Insiders and Outsiders
The insiders are also those with connections to important sectors of the economy like the oil and gas industries, the pharmaceutical companies, the major food conglomerates, the media, the secretive Skull & Bones fraternity at Yale that counts among its members both George W. Bush and John Kerry, and long-time politicos who have made a career out of doing the bidding of the aforementioned groups. And then there is the infamous, and, according to the media, non-existent, Israel lobby, the lobby that is so strong you aren't even allowed to talk about it.
The outsiders are, well, people like you and me. They are rarely elected to Washington, and when they are, they do outrageous things like vote according to their conscience and not by party lines, i.e. the dictates of the insiders. Then the party hacks do their best to get rid of them, as happened to Cynthia McKinney, the Democrat from Georgia.
The bottom line is that the insiders have political and economic power, and the outsiders don't.
Those of us on the outside, the vast majority of the citizenry, have effectively been removed from power. Our democratic voice amounts to little more than voting on occasion, that day every couple of years where we have our say, and then we are expected to shut up and take it until we have the privilege of voting again. Our representatives go off to Washington where they are wined, dined, and financed by people and groups with interests that are economic, political, and military, but certainly not human. The people we elect to represent our interests may throw some money into their region or neighborhood from time to time, especially just prior to an election, but it cannot be said that they represent our interests in any fundamental sense.
The above doesn't even take into account gerrymandering voting districts, ballot box stuffing, or the use of paperless voting machines that can be invisibly hacked to give results dictated from above.
And although the example given here is from the US, the situation doesn't vary much elsewhere.
So let's admit the obvious. We, the people, the outsiders, have no say in the government that claims to be the most free and democratic in the world. That government, supposedly our government, represents the interests of the insiders. The US Constitution, the bedrock of our rights and freedoms, has been tossed into the waste bin. Bush views it as a quaint holdover from a time long passed, those heady days before the government launched the "War on Terror" - a war directed at its own citizens.
So the outsiders, you and me, find ourselves looking on in horror and shock as the values that were instilled into us are ever more brazenly ignored, scoffed at, and even rewritten in some form of Orwellian double-speak where the meanings have changed while the forms continue on. Look at the notion of democratic government. The tripartite separation of powers between the administrative, the legislative, and the courts still exists. On paper anyway. Congress meets and goes about its business. Sure, there are Bush's signing orders that effectively override the laws passed by Congress, but who in the media is really talking about those? We still have elections. The Supreme Court meets and hands down its rulings. On the surface, everything looks like it has always been.
But you know that under that shiny surface, brought into your living room via Fox News, things have changed dramatically.
This transformation did not happen by chance; it was neither haphazard nor random. It was the culmination of an ongoing process. The process is called "ponerization", which means the infection of groups and individuals with evil, from the Greek word poneros.
While that may sound like a moralistic statement, or even a religious statement, you might be surprised to know that it is a scientific term from psychology. It is possible to objectively and critically describe the infection of individuals and groups using knowledge that comes from the psychological study of pathological individuals. Certain branches of psychology are able to diagnose the twisted modes of thought that arise from damaged brains, whether that damage is genetic or comes as the result of an accident or the effect of upbringing. For example, lesions in the brain can affect a person's ability to think and feel, leaving them with a dulled emotional or intellectual capacity. If an individual receives a shock or trauma to the brain at certain moments while the brain is forming, say during birth or early childhood, that leave a small part of the brain unable to do its job, the brain rewires itself and offloads the task to another part. However, the replacement sector is unable to be quite as refined and subtle in its ability to carry out that task, and so the emotions may not be felt so strongly or the ability to think may be blunted.
Some individuals are even born without any ability to empathize with other human beings, that is, they are incapable of putting themselves in another's shoes, incapable of feeling what another person feels or thinking what another person thinks. They are unable to get out of themselves. These individuals walk, live, and work among us, and, according to a growing body of research, they wreak more havoc than the rest of humanity combined. Research in the field suggests that the majority of acts that you or I would define as "bad" or "evil", that is, physical or psychological violence committed against others, are carried out by individuals who would be clinically diagnosed as pathological were they to be examined.
You may have had one as a boss or a colleague at work. Or maybe you were in a relationship with one. This individual would lie and back stab, provoke and refuse to take responsibility for any of his or her actions. They could also be the most charming person you've ever met, charming the pants off of you or the money out of your bank account.
These individuals believe the rules don't apply to them, that anything goes in getting what they want. Their basic make-up is that of the predator, and they view us, the outsiders, as their prey.
Now imagine the result when such individuals attain positions of power, be it in government, business, the law, the police, the education system, the media, or any of the other institutions that have some form of control over our lives. Imagine the United States being run by people like this, people with no conscience.
Would it look any different than the USA today?
Who are the Insiders, Really?
The first point to note about the insiders is that while they preach all the values that we were taught represent the best of America, or whatever country over which they rule, they practice none of them. They use the words to con and to manipulate, presenting an image that can be used to gain support and power in order to attain their less than wholesome aims. The mainstream media is the major means by which this manipulation takes place. The insiders are deviants. By this I mean that their way of perceiving the world and their place in it deviates from the way the majority of humans perceive the world. And yet it is this small group that is in a position to dictate values, standards, and the future direction of society to the rest of us.
Take Bush, please (as the old joke goes). He was born into a family with money and power. His grandfather, Prescott Bush, was part of Eastern establishment money. Prescott Bush's investment firm gave financial support to Hitler and the Nazi Party in Germany. Father George H.W. Bush spent time with the CIA, moved on to the vice-presidency under Reagan, and then had his own four years of the presidency. He is a member of the Carlyle Group, an important investment firm involved with selling guns, oil, junk health care products, and phony news bites in their media concerns.
Obviously, these family connections helped George W.: they helped him when he went AWOL during his career in the National Guard, helped him when his companies went bust, helped him with his baseball franchise, and helped him become president. So we can note a second point about the insiders: it is more than a collection of individuals; it is a system and a network working together to ensure its goals can be attained. If George W. Bush is president today, it is not simply that Dubya wanted to be president; there are many people who aspire to that office. If he is president, it is because the Insider network wanted it that way. He was chosen. He is the front-man, the puppet, the image for public consumption - the every day Joe, a guy like you and me - that masks the predatorial beast pulling his strings.
The individuals that make up this system share a common outlook on life. Some of the elements of this common viewpoint would include ideas that:
- Power is important.
- Money is important.
- It is OK to impose one's will to get one's way.
- The ends justify the means.
- Reality is what they say it is.
If you look at these points, you will see that the welfare of others doesn't enter into the picture. One of the things these ideas share is a lack of conscience. Treating their fellow humans with respect and dignity is less important than attaining money and power, and if people have to be hurt to achieve their aims, so be it. Think of the lives that were ruined by Enron. Think of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have died, and the millions more whose lives have been ruined. Think of the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast who will never get their homes and their land back because of profiteering and well-organized land scams.
For these individuals profiting from this suffering, the needs of another will never outweigh their own desires.
The psychologist Martha Stout, in her outstanding book The Sociopath Next Door, writes the following about conscience:
"Psychologically speaking, conscience is a sense of obligation ultimately based in an emotional attachment to another living creature (often but not always another human being), or to a group of human beings, or even in some cases to humanity as a whole."
So conscience, as it serves as a guide to our actions and interactions in the world, is intimately connected with our relationships with others and the world. But if someone is incapable of feeling empathy, if that person is incapable of feeling someone else's pain, how can they form true emotional attachments to anyone else? If someone's emotions are dulled, the emotional effects of their actions on others will never come home to roost. If someone's emotions are so dull that they can not be emotionally touched by someone else, either feeling deep love or even deep, emotional suffering, how will they learn to respect those feelings in others? If someone is completely trapped in fulfilling their own desires to the point where others exist only as instruments to serve that end, how can they develop a conscience? In the examples we gave above of the world view of the insiders, there is no concern whatsoever for others, at least those outside of the clique. The rest of us exist simply as labor power, as batteries to be sucked dry for the needs of the powerful to use the imagery of the film The Matrix.
Psychology has a name for those who have no conscience. They are called psychopaths.
I suggest that when we look at the data we have at hand, we can only conclude that we are governed by psychopaths (1). The insider system, which is a fairly innocuous name for what is really going on, is a system of individuals without conscience, either by birth or through events that have dulled or killed what spark of conscience they might once have had. Such a system is known as a Pathocracy, that is, a government of individuals who, were they to be clinically diagnosed, would be found to be psychologically deviant. They are unable to think and feel in the way the rest of us think and feel, that is, the way people of conscience think and feel. They are incapable of forming empathetic bonds with others. Moreover, they consider the deeper emotions experienced by people of conscience as a hindrance to getting ahead. It is that ruthless, killer instinct that best sums up the insider.
These individuals, suffering from various forms of pathologies, form a small percentage of the population, somewhere between 4 and 6 percent. However, they hold the power.
So the next time you look at the news from Washington and you can't believe what you hear, that your representatives could come up with such ideas, that they could be so callous about human life and suffering, be it in Iraq or New Orleans, consider the possibility that it is because these so-called insiders are ill: they are incapable of empathy, they have no conscience, and they are suffering from psychological problems that could and should be diagnosed. They should be removed as the leaders of society because their basic values and experience of the world have nothing in common with the people they are supposed to represent, the 94% percent of the population they lord it over.
The problem of pathological leadership is the fundamental political problem of our time. It is no coincidence that our society feels to us as if it is sick. How could it be otherwise when those defining that society at its highest levels are sick themselves?
Part Two: Insiders and Outsiders in Everyday Life
We all know stories of qualified and skilled people who can't find work or who are passed over for promotion when someone who specializes in office politics gets the nod. This situation is another example of the insider/outsider dichotomy I discussed in my last article. It not only applies to Washington, it also applies to the facts and events of our daily lives. How many Americans are working for companies that are "offshoring" jobs to India and China? Ordinary people are on tenterhooks with the announcement of each round of layoffs while management have that glassy-eyed glare of bigger stock options and pay-offs when the year's profit margins improve and stock prices soar.
One of the consequences of such policies is that society loses the input and skills of its most gifted members. Positions that could be filled with people capable of bringing creative and thoughtful solutions to problems are instead filled with individuals whose only skill is the ability to play the game. They are often mediocre or incompetent and get others to do their work for them, while they, of course, claim the credit. Society as a whole loses as this great wealth of creativity is wasted.
But the losses are not only seen on the larger scale; they hit home more directly in the lives of those laid off or who live in a permanent state of fear.
Here are some quotes from email I have received recently describing just this. One correspondent wrote:
Some life, being on the treadmill constantly trying to outrun 'redundancy'. I do not like where the 'new world order' has been herding us. A century ago I would have lived my entire life doing what I spent years training for in the first place.
Think about that. Think about what an important shift such a change is in our lives and how it affects all of us, how it puts us in a permanent state of anxiety over the future. We can spend thousands of dollars on an education and have no assurance whatsoever that we will even be able to find employment in our chosen field. Think about your fathers or grandfathers who may have had a job doing the same work throughout their careers and who believed that their children would have the same choice.
If the shift just described isn't enough to leave us anxious and insecure, what about the nefarious policy called by that whitewashed label "outsourcing" and "offshoring" of jobs?
Another correspondent writes:
I mentioned impending layoffs at my software-corp employer recently. I survived, but some good performers were let go. "5% company-wide" translated into more in some areas and less in others, up to 25% in some. People in my office are shaken. Others remind me that layoffs always result in additional staff leaving and that management often actually intends and wants this.
Disturbingly, it was let out in advance, in confidence to some people, some of the names of those to be laid off. I wonder if it was to see if secrets could be kept.
Then, a few weeks later he wrote back to fill me in.
.. ah, but it's not over. The cuts made up the dollar shortfall last quarter, but the execs dropped new bombshells last week. First, they laid off a couple of VPs unexpectedly. Next day, they told to the company they *must* raise profit margin to avoid hostile takeover attempts, so they'll begin "aggressively offshoring" as many positions as possible, and that "some people will lose their jobs."
The company's offices in India and especially China will grow. The CEO said he should have done it long ago. This is risky because it puts a pall over everyone for months to come. Multiple people I know resigned in the wake of this announcement.
You have to wonder whether or not this permanent state of anxiety is one of the goals of these policies and these announcements. Read through this explanation of Transmarginal Inhibition and see if it doesn't describe what is happening to the work force in the United States and elsewhere. Pavlovian shock methods are being used to soften us up and prepare us for the next blow. The regular "terrorist" alerts issued following 911 serve the same purpose.
The correspondent continues:
One woman who identified herself as working in Accounts noted that every department was cutting costs to the bone, but wanted to know why the execs didn't -- she asked them why they constantly put in for approval of "budget exceptions" on their expense accounts that were approved without question, even though she felt they were unnecessary. Their answer was simply that, "we try to stick to budget, but sometimes exceptions are necessary."
Ah, yes, "sometimes exceptions are necessary". And we know where these exceptions are always found: benefiting the insiders. Which reminds me of a story told to me by an Irish friend a few years ago. The day after the same type of "out-sourcing" layoffs were announced at a company in Dublin, the CEO drove up to the office in his brand new BMW 500 series car, expensive enough to pay the salary of several employees. Back then the process was called down-sizing.
So "exceptions are necessary", even in other countries. The infection crosses national boundaries, and the woman who had the courage to speak up very likely will lose her job. But isn't it better to take a stand?
The problem is, these kinds of schemes are inherent in the logic of a system that values economic results over the lives of those doing the work. The faulty premise is that the good of the people is taken care of by the "invisible hand" of the marketplace, which boils down to, somehow, things will just take care of themselves, with the caveat: as long as you are industrious and are willing to work. You all know the great American myth that anyone can be a success, that anyone can be president.(2) This great American myth about individual success puts the burden of failure squarely on the individual. Failure is never the fault of the system or the people who benefit from the system. It is always your fault.
Convenient, isn't it? Do you think it is only a coincidence?
So how does one learn to benefit from the system, or, in other words, to succeed? By mimicking those who have already attained some success. And how does one do that? By becoming ruthless, back-stabbing, and only looking out for one's own interests. In other words, one must become sick to survive. One must encourage the propagation of the virus of pathological thought processes within oneself by killing any manifestation of consideration of others that might prevent you from getting what you want or what you have convinced yourself you deserve. Once the values of the insiders become the values of society as a whole, once their distorted and inhuman way of seeing the world becomes the accepted way of seeing and understanding the world, the only way to succeed is to become like them. You could call it the Stockholm Syndrome on a societal level.
An important element in this pathological way of viewing the world that one must internalize in order to succeed is the acceptance of the various false divisions that the insiders promote in order to hide the fundamental insider/outsider divide. Think of how race, nationality, language, and religion are all used to sow dissension and discord among outsiders. Do you think this process just happens by chance? An example that is prominent now is the question of illegal immigration and what to do with the long border joining the United States and Mexico. We see a vehement discussion on the need to close off America's borders.
But, really, what group is the problem here? Is it the Mexican workers who come to the United States, or is it the insiders who claim the vast majority of the wealth and resources for themselves? And to what extent are the insiders responsible for the large migration of workers into the US through decades of injustice and exploitation of Mexico by US corporations in collaboration with corrupt Mexican politicians and officials? And that holds for other countries in Latin America and the world. Do you think that these people would leave their homes and families if they could make a living where they were? Would you?
Which raises another question: What do you want out of life?
Probably security, as in having a home and enough money to get by, is high on the list. A safe place to raise your kids and a satisfying job that leaves you time to do other things than work and pay the bills would likely also have a place. Those are the needs and desires of normal people everywhere. Someone with a healthy psychological profile doesn't need large sums of money that he or she will never spend. He or she doesn't need multiple houses. He or she wants a job that is rewarding and satisfying and that provides enough income to pay his or her way and provide for his or her family. He or she wants to live in peace and security and not see a son or daughter go off to fight in a war overseas. He or she doesn't want to see a home-grown, para-military police force patrol the streets of their hometown, such as we saw used against the people of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, much less the thousands of foreign troops.
The Mexicans that come to the US want the same thing. Their goals are the goals of normal Americans. They share the goals of ordinary people everywhere. The ordinary Muslims, who we are told are the source of all of the problems in the Middle East, also want the same thing. So if this world of peace and security is what we want, why are we so far from achieving it?
We are told that it is because we all have a dark side, the animal part of our nature that breaks out every so often and wreaks havoc and destruction. In response to that, I would ask each of you, do you not see a difference between a violent act that comes out of the heat of emotion and a violent act that is coldly planned in advance? Would you be capable of planning the destruction of another country, including the deaths of over 1 million people, in a cold and rational manner, with the same emotional detachment that you would draw up the plans for the construction of a house? If you were running a profitable company, would you be capable of eliminating the jobs of thousands of workers, creating anxiety, suffering, and distress, simply to increase your profit margin by a few percentage points?
The insiders can and do make their plans in this way. They have no qualms about it. Their violence, be it physical or psychological, is not born of stress or overworked emotions. It is emotionless and calculated. They then invent slogans, theories, and excuses to justify their deviant plans, convincing us that it is done in the name of freedom and democracy or because there is a threat to our security.
The real threat to our security comes from those who can calmly make plans for war.
If normal people, ordinary people, were able to get beyond the divisions sown by the insiders and unite to claim what is rightfully ours, power and control over our own lives, the insiders would be where they belong: on the outside. Why should a small percentage of the population control the vast majority of the wealth? Why should they have the control over life and death decisions that concern the majority? Why should they impose their cold and calculated view of the world on those of us who value human contact, experience, and intimacy over money and power?
Whatever justification or rationalization springs to mind as you read these words has been implanted within you by people who do not have your best interests at heart. It is not their sons and daughters who are in Iraq. It is not their future that is put into jeopardy through downsizing, offshoring, and outsourcing. Using the media, these justifications and rationalizations are repeated over and over again until we accept them at face value, until we begin to think like them.
Certainly, groups subjected to injustice have tried to unite in the past. The problem was they were uniting over the wrong rallying point. Class, religion, nationality, none of these strike at the root of the problem, and therefore they can only go so far in achieving a working unity. The one issue that touches the root is that of conscience. How do you treat your neighbor? How do you treat your family? Moreover, without an understanding of psychopathy and other pathologies, it was easy for these types to join such movements and eventually turn them away from their original aims. People who are incapable of putting themselves in another's shoes, of genuinely feeling what it is like to be in another's position, are incapable of forming any lasting unity because they can never place the interests of someone else before their own. They are never capable of true compromise, that is, compromise that doesn't come with the baggage of self-righteous sacrifice or deep-seated and hidden resentment and their subsequent plans for revenge or retribution.
The fact of the matter is that our lives are controlled in almost every aspect by decisions over which we have no say, be it political decisions by the insiders in Washington or other centers of power, economic decisions by our bosses whose goal is to maximize profits at the expense of providing secure working environments for their employees, or decisions over what it is permissible to think and what ideas will be drummed into our heads through the media, to name but a few. Normal people, ordinary people, people of conscience live in an environment that does not express our inner nature, that is not the manifestation of our ability to empathize and care for others, and until we become aware of this fact, we, too, are infected. How will we ever be able to create a different world if we do not root out the insider virus that has taken root in us?
Part Three: The Insider Wannabes
We have seen in the first two articles in this series on insiders and outsiders that the insiders are a small minority, around 5 percent of the population, while the outsiders are the vast majority. So how is it that this small clique can maintain their power?
They have a support base. Let's call them the insider wannabes.
The insider wannabes are comprised of people who look to others for their values. They need to be told what to do, what to think, what to believe in, what type of clothes to wear, what food to eat and TV to watch. They don't develop their ideas themselves, they absorb them from their environment: their family, their friends and co-workers, from media proclaimed experts whose 'talking heads' appear nightly on the mainstream media. The insider wannabes repeat the sound bites they hear on the radio or from the TV. In short, they need an authority to tell them what is ok and what is not. The existence of this group is why so-called "talking points", that is, the list of pat phrases sent down the media hierarchy on what topics need to be addressed and how they should be framed, are so effective. When many people hear the same phrase or idea repeated over and over, they eventually come to accept it and eventually to parrot it as their own opinion. Whether the talking point is true or not doesn't matter. You have no doubt had the experience of hearing colleagues or friends repeating almost word for word arguments picked up from talk radio jockeys or the resident "experts" on Fox News. Jon Stewart makes fun of this quite regularly on his show when he edits all these pundits together repeating the same phrase over and over again.
Today in the United States, the insider wannabes support the Bush administration, support Israel's genocide of the Palestinians, support the dismemberment of Iraq, support the official story on 911, and many of them believe that Jesus will be returning in their lifetime, in spite of all of the suffering and horror, or, in the case of the return of Jesus, the fairy tale absurdity of the idea. Facts don't matter; authority does.
The funny thing is, a similar group of insider wannabes also existed in the former Communist states where the insiders were members of the Communist Party, and a good many of them have now found a comfortable home in the post-communist, capitalist world. For the insider wannabe, ideology isn't important. The insider wannabe is a personality type. If the insiders are communists, the insider wannabes are communists. If the insiders are capitalists, then the insider wannabes are capitalists. The shape or color of the authority the wannabes seek doesn't matter so much as the fact the authority is "the authority", is in power and gives the orders. Insider wannabes need orders. They don't like to think for themselves.
Bob Altemeyer, who spent his career studying what he calls the Authoritarian personality type, noted that:
...the most cock-sure belligerents in the populations on each side of the Cold War, the ones who hated and blamed each other the most, were in fact the same people, psychologically. If they had grown up on the other side of the Iron Curtain, they probably would have believed the leaders they presently despised, and despised the leaders they now trusted. They'd have been certain the side they presently thought was in the right was in the wrong, and instead embraced the beliefs they currently held in contempt. [The Authoritarians, emphasis ours.]
So it is important to understand that the issue of insiders and their supporters is not tied to political beliefs. We are dealing with a personality type, the psychological make-up of individuals that make them open to certain influences. According to Altemeyer, the personality type shares the following three traits:
* Hierarchical Submission
* Conventionalism, and
He discusses each in his book and suggests that they form approximately 20% of the population.(3)
Andrew Lobaczewski, in his book Political Ponerology, A science on the nature of evil adjusted for political purposes, proposes a complex structure of different pathological types whose different pathologies fit together to form a system of governance he calls the pathocracy, based upon studies carried out in secret under the communist governments in Eastern Europe. He notes that the insiders in Poland during the Communist period made up about 6% of the population, while double that figure, 12%, formed the support class. About this second group, he writes:
This second group consists of individuals who are, on the average, weaker, more sickly, and less vital. The frequency of known mental diseases in this group is at twice the rate of the national average. We can thus assume that the genesis of their submissive attitude toward the regime, their greater susceptibility to pathological effects, and their skittish opportunism includes various relatively impalpable anomalies. We observe not only physiological anomalies, but also the kinds described above at the lowest intensity, with the exception of essential psychopathy.
It is not yet possible to map Altmeyer's authoritarians directly to the group Lobaczewski called the "new bourgeoisie", however I think it would be interesting to pursue the research and see what overlapping might be found. It is possible that the group Altemeyer has defined as "Double Highs" or "Social Dominators", that is, individuals who score high on the Authoritarian scale and the Social Dominator scale would include individuals that would fall into Lobaczewski's 6% deviant category. Altemeyer himself writes:
There even seems to be a whiff of the sociopath about the social dominator. Somebody do the studies and see if any of these hunches is right. [The Authoritarians, p. 180]
In reading and comparing the descriptions of the types outlined by the two authors, there are certainly significant similarities.(4) Both models present us with a picture of a small deviant group with influence over a larger, highly influenceable support base. Both models suggest that the loyalty of the support base to their leaders is based upon qualities that are not permanent and have nothing to do with ideology or fundamental beliefs in one system or another. It is a question of opportunism, not principles. Shift the people in power and the support base could also shift.
This analysis suggests as a conclusion that the problem is the small deviant group in power. As long as they remain in power, the support base will be firm. Moreover, the real problem is not only individuals but rather the particular forms of deviancy among the insiders -- deviancy in the sense of how their thinking and emotions deviate from healthy forms, that is, from an objective perception and understanding of reality. The trouble is, these forms of deviant thinking occur everywhere, not only in the halls of power. That has been the problem historically: one group of deviants gets replaced by another and so the situation of the majority never changes.
This revolving door of pathological power happens because the pathological infection spreads throughout society and affects all of us to one degree or another, even in opposition groups. Deviance is not always clear-cut. There is a continuum spanning a wide range of variations from the pole of deviant thought to the other pole of healthy thought. If we think of each pole as a center of gravity exercising a pull over the individuals between them, you might imagine that the power of each would be about equal. However, what happens when the principal sources of information, the media, the institutions that form and educate children, our schools and universities, are themselves heavily influenced by the pathological minority? The pathological influence then vastly outweighs that of those who function normally. Add to that the influence of fundamentalist strains of the monotheistic religions and the pull coming from the deviant pole is clearly much stronger than the pull towards empathy and conscience.
The struggle against this deviancy comes down to a struggle against deviant behaviors. We do not need a clinical diagnosis of an individual in order to learn to avoid being manipulated by him or her. It doesn't matter whether or not someone is a born deviant or simply acting out because of being brought up in and immersed in a sick society; deviant behavior is deviant behavior whether it is acted out by someone who is pathological or is only under the influence.
The insider wannabes pretty well ensure that they will be manipulated by placing so much faith in authorities. Rather than thinking through problems themselves, they look to others for ready-made solutions, or worse, ready-made sound bites that replace solutions. If those in power change but are replaced by individuals contaminated with the same pathological modes of thought, the insider wannabes will once again fall under the sway of a deviant group.
Our job is to spot the manipulative behaviors and learn how to avoid the manipulations, as well as root out such manipulative behavior in ourselves. That is the only way to begin reinforcing the pole of conscience so that its influence can spread and a healthy alternative can become a reality.
(1) The actual system in place includes people who suffer from a wide variety of psychological problems: paranoia, narcissism, etc. Not all of them are psychopaths. Each pathology has its place in the system. There is also a certain section of the public whose own conscience has not been developed, and who fall under the sway of the charm and demagogy of certain pathocrats and their media. The details of this system are discussed in great detail in the book Political Ponerology by psychologist Andrew Łobaczewski.
(2) Well, looking at Bush, that second phrase is true in a certain sense. Even someone completely unqualified to lead the US can become president, but you know that is not what I mean.
(3) Altemeyer's research influenced John Dean when Dean wrote his book Conservatives Without Conscience.
(4) The question is how much time remains for us to continue and further this research? It feels to me as if things are speeding up, as if the vehicle of society is careening towards the wall of reality at an ever-increasing speed. We do not have much time.
[Ed note: the article presented here was originally presented as a three part series.]
Article from: http://www.sott.net/articles/show/138226-Insiders-and-Outsiders-in-Washington