Gorbachev and the Berlin Wall

The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 marked the beginning of the end of the Soviet empire. A series of largely peaceful revolutions overthrew Soviet-backed communist regimes across Eastern Europe, beginning in Poland and spreading within months to Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, East Germany and Romania.

The Kremlin’s crucial decision not to intervene to save its Eastern European Communist allies effectively ended the East-West divide that had dominated international relations for much of the twentieth century – a divide symbolised by the Berlin Wall itself.   Continue reading

Celebrating the Creation of the United Nations

On 24 October 1945 the United Nations Organisation was formally inaugurated during a short ceremony at the US State Department in Washington, when twenty nine countries ratified the United Nations Charter. This post celebrates the most significant of the United Nations’ achievements – the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.    Continue reading

The Psychology of Power – Why Revolutions Fail

During Richard Nixon’s visit to Beijing in 1972, the Chinese premier, Zhou Enlai, was asked about the impact of the French Revolution. He famously replied that he thought it was too early to say. Although it appears that Zhou may have misunderstood the question, it was as one diplomat remarked, a misunderstanding that was ‘too delicious to invite correction’.

As is well known, the French revolution, like the Chinese revolution in which Zhou played a leading role, resulted in a prolonged period of death and destruction. Here are 8 reasons why revolutions often fail.      Continue reading

Psychology of Evil – The Role of Religion

After watching the evening news, it’s hard to make the argument that religion makes us kinder to one another.

ISIS in Iraq is murdering Christians and Shia Muslims alike under the guise of a Holy War. Israel’s merciless bombardment of Gaza has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of women and children- the youngest to be killed was ten days old, the oldest was 100. In Uganda, evangelical Christians are vowing to campaign to reinstate the death penalty for gay men. And in Burma, Buddhist monks preach hate against that country’s persecuted Muslim minority.

Amidst this whirlwind of sectarian hatred, it is time to finally recognise that not only is morality possible without god, morality is infinitely better without god.    Continue reading

Christianity, Nationalism and Democracy

This post first appeared on shiftinggrounds.org

Nationalism and religion are making a comeback in the United Kingdom. In a recent article in The Church Times, David Cameron claimed that Britain is a Christian nation, and urged Christians to be more evangelical about their faith. The UK Independence Party (UKIP) meanwhile, is riding high in the polls and gained seats in councils and the European parliament with its message that the UK, having all the resources it needs within its borders to thrive in our globalised world, should withdraw from Europe and close Britain’s borders to immigration.   Continue reading here.

Psychopaths as Predators of the Poor

This blog first appeared on Facts and Arts and is based on the important book The Locust Effect.

History is the story of the struggle of the psychologically normal majority of humanity to free ourselves from the tyranny of a psychologically disordered minority who are marked by their innate propensity for violence and greed. This minority is comprised of psychopaths whose psychology excludes the possibility of empathy, and narcissists and paranoids, whose minds are frozen into states of perpetual superiority and fear.

In this long historical struggle, previous generations have crafted a number of essential safeguards to protect us against this tyrannical minority. The most fundamental of these is the rule of law. In the absence of effective law enforcement, citizens are left at the mercy of those of a psychopathic disposition. Today, those who suffer most are the world’s poor.     Continue reading

The Narcissistic Boss

The narcissistic boss can damage the mental health of their employees, undermine the effectiveness of their organisations, and, collectively, threaten the well-being of society. At a moment in history when sane leadership is needed to overcome the daunting challenges we face, it is a measure of the gullibility of the rest of us that we continue to believe that we need mentally disordered individuals to run our most important organisations.    Continue reading