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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 4/7/19

We go where we are led.

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Message Paul o'Dowd

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We go where we are led. It's just what we do. We are a herd animal of the absolute highest order. Once in lockstep with our leadership we just go and go and go. It doesn't seem to matter where we are being led, even if we can clearly see the folly of our trajectory. Even as we march beneath the towering fiery arches, sure, we will whine and bleat about our leaders for marching us through the gates of Hell, but still we will follow. It's inexplicable and bizarre. But there it is. It's how we roll.

The fields of organizational psychology and game theory, have demonstrated that if you are devoid of morals and are smart enough to stay out of jail, then any competitive interaction you have is likely to turn out in your favour simply due to the fact of your vastly diminished rule-set compared to your morally constrained competition.

The consequence of this dynamic is that high functioning psychopaths, people who are biologically incapable of moral cognition, become actively concentrated at the top of our most competitive and rewarding hierarchies, from where they determine the fate of the rest of the world at large.

There are many steps along the way at which these human pustules could have been winnowed from the process due to their morally problematic approach to life.
But they weren't.
This is because they are very useful in certain circumstances.

They will do whatever it takes to get things done, if it suits them. They have no qualms about destroying their competition whilst ingratiating themselves to those who can facilitate their ascent. Once they gain influence over an organization, they seek out and populate its inner workings with their own kind or those too weak or compromised to resist them.

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The biggest financial firms use state of the art diagnostic tools to diagnose and recruit psychopaths to drive their most profitable and regulation sensitive machinery.

I know this because I've interviewed organizational psychologists, including individuals employed by the biggest financial institutions on Earth who administer these tests for their Wall St. employer's HR departments.

One such corporate HR shrink, explained it to me thus; "In the time it takes for a "neurotyp" (someone with a healthy mind) to get over the moral implications of a questionable trading decision, an algorithm has just cleaned up all the shares and the boss misses out on millions".

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People who push the buy or sell button without hesitation, get to keep their job. Those who miss a trading opportunity due to vassilating over moral quandaries simply can't compete.

These same companies also employ highly paid in-house regulatory overseers, compliance officers, some of whom describe themselves as "Corporate Cops", who in their own words; "make sure that no-one is breaking the law and that ethical standards are maintained".

When I interviewed a compliance officer from the same company as the aforementioned HR shrink, I mentioned the firm's HR practices and the active quest for psychopaths. He expressed no surprise, in fact he beat me to the punchline, saying "Yeah, they recruit them to the trading floor..."

"You know about that??" I exclaimed" He replied, "We all know about that, everyone knows that..."

When asked to comment on the irony of working as a compliance officer for a company that strategically recruits diagnosed psychopaths into the most regulation sensitive underbelly of their operation, the self description of "Corporate Cop" evaporates"

"You wanna know what I really do?" he said to me, as his Wall St. Corporate Cop facade slumped visibly with his shoulders...

"I run around putting out the f#*!ing dumpster fires".

Organizational culture is the product of the characters that populate the workplace. Under psychopathic leadership an organization's priorities are skewed in ways that morally guided individuals find intolerable, and many just quit.
This generates a strong natural attrition amongst those who's psychological normality might prove inconvenient when it comes to pursuing questionable agendas.
The remaining, "off message" employees can be further winnowed by targeted abuse or career stagnation strategies.

Once moral objection has been effectively suppressed, the organization openly exhibits psychopathic traits.

It becomes overtly, criminally parasitic.

It becomes toxic.

It becomes a scandal factory and behaves in clearly undisciplined ways.

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Organizations in competition with each other are quickly forced into similar recruitment practices because to not do so is perceived as a fatal disadvantage in a cut-throat world.
The smartest and most ruthless, end up climbing into the upper executive of these institutions from where they jump onto the "Revolving Door" into government.
From here their malevolence becomes concentrated into the executive fabric of society itself.

Moving freely between the control centers of wealth creation and public policy, they quickly strip away any remaining impediments to their complete entrainment of the wheels of society.

In this way whole industries and sectors of the economy and ultimately, entire societies become captive to the scourge of psychopathic leadership.

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Paul is a naturalist, expedition leader for education and conservation biology research and a fixer for the film industry. His "day job" is as a marine biology educator on the Great Barrier Reef. After training as a photojournalist Paul left (more...)
 

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Paul o'Dowd

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The efforts of many sober academic workers over many years have revealed the actual numbers of diagnosable psychopaths in various areas of society.

Importantly, around one in one hundred of us are born without adequate function in the part of the brain which houses the neurological architecture needed to engage in moral cognition.

Of these, many end up institutionalised due to their incapacity to contain their evil proclivities. In jail, their numbers are as high as one in ten.

At the other end of the psychopathy spectrum are the "high functioning psychopaths", who can keep themselves more or less out of trouble for long enough to claw and cheat their way into the most influential and rewarding offices of the land, both private and public. From here they inflict their incurable malevolence upon the world.

In the highest offices their numbers are concentrated up to a staggering one in six, by some academic estimates.

The research revealing this terrible reality is well regarded and all in the public domain.

It is time we started to consider what might be the consequence of this dynamic and what we might do to fix the problem.

Submitted on Sunday, Apr 7, 2019 at 4:25:54 PM

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BFalcon

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Reply to Paul o'Dowd:   New Content

How about five out of six in high positions doing something meaningful?

Submitted on Sunday, Apr 7, 2019 at 5:18:13 PM

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shad williams

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Reply to BFalcon:   New Content

Very insightful and intriguing. BF. Your crypticracy works sometimes.

Submitted on Sunday, Apr 7, 2019 at 9:18:04 PM

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Paul o'Dowd

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Reply to BFalcon:   New Content

And herein resides the great hope for us all.

As horrifying as the realization is that we are being led into the future by a cabal of black hearted cretins, they account for only a minority of those in positions of power.

Sadly, the aggressive, divisive tactics of the cretin class, terrifies and intimidates the rest into compromising their own moral standards.

Here is a small window on how this works, as explained to me by the ambassador of a major European nation who was a regular dive client of mine for a few years in the early 90s...

Mainstream political parties need to populate their inner circles with people who are "on message" with the culture and priorities of the party. Party operatives recruit from amongst grass roots political groups, labour groups, merchant organisations, and other test beds for wannabe political operators. They target people with the skills, the attitude and the hunger to drive the party in the direction it's captains have charted.

Once identified, the candidate is courted and groomed. They are sounded out to determine whether they are the right kind of person to represent the party.If they pass this set of filters, they may find themselves on the fast track to a ministry or other important party position.

Of course, people change, and it's not always possible to guarantee an individual will stay "on message" throughout their career. This is especially true of psychopathic candidates who, as mentioned in the main article, are driven by self interest above all else.

To manage this delicate HR problem, candidates being groomed are deliberately compromised in various ways. For instance, the young, up and coming politician will be invited to social events where interesting entertainments may present themselves, like, snorting some politician grade blow from a hookers cleavage, or accepting "gifts" with questionable accounting connections which the naive newbie is unaware of.

These encounters as you can probably guess, are all faithfully recorded for future reference.

Down the track, if this person decides that they can no longer follow the direction the party is taking, they will discover that their public image, career and family life or even freedom, may well be in jeopardy if the world found out about their peccadilloes and other indiscretions. This may be done with a quiet word or by the means of dropping a tape or folder of photos on their desk.

Their choice at this point becomes one of either tow the line or resign.

There are various other ways to compromise a politician's independence, but you get the idea.

In this way a good proportion of the other five can be very effectively managed by the psychopathic "one in six".

Now to be sure, not every person in high office has a portfolio of compromising evidence hanging over their heads. All mainstream politicians are however surrounded by and affected by the culture that results from this kind of social engineering.

Every decision and position that passes through a political party's system, once captured by psychopathic leadership, is filtered by this tragic machinery.

If the five in six grew a spine and stood up to the savages who call the shots, the one in six wouldn't stand a chance. There would be pain and much bloodletting for sure, and the psychopath in the cross hairs wouldn't go quietly, but go they would. Like the school yard bully who finally meets a staunch opponent, they would be forced into retreat.

This is where we come in.

When the school kids band together to support the victims of bullies and bolster the staunch kid's efforts to stand their ground, the bully has no options but to pull their savage little heads in and crawl back under the rotten log from whence they came.

We need to invest in the effort of identifying the other five, imperfect but technically sane, leaders and support them in their efforts to navigate our broken system and resist the creatures who broke it.

If we let the majority of politicians know that we have their back as they attempt to resist the minority who run this circus, they will take the reigns and we might just turn the corner towards a return to civilized, morally guided governance.

Submitted on Monday, Apr 8, 2019 at 11:50:42 AM

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Vernon Huffman

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Reply to Paul o'Dowd:   New Content

Psychopaths have been successfully treated. Please note the work of Marshall Rosenberg. I'd particularly point out how the Freedom Project has taught empathy to hardened criminals, including serial rapists.

Submitted on Sunday, Apr 7, 2019 at 9:33:03 PM

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The idea that psychopaths can be successfully rehabilitated is very contentious. Some research appears to suggest that behavioral management strategies and avoidance of triggering environments may be effective in some subjects. Even on this count the jury is out.

Dr Marshall Rosenberg had a communication based conflict resolution approach which does not "cure" psychopathy. Psychopaths are very adept at telling their interlocutors, including researchers attempting to study or treat them, exactly what they want to hear. While I have yet to read all of his relevant work, it strikes me that a communication based approach to treating such a malevolent and chameleonic personality disorder, would be easily gamed by the subject under "treatment".

I would love to be wrong on this, but my reading on the subject has not led me to that conclusion.

I would be very interested to see the effect of any attempted treatment on the measurable brain function deficits associated with the condition.

Submitted on Monday, Apr 8, 2019 at 1:33:25 PM

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Don Smith

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"The research revealing this terrible reality is well regarded and all in the public domain." Your well-written article would be stronger if you provided some links to said research.


"If we don't let blind people fly airliners, why do we let diagnosable psychopaths run corporations and countries?" Probably some of the corporate leaders are borderline psychopath. Also, isn't it the case that many such psychopaths can be charismatic and even kindly in certain conditions, e.g., with their familes? One reads stores about Nazi prison guards going home and playing with their kids.....

You discuss psychopaths in corporations. How about psychopaths in Congress, the White House, and the government agencies?

Submitted on Sunday, Apr 7, 2019 at 4:55:06 PM

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In referring to high office I am talking about public and private office. Political high office is crawling with these things. The corporate side of the equation though is the most important, as it determines the path that political actors take.

This position is strongly supported by the famous study by Martin Gilens of Princeton and Northwestern's Benjamin Page. They have demonstrated quite meticulously and convincingly that the US is in fact an oligarchy, not a democracy. Not that anyone with the eyes to see needs an Ivy League political science research paper to tell them this.

I think I am justified in going further in describing most of the Empire as a merchant oligarchy with democratic window dressing.

The corporations and wealthy elites call the shots in such a system while the "elected leaders" simply serve their master's interests at our expense.

Regarding references to the work that enumerates the concentration of psychopaths in various strata of society, good point Don, that would have been a good idea. Rather than provide a link though, I will provide here a lead which interested readers might follow to launch them into the rabbit hole of research that is now building up our picture of this disturbing feature of the modern world.

The work of Dr Robert Hare and Dr Paul Babiak are the starting point for anyone wishing to get an academic grip on this subject. The reason I take this tack, is that there is just so much reliable research into the subject, which a judicious googler (Google Scholar of course, for peer reviewed academic search) will easily find.

The question many will ask, upon delving into this rich and historically mature seam of research is; if we already know all this and have known it for so long, how has the situation evolved into such an unmitigated clusterfudge? Well, why indeed?

That's probably the subject of another article about the many and varied mechanisms of opinion management that prevent reliable scientific knowledge from changing the world for the better.

Submitted on Monday, Apr 8, 2019 at 12:57:48 PM

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shad williams

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Perhaps if we cultivated psychopaths to behave in the opposite manner they could cancel each other? Nah. I think a whack job would work best.

Submitted on Sunday, Apr 7, 2019 at 9:16:13 PM

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shad williams

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Very provocative. Your opening remarks and the flock of sheep imply that we are hardwired to accept our doom.

Submitted on Sunday, Apr 7, 2019 at 9:20:14 PM

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Paul o'Dowd

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Reply to shad williams:   New Content

To be up front with you Shad, I didn't place the picture there, that was kindly picked and placed (very appropriately, I should add) by our editors at OEN.

And yes, that is almost what I am saying. We are hard wired to accept the dominion of savage, chest thumping silverbacks. I call it "the Silverback Syndrome"

We do it organically and as a natural consequence of our evolutionary background. It keeps us together as a social species.

It is also the feature that psychopaths takes advantage of with their enhanced Machiavellianism.

It's not wrong that we should be predisposed to follow a leadership hierarchy. In fact it's necessary.

What is wrong is that we should blindly follow those who would march us to slaughter, either metaphorically or actually.

Submitted on Monday, Apr 8, 2019 at 1:45:02 PM

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Reply to Paul o'Dowd:   New Content

Perhaps therein lies one problem or conclusion at least. That it is necessary to follow a leadership hierarchy and therefore be predisposed to following such an hierarchy makes us automatons. I am not predisposed one bit. Yet like many of us I am under assault every minute that I am viewing and listening to contemporaneous conversation. The attempts at manipulation are endless and can be found in movies, obviously sales and promos, and the propaganda department of the elites.

Submitted on Tuesday, Apr 9, 2019 at 12:19:42 AM

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Maxwell

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Depressing theory. Sort of a complimentary Peter Principal. Those who make it all the way to the top without becoming incompetent are the psychopaths.

Submitted on Monday, Apr 8, 2019 at 3:07:44 PM

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It is the dark side of the Peter Principle where incompetence is driven by not by ineptitude but by malevolence.

If we made it a condition of executive office that any candidate had to pass a psychometric evaluation and be certified non-psychopathic, we could solve the problem of executive malevolence almost overnight.

If only we could diagnose ineptitude as easily as we can psychopathy! We'd fix both forms of the Peter Principle!

Submitted on Tuesday, Apr 9, 2019 at 9:19:35 AM

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That certainly would have ruled out the current NIC (Narcissist in Chief). Hell, I'd love to force him to sit for a standard Stanford-Binet test, for all his swagger about "high IQ".

Submitted on Tuesday, Apr 9, 2019 at 3:49:14 PM

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