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

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

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

How Psychopaths Undermine Democracy

The following four testable hypotheses form the basis of a coherent and comprehensive narrative to explain how psychopaths and people with narcissistic and paranoid personality disorders have an enormously detrimental impact on societies all around the world. Continue reading

Psychology of Evil – Mao’s Terrifying Vision

Ten years ago, on the one hundred and tenth anniversary of Mao’s birth, a group of dissidents wrote a letter entitled ‘An Appeal for the Removal of the Corpse of Mao Zedong from Beijing’. In it they wrote[1], ‘Mao instilled in people’s minds a philosophy of cruel struggle and revolutionary superstition. Hatred took the place of love and tolerance; the barbarism of ‘It is right to rebel!’ became the substitute for rationality and love of peace. It elevated and sanctified the view that relations between human beings are best characterised as those between wolves.’

As China commemorates the 120th anniversary of Mao’s birth, an examination of Mao’s time in power provides an insight into his pathologically disordered personality, and the devastating impact that Mao’s 27 year reign of terror had on Chinese society.  Continue reading