The Politics of Psychopathology

The history of Marxism is both tragedy and farce. The tragedy is obvious to all who can bear to see -- tens of millions of dead, massive social and economic destruction, the gulags,  enslavement, poverty, the favoritism shown to themselves by Marxist elitists, and endemic corruption. The Soviet Union collapsed due to dishonesty, inefficiency, incompetence, and corruption in 1991. The constituent republics of the Soviet Union almost unanimously fled the embrace of Mother Russia after the dissolution of the USSR. Now North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela, economic basket cases all, continue the Soviet model, and Putin is trying to revive Russia with the same old tired Marxist philosophy, but no longer labeled as Marxist. Despite the serial disasters of Marxism there is an abiding faith among Marxists worldwide that Marxism can be made to work and prosper. This faith is particularly ironic when found within American academia and politics, since America was the most successful social and economic experiment in history until recently. 

In the one hundred fifty years since Karl Marx became active, it seems not to have occurred to a single ranking Marxist leader except Milovan Đilas that something is wrong with the whole Marxist concept. On the contrary, the wholesale death and destruction within Marxist states is celebrated as a necessary evil and the eventual collapses are blamed on human failure and inadequacy. Marxism is thought by Marxists to be an infallible historical certainty, so any failure must be a fault in the implementation or the personal shortcomings of those doing the implementing. Barack Hussein Obama is but the latest of a long line of Marxist heroes that were expected to usher in the new Utopia, and Obama with all his shortcomings is failing and degrading the USA more rapidly than any other president in memory. Granted, the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave is not fertile ground for establishing a Marxist system.  Yet many millions of dollars were invested in making Obama president of the USA, and the Hope and Change were palpable that finally -- finally! -- the hard work and dreams of Marx and his followers would be realized. 

So, what happened?

Obama is now widely seen as a failure even by some of his most prominent and voluble supporters. A few years ago, Democratic candidates for office were eager to be seen with Obama, but in the 2014 election cycle, Obama is only marginally more popular than Ebola. The people who in 2008 were so fervent about prospects under Obama seem not to have dropped the whole idea of Marxist big government (they still support socialized medicine in the form of ObamaCare) but they have certainly dropped Obama. Marxist ideologues will seek another hero and reorganize for another go, given how close they came to transforming the USA into a Marxist Utopia. If Marxist melanin was not the key to Marxism triumphant, perhaps a Marxist vagina will do the job. Or not.

Almost no one apart from a relatively few otherwise intelligent elitists fundamentally promote Marxism. Marxists collect enablers, supporters, followers, useful idiots, useless idiots, college students, and voters by buying support (social programs), by indoctrinating the young, and by creating and exploiting social, economic, and ethnic divisions, much as did the Soviet Union and Fascist Germany. Marxism's followers are not sophisticated enough to realize that they are being defrauded, and the fraud has been ongoing for a century in widely scattered areas of the globe.

Opponents of Marxism have a gut reaction against the irrational destruction wrought by Marxism, but they have no captivating "capitalist" (Marx's own term) ideology. Free market, rule-of-law economies have vastly superior performances compared with any other economic system, but free markets are undermined when Marxists use the law and convince their supporters to take from producers rather than becoming productive themselves. Case in point; the black demographic comprises Obama's strongest supporters, yet black jobs, income, and wealth are now in greater decline than elsewhere, and black dependency grows.  It is ever thus for Marxist states, but the elitist nomenclatura always does well. Gross corruption is typical of Marxist states and of other psychopathic states (militant Islam), and is becoming an ever larger factor in the USA.

If insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome each time, Marxists must be the craziest people on planet earth. But as a class, Marxists are at least adequately intelligent and often have superior academic credentials. There must be another factor at work, but what?


Psychopathy accounts for the incomprehensible behaviors and dreadful results of Marxists. Forget everything you think you know about psychopathy and Marxists, and follow this reasoning which deals with psychopathy from a management perspective.
Psychopathy is the world's most destructive mental disorder. One percent of all people exhibit psychopathic traits. Psychopaths typically are subjects of hereditary or physical damage to their neurological systems, or severe psychological damage such as in cases of child abuse or neglect. Psychopathy is independent of any other trait: intelligence, background, profession, ethnicity, height, weight, you name it. Psychopathy is thought to be incurable at this time. 

Psychopathy is measured by Dr. Robert Hare's Psychopathy Check List (PCL) consisting of twenty-one items classified as either Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), Anti-Social Personality Disorder (ASPD), criminal tendencies, or sexual immaturity. No one scores zero or maxes out on the PCL, most people score very low, and increasing scores indicate troubled individuals, criminals, and psychopaths. 

It is self-evident that totalitarian dictators are antisocial and narcissistic. Karl Marx himself exhibited many characteristics typical of psychopaths. Psychosis (insanity) is a thinking disorder and it is often confused with psychopathy, a personality disorder, but they are completely different and psychosis is not measured by the PCL. 

Damage to the brain that result in psychopathy typically occur in the frontal lobe area, and are often readily observable in neurological exams (EEG, fMRI, CT scan). Psychopaths have no conscience but create a charming, charismatic, and fake personality as cover for their crimes and frauds. This faked attractive personality was described by Dr. Hervey Cleckley in his seminal 1941 book, The Mask of Sanity

In spite of the lack of a conscience and of any civic values, psychopaths otherwise have normal rational abilities and normal ambitions and goals. Without a conscience to restrain them, psychopaths become predatory, and the personality, intelligence, and social background of the individual psychopath determines the object of his predation: money, sex, political power, whatever. Intelligent psychopaths can do major damage in a financial or political organization as their unrestrained ambition propels them toward the top. With no moral restraints, psychopaths have no limits on their acquisitiveness and seek to gain the most they can by controlling other people, which is the ultimate "ego trip" for a psychopath. Political psychopaths cultivate ignorance and dependency in their followers, the better to control these followers.

Even though Marxism is thought of as an economic system, for the head-psychopath-in-charge the economic aspects of Marxism are irrelevant. The attraction of Marxism is that it gives Marxists control over others. Marxism is the primary element in the psychopathic mask of Marxists, and provides a false rationale for Marxist control of all aspects of a state and its citizens. Marxism is not about economics; Marxism is about the psychopath's control of other people -- their finances, their behaviors, their ways of thinking, their lives. True believers in economic Marxism are gullible psychopath enablers and followers, and are not commonly themselves psychopathic. 

The farce of Marxism is demonstrated when the world's worst mental disorder traduces otherwise capable people into a worldwide activity to their own detriment. Psychopaths could not build elaborate systems without supporters; psychopath supporters are not stupid, and some are very intelligent.  But these supporters are certainly susceptible to the charming and horrific nonsense spouted by destructive psychopaths.

You may take this thesis, make minor adjustments for culture and geography, substitute "militant Islam" for "Marxism," and the premise remains equally valid.

James G. Long has been an army captain, a professional engineer, an author, and a blogger, with a lifelong interest in organizational management problems.