Garry Reed combined a professional technical writing career and a passion for all things libertarian to become The Libertarian Opinionizer.
Commentary by Your Libertarian Opinionizer
According to John Whitehead, founder and president of The Rutherford Institute, if you voted for Trump or Biden you almost certainly voted for a psychopath.
In October Whitehead fired a resounding cannon blast at the American electorate in his article titled “Don’t Vote for a Psychopath.” The article was subtitled “Tyranny at the Hands of a Psychopathic Government.” He followed his cannon blast with several hand grenades and flashbangs.
“Politicians are more likely than people in the general population to be sociopaths,” he exploded. “I think you would find no expert in the field of sociopathy/psychopathy/antisocial personality disorder who would dispute this.”
Subjectively nearly everyone calls people they strongly dislike “psychopaths” but never those they do like, even though both may or may not be psychopaths. Trump is a psychopath only to liberals while Nancy Pelosi is a psychopath only to conservatives. It’s how the mental game is played.
Also for the record it’s common to use “psychopath” and “sociopath” interchangeably. According to the official Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders handbook there’s no difference between the two because doctors refer to both as “antisocial personality disorder.” The only distinction between the two seems to be that psychopaths don’t have a conscience while sociopaths have a weak conscience. Big difference!
By contrast libertarians live by the non-aggression principle against coercion, intimidation and fraud. That makes them the opposite of psychopaths, sociopaths and the corrupt corporatist-political classes. More on that later.
We’ve been warned about political psychopaths repeatedly over the years yet most people just keep voting for the Clintons and Bushes and Obamas and Trumps and Bidens that the two major political parties regurgitate onto our ballots every four years and insist that we vote for the lesser of their two antisocial personality disorders.
One recent book, The Psychopathic Epidemic, even announces on its front cover “Why the World Is So F*cked Up and What You Can Do About It.”
A Goodreads reviewer succinctly summed up the book’s content this way: “The author hammers almost every aspect of the establishment—religious organizations which condone child abuse; rapacious corporations which pursue profit at any cost; self-interested, self-sustaining governments; massive military influence which skews entire economies—all of which makes for sobering reading.”
Psychiatrists estimate that one percent of the adult population are psychopaths, which works out to about two million Americans. Some of these people may be our bosses, our politicians, our priests, and our neighbors. And worst of all, many are running our government, our economy and our lives.
Of all these unfeeling, uncaring, amoral humanoids in our society it’s in the political world where all of us could have the biggest and most direct pushback against them—stop voting for them! Yet in spite of all the studies, all the articles and books and warnings the vast majority of the population just keeps voting these psychos into office.
This attitude was typified recently during one of those social media spats where some deluded Facebooker posted, “Just because someone likes The State doesn't mean they are a psychopath.”
A libertarian stumbling onto this comment tried with little success to explain the inherent contradiction therein. “But The State everywhere and always uses coercion, intimidation and fraud. That's the definition of The State. The fact that "someone likes" coercion, intimidation and fraud is the definition of psychopathy! How can someone support The State and not have at least some level of psychopathy buried deep within their value system?”
The fundamental problem, one theory holds, is that voters like psychopaths who will lie, cheat and steal if it benefits them and therefore won’t think of them, or themselves, as psychopaths. It’s those who don’t benefit them with their lying, cheating and stealing that they call psychopaths.
We All Live in a Pathocracy
“Once psychopaths gain power,” Whitehead points out in his article, “the result is usually some form of totalitarian government or a pathocracy.”
To quote yet another source, “When people with personality disorders gain power” from Psychology Today, “Pathocracy is arguably one of the biggest problems in the history of the human race. History has been a saga of constant conflict and brutality, with groups of people fighting against one another over territory and power and possessions, and conquering and killing one another.”
In The Psychopath Epidemic Cameron Reilly lays the blame for this directly on our own psychopathic attitudes: “The world is in a f*cking mess because we have allowed too many psychopaths to rise to positions of power.” We have caused this to happen.
All states are pathocracies because people just keep putting psychopaths in charge of them. Saying that The State may be evil but we still need some form of government is just another way of saying that we need evil. But do we really need evil? Some claim that we need some evil to keep even worse evil away. But that's just an argument for a lesser evil which is still acceptance of evil.
And besides, how then do we prevent this “some evil” from metastasizing into the very “worse evil” that we wanted to keep away in the first place?
By The State we always mean "governments." But see what happens when "governments" is replaced by "governance." Note the difference in the two spellings and their meanings. "Governments" always refer to small psychopathic groups of people who claim monopoly control over a geographical area along with everything and everyone in it, to be exploited through the use of coercion, intimidation and fraud by the ruling clique for the primary benefit of that clique.
However "governance" is a more generic, neutral term. Summarizing Wikipedia it refers to all means of governing, whether government, marketing or networking, whether exercised by or over a family, tribe, formal or informal organization or territory and whether through laws, norms, power or language. And other ways never dreamed of by Wikipedians. Further, it relates to "the processes of interaction and decision-making among the actors involved in a collective problem that lead to the creation, reinforcement, or reproduction of social norms and institutions."
Yet humans apparently never seem to tire of demanding that some form of coercive collective authoritarian ideology be imposed on everyone as a solution for all problems and then think they can put a “good” psychopath in power to make it work.
Now consider the libertarian Zero Aggression Principle, more commonly known as the non-aggression principle, which states that no one may use coercion, intimidation or fraud against others. This immediately disqualifies "governments" from any form of legitimacy while recognizing all forms of peaceful, mutual, cooperative "governance" among people. Even the much maligned term "collective" becomes benign when people voluntarily choose to cooperate. Even socialist, communist, capitalist and all other forms of collaboration become acceptable when they are voluntarily pursued in a free market society of goods, services and ideas.
Psychopaths and government go hand in hand. The only hope is that psychopaths can someday be quickly identified and dealt with before they can do their soulless harm.
Psychopaths can be extremely cunning. If they learn that they can't get away with violence, bullying and defrauding many would make excellent business people, heads of private defensive services, and so on. Not all psychopaths are coercive but they are manipulative so finding other ways to channel their lack of human compassion could actually be beneficial to everyone. Think of the self-absorbed psychopathic yet brilliant surgeon who saves people’s lives for his own egotistical reasons.
Politically then, if you didn’t vote for the Libertarian Party candidate you likely voted for a psychopath for president.
It’s easy to find article after blog after meme “proving” Donald Trump is a psychopath. That’s because he has a larger-than-life Hollywood movie type of boisterous, outgoing, conniving personality. It’s harder to find similar “proofs” about Joe Biden. That’s because he is more low-key, more calculating and better at pretending to care about others. He doesn’t fit the popular raving Hollywood stereotype of a psychopath. But he does fit the typical smooth-talking, charming and manipulative definition of the high functioning sociopath.
Libertarians are the Opposite of Psychopaths
So what’s the answer to this? In his The Psychopath Epidemic the author’s only advice seems to be what one reviewer described as “behave decently yourself, and don’t let other people get away with behaving badly.”
Donna Andersen, author and licensed therapist, launched Lovefraud.com in 2005 after her disastrous marriage to a sociopath. It was one of the first websites on the Internet to focus on sociopaths.
Andersen points out that “The definition of a sociopath on Lovefraud is someone who has a personality disorder in which he or she routinely exploits, manipulates and abuses others. Clinically, these people could be diagnosed with antisocial, narcissistic, borderline or histrionic personality disorder, or psychopathy.”
Under the heading “The Opposite of the Sociopath is the Libertarian” Andersen devotes an entire section of her website to a highly readable essay by John Hunt, MD that explains his position. He asks “Ever wonder why government messes up so much?” and answers with “It is because the government is filled to the brims with sociopaths.” Then after thoroughly defining the actions of political sociopaths/psychopaths he details how libertarians are the opposing antidote to these destructive personality disorders.
“The political opposite, and social opposite, of the sociopath is the libertarian. A libertarian ascribes avidly, completely and thoroughly to the Nonaggression Principle. The Nonaggression Principle states that never, NEVER is it acceptable to initiate force or fraud against another human being. Wow. To a libertarian, no end ever justifies the use of an immoral means.”
And yes, even libertarians must beware of psychopaths within their midst. That means the best weapon libertarians have is the one best weapon they’ve always had: Accept and embrace the non-aggression principle and then apply it to themselves and everyone else, including fellow libertarians: Don’t initiate force, intimidation or fraud, and call out all who refuse to live by that principle.
The Opposite of the Sociopath is the Libertarian.
References and Links
Corporatist Politics In the early to mid-20th century corporate psychopaths dominated presidential cabinets with little difference between Republican (78 percent) and Democratic cabinet members (73 percent). Little has changed since. That’s corporatism, not free market capitalism.
Pathocracy A blog that defines pathography—a government run by a small pathological minority—and describes 20 primary characteristics from suppression of individualism and creativity to violation of basic human rights. This isn’t left or right ideology, it’s the state of our nation today.
American Oligarchy: The Permanent Political Class Documenting how today’s corrupt politicians, lobbyists, consultants, bureaucrats, pollsters, journalists and billionaires have colluded to create a massive power-grabbing wealth-stealing aristocracy on a scale unprecedented in our history.
New to libertarianism and the Zero-Aggression Principle? From “The Basics” to “Morality and Law” to many ideas in between you can jump in and learn about the voluntary post-statist concept of “governance” as opposed to the coercive corporatist governments we have today.