Guest Post: Centralization And Sociopathology

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

Concentrated power and wealth are intrinsically sociopathological by their very nature.

I have long spoken of the dangers inherent to centralization of power and the extreme concentrations of wealth centralization inevitably creates.
Longtime contributor C.D. recently highlighted another danger of centralization: sociopaths/psychopaths excel in organizations that centralize power, and their ability to flatter, browbeat and manipulate others greases their climb to the top.
In effect, centralization is tailor-made for sociopaths gaining power. Sociopaths seek power over others, and centralization gives them the perfect avenue to control over millions or even entire nations.
Even worse (from the view of non-sociopaths), their perverse abilities are tailor-made for excelling in office and national politics via ruthless elimination of rivals and enemies and grandiose appeals to national greatness, ideological purity, etc.
As C.D. points out, the ultimate protection against sociopathology is to minimize the power held in any one agency, organization or institution:

After you watch these films on psychopaths, I think you'll have an even greater understanding of why your premise of centralization is a key problem of our society. The first film points out that psychopaths generally thrive in the corporate/government top-down organization (I have seen it happen in my agency, unfortunately) and that when they come to power, their values (or lack thereof) tend to pervade the organization to varying degrees. In some cases, they end up creating secondary psychopaths which is kind of like a spiritual/moral disease that infects people. 

If we are to believe the premise in the film that there are always psychopaths among us in small numbers, it follows then that we must limit the power of any one institution, whether it's private or public, so that the damage created by psychopaths is limited. 

It is very difficult for many people to fathom that there are people in our society that are that evil, for lack of a better term, and it is even harder for many people in society to accept that people in the higher strata of our society can exhibit these dangerous traits. 

The same goes for criminal behavior. From my studies, it's pretty clear that criminality is fairly constant throughout the different levels of our society and yet, it is the lower classes that are subjected to more scrutiny by law enforcement. The disparity between blue collar and white collar crime is pretty evident when one looks at arrests and sentencing. The total lack of effective enforcement against politically connected banks over the last few years is astounding to me and it sets a dangerous precedent. Corruption and psychopathy go hand in hand. 

A less dark reason for avoiding over centralization is that we have to be aware of normal human fallibility. Nobody possesses enough information, experience, ability, lack of bias, etc. to always make the right decisions.

Defense Against the Psychopath (video, 37 minutes; the many photos of political, religious and secular leaders will likely offend many/most; if you look past these outrages, there is useful information here)
The Sociopath Next Door (video, 37 minutes)
As C.D. observes, once sociopaths rule an organization or nation, they create a zombie army of secondary sociopaths beneath them as those who resist are undermined, banished, fired or exterminated. If there is any lesson to be drawn from Iraq, it is how a single sociopath can completely undermine and destroy civil society by empowering secondary sociopaths and eliminating or marginalizing anyone who dares to cling to their humanity, conscience and independence.
"Going along to get along" breeds passive acceptance of sociopathology as "the new normal" and mimicry of the values and techniques of sociopathology as the ambitious and fearful (i.e. almost everyone) scramble to emulate the "successful" leadership.
Organizations can be perverted into institutionalizing sociopathology via sociopathological goals and rules of conduct. Make the metric of success in war a body count of dead "enemy combatants" and you'll soon have dead civilians stacked like cordwood as proof of every units' outstanding success.
Make lowering unemployment the acme of policy success and soon every agency will be gaming and manipulating data to reach that metric of success. Make higher grades the metric of academic success and soon every kid is getting a gold star and an A or B.
Centralization has another dark side: those ensconced in highly concentrated centers of power (for example, The White House) are in another world, and they find it increasingly easy to become isolated from the larger context and to slip into reliance on sycophants, toadies (i.e. budding secondary sociopaths) and "experts" (i.e. apparatchiks and factotums) who are equally influenced by the intense "high" of concentrated power/wealth.
Increasingly out of touch with those outside the circle of power, those within the circle slide into a belief in the superiority of their knowledge, skills and awareness--the very definition of sociopathology.
Even worse (if that is possible), the incestuous nature of the tight circle of power breeds a uniformity of opinion and ideology that creates a feedback loop that marginalizes dissenters and those with open minds. Dissenters are soon dismissed--"not a team player"-- or trotted out for PR purposes, i.e. as evidence the administration maintains ties to the outside world.
Those few dissenters who resist the siren song of power soon face a choice: either quietly quit "to pursue other opportunities" (the easy way out) or quit in a blast of public refutation of the administration's policies.
Public dissenters are quickly crucified by those in power, and knowing this fate awaits any dissenter places a powerful disincentive on "going public" about the sociopathology of the inner circle of power.
On rare occasions, an insider has the courage and talent to secure documentation that details the sociopathology of a policy, agency or administration (for example, Daniel Ellsberg and The Pentagon Papers).
Nothing infuriates a sociopath or a sociopathological organization more than the exposure of their sociopathology, and so those in power will stop at nothing to silence, discredit, criminalize or eliminate the heroic whistleblower.
In these ways, centralized power is itself is a sociopathologizing force. We cannot understand the present devolution of our civil society, economy and ethics unless we understand that concentrated power and wealth are intrinsically sociopathological by their very nature.
The solution: a culture of decentralization, transparency and open competition, what I call the DATA model (Decentralized, Adaptive, Transparent and Accountable) in my book Why Things Are Falling Apart and What We Can Do About It.

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Ruffcut's picture

They like weaving their spider webs, like the greedy little spiders they are. No morals, all about money, power and more money, hoes and blow.

Thedy justify that they are extra special and beyond reproach. I guess my turds are special like that. I will never look at the toilet the same, again.

NotApplicable's picture

Gee, this is exactly what I was talking about in the Apple witch-hunt thread.

Nothing positive can EVER come from forced centralization. Only in a voluntary world does collaboration yield positive results, as the unimpeded judgement (and freedom to act upon it) of the individual is the only thing that empowers the "ever vigilance" required for a harmonious society.

You want leaders? Fine, follow anyone you wish, knowing you can remove your support at any time they fail to share your beliefs. Just don't claim they have any legitimate claim to power over me.

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

I remember taking an Organizational Behavior class a couple years ago (yes, I was forced) and we talked about Centralization vs Decentralization (briefly!)

We talked about, I shit you not, the positives and negatives of decentralization, and the positives of centralization.

Seriously!  There was NO discussion of the negatives of centralization!  Of course I brought it up, that all the positives of decentralization were unmentioned weaknesses of centralizing...

As for psycho/sociopaths, one has never been cured.  In history.  Ever.  They have to be outed, one by one.  But it should be for the psychopathic actions, because otherwise the psychos will label THEIR ENEMIES as  'the real psychopaths'.

For some reason our society just does not tolerate the use of the word 'evil'.  The media and Hollywood really don't address the problem of psychopathy ever.  Its time to realize that the most well-adjusted psycho/sociopaths are the biggest threat to humanity.

James_Cole's picture

Centralization of anything is against basic laws of nature, which is why it will always fail. Whether it's computer chips, capital flows or a farm - distributed systems / biodiversity always has better chance of survival. The more hegemonic the system the more prone to shocks and failure. 

The elephant in the room of this discussion being capitalism leading to concentration of power systems....

1C3-N1N3's picture


capitalism leading to concentration of power systems

It is the masses' predisposition toward submission that leads to concentration of power systems. The economic system in place is entirely irrelevant in this context. Whether the masses operate under capitalism, socialism, or mixed economies, they will remain subjects in any case, as it is their preference to be subjects.

A mixed economy with this population will lead to concentration of power. Capitalism with this population will lead to concentration of power. Socialism with this population will lead to concentration of power. I can go on all day. This population is incapable at the moment of protesting against concentration of power, because concentration of power is what they want.

MachoMan's picture

I disagree.  I believe that humans are inherently lazy and apathetic.  Simply put, we cannot live on the razor's edge all the time in a life of political and economic turmoil.  We make a bed in denial and then, eventually, collectively wake up enough to do a few chores, cut out beard, and drink some booze before passing out again for a long nap.  We don't have a pre-disposition to submission...  it inherently makes virtually everyone feel bad.  Instead, we have a pre-disposition to apathy and putting off til tomorrow whatever we can in an effort to maximize our present self interest...  the fact that someone else will take over and half-ass do the "leading" is enough for us to submit and maximize our time with other, more important (micro) pursuits, e.g. family, friends, NBA PLAYOFFS! 

However, this seeming apathy is only temporary...  the fact that people don't like taxes, don't like stop and frisk, don't like having to live in fear of everything, don't like the way the pills make them feel about themselves when not on them...  all of these build resentment in the population...  eventually this resentment turns to contempt...  and at such time, the appearance of "willful submission" takes a sour turn...  happens over and over and over again throughout history...  the only question is the general tolerance level of the population...  and I'll put americans' tolerance at...  a really high level at the present, but ever decreasing proportionately with the deterioration in the real economy.

1C3-N1N3's picture

Humans aren't inherently apathetic. We'd have been dead and gone in the wild ages ago if apathy were a natural human trait. Apathy came about, particularly in the USA, through conditioning and a general absence of grueling stress over the duration of our lifetimes. Yankees (and I am one) have had it easier than anyone else. And so a lot of people here become complacent which opens the door for apathy. That'll be over soon.

You say that once the people do start caring, they will lose their tolerance and their submissiveness. I agree that the apathy will be gone, but not the submission. I say they will ultimately capitulate and beg for aid from their masters because that is their programming now. And that is their programming now because TPTB are also aware of history. They wrote it.

The answer ultimately lies in whether the population as a whole chooses to act out of fear, or out of love. And this is an easily-spooked bunch.

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

I sometimes wish I could grab and shake 90% of the population and yell:


"The gov't and the media are lying to you!"

"The gov't is NOT looking out for you!"

1C3-N1N3's picture

+1, I know what you mean.

That don't work, though.

Anytime I preach to the masses, they see it as my conclusions, not theirs. It is very easy for them to reject my conclusions, because my conclusions aren't theirs. They cannot take ownership of my conclusions, only theirs.

What I can do is get some conversational buy-in. Be likeable and trustworthy. I can give them snippets of information, but never the big picture (that shit drives them away). I can even help recreate the circumstances under which I "woke up". But the conclusions must become theirs, and not mine.

Ultimately, those who vigilantly adhere to value systems that differ greatly from yours or mine are beyond our reach.

MachoMan's picture

Denial...  another natural state of man.

No one is out of reach...  it's simply an issue of incentive.  They'll listen to you once they're incentivized to listen to you.  In the largest part and for a very long time, they are completely correct to think that if they keep believing in the status quo, that it will continue to exist.  In the end, it will be they who change their own perceptions.  At the very best, you're just going to do some minor guidance.

When you attempt to change someone's perception, about anything, it typically says more about you than them...

Kobe Beef's picture

+1. Likable, trustworthy, and provide snippets.

A useful technique I've employed is to simply ask questions. Fundamental questions, like "What is money?" or, "Who put Lenin on the sealed train?" "What is the difference between x and y?" Appeal to empirical evidence.

The intellectually curious will then investigate on their own. Knowledge they can gain themselves is prized more highly than whatever truths you can provide them with. As it should be.

Unfortunately, nothing can be done for those who aren't curious. They don't know, don't want to know, and don't care that they don't know.

jimmytorpedo's picture

May I recommend everybody watch this?

I send it to everybody I know.

It clears a lot of this up if you can convince people to spend the time watching it instead of dancing with the bozo's.

Well worth it.

Please share it with your less brain dead associates and friends.

MachoMan's picture

Apathy and laziness are our default states...  it's just that sometimes our environment demands otherwise.  I agree that we desire to survive...  but we also desire to rent seek and coast.  We are risk averse in our efforts to survive.  Once our environmental constraints are met, then our natural state is revealed.  (let's face it, killing wild game and farming...  fending off raiders...  avoiding natural disasters...  is hard work!).  This is not something that is "taught" through "conditioning"...  In short, I agree that we strive to survive, but with some incredibly large caveats...  e.g. that if we can survive without doing anything or risking anything, that we'll sure as hell do it.  If we're not inherently lazy, then we sure strive to be.  Mentally, we're simply not equipped to deal with constant strife.

The first portion of the "change" will be for folks to beg for more handouts...  see greece...  however, eventually the free shit army runs out of other peoples' money.  I'm not sure this is inherently submissive...  Rather, I'll posit that it's a bargain.  We choose to trade our independence and vigilence for creature comforts...  safety...  rent seeking/laziness...  the ability to be politically and economically apathetic (it's impossible for us to give up all interests...  unless we start pill popping).  Submissiveness isn't inherently in us, but bargaining is.  Where people start getting mad is when the bargain they made turns out to be a terrible one...  one that was destined to fail (credit bubble/currency collapse).

As far as induction is concerned, the odds say you are correct...  however, there is that chance, every once and a while, that the outcome is different...  deductively, I'm not sure we can accurately forecast what will happen this time...


They trynna catch me ridin dirty's picture

Humanity itself is hardwired to decentralize. Just look at the history of the Christian church: we started out with one and now there are basically a million variations (Catholic, Protestant, Baptist, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Unitarian, nondenominational, etc. etc.). And forget race or ethnicity, just look at families; how common is it for siblings, cousins, etc. to cut each other off after some petty disagreement. It's HUMAN NATURE.

That's what the sick deluded leftists just can't understand. Like I posted before, the useful idiots that comprise the left and their sick sociopath masters have made a utopian bed for us, and they're going to make us fit in it even if they have to saw off our limbs to accomplish it.

malusDiaz's picture

Valar Morgulis:  "All Men Die" ~ On a long enough time frame.

css1971's picture

You don't get cured of a personality disorder, it is who you are.

Anusocracy's picture

Lifelong Asperger's and glad of it.

Ctrl_P's picture

I call bullshit.

Personality is who you are. A disorder is increased rigidity in your adaptation to your social environment. Much like central planning is increasing rigidity in economic activity. You can learn both rigidity and flexibility. Both are habits in brain function. Both are reflected in behaviour, both are reflected in communities and populations and both are measures of the health of society.

Social function, trade, marriage, family and dare I say it, political activity are adaptations that are learned and relearned through every social progression but only when they have to be. The question I ask, is which time of the season are we in now?



Race Car Driver's picture

Two words: Traitor & Treason


Neither existed anywhere on this page until I typed and posted them. Neither are used anywhere near enough for our current times, situations and events.

Colonel Klink's picture

While those may be nice buzz words they're much harder to prove than the standard "high crimes and misdemeanors" which is what most of these politicians should be charged with.

Henry Hub's picture

"Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason? Why if it prosper, none dare call it treason." - John Harrington

Obviously treason does prosper greatly in this country. That is why there is very little talk of it.

prains's picture

Why not just call this article;


Dick Cheney_How to....My Life in Gov't

NoDebt's picture

Watch the hearings.  We're already there.

Ruffcut's picture

I'll watch it, just let me know when a huge tornado blows thru it, first.

sgt_doom's picture


Who owns GE, AT&T, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citigroup?


Historically, one-half of BP was owned by the British gov't (meaning the Bank of England, or its owners, the City of London Corporation), the other half owned by the Rockefeller, Mellon and Rothschild families.

Bet its ownership is still the same?

Rio Tinto is Rothschild, while historically JPMorgan Chase is a Rockefeller-Morgan concern, and AT&T, originally majority owned by Morgan (and minority ownership to Vanderbilt, which family essentially married into the Morgan family) was later transferred to the Rockefeller family (believe due to Morgan needing further funds for his purchase of Carnegie's steel company).

samsara's picture


Neat fact.

Did you know that the president of CBS and the president of ABCboth have brothers that are top officials in the Obama administration?

Who Owns them?


Time Warner CNN
Home Box Office (HBO)
Time Inc.
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
CW Network (partial ownership)
New Line Cinema
Time Warner Cable
Cartoon Network
America Online
Castle Rock
Sports Illustrated
Marie Claire
DC Comics
People Magazine                                                                                  Walt Disney ABC Television Network
Disney Publishing
Disney Channel
The History Channel
Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Buena Vista Theatrical Productions
Buena Vista Records
Disney Records
Hollywood Records
Miramax Films
Touchstone Pictures
Walt Disney Pictures
Pixar Animation Studios
277 Radio Stations
Buena Vista Games
Hyperion Books                                                                           Viacom Paramount Pictures
Paramount Home Entertainment
Black Entertainment Television (BET)
Comedy Central
Country Music Television (CMT)
MTV Canada
Nick Magazine
Nick at Nite
Nick Jr.
Spike TV
The Movie Channel
TV Land
VH1                                                               News Corporation Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Fox Television Stations
The New York Post
TV Guide
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Fox Business Network
Fox Kids Europe
Fox News Channel
Fox Sports Net
Fox Television Network
My Network TV
News Limited News
Phoenix InfoNews Channel
Phoenix Movies Channel
Sky PerfecTV
Speed Channel
STAR TV Taiwan
STAR World
Times Higher Education Supplement Magazine
Times Literary Supplement Magazine
Times of London
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
20th Century Fox International
20th Century Fox Studios
20th Century Fox Television
The Wall Street Journal
Fox Broadcasting Company
Fox Interactive Media
HarperCollins Publishers
The National Geographic Channel
National Rugby League
News Interactive
News Outdoor
Radio Veronica
Sky Italia
Sky Radio Denmark
Sky Radio Germany
Sky Radio Netherlands
Zondervan                                                 CBS Corporation CBS News
CBS Sports
CBS Television Network
CBS Radio Inc. (130 stations)
CBS Consumer Products
CBS Outdoor
CW Network (50% ownership)
Infinity Broadcasting
Simon & Schuster (Pocket Books, Scribner)
Westwood One Radio Network                                                        Comcast NBC
NBC News
NBC Sports
NBC Television Network
SciFi Magazine
Syfy (Sci Fi Channel)
USA Network
Weather Channel
Focus Features
NBC Universal Television Distribution
NBC Universal Television Studio
Paxson Communications (partial ownership)
Universal Parks & Resorts
Universal Pictures
Universal Studio Home Video                                                            
smacker's picture

And America's media is not alone in having close relations with its political & corporate Establishments:

In April, I was at a private party in Brazil and a TV Globo news editor executive was present (TV Globo is about the 3rd largest TV network in the world). During a conversaton I had with him, I asked what sort of relationship TV Globo had with the government of President Dilma Rousseff. To which he replied "good, very good". He obviously didn't realise that I was probing..... And that I knew Rousseff has a long relationship with Communism.

And TV Globo coverage of events in Boston were extensive but almost entirely based upon US official reports. No questions were asked about strange official anomalies.

Back in Britain, the news editor at Sky News gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry. He made the statement that "our job is to report the news, not to make it". This is why Sky now follows the BBC in reporting official news without asking questions. If they deviate from this model, they won't get any exclusive interviews with top dogs etc or maybe their journos would have their Press ID Cards pulled from official news conferences etc.


They trynna catch me ridin dirty's picture

Sorry, but the world isn't ruled by a bunch of mothballed old WASP families.

EDIT: Junk me all you want. All I know is that I'm free to stand on any street corner and shout to the hills that evil WASPs rule the world. That right there proves that they don't.

TrustWho's picture

Damn, the founding fathers were some smart SOBs. They used so few words to describe a system that addressed the human condition; whereas today we just blah, blah, blah......

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

In my US history class in college we were required to read many founding fathers writing in original text ( very difficult, one sentence was often a paragraph). I was simply amazed the depth they had understanding human nature and formulating the country based on their visions,they were truly awake. I'm not sure how many people today could even understand what they were saying. Probably couldn't pry them away from their iPhones. Kids today have the attention span of a gnat.


duo's picture

and most of them were in their 30s and 40s.

NidStyles's picture

To be fair, they actually studied history. No one here really studies history anymore, just that historiography garbage.

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

"you do not study the events of the past directly, but the changing interpretations of those events in the works of individual historian"

God help us!  The works of individual historians?  More important than the events of the past themselves???

"Who controls the past now, controls the future.  Who controls the present now, controls the past. Who controls the past now..."

sgt_doom's picture

Plus, the Founding Fathers, as demonstrated by the Declaration of Independence (which few Ameritards have ever bothered to peruse) were definitely believers in criminal and governmental conspiracy, and would have vigorously attacked all those conspiracy deniers today!

AnAnonymous's picture

When it comes to pointing fingers at others, 'americans' have no match.

Pointing fingers at themselves,umm, umm...

Funny how the declaration of independence pointed the King as the source of problems..

Try doing the same today when 'americanism' is the source of so many more problems...

'American' once...

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

AnAnonymous, displaying his eternal nature of hypocricy:

When it comes to pointing fingers at others, 'americans' have no match.

Funny how this is said by the guy perpetually pointing his stinky dung hand fingers at the occupants of his hallucinated reality that he calls 'americans'.

Waooo, people love to cling to their myth.

Jekyll_n_Hyde_Island's picture

I find this post deluded and inaccurate.  While I don't disagree with the author, (I fight for the diminishment of the large, centralized government and believe in the locality and participation of intimate, regional communities to establish civic leadership) I think it is poorly written.  I think the author has just enough education to make him dangerous to other people who have just enough education, which represents 65% of the idiots on this sight who mistake it for a goldbug haven.

  "The first man who, having fenced in a piece of land, said "This is mine," and found people naïve enough to believe him, that man was the true founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars, and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows: Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody."  — Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on Inequality, 1754

 Put that in your pipe and smoke it, two minds.

TrustWho's picture

Island Man

Common property law communities also has crimes, wars and murders. Human nature produces crimes, wars and murders.

I also thought 2 minds' article was poorly written.

Jekyll_n_Hyde_Island's picture

Right. I'm not into the common property law hippy commune malarky either.  Rosseau was quoted to expose 2mind's end game, which oftentimes isn't considered when ejaculating such armchair pundit political diatribes


  My point [albeit very crypic (no longer)] is that sociopathy is indigenious to human genetic code as result of warfare to perpetuate the survival of a tribe or culture; not related to the centralization of power in government.

  History simply does not support 2mind's assertions.  The Ceasars, Saladin, Alexander, Constantine, Genghis Khan -- these men were not sociopaths, on the contrary central authority was crucial to the expansions of their kingdoms, as well as effective justice within the regions they conquered to prevent imperialistic unrest.

Smegley Wanxalot's picture

that pic looks like Odo from Deep Space 9.

PiltdownMan's picture

I love Charles Smith's musings!

CH1's picture

Excellent piece.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

"Nothing infuriates a sociopath or a sociopathological organization more than the exposure of their sociopathology, and so those in power will stop at nothing to silence, discredit, criminalize or eliminate the heroic whistleblower."

'We the People's' Achilles Heel is that we truly don't understand what "stop at nothing" means. Since we would stop long before the sociopath we simply fail to imagine what the sociopath is capable of. Combine that with our tendency to identify with "our" leaders and we have a budding tyrannical slave state on our hands.

chunga's picture

You're a stud C.D.

One of quite a few ZH contributors I'd love to have a beer with.

Same goes for a lot of great commenters.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

"One of quite a few ZH contributors I'd love to have a beer with."

You would be severely disappointed. I have out-of-control ear and nose hair and my beer farts are registered as deadly weapons. :)

chunga's picture

Me too. It's all part of being a mammal.

Since we never came up with a ZH gang symbol (paging Banzai) I'll wear my tattered ZH cap and Banzai 99% pin to show my colors if we ever meet on the other side of SHTF.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Very occasionally Mrs. Cog and I see a Zero Hedge hat floating above the crowd, but we have yet to meet a fellow ZH'er in the flesh.

<I suspect they will have a separate dorm for us at the FEMA camp, though Mrs. Cog is of the opinion that they will keep us all separated to prevent us from igniting a revolution.>