This is part one of a transcript of my September 12, 2013 Interview with Ian-Hughes
(image by Ian Hughes)
In his forthcoming book Imperfect Design: How Our Psychology Threatens Our World, Ian Hughes brings together his experience in science, psychology and political science to demonstrate that a small proportion of people with dangerous personality disorders are responsible for most of the violence and greed that scars our world. His blog disorderedworld.com has just been shortlisted in the Top 10 Political Blogs in Ireland.
R.K.: This is the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show, WNJC 1360 AM out of Washington Township and reaching metro Philadelphia and South New Jersey, sponsored by Opednews.com. My guest for this portion of the show is Ian Hughes. I am speaking to Ian, he's in Ireland. What part of Ireland are you in, Ian?
I.H.: I'm in Dublin at the moment Rob, I'm originally from the North though.
R.K.: Okay. Ian is the author of a book in process, Imperfect Design , and he has a website, disorderedworld.com. He's a government adviser in science and technology and I'm going to talk to Ian about pathological people. The personality disorders and psychopaths because that's what his book is about. So welcome to the show.
I.H.: Thanks very much, Rob. It's an honor to be talking to you.
R.K.: Well it's a pleasure to have you on the show. Now you've got an exciting book and I'm glad that we're going to be able to talk about it. So can you give me the big picture of your approach to this and to the book and to the way you address personality disorders and psychopaths in the world?
I.H.: Well I guess the big picture, idea behind my book, Rob, is basically asking the question, are we a peaceable species or are we a war-like species? I think there's no simple answer to the question and we haven't come up with a simple answer to the question yet because it's only recently that psychology and science have discovered that there's a minority of people who live among us whose psychology is such that it almost necessitates calling them a different type of human being.
So that small proportion of people who suffer from psychologically abnormal personalities that we talk about have dominated the normal majority for most of human history and it's only in the past number of couple of hundred years, really since the industrial revolution, that the majority have begun to struggle and wrestle power from the hands of this disordered minority.
R.K: Okay and tell me about the organization of your book.
I.H.: Well the book starts off really in describing what the three personality disorders are, and so those are: psychopathy, narcissistic personality disorder, and paranoid personality disorder. So the first chapter in the book is introducing the disorders and also crucially describing how people with these disorders take over first of all, political parties say, and then go on to take over entire societies.
For the first half of the book then I look at specific examples of this. For example, at the Bolsheviks in Russia and Stalin. I look at Mao in China, and I also look at, because it's important to realize that it's not only in violent situations that people with these disorders can come to power, so I look also for example at the financial crisis and how neo-liberalism allowed people with these disorders to come to positions of power in financial institutions and also how religion can act as a means for people with these disorders to rise to positions of power.
So the first half of the book really is giving examples of different means by which and different, if you like, different propaganda, if you like the way that these people can come to power. And then in the second half of the book, I look at the means by which the normal majority have come to wrestle power and the safeguards that the majority has begun to put in place.
So these safeguards are things like the rule of law, if you have the rule of law in place the applies equally to people in power and to ordinary citizens then that's a means of keeping people with these disorders in some kind of check. Electoral democracy is a defense against them because it means that the People can choose their leaders and get rid of them after a reasonably short period of time.
Human rights legislation is also a means of defending ourselves against them and also culture. Culture is an important means of either maintaining some kind of control or allowing them to run amok, so cultures of tolerance are an important feature of, a defense mechanism, of you like, against people with these disorders.