Stalin’s Gulag – The Geography of Soviet Slavery

This… was not written ‘so that it will not happen again’, as the cliché would have it. This… was written because it almost certainly will happen again.

                                                                Anne Applebaum, Author of Gulag: A History

The Gulag is the most poignant expression of the psychopathic nature of Stalin’s regime. In 1922, just five years after the Bolsheviks had seized power, there were already eighty-four camps dotted across Russia. Faced with the vast numbers of prisoners they had arrested in the first decade of Soviet communism, the Politburo passed a resolution in 1929 officially establishing a network of corrective labour camps for ‘the colonisation of [remote] regions and the exploitation of their natural wealth through the work of prisoners [1].’  Continue reading

Mao’s Long Shadow

Our political system continues to produce human rights disasters and social crises, thereby not only constricting China’s own development but also limiting the progress of all of human civilization. This must change, truly it must. The democratization of Chinese politics can be put off no longer.

                                                        Charter 08 for Reform and Democracy in China

Following Mao’s death, the CCP changed direction dramatically. Mao’s ideology of permanent revolution, which was responsible for decades of violent chaos, was replaced by a doctrine of ‘social harmony’. The Party gradually abandoned communism and enthusiastically adopted state capitalism, ushering in decades of unprecedented economic growth.     Continue reading

Understanding Democracy – The Importance of Human Rights

Our modern system of democracy can be seen then to be comprised of six pillars, each of which acts as a defence against the abuse of power by pathologically disordered leaders and elites. Political participation through democratic elections and direct participation of citizens in government, the rule of law applied equally to all, Constitutional constraints on the power of government, a prohibition on the imposition of state sponsored ideology, social democracy to ensure social stability, and finally the protection of fundamental human rights through international law.  Continue reading

Lessons from the Psychopaths of History

‘[O]ne might well describe the twentieth century as the bloodiest period of utopian political experimentation the world has ever witnessed.’ [1]

The regimes of Stalin, Mao, Hitler and Pol Pot support the thesis that people with dangerous personality disorders, when they act together, and when the circumstances are right, can pose an existential threat to society. Each of these leaders clearly displayed traits associated with psychopathy and narcissistic and paranoid personality disorders.  Continue reading

Understanding Democracy – Social Democracy

Like pure democracy, undiluted capitalism is intolerable

                                                                        Wilhelm Ropke

Two pillars in our modern system of democracy emerged from the catastrophes of world war and genocide. These building blocks are social democracy and the legal protection of individual human rights.     Continue reading

Did Psychopaths Play a Role in the Financial Crisis?

I recently had the pleasure of listening to author and journalist Joris Luyendijk in conversation at the Dalkey Book Festival about his book Swimming with Sharks. Joris is an inspiring example of a journalist fulfilling a role that is essential for the health of democracy – dispassionate enquiry into the abuses within the financial system. The following post is my summary of Joris’ main findings in Swimming with Sharks, as well as a suggestion for something important he may have missed…     Continue reading

Brexit is not Democracy in Action, It is Democracy in Crisis

The UK vote to leave the European Union is being hailed by the Leave side as a victory for democracy. During the campaign, Conservative Boris Johnson claimed that those supporting Brexit were doing so out of a desire to restore UK democracy. He made headlines by comparing the European Union with Hitler, claiming that both were pursuing a similar goal in trying to create a powerful superstate. As the polls closed he tweeted that democracy had been served. UKIP leader Nigel Farage has made his career by vilifying the European Union as an enemy of democracy and promising that Brexit would free the UK from its ‘anti-democratic’ grip.Far from being a victory for democracy, however, the Referendum campaign and the UK’s vote to leave have undermined democracy.    Continue reading