Why psychopaths and secret clans rule us all
Psychopaths also have other traits. For example, they have a very poor attention span, they cannot stay focussed on a topic for very long, especially if it is an abstract concept, such as the subject of a discussion, a plan or a strategy. They have poor impulse control and will often perform acts that show no planning, balance or concern about repercussions. Their mood is fragile and they can shift from oozing charm to rage in an instant. They are deeply vengeful and will bear grudges, often over trivial slights, for a long time. They see a disagreement as a sign of hostility, an effort at reconciliation as a sign of weakness and see the world in black and white, as a collection of winners and losers, with no middle-ground. Their combination of superficial charm and callous narcissism means that they often appear engaging and fun when someone meets for the first time but after a period of time, their toxic nature becomes unavoidably clear.
Knowing all these traits, it seems impossible that anyone would choose a sociopath as a leader, and yet someone who's bearing a marked similarity to a sociopath is about to become one of Earth's most important leaders, and in a democracy too. Such an event is convincing many people that the world is being manipulated by secret groups with dark agendas, a view that officially a conspiracy theory and the realm of nut-cases. But if we look at how our society is structured, both ideas aren't surprising at all. In this article, I'm going to explain how three key elements of our society make these two outcomes almost inevitable. The first element is all about how we organise power in our working organisations.
1: Top-down hierarchies.
A hierarchical organisation is a group of people working together who are arranged so that each team of people in that organisation has a leader. Those leaders, in turn, have their own leader, and so on up to an ultimate leader. This originally was the structure of armies but eventually it was adopted into companies as well. It is a logical way to organise a large number of people. A top-down hierarchy is a type of hierarchy where a new leader, at any level, is chosen by the people higher up the pyramid. This sounds like a pretty trivial extra feature but it is of extreme importance. Here's why:
A team of people are working together in an organisation, carrying out their jobs in a specific field to complete specific goals. Everyone in the team is experienced; they know each other and they know each other’s their strengths and weaknesses. They know what to do in their daily tasks very well, as they’ve learnt the idiosyncrasies of their particular line of work. They have a leader they all know well.
One day, the team’s leader leaves his or her job, for whatever reason. The team therefore need a new leader. Logically, the best way for that team to gain a new leader is to select one from amongst themselves by discussion and a vote. That way, they would get a new leader who knows them all, knows their work in detail and is popular. But in a top-down hierarchy, a completely different process occurs. Instead of the team having a discussion and vote, more senior people from their organisation, who rarely work with them and aren’t experienced in what they do, choose that team’s new leader. Not only that, but the new leader is likely to be someone the team have never met, someone who has never worked with them and has therefore not gained their trust and loyalty through time spend together. What's worse, the senior people will choose the team's new leader based on little more than one or two interviews and a CV supplied by that candidate.
Such a system of recruitment is ideal for a psychopath. A psychopath is very good at being charming, engaging and lying successfully for a short period of time. Inevitably, if they won the post, their toxic nature would become clear but by that time, the psychopath would be in a position of power and already be planning how to blame mistakes and problems on underlings. What’s worse, the only person who can rein in that psychopath’s behaviour is their boss, who won’t be seeing the toxic acts on a day-to-day basis and will be reluctant to admit what a terrible mistake it was to employ that person in the first place. This gives the psychopath a lot of time to find another job, in another top-down organisation, thereby repeating the process all over again. In this way, top-down hierarchies are ideally suited to the worst type of people.
There is another group of people who benefit from top-down hierarchies. Once a person is the top dog in such an organisation, he or she has the power to populate that organisation with whoever he or she thinks is the best person. This gives some people at the top of organisations the chance to simply populate the senior posts with their friends, family and club-mates rather than seeking out the best employee for the job. They can even feel justified in doing this, as they personally favour and like those people; such people are familiar to them, rather than a stranger who may be lying through his or her teeth all the way through the job interview. Hiring a mate can actually be seen as a way to avoid hiring a charming but incompetent, toxic liar.
But there are rules to prevent a senior person hiring his family, in-laws and club mates. Any CEO tempted to put family members in the senior posts in his or her organisation knows that such behaviour would be hard to hide. He or she might instead put others members of his or her religion in those posts, but mainstream religions are usually open in nature and easy to join, making it also hard to hide such a strategy. By comparison, if that person is a member of a secret clan, cult or order, he or she could easily manoeuvre fellow clan members into the posts concerned and no one would notice. In particular, a clan whose members were sworn to secrecy, on pain of death, would be even better, as such members could be trusted not to give the game away.
As the organisation is a top-down hierarchy, such a strategy can repeat itself at every level. Just as with the psychopath, the effects of these new people’s own shortcomings and incompetence can simply be blamed on the staff below them, or staff already there who aren’t part of this new group. This ability for the top dog, therefore, to effectively populate the entire organisation with his or her picked people, based on short-term interviews, is a boon to secret clans as they can effectively take over an organisation even if they have only a passing ability at what that organisation actually does.
It is true that even a top-down hierarchy can flourish if it gains an amazing leader, CEO or chairman who stays in the top role for a long time, but even in that situation, such a leader can be kicked out by people above him or her if the organisation is financially controlled in a certain way. This type of sacking leads us to the next big problem in how our society is organised, controlled and run; shareholding.
Shareholding is nowadays regarded as completely normal. Not only is it seen as a mandatory part of society but it is also seen as something everyone should be doing. Buying and selling shares has become the thing to do for any modern, on-the-ball adult in the Western World. And yet shareholding, like top-down hierarchies, is essentially toxic to a healthy society.
A long time ago, selling shares in one’s company to raise capital seemed like a sensible plan. When a company is formed, it needs capital to buy equipment, rent or buy a place to work and to pay employees until the sales money comes in. The selling of shares can be a way to gain this capital in order to expand. But this can be also be done simply through a loan, or by using saved money to finance new growth. The big problem with shareholding is a psychological one, in that it enables a person who spends no time in a company to decide that company’s fate. This is a very bad situation, as psychology studies have shown us that if a person has little contact with those that suffer as a result of his or her decisions, then he or she finds it much easier to do something that causes those people suffering. It is a dark aspect of the aphorism; ‘out of sight, out of mind’. Shareholding can enable this trait, giving a person the opportunity a person to act like a psychopath towards many other people through control of their jobs.
The dark side of shareholding can be avoided. For example, employee-ownership companies never suffer this shareholding-psychopath problem because only the working employees can own shares in the company; they are therefore both more knowledge and more caring about the strategy decisions they collectively make. Such companies can be very successful. The John Lewis Partnership in the UK is a employee-owned company, with tens of thousands of employees and it has been making record profits in recent years.
Shareholding can also give a person an astonishing level of power. Through stock ownership, a single person can control the major decisions of any number of companies. A major shareholder can attend a corporation's shareholder meeting and vote for a new board of directors or for the CEO of the company to be sacked and for a new CEO to be appointed. Usually, this act is justified by the company’s poor performance, but all companies performances go up and down, sometimes due to bad luck or even because the company’s temporary low revenue is because it is investing and planning for its long term prosperity. As a result, a major shareholder or group of shareholders can simply kick out a CEO they don’t like simply by waiting long enough.
This second element extends the power of secret clans who do own large amounts of shares. Through their shareholding influence, they can populate the top posts of organisations with their chosen clan members. Those clan members they’ve placed at the top of organisations can then populate the entire organisation with more clan members, because of the organisations’ top-down organisational structure. A tiny group of people can therefore control a vast corporate empire, simply through the amassing of shares and the use of top-down hierarchies.
At this point, a reader might point out that shares can only be amassed slowly, through profit and investment; this should act as a brake on such a strategy. Unfortunately, that isn’t necessarily the case. This is the point where a third toxic element of Western Society comes into play; banking leverage.
3. Banking Leverage.
‘Banking leverage’ sounds like a very boring concept and in some ways, it is, but it is also a crime of enormous proportions.
Long ago, societies developed coinage in order to function as a large, organised group. Up to that time, they had traded internally through a collective awareness of what people owed, much like everyone knowing who should buy the next round in the pub. In the same way that anyone who got a reputation for never buying a round would soon become socially ostracised, societies trading through person obligation and esteem policed their trades with a shared knowledge of who was generous and who was a parasite. This simple system and its policing is actually a highly effective way to maintain a society’s transactions of goods and skills. The method's only flaw is that it can’t work in a very large society that trades with distant strangers. Such a system of trading also has an egalitarian benefit. as it prevents anyone amassing great wealth easily. Many societies who followed this ‘who bought the round of drinks’ method, such as the Coastal Peoples of the Canadian West Coast, ended up developing ceremonies where they gave away many of their amassed possessions. As this act increased their esteem in the community, it could then be traded back by them, at a later date, into receiving fresh goods. In a society where a person’s possessions are secondary to their esteem, and esteem and gratitude is the only way to trade, such giveaways made perfect sense.
Coins create a very different trading system. As already mentioned, the ‘who bought the round’ approach can’t work effectively in a very large society, one that trades with distant strangers. One way to overcome this problem is to use a material as the basis for transactions. The material chosen must be physically small, hard to come by and cannot be substituted with another material. Gold is particularly good for this task as it is so heavy that it’s almost impossible to substitute it for another metal without the ruse being obvious to even the most naive person. Lumps or powder of gold can then be traded for goods and that gold stored and used to trade later for different goods. Other materials have been used throughout history. For example, cowrie shells fulfilled the same requirements, but expanding sea travel meant cowrie shells could fluctuate hugely in availability, making them useless as a stable material for transactions.
Understandably, gold and silver became the default materials in much of the world. Later, as people accumulated more and more gold, certain people offered to store that gold in a safe place; they created a bank. This made sense and was a useful service, if those person could be trusted. Later, those bankers offered an extra service. Rather than their clients walking around with their gold, even when they weren’t using the gold for a purchase, the bank offered their clients the choice of using a piece of paper instead, one that represented the gold, which only they could use. This innovation is historically associated with the Knights Templar, who pioneered the international banking industry in Europe.
Later still, bankers gave out pieces of paper, as substitutions for physical gold, that any person could use. This could only work because the clients believed the banks’ promise that no one else could make copies of such pieces of paper. If one thinks about it, this is a huge declaration of trust by the banks’ clients; surely it’s not that difficult to forge a piece of paper? In fact, what actually happens is that the government of the country promises as well that they’ll make sure no one else copies those pieces of paper. In this way, the government is performing a very valuable service to the bank.
The substitution of gold and silver for pieces of paper was a very important step, for it effectively made the general public trust in bankers. The people had to, as it was extremely difficult for them to check that the bank actually owned gold that covered all those pieces of paper. They chose trust over fear, as if they had simply held on to their gold, it might have been stolen from them. In a strange kind of way, it benefited banks greatly that people were scared of being robbed, regardless of how often it happened, as it was that fear which drove the acceptance of paper money. Banks now had people's money and people's trust. The only auditors of that trust were the banks themselves and the government of the country. This is the point where the third element of our society enters the picture; banking leverage.
Leverage occurs when a bank has ten lots of gold but then issues loans of pieces of paper representing a hundred lots of gold. In this way, the bank has effectively invented ninety lots of gold. The bank’s usual excuse for this behaviour is that people rarely ask for their gold back, so what's the problem? Unfortunately, sometimes they do, particularly when the bank’s customers lose faith in their bank; this is known as a run on the bank. Bank runs are not a problem if the bank has assets that match its loans but are a disaster if its loans far exceed its assets. At this point, the bank usually pleads with the government to bail it out. This craven request would not be tolerated in a purely capitalist society but it is tolerated in a society where the government and the bank have developed an unhealthy relationship.
As with the supposed prevention of counterfeiting, the success of leverage is a collaboration between government and the banks. The banks win, as they’re suddenly more wealthy. The government wins, in the short term, because it looks like the country is getting wealthier. Even the recipients of the new 'loans' might win, if the loan is very favourable and better than their existing loan and they’re in debt. Everybody else with savings, in the long term, loses because their savings are worth less and less. Effectively, the people who are financially irresponsible win and those who were financially responsible and honest, lose. Not surprisingly, this strategy benefits psychopaths. It is therefore no coincidence that the City of London and Wall Street, notorious for the callous, selfish behaviour of their traders, have been gleeful recipients of high levels of leverage along with its sister scheme, ‘quantitative easing’.
4. Combining top-down hierarchies, shareholding and leverage
Leverage is the final piece required, along with shareholding and top-down hierarchies, for a very small number of people to control the entire Western World. The procedure to do this is straightforward. Someone in government, who is in charge of the banking sector, allows the banks of their friends to have massive leverage. This gives those banks a huge advantage over their competitors. The leverage also creates huge amounts of money that the bank concerned loans out to their friends who then use this invented money to buy shares in many companies. These friends then use their shareholder power to control those corporations, all of whom operate as top-down hierarchies. They vote as shareholders and put their friends on the boards of directors of those companies, who then appoint more of their friends as CEOs, who then appoint more of their friends in the roles beneath them and so on.
In this straightforward way, a single person in government, in charge of the banks in a country can, over time, populate every major financial and corporate post in that country with his or her extended group of friends. What’s more, this strategy can be carried out with no actual money whatsoever and with only the barest need for appropriate skills and experience. If the original instigator of this scheme is a member of a secret clan, he or she can effectively make that clan rule the world, financially.
Adding all this information together, it becomes clear that any society that is structured with top-down hierarchies, shareholding and leverage will be very fortunate not to be controlled by a small, secretive elite bound by either a blood-kin connection, membership of a secret society or most likely, both. Sometimes, the nepotism in that country will be obvious (e.g. family dynasties). Sometimes the top dogs' membership of elite societies will be obvious (college sororities, drinking clubs etc). In truth, the top dogs' membership of a secret clan will never be obvious. Fortunately, in many cases, some information can be found, if one tries hard enough.
As with many of my articles, I’ll leave it to the reader to decide whether or not this has occurred.