The Genetics Of Tyranny: Psychopathology, Parasitism, and Totalitarianism

© By Richard William Posner

Richard William Posner

Activist Post 

Whilst doing research online I sometimes come across some really fascinating, albeit unrelated, information. One small joy of life in a world that becomes grimmer each day. 
 
While scrolling down any given web page, reading an article for information pertinent to the current research, I may notice a heading or a phrase with a link to another page, which I find intriguing even though it’s not specifically relevant. Often it’s just a waste of time, sometimes it’s so enticing that I abandon what I’m doing and become engrossed in the new find.
 
Just Lucky I Guess
In some of my writing and in comments I have made on the writing of others, I have alluded to my opinion that the psychopathic condition of people who seek dominance over all others is the result of a genetic aberration. It now seems my conjecture may not have been without merit.
 
In one such comment I stated my supposition that inimical traits — predatory, tyrannical, ruthless, pitiless — found in virtually all members of the ruling, upper, or elite class are not dominant among humans in general and only manifest in a small portion of the population. I also expressed my view that it is our intrinsically cooperative nature and our innate desire to be helpful that makes such a large segment of the human race susceptible to victimization by a small minority of individuals who are afflicted with what I consider to be a genetic flaw.
 
My comment: 

For my part, I will say this; I do not accept that human morality, for the vast majority, is based on hate, envy, greed or self-interest. In fact, quite to the contrary, the basic benevolence and cooperative nature of most people is what has allowed a very small, depraved and abhorrent group to prey upon the majority of the species for millennia.

I like to think that this negative trait will eventually be eliminated by evolution, provided our species can survive long enough. That small group of deviant individuals is like a parasite within the body of humanity. They have managed to pass along whatever genetic flaw they possess through the ages. They can only survive if there is a significantly larger population of healthy, sane and basically good people to maintain them.

I recently found some credible data that offers agreement with and support for this opinion.

Totalitarianism And The Parasitic Psychopath


The Psychopathic Survival Strategy

 “You see, evolutionarily speaking, psychopaths should not exist. Throughout history it can be seen that human beings have needed to co-operate and care about one another in order to survive and produce a new generation that will carry on the processes of society. Most human dynamics are based on people trying to work out their problems and come to resolutions agreeable to the greatest number or, at the very least, in the interactions between two people. The issue of trust is paramount. Someone who betrays your trust is someone you cannot live or work with. Therefore, psychopaths, who are untrustworthy, should have long ago become extinct. But that isn’t the way things are. It appears, in fact, as if psychopathy has increased!” Source

So how is it that a few parasitic, psychopathic individuals, incapable of providing for their own needs, can yet manage to carry along a recessive gene for so many generations? As I postulated in my comment above, this small minority requires a large, “normal” population to support their existence.

Evolutionary psychologists regard psychopathy as an inherited personality style that has evolved because glib, deceitful individuals—as a minority within a larger population of trusting folk—often reproduce with much success.” Source

From the same source:

Other investigators, such as neuroscientist R.J.R. Blair of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in Bethesda, Md., regard psychopathy as the result of a still-unspecified genetic disorder. The inherited defect interferes with the workings of the brain’s emotion system, which is centered in the amygdala, a structure especially concerned with perceiving dangerous situations.

Personally, I see no conflict between these to two conclusions. They seem, to me at least, mutually inclusive. The second gives us the source of the defect while the first explains how those thus inflicted have managed to pass it on through the centuries.
 
Perpetual Parasitism
 
There are other examples in nature of parasites with evolved dependency upon a specific host species. If the host species becomes extinct, so does the parasite. It is unable to survive with any other host. 

Some species of parasites are termed species specific. This means that they can complete their life cycle in only one species of host. Should they enter the wrong species they are unable to complete their life cycle and die, all generally without the host requiring treatment. Source