Tuesday, 21 October 2014 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG

Saving Ourselves from the Psychopaths

Thursday, 30 May 2013 11:13 By Jim McCluskey, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

The survival of our culture, and possibly our species, is threatened by global warming, overpopulation and nuclear war. The latter can bring instant annihilation to millions of people. Western governments and the media (corporate owned and collusive) respond to the nuclear threat with silence. Our leaders neutralize the survival instincts of citizens by the age-old device of instilling fear of an evil "other" and by, with their silence, ensuring ignorance of the appalling dangers – if no one is talking about it, it can't be a problem.

Why do our leaders keep silent about the threat of nuclear catastrophe, hanging over us at all times, instead of taking the sane and obvious course – banning nuclear weapons as the other weapons of mass destruction (chemical and biological) have been banned? The answer to this question is becoming more clear by the day.

The leaders of the nuclear states cling compulsively to their nuclear weapons as though their very identity depended on it. And to some extent it does. In contrast to the banning alternative the MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) option of political choice seems irrational and even insane. Yet it is only irrational if the goal of our leaders is the same goal as that of you and me. It would only be irrational if our leaders' primary goal was to keep citizens safe. This is not the case. The primary goal of the nuclear state leaders is to enhance their power and status on the world stage.  Dr. Nick Ritchie of Bradford University's Disarmament Research Centre studied and published a paper on "Trident and British Identity." A key finding was that "Nuclear weapons underpin Britain's core self-identity as a major 'pivotal' power". (In this Statement, for "Britain's" read "Britain's power elites'").

The nuclear leaders' lust for power and influence is the first part of the answer.

The second part relates to the increasingly circulating and convincing view that to get to the top in our fiercely competition-based profits-driven culture a psychopathic personality can be a distinct advantage(1) – this applies to governments as well as corporations and other competitive environments. Psychopaths appear to act rationally, but being severely deficient in empathy and compassion they lack the human attributes which give pause to others.

As Rob Kall of OpEdNews points out, "sociopaths and psychopaths are not severely mentally ill. Generally, they are unable to claim the insanity defense in court because they know what they are doing. They just don't care and don't think laws apply to them." (2) Having witnessed in recent years the appalling death and suffering resulting from the wholly gratuitous and illegal wars embarked upon by the leaders of the UK and the US, with no admission of guilt or regret, can we doubt the influence of psychopathology in the decision making? The same people cling to their nuclear weapons regardless. They are willing to risk nuclear Armageddon in order to enhance their perceived status and sense of self-importance. As Rob Kall writes,"Behind the apparent insanity of contemporary history, is the actual insanity of psychopaths fighting to preserve their disproportionate power."

How can we defend ourselves against these people?

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN – see www.icanw.org) is a global grassroots coalition movement which "brings together humanitarian, environmental, human rights, peace and development organizations, in more than 60 countries, in the drive to rid the world of nuclear weapons." ICAN is working round the world building recognition of the unacceptable humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons. A current primary strategy is to encourage non-nuclear states to sign up to a treaty banning these horrendous, inhumane weapons. Although unconnected to ICAN this strategy is powerfully described by the web site www.wildfire-v.org. Its writers have reached certain conclusions including the following;

"Nuclear-weapon states will not engage in negotiations on a comprehensive nuclear disarmament treaty. Not now, not ever.

The so-called step-by-step approach to get rid of nuclear weapons has got nowhere. This will not change.

The civil society effort to abolish nuclear weapons is failing. Without a clear, achievable short-term goal, it cannot unify, focus or exert effective pressure on governments.

All the cards are on the table. The catastrophic consequences of any use of nuclear weapons are understood. The motivations of the nuclear-weapon states are clear. Further research, commissions, studies, analysis, eminent windbags and general whining will add nothing."

"Wildfire" concludes it's time to change the game.

The key to this is separating prohibition from disarmament. First get nuclear weapons banned, then get the nuclear states to conform.

And so there are:

Two steps to a world free of nuclear weapons:

  1. Negotiate, conclude and bring into force a ban.
  2. Negotiate the disarmament and verification process.

Nuclear-weapon states need not be involved in step 1.


Nuclear weasel states (NATO members and other umbrella-dwellers) need not be involved in step 1.


Step 1 could be achieved in as little as two years.

There are 192 states in the United Nations. Only 9 have nuclear weapons, putting the other 183 at risk. The non-nuclear states could sign up to and ratify a simple treaty that bans the acquisition, possession, transfer and use of nuclear weapons without exceptions, loopholes or options to withdraw. All this is entirely in the interests and in conformity with the wishes of the vast majority, if not all, the non-nuclear states and, of course, the citizens of the world. Nuclear weapons states could join thereafter with time-bound disarmament commitments and verification provisions.

This approach removes the power from the nuclear states and puts it in the hands of the very much more numerous non-nuclear states. Thus the non-nuclear states take control, set the agenda and make the law rather than, as now, standing helplessly by waiting for disaster.

Civil society has now a single, specific, visible and achievable goal to organize and campaign towards.  

This is our world. We can stop it being destroyed by power-fixated psychopathic behavior.

Blog, tweet, publish, post, advocate, argue, agitate. Join up, take action and let's get it done.

  1. "The language of business is not the language of the soul or the language of humanity. It's a language of indifference; it's a language of separation, of secrecy, of hierarchy". It "is fashioning a schizophrenia in many of us" – Anita Roddick as quoted in ‘The Corporation"  by Joel Bakan, 2004. Page 56.
  2. ‘One Terrorist, A Million Psychopaths, Eight Million Sociopaths', Rob Kall, OpEdNews.,
This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Jim McCluskey

Author of "The Nuclear Threat"


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Saving Ourselves from the Psychopaths

Thursday, 30 May 2013 11:13 By Jim McCluskey, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

The survival of our culture, and possibly our species, is threatened by global warming, overpopulation and nuclear war. The latter can bring instant annihilation to millions of people. Western governments and the media (corporate owned and collusive) respond to the nuclear threat with silence. Our leaders neutralize the survival instincts of citizens by the age-old device of instilling fear of an evil "other" and by, with their silence, ensuring ignorance of the appalling dangers – if no one is talking about it, it can't be a problem.

Why do our leaders keep silent about the threat of nuclear catastrophe, hanging over us at all times, instead of taking the sane and obvious course – banning nuclear weapons as the other weapons of mass destruction (chemical and biological) have been banned? The answer to this question is becoming more clear by the day.

The leaders of the nuclear states cling compulsively to their nuclear weapons as though their very identity depended on it. And to some extent it does. In contrast to the banning alternative the MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) option of political choice seems irrational and even insane. Yet it is only irrational if the goal of our leaders is the same goal as that of you and me. It would only be irrational if our leaders' primary goal was to keep citizens safe. This is not the case. The primary goal of the nuclear state leaders is to enhance their power and status on the world stage.  Dr. Nick Ritchie of Bradford University's Disarmament Research Centre studied and published a paper on "Trident and British Identity." A key finding was that "Nuclear weapons underpin Britain's core self-identity as a major 'pivotal' power". (In this Statement, for "Britain's" read "Britain's power elites'").

The nuclear leaders' lust for power and influence is the first part of the answer.

The second part relates to the increasingly circulating and convincing view that to get to the top in our fiercely competition-based profits-driven culture a psychopathic personality can be a distinct advantage(1) – this applies to governments as well as corporations and other competitive environments. Psychopaths appear to act rationally, but being severely deficient in empathy and compassion they lack the human attributes which give pause to others.

As Rob Kall of OpEdNews points out, "sociopaths and psychopaths are not severely mentally ill. Generally, they are unable to claim the insanity defense in court because they know what they are doing. They just don't care and don't think laws apply to them." (2) Having witnessed in recent years the appalling death and suffering resulting from the wholly gratuitous and illegal wars embarked upon by the leaders of the UK and the US, with no admission of guilt or regret, can we doubt the influence of psychopathology in the decision making? The same people cling to their nuclear weapons regardless. They are willing to risk nuclear Armageddon in order to enhance their perceived status and sense of self-importance. As Rob Kall writes,"Behind the apparent insanity of contemporary history, is the actual insanity of psychopaths fighting to preserve their disproportionate power."

How can we defend ourselves against these people?

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN – see www.icanw.org) is a global grassroots coalition movement which "brings together humanitarian, environmental, human rights, peace and development organizations, in more than 60 countries, in the drive to rid the world of nuclear weapons." ICAN is working round the world building recognition of the unacceptable humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons. A current primary strategy is to encourage non-nuclear states to sign up to a treaty banning these horrendous, inhumane weapons. Although unconnected to ICAN this strategy is powerfully described by the web site www.wildfire-v.org. Its writers have reached certain conclusions including the following;

"Nuclear-weapon states will not engage in negotiations on a comprehensive nuclear disarmament treaty. Not now, not ever.

The so-called step-by-step approach to get rid of nuclear weapons has got nowhere. This will not change.

The civil society effort to abolish nuclear weapons is failing. Without a clear, achievable short-term goal, it cannot unify, focus or exert effective pressure on governments.

All the cards are on the table. The catastrophic consequences of any use of nuclear weapons are understood. The motivations of the nuclear-weapon states are clear. Further research, commissions, studies, analysis, eminent windbags and general whining will add nothing."

"Wildfire" concludes it's time to change the game.

The key to this is separating prohibition from disarmament. First get nuclear weapons banned, then get the nuclear states to conform.

And so there are:

Two steps to a world free of nuclear weapons:

  1. Negotiate, conclude and bring into force a ban.
  2. Negotiate the disarmament and verification process.

Nuclear-weapon states need not be involved in step 1.


Nuclear weasel states (NATO members and other umbrella-dwellers) need not be involved in step 1.


Step 1 could be achieved in as little as two years.

There are 192 states in the United Nations. Only 9 have nuclear weapons, putting the other 183 at risk. The non-nuclear states could sign up to and ratify a simple treaty that bans the acquisition, possession, transfer and use of nuclear weapons without exceptions, loopholes or options to withdraw. All this is entirely in the interests and in conformity with the wishes of the vast majority, if not all, the non-nuclear states and, of course, the citizens of the world. Nuclear weapons states could join thereafter with time-bound disarmament commitments and verification provisions.

This approach removes the power from the nuclear states and puts it in the hands of the very much more numerous non-nuclear states. Thus the non-nuclear states take control, set the agenda and make the law rather than, as now, standing helplessly by waiting for disaster.

Civil society has now a single, specific, visible and achievable goal to organize and campaign towards.  

This is our world. We can stop it being destroyed by power-fixated psychopathic behavior.

Blog, tweet, publish, post, advocate, argue, agitate. Join up, take action and let's get it done.

  1. "The language of business is not the language of the soul or the language of humanity. It's a language of indifference; it's a language of separation, of secrecy, of hierarchy". It "is fashioning a schizophrenia in many of us" – Anita Roddick as quoted in ‘The Corporation"  by Joel Bakan, 2004. Page 56.
  2. ‘One Terrorist, A Million Psychopaths, Eight Million Sociopaths', Rob Kall, OpEdNews.,
This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Jim McCluskey

Author of "The Nuclear Threat"


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blog comments powered by Disqus