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The Secret History of The World by Laura Knight-Jadczyk

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Adventures with Cassiopaea








Adventures With Cassiopaea

Chapter 36


I ought to say at this point that the idea that the Psychopath will always "win" by playing his or her dominant strategy holds true only under certain circumstances. As the reader might guess, a person who has no fear of consequences because they cannot imagine them, or even if they do have the intellect to do so, has no emotion associated with those consequences which would tend to enforce them as behavioral choices, is the ideal vehicle for the violation of the Free Will and rights of others.

The [psychopath] is unfamiliar with the primary facts or data of what might be called personal values and is altogether incapable of understanding such matters. It is impossible for him to take even a slight interest in the tragedy or joy or the striving of humanity as presented in serious literature or art. He is also indifferent to all these matters in life itself. Beauty and ugliness, except in a very superficial sense, goodness, evil, love, horror, and humour have no actual meaning, no power to move him. He is, furthermore, lacking in the ability to see that others are moved. It is as though he were colour-blind, despite his sharp intelligence, to this aspect of human existence. It cannot be explained to him because there is nothing in his orbit of awareness that can bridge the gap with comparison. He can repeat the words and say glibly that he understands, and there is no way for him to realize that he does not understand. [Cleckley, H.M. (1941). The mask of sanity: An attempt to reinterpret the so-called psychopathic personality. St. Louis: The C. V. Mosby Company]

It also means that such a person is free to choose to do things that are potentially self-destructive without giving a single indication to another "player" that his or her choice is based entirely on a delusion. Very often, they "win" because of the sheer boldness of their actions which is unrestricted by conscience which is a construct of emotions. But, interestingly, this also has the potential to leave the psychopath open to total destruction.

It's like a poker player who has absolutely nothing in his hand, but because he is so intent on winning, and is so unmoved by the possibility of losing because lying produces absolutely no internal, emotional reaction of fear of being discovered or the potential shame or disaster inherent in such an event, is able to bluff so convincingly that the other players - any of whom might have a winning hand, fold and walk away because they are convinced by the psychopath's confidence that he must have the winning hand of all time. Only he doesn't. And this means that the psychopath's strength is also his Achilles heel. Once he has been spotted, identified, understood, he no longer has the power to bluff. Once knowledge enters the game, the psychopath is exposed, and has no more ability to "con" the other players. The sad part is: he also has no ability to learn from this experience anything other than how to make his bluff better and more convincing next time. The psychopath never gets mad because he is caught in a lie; he is only concerned with "damage control" in terms of his ability to continue to con others.

Such was the case with Ira Einhorn when he boldly and arrogantly decided to keep Holly's body in the trunk in his closet. It wasn't an act of stupidity; it was the act of a psychopath. And the plain fact of the matter is, if Holly's family hadn't had enough money to pay a private investigator to keep digging, Ira would have gotten away with it forever.

And so it is in our world: economics very often provides major payoffs to psychopaths and penalizes those who are not.

Of course, the reader will also easily be able to see how and why "dumbing down" a society is useful to psychopathic manipulation of same. A population that does not have knowledge, or the inclination to obtain knowledge (or even the awareness that they can), is much more easily bluffed by the "losing hand" of its leaders. But, there is something far more insidious at play here: Game Theory and Law and economics. The earliest applications of economic reasoning about legal structures were done with an eye toward how legal rules affect societal behavior. The simplest of strategic problems will serve here to highlight the current situation.

When two individuals interact with each other, each must decide what to do without knowledge of what the other is doing. Imagine that the two players are the government and the public. In the following model, each of the players faces only a binary choice: to behave ethically either in making laws or in obeying them.

The assumption is that both players are informed about everything except the level of ethical behavior of the other. They know what it means to act ethically, and they know the consequences of being exposed as unethical.

There are three elements to the game. 1) The players, 2) the strategies available to either of them, and 3) the payoff each player receives for each possible combination of strategies.

In a legal regime, one party is obliged to compensate the other for damages under certain conditions but not under others. We are going to imagine a regime wherein the government is never liable for losses suffered by the public because of its unethical behavior - instead, the public has to pay for the damages inflicted by the government due to unethical behavior.

The way the payoffs are represented is generally in terms of money. That is, how much investment does each player have to make in ethical behavior and how much payoff does each player receive for his investment.

In this model, behaving ethically, according to standards of social values that are considered the "norm," costs each player $10.00. When law detrimental to the public is passed, it costs the public $100.00. We take it as a given that such laws will be passed unless both players behave ethically.

Next, we assume that the likelihood of a detrimental law being passed in the event that both the public and the government are behaving ethically is a one-in-ten chance.

In a legal regime in which the government is never held responsible for its unethical behavior, and if neither the government nor the public behave ethically, the government enjoys a payoff of $0. and the public is out $100 when a law detrimental to the public is passed.

If both "invest" in ethical behavior, the government has a payoff of minus $10. (the cost of behaving ethically) and the public is out minus $20. which is the $10. invested in being ethical PLUS the $10. of the one-in-ten chance of a $100. loss incurred if a detrimental law is passed.

If the government behaves ethically and the public does not, resulting in the passing of a law detrimental to the populace, the government is out the $10. invested in being ethical and the public is out $100.

If the government does not behave ethically, and the public does, the government has a payoff of $0. and the public is out $110 which is the "cost of being ethical" added to the losses suffered when the government passes detrimental laws. Modeled in a Game Theory Bi-matrix, it looks like this, with the two numbers representing the "payoff" to the people - the left number in each pair - and government - the right number in each pair.

No Ethics Ethical
No Ethics -100, 0 -100, -10
Ethical -110, 0 -20, -10

In short, in this game, the government always does better by not being ethical and we can predict the government's choice of strategy because there is a single strategy - no ethics - that is better for the government no matter what choice the public makes. This is a "strictly dominant strategy," or a strategy that is the best choice for the player no matter what choices are made by the other player.

What is even worse is the fact that the public is PENALIZED for behaving ethically. Since we know that the government, in the above regime, will never behave ethically because it is the dominant strategy, we find that ethical behavior on the part of the public actually costs MORE than unethical behavior.

In short, the public is being manipulated to make choices that are unethical.

The public, as you see, cannot even minimize their losses by behaving ethically. It costs them $110. to be ethical, and only $100. to not be ethical.

Now, just substitute "psychopath" in the place of the government and non-psychopath in the place of the public, and you begin to understand why the psychopath will always be a psychopath. If the "payoff" is emotional pain of being hurt, or shame for being exposed, in the world of the psychopath, that consequence simply does not exist just as in the legal regime created above, the government is never responsible for unethical behavior. The psychopath lives in a world in which it is like a government that is never held responsible for behavior that is detrimental to others. It's that simple. And the form game above will tell you why psychopaths in the population, as well as in government, are able to induce the public to accept laws that are detrimental. It simply isn't worth it to be ethical. If you go along with the psychopath, you lose. If you resist the psychopath, you lose even more.

Erosion of ethics and responsibility are the objective. Economics is the weapon.

I think the essence of being an economist […] has to do with learning to turn off all your emotions and say, 'Let's think abstractly about adoption or crime.' We have a name for people who are innately really good at this. They're psychopaths, people who are incapable of feeling guilt, or remorse, or any emotional reaction. So there's a good reason, I guess, why one looks with a degree of nervousness at people who are really good at this activity [economics]. [Paul Romer, Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1983]


Continue to page 309

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