by John W. Whitehead
are more likely than people in the general population
sociopaths. I think you would find no expert in the field of
sociopathy/psychopathy/antisocial personality disorder who would
That a small
minority of human beings literally have no conscience was and is
a bitter pill for our society to swallow - but it does explain a
great many things, shamelessly deceitful political behavior
Dr. Martha Stout
psychologist and former instructor at Harvard Medical School
Twenty years ago, a
newspaper headline asked
the difference between a politician and a
The answer, then
and now, remains the same:
no difference between psychopaths and politicians.
Nor is there much
of a difference between the havoc wreaked on innocent lives by,
unfeeling, selfish, irresponsible, parasitic criminals and
elected officials who lie to their constituents, trade
political favors for campaign contributions, turn a blind eye to
the wishes of the electorate, cheat taxpayers out of hard-earned
dollars, favor the corporate elite, entrench the military
industrial complex, and spare little thought for the impact
their thoughtless actions and hastily passed legislation might
have on defenseless citizens.
politicians both have a
tendency to be,
selfish, callous, remorseless users of others, irresponsible,
pathological liars, glib, con artists, lacking in remorse and
politicians, like criminal psychopaths
a failure to accept responsibility for their actions
have a high sense of self-worth
are chronically unstable
socially deviant lifestyles
need constant stimulation
possess unrealistic goals...
It doesn't matter
whether you're talking about Democrats or Republicans
in the US (or from any other political party in the rest of the
psychopaths are all largely cut from the same pathological cloth,
seemingly easy charm and boasting calculating minds.
societies bent on power, control, and destruction of both
freedom in general and those who exercise their freedoms.
gain power, the result is usually some form of totalitarian
government or a pathocracy.
"At that point,
against the interests of its own people
except for favoring certain groups," author James G. Long notes.
currently witnessing deliberate polarizations of American
citizens, illegal actions, and massive and needless acquisition
typical of psychopathic systems, and very similar things
happened in the Soviet Union as it overextended and collapsed."
In other words,
electing a psychopath to public office is tantamount to national
hara-kiri, the ritualized act of self-annihilation, self-destruction
It signals the
demise of democratic government and lays the groundwork for a
totalitarian regime that is legalistic, militaristic, inflexible,
intolerant and inhuman.
clear evidence of the damage that has already been inflicted on our
nation and its citizens by a psychopathic government, voters
continue to elect psychopaths to positions of power and influence.
investigative journalist Zack Beauchamp,
"In 2012, a
group of psychologists evaluated every President from Washington
to Bush II using,
trait estimates derived from personality data completed by
historical experts on each president.'
They found that
presidents tended to have the psychopath's characteristic
fearlessness and low anxiety levels - traits that appear to help
Presidents, but also might cause them to
make reckless decisions that hurt other
The willingness to
prioritize power above all else, including the welfare of their
fellow human beings, ruthlessness, callousness and an
utter lack of conscience are among the defining traits of the
When our own
government no longer sees us as human beings with dignity and worth
but as things to be,
manipulated, maneuvered, mined for data,
manhandled by police, conned into believing it has our best
interests at heart, mistreated, jailed if we dare step out of line,
and then punished unjustly without remorse - all the while refusing
to own up to its failings,
...we are no longer operating under a
Instead, what we
are experiencing is a
tyranny at the hands of a
psychopathic government, which "operates
against the interests of its own people except for favoring certain
psychopathology is not confined to those in high positions of
government. It can
spread like a virus among the populace.
As an academic
study into pathocracy
not flourish because perpetuators are helpless and ignorant of
their actions. It flourishes because they actively identify with
those who promote vicious acts as virtuous."
People don't simply
line up and salute. It is through one's own personal identification
with a given leader, party or social order that they become agents
of good or evil.
Much depends on how
a sense of identification with their followers,"
says Professor Alex Haslam.
"I mean one
pretty obvious thing is that leaders talk about 'we' rather than
'I,' and actually what leadership is about is cultivating this
sense of shared identity about 'we-ness' and then getting people
to want to act in terms of that 'we-ness,' to promote our
[We] is the
single word that has increased in the inaugural addresses over
the last century... and the other one is 'America'."
The goal of the
modern corporate state is obvious:
to promote, cultivate, and embed
a sense of shared identification among its citizens.
To this end,
"we the people"
have become "we the police state."
We are fast
becoming slaves in thrall to a faceless, nameless, bureaucratic
totalitarian government machine that relentlessly erodes our
freedoms through countless laws, statutes, and prohibitions.
Any resistance to
such regimes depends on the strength of opinions in the minds of
those who choose to fight back.
What this means is that we the
citizenry must be very careful that we are not manipulated into
marching in lockstep with an oppressive regime.
of the best cures to bad leaders may very well be political
But what does this
really mean in practical terms?
It means holding
politicians accountable for their actions and the actions of their
staff using every available means at our disposal:
investigative journalism (what used to be referred to as the
Fourth Estate) that enlightens and informs
whistleblower complaints that expose corruption
lawsuits that challenge misconduct
through protests and
mass political action that remind the
powers-that-be that "we
the people" are the ones that call the shots.
Citizens need to
the do the hard work of educating themselves about what the
government is doing and how to hold it accountable.
yourselves to exist exclusively in an echo chamber that is
restricted to views with which you agree.
Expose yourself to
multiple media sources, independent and mainstream, and think for
For that matter, no
matter what your political leanings might be, don't allow your
partisan bias to trump the principles that serve as the basis for
our constitutional republic.
As Beauchamp notes,
"A system that
actually holds people accountable to the broader conscience of
society may be one of the best ways to keep conscienceless
people in check."
That said, if we
allow the ballot box to become our only means of pushing back
against the police state, the battle is already lost.
require a citizenry willing to be active at the local level.
Yet as I point out
in my book
America - The War on the American People, if
you wait to act,
until the SWAT team is crashing through
until your name is placed on a terror watch list
until you are reported for such outlawed activities as
collecting rainwater or letting your children play outside
...then it will be too late.
This much I know:
We are not faceless numbers
We are not cogs in the machine
We are human
beings, and for the moment, we have the opportunity to remain free -
that is, if we tirelessly advocate for our rights and resist at
every turn attempts by the government to place us in chains.
understood that our freedoms do not flow from the government.
were not given to us only to be taken away by the will of the State.
They are inherently
In the same way, the government's appointed purpose is not to
threaten or undermine our freedoms, but to safeguard them.
Until we can get
back to this way of thinking, until we can remind our fellow
Americans what it really means to be free, and until we can
stand firm in the face of threats to our freedoms, we will continue
to be treated like slaves in thrall to a bureaucratic police state
run by political psychopaths.