Kings, Conquerors, Psychopaths from Alexander to Hitler to the Corporation

Right wing populists increasingly draw attention around the globe, but the attention is misdirected. The real problem is not the authoritarian, but the authoritarian personalities who follow him. If people do not blindly follow and obey the despot, he is irrelevant.

Why do we attach ourselves to demagogues and mountebanks? Why do we defend even their most obvious hypocrisies and lies?

The answer is found in the history of civilization. For the past 10,000 years, those who disagreed with the king or his nobles risked ruin and death.

But that is only part of the answer. The other part is that, despite our romantic traditions, kings and conquerors were vicious criminals. They represent the most evil psychopaths, narcissists, and sadists in the history of humanity.

As author Jon Ronson has suggested: “I’ve always believed society to be a fundamentally rational thing, but what if it wasn’t? . . . What if it was built on insanity?”

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