When attempting to analyse what is happening in the world, it is important to appreciate past economic social and political processes that led us to where we are today. Understanding the tectonic plates of history, that led certain countries towards fascism, communism or capitalist liberal democracy, for example, is essential. At the same time, however, it can become easy for us to push aside the individual as we focus on theoretical perspectives that refer to the underlying logic of capitalism, or some other notion that draws heavily on theory. It can get to the point, where individual
motive or intent is airbrushed from the narrative, because human action is deemed to have been shaped by the dead weight of history or forces beyond our control. While not wishing to understate the role that such constraints have on human action, I wish to draw attention to researcher Stefan Verstappen, who provides valuable insight into how individual agency has shaped and continues to shape society. While 'Machianellianism' has long been associated with politics and public conduct, Verstappen shifts focus somewhat, by arguing that people with psychopathic personalities, have for thousands of years, tended to grasp power and impose their views and deeds on the rest of us. In order to get power, he concludes that people cheat, kill or lie their way to the top. Whether it has been due to the butchery or lies of royalty, religious leaders, politicians or corporate oligarchs, nice guys have tended to finish last. What leads him to conclude this? Psychopathy is a personality disorder identified by characteristics such as lack of empathy and remorse, criminality, anti social behavior, egocentricity, superficial charm, manipulativeness, irresponsibility, impulsivity and a parasitic lifestyle. With that definition in mind, look around: the criminal, parasitic activities by bankers that have plunged millions into poverty, the destruction, war and death brought to countries in order that corporations profit by stealing resources, the dropping of atom bombs on innocent civilians in 1945, or the use of depleted uranium which again impacts innocent civilians, and the many other acts, from the use of death squads to false flag terror, that have brought untold misery to countless others, just because power-holders wanted to hold onto power or to gain more power, or the wealthy wanted to hold onto their wealth or gain even more. Based on these terrible deeds, it becomes easy to argue that the people ultimately responsible for them do not adhere to the same values as ordinary people. It may be even easier to conclude that its not the cream that rises to the top, but, in many cases, the scum!