The Road to Pathocracy
This article was published in American Thinker (americanthinker.com) on August 2, 2014.
There are three primary mental disorders. Insanity (psychosis) is a thinking disorder and has been recognized since ancient times; insanity rarely causes a problem for anyone but the afflicted person and immediate family and associates. Insane school shootings are mercifully infrequent. Mood disorders (depression, bi-polar) were only clinically described in the late 19th century by Dr. Henry Maudsley, and again, mood disorders rarely cause a problem for anyone but those who suffer from the affliction and immediate family and associates.
The last of the major mental disorders, psychopathy, was clinically described only in 1941 by Dr. Hervey Cleckley. Psychopathy is complex and counterintuitive, and understanding has been very slow, even though some psychologists credit (debit?) psychopaths with starting WWII and with creating the 2008 worldwide financial meltdown, in addition to the many serial murder cases that attract wide attention. The Western understanding of psychopathic mental disorders is only now beginning to attract serious attention by the general public and that would seem to be entirely appropriate given the high associated costs of psychopathic behaviors.
Largely unrecognized is that there was an active but clandestine psychopathy study group operating behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War. The apparent last survivor of this group died in 2007, and it is an amazing story.
Dr. Andrew Łobaczewski was a Polish psychologist in the mental health field during the Cold War, working particularly with psychopathy. Dr. Łobaczewski was in the last class of psychology students before the Soviets imposed Pavlovian concepts on psychological studies within Poland. Dr. Łobaczewski labored under very trying circumstances, facing ideological resistance, censorship, official repression, and prison. A group of like-minded mental health workers behind the Iron Curtin produced a body of knowledge similar to and in some cases more comprehensive than that of Western psychologists, particularly the works of Dr. Hervey Cleckley in the USA as updated by Dr. Robert Hare in Canada. Dr. Łobaczewski’s group found it necessary to maintain anonymity, and some members of the group were unknown to others while keeping up a correspondence through a chain of personal contacts. At least one member of the group died under mysterious circumstances.
Dr. Łobaczewski’s group embraced Dr. Cleckley’s concept of destructive psychopathy and produced additional original research, historical references, and descriptive terms based on the Greek term poneros, meaning evil. Dr. Łobaczewski’s book is titled Political Ponerology. In his book, Dr. Łobaczewski used the term pathocracy to describe sick totalitarian societies.
In a series of hair-raising conflicts and escapes, the basic draft for Dr. Łobaczewski’s book was thrown into a furnace immediately before a Stalinist secret police raid, the manuscript was rewritten and turned over to the Vatican where it disappeared, and was again rewritten and turned over to Zbigniew Brzezinski, Carter’s National Security Advisor, where it again disappeared. It was finally published from Dr. Łobaczewski’s notes in 2006, just before the good Doctor’s death in 2007.
This may sound like the plot line from an Indiana Jones movie, except for Dr. Łobaczewski’s unquestioned scholarship and insight. The convergence and harmony of Dr. Cleckley’s ideas with Dr. Łobaczewski’s ideas reflect close agreement within a very complex subject area. Political Ponerology was translated and endorsed by recognized linguistic and psychological authorities.
The publishing of Dr. Łobaczewski’s manuscript added the final drama to this long saga. After all his struggles and facing age and illness, Dr. Łobaczewski appears to have been desperate to find a publisher for his life’s work, and the book was published by Red Pill Press, a small Canadian publisher of esoterica, conspiracy theories, and space alien literature. The editor of Political Ponerology, Laura Knight-Jadczyk, is quite an interesting case. She is due considerable credit for bringing Political Ponerology to publication, but other of her endeavors includes research into lizard creatures, UFOs, and alien encounters. Her editorship of the Political Ponerology manuscript, as reflected in the forward and in footnotes, indicates a very negative and conspiratorial view of the George Bush Administration, but ignores LBJ, a real psychopathic-type, controlling president of the USA. In Knight-Jadczyk’s current writings, Bush and Obama are the bad guys and Putin is the good guy. Go figure. But Knight-Jadczyk’s idiosyncrasies do not refute the excellence of Dr. Łobaczewski’s book.
The novel elements in Dr. Łobaczewski’s description of psychopathic systems as compared to the Western descriptions are as follows (terms and concepts in italic are common to both the systems of Dr. Łobaczewski and of Dr. Cleckley):
1) Dr. Łobaczewski posited that societies alternate between “happy times” and “unhappy times,” over periods of decades. A more apt description in Western terms might be “undisciplined times” and “disciplined times.” In happy, undisciplined times, life is prosperous and good, moral and intellectual values erode, and there are growing public displays of licentiousness and excess with an accompanying loss of civic virtue.
In the USA, an example of happy, undisciplined times was most obvious during the Roaring Twenties, which was followed by the Great Depression and WWII.
2) Hysteria is characteristic of times when the existing happy period is collapsing. In this context, hysterical times are noted for both somatic and psychological illnesses and moral laxity. Dr. Łobaczewski emphasized and gave examples of familial mental disorders disrupting and creating maldevelopments of personalities of family relatives exposed to one person’s mental disorders. Mental disorders among the political leadership distort perceptions, attitudes, and actions among citizens. Hysterical times may generate moral and intellectual sloppiness, illogical political arguments, pathological dishonesty, social conflict, and economic disruption. Latent social divisions arise and are encouraged as a means of political control.
A profound period of hysteria was during the time leading up to WWI during which Lenin came to power in Russia. A second period of hysteria led to massive economic and moral collapse during the years of the Weimar Republic, from which came Hitler’s rise in Germany. Lenin and Hitler had the characteristics of psychopaths. Following the moral excesses of the Clinton years, Obama now exhibits the characteristics of a clinical psychopath. With its Constitutional values and history, the USA is not fertile ground for a psychopathic state, but Dr. Łobaczewski tells us that another episode of pathocracy is quite possible and may perhaps be inevitable. Obama is quite capable of creating massive damage to the Constitution and to the economy before we return to more disciplined times. Pathological dishonesty is a marker for psychopathy in Dr. Hare’s system, and we have seen an abundance of pathological dishonesty recently, particularly in regards to Obamacare.
3) Reduced discipline and the erosion of moral values during periods of hysteria allow the proliferation of alternate moral and social viewpoints, including personality disorders. Dr. Łobaczewski’s system identified several mental disorders closely related to psychopathy, including terms denoting psychopath enablers and psychopath foot-soldiers. Dr. Łobaczewski’s system was also very rigorous in identifying and distinguishing hereditary neurological defects as opposed to neurological injury, either or both of which may result in neurological conditions related to psychopathy; nurture and nature individually and collectively may contribute to the development of a psychopathic personality and related mental disorders.
4) Though psychopathy is quite superficial, it is the only mental disorder that attracts, or generates, large numbers of followers who have limited psychological stability and moral values. Only the more gullible members of society, including psychopath enablers, succumb to the attractions of the psychopath. Most members of society retain a “common-sense” — Dr. Łobaczewski’s description — attitude during times of social and economic disruption, and common sense eventually returns and prevails after much damage has been done.
In the USA, psychopath enablers include Leftist journalists, Leftist professors, and Leftist community disorganizers. Intelligence — IQ — offers little or no immunity from psychopathic influences during hysterical times.
In the USA, the shift to hysterical times can be dated quite precisely to the period of the 1960s. Prior to this time, there were Democratic Party stalwarts who were staunchly anti-Leftist such as Hubert Humphrey and Scoop Jackson. These have been replaced by the likes of Harry Reed and Nancy Pelosi. The last of the old-style Democrats was Joseph Lieberman, and he had to change his party affiliation to Independent in order to retain his senate seat during his final election.
5) When psychopaths capture positions of power the result is totalitarianism, also known as pathocracy. At that point, the government operates against the interests of its own people except for favoring certain groups.
We are currently witnessing deliberate polarizations of American citizens, illegal actions, and massive and needless acquisition of debt. This is quite typical of psychopathic systems, and very similar things happened in the Soviet Union as it overextended and collapsed.
6) It must be noted that all pathocratic developments and cycles take place over decades and may not be obvious to the casual observer. During hysterical times, young people in particular may form opinions and make ideological commitments that are quite lacking in moral and intellectual rigor.
7) Pathocrats (psychopaths) always fail, creating massive social and economic costs for everyone else. Eventually, discipline is restored by the need to deal with psychopathic incompetence and corruption, moral and intellectual rigor returns, and the cycle begins again. Marxist and Islamic psychopaths have created a recurring profitable corruption, and their systems become self-perpetuating.
8) Dr. Łobaczewski theorized on ways to minimize pathocracy.
Dr. Łobaczewski’s book included a remarkable section titled Spellbinders that described unique individuals with various moral and psychological pathologies that can and do attract vulnerable followers. The Spellbinder places his followers on a “higher moral plane” than other citizens and these followers may be “showered” with “attention and property.” In a healthy society, Spellbinders are ignored or refuted or laughed out of town. In a hysterical society, Spellbinders may become dictator of Russia, Fuehrer of Germany, or President of the USA. The role of Spellbinder is a constant fixture within pathocracies, but the chosen vulnerable followers depend on the quite variable ideology of the particular Spellbinder (class for Marxism, nationality for Fascism, ethnic and Leftist in America currently). The consistency of this pattern, always resulting in a destructive conclusion, is reminiscent of Transactional Analysis games. Note that being in the chosen group of the Spellbinder’s followers conveys short-term advantage, but tends to long-term damage and destruction of the entire system.
The concepts of psychopathy and pathocracy explain much about the world’s troubles: why some people and nations cooperate productively and build while other people and nations want control and are willing to destroy in pursuit of their aims. As the world’s worst mental disorder, psychopathy has no hope of prevailing, but the destruction itself presents an attraction to sick minds. It should be obvious after thousands of years that psychopaths always fail and psychopaths and psychopath enablers have an agenda they do not share with their vulnerable followers and which they may themselves be unaware.
There is one significant criticism of Dr. Łobaczewski’s book, not related to his psychological understanding. Dr. Łobaczewski was thoroughly, if unwillingly, indoctrinated behind the Iron Curtain and takes the position that a government as “envisioned” by Karl Marx would result in the “working peoples (sic) leftist ideology” driving such a government. This government would be “stern” but humanistic and beneficial. The problem is that no significant “working peoples leftist ideology” has ever existed. No Marxist revolution was ever driven by workers, leftist or otherwise. Marxist or neo-Marxist revolutions are driven by lawyers (Lenin, Castro), bank robbers (Stalin), warlords (Mao, Kim Jong-Il), or an inexperienced community disorganizer whose milieu was Chicago, one of the most corrupt of the Democratic party controlled urban disasters. Marxist revolutionaries may seize and exploit the dissatisfaction of workers, but workers ensnared within a Marxist revolution do not want in, they want out.
Karl Marx had the characteristics of a clinical psychopath; no wonder that all Marxist revolutions fail. Marxist totalitarians (Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao) adopt Marxist ideology, not because it produces beneficial results, but because it gives them control. The pathological need for control is the driving force behind psychopathic personalities, including Obama.
There is growing awareness that the United States of America is becoming disrupted and unsettled. Few people recognize the psychological factors involved, but there are increasing searches for answers. Psychopathy and pathocracy provide descriptions of our current woes and the possibility of a way out of our problems.