Disordered Minds: How Dangerous Personalities Are Destroying Democracy is published!

Irish author and scientist Ian Hughes talks about his new book Disordered MindsHow Dangerous Personalities Are Destroying Democracy which focuses on how a small proportion of people with dangerous personality disorders are responsible for much of the violence and greed that scars our world, with clinical psychologist Paul D’Alton .

Reviews:

Ian Hughes’ book Disordered Minds is essential reading in the era of Donald Trump. ~ Jeffrey Sachs, Columbia University

Ian Hughes adds new scientific insight to one of the deepest conundrums of politics: that positions of power appeal to the narcissistic, paranoid psychopaths among us, with catastrophic results for humanity. ~ Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and the author of The Better Angels of Our Nature and Enlightenment Now.

Read this exceptionally fine and accessible work of scholarship and make it your business to keep these disordered minds from disordering our universe. – Mary McAleese, Former President of Ireland

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Does Donald Trump’s foreign policy actually make sense?

After leaving allies rattled at the NATO Summit in Brussels and dodging mass protests in the UK, Donald Trump is now traveling on to meet with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki—a meeting he has said “may be the easiest of all.” Trump’s boorish behaviour in Brussels fits a now well-established pattern of attacks on democratic allies and praise for authoritarian leaders that has left the rest of the world struggling to make sense of his seemingly incomprehensible conduct. Viewed from the perspective of Trump’s possible mental state, however, his foreign policy makes perfect sense.

This article first appeared on Open Democracy Transformation.

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Fire and fury: the psychodrama of a very stable genius

This article first appeared on Open Democracy Transformation

The release of Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury has heightened concerns about Donald Trump’s mental fitness for office. In her review of the book for the Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin says that it shows Trump to be “an unhinged man-child utterly lacking in the skill needed to be president”—despite Trump’s assertion that in fact he’s a “very stable genius.”

In the Guardian, Jonathan Freedland writes that Wolff’s revelations “prove—yet again—what a vile, narcissistic and dangerous man we have in the Oval Office.” And in the New Yorker, Masha Gessen, warns that Trump’s White House is “waging a daily assault on the public’s sense of sanity, decency, and cohesion. It makes us feel crazy.”

Is there any way to get beneath the daily assault on our sanity and try to understand what might be driving the chaos of the Trump Presidency? A good place to start is with the word that many say best sums up the man, which is narcissismContinue reading

Trump and Nuclear Weapons

While Americans debate Trump’s domestic policies on health and tax cuts, the rest of the world worries that a leader with Trump’s volatile temperament has his finger on the nuclear button.

Today, nuclear weapons occupy the headlines in a way not seen since the Cuban Missile Crisis. On the positive side, this year’s Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to ICAN, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, an advocacy group that promoted the historic treaty to prohibit these weapons that was reached at the United Nations in July 2017. Although the treaty has been dismissed by the world’s nine nuclear-armed powers, its proponents believe that it will help to build a groundswell of support for the destruction of all nuclear weapons as the only way to guarantee that they will never be used again. This article first appeared on Open Democracy Transformation.    Continue reading

Extremism, Fundamentalism, Islamism and Jihadism – Understanding the Difference

Although several Muslim countries are democracies – including most notably Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim majority nation – arguments about the incompatibility of Islam and democracy continue. On the one hand, research reveals a positive correlation between the proportion of a country’s population that is Muslim and its propensity toward authoritarianism. On the other hand, analysis of the World Values Survey, find that “surprisingly similar attitudes toward democracy are found in the West and the Islamic world.” While debates about the compatibility of Islam and democracy in general continue, the specific political ideology of islamism is an extreme, fundamentalist, political ideology that is vehemently opposed to the basic tenets of democracy.   Continue reading

How Kleptocracy Shapes Our World

In many countries around the world today, governments are designed not primarily to govern but to serve the personal enrichment of ruling elites. Kleptocracy is the term used to describe such ‘government by thieves’, whereby top political elites systematically raid state resources with impunity.[1] Kleptocracy is enabled by the absence of democratic checks and balances on those in power. Kleptocratic governments undermine the rule of law, subjugate the courts and media, and deploy state security services to enrich the ruling elite and pacify the population.[2]  Kleptocracy is largely responsible for creating and perpetuating many of today’s global crises, including acute poverty and hunger, war, religious extremism, and global inequality.  Continue reading