The nominalism of a dogma that has separated from experience … has become the dominant form of the West because it was, beginning with the eighteenth century, adopted as the intellectual form of ideologizing.Eric Voegelin [i]
The practical result of nominalist philosophy is to banish the reality which is perceived by the intellect and to posit as reality that which is perceived by the senses. With this change in the affirmation of what is real, the whole orientation of culture takes a turn….Richard Weaver [ii]
Psychopathic individuals generally stay away from social organizations characterized by reason and ethical discipline.”Andrew M. Lobaczewski
To paraphrase Richard Weaver, this is another essay about the dissolution of the West. It is an account of dissolution not based on analogy but on psychiatry and philosophy. It argues that we have given in to the defective thinking of defective people in an Age of Ideology; that is, an age of political lying. The result is an ochlocracy[iii] cut into two warring halves.[iv]
Consumers do not like to hear about the dissolution of the West. They would rather read about “the end of history” by someone like Francis Fukuyama, or the victory of their favored candidate at the polls. Anyone who writes about “the dissolution of the West” is taken for a pessimist – and what good is a pessimist? Nothing is possible for pessimists. What is always desired, in “democratic” politics, is an optimistic point of view. Unfortunately, this anesthetic signifies blindness to reality. Of course, optimism is useful. It greases the wheels of a doomed machine. It keeps the money flowing through a system of investment and return.
But those who draw hope from the continued functioning of the economic system are mistaken. The economic system depends on spiritual and cultural structures that are now dysfunctional. Because of this, the system is headed for collapse. Because of this, America is less and less the land of the free and the home of the brave. Consider some of the more striking developments of recent years: (1) According to our Supreme Court, marriage is no longer the union of male and female; (2) the life of a newborn baby is no longer sacred; (3) nobody is serious about thwarting our country’s enemies, foreign or domestic.
We could make a longer list of bad signs and dire symptoms. Yet, the three listed items are enough to show that our institutions are collapsing into a kind of collective madness. Optimism, under these conditions, is simply an affirmation of madness. Being gaslit by the upbeat bombast of Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, made this madness (for many years) into entertainment. We should have realized that political optimism as entertainment is dangerous. A healthier form of entertainment, in line with reality, would have been a sweaty sock jammed into Sean Hannity’s mouth, stopping it mid-sentence. Yes, Sean. Reagan won the Cold War. Now suck on this sweaty sock.
An opinion leader should not be so vulgar as to congratulate himself on his own decadence, shallowness, and gullibility. Yet this is what our “conservative” opinion-leaders have done, again and again, for the past thirty years. And what has this optimism wrought? The incapable John Fetterman of Pennsylvania is headed for the United States Senate. Joseph Biden is in the White House. Russia has invaded its neighbor and there is war in Europe. Where is all that bouncy optimism now? – what has this foul self-deception brought forth? – what cure has this anesthetic wrought?
Consider the following: Climate fanatics intend to shut down our oil refineries. Even now they are shutting down our coal production. In effect, the U.S. Government is itching to implement a “sustainable” climate agenda where we all sit in the dark and freeze (e.g., see Germany). Meanwhile, our military men and woman are compelled to take an injection that neither prevents nor stops the spread of a disease – an injection that was not properly tested for safety. Yet the U.S. Government maintains that the vaccines are safe. In this matter, if you question the government, you are de-platformed on social media. Powerful forces oppose any official investigation of the vaccines. If you are a medical professional, you can lose your medical license for calling the vaccines into question – like Dr. Peter McCullough, who lost his. If you are in the U.S. military, and you refuse the vaccine, your career may come to an end. The United States Government, the Pentagon, and our highest medical authorities, supposedly had an ethical obligation to follow the Nuremberg Code on human experimentation. But now they believe in no such obligation. The first point of the Nuremberg code says that the “voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential” and that patients “should be so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice, without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, overreaching, or other ulterior forms of constraint or coercion; and should have sufficient knowledge … to make an … enlightened decision.” As everyone in the world knows, the experimental COVID vaccines were pushed on the citizenry with all the above: “fraud, deceit, duress, and overreaching….” There is no question that this has been ongoing, and that this is totalitarianism. So then, what happened to “morning in America”? What was the significance of all that optimism about “winning” the Cold War?
A free society, with the rule of law, encourages debate and discussion. But our system no longer encourages debate and discussion. And now there are three questions we are forbidden to ask: (1) Is Climate Change real or is it economic sabotage? (2) If the vaccines are safe and effective, why are people reporting deaths and injuries? And (3) If we want fair and free elections, why do we refuse to require in-person voting with voter I.D.?
Not long ago we were free to question anything and everything. But suddenly, somehow, the rules were changed. We are now obliged to blacklist people, to ruin their careers – to demonize as we demonetize them. After all, anyone who disagrees with the official narrative is a public menace if not a public enemy. People who raise these questions are made voiceless and invisible. We are told to denigrate them. And this is done in the name of science, public health, and democracy.
You would think this totalitarian turn would have already resulted in civil war or a general uprising of the people. But no. Resistance has been spotty, especially in the U.S. military. Our institutions and the people in them are marked by materialism and careerism, voyeurism and sense of detachment. But more than that, modern society has been taken over by “pathocracy,” defined by psychiatrist Andrew M. Lobaczewski as a mode of government arising out of a period of spiritual crisis, characterized by an “intensification of hysteria,” a degeneration of reason along with the disintegration of social structures. Lobaczewski wrote, “Every society worldwide contains individuals whose dreams of power arise very early…. They are generally discriminated against in some way by society….” These dreams of power “represent overcompensation for the feeling of humiliation….” Those who take the lead in originating pathocracy are generally schizoids; that is, persons characterized by emotional aloofness and solitary habits.[v] A rising tide of schizoid thought, according to Lobaczewski, owes much to a historical epoch dominated by fixed religious and political doctrines. “Such a historical period is always characterized by an impoverished psychological world view, so that a schizoidally impoverished psychological world view does not stand out as odd during such times and is accepted as legal tender.”[vi]
This helps to explain, in part, what has been happening to us. We have given in to defective thinking by defective people. And those defective people are running our institutions. Lobaczewski described schizoids as “doctrinaire individuals” who “manifest a certain contempt with regard to moralists … preaching the need to rediscover lost human values….” Fanatical schizoid spellbinders, propounding new ideologies out of their own defective thought patterns, typically attract characteropathic personalities as followers. These transform the abnormal ideas of the schizoid into political action. Lobaczewski explained that “this process tends to intensify with time….” Eventually, paranoid individuals become active in the new “movement.” And, toward the end of the process, “an individual with frontal [lobe] characteropathy[vii] and the highest degree of pathological egotism can easily take over the leadership.”[viii]
Schizoidal doctrines advanced by spellbinders gain traction because of their novelty. They also gain traction because the new doctrines are constructed for neurotics and hysterics and psychopaths (who are becoming more and more numerous). By pretending to alleviate the prevailing societal alienation through the promise of political empowerment, the ideology of the schizoid draws a political mob into its orbit. Abnormal and alienated people, wrote Lobaczewski, will imbed themselves “in some human organization, wherein they become zealots for some ideology, religious bigots, materialists, or adherents of an ideology with satanic features.”[ix]
Of course, schizoid “thinkers” are typically dismissed as cranks or eccentrics. Nevertheless, their ideas readily infect people who suffer from a personality disorder. The schizoid thinker charts a path to success when he is persistent, fanatical, and egotistic. According to Lobaczewski, “Karl Marx is the best-known figure of that kind. Frostig, a psychiatrist of the old school, included Engels and others into a category he called ‘bearded schizoidal fanatics.’” Such people, he added, were very active during the second half of the nineteenth century. Lobaczewski remarked that those who gravitate toward a Marxist pattern of thought exemplify “a schizoidal apprehension of reality.” The same can be said of the leading anti-Semitic writers and “thinkers” who inspired Hitler and the Nazi movement. Relying on an “oversimplified pattern of ideas, devoid of psychological color and based on easily available data,” the schizoid’s writings “are particularly attractive” to neurotics and psychopaths.
Of course, Schizodia is not the only factor responsible for today’s political evils. It is merely one of the originating factors. Furthermore, we need not use the language of psychiatry to describe the people who originated totalitarian ideologies. There are other ways of characterizing them (that do not entail the use of psychologizing epithets). Eric Voegelin, for example, described such people (including Karl Marx), in terms of spiritual sickness (as opposed to psychiatric disease). Voegelin preferred to see Lobaczewski’s “schizoids” as morally responsible persons engaged in dishonest and self-aggrandizing behavior. He therefore described Marx as a “swindler” and his followers as criminals who “kill people for fun,” rather than as patients in need of treatment or compassion. In practice, all Marxist regimes have engaged in killing. As Voegelin explained, “[their] faith and willingness to sacrifice the people … can only end with the horrors of physical destruction – that we know from the Hitler case.”[x]
Why do ideological movements sacrifice people for power? Because ideology is about power. Consequently, ideology has nothing to do with the truth (as truth and power are often at cross-purposes). Ideology, said Voegelin, “is a phenomenon of intellectual dishonesty….” Even those who adopt ideologies are not honest because, noted Voegelin, “anybody who is willing to read the literature [of ideologies] knows that they are not tenable, and why.”[xi]
While Lobaczewski discusses political evil in terms of the physiological abnormalities of the psychopath, Voegelin begins by asking why so many normal people embrace ideology and its attending evils. Intellectual dishonesty in political matters is not merely the result of partisanship, he explained. Rather, ideology goes much deeper than partisanship. This is because modern society is soaked in ideology and overrun by ideologists who are constantly fighting each other. Therefore, modern society is loaded with political lies. Just one example should suffice. The very word “democracy” is a lie in the mouth of most people; for they do not know what democracy is, or what it signifies morally; and they have never lived under one. Consequently, the word democracy, on their lips, is a sinister significator. Because of this kind of usage, much of our political talk today is gibberish. We talk in words that purport to mean something when they mean nothing. Voegelin wrote, “I summarized the problem in the formula that there are intellectual situations where everybody is so wrong that it is enough to maintain the opposite in order to be at least partially right.”[xii]
Since all ideologies are inherently dishonest, and nearly everyone is corrupted by this dishonesty, society has largely lost touch with political reality. Everything having been reduced to a false narrative of one kind or another, and everyone being hypnotized to accept these false narratives, we arrive at a situation in which intellectual dishonesty has been normalized. Once dishonesty is normalized, the psychopaths that Lobaczewski warned about come to the fore. Politics becomes their playground. And this is where the situation turns bloody. According to Voegelin:
What the fun is [in killing people], I did not quite understand at the time, but in the intervening years the ample exploration of revolutionary consciousness has cast some light on this matter. The fun consists in gaining a pseudo-identity through asserting one’s power, optimally by killing somebody – a pseudo-identity that serves as a substitute for the human self that has been lost.” [xiii]
Voegelin then cited the work of Albert Camus, who explored “the murderous equanimity of the intellectuals who have lost their self and try to regain it by becoming pimps for this or that murderous totalitarian power….” According to Voegelin, “If anything is characteristic of ideologies and ideological thinkers, it is the destruction of language, sometimes on the level of intellectual jargon of a high level of complication, sometimes on the vulgarian level.” In discussing this problem in connection with Karl Marx and Friedrich Hegel, Voegelin stated that Marx was a criminal who lusted for human blood: “In my uncivilized manner as a man who does not like to murder people for the purpose of supplying intellectuals with fun, I flatly state that Marx was consciously an intellectual swindler for the purpose of maintaining an ideology that would permit him to support violent action against human beings with a show of moral indignation.”[xiv]
Here is where Voegelin’s philosophical discourse comes together with Lobaczewski’s psychiatric diagnoses. Voegelin explicitly stated that a “mental disturbance lies behind” Marx’s revolutionary writings and activities; but more than that, noted Voegelin, this mental disturbance has a spiritual component insofar as Marx’s swindle flatly refuses “to enter into the etiological argument of Aristotle – that is, on the problem that man does not exist out of himself but out of the divine ground of all reality.” Marx knew that “the central problem of a philosophy of man” was man’s relation to divinity. By denying the existence of God, Marx sought “to destroy man’s humanity by making him a ‘socialist man’….”[xv]
In other words, Marx sought to dehumanize humanity. His formula was to justify murder in the name of revolution – because some people think murder is fun. His justification, from first to last, is brilliant nonsense. It does not matter if Marx’s followers do not understand this. According to Voegelin, Marx’s followers today are not intelligent or educated enough to understand Marx’s method or his underlying objective. Voegelin noted, “When we advance beyond Marx to the ideological epigones of the late nineteenth and of the twentieth century, we are already far below the intellectual level that formed the background even of Marx.” Such are creatures of ochlocracy (i.e., mob rule). They hate people who have actual knowledge, or people who care about the truth. They are not interested in debate. Their social environment, noted Voegelin, “is dominated by persons who cannot even be called intellectual crooks because their level of consciousness is much too low to be aware of their objective crookedness, but who must rather be characterized as functional illiterates with a strong desire for personal aggrandizement.”[xvi]
It appears that Lobaczewski and Voegelin accurately described the makers of our modern political world. The crisis of modernity, for both the psychiatrist and the political philosopher, stems from people who are morally and/or intellectually defective. To reconcile the psychiatric with the philosophical, let me suggest that madness is a kind of evil while evil is a kind of madness. “Pathological acceptance of schizoidal writings or declarations by other deviants often brutalizes the author’s concepts and promotes ideas of force and revolutionary means,” wrote Lobaczewski, “The passage of time and bitter experience has unfortunately not prevented this characteristic misunderstanding born of schizoid nineteenth-century creativity, with Marx’s works at the fore, from affecting people and depriving them of their common sense.”[xvii]
What begins with the schizoid’s ideology ends with the police state of the psychopath – who kills because killing is fun. By way of example, Voegelin wrote, “The phenomenon of Hitler is not exhausted by his person. His success must be understood in the context of an intellectually and morally ruined society in which personalities who otherwise would be grotesque, marginal figures can come to public power because they superbly represent the people who admire them.” [xviii]
And this is how we must understand John Fetterman as senator, and so many of our other politicians. As a rule, these are the grotesque representatives of an intellectually and morally ruined society. According to Voegelin, the elevation of grotesque figures into high office is a symptom of “internal destruction.” Regarding Hitler and the Germans, Voegelin explained: “This internal destruction of a society was not finished with the Allied victory over the German armies in World War II but still goes on. I should say that the contemporary destruction of German intellectual life, and especially the destruction of the universities, is the aftermath of the destruction that brought Hitler to power and of the destruction worked under his regime.” Voegelin added, “There is yet no end in sight so far as the disintegration of society is concerned, and consequences that may surprise are possible.”
Undoubtedly, a process of internal destruction continues (not only in Germany). And those who trace their ideological lineage to Karl Marx are not the only offenders. Every ideology offends insofar as you cannot fight one lie with another; for lies are interchangeable, and may be substituted one for the other, advancing the process of internal destruction. Truth is what we need. But then, the truth requires honest people, non-ideological people, whose language has not been corrupted by feel-good slogans and nominalist dogmas.
Part of the answer is found in opposing the prevailing lies, half-truths, and corrupt language. To oppose evil policies, you have to use clear language. Clarity is the key. Clarity is the enemy of the obfuscating psychopath who wants to transform politics into a game of “killing for fun.” The psychopath in politics, like the psychopath in daily life, can be recognized by the following: (1) behaviors that conflict with social norms; (2) disregarding or violating the rights of others; (3) inability to distinguish right from wrong; (4) difficulty with showing [authentic] remorse or empathy; (5) tendency to lie often; (6) manipulating and hurting others; (7) recurring problems with the law; (8) general disregard toward safety and responsibility; (9) regular displays of anger and arrogance.[xix] The reader is left to connect the dots that link, for example, LGBTQ advocacy to abortion; that link abortion to the mandating of unsafe vaccines; that link unsafe vaccines to global warming “science”; that link global warming “science” to socialist revolution; that link socialist revolution to the end of America.
There are reasons that our society is in decline, that our government is dishonest, that our institutions are failing. Whatever psychiatric or philosophical forces are at work behind this decline, no countervailing domestic forces have appeared that can stop our ideologists What we have today is what Voegelin called “a massive social force of aggressive, intellectual dishonesty that penetrates the academic world, as well as other sectors of society….”[xx] Yet there is more to it than that. What is now developing out of the ruin of the Republic – as with all ruined Republics – is an ochlocracy (i.e., mob rule). Only in our case, two antagonistic ochlocracies are emerging simultaneously. The first of these is animated by a grotesque and functionally illiterate pseudo-Marxism, while the other originates from people whose “thinking” has been formed by television, and who seek political salvation from a reality TV character. Which of these ochlocracies will take the prize? Both are incapable of taking anything but a booby prize.
Anyone who studies the present situation is bound to conclude that we are no longer living under a Republic; for republican history is full of brilliant orators, brave champions, and men of steadfast principle; men like Marcus Furius Camillus, Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, Quintus Fabius Maximus, etc. When America was a republic, we had the likeness of George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and John Quincy Adams. Even in the Civil War, when America had devolved into two republics, we had such figures as Robert E. Lee, Thomas Jackson, Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant. What comparable figures do we have today? By all appearances, we live in a political wasteland of mediocrities and clowns.
Heroes cannot emerge under ochlocracy because the mob follows the logic of its characteropathic leaders. As Lobaczewski observed, these leaders mimic sincerity. “[I]t is second nature for them to play a role and hide behind the mask of normal people.”[xxi] They gravitate toward movements that preach “revolution and war against that unfair world so foreign to them.” Even a counterrevolutionary movement can serve the psychopath’s inward craving to “kill for fun.” The resulting descent into darkness, noted Lobaczewski, is due to a “mysterious disease” that rages inside the political system. Government of the psychopaths, by the psychopaths, and for the psychopaths, advances “by revolutionary means in the name of freedom, the welfare of people, and social justice….” What happens in the end, however, is that “the common man is blamed for not having been born a psychopath, and is considered good for nothing except hard work, fighting and dying to protect a system of government he can neither sufficiently comprehend nor ever consider to be his own.”[xxii]
Psychopaths can readily hijack ochlocratic formations. Their ruthless egotism empowers them to sweep away the hero, the problem-solver, and the statesman. Solutions are not needed under ochlocratic pathocracy, since the collapse of society and civil war is desired by the leaders for its own sake. It is war that gives the psychopath free reign. A brilliant leader with real solutions has no chance under ochlocratic pathocracy. The representative of truth is rejected under conditions of ideological war because ochlocratic formations only respond to ideologic cues (i.e., lies). Constructive thoughts that give rise to heroic action are not wanted by structures that favor and reward psychological deviants. The logic of such formations is the logic of destruction, of murder, and the fanatical maintenance of false narratives.
Inevitably, ochlocracy will burn itself out. Somebody will emerge from the rubble to rebuild the country. With bitter lessons learned and a renewed appetite for wisdom, normal life can begin again. This is what we should be working for. In the meanwhile, be careful out there.
Links and Notes
[i] Eric Voegelin, Autobiographical Reflections (USA: Louisiana State University Press, 1989), p. 113.
[ii] Richard M. Weaver, Ideas Have Consequences (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1948), p. 3.
[iii] Ochlocracy: noun – government by a mob; mob rule.
[iv] Weaver, p. 1.
[v] Andrew M. Lobaczewski, Political Ponerology: A Science on the Natura of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes (Kindle, Red Pill Press), Loc 3085.
[vi] Ibid, Loc 3100.
[vii] Tiffany W. Chow, M.D., notes: “The orbitofrontal syndrome is the most well known [pathology of this type] and consists of major antisocial behaviors such as disinhibition, emotional lability, and impulsivity. In some cases, changes are severe enough to lead to new onset of criminality.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5786154/
[x] Eric Voegelin, Autobiographical Reflections (USA: Louisiana State University Press, 1989), p. 117.
[xi] Ibid, p. 45.
[xii] Ibid, p. 46.
[xiii] Ibid, pp. 46-47.
[xiv] Ibid, p. 48.
[xv] Ibid, p. 49.
[xvii] Lobaczewski, loc 3140.
[xviii] Eric Voegelin, Autobiographical Reflections (USA: Louisiana State University Press, 1989), p. 18.
[xx] Voegelin, p. 119.
[xxi] Lobaczewski, Loc 3178.
[xxii] Ibid, Loc 3194.
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