expeditions, later reward for this wonderful philosophical approach to human life by being appointed top Marine General at U.S. Central Command.
Or this:
“The guards hearing Jesus of Nazareth scream out “Eli, Eli lama sabachthanii [My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?]” supposed he was calling for Elias, not clearly understanding his native tongue. They decided to see if Elias would come to rescue him and took sadistic delight that Elias did not come to save him. Similarly, American guards returned often during the final 24 hours of Dilawar of Yakubi’s crucifixion to beat his dangling legs with pulpifying blows. ’I would think it was about 100 strikes,’ said the First Platoon’s Specialist Corey E. Jones. ’Everybody heard him cry out and thought it was funny.’
~ D. Townsand [313], Nat. Catholic Reporter
Notice the commonalities in these people: There is an appeal to special privilege (the personal approval of some sick version of a god); taking joy in inflicting pain and suffering; a lust for control of others (eg. “psychosurgery”); and above all the implicit belief in one’s own superiority. And of course, an unwavering ability to believe their own lies:
“Trump is a toxic blend of Barnum and bully. If you’re a good mark, he’s your best friend. But if you catch on to the con, then he starts to gaslight. Ask him a question and he’ll lie without batting an eye. Call him a liar and he’ll declare himself ’truthful to a fault’. Confront him with contradictory evidence and he’ll shrug and repeat the fib. Maybe he’ll change the subject. But he’ll never change the lie.”
~ N. Hemmer [330], U.S. News and World Report. Analysis by Politico [332] of U.S. president Trump ’s speeches indicated that he lied on average one every five minutes.
It has been alleged by a number of psychologists and psychiatrists [331, 334], as well as those who knew the man personally [335] that Mr. Trump was incapable of telling the truth, or perhaps of recognising it. To such people it has been said [ibid], that the truth is what they say it is ... that there is no objective reality outside of their own opinions and beliefs. Hence when the objective evidence (videos, police reports, etc.) showed that the number of people attending Mr. Trump s enthronement inauguration as U.S. president was low, both Mr. Trump and his press secretary stated this to be “a lie”, that the numbers were the highest in history, and that their lies were a valid “alternative truth” as they called it [336, 337, 339].
While denying objective reality for purposes of hiding truth from the public is a standard tak of politicians, advertising executives, press secretaries, public relations firms, military budget estimators, and the like, constant failure to recognise objective reality outside of one’s own head is often referred to in the literature as one (of many other) marks of mental illness. It is also a commonality amongst functional psychopaths..
There are others as well: In his study “The Mask of Sanity” [122], H. Cleckley listed sixteen traits common to psychopaths, ranging from superficial charm through to complete lack of remorse for their actions. Others have built on this work until now there are several commonalities subsumed under the following generally accepted traits of functional psychopathology:
  1. Lack of empathy: Psychopaths feel little to no guilt, remorse, or empathy. They are capable only of artificial, feigned compassion. They are uncaring and largely oblivious to the suffering in the world. Or that which they cause (for example, oblivious to the suffering of a pet dog). Some fMRI research has indicated that neural areas which have increased blood flow in the majority of individuals when feeling empathy and compassion, remain inactive in diagnosed psychopaths [2] (but see my caveats here Is Neuroimaging Pseudo Science? concerning forming conclusions from fMRI data.) In general a psychopath is largely oblivious to pain and suffering in others - she knows it is there, but simply incapable of really caring. There is little or no remorse for the effects of her actions upon others. And little or no true compassion for suffering in others. Her world is an easy one, wherein she can be bubbly and content, because she is mentally and neurologically incapable of true feeling or truly caring about any except herself.
  2. Emotional poverty: Because of (1) above, psychopaths are often skilled at mimicking emotions rather than having them in the normal sense. Emotional display in such individuals is often dedicated toward some goal, such as manipulating others, convincing themselves of something, avoiding helping, or other goal oriented activities rather than arising from a genuine feeling. They are also easily bored, needing to keep busy most of the time. In part because they simply do not understand or feel, any connection to anything or anyone. In general a psychopath is a one who uses her entire being (intelligence, body, spirit, etc.) in the service of the most primitive drives (aggression, power, blood sport, war, etc.) devoid of emotional content. Her emotional expressions (compassion, love, for example), are an act - something she has learned with practice to emulate. Yet there is no truth or authenticity in her mimicry.
  3. Fearless dominance and lust for power: They seek power over others. Whether through subtle innuendo or through use of force. The psychopath firmly believes she has the right to lead and dominate everyone else. Hence any threat to her dominance is dealt with viciously and precipitously, regardless of consequence. She needs always, to be in complete control of everyone else. There is also a grandiose sense of self-worth and entitlement. Which allows her to lie continuously and with ease Firehose Effect: the social epidemic of incessant lies whenever desired, without any concern at all for truth, accuracy, or fact. Only facts which help her in dominating others are of interest - all others are rejected as wrong, unworthy, flawed. In a word, other people are seen a tools - to be used and thrown away.
  4. Agelastic: Laughter is forced, artificial, seldom spontaneous. But a psychopathic leader often has the ability to fake normalcy - to appear to enjoy laughter, jokes, and indeed to mask his disdain and disinterest beneath a thin veneer of charm. But the eyes remain dead. When they do laugh, it is often at the misfortune of others.
  5. On/off: It has recently been shown the there are a small number of cells likely associated with the amygdala and ventromedial prefrontal cortex that act as a behaviour switch [3, 4]. For example, a clinical psychopath can often, turn a behaviour of or on as required - charming when needed to get her way, cold, distant, and dead to emotion or compassion at other times. Further, psychopaths are frequently capable of compartmentalising their behaviour. This means that in addition to simple on/off responses, many can turn on specific behaviours on some situations, or when required, manifest entirely different behaviours [5]. Not spontaneously or naturally, but rather carefully calculated toward attaining some goal.
  6. Explosive bouts of anger and action, generally hidden beneath a mask of tight control: There is a façade of cooperation, but cross them, and they explode into anger and/or often violent action. They often keep and update “enemies” lists, for example. However many will carefully choreograph their every move so as to avoid an explosion which would cause them to throw off their masks, exposing the ugliness beneath. A research neurologist [144] who has found all of the fMRI traits and behavioural traits for functional psychopathology within himself for example, has written of his own constant need for vigilance to avoid such explosive outburts and potentially loose him his career and family - something which throwing himself into his work has helped him survive.
  7. Ontologically blind, inflexible, inability to recognise objective reality versus one’s own lies : Everything is black or white, without nuance. Hence reasoned debate, scientific fact, parable and metaphorical reasoning, are all irrelevant. Only the psychopath’s viewpoint is correct. Anyone who agrees with her is good, anyone who does not, is to be mercilessly attacked. The psychopath is an absolutist, an ideologue, convinced beyond reason or debate of the superiority of herself and her ideas. Moreover she is proud of her own inflexibility and rectitude calling this “strength of character”. She will never change her lie in the light of objective evidence, she is dismissive of those who are different or who can and do change their viewpoints. All the climate scientists in the world may warn of anthropocentric climate change - but she knows that they are all wrong. She and she alone, without the need for fact, science, reason, or debate knows that everyone in the world is inferior.
And finally although not a trait per se, yet a strong marker of a psychopathic personality:
  • 8. The lives around the person are substantially worse for having known them. They wreak misery against whomever they meet. Not immediately, but over time, with lies, deceit, lack of guilt or conscience, aggressive risk involvement for the target, or more simply, sudden violence. All under a thin facade of charm and friendliness.
It is of course, rather an easy matter to find historical heads of state or heads of corporations or military who match all of these traits. Very easy. One need look no further than some of the current heads of state in order to find those with all of these attributes, as well as other more subtle traits which I discuss later on. However, before doing so it may first be useful to identify some of the neurological commonalities rather than merely the psychological ones which I have listed.
To understand the importance of this, let me first say a brief word about alexithymia:

13.10.3.3 Alexithymia

Alexithymia may thought of as emotional blindness. Those with this diagnosis find it difficult or even impossible to feel the range of emotions common to most humans. It is found in roughly have of those diagnosed with autism. However many, even most, of those diagnosed with alexithymia have no autistic or compulsive traits at all. Rather they are simple unable to feel strong emotion or a range of emotions.
Various studies [234, 235] have shown some of those with alexithymia have unusually dense connections between the two brain hemispheres. Epileptics have had the two hemispheres surgically separated (a radical and dangerous treatment for severe grand mal seizure relief) report that they no longer feel emotions properly or lack a range of emotions. The speculation [236] is that dense connections between the hemispheres may impinge on communication in a way similar to actual severing of the connections.
There also is some emerging evidence [237] from fMRI studies that the cingulate cortex (thought to aid in self-awareness) may contain fewer connections in those with alexithymia. Of course this is highly speculative, but some (eg. R. D. Lane at U. Arizona who specialises in the link between emotion and physical disease [238]) postulate that the body of those with alexithymia can respond to emotions - GSR response can be normal for example - but due to blocked or missing connections, the emotion does not carry through to conscious awareness.
Speech prosody is also involved. According to work by K.S. Goerlich-Dobre, J. Witteman et all [239] those with alexithymia showed diminished response in the superior temporal gyrus and the bilateral amygdalae when confronted with tasks involving emotional prosody categorization. Which the researchers speculate may in part explain the difficulties in social communication alexithymia.
There is much more of course, but not germane to the topic of this article. What is germane however, is that emotional difference between those with alexithymia and functional psychopaths. In the former case, neurological differences make someone with alexithymia unable to process or feel emotions normally. But they can still be caring, helpful, and fully empathetic with others. In the latter case - the realm of the psychopath - there is little or no empathy or caring.
This is an important distinction and I raise it to show that it is rather the confluence of the eight traits above which defines psychopathology, rather than the mere appearance of one trait in a given individual.

13.10.3.4 Physical Differences in the Neurology of Psychopaths

There is emerging evidence that those with the eight traits discussed above are also physically different from the mass of humanity.
A number of fMRI studies indicate that there is less grey matter in the anterior rostral prefrontal cortex and temporal poles in psychopathic criminal offenders [6]. As well as in clinical psychopath who are non-offenders [ibid, 84]. There may also be differences in makeup of the amygdala and ventromedial prefrontal [7] as already mentioned.
Empathy and compassion requires in part proper operation of mirror neurons as well as the normal response by the right supramarginal gyrus - located roughly at the junction of the parietal, temporal and frontal lobes. Aditionally the anterior insula, the anterior midcingulate cortex, somatosensory cortex, the right amygdala, to some extent the ventral striatum are involved.
When these aspects of the brain are in deficit, people appear to have difficulty putting themselves in another’s shoes - i.e. difficulty feeling empathy/compassion. Sometimes the lack of function is mild; sometimes severe. In a fair number of fMRI studies [256, 257, 258, 259] normal subjects given emaphic visual or auditory stimuli register reaction (increase blood flow, etc.) in these neural areas. In other subjects these studies showno response at all, or much lower response levels. And verbally report failure to recognise that others are in pain or suffering. Interestingly the PCL-R and PCL: SV assessment techniques (which I discuss later) have found that those subjects who score high the psychopathology scale also demonstrate lack of reaction in these neural areas to empathy/compassion stimuli [ibid] although there are many caveats, particularly the pragmatic fallacy, some of which I discuss in my article on neuroimaging here Is Neuroimaging Pseudo Science? . None the less, the data is certainly interesting.
There are also some emerging data at Dr. R. Hare’s lab to the effect that EEGs of psychopaths demonstrate many similarities to those of children [37]. Children of course display a host of psychopathic traits from extreme malignant narcissism to abject cruelty to others [38, 39]. Please also see also Piaget’s early work [40] in this regard.
Hare’s research has also found that those with psychopathic traits tend to have very different word association results than the norm [41]. P. Babiak’s and D. Hare [85] and B. Oakley’s [84] explorations psychopathology in general also point to underlying neural abnormalities.
And finally of course there are a host of behavioural [8] and psychometric means available [9, 10, 11] to identify the traits which psychopaths are said to evidence. Again however, with the caveats due to all psychological and psychometric results (please see here for cautions: Is Clinical Psychology a Fraud? , Psychiatric Medicine is a Fraud , Is Personality Testing a Fraud? , and What is genius? .)

13.10.3.5 Functional vs. criminal

“Beneath the cleverly formed façade - typically created by psychopaths to influence their targets is a darker side, which people eventually may suspect. They can be pathological liars who con, manipulate, and deceive others for selfish means. Some corporate psychopaths thrive on thrill seeking, bore easily, seek stimulation, and play mind games with a strong desire to win. Unlike professional athletes moved by a desire to improve performance and surpass their personal best, psychopaths are driven by what they perceive as their victims’ vulnerabilities. Little research exists on their inner psychological experiences; however, they seem to get perverted pleasure from hurting and abusing their victims.”
~ P. Babiak et al [12]
The great director A. Hitchcock was deft at delineating and shaping public opinion concerning criminal psychopaths [13]. These were portrayed in his films as violent killers who cared nothing for their victims, committing brutality and murder with wild abandon. These people operated directly - they killed, tortured, or bullied their victims in person.
There is however another category of psychopath which one might term a “functional psychopath” (also known as a “socialised psychopath or as Babiak and Hare might say, a “subclinical psychopathology”). Hitchcock and other film makers do not typically address this class of psychopath.
Unlike their brethren, functional psychopaths are able to mask their illness under a much practised veneer of normalcy. Stout gives an good lay introduction to this category in “The sociopath next door” [14]. Dr. Stout’s work and a number of studies [ibid, 15, 16] have indicated that this more subtle type may be far more prevalent than the murderous clinical psychopath Hitchcock found so fascinating.
For example, it turns out that psychopathic traits such as those measured by the Psychopathy Checklist (PCL-R and PCL: SV - see “Psychopathy as a Clinical and Empirical Construct” [42] for some caveats) are higher amongst top corporate executives than the community at large [20, 21].
One can only assume that since a plethora of former corporate executives move on to high political office, the same may be said for senior politicians.
Furthermore, P. Piff and D. Keltner found a strong relationship (correlation) between wealth and power, and the degree of compassion an individual held toward others [86, 87]. The higher up the social ladder, the less compassion. Indicating that a certain type of mind seeks power and influence over others, and that said mind may not be the healthiest.
"Senator, first of all, I do agree that the tsunami was a wonderful opportunity to show not just the U.S. government, but the heart of the American people. And I think it has paid great dividends for us."
~ Condoleezza Rice [143], U.S. Secretary of State, speaking after a tsunami destroyed upwards of 200,000 lives in 2004. The death of 200,000 human beings and the maiming of many, many others presented a wonderful opportunity?
M. W. Kraus et al [88] have presented some research indicating that social class is also inversely linked to amount of compassion. While others (such as Piff and Keltner [89]) have speculated that this and other work indicates that wall street may be a breeding ground for greedy behaviour, I see this area of research differently.
For since wall street and high political office are frequently revolving doors (see here for examples: Can Democracy be Easily Ended? (Yes - 10 easy steps) ) it may again be the case that functional psychopaths are drawn to wall street or to positions of high social status for obvious reasons, and this is the cause of the lower compassion ratings. That is to say, social class does not breed lack of compassion, but rather attracts those who lack it such as the functional psychopath.
However obviously not everyone in situations of power evidences amoral behaviour. Baklav Havel is a case in point - a highly ethical man utterly uncorrupted or subject to the greed so typical of those who also rise to become heads of state. The truck and trade of power is cheating, lying, dishonesty. In fact as research by Ruedy et al [231] in their well known paper in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,, has shown that cheating and lying are often associated with strong feelings of self-satisfaction across a host of different tasks and modalities. This is “normal” human behaviour, and not what I mean by those characterised as having functional psychopathology.
However when coupled with the trait markers for psychopathology, cheating and lying become not merely a reward system, but standard tools used to dominate and rise to positions of social power. if given the opportunity to hold high political, religious, military, or corporate office, those with psychopathology manifest dishonesty and cheating in myriad and usually harmful ways with no thought for the consequences. One need look no further than the obscenity of G.W. Bush’s lie “Mission Accomplished” before sending people to die during his perpetration of the Iraq holocaust.
In other words, whilst the functional psychopath may evidence many of the marker traits right from birth, the true flowering of the illness depends upon the right environmental and societal circumstance. For example Alexander the Great was at first merely another drug addicted alcoholic sullen youth. But when placed by circumstance, (his father’s death, and the influence of power brokers who used him toward their own ends) into a position of power ... his true psyche emerged for all to see. Alexander did not become the tyranical torturous horror of a human being - he merely required the circumstances which gave him political power to evidence these traits, which were always there in the background, waiting for the chance to flower. (Incidentally, the fact that his example is still taught in military colleges as an example of how to win war, speaks not just to historical revisionism, but to the mental state of those who would emulate that monster’s methods.)
“Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”
~ Matthew 7:16-20, Christian holy book
This idea of psychopathic personality from birth is also given credence by the personal memoir of lawyer M.E. Thomas in her Confessions of a Sociopath [112]. As she says [113] lying came to her naturally as a means to an end. So did manipulation - her story [ibid] of threatening a professor with accusation of sexual advances in order to gain a better grade is a case in point. But particularly striking is her discussion of how she learned to emulate the emotions of caring and empathy, right from her earliest memories. The semblance of being human was always as a means to an end. There was essentially little desire or ability to connect with others, which she says made manipulating them fun and easy. This also helped make it easier to be a lawyer regardless of circumstances - while her colleagues became concerned about the moral or social issues of a client, she was able to weigh only factual evidence and not become as she says, “distracted” by compassion or caring.
Now Ms. Thomas was not in any way a bad person. Quite the opposite in many ways. But her writing helps understand the mental state of the really evil - the psychopath who holds corporate or political power and wields it merely for his or her own amusement.
“When I look into his eyes, I see emptiness.”
~ M. Ignatieff [59] during an interview discussing the then Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper (Mr. Harper has been alleged [240, 241] to match the traits supra)

13.10.4 Corporate and political

“It is hypothesised that successful psychopaths have intact or enhanced neurobiological functioning that underlies their normal or even superior cognitive functioning, which in turn helps them to achieve their goals using more covert and nonviolent methods. In contrast, in unsuccessful, caught psychopaths, brain structural and functional impairments together with autonomic nervous system dysfunction are hypothesised to underlie cognitive and emotional deficits and more overt violent offending.”
~ Y. Gao et al [22].
“It was like talking to a robot. No expression, no feeling. People were sharing touching stories, stories where you’d expect recognition in the other person’s face that they at least hear what you’re saying that there’s empathy. He didn’t even shake his head. He was completely blank.”
~ David Wilson following a meeting with Mitt Romney, Republican nominee for U.S. president [212]
This quotation is from a study which analysed corporate executive officers [18, 19]. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and structural equation modelling (SEM) appeared to show latent structure psychopathologies in the majority of those studied [ibid]. The researchers found too that psychopathy was associated with employee ratings of these people as charismatic, creative, and good communicators, whilst at the same time negatively correlated to low responsibility, performance, accomplishments, or management skill.
Of course such studies have many caveats, not the least of which is relatively small sample size (in this case 203) and several methodological constraints. Never the less, the overall conclusion of functional psychopaths in corporate offices in not at all unique [23, 24].
Take for example the recent study (in J. Pers. and Soc. Psych.) which identified these traits in several U.S. presidents [25]. For example, Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, Rutherford B. Hayes, Zachary Taylor, Bill Clinton, Martin Van Buren, Andrew Jackson and obviously George W. Bush were all ranked as having the “fearless dominance” trait - one of the most significant markers for a psychopathic personality [ibid, 26]. This is not to say that all of these men were psychopaths, but rather that they had this trait much more strongly than 1) other U.S. presidents, and 2) most other humans on the planet.
There is at least the possibility that these men were functional psychopaths - not an untoward conclusion perhaps judging by their records or actions while in office, as well as the overwhelming evidence that they also carried most or all of the trait commonalities previously indicated.
Certainly Rubenzer and Faschingbauer’s book “Personality, Character and Leadership in the White House” [27] indicates an alleged prevalence of trait markers for psychopathologies in several U.S. presidents. A recent example: According to some researchers such as Wolman, Briggs [28], etc. [29], U.S. president G.W. Bush was an allegedly functional clinical psychopath. And Oakely’s “Evil Genes: Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed, and My Sister Stole My Mother’s Boyfriend” [30] points rather strongly to questions concerning other world and corporate leaders in this regard. The examples discussed in my article on revisionism and absolutism Evidence Based History vs. Revisionism also gives some strong evidence to support further research on this matter.
Of course it is not merely politicians, heads of state, military leaders, or corporate CEOs to may display these traits. Religious icons have certainly had all of the common characteristics - Mother Theresa, now a saint of all things, is an interesting case in point: Was Mother Teresa a Fraud? .
Consider now Dr. R.D. Hare’s "Without Conscience". Dr. Hare et al developed a the widely used checklist of psychopathology (viz. the PCL cited previously). Although a thorough and detailed analysis is necessary for proper diagnosis, Dr. Hare’s work [31] has been applied to some leaders and CEOs [32], through the technique known as “remote profiling”.
A quick word about profiling:
Some years ago the oxymoronically named Central Intelligence Agency of the United States established an applied psychoanalysis unit under the direction of Dr. J. M. Post [43]. Applied psychoanalysis is a type of detailed profiling (q.v. Is Universal Surveillance Oppression? Yes. Sect. 11) wherein clinical and other data on individuals in gathered in order to produce in-depth, highly detailed psychoanalytic profiles. This technique has since been used not simply by military and spy agencies, but more widely in forensic psychology and psychiatry as a means of profiling those who do not wish to submit to office visits or psychometric testing. In particular, the technique has begun more and more to be applied to those in power from CEOs of multinational corporations [44] to presidents and prime ministers [45].
One use of many: The U.S. NSA and others using datamining and metadata in conjunction with these profiling techniques to build psychiatric and psychological profiles of political and corporate leaders.
At any rate, consider the exmaple of Dr. J. Frank, a professor of psychiatry at the U.S.’ George Washington University Medical Centre. Dr. Frank has published two popular books [46, 47] using a mix of applied psychoanalytic profiling and traditional psychiatric work (S. Freud and M. Klein) to “analyse” U.S. presidents G.W. Bush and B. Obama. Neither of whom come out particularly well in Frank’s view, especially the former person. However as a systems theorist Acculturation theory , the lack of scientific or replicable foundation for this sort of analysis makes me very leery of any conclusions (see also Psychiatric Medicine is a Fraud ). And so I personally would tend to take this type of profiling as being interesting but highly questionable. Not to mention the ethical concern around a clinician publishing detailed analyses on a person without that person’s permission.
And yet ... these and other studies lead one to questions regarding the health of a mind which that authorises torture, bombing of civilians, undeclared wars, selling of any and all lethal weapons to the highest bidder, ignoring and perpetuating environmental disaster, and above all orders mass death, holocause, and perpetual needless destruction The Hubris of Empire: Is the United States the world’s greatest threat to peace? , The World Wide U.S. War of Terror ... in order to further enrich his confrères. Especially when such a mind so well fits the traits and studies touched on above.

13.10.4.1 Schadenfreude

“We sure are pleased with those backroom boys at Dow. The original product wasn’t so hot - if the gooks were quick they could scrape it off. So the boys started adding polystyrene - now it sticks like shit to a blanket. But then if the gooks jumped under water it stopped burning, so they started adding Willie Peter [white phosphorous] so’s to make it burn better. It’ll even burn under water now. And just one drop is enough, it’ll keep on burning right down to the bone so they die anyway from phosphorous poisoning.”
~ A U.S. commander in Vietnam [118]
“I interviewed Perle when he was advising Reagan; and when he spoke about ’total war,’ I mistakenly dismissed him as mad. He recently used the term again in describing America’s War on Terror, “No stages, This is total war. We are fighting a variety of enemies. There are lots of them out there. All this talk about first we are going to do Afghanistan, then we will do Iraq . . . this is entirely the wrong way to go about it. If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely and we don’t try to piece together clever diplomacy, but just wage a total war . . . our children will sing great songs about us years from now.” [117]
“At times, the detainees at COBALT [torture facility] were walked around naked or were shackled with their hands above their heads for extended periods of time. Other times, the detainees at COBALT were subjected to what was described as a "rough takedown," in which approximately five CIA officers would scream at a detainee, drag him outside of his cell, cut his clothes off, and secure him with Mylar tape. The detainee would then be hooded and dragged up and down a long corridor while being slapped and punched ... “
~ from the Feinstein U.S. Senate report summary [165, pp. 4]
“... at Abu Ghraib [one of many U.S. torture centers [167] the women were passing messages out [to their family] saying ‘Please come and kill me, because of what’s happened’ and basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys, children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomised with the cameras rolling. And the worst above all of that is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking ... They are in total terror.”
~ Seymour Hersh [168], winner the Pulitzer Prize [169]
“I would do it again in a minute”
~ R. Chaney [163], U.S. Vice president, stating he would readily again order the torture human beings (which is a war crime)
“Would I approve waterboarding? You bet your ass I would. In a heartbeat. I would approve more than that. It works… and if it doesn’t work, they deserve it anyway for what they do to us” [315], “Don’t tell me it doesn’t work - torture works… Waterboarding is fine, but it’s not nearly tough enough, ok?”
~ U.S. president Donald Trump [314] approving of war crimes
In light of this last quotations from Mr. Channey and Mr. Trump , the quotation I gave at the beginning of this article merits repeating:
“The guards hearing Jesus of Nazareth scream out “Eli, Eli,” supposed he was calling for Elias, not clearly understanding his native tongue. They decided to see if Elias would come to rescue him and took sadistic delight that Elias did not come to save him. Similarly, American guards returned often during the final 24 hours of Dilawar of Yakubi’s crucifixion to beat his dangling legs with pulpifying blows. ’I would think it was about 100 strikes,’ said the First Platoon’s Specialist Corey E. Jones. ’Everybody heard him cry out and thought it was funny.’
~ D. Townsand [159], Nat. Catholic Reporter
Mr. Townsand was discussing one of literally hundreds of torture cases wherein U.S. soldiers under orders from politicians in Washington allegedly tortured people to death [159, 160, 161, 162]. Mr. Dilawar was proven to be an innocent man long before his U.S. torturers allegedly decided to cruxify him and laugh at his screams as he died. It shoudl be noted that this type of torture was by no means the exception - please see Are U.S. Run Torture Sites Crimes Against Humanity? .
Let us carry this argument a little further:
Ayn Rand, whose writings have garnered praise from many current world leaders (see Can Democracy be Easily Ended? (Yes - 10 easy steps) ) considered U.S. Indians to be “savages” who should have no rights. Instead Rand praised the actions of the invaders who took native lands by force, by treaty violation, and by biological warfare (i.e. giving out smallpox infested blankets as presents to Native Americans). Rand considered this to be admirable [119]. Justified as she said, because those with power should suppress those without power [120]. Genocide of the “savages” was thereby entirely justified.
“The United States started with genocide and it’s still doing it.”
~ Buffy Sainte Marie [121]. Shw had also spoken of the psychopathology of those in here government who boasted that they were brining democracy to the children of the world.
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A report [48] authored by a blue ribbon group of high ranking military, political, NGO, and academics concluded after exhaustive examination that
"it is indisputable that the United States engaged in the practice of torture. This finding, offered without reservation .... the nation’s highest officials bear some responsibility for allowing and contributing to the spread of torture. ... The United States may not declare a nation guilty of engaging in torture and then exempt itself from being so labelled for similar if not identical conduct."
~ 577 page report from the U.S. Task Force on Detainee Treatment [49] (See here The World Wide U.S. War of Terror for a long list of additional citations for reports which arrived at the same conclusion.)
Torture is seldom about forcing a captive to cooperate or to yield information. People being tortured will say or do anything to make it stop - hence the information obtained is usually whatever the torturers want to hear [49]. There is a plethora of research on this issue [ibid, 85] proving this point. Instead the primary reasons for torturing another human being are:
  1. To exploit captives in several ways: Breaking them down so that they will act on behalf of the torturer; having them say whatever the torturer wants to the media; using them for propaganda purposes; and so on.
  2. Frightening others into compliance, ranging fear of leaking documents through to complete cooperation with and acculturation to inculcated doxa  [502]  [502] “Doxa” is a technical term used in philosophy, systems theory, and in the study of propaganda.. I discuss it more fully here: What is Doxa and Invisible Acculturation? ..
  3. Psychopathology on the part of the torturer: He or she feels powerful; or simply likes to inflict pain upon others; actual believes that torturing others is good; possesses ludicrous cognitive dissonance ( (i.e. my Furher ordered me to do it, so it must be okay); or is simply oblivious and uncaring concerning his activities. Or all of the above.
  4. Psychopathology on the part of those in authority who authorise such human rights violations.
Dr. Joseph Mengele [55], was instrumental in designing many Nazi torture techniques.He was for example an expert in reverse engineering data on how long a person could survive before dying. Dr. Mengele took a detached interest in the screams of his victims as they were vivisected, had holes drilled into their brains, etc. He invented new ways of torturing people (often to death), in the firm belief that he was benefiting the greater good of the Nazis. In other words, Dr. Mengele was a psychopath. Just like those today who torture others, or order others to do so.
The alleged notes of Dr. Bruce Jessen, a psychologist allegedly under contract to the CIA [50] have recently come to light. Jessen allegedly authored the “Draft Exploitation Plan” [51] used by the U.S. military as a guide in allegedly torturing prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay alleged concentration camp and at similar alleged U.S. alleged torture sites in Iraq, Afghanistan, many alleged black site prisons in Morocco, Syria, and elsewhere [52, 53]. Jessen and others were allegedly also involved in designing survival techniques which were then reverse engineered to produced “enhanced” torture techniques [ibid]. The details and documents are horrific - you can be read them for yourself here [54] and read about those who used (and are allegedly still using) these “techniques” here [55, 57].
Now please reread the eight traits in Sect. 2, above.
Much more could be said on this issue, but instead I would ask that you take a moment to consider an apparently unrelated issue:
As I cite here Malevolent capitalism, beat down economics, poverty, and the obscenity of oligarchical ruls , the combined wealth of a mere 88 persons is more than the combined wealth of more than one-half of all humanity.
This kind of immense wealth is sufficient to end poverty, malaria, war, most illness, end starvation, reverse or significantly ameliorate climate change, and so much more. Is the money put to such use? No. Instead it is almost entirely used to gain these people more power and wealth [ibid].
At this point I would ask/urge you to read some of the documented evidence regarding torture of innocent people and also that regarding experimenting on humans in these three articles:
  1. Are U.S. Run Torture Sites Crimes Against Humanity?
  2. Is Experimenting on Humans Ever Justified?
  3. The World Wide U.S. War of Terror
You may consider for yourself after reading the forgoing plus these three articles, the mental states of the people involved in perpetrating/ordering any or all of the above.
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13.10.4.2 Democide

“The more we do to you, the less you seem to believe we are doing it.”
~ Dr. Joseph Mengele [230], Nazi war criminal and torturer
"If the people knew what we had done, they would chase us down the street and lynch us."
~ George H.W. Bush, U.S. president, to journalist Sarah McClendon of the White House Press Corps, 1992 [229]
The term democide was coined by T. Abel in his study “The sociology of concentration camps” [65] and extended by R. J. Rummel [66]. The term refers to murder outside of a declared war, at the behest of government. Stalin’s purges, U.S. drone assassinations, Israel’s withholding food by means of sanctions and embargoes, British mass killings in undeclared wars, Rwandan genocide, China and Mao’s policies which caused at least 70 million deaths Evidence Based History vs. Revisionism , the Burmese SLORC government slaughter of demonstrators, and sadly, so many other examples in so many countries ... may all fall under the general classification of democide.
An argument which some have made [67] is that concentration of political power is highly correlated to the current rise in democide throughout the world. Or to paraphrase Rummel [68], ’power kills’. He and others [66, 67, 69] have done research to indicate that democide kills more humans than war. That is to say, murder outside of declared wars kills more people than those who die in actual wars.
“The force possessed by totalitarian propaganda—before the movements have the power to drop iron curtains to prevent anyone’s disturbing, by the slightest reality, the gruesome quiet of an entirely imaginary world—lies in its ability to shut the masses off from the real world.”
~ H. Arendt [395] in “The Origins of Totalitarianism.”
Well, this is a matter for continued research. What is of interest for my purposes here however, is the mental state of those who order democide.
Clearly Stalin, Mao, or the members of SLORC were not mentally healthy. The atrocities they enthusiastically and repeatedly ordered is certainly indication of this. But what of those in power who ignore the clear evidence of environmental collapse Why Do Politicians Destroy Science? , Why are We Killing Nature? (Ecocide) , Is Humanity Doomed by Climate Change? in favour of short term fiscal profit for themselves and their cronies? In the unlikely event that humanity survives the rapid destruction of ocean life and oceanic acidification currently underway, will it look back upon such people as psychopathic perpetrators of democide? Probably.
Recall the final point in the subsection “commonalities”, above. One of the primary traits of psychopathology is the destruction left in its wake. Buddha killed no one, but made the lives of hundreds of millions better. Can the same be said for any or even one, of those political leaders who order drones to drop bombs in undeclared wars? Of course not.
It may therefore be not too much of a stretch to hypothesis that those who are currently indulged in democide in whatever form, may not be the most mentally healthy people on the planet. Instead they may be be evidencing pathocracy, which is discussed in the next section.

13.10.5 Pathocracy: the psychopath in power

“Look, our strategy is to create chaos, to create a vacuum. We will export death and violence to the four corners of the earth in defence of our great nation.”
~ a senior member of the U.S. government, quoted in “Plan of Attack” by Pulitzer prize winner Bob Woodward [70]
In a paper by S. Obhi, J. Hogeveen, and M. Inzlicht [63] at Wilfred Laurier U. and U. of Toronto, interesting evidence of the root of pathocracy begins to imerge. The researchers placed experimental subjects in positions of power or cpmversly, in positions of powerlessness. Then had them watch someone else perform a simple task. Their responses within the neurological mirror system (motor resonance in the brain) were tracked with TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) looking at motor cortical output.
Motor resonance is the activation of similar brain networks when acting and when watching someone else act. It is believed that the brain’s mirror system is implicated when watching but not acting (see the original paper [ibid] for details). The results using power and powerlessness were interesting - feeling powerless appeared to boost response in the mirror system. That is to say, powerless people had increased empathy. People to whom the experimenters gave power however, had decreased response. That is, little to no empathy. (Of course there are caveats - see my article on Is Neuroimaging Pseudo Science? mentioned previously.) They concluded that power induced asymmetries in the neural mechanisms of normal people resulting in altered social response.
“I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Creator... I am doing the Lord’s work”
~ Adolph Hitler, Mein Kamf [147]
Now consider the non-normal person - a person with most or all of the traits listed above for functional psychopathology. If such a person is given power over others it is entirely possible given Obhi et al’s work, that the natural lack of empathy in such a person is further reduced. Eventually to zero. Certainly the people discussed briefly in my article on recent historical revisionism Evidence Based History vs. Revisionism shows that as ultra-rightwing politicians attain ever more power, there appears to be an increased unflinching ability to ignore the mass suffering of others which they and their policies (eg. [56, 58] allegedly caused.
One may speculate therefore that given Obhi et al’s work that there may have been neurological predilections (viz. the traits above) which power emphasised, causing additional dampening of the mirror system.
All of this is speculative of course. Yet it is interesting to suppose that the traits for psychopathology are fed by power, causing actual changes in neural functioning. For example, what was the mental state of a person such as Nixon who as discussed and cited [Evidence Based History vs. Revisionism ] allegedly engineered an end to peace talks in order to win and election, thereby prolonging the Vietnam war and causing hundreds of thousands of more deaths? Allegedly merely for his own personal gratification. It would have been interesting to run both the PCL-R and TMS studies on Mr. Nixon but alas, he has passed on, shuffled of this mortal coil, joined the choir invisible, gone to meet his maker. He is an ex-president.
Perhaps this alleged war criminal (despite revisionist doctrine [ibid]), this person who prolonged slaughter, murder, assassination, and destruction for his own demented gratification, has allegedly been replaced by others of equal calibre? Certainly those who have turned the United States, Britain, China, and India into torture states, may qualify?
Clinical perniciousness - the sign of mentally ill leadership - is antithetical to democracy, and the ethical and moral behaviour of nations. But sadly, not uncommon.
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“The role of Mr. Cheney is that he authorised, directed, ordered, supervised, and failed to prevent the commission of a wide range of crimes against humanity and war crimes”
~ G. Davidson [265] of Lawyers Against the War, a group seeking to have Mr. Chaney (and others) arrested and tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity
Mr. Truman, Mr. Chaney, Mr. Bush, Mr. Reagan, Mr. Nixon, Mr. Obama, Mr. Trump - all alleged mass murderers, all alleged perpetrators of torture, all alleged war criminals. All benefit a handful of the very wealthy at the expense of everyone else. All allegedly left humanity as a whole worse off than if they had never existed. The same of course, can be said for politicians from Genghis Khan onward. With the occasional exception - such as Vaclav Havel, president of the Czech Republic - political leaders have been in the main, horrible people. How many of these match most or all of the diagnostic standards for functional psychopathology? Quite a few.
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13.10.5.1 A thought experiment

“If anything people without conscience tend to believe their way of being in the world is superior to ours. They often speak of the naivete of other people and their ridiculous scruples, or of their curiosity about why so many people are unwilling to manipulate others, even in the service of their most important ambitions. Or they theorise that all people are the same - unscrupulous, like them - but are dishonestly playacting something mythical called “conscience”. But this latter proposition , the only straightforward and honest people in the world they themselves. They are being ’real’ in a society of phonies.”
~ Dr. M. Stout [115] regarding functional psychopaths and sociopaths
With this in mind, a small thought experiment may be in order:
Suppose you are a shepherd. You manage a small flock of twenty sheep, with the help of two loyal and well trained sheep dogs. The dogs have learned to respond to your whistles, herding the sheep left or right, moving them to this field or that one, according to your directions. One day you get up early, call the dogs as usual, and go out to the field to round up the sheep for shearing.
But as you and walk out to the pasture, you suddenly realise that the sheep are completely silent. As you get closer you see that they are not moving. Closer still, and you see that they are all dead, every last one of them, with their throats ripped out. The dogs circle howling piteously. It is a horrific scene. Judging by the nature of the tragedy, you assume that a mountain lion must have silently got past the dogs in the night and killed the sheep.
So you call your neighbours. The ones nearby have also had some sheep killed - but just a few. To prevent more deaths, you and your neighbours grab rifles and go into the bush looking for the mountain lion. After a few hours, it is spotted on a ridge. The best marksmen amongst your neighbours lines up a shot. And fires. The mountain lion is killed.
The crisis is over. It will take you a few years to recover the farm, but it is good to know the mountain lion will not bother you again.
Now ... change the sheep in this little story to people working in a tall office tower, change the shepherd to a political leader, the dogs to his aids, and the mountain lion to a foreign country. The office tower is demolished and all of the people in it are killed. The political leader with the urging of his aids declares that the tower was attacked by the foreign country, calls his allies, and together they go and destroy the country and its people in retaliation.
Well, as you probably realised right away the mountain lion did not kill the sheep. It was the faithful dogs. Why? They were bored and wanted to kill a mountain lion for the fun of it. The lives of the sheep? Mere collateral damage. Because you know, it’s really fun to kill. At least for a psychopath.
“Actually it’s quite fun to fight them, you know. It’s a hell of a hoot... It’s fun to shoot some people."
~ Lt. General James Mattis [33], a three star Marine general and commander of U.S. Marine expeditions, later appointed top Marine General at U.S. Central Command
“War is the greatest of all experiences."
~ Adolf Hitler [245], leader of the Nazi party
It is easy to convince the other farmers that an innocent mountain lion was the one doing the damage. Especially if the other farmers are educated in a system carefully designed to ensure compliant ignorance Pedagogy is Social Engineering . It is always a simple matter to convince such people to do irrational things - such as kill mountain lioins withoug proof of any wrongdoing - if you simply add into the mix simple fear induction Is Fear induction Social Engineering? .
The Nazis were masters at this:
"Naturally the common people don’t want war... but after all it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country."
~ Hermann Goering [59], Nazi leader in Hitler’s cabinet
When a functional psychopath wishes to destroy, maim, and kill other humans just for the fun of it, she protects herself by killing a few sheep, then shouting TERRORISTS did this horror, at the top of her voice to stir the farmers up into a frenzy so that they kill mountain lions and their innocent children. What fun, thinks the psychopath. And how easy to do.
"Guess what’s going to happen to these men?" he grinned at the camera ... "They’re going to be put to death." Bush beamed in happiness. He was so enthusiastic at the prospect of new executions that he said he would execute all three of Byrd’s killers. ... It brings back Bush’s mockery of killer Karla Faye Tucker, whose appeals for life he rejected and whom he mimicked as saying, "Please don’t kill me," shortly before Texas executed her.
~ Lars Nelson [83], New York Daily News, discussing U.S. governor G.W. Bush
"... many powerful people don’t want peace because they live off war. Some powerful people make their living with the production of arms. It’s the industry of death".
~ Pope Francis [212]
"Please stop!, I ask you with all my heart, it’s time to stop. Stop, please! Brothers and sisters, never war, never war! I am thinking above all of children, who are deprived of the hope of a worthwhile life, of a future. Dead children, injured children, mutilated children, orphaned children, children whose toys are things left over from war, children who can’t smile any more,"
~ Pope Francis [213]
Moral of this little thought experiment? That is the subject of the next section.

13.10.5.2 Central question

“Ye shall know them by their fruits.”
~ [Op. cit.]
Malignant egophrenia is a term used in various ways, and with several claimants to having originated the term. Here I take it to represent a collective psychosis. One wherein mental illness spreads throughout society. A good example is Nazi Germany. Any nation whose citizens casually accept their leaders invading other countries on trumped up pretexts, the subsequent destruction of those countries, along with the mass murder of the people who lived there, all for the sole purpose of seizing their resources ... well, such a country is one suffering from mass malignant egophrenia.
Consider such a nation: Has the country, the average citizen, benefited from the tenure of their current leaders (viz. point 8 in Sect. 2, above)? The answer is all to obvious.
Take the example of a recent U.S. president. It has been alleged that he and his four main associates [90]:
  • Virtually bankrupted his country [89] through their policies [72],
  • launched a permanent war [74] in which millions were killed [73],
  • undid constitutional protections [75],
  • eviscerated many civil and human rights protections for citizens [76],
  • made torture a state policy [77] including torture of children [78],
  • were charged and found guilty of war crimes [79, 80, 81],
  • normalised universal spying on the citizens [82],
  • placed the first unelected president (G.W. Bush) in that country’s history in power [103, 104, 105, 106, 107],
  • mocked the suffering of others [123]
  • lied repeatedly [124] even when presented with contrary facts [125]
  • was dictatorial and dismissive of others’ rights [126]
  • and much more.
The president in question - G.W. Bush - was while in office, professionally diagnosed [Op. cit.], as having many (all?) of the characteristics of a classic functional psychopath. And in fact to be an example of a functional psychopath in power [ibid].
But the key characteristic of interest here was that his country and indeed the world did not in any discernible way appear to have been made a better place as a result of his tenure in office. Quite the opposite in fact. That this individual could so easily seize high political power (with the help of others like himself) is indeed a classic a form of mass psychosis - malignant egophrenia.
“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and he carries his banners openly. But the traitor moves among those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not traitor, he speaks in the accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their garments, and he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of a city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to be feared.” - Cicero, Roman Senator, 42 BCE
The U.S. president who followed him allegedly built upon the actions of his predecessor. He allegedly instituted a program of “change you can believe in” by eviscerating constitutional protections [91], launching a plethora of undeclared wars [92], vastly increasing illegal [93] and unconstitutional [94] spying on the citizenry and others, violated international law [95], continued throughout his reign state torture programs [100], poured taxpayer dollars into the hands of multimillionaires [96] and corporations [97], ignored environmental safeguards [98, 99] and in general made the lives of both the citizenry of his own country and the world, even worse than his predecessor.
Not to pick on this particular country of course, for similar heads of state in many parts of the world did the same (see here Can Democracy be Easily Ended? (Yes - 10 easy steps) or here Soft Fascism by example or here Evidence Based History vs. Revisionism for examples and citations). All whilst arguably corrupt corporate CEOs (see here Malevolent capitalism, beat down economics, poverty, and the obscenity of oligarchical ruls ) became the true rulers of many countries.
The point of course, is that functional psychopathology leaves a trail of destruction, pain, and disaster in its wake.
When considering pathocracy therefore, the central question becomes crucial - are some of those who rise to high political or corporate office, diagnosable psychopaths?
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their acts ye shall know them.”
~ Jesus [108], Christian holy book

13.10.6 Toxoplasma Gondii

There is a type of slug [129, 130, 131] which lives in the shallow waters of estuaries throughout the world. It spends most of its time hiding behind small rocks and pebbles, moving slowly to look for food, and generally being very shy and trepedous.
Once in a while however, a group of these small animals change their behaviour radically. They come out from under cover, twist and turn, dance about and generally do everything they can to make themselves visible to small fish. Which spot them easily and swim in to feast on the poor dancing slugs.
After a little while the fish who feasted on the slugs, themselves also normally very shy and timid, start to behave uncharacteristically. They start to swim nearer to the water’s surface, and horizontally. So that the sunlight more easily catches their scales causing them to flash and shimmer in its beams. They also begin to move much more slowly than usual.
All of this means they can be seen easily from the air. Birds arrive and feast on the now easily visible and slowly moving fish. After the birds have feasted, they fly off. And as they fly they digest the fish and defecate the parts they cannot eat. The birds defecate over ground and water as they fly along.
What’s going on? Something rather amazing:
The slugs are susceptible to a very small parasite which releases chemicals which alter their behaviour. The behaviors are specific - anything which makes the slugs more easily caught by fish. Once inside the fish, the parasites migrate through the blood stream to the brain, quite literally coating it. When the brain is covered with these parasites, they release chemicals similar to serotonin, making the normally flighty and frightened fish much more relaxed and mellow. The fish slow down, drunkenly swim sideways, and are eaten by birds. Which carry the parasites in their guts, expelling them into new estuaries. And the cycle begins again.
This process has continued until now every part of the planet has become home to these parasites. Parasites with the ability to radically change the normal behaviour of other animals. Usually in ways diametrically opposed to the well being, or presumably the wishe,s of their hosts.
Now, keep this in mind and consider rats.
Rats are very clever. They learn quickly, and pass their experience on to their offspring [132] and to others in their family group or colony [133, 134]. One thing that all rats understand, is that when they smell cat urine, they should at once go somewhere else. Unless ... the rats have been infected with another type of parasite - toxoplasma gondii. Toxoplasma interacts with the rat’s nervous system to literally alter the brains of infected rats [135]. How? By making the rats believe that the smell of cat urine is actually sexually attractive.
The result? Rats run toward the nearest cat as fast as they can. And are eaten. Now toxoplasma is in the cat which as it turns out, is a desirable habitat. One which is perfect for the the parasite to reproduce.
Now the good part:
Many cats, including toxoplasma gondi infected cats, have close relationships with humans. Humans who put out kitty litter boxes for their beloved pets. When the litter box is full, the humans clean them out. And in doing so breath in the nanoparticulate dust from the kitty litter. Or sometimes touch the faeces or urine. Or scratch the head of a cat who has just used the litter box the snuggles onto its human’s pillows at night. And so toxoplasma happily finds a new host - this time human.
Once in the human it sets about doing what it does best, altering the functioning of its host’s neurobiology. Infected cats, dogs, humans, and other mammal vectors excrete toxoplasma gondi oocysts [503]  [503] Hard shelled life stage of parasites conceptually similar to eggs. in their faeces. These oocysts, which can remain in soil or water for years.Of course it is not just cats which can act as vectors - many other pets will do just as well. Dogs carry many parasites which find human brains desirable habitats, for example.)
Research has found [136] that people infected with T. gondii infections (i.e. toxoplasma) appear to become measurably more neurotic than uninfected people. For example Dr. Jaroslav Flegr in the Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Viničná has published an interesting paper [225] on the issue. He and his colleagues found that human adults infected with T. gondi found behavioural differences between themselves and uninfected subjects ranging from reduced psychomotor performance to different scores on a number of standard tests. T. gondii was speculated to do this through vectors such as dopamine and testosterone [ibid]. Also intriguing was a study published around the same time by E. F. Torrey of the Stanley Medical Research Institute, R. H. Yolken of Stanley Laboratory of Developmental Neurovirology at Johns Hopkins U. School of Medicine, and W.Simmons linking childhood cat ownership to late development adult schizophrenia [226, 227] [504]  [504] Obviously correlation is not proof, and there are a host of additional factors not accounted for in this study, but the results are nevertheless grounds for further research.. In a recent meta-analysis by A.L. Sutterland et al at the Department of Psychiatry at the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam found more than 50 published studies linking T. gondii infection a number of mental disorders [228].
Other studies linked toxoplasma infection in humans with increased accident rates [137J. (J. Int. Parasitology has a number of interesting papers on this issue [138]; also see Lafferty’s paper in Proc. Royal Soc. Biological [139].) Incidentally, toxoplasma-specific IgG, IgM, or IgA antibodies are seldom the subject of testing [140] by MDs or medical personnel, even though toxoplasma is carried through breast feeding to entire populations [ibid].)
Estimates are that roughly 1/3 of humanity is currently infected with toxoplasma [141], and that that rate has been steadily climbing as population increases. Infected mothers pass toxoplasma to their children [142] who pass it on to their own children through breast milk.
Is the growing incidence of functional psychopathology Psychopaths in power due in part to toxoplasma infection? There is currently no way of knowing. However it would be most interesting to see how many of current world leaders are infected relative to the population as a whole, then compare the amount of infection to their behaviours and policies.

13.10.7 The role of drugs

It is not widely known that Hitler was a heavy drug users, particularly of drugs similar to methadone and several amphetamine related compounds [247, 248, 249]. Not is it widely known that many of his top commanders did the same [ibid]. Heroin was also used. Pervitin was given to the troops before engagement and special troops and SS officers received meth [250] to whip them into the frenzy of killing for which they were so well known.
Repeated use of such drugs can lead to permanent neurological damage, particularly damage which has been shown [251] to involve extremes of aggression and indeed, psychosis. Impairment in decision making, planning, and rational choice ensues.
For many decades western fighter pilots were given amphetamines before going into action [252, 253] in a manner very similar to the drugging of Hitler’s pilots before going on missions.
My point of course, is twofold:
Firstly as with Toxoplasma Gondii, psychotic and psychopathic behaviour (carpet bombing of Cambodia, for example) can be engendered in nominally healthy persons.
And secondly to simply point out the obvious: psychopaths frequently employ drugs as a means of exacerbating their illness, or simply mainaining their delusions.

13.10.8 Psychopaths in Government, Social Engineering, Malignant Narcissism

"The [system] involves the gradual appearance of a more controlled society. Such a society would be dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional values. Soon it will be possible to assert almost continuous surveillance over every citizen and maintain up-to-date complete files containing even the most personal information about the citizen. These files will be subject to instantaneous retrieval by the authorities."
~ Zbigniew Brzezinski [279], U.S. National Security Adviser and foreign policy advisor to U.S. presidents Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Bush, and Obama, and co-founder co-founder with David Rockefeller, of the Trilateral Commission
"Collect it all, sniff it all, process it all, know it all, exploit it all,”
~ from leaked U.S. intelligence gathering directives, Greenwald [280] (’sniff’ is a computer term for invisible monitoring and storing all communications)
“As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air – however slight – lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.” – U.S. Chief Justice William O. Douglas [150]
In writing about social engineering (please see the various articles linked in the menu above) one fact repeatedly emerges. Namely that until an unscrupulous or mentally ill person rises to power, most societies are largely cooperative, offering mutual aid, care, and compassionate. History is filled with examples. Yet history also shows how time and time again periods of peace and prosperity have been destroyed by the rise of those whom we now term functional psychopaths.
As pointed out above, by their very nature functional psychopaths seek power and domination over others, willingly destroying anything which gets in their way to achieve that goal. When as so often happens, they turn their sights toward corporate and/or political domination, government is transformed into something antithetical to social good.
In political life such people have\ learned to wear a veneer of normalcy, to mask their inherent lack of compassion with carefully calculated words in which they have no belief, and meaningless deeds to convince others of that the veneer of humanity is deeper than it actually is. All the while without conscience, replacing fact, reason, rationality with massive revisionism and lies. They embody Orwellian doublespeak - propagandising good as evil, evil as good.
And always, a path of destruction and pain follows in their wake. Yet it is important to remember that such people are frequently charismatic manipulators, drawing people to them much as fire draws moths to self-immolate. Hence the functional psychopath in politics often quickly rises regardless of the swath of pain and suffering which always lie in her wake.
“He leaves in his wake a trail of ruins - a politicised and degraded civil service, overstretched and demoralised armed forces, a cabinet as neutered and toothless as the House of Commons, an education system still churning out the illiterate and innumerate, a fiscally chaotic and mutinous [health service] and a transport infrastructure barely worthy of a developing country.”
~ Matthew Norman [155], a leading British Journalist discussing a former prime minister who allegedly knowingly (see the Downing Street memos [156, 157]) used false information to send his country to join the alleged perpetration of holocaust and war crimes upon Iraq
“Glibness and superficial charm Lack of empathy. Consistent self-interested decisions, even where it is ethically questionable. Chronic, sometimes transparent, lies even about minor things. Lack of remorse and indifference to right vs. wrong. Failure to take responsibility for one’s actions, and instead blaming others. Shallow emotions Ignoring responsibilities. Persistent focus on gratifying personal needs at the expense of others. Conning and manipulative behaviour”
~ [224] Dr. R. Schouten, Harvard Medical School. and J. Silver, JD, federal prosecutor and criminal defence attorney writing about easy to spot traits common in functional psychopaths
To take an extreme example of a charismatic functional psychopath, Hitler was a very popular and charismatic politician, beloved by the majority of the German peoples, admired by many Western leaders particularly in the United States and Britain,, and supported financially by many major U.S. heads of large corporations such as the CEOs of IBM and the Ford Motor Company [151, 152]. (Please also see the examples and discussion here: Evidence Based History vs. Revisionism .)
Functional psychopaths gather around themselves those of similar views, who whether through massive cognitive dissonance, through simple ontological blindness, or all too frequently through a lack of intelligence Are You an Anti-intellectual? , aid their leader in her destruction. All the while calling such destruction “doing good”. An example of this can been seen the those who supported the clearly psychopathic Borgia Popes. The Borgias purposefully arranged to reward followers of very average intelligence [153], gave them fancy titles and state positions even to the point of elevating some to Cardinals and Bishops. Why? Because these rather ungifted people were not only easier to manipulate into helping the pathologies of Borgia policies, they were easier to convince that the Borgias were actually doing “God’s work”. Hence even while the Borgias ordered torture, rapine, and overall destruction of the scientific, economic, democratic, and social progress, not one member of their various regimes publicly dissented.
“Good people can be put into structures which almost compel them to do bad things”
~ Dr. U. Franklin [223], Officer of the Order of Canada, Companion of the Order of Canada, Wiegand Award winner, Governor General’s Award winner, Pearson Medal of Peace winner, Clarkson Laureateships, inductee Canadian Science and Engineering Hall of Fame, and much more.
In the quotation Dr. Franklin was speaking of those working in the regime discussed here: Soft Fascism by example , which I would invite you to consider in light of the current article, or indeed the regime which could do this: Are U.S. Run Torture Sites Crimes Against Humanity? .
Members of these regime led by functional psychopaths often (much as in the case of the Borgias Popes) become highly radicalised. They change from merely average arch conservatives into a radicalised group of fanatic ideologues ... launching a holy war upon fact, science, compassion, and reason. And especially upon truth - Firehose Effect: the social epidemic of incessant lies . The aggregate result is a regime as convinced of their own rightness as was that of Mussolini or Stalin, quickly enacting a rule of soft fascism.
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts."
~ Bertrand Russell [187]
Russell was right - fools and fanatics, particularly those who worm their way into positions of political power through their utter lack of compassion, are convinced they are right and everyone else is wrong - a standard trait of functional psychopathology. Or worse like the Borgias, convince themselves that they are actually doing good while destroying everything in sight.
“To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget, whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process…”
~ G. Orwell [186]
Now, is important to say a word about those who are not in the inner circles or upper reaches of such governments, yet actively support political leaders who are functional psychopaths and the soft fascism (nascent hard fascism) they represent:
Elected officials, the bureaucracy, police, military, and oxymoronically named “intelligence” agencies soon mimic the behaviour of the functional psychopath(s) at the top. Those who object are retired in one way or another, and new persons matching the Weltanschauung of the ruling junta replace them. Gradually the entire system is remade - not to serve the public, but to serve the new head of state and his cronies.
A form of malignant narcissism sets in, spreading from the top down until the entire edifice of government functions primarily to control, destroy, and plunder the majority of people, in favour of those who at the top. But never to serve the majority. That is to say, while certain key positions may be grasped and held by functional psychopaths, others who have healthier minds may be infected with malignant narcissism (please see [154] for a study of the term and those so infected). Not because they are aberrant, but simply because to keep their positions the example of those at the top must be emulated.
As this system takes hold, acculturation sets in and a doxa of meanness dominates - please see What is Doxa and Invisible Acculturation? . Policy comes increasingly not from or for the citizenry but rather from the corporate board room, military command, or government inner circles. Key positions are filled not by those of merit and experience, but rather are selected by the ruling hunta for their ability to unquestioningly carry out the hunta’s demands, and to be unquestionably loyal to the current Great Leader. In time they come to embody, or even are selected for, actions which satisfy most if not all of the diagnostic points on the Psychopathy Checklist.
A system of government wherein such persons fill important and key positions is assuredly not a healthy system. It is one very clearly declining into fascism. It may indeed be many things ... but a free and open democratic, caring and compassionate society ... is not one of them.
Gina Haspel is going to be the deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency. She was one of the people that ran a CIA black site where prisoners were mercilessly tortured, waterboarded, etc. And she, we understand, was the agent who led the destruction of the CIA torture tapes at the direction of the main torture ringleader, Jose Rodriguez, at the Central Intelligence Agency. That is the person who now is going to be the number two at Donald Trump’s CIA.”
~ Jeremy Scahill [480], psychopathology is required to instigate, perpetrate, or aid in the torture of anyone whatsoever or any reason, by definition
“... among scores obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union in a lawsuit against the architects of the “enhanced interrogation” techniques, says that chief of base [Gina Haspel] ... had the sole authority power to halt the questioning. She never did so, records show, watching as Zubaydah vomited, passed out and urinated on himself while shackled. During one waterboarding session, Zubaydah lost consciousness and bubbles began gurgling from his mouth. Medical personnel on the scene had to revive him. Haspel allowed the most brutal interrogations by the CIA to continue for nearly three weeks even though, as the cables sent from Thailand to the agency’s headquarters repeatedly stated, “subject has not provided any new threat information or elaborated on any old threat information. At one point, Haspel spoke directly with Zubaydah, accusing him of faking symptoms of physical distress and psychological breakdown. ... American doctors saved Zubaydah’s life, and after he was stable enough he was drugged, gagged, trussed and blindfolded, and put on a CIA charter flight. In order to avoid being traced, the plane flew around the world, stopping in several places, including Morocco and Brazil, before landing in Thailand. ... Soon after, he was put into isolation for 45 days, kept awake with loud music and doused with cold water ... Haspel moved to cover up the agency’s operations at the Thai base. The chief of base told the security officer “to burn everything that he could in preparation for sanitising the black site,”
~ originally published in ProPublica [575] (Please also q.v. Are U.S. Run Torture Sites Crimes Against Humanity? .)
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What does it say about those (Mr. Trump and Mr. Bush) who reward such a person despite her alleged central and obscene role in the most grotesque torture regimes since the Nazis - using in fact many of the same torture techniques for which Nazis were tried and found guilty at Nuremberg. Mr. Trump’s appointment of Ms. Haspel as deputy CIA director (and others of similar ilk) rather than order her tried for war crimes sent a strong signal to the world of the depths of depravity occupying the halls of government in United States.
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As I have said before, mental illness is a communicable disease. Severe mental illness in a head of state draws in others who are mental ill until the Cabinet, senior bureaucrats, the high courts, and heads of military work not for the good of humanity, but solely for their own twisted avarice. Those who work only on their own behalf using whatever means they wish - from torture to the rape of the treasury - are not the best of humanity, but rather the worst. And the worst of humanity invariably have most or all of the traits which evidence them as psychopaths.

13.10.9 Russian Billionaires and the Kremlin

In September of 1999 (9/99) Russian buildings in Buynaksk, Moscow, and Volgodonsk were bombed. Two hundred ninety three innocent people, including many children, died immediately. Another 651 were maimed and injured for life [170, 171, 172]. Several Islamic leaders in Chechnya were immediately blamed [172, 173]. For as was said at the time, they hated Russia for its freedoms.
The slaughter shocked the entire Russian nation, mobilising the citizenry to support a heretofore unwanted full-scale war with Chechnya. And coincidentally, paving the way for the the former secret police (FSB) Director and Prime Minister, a certain Vladimer Putin, to ascend to the Presidency of Russia [174, 175, 176, 177].
Investigations by local police in Ryazan - where a bomb was found before it went off - allegedly produced incontrovertible evidence that the FSB had planted the bomb [178]. Similar investigations in the other cities produced similar evidence [179, 180] but by order of the Kremlin, all police investigations were stopped before they could be completed [ibid]. Evidence so strongly linked Vladimir Putin to the bombings that Director of Police Investigations actually moved in to arrest Mr. Putin [181]. But for unknown reasons suddenly decided overnight to leave Russia and go into hiding [182, 183]. Most of the other investigators committed suicide. For example a key member of the Kovalev Commission set up to investigate the bombings, Sergei Yushenkov committed suicide by failing to cave to threats by FSB General Aleksander Mikhailov [182]. Another key member of the Kovalev Commission - Yuri Shchekochikhin - committed suicide by forcing radioactive materials into his body [184] just days before he was to leave for the U.S. to release his findings to FBI officials [183]. Others committed suicide by shooting themselves in the back [182]. And so on...
Since that sad time, the average yearly salary in Russia has fallen to $854 [184] while the number of billionaires (associates for the most part of Mr. Putin) in that country has quadrupled [ibid]. Since that time too, Mr. Putin’s personal fortune has increased to an estimated $40,000,000,000 [185]. (Incidentally with the advent of U.S. president Donald Trump the match to Russia in this regard was virtually complete. Mr. Trump’s (nee Drumpf’s) Cabinet and close aids consisted of billionaires who had for the most part, identical outlook and belief’s as those around Mr. Putin (please see Soft Fascism: Philosophy, Venality, Functional Psychopathology and Malevolent capitalism, beat down economics, poverty, and the obscenity of oligarchical ruls ).
It is of course, ludicrous to believe the allegations [188] that a great leader and humanitarian such as Mr. Putin would purposefully arrange the bombing and murder of innocent citizens of his own country. Or order assassination of those who sought to release documentation or results of investigations into the bombings. All just to further his political ambitions and mobilise his country to support an unpopular war (in Chechnya) [189, 190].
Indeed, that would be just as foolish as to suppose for even a moment that a U.S. vice president could be involved in false flag events [191, 192, 193, 194] just to further his own ambitions and mobilise his country to support an unpopular war for oil (in Iraq). Or that a British prime minister would act and prevaricate as indicated by the Downing Street Memos [195, 196, 197] to mobilise his country to support an unpopular war for oil (in Iraq). All three actions of which resulted in the deaths and maiming of millions [198, 199] of innocent civilians.)
For certainly nowhere, at no time in history have those who evidence psychopathic traits ever risen to positions of power. Especially in our own enlightened era ... Because people in the 20th and 21stcenturies are obviously much too astute to ever support anyone who evidences psychopathic tendencies while in positions of public trust.
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13.10.10 Why is there War?

“The demagogue relies for his effectiveness on the fact that people will take seriously the fantastic accusations he makes, will discuss the phoney issues he raises as if they had reality, or will be thrown into such a state of panic by his accusations and charges that they will simply abdicate their right to think and verify for themselves. The lies create a climate in which everyone is assumed to be lying. The truth becomes suspect and obscured. Narratives begin to be believed not because they are true, or even sound true, but because they are emotionally appealing. The aim of systematic lying, as Arendt wrote, is the “transformation of human nature itself.” The lies eventually foster somnambulism among a population that surrenders to the magical thinking and ceases to care. It checks out. It becomes cynical. It only asks to be entertained and given a vent for its frustration and rage. Demagogues produce enemies the way a magician pulls rabbits out of a hat. They wage constant battles against nonexistent dangers, rapidly replacing one after the other to keep the rhetoric at a fever pitch.”
~ Dr. J. Meerloo, Dr. J. A.M. Meerloo, psychiatrist, writing in his book “The Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing” [394]
Humans have been around for about 200,000 years. Some of the earliest archaeological evidence, and all of the earliest stories, indicate that humans have always been at war with one another. Why?
The evogram of humans shows that apes (chimp, bonobo, gorilla, orangutan, gibbon) could not form a monophyletic group (common ancestor) without the inclusion of humans. That is to say, humans are a type of ape. Therefore a hint as to why there is war, may lie in the study of other apes.
Speciation from Pan (chimps and bonobos) to Homo (sapiens, Paranthropus, Neaderthalins, etc.) was a slow process. Beginning somewhere around the Miocene (13 million years ago) and still ongoing perhaps as recently as the Pilocene (3-4 million years ago). But something happened to the genome during this time led to a bifurcation between the Homo line. Homo developed many branches, all of which died out just a few tens of thousands of years ago leaving only sapiens. Pan on the other hand did not develop many branches, bifurcating at around two million years ago into Pan troglodyte (chimpanzees) and Pan paniscus (bonobos).
Here are some of the differences in the three lines:
Chimps Bonobos Homo Sapiens
War Y N Y
Patriarchal Y N Y/N
Infanticide Y N Y
Sex when females are in heat any time any time
M own females Y N Y/N
Slavery Y N Y
Clear dominance Y N Y
Homosexual N Y Y
Tool use Y Y Y
In other words, modern humans express behavioural characteristics which are common to both Pan lines although arguably closer to chimps in the extent of expression of war, sex dominance, patriarchs, etc. However the two Pan lines have very clear differences. Overall it may be said (with caveats of course) that Bonobos have evolved methods of mediating violence; chimps have not; humans have in certain cases only.
If you have ever had the opportunity to do ethological work with groups of chimps, you may have seen for yourself that there are invariably some individual chimps who regularly attack and beat up other chimps - male, female, even children - for no apparent reason. This has never been observed in bonobos. These aggressive dominant chimps are not usually clan leaders. However - and this is the interesting bit - when chimps go to war with other chimps, sometimes these aggressive chimps lead the charges, are violent (sometimes killing other ’enemy’ chimps), and generally expressing what appears to be uncontrollable rage. In other words, killer instincts which may help win the war. Of course this is a subjective judgement filled with many caveats, yet verifiable in the Konrad Lorenz sense.
It has been hypothesised that as with chimps, similarly ’unstable’ humans may have a role as temporary leaders in war and/or crisis situations. Perhaps in the same manner that ancient Rome had consuls for war separate from consuls for peace. Nassir Ghaemi, a professor of psychiatry (please see Psychiatric Medicine is a Fraud ) at Tufts University in the United States in one of the latest who suggests unstable, even mentally ill humans may make better leaders in crisis/war than mentally healthy individuals. In a word like others before him, Ghaemi has hypothesised that the best crisis leaders manifest a bevy of traits of mental instability, abnormality, or indeed, mental illness. You can read details of Ghaemi’s thesis in his book on the issue [261].
To give an example of the difficulty in such a thesis however, consider that Ghaemi assess men such as Richard M. Nixon of normal mental health. Such an assessment in my opinion belies belief. Mr. Nixon and others considered mentally “normal” by Ghaemi. Others such as the alleged war criminal [578] and British prime minister Tony Blair. Others he considered “normal” have been alleged or actually found to be, guilty of war crimes and human rights atrocities - please see Evidence Based History vs. Revisionism . Mr. Nixon for example has been alleged to have been a mass murderer (over one and a half million civilians died at his command [ibid].) Mr. Nixon was also allegedly an alcoholic and was alcohol impaired (fall-down drunk) much of his time in office. He compiled enemies lists and even on his first day in office ordered his staff and the intelligence community to “destroy” people who were critical of him (please q.v. transcripts of the Nixon Tapes [579]). He was was a serial liar [ibid], 580]. And so on.
Declaring that such as person was mentally healthy and normal is IMHO, appalling. . One might thus question Ghaemi’s assessment in other areas. Additionally he states that the the diagnostic validators he uses (four) are “scientifically accepted” on the ludicrous assumption of course that double blind, longitudinal, large N, etc. tests validate the four percepts used ... they emphatically do not, for they have never been applied. Hence “scientifically accepted” here, is equivalent to mere opinion, or worse, religious fervour guised as clinical validity - please q.v. here for citations and discussion - Psychiatric Medicine is a Fraud ).
At any rate the idea that in war or crisis situations certain types of mental abnormalities/illnesses make for good leaders is uncomfortably close to conflating situational performance with correct or best strategy performance. Shades of Strauss or even Frederick Nietzsche Is Leo Strauss Better than You? Your government thinks he is. , Jus Ad Bellum: Kant, Hegel, and other war spelaeologist . Ghaemi’s hypothesis is nothing new of course, although couching it in psychiatric phrasing certainly to they lay person adds a appearance of “science”. Sigh.
“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.”
~ Frederick Nietzsche [262]
It has long been hypothesised that those with high empathy and stable personality may not be best in leaders during times of war. That those wish mental instability leaning toward psychopathy may be the best leaders. This is a highly questionable and highly self-serving assumption border on tautology. Because it is impossible to prove; fraught with confirmation bias; highly subjective; and denies assessment of other strategies/methodologies for investigation. Never the less, it does point out that it is important to consider evolutionary and epigenetic aspects in measuring behaviour - such as predilection to war rather than follow the bonobo example.
Some of the discussion of why there is war has centred around::
  1. War as evolutionary catalyst. Example: Kant and his ilk - see Jus Ad Bellum: Kant, Hegel, and other war spelaeologist )
  2. War as religious compulsion. Example: Christian crusades - viz. Religious Fanaticism is a means of controlling the rabble
  3. War as hatred of otherness. Example: Nazis - see The World Wide U.S. War of Terror
  4. War as resource grab. Example: Invasion and slaughter to steal oil The Hubris of Empire: Is the United States the world’s greatest threat to peace? .
  5. War as a genetic trait. As discussed above.
  6. War as the act of the situationally defined superior man. Example: Strauss Is Leo Strauss Better than You? Your government thinks he is. , or perhaps even Ghaemi.
  7. Clinical functional psychopathology amongst leaders and heads of state.
I would argue that rather than be a boon (in the Ghaemi sense) ... that
the seventh item in this list is the primary cause of war.
There can be little question that throughout history psychopathology amongst heads of state has been sadly common. The examples of Alexander, Attila, Mao, Stalin, need little elaboration. In our own time it is no different. I have already mentioned how numerous authors have cited U.S. president G.W. Bush as a classic example.”The Socialised Psychopath, George W Bush, America’s Number One Evildoer” By L. Franklin [244] is but one of many and makes for an interesting read. Rather than belabour the point however, I will quote a mental health worker specialising in psychopaths concerning the U.S. president G.W. Bush. This is not a scientific analysis, but is well written and gives a flavour (albeit again, unsubstantiated) of the process of analysing traits of those in power:
“Of course he’s a psychopath: ... Just look at Bush’s responses whenever he is asked, unscripted, about anything that would require him to express either empathy, or caring and compassion for others, including his own family members. He stammers and stumbles, tries some platitudes or inappropriate jokes, and eventually makes a fool of himself. It is always painful to watch and it clearly demonstrates his emotional retardation. Even most recently, when asked about Cindy Sheehan [lost her son - a U.S. soldier - during the Iraq Holocaust], he responded by saying ’And I think it’s important for me to be thoughtful and sensitive to those who have got something to say.’ He followed it with ’I think it’s also important for me to go on with my life, to keep a balanced life.’
This statement in itself is very revealing. First, it sounds like something Bush has just learned to say on advice of his handlers who reminded him to pretend to be human (he *thinks* it is *important* for him to be thoughtful and sensitive ...). Not that he knows what this means, or that any of it resonates emotionally for him, as evidenced by how quickly he closed this statement with a glib reference to, what else, his own need for a ’balanced life,’ a reference that sounds so incredibly insensitive in this context that it completely invalidates the message intended in his previous sentence.
I have no doubt that this emotionally flat and highly inappropriate statement came from the desk of one of his advisers – which only shows that psychopathic leaders surround themselves with psychopathic handlers who are equally clueless about what it means to be a feeling human being. It’s nothing new or surprising - we have seen it before in the history of the world. But it’s horrendously painful to witness. Bush’s fumbling with statements that are supposed to express higher human emotions are not a proof that he is unintelligent in the conventional sense (i.e. intellectually impaired). His intelligence appears normal (= average at least) – but it is the emotional sphere that is so dangerously underdeveloped in him. Notice that typically he does not encounter similar troubles when he talks about what is really close to his proverbial heart (not that he possesses a real one): power. All those swagger-filled threats, gestures of intimidation, and displays of bravado – often in the most inappropriate contexts (’Shock and Awe,’ ’Mission Accomplished,’ etc.) – are further proof that we are dealing with intelligence in the service of primitive drives, combined with emotional hollowness. A.k.a. psychopathy. o
. . . in case of G.W. Bush the evidence to support the diagnosis of psychopathy (or sociopathy) is just overwhelming and in plain sight for anyone to see. So if the shoe fits . . . The intelligence in the service of primitive instincts that Bush’s actions and words represent; the raw aggressive power, unmitigated by thought or higher feeling; and the surge of compensatory confidence it engenders, are what appeals to a great segment of this – or any other – society, especially to its powerless and emotionally underdeveloped members.
They rally around their leader, seeing in him both a reflection of themselves and a promise of a ’victory’ that would release their fears and frustrations, and avenge their sorry, hopeless fate. Of course what they do not realise is that their leader couldn’t care less about their fate. To him, his minions are an echo chamber for his words and cannon fodder for his missions.
Tragically, as a nation, we will remain in the dark ages as long as we keep choosing psychopaths as our leaders and pretend this is a good thing. And no matter how hard we will try to convince ourselves that what we yearn for are freedom and democracy for all (and whatever other ideals we choose to endorse by our words), our actions – the choices we make, including our choice of the leader – will keep telling the rest of the world otherwise. As shameful as it is, the psychopathic Bush represents America to the world.”
~ Elizabeth [242] (essay in Buzzflash Aug. 16, 2005) See also the essay in Houston Chronicle/East Hampton Star by E.L. Doctrow entitled ’Our unfeeling president’ [243] which reaches a similar conclusion.
In general I would suggest that that which we oxymoronically term “civilisation” is in the main the product of functional psychopaths - for “civilisations” have throughout history been founded upon slavery (economic to actual), mass murder (war), and gratuitous violence (U.S. and Chinese prison systems for example) without cause or rational justification. This could not, would not, have occurred without the type of insanity which is psychopathology infesting those whose disease causes them to clamber to the top of political and military power in the process of dominating and destroying well, everything of value and worth. I will repeat the quotation given previously, for it bears repeating:
"Guess what’s going to happen to these men?" he grinned at the camera ... "They’re going to be put to death." Bush beamed in happiness. He was so enthusiastic at the prospect of new executions that he said he would execute all three of Byrd’s killers. ... It brings back Bush’s mockery of killer Karla Faye Tucker, whose appeals for life he rejected and whom he mimicked as saying, "Please don’t kill me," shortly before Texas executed her.
~ Lars Nelson [83], New York Daily News, discussing U.S. governor G.W. Bush
Again - functional psychopaths who have learned to mimic true humanity (as alleged to be the case with G.W. Bush for example) have neurological constructs which enable lie, killing, and the infliction of suffering with no remorse or emotional attachment. They keep “enemies lists” of those who have the temerity to disagree with their policies or methods. They construct military headed by those similar to themselves. They construct mass propaganda (about which I have written at length elsewhere on this site) which is so success that as Chomsky, Parenti, and many other researchers have pointed out, is not recognised or seen by the vast majority of those acculturated to its lies. They destroy the environment solely for the satisfaction of personal greed, and deny the immanent destruction of humanity (and most other species) which is currently resulting.
Why is there war when every study, every survey [244] has shown the vast majority of humanity do not want war? It may seem a simplistic answer, but I would recommend a careful study of history and of those who lead nations. It is sobering to see just how many heads of industry, nations, and military throughout history including down to our own time, match every single point which defines a functional psychopath.
“As a Christian ... I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice”
~ Adlof Hitler [1], Nazi Fuhrer
"Well, you know what? I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol. Our spiritual enemy will only be defeated if we come against them in the name of Jesus."
~ U.S. Lt. General William G. Boykin [299], United States Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence discussing the U.S. invasion of Iraq
“Actually it’s quite fun to fight them, you know. It’s a hell of a hoot... It’s fun to shoot some people."
~ Lt. Gen. James Mattis, a three star Marine general, Christian, and commander of U.S. Marine expeditions during wars to seize oil resources [152], DoD transcripts [573], later appointed top Marine General at U.S. Central Command“
“Asked at a Senate hearing today how long the war on terrorism will last, Michael Sheehan, the assistant secretary of defence for special operations and low-intensity conflict, answered, ’At least 10 to 20 years.’ . . . A spokeswoman, Army Col. Anne Edgecomb, clarified that Sheehan meant the conflict is likely to last 10 to 20 more years from today - atop the 12 years that the conflict has already lasted."
~ quoted by the Spencer Ackerman [301], from testimony by the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Offense Defense before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee [301]
““We are seeing a new world order, post-World War II, post-Soviet Union implosion, being built, ... Tyranny, terrorism ... are going to be with us. I see these things continuing to stay out of there. ... [requiring] a steady, long-term effort. It’s going to require coalitions of common interest.” "
~ U.S. Secretary of Defense C. Hagel [558] confirming plans for permanent war by the U.S. upon others
“Historically, the rhetoric of terror has been used by those in power not only to sway public opinion, but to direct attention away from their own acts of terror. “
~ Dr. Kapitan [556]
“[I promise you] a war that will not end in our lifetimes"
~ U.S. vice president R. Chaney [575]

13.10.11 Who Rules

Functional psychopaths are able to appear “normal” to the general public. They have occupied the seats of political, corporate, and religious power for millenia. They most certainly continue to do so today in many nations.
Consider the current plutocracy:
A mere 62 people own more than half the entire wealth of humanity [264, 265].

Update: As of 2017, now a mere 8 people
[320] control more than half the entire wealth of humanity.
These people give very little back relative to their wealth and power. If you closely study their movements, biographies, and actions it is clear that they are not simply oligarchs or plutocrats, but are rather a venal quaestuary class blithely causing mass suffering for personal profit. And the rush of power.
To imagine that these people do not directly interfere with and direct the laws and policies of most countries, would be extremely naive, particularly in light of the citations previously given here: Can Democracy be Easily Ended? (Yes - 10 easy steps) that these people buy and sell politicians and governmental policies not merely in first world countries, but in many other nations as well, albeit through proxy.
There are ample planetary and distribution resources to eliminate poverty, hunger, and most diseases. That such resources are used instead for war, violence, and gathering even more wealth to this handful is no accident.
Hence it is perhaps a reasonable question to ask why the mass of people would support functional psychopathology in the hallways of political and corporate power. I have addressed the answer in several ways particularly in my articles on what is loosely termed propaganda or mass brainwashing, in the various articles under the menu topics “social engineering” and “obcentiy”. As well as more formally in several articles under the menu heading “philosopy”.
For any reader of Gibbon, Cicero, or Plutarch, the parallels between the current would be decimators of democracy and human rights and the Roman example, are sufficiently close to ensure a clear certainty that the closets of current incarnation of demiurge functional psychopath in various nations are filled with togas. For the regimes of both Rome and the current ones of devolving democracy, follow similar patterns of
  1. massive political and economic corruption,
  2. remote, out of touch leadership,
  3. appalling gaps in wealth between classes,
  4. an indifferent distracted citizenry acculturated to fear,
  5. crumbling infrastructure,
  6. a bankrupt treasury,
  7. extreme wealth and power in the hands of a few,
  8. massive military might and spending,
  9. ’dumbed down’ education systems,
  10. massive ’bread and circus’ entertainments (movies, television, and spectator sport) all devoid of culture or learning,
  11. extreme forms of fadism,
  12. fear and shock based propaganda system,
  13. hyper-religiosity,
  14. rise of racism and bigotry at the urging of those in power,
  15. corrupt, sexual predator, lying, amoral, unethical, mentally ill criminals at the seat of power,
  16. and more ... the correspondence between Rome’s devolution into fascism, and that of the U.S. is very strong
A number of writers have postulated a mass psychosis on the part of the electorate allowed the policies and actions of functional psychopathic fascistic leaders to take place. In his much quoted article Paul Levy for example, coins the term “Malignant egophrenia” to describe a group which is “unable to recognise that we are taken over, as we become bewitched by our own projections” [1697].
There can be little question that any leader embracing torture, war, and plunder of the poor as a way of life, and fostering the above 15 points onto the populous may well qualify as mad or psychopathic. Or at the very least have very serious mental illness issues. Sadly the same may be said for those who support her and cheer wildly as she decimates freedom and human rights.
How sad that in the 21stcentury the tragic mistakes of the past are repeated yet again, while the sycophantic and, ignorant enthusiastically cheer and applaud those who who have seized power despite displaying clear and obvious psychopathic traits.

13.10.12 Rational Behaviour vs Irrational Behaviour vs Psychopathic Behaviour

How many psychopaths does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Answer: Psychopaths declare war on light bulbs then set the house on fire.
As I have said, humanity has always been cursed by the ascension of functional psychopaths to positions of power. History is replete with examples. In our own time we have many examples as well of those in positions of power who have been accused of matching most or all of the traits of functional psychopaths - Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Mao Mao Zedong, Margaret Thatcher, Henry Ford, Bashar al Assad, G.W. Bush, R. Chaney, Joe Arpaio, ... and down a sadly long list. It has been alleged in fact, that there is no shortage of persons who easily qualify as functional psychopaths. And who at time of writing, are national leaders and heads of multinational corporations, military, spy agencies, and the like.
Functional psychopaths, and psychopaths in general, are drawn to dominate. Hence while rational person may eschew the trappings of power and dominance, psychopaths are strongly attracted to such positions. In my article on historical revisionism (Evidence Based History vs. Revisionism ) I have given a number of examples of persons who have grabbed positions of power and/or social prominence, and the damage they have invariably visited upon the majority of society and in some cases, humanity as a whole. In that article I would invite you to pay particular attention to the discussion of Kim Jong Un, the murderous dictator of North Korea, and Donald Trump, the murderous would-be dictator of the United States [505]  [505] Too harsh? Please read the article and citations therein, then draw your own conclusions.. I argue that the former is rational albeit monstrous, while the later is irrational and monstrous. I argue there too, that Mr. Trump allegedly evidences most if not all of the characteristics of a functional psychopath. As do several others discussed in that article.
As you consider, please keep in mind that psychopaths fail to recognise distress in others and frequently do not feel it themselves - hence they simply do not understand or even bother to understand the harm they inevitably cause. He or she may understand at an intellectual level that what they do causes distress and harm, but since they do not feel it themselves, they simply do whatever they wish. Other peoples’ feelings simply do not matter.

13.10.12.1 Other Modern Leaders

“I remember when I bit my mom really hard, and she was bleeding and crying. I remember feeling so happy, so overjoyed.”
~ Carl [454]
“I wanted the whole world to myself. So I made a whole entire book about how to hurt people.”
~ Samantha [ibid]
As sad as it is to imagine anyone supporting, funding, or even believing alleged mentally ill persons such as Donald Trump or Kim Jong Un ... the sad reality is that there are many who do. With some this is simply a cold calculation which they hope will be of personal benefit. But there are many who support them out of ignorance of the world around them, history, politicians, propaganda, and psychology.
This is applicable too, to those who support CEOs who are also allegedly functional psychopaths.
(an image: pls click to see it)
The image above is of Martin Shkreli, a pharmaceutical CEO who increased the price of a life saving drug for babies and cancer patients by more than 55 times its original price [431]. The drug cost his company very little to make. But the price increase placed it beyond the financial reach of most of the people who needed it. Mr. Shkreli refused to lower the price, stating it was just business, and that there was nothing wrong with his actions [432]. The desperate pleas from physicians, family, parents, cancer patients ... were ignored by Mr. Shkreli. In interviews, Mr. Shkreli actually laughed and seemed smugly proud of his actions [433].
Of course Kim Jong Un, Donald Trump , Adolf Hitler, and various corporate CEO are not the only people in power about whom one can have a discussion concerning possible mental illness. Or the fact that they may be functional psychopaths. The list of others is tragically quite long. I have gathered some examples in my article here Evidence Based History vs. Revisionism . If you read through that article, it soon becomes clear that those whom the propaganda system - or more accurately the system of acculturation to doxa and social engineering - presents monsters as if they were kind, loving, noble people (please q.v. What is Doxa and Invisible Acculturation? ). The purpose is of course, obvious. (If it is not, please read Orwell and Huxely and Diamond. Sociall engineering by and for psychopaths is historically, sadly common.)
I have purposefully selected those about whom there has been considerable effort to make appear rational and decent - none so much perhaps as Mother Teresa who is also discussed ibid. It has been an interesting exercise for me to read original sources about the people mentioned in that article, then see how many of them may qualify per the criteria above, for more analysis vis a vis mental illness or even whether or not they may be functional psychopaths.
As with most psychopaths who have assumed national and/or corporate power, they spread their mental illness. This is done in two ways: (1) by enabling those with illness to emerge into public action (hence the killings and attacks on Muslims enabled by Mr. Trump ’s alleged racism and (2) by creating a doxa (normalisation) of the components of their illness. This can be clearly seen in the manner of support received by Adolf Hitler in Germany, Stalin in Russia, Donald Trump or G.W. Bush in the United States, Tony Blair in England, or if we look to history, Alexandra (a severely mentally ill by functional psychopath) in Macedonia.

13.10.13 Those who support them

Every “leader” whether CEO of climate change inducing multinational corporations or heads of state such as Hitler or Kim Jong Il has had their supporters. As I show here - Evidence Based History vs. Revisionism - in discussing Mr. Trump for example, there are a number of psychiatrists who suggest that Mr. Trump is not mentally ill, even in some cases mentioned, going so far as to act as apologists for his state in a manner similar to the apologists for Stalin or Hitler.
In this regard, consider this comment from a 2017 New York Times Aug. 20 editorial:
“What holds them back? [from criticising or removing Mr. Trump] Craven, self serving political calculations designed to protect their careers, and dwindling hope that the president, despite everything, will help them move their long delayed legislative agenda. Their silence is shameful. How about the more rational members of Trump’s Cabinet? They should be fleeing the administration, refusing to stand mutely against the wall at his press conferences while he steps on their messages and undermines their best efforts. Many rank-and-file GOP members of Congress are simply too scared of alienating Republican voters or of enraging a vindictive Trump or of provoking a primary challenge from the right funded by the Koch brothers or the Mercer family. They should wake up and declare their independence.” [392]
Psychopaths achieve power not because they are intelligent, but because they are utterly ruthless, cruel, completely self centred, able to lie with a straight face, and utterly without moral or ethical compass in achieving their ends. They gather around themselves similar types of mind who see opportunity in supporting an obviously mentally ill, aberrant person.
Such “leaders” stay in power too, by ensuring everyone else is afraid of them and of the chaos they would create or unleash should they face revolt.
What can one say about those who support or act as apologists for such persons? Simply this: mental illness is a communicable disease. Game theory, the sociology of small groups, Bourdeau’s research, and sadly, most of human history, all point to this inescapable conclusion.

13.10.14 Conclusion

This may be a good time to recall you to the Jon Ronson quotation above [221]. The true psychopath is not human in the sense normally understood. Reasoning with them is impossible. They are not subject to reason, but only to that which drives them. Hence when dealing with a psychopath who also happens to be head of state of a nation with the world’s largest military, do not bother with reasoned discussion. Instead, as stated in the leaked discussion papers for heads of state who had to deal with this particular psychopath [500]. Appeal to their sense of absoluteness, of power over others. Flatter them, say how much you admire them. And so on. Exactly as the Japanese prime minister did [394].
In other words, when dealing with a functional psychopath who is also a head of state, tread carefully, eschew intellectual or reasoned argument, instead use emotional triggers which appeal to their sense of egophrenia. And understand that whatever they agree to is a lie - something they will ignore, revise, and lie about an hour or a day later. For they seek only to bend reality to their sick purpose.
“Before they seize power and establish a world according to their doctrines, totalitarian movements conjure up a lying world of consistency which is more adequate to the needs of the human mind than reality itself; in which, through sheer imagination, uprooted masses can feel at home and are spared the never ending shocks which real life and real experiences deal to human beings and their expectations. The force possessed by totalitarian propaganda - before the movements have the power to drop iron curtains to prevent anyone’s disturbing, by the slightest reality, the gruesome quiet of an entirely imaginary world - lies in its ability to shut the masses off from the real world.”
~ Hannah Arendt [240], “The Origins of Totalitarianism.”
(an image: pls click to see it)
“One of the most important disorders is the antisocial, sociopathic, or psychopathic personality disorder. This disorder is chiefly characterised by a personal history of chronic and continuous antisocial behaviour in which the rights of others are violated. Poor or nonexistent job performance is another major indicator. Persons with antisocial personality disorder make up a significant portion of the criminal and delinquent elements of society. Besides persistent criminality, the symptoms may also include sexual promiscuity or sexual aggression and drug addiction or alcoholism. Sociopaths generally accept their behaviour as natural, feel no guilt when they hurt others, see little reason for or possibility of change, and resist therapy.”
~ Encyclopedia Britannica [60], Sect. on personality disorder. For reasons unknown, the authors failed to mention the long, long list of monsters disguised as politicians and generals throughout history right up to our own time, who have shown clear and obvious evidence of functional psychopathology.
I have argued elsewhere (albeit by inference) that mental illness in those who have attained political, corporate, military, or religious power ... is a communicable disease: (Please q.v. Acculturation theory and What is Doxa and Invisible Acculturation? and Jus Ad Bellum: Kant, Hegel, and other war spelaeologist and Religious Fanaticism is a means of controlling the rabble .)
Mental illness particularly in national leaders, becomes a communicable disease. Because doxa is both subtle and acculturated with very little resistance by the majority.
Consider for a moment that police officers in some countries are subject to a battery of psychological tests prior to being allowed to carry a gun. They go through a battery of psychological tests which while clearly failing some of the time, on the whole help identify those to whom society would not wish to give the right to use a weapon upon another human being.
What if we held politicians to this same standard?
In effect the heads of state of large nations, sans any vetting other than through the manipulations of dysfunctional electoral systems Can Democracy be Easily Ended? (Yes - 10 easy steps) , are given a gun capable of wiping out all life on the planet. If these people possess even a modicum of the common traits recognised as psychopathic, there is the potential for terrible harm to millions, even billions, of people.
For surely no mentally healthy individual would order carpet bombing of civilians (as was done to Dresden, Vietnam, and Iraq for example), adopt torture as state policy, authorise mass rapine for oil, order assassinations without trial or proof of guilt, gleefully perpetrate an economy based upon permanent war, order the murder of thousands of innocent children and the elderly by remotely controlled drones, or similar horrific crimes against humanity.
Such actions as you know, may not be indicative of a healthy mind.
Unfortunately the structure and system of many ostensibly democratic societies may self-select and incentivise functional psychopathic behaviour. It certainly appears to do so for those heading powerful corporations per the citations above. Since as shown here Malevolent capitalism, beat down economics, poverty, and the obscenity of oligarchical ruls too many political leaders and corporate leaders have developed revolving doors, the probability that both areas incentivise those with these markers for psychopathology, is likely significantly more than zero.
Hence weeding out these anathemas to democratic rule and compassion through mandated testing similar (but better) than that required for police officers, child care workers, hospital staff, etc., might go a long way to reestablishing compassion, justice, equality, and most of all a system dedicated to the welfare of all of its citizens. Rather than the norm currently in place in most countries.
A final word. Consider
None of these can occur where leadership is moral, ethical, kind, has the good and welfare of all citizens at heart, and are not perhaps, lacking mental stability and health.
But when a leader is functionally pathological, well ...
It is tragic how little humanity has learned in its long struggle to escape the barbarism of such people. May humanity one day grow up into adulthood, and put aside the functional psychopathic “leaders” who choose war, fascism, Orwellian dystopia, and narcissistic psychopathology instead of working for freedom, love, alleviation of poverty, and behave with common decency for all people, everywhere.
“Padded with power here they come
International loan sharks backed by the guns
Of market hungry military profiteers
Whose word is a swamp and whose brow is smeared
With the blood of the poor
Who rob life of its quality
Who render rage a necessity
By turning countries into labour camps
Modern slavers in drag as champions of freedom
Sinister cynical instrument
Who makes the gun into a sacrament”

~ Bruce Cockburn [254]
“It was like talking to a robot. No expression, no feeling. People were sharing touching stories, stories where you’d expect recognition in the other person’s face that they at least hear what you’re saying that there’s empathy. He didn’t even shake his head. He was completely blank.”
~ David Wilson following a meeting with Mitt Romney, Republican nominee for U.S. president [212]
“I’ve never stood before someone who had no capacity for empathy. It went behind flat affect. It was a complete lack of ability or motivation to understand other people.”
~ Julie Goodridg, after a meeting with Mitt Romney [ibid]
“When the President does it, it’s not illegal.”
~ Richard Nixon [215], U.S. president during interview with David Frost
"He [the ancient Emperor Qin Shi Huang] buried 460 scholars alive. We have buried forty-six thousand scholars alive ... We have surpassed Qin Shi Huang a hundredfold."
~ Mao Zedong [216], speech to Chinese Communist Party, 1958, boasting about being a mass murderer
"Mao’s way of thinking and governing was terrifying. He put no value on human life. The deaths of others meant nothing to him."
~ Li Rui [217], Mao’s personal secretary
”I would do it again in a minute”
~ R. Chaney [397], U.S. Vice president, stating he would readily order the torture other human beings, again. Innocent people too such as Mr. al-Masri, presumably, since Mr. Chaney did not qualify his statement in any way.
“There is something beautiful in seeing the poor accept their lot, to suffer it like Christ’s Passion. The world gains much from their suffering,”
~ Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu (Mother Teresa) [218], a child of wealthy parents who thought that suffering and pain, particularly those to whom she refused medical aid and drugs to diminish the pain, was a beautiful gift from her version of a god
“She made competitors out of neighbours, and people stopped talking at bus stops, even about the weather, in the shadow of her affected, pretend posh accent. Margaret [Thatcher - British prime minister] made herself big on the tears and suffering of others”
~ Dave Wakeling [219]
“He leaves in his wake a trail of ruins - a politicised and degraded civil service, overstretched and demoralised armed forces, a cabinet as neutered and toothless as the House of Commons, an education system still churning out the illiterate and innumerate, a fiscally chaotic and mutinous [health service] and a transport infrastructure barely worthy of a developing country.”
~ Matthew Norman [155], a leading British Journalist discussing a former prime minister who allegedly knowingly (see the Downing Street memos [156, 157]) used false information to send his country to join the alleged perpetration of holocaust and war crimes upon Iraq
“He is punitively and vindictively despotic, rigidly and vengefully doctrinaire, intolerant of deviation, shames and slanders at will, and overrides every democratic constraint to his insatiable drive to total control. Narrow and life-blind absolutism, indifference to others’ suffering, and certitude of virtue while destroying people and common life support systems complete the unseen rule of terror at work. “
~ Professor J. McMurtry [232], Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, author of The Cancer Stage of Capitalism [233] discussing Canada’s them prime minister, Stephen Harper
”As a matter of recorded fact, Thatcher was a terror without an atom of humanity."
~ Steven Patrick Morrissey [220]
“I do not understand the squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favour of using poisonous gas against uncivilised tribes.”
~ Winston Churchill [220], British prime minister, from a 1937 speech recommending genocide
“Trump is a toxic blend of Barnum and bully. If you’re a good mark, he’s your best friend. But if you catch on to the con, then he starts to gaslight. Ask him a question and he’ll lie without batting an eye. Call him a liar and he’ll declare himself ’truthful to a fault’. Confront him with contradictory evidence and he’ll shrug and repeat the fib. Maybe he’ll change the subject. But he’ll never change the lie.”
~ N. Hemmer [322], U.S. News and World Report. Analysis by Politico [229] of Mr. Trump s speeches indicated that he lied on average one every five minutes.
.... and so on down the long line of history, wherein singularly unpleasant, vengeful, megalomaniac, narcissistic, racist, misogynistic, and the very worst of humanity ... rules.
(an image: pls click to see it)
[401 References Bibliography for my site)]