I was delighted to be interviewed by the Age of Economics in their project to ask a diverse group of global thinkers 8 fundamental questions about economics and capitalist civilization. For me the most important question is whether the current paradigm in economics is going to further empower authoritarianism and nationalism – or is it going to empower a more creative response? Should global Capitalism survive in its current form? Listen to my interview here.
Author Archives: Ian | disorderedworld
Leadership: Dangerous Personalities destroying Democracy – and what we can do about it
This is a provocative insight from Ian Hughes, author of ‘Disordered Minds’ as to how so many leaders in the last century had one, two or three significant personality disorders – that harmed not just themselves but others.
Listen here to Bard Mythologies, Mythic Minds
We urgently need to reimagine society if we are to contain sociopathic leaders
We are in a moment of deep institutional breakdown. Climate change, environmental degradation, marked increases in inequality, the rise of populism, rising geo-political tensions, and ongoing religious and ethnic conflicts provide clear evidence that current social institutions are not optimal, either for human flourishing or for addressing global challenges. Over recent decades, the culture within many organizations – in politics, economics, business, media, education and so on – has changed to fit the sociopathic profile of narcissists and psychopaths, granting them enormous influence over our societies and making sociopathic values the norm. Our current moment of deep transition, as well as being a time of danger, presents an opportunity for positive renewal. For such positive renewal to occur, however, existing social institutions must be critiqued and re-imagined based on a shift from values of hierarchy, inequality, coercion and private gain, toward values of equity, cooperation, and public good. This new paper explores what this might mean in practice.
Dangerous Leadership, the Silencing of Experts, and the Erasure of Truth
Many thanks to Bandy Lee for organizing this important discussion. How to prevent dangerous leaders from gaining power has always been a vitally important issue. We need only think of Hitler, Stalin and Mao to understand the devastating consequences in terms of deaths and human suffering that pathological leaders cause. But today this conversation is even more critical, faced as we are with existential crises including climate change, nuclear proliferation and dangerous advances in a range of technologies.
Listen to this important discussion for perspectives from psychiatry, sociology, feminism and social media. The post-truth paranoid world that pathological leaders have created for us is not simply a tool for their continuation in power, it is also an insight into the value-free pathology of their disordered minds. Listen here.
We need to view politics in “landscape mode” to understand the danger we face
Paul Rosenberg is one of the few journalists taking the big picture view of what is happening in politics, not only with ‘the former guy ‘Trump, but with the rise of populist authoritarianism around the world.
In this article Paul examines the decline of democracy around the world and puts the pathological decline of the Republican Party in a broader global political, economic and social context. I am delighted to have contributed my view that the challenge for Biden, and for any democratic leader at this historic moment is to change our times so that Trump and his fellow authoritarian narcissists stand out as the misfits they truly are.
Click here to read Paul’s important and insightful article.
Trump’s Insurrection Aimed to Establish the Final Pillar of His Pathocracy
In my book Disordered Minds I profiled Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot and examined the ways in which each of these leaders came to power. I found that a shared psychopathology between a leader and their most extreme followers was the key to understanding the twentieth century’s greatest atrocities. In the aftermath of Trump’s attempted coup, it is evident that Trump and his MAGA cult fit this pattern perfectly.
Trump as Psychopath
History clearly shows that at times of social and economic crisis, strongman leaders preaching simple solutions to complex problems readily rise to power. Like demagogues past, Trump fits this pattern. Even before his election, mental health professionals were warning that Trump is a dangerous pathological narcissist who is psychologically incapable of valuing human life. He exhibits a rigidly narcissistic belief in his own infallibility, a paranoid fear of enemies, and a psychopathic ruthlessness when it comes to crushing opponents. In his mind he is a ‘Great Hero’ in a world where the poor and ‘weak’ deserve to die. His pathological grandiosity, reflecting a textbook case of narcissistic personality disorder, compels him to act in ways that are incomprehensible – discounting other people’s lives, looking for ways in which he can benefit from other people’s tragedies, seeking vengeance in the midst of suffering – and inciting a violent attack on Congress, rather than admit electoral defeat. Trump shows us, yet again, that the real division within humanity is not between races, nations, creeds or cultures. The real division is between a majority who are capable of empathy, and a dangerous psychopathic and narcissistic minority capable only of greed, violence and self-interest. Trump is part of the latter.Continue reading
There’s one headline about Donald Trump that has not been printed but makes the most sense of all
Of all the thousands of headlines, there is one headline that has not been printed but that makes the most sense of all: “Donald Trump suffers from a dangerous incurable narcissistic disorder which makes him incapable of empathy or reason. He is a grave danger to the US and the world.” This article was published in The Sydney Morning Herald. Continue reading here.