Since the dawn of civilization humankind has struggled with the burden of psychopathic leadership. The history of the social contract is riddled with instances in which psychopathic individuals took power, raped, pillaged, consumed, waged war and destroyed to satisfy what we know is an unquenchable desire in the dark depths of the psychopathic personality.
In my forthcoming book I intend to show how a dramatic increase in psychopathy among leadership in modern society is generating a crisis for our human species and the world generally. The fears expressed by great minds only a few decades ago are actualized through a flood of psychopathic leaders who behave in an entirely selfish and insane manner without regard for history, tradition, the good of humankind or even their own long term well-being.
For this moment, however, I want only to point out that the progress of human civilization has required, since its inception, safeguards against entirely selfish behavior. The first manifestation of this can be described by evolutionary psychology and moral foundations theory, which argues that humans who felt more clearly the importance of loyalty, caring for others rather than harming, fairness, liberty and sanctity had a much stronger chance of living and passing on their genes than those who lacked these moral traits. Morality is first a matter of survival fused into our genes.
When humankind moved beyond tribes and into chiefdoms, the probability for an amoral person to survive increased with the capacity to commit crimes anonymously. As society moved from groups of 40-50 to groups of 1,000-10,000, religion evolved from a relatively amoral superstition to a much more moral edifice, “systematically discouraging antisocial behavior.”
For centuries religion and other structures have kept humankind moored to a moral foundation. In recent years, however, the emergence of a new and twisted philosophy has emerged as a growing force. In this philosophy, selfishness is a virtue and being completely selfish is the highest form of living to which one may aspire.
Ayn Rand, however you feel about her books, is one of the most popular figures of this new disfigured line of thinking. While her two large novels appeal to a very energized portion of the population, what must not be missed is her insane attempt to move past merely condoning selfish behavior to prove, through literary gymnastics and tortured character development, that being selfish is the very best thing which any person may be.
Of course this is anti-human, in a very Nietzschean sense, and while this message of basking in selfishness is a soothing salve for those feeling guilty for their success (often at the expense of others around them), we must not allow for this stylized immoral influenza to spread. The rise in psychopathic leadership, and the psychopath’s insatiable selfishness, presents the greatest danger to our species today. Reinforcing selfishness increases our tolerance of psychopathic leaders; a program we cannot afford in our modern era.