We're in for a wild ride. Exponentially accelerating technological, cultural, and socioeconomic evolution means that every year will see more developments than the previous one. More change will happen between now and 2050 than during all of humanity's past. Let's explore the 21st century and ride this historic wave of planetary transition with a confident open mind.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ron Paul to Tea Party Protests

How a kindly ideologue had his movement partially co-opted by oligarchic corporate influences

It has been almost 3 years since Ron Paul decided to run for president of the United States. His decision led to an embryonic movement that has since mutated, been partially co-opted (by oligarchic interests), and came to be known as the Tea Party Protests. The time has come to evaluate and dissect the evolution of Ron Paul's project to sort the confusion around it. Let's begin with analysis of Ron Paul who contributed greatly to the civil wars within the GOP which in turn resulted in Ron Paul staging an alternate republican convention nearby the official one in 2008.

For a brief moment during the Republican primaries it looked as if Ron Paul might get third place in the Iowa caucuses. Third place was exciting in that it would mean some sort of brief lifting of the heavy corporate media censorship (no other way to explain disproportionate lack of attention towards a reformer who raised more money and had greater national following than Tancredo or Thompson). Alas, Fred Thompson has done his favor to McCain solidly and performed well as a fake candidate to split anti-establishment Republicans. We may see more fake diversionary candidates in the future. A 6-7 figure to pretend to campaign for a few months? Which actor with political connections wouldn't jump at the chance?

Ron Paul was different than other reformers (such as Nader and Kucinich) that were long censored by corporate interests  in that he wasn't a person. He was a mouthpiece for a libertarian ideology. One might think something like this occurs often but it is ridiculously rare and stunning to witness in politics. Such a rare breed doesn't make it far nationally (the way a real Coptic Christian wouldn't in a megachurch industry or an orthodox communist in a Chinese politburo). However people like that have a claim to incorruptibility. This and Ron Paul's track record created an instant passionate following.

Even with this ideologue background Ron Paul shared one thing seen in great reformers like Ralph Nader. He described news events, history, and dynamics of government the way he personally saw them and without spin. This bears repeating. He spoke an approximation of truth to power. A good example of this is an interview he gave to an alternate news organization in 1988. The interview is as relevant today as ever and he describes how the financial industry in essence now owns congress and is the dominant faction within the American oligarchy.

It may seem weird that an ideologue is able to describe the real nature of power within a society but if you think about it, Ron's libertarian orthodoxy aids in the process. Most politicians subscribe to a movable, fake, and incoherent ideology (some meaningless notions of center-left and center-right which are always in flux) to get elected and that requires them to apply a very simple yet muddy ideological filter to everything they do. If they don't do that, they of course will be accused of flip flopping and weakness by the opponents. It is an unfortunate state of affairs that is the worst possible hybrid between ideological orthodoxy and absolute pragmatism. Freedom of meaningful thought and action is restrained in often absurd and situationally dependent arbitrary ways.

Ron Paul does not have that problem as he is firmly anchored in Austrian economics and constitutional legalism. His actions and empirical appraisal of reality is still horrendously restrained but we all know where he stands at all times. It is no coincidence that immovable die hards like Paul and Mike Gravel are children of the depression. Paul responded to the crisis of the depression and stagnation of liberal structures in the 1960s with idealistic reactionism (his homeland of Texas was on periphery of FDR social revolt) while Gravel wanted to further evolve and put additional energies into structures and promises started by FDR.

Having said that, people like Ron Paul are more than capable of siding with certain factions (that are either ideologically muddy or rather moderate) IF it moves society in the direction of that rigid utopian construct they have in mind. "Ends justify the means" and "enemy of my enemy is my friend" sort of dynamic has long been a staple of genuine ideologues. This is different than most politicians because of its teleological nature. Two extreme examples stemming from the same hypothetical person can illustrate this:

1) a communist in Soviet Union who wanted United States to win the cold war because SU was a state capitalist abomination in his view
2) this same person now supports free trade because he thinks it'll make the world's workers sufficiently miserable and build international solidarity which in turn ends capitalism quicker (Famous Marxist theorist Georges Sorel for instance wanted unhindered globalization so capitalism could burn itself out quicker)

We see how ideologues can support something which seems complete opposite of what they want (temporarily) to achieve an ultimate goal. It's a very old game that some casual observers seem to forget about. There is no telling to how far the mental rabbit hole goes. Considering many "neo-conservatives" were Marxist in their youth, it is worth noting the ultimate result of their actions and to consider what goes on inside their minds under many layers.

Ron Paul's actions of course do not deviate this psychopathically far "for the cause". The key reason why he was able to make an otherwise hideous pro-oligarchy ideology of stifling development for majority of the population so palatable was due to him being a kind and gentle soul at heart. It is readily evident in videos of Dr Paul's interviews and speeches. One cannot be mad at him or suspect nasty behind the scenes motives since he lived his entire life as a role model libertarian and an exemplary helpful human being. Ideological pragmatism did make Ron associate and collaborate with certain ideological "free market" think tanks and foundations whose only purpose was to increase the net worth of the oligarchs who started these think tanks in the first place. [here's more on how easy it is for billionaires like David Koch, Steve Forbes, or Richard Scaife to use a bit of their pocket change to create fake grass roots movements and to put educated people on a payroll so they could ideologically serve rich people). Since GOP in itself is just a vehicle for rich people's ideas and power, Ron's association with it in his presidential run allowed oligarchic interests to make inroads into the energized pool of new people that Ron brought to the party.

Considering the fractured nature of GOP during the presidential primary battles, the shrinking and now regional status of the party, Ron Paul's lack of support for McCain, and McCain's support of bailouts and electoral failure, the re-energized libertarian faction provided GOP with a powerful and independently minded influx of pure activists. Many of these people had their own links to various think tanks and oligarchic "research" data. This rich man's infiltration of a movement that prided itself with small donation support may have remained relatively limited considering the above average education and anti-corporate perspective of many libertarian activists (one needs education to engage in understanding and application of a sufficiently complex economic theory, regardless of theory's merits). However, Sarah Palin emerged on the scene and sufficiently re-energized the uneducated rural theocratic factions of the GOP. McCain of course picked her to co-opt not just Hilary voters but power bases of his primary rivals (which included uneducated anti-government people as well as Paul's libertarian ideologues).

What happened next was rather simple. Since there are more elderly rural uneducated anti-gov people in GOP than younger college educated anti-gov libertarians, the Sarah Palin block swamped Ron Paul's people after the presidential election. People with education low enough to think Sarah Palin was an actual capable person were always traditionally manipulated by corporate/theocratic interests (although under Reagan's era of think tanks it became an art form). This story repeated itself as corporate front groups such as freedomworks began to utilize the successful tea party themes of Ron Paul's movement to direct anti-government people against the Obama administration rather than against the federal reserve and the current fiat money monetarist system. Since many of the energetic libertarians remained as a minority to "remake" the GOP, they were now surrounded and overshadowed by whichever dwindling GOP base still remained ( theocratic, crypto-fascist, semi-literate, imperialist, and goofy people of all stripes). Palin faction for its part now found itself under 3 influences:

1) Traditional corporatist money that funds the GOP (now reduced due to status of GOP as regional party and many of America's oligarchs now throwing their funds on the democratic party organs)
2) Traditional Reagan era pro free trade think tanks and newer libertarian think tanks (whether corporate or genuine is irrelevant) that rode into GOP on the backs of Ron Paul supporters
3) Ron Paul supporters themselves who utilized their youthful charisma and grasp of capitalist theory to sway and inspire the older GOP activists

The third in effect helped facilitate migration of republican regulars away from GOP into the broader non-institutionalized tea party movement where individual personalities have a lot more sway. So far we can just guess at the ratio of those that stayed to vote GOP and "purify" it, those that left to influence the GOP from outside so as not to be taken for granted by party leaders they call RINOs, and those that left for good to try to create their own third party. It can be guessed at that libertarian leaning propaganda organizations (indirect corporate influence to a large degree) are now displacing direct corporate influence (elite fundraisers and the like).

The thrust of the tea party protests are still guided by rich people in that the protests focus on a president and democrats rather than socioeconomic structural fundamentals of United States. Rich people of course don't want their proxies to focus on dismantling the banks and auditing the federal reserve. The tragedy is that the bulk of the tea party participants are anti-corporatist in nature and have been badly swindled by the financial sector oligarchy for decades. The economic situation was so bad for years and has deteriorated throughout 2009 to such a degree that the bulk of the tea party protesters are first timers. They might have been outwardly directed with fear by past presidents, but a black democratic president pushed desperate angry people to start paying attention domestically like never before. Rural elderly republicans began large scale dirt digging on the political system that preoccupied younger progressives since 2000. A quote from Chomsky illustrates why Palin was a blessing and a curse to find herself with such a riled up audience:

"I mean, we're very lucky that we have never had an honest demagogue. I mean, the demagogues we've had are so corrupt that they never got anywhere--you know, Nixon, McCarthy, you know, Jimmy Swaggart and others. So they were kind of destroyed by their own corruption.

But suppose we had an honest demagogue, you know, a Hitler type, who was not corrupt. There's probably--it could be unpleasant. There's a background of concern and fear, tremendous fear, and searching for some answer, which they're not getting from the establishment. "Who's responsible for my plight?" You know, and that can be exploited. And unless there's active, effective organizing and education, it's dangerous."

Hopefully the libertarian faction will act to educate the Palin faction on the necessity of anti-imperialism, anti-prohibition (on all consensual acts), and deep radical structural reform of the socioeconomic system. The presence of anti-corporate (still serving the rich in theory but at least articulating elimination of subsidies to the current rich practically) young libertarians should moderate the bible thumping authoritarian views at Tea Party events in general. So far it seems that the elderly white "crazies" have done more to unnerve and stifle the federal government than young pacifist progressives did throughout all 8 years of the Bush administration. The libertarians undoubtedly enjoy the newfound muscle at their disposal but also hold the Palin faction in contempt. To them these are the same nasty authoritarians that voted for Rudy, McCain, etc. The alliance of anti-corporatist people and people who were controlled and led by corporate interests for so long seems counterintuitive and will probably lead nowhere long term. The recent loss of the Massachusetts senate seat is less an indicator to the contrary but an indicator of democrats total disgust at lack of anti-oligarchy moves on Obama's part and thus a protest vote. Ron's people just spend too much time and energy arguing/convincing the Palin people on things that are ridiculously simple like war and the prohibition. Remember, an incredibly capable technocrat and high level managerial intellect (Mitt Romney) was rejected by these people because he was of a different faith and "too RINO".

Young libertarians and young progressives have more in common culturally than young libertarians and elderly anti-government religious people. There is also the anti-banking anti-corporatist bond that unites them due to less influence exerted on them by mainstream media and blatantly obvious think tanks like the Heritage Foundation. Total disenfranchisement of progressives by Obama's cabinet picks should lead to efforts at a common libertarian/progressive/populist front that results in the dismantling and then reorganization of our socioeconomic system in the years to come. We've seen such popular fronts of convenience in many countries before. They serve to remove the established dinosaurs but always collapse into infighting after the key objective is achieved.

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

American Identity Crisis

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The artificial "American" nationality created as an assimilating force is beginning to break down due to inequalities of education within the dominant ethnic coalition.

Many Americans are humorously reluctant to even approach the topic of race and cultural integration. When the French and Swedes (with far lower % of non-whites and immigrants) are actively discussing these issues, the citizenry within Home of the Brave runs for the hills. That's not necessarily an issue of an elephant in the room or fear of seeming offensive. There is a sustained historical reason for every American citizen to suppress his own thoughts on ethnic/racial groups. That reason is state ideology.

Lets briefly review the ideological process that has so far driven national integration in this country.  Ideological "equality" until 2009 has referred to cultural assimilation that expanded beyond Germans and Irish and moved onto all whites as well as select ethnic groups like Jews and Asians. For most of the 20th century, as long as whites remained the vast majority of the total population, neutral terminology like "American" (that didn't refer to any tribal/national origins) could be used to try to consolidate the vast geographic territory into one national fabric. Creation of a neutral national identify to serve as an umbrella nationality for many diverse peoples is standard practice for leaderships of very populous states. In this sense American is no different than the terms Chinese, Soviet, Indian (and these days European).

However, even in very diverse federal states like China or the Russian Federation, there is a ruling ethnic group or a coalition of a few groups that make smaller nationalities cluster around them by the use of force. In China it is the Mandarin speakers and in RF it is of course Russians (with 75% of the population). In US, the native Englishmen have long stopped being numerically dominant in the 19th century (although they remained qualitatively dominant in wealth and education). This pushed them into gradually expanding the ruling coalition by accepting Germans, Irish, Poles, Italians, and so on. Since "English" could not be used for numerical reasons for national identity building the way "German" or "French" is used today, the artificial concept of American had to be bolstered and gradually strengthened.

The power of the artificially constructed nationality rests on the ideology/reality that backs up its promises (how equal are all Europeans in EU, how equal are all Soviets, etc) as well as how much physical power those assimilated into the idea of the umbrella nationality really have. For most of the country's history, there were certain minority populations with whom assimilation was never tried (integration of relatively recently freed slaves and conquered ethnically cleansed natives). This was because it would drain national energies and political capital of elites within ruling ethnic groups and deprive them of divide and conquer tools for new arrivals (gradually offering the umbrella "American" and its promise of equality to some new immigrants like the Germans, Irish and Polish first but not to Italians and Jews until much later). This was not any conspiracy but a natural path of least resistance and an organic way for concept of American to really put down its roots (as opposed to just covering everybody with a term American right away). The gradual and imperial manner of rewarding the title of "American" allowed US leadership a tighter leash than the one Soviets possessed since the term felt and was more real psychologically to those who "earned it" (see the number of Irish and Germans who died in US Civil War, WW1, etc).

In the past few decades a couple of things began to strain the process of national integration that has worked well so far in terms of political stability:

A) Emergence of new culturalism for 20%-25% of the population which is based more on higher education and less on racial/ethnic affiliation.

This first factor was the increasing division amongst assimilated Americans in terms of education and consequently wealth. There was always a large wealth gap between tycoons/descendants of British elites and the rest which was heavily correlated with ethnic lineage. However the GI Bill and mass access to college in second half of the 20th century (particularly by 1960s) really gave a large number of whites of all stripes a way to leap into the power demographic. "Middle Class" as a term actually began to partially stop being an early 1950s cold war propaganda tool to mask and ease class tensions (by putting into peoples minds the idea that wealth is on a continuum with a fatty middle rather than a narrow pyramid with a wide base) and began to become a reality for a number of white Americans.

Higher education put pressure on the previous method of rewarding the title of American. It brought about higher states of consciousness that:

1) Increased perception of physical material national inequality within dominant ruling white coalition on the one hand

2) Brought a new form of knowledge based culturalism as prejudice to increasingly large amount of people within the ruling coalition on the other

Old culturalism (in place for most of the nation's existence) consisted in acceptance to assimilate some select ethnic groups and view them as co-equal Americans while rejecting non-whites and natives as other/excluded/subjects. Until 1950s, vast majority of the population was technically illiterate and racial physical differences made it easy to have rule of thumb for the masses. Lack of higher education for the assimilated really compounded old culturalist prejudices. The old culturalism as a tool of control, although undermining national integration for some ethnic groups, made up for it in the minds of US leadership by accelerating assimilation amongst other groups. For example it was politically easier to betray the interests of blacks at say, 5% of population, to gain an Italian voting block of over 13% and sell this idea to older Anglos/Irish/German majority in a specific area. The divide and conquer routine for electoral politics was of course an organic and natural outgrowth of British rule.

[note: Racism as a concept is a new phenomenon in Britain because classism was so strong there historically. To the elites it never made any difference what color the poor peasants were. It seems the current American oligarchic leadership emulates old Britain in that regard.]

The new culturalism is more individual based and springs from a person's access to information that most lack. Currently its physical manifestation is one of educated whites (20-25% of the population who went to college) migrating to urban areas (reasons for migrations are outlined in Death of Suburbia) and the socioeconomic power increasingly concentrating in their hands. When vast majority of ruling ethnic group's population are undergoing a split between those with basic literacy and those with more advanced tools for political influence, when that manifests into real inequality of opportunity (which always existed but is now underlined by educational background), then the "equality" offered by the idea of being an "American" begins to lose its strength. When a college educated white has more in common culturally with his/her counterpart in France or Australia than with a rural religious white in his own country, then the term American begins to lose its strength as a tool of national integration just like the terms Soviet or Yugoslavian did. Sub-American identities thus begin to gain power as they are at least connected to tribe, blood, and cultural/regional peculiarities. The bonds of a federal national structure and control from above begin to weaken.

B) Demographic shifts due to migration and same as before fertility resulted in greater number of people (proportional to the overall population) who were always excluded.

Non-white Hispanics and blacks combined at 25% of the population ( and burdened in large parts not only by original cultural prejudice but also the newer overlapping culturalism from urban educated). The culturalism against these two groups is rarely manifest by hostile acts or words but by typical and effective way of depriving anything of power, which is excluding and ignoring.

In recent times, racial solidarity and inclusion began to truly occur amongst the equally educated with mostly the cultural inertia of the older first form of culturalism hampering the process. Higher education brings its own cultural soldiarity and identity that can be much stronger than having similar physical likeness. There is little incentive for educated whites to break unity with equally educated non-whites for the political, economic, and cultural benefit of uneducated rural whites. Educated blacks and Hispanics are not numerous enough proportional to their population and too geographically splintered to really form their own communities so there is little option for them but to assimilate into expanding white dominated urban educated class. The most similar people conspire for power.

[note: Poor rural whites, blacks, and Hispanics have a lot more in common than they think and future American populist movements will have to tap into that if they are to be successful. GOP of course blew that chance due to regional and internationalist oligarchic controls over their party.]

Obama's election has shown these emerging rifts and alliances with remarkable clarity. The new updated integration with an educational filter is not confined to ethnic/racial groups and creates enough new inequalities to start to rot American ideology from within. Concepts such as equality of opportunity, rags to riches, free farmer individualism, and self government begin to not work as effectively as state propaganda if country is sufficiently culturally and ethnically splintered and increasingly ruled by one tiny successful multi-ethnic urban faction with PhDs. With rural ghost believing evangelical whites at 25%, blacks and Hispanics each at roughly 13% each, whites at 70% (and dropping due to lower birthrates compared to other groups), those with Bachelor's at roughly 25% (obviously the factions overlap often), we begin to see the serious splits occurring that cannot be rapidly or practically cured with higher education for all (due to these splits preventing effective political national action).

Politics increasingly becomes a matter of what faction will make enough alliances with others to dominate the rest. Obviously that's how it always works but with the national identity of "American" weakening, each election increasingly brings a sense to the loser that the winner is illegitimate and is a cultural interloper. The hysteria of the opposition will increase every time with elites on each side undermining the other in nationally unhealthy ways seen in unstable states.

This has slowly turned United States into an increasingly weak splintered federal state like Brazil or a few other South American countries.

The educated and wealthiest 20% (who are in their own battle with the richest 0.1% internationalist faction) increasingly rule through corporate power from the cities and create blatant cultural exclusion internally. The last American frontier ended in suburbia. Now American people will have to finally face each other and grow up. The country is still spending enormous resources on promoting an ideological agenda around the world with no equal opposition to counter it. The rest of the world is becoming more pragmatic while American society sharpens its ideology (recently demonstrated by rising popularity of libertarian ideas amongst educated whites and amongst defeated republican opposition) and continues to rot from within.

The current process of United States transforming itself from an ideological society into a pragmatic realist society will be gradual and painful.

The rot, so far, is effectively masked by America being an ideological empire and focusing its people on spreading and defending a rigid one dimensional point of view that obviously cant be one size fits all for all societies in the world. Although the process of decline sped up and slowed down at times, discussion and assessment of the situation was muted by how gradual it has been. Societal inability by politicians to address race and ethnic factionalism is a sign of how important the issues are (as if mere utterance of the issues will create social disorder). Soviets were also unable to really discuss the simmering ethnic problems in their midst until too late for similar reasons. Violence is unlikely as American artificial nationality had enough time to partially infiltrate the consciousness of residents living here and as the various American peoples are not specific to certain states.

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What is very likely however is America beginning to mean no more than what Brazil or Argentina means when the price of the military catches up to economic realities. When that occurs and contradictions of state ideology and social reality are exposed to the world (Obama's election has done a lot to slow the process and repair the international image), there will be probably be a painful multi-year period of re-organization from super-power into a normal power. It should all be over by 2020s within our lifetimes. Who knows? If a radical solution is not found to reverse the decline then perhaps we could be a good source of raw materials, religious hardworking immigrants, and weaponry for United States of Europe.

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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Political Ponerology by Andrew M. Lobaczewski ( Review )

A superb book to jump start the science of Ponerology (utilization of psychiatry, psychology, sociology to study how clinical psychopaths economically and socially stagnate/lead to disaster societies that they rule)

Andrew Lobaczewski joins a seemingly endless list of brilliant Polish expats who only found their place in the sun abroad. This seems to happen when a particular ethnic group's elites do not have the playground of a fully sovereign state to rise in and exert their minds on. In an ironic twist Lobaczewski claimed that a famous fellow expat Zbiegniew Brzezinski ( whose amazing book warranted a review of its own) promised to help promote Political Ponerology but at best did nothing and at worst actively suppressed it. The book itself has been provided online for free in PDF format by some wonderful strangers trying to spread knowledge of it.

So what's special about Political Ponerology? For starters, it utilizes a holistic synthesis of psychology and sociology to create a new science to help explain why "evil" (more on the term later) periods occur in human history. The book is long and aimed at people with some psychological background so the "why" can be explained in a relative nutshell as follows:

[ A specific rare breed of homo sapiens (a.k.a. clinical psychopaths constituting .6% of population) are incapable of proper emotional empathy due to specific inherited neural arrangement of their frontal lobe. There are also some people with similar emotional retardation due to environmental damage in frontal lobe area (think Mike Tyson, Wilhelm II, Stalin, and the famous Phineas Gage).

 "The common factor in the varieties of this anomaly is a dull pallor of emotion and lack of feeling for the psychological realities, an essential factor in basic intelligence.... The average intelligence of the psychopath, especially if measured via commonly used tests, is somewhat lower than that of normal people, albeit similarly variegated. Despite the wide variety of intelligence and interests, this group does not contain examples of the highest intelligence, nor do we find technical or craftsmanship talents among them.... They learn to recognize each other in a crowd as early as childhood, and they develop an awareness of the existence of other individuals similar to them."

"Although he deliberately cheats others and is quite conscious of his lies, he appears unable to distinguish adequately between his own pseudointentions, pseudoremorse, pseudolove, etc., and the genuine responses of a normal person. His monumental lack of insight indicates how little he appreciates the nature of his disorder. When others fail to accept immediately his “word of honor as a gentleman”, his amazement, I believe, is often genuine. His subjective experience is so bleached of deep emotion that he is invincibly ignorant of what life means to others."

When these types take over leaderships of ideological/political/religious/social movements by clawing to the top or being born into wealth/power, their personalities:

1) Distort the original meaning of the movements (the final distortions become look alikes regardless of the movement name they publicly mouth)

2) Drive empathic numerically normal people out of them and replace them with low empathy friends and loyal lackeys . These enabler individuals collectively make up to 6% of the human herd and include schizoids and subclinical hereditary "psychopath-lites". The lites are capable of some emotion, caring, and could be socially useful if society exerts energy to steer them in the right direction. However their crushing narcissism creates an addiction to attention (regardless the social cost) of such magnitude that they become natural allies and/or servants of their totally conscience deprived clinical brethren. Most natural politicians fall into this "lite" category.

3) Utilize their positions to economically feed on the human herd rather than improve the herd

4) Reshape the countries they took over in their own arrogant, short term gain focused, egotistical (refusal to see need to keep evolving and to learn from others) image. There are always soft people to be found who emulate successful people or politicians out of blind ambition or deference to power and tradition. Up to a fifth of the population thus ends up copying the manners and thoughts of nasty unpleasant people who are physiologically incapable of emotionally caring about the population they are in charge of. A good example is a manager learning to play golf and laugh at the poor just because his boss does it. These weak people serve as a buffer and ambassadors between psychopaths in charge and the rest of society.

5) Lead the countries they are in charge of into decay and disaster (since essential psychopath's lack of emotional depth, parasitic existence, and impulsivity makes them below average when it comes to technical administration, science, and overall intelligence). This disaster in turn may open the door towards vengeful revolt by a new social movement infected by these same types of individuals ]


The book was written in 1984 and the author noted that Soviet Union was in advanced stages of pathocracy (unhealthy and maladaptive on a macro scale social organization of foxes guarding the hen house) while United States was entering midlevel stage. The early and midlevel stages are those where normal people are completely socially atomized, alienated from each other, and made to fight each other over the ever diminishing crumbs falling from rich/powerful peoples' tables. The advanced stage is categorized by normal people building psychological immunity against people in charge and reclaiming their humanity through forming social bonds again.

"However, our existence is contingent upon necessary links with those who lived before, those who presently make up our society, and those who shall exist in the future. Our existence only assumes meaning as a function of societal bonds; hedonistic isolation causes us to lose ourselves. "

They learn the healthy art of sardonic laughter at their masters (as occurred in the Kremlin dominated space in Eurasia), begin to help each other out as they see they are all in the same boat, and finally begin sharing between each other practical survival tips, alternative news information, and hard hitting gossip about the masters that was previously taboo. Here is more on how declining USA of today is very similar to Soviet Union in 1980s. Normal people are those whose affective brain structures ( rather than linguistic structures) are activated when presented with emotionally loaded words, people who  respond to fear-evoking stimuli, and  who generally rank lower than perfect 100 on Thinking function in Myers-Briggs typology.

The review began with how the above mentioned take over by a small minority results in "evil" periods or times of troubles. Evil of course at first sounds like a ridiculously loaded word to be immediately dismissed by secular intellectuals (considering efforts such as those made by Nietzsche in Genealogy of Morality as well as by contemporary atheists). However the book conceptualizes a pathocratic society overcome by evil as one which dramatically increases (domestically and abroad):

1) neurosis of the population(s) since neurosis is inevitable result of normal people ruled by psychopaths (...anxiety, sadness or depression, anger, irritability, mental confusion, low sense of self-worth, etc., behavioral symptoms such as phobic avoidance, vigilance, impulsive and compulsive acts, lethargy, etc., cognitive problems such as unpleasant or disturbing thoughts, repetition of thoughts and obsession, habitual fantasizing, negativity and cynicism, etc. Interpersonally, neurosis involves dependency, aggressiveness, perfectionism, schizoid isolation, socio-culturally inappropriate behaviors, etc)

2) murder/rape/torture/looting etc.
3) economic and social stagnation/disasters

In other words we're talking about a drastic increase in instances of irrationality, decay, violence, and chaos. Such periods have been and are condemned relatively universally by a broad spectrum of humanity regardless of moral valuation, cultural/political affiliation, geography, etc. Even Nietzsche couldn't help but utilize the word "evil" in this broad earthy sense at times. That is because violent social and economic chaos endangers the rich/powerful as well as the poor/weak by creating conditions favorable to revolt, civil war, and/or foreign powers taking advantage.

First couple of chapters are spent to emphasize that one cannot approach the study of how evil grows, spreads, and fades from a moralistic/religious perspective. That is because such approach has always failed in the past by leading to cognitive error, non-empirical solutions, and emotionality that just perpetuates evil. Lobaczewski believes we ought to study such periods from a naturalistic perspective as one would study a colony of insects. Only naturalistic empirical approach to tackle evil can provide increases in human consciousness necessary for creation of international solutions agreeable to most of humanity (at least to those countries not enduring one of the evil periods/phases).

Alright, it still just feels wrong to use evil as an adjective and especially one in a naturalistic setting. Corporate puppets and ideologues like Reagan and of course religious forces have tainted the term perhaps beyond reclaiming. Thus the author's term pathocratic may become more fashionable as it conveys the more digestible image of a social disease. The book explains in satisfactory detail the interpersonal many year process of how pathocracy emerges from a small cold group of egoistic and goes international. The editors of the book are now working on a simplified guide to Lobaczewski's ideas to make them more accessible to the public. I am tempted to turn this review beyond a heartfelt recommendation (that people at least skim the free PDF of the book linked above) into such a guide but it would defeat the purpose of the review. Even integrating quotes was a problem since there were so many good ones (dozens upon dozens that I marked). Lobaczewski seems to have been (he died recently in Poland) amazingly well read and drew from a variety of sources to complement the psychiatric thrust of his material. Regardless of your political orientation and moral valuation, Political Ponerology offers something for everyone and most people will leave more enriched upon reading it.

Happy New Years and the second part of the article consists of some randomly selected lengthy quotes to give a taste of the book with reflections on them for those who aren't tired yet:

"Our experience teaches us that psychological differences among people are the cause of misunderstandings and problems. We can overcome these problems only if we accept psychological differences as a law of nature and appreciate their creative value."

"However, each society on earth contains a certain percentage of individuals, a relatively small but active minority, who cannot be considered normal.We emphasize that here we are dealing with qualitative, not statistical, abnormality. Outstandingly intelligent persons are statistically abnormal, but they can be quite normal members of society from the qualitative point of view. We are going to be looking at individuals that are statistically small in number, but whose quality of difference is such that it can affect hundreds, thousands, even millions of other human beings in negative ways."

This is a controversial point for me since I wrote previously that there is no such thing as normal due to the concept of normal being decided by a number of statistical bell curves (with those who happened to be born quantitatively different and in poor socioeconomic conditions being labeled as abnormal while same quantitatively different born in good wealthy conditions escaping stigma and maladaptive living). However, I admit that past abuses of psychiatric and psychological community in labeling are not enough to reject the concept of abnormality altogether. Lobaczewski seems to be well aware of Thomas Szasz's concerns regarding psychiatry and takes pains so say that global healing will involve one of the biggest acts of forgiveness ever undertaken concerning the psychopathic minority. His conception of abnormality regarding pathocratic individuals seems more akin to how mentally retarded are agreed to be abnormal qualitatively. The difference with the retarded of course is that psychopaths create a large scale damage multiplier effect on society.

"If various circumstances combine, including a given society’s deficient psychological world view, individual’s are forced to exercise functions which do not make full use of his or her talents. When this happens, said person’s productivity is no better, and often even worse, than that of a worker with satisfactory talents. Such an individual then feels cheated and inundated by duties which prevent him from achieving self-realization. His thoughts wander from his duties into a world of fantasy, or into matters which are of greater interest to him; in his daydream world, he is what he should and deserves to be. Such a person always knows if his social and professional adjustment has taken a downward direction; at the same time, however, if he fails to develop a healthy critical faculty concerning the upper limits of his own talents, his daydreams may “fix on” an unfair world where “all you need is power”. Revolutionary and radical ideas find fertile soil among such people in downward social adaptations. It is in society’s best interests to correct such conditions not only for better productivity, but to avoid tragedies."

Right now the brain drain to other nations helps to reduce some of these problems. However not all will flee abroad and some will stay behind to try to create revolutionary trouble.

"Some of these individuals attempt to protect positions for which their skills are not commensurate, while others fight to be allowed to use their talents. Governing a country becomes increasingly difficult when such battles begin to eclipse other important needs."

Note current total paralysis of the American federal government.

"It would appear, rather, that the best candidates for development are those countries whose populations number between ten and twenty million, and where personal bonds among citizens, and between citizens and their authorities, still safeguard correct psychological differentiation and natural relationships.... If someone asked me what should be done to heal the United States of America, a country which manifests symptoms of macropathy, inter alia, I would advise subdividing that vast nation into thirteen states--just like the original ones, except correspondingly larger and with more natural boundaries. Such states should then be given considerable autonomy. That would afford citizens a feeling of homeland, albeit a smaller one, and liberate the motivations of local patriotism and rivalry among such states. This would, in turn, facilitate solutions to other problems with a different origin."

We definitely saw an improvement in functioning in many former Soviet republics after their separation. This is akin to a large stagnant corporate giant like AOL/Time Warner splitting up into parts to improve efficiency. Individual parts are better able to more quickly address burning problems and specialize in what they are good at. USA can easily transform to be an EU style confederacy of at least 5-6 smaller federal unions.

"Dreams of a happy and peaceful life thus gave rise to force over others, a force which depraves the mind of its user. That is why man’s dreams of happiness have not come true throughout history. This hedonistic view of “happiness” contains the seeds of misery and feed the eternal cycle.... During good times, people progressively lose sight of the need for profound reflection, introspection, knowledge of others, and an understanding of life’s complicated laws."

Note whites who grew up in suburbia.

"At the same time, America, especially the U.S.A., has reached a nadir for the first time in its short history. Greyhaired Europeans living in the U.S. today are struck by the similarity between these phenomena and the ones dominating Europe at the times of their youth. The emotionalism dominating individual, collective and political life, as well as the subconscious selection and substitution of data in reasoning, are impoverishing the development of a psychological world view and leading to individual and national egotism. The mania for taking offense at the drop of a hat provokes constant retaliation, taking advantage of hyper-irritability and hypo-criticality on the part of others. This can be considered analogous to the European dueling mania of those times. People fortunate enough to achieve a position higher than someone else are contemptuous of their supposed inferiors in a way highly reminiscent of czarist Russian customs." 

Note the top 20% of population calling poor rural and urban people lazy for doing low wage labor without even a hint of effort regarding contextualized explanatory knowledge.

"This strongly suggests that the separation is biologically conditioned. In the psychopath, a dream emerges like some Utopia of a “happy” world and a social system which does not reject them or force them to submit to laws and customs whose meaning is incomprehensible to them. They dream of a world in which their simple and radical way of experiencing and perceiving reality would dominate; where they would, of course, be assured safety and prosperity. In this Utopian dream, they imagine that those “others”, different, but also more technically skillful than they are, should be put to work to achieve this goal for the psychopaths and others of their kin. “We”, they say,“after all, will create a new government, one of justice”. They are prepared to fight and to suffer for the sake of such a brave new world, and also, of course, to inflict suffering upon others."

"Egotist nations start wasting money and effort in order to achieve goals derived from their erroneous reasoning and overly emotional reactions. Their inability to acknowledge other nations’ values and dissimilarities, derived from other cultural traditions, leads to conflict and war."

Take any Bush or Brezhnev speech.

"During “happy times” of peace dependent upon social injustice, children of the privileged classes learn to repress from their field of consciousness the uncomfortable ideas suggesting that they and their parents are benefitting from injustice against others. Such young people learn to disqualify disparage the moral and mental values of anyone whose work they are using to over-advantage. Young minds thus ingest habits of subconscious selection and substitution of data, which leads to a hysterical conversion economy of reasoning. They grow up to be somewhat hysterical adults who, by means of the ways adduced above, thereupon transmit their hysteria to the next generation, which then develops these characteristics to an even greater degree. The hysterical patterns for experience and behavior grow and spread downwards from the privileged classes until crossing the boundary of the first criterion of ponerology: the atrophy of natural critical faculties with respect to pathological individuals." 

 This means that a society is already well on the way to entering pathocratic period when people like Reagan are seen as normal and their message is not automatically rejected with disgust (as they would have been in 1950s and 60s). Although until recently, the libertarian economic message of totally gutting safety nets was rejected with disgust by most, the mere fact that it is finding a wider audience with every passing day shows we're entering hysterical final stages of the process. In the meantime, citizenry has been conditioned to automaticlly mock and ridicule actual empathic people who want to bring better quality medicine, schooling, etc. To be fair, many are turning to libertarianism as default since there aren't enough competent elites left in high levels of government and corporate hierarchy who can make a difference even if say, Nader was elected (see below).

"Since the managerial functions have been taken over by individuals with mediocre intelligence and pathological character traits, the pathocracy becomes incapable of properly administering anything at all. The area suffering most severely must always be whichever one requires a person to act independently, not wasting time searching for the proper way to behave. Agriculture is dependent upon changing climate conditions and the appearance of pests and plant diseases. A farmer’s personal qualities have thus been an essential factor of success in this area, as it was for many centuries. Pathocracy therefore invariably brings about food shortages."

The key point to take away from this quote is that even if US government elites wanted to provide good healthcare, shelter, and food to the peasants, they'd be unable to due to decades of hiring incompetent cronies all the way down to the village level.

"The most frequently used methods include paralogistic and conversion methods such as the projection of one’s own qualities and intention onto other persons, social groups, or nations, paramoral indignation, and reverse blocking. This last method is a pathocratic favorite used on the mass scale, driving the minds of average people into a dead end because, as a result, it causes them to search for the truth in the “golden mean” between the reality and its opposite."

A good example would be journalists projecting Washington's desire to dominate central Europe and Central Asia onto Russia. Another example is a parasitic hedge fund manager accusing people like Ralph Nader and Michael Moore of wanting to "steal" from productive people by raising taxes on the rich.

 "A third language thus appears alongside the ideological doubletalk described above; in part, it borrows names used by the official ideology in their transformed modified meanings. In part, this language operates with words borrowed from still more lively circulating jokes. In spite of its strangeness, this language becomes a useful means of communication and plays a part in regenerating societal links... However, in spite of efforts on the part of literati and journalists, this language remains only communicative inside; it becomes hermetic outside the scope of the phenomenon, uncomprehended by people lacking the appropriate personal experience."

We see the phenomenon described in Soviet style fatalistic dark humor on the internet and in politically savvy individuals on various alternative news websites who use official terminology of the parasitic class to mock and dissect it. Oligarchy owned media of course cannot comprehend it since the people on television are wealthy and isolated from physical realities of what they are discussing.

"People with various psychological deviations have always existed in every society on earth. Their way of life is always some form of predation upon society’s economic creativity, since their own creative capabilities are generally substandard."

Unlike today, many of the original Wall Street criminals in the 1980s didn't go to school on how to swindle the uneducated citizenry but were simply street smart. American financial sector is prime example of parasitic "creativity" that isn't meaningfully creative in any socially useful way. Considering the financial sector is now up to 20% of the economy, that's a lot of people who work in feeding on the human herd not just domestically but of course internationally. The result on normal people like the author says is mass scale social neurosis.

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