Extracts from the book: Political Ponerology: A Science on The Nature of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes by Andrew M. Lobaczewski, Ph.D.
It is a common phenomenon for a ponerogenic association or group to contain a particular ideology which always justifies its activities and furnishes certain propaganda motives. Even a small-time gang of hoodlums has its own melodramatic ideology and pathological romanticism. Human nature demands that vile matters be haloed by an over-compensatory mystique in order to silence one’s conscience and to deceive consciousness and critical faculties, whether one’s own or those of others.
If such an ponerogenic union could be stripped of its ideology, nothing would remain except psychological and moral pathology, naked and unattractive. Such stripping would of course provoke “moral outrage”, and not only among the members of the union; even normal people, who condemn this kind of union along with its ideologies, would feel hurt, deprived of something constituting part of their own romanticism, their way of perceiving reality. Perhaps even some of the readers of this book will resent the author’s stripping evil so unceremoniously of all its literary motifs. The job of effecting such a “strip-tease” may thus turn out to be much more difficult and dangerous than expected.
A primary ponerogenic union is formed at the same time as its ideology, perhaps even somewhat earlier. A normal person perceives such ideology to be different from the world of human concepts, obviously suggestive, and even primitively comical to a degree.
An ideology of a secondarily ponerogenic association is formed by gradual adaptation of the primary ideology to functions and goals other than the original formative ones. A certain kind of layering or schizophrenia of ideology takes place during the ponerization process. The outer layer closest to the original content is used for the group’s propaganda purposes, especially regarding the outside world, although it can in part also be used inside with regard to disbelieving lower-echelon members. The second layer presents the elite with no problems of comprehension: it is more hermetic, generally composed by slipping a different meaning into the same names. Since identical names signify different contents depending on the layer in question, understanding this “doubletalk” requires simultaneous fluency in both languages.
Average people succumb to the first layer’s suggestive insinuations for a long time before they learn to understand the second one as well. Anyone with certain psychological deviations, especially if he is wearing the mask of normality with which we are already familiar, immediately perceives the second layer to be attractive and significant; after all, it was built by people like him. Comprehending this doubletalk is therefore a vexatious task, provoking quite understandable psychological resistance; this very duality of language, however, is a pathognomic symptom indicating that the human union in question is touched by the ponerogenic process to an advanced degree.
The ideology of unions affected by such degeneration has certain constant factors regardless of their quality, quantity, or scope of action: namely, the motivations of a wronged group, radical righting of the wrong, and the higher value of the individuals who have joined the organization. These motivations facilitate sublimation of the feeling of being wronged and different, caused by one’s own psychological failings, and appear to liberate the individual from the need to abide by uncomfortable moral principles. In the world full of real injustice and human humiliation, making it conducive to the formation of an ideology containing the above elements, a union of its converts may easily succumb to degradation. At this time those people with a tendency to accept the better version of the ideology shall also long tend to justify such ideological duality. The ideology of the proletariat, which aimed at revolutionary restructuring of the world, was already contaminated by a schizoid deficit in the form of an understanding of, and trust for, human nature; small wonder, then, that it easily succumbed to a process of typical degeneration in order to nourish and disguise a macro-social phenomenon whose basic essence is completely different.
For future reference, let us remember: ideologies do not need spellbinders. Spellbinders need ideologies in order to subject them to their own deviant goals.
On the other hand, the fact that some ideology degenerated along with its corollary social movement, later succumbing to this schizophrenia and serving goals which the originators of the ideology would have abhorred, does not prove that it was worthless, false, and fallacious from the start. Quite the contrary: it rather appears that under certain historical conditions, the ideology of any social movement, even if it is sacred truth, can yield to the ponerization process.
A given ideology may in fact have contained weak spots, carrying the errors of human thought and emotion within; or it may, during the course of its history, have been infiltrated by more primitive foreign material which could have contained ponerogenic factors. Such material destroys an ideology’s internal homogeny. The source of such infection by foreign ideological material may be the ruling social system with its laws and customs based on a more primitive tradition, or an imperialistic system of rule. It may be, of course, another philosophical movement often contaminated by the eccentricities of its founder, who considers the facts to blame for not conforming to his dialectical construct.
The Roman Empire, including its legal system and paucity of psychological concepts, similarly contaminated the primary homogeneous idea of Christianity. Christianity had to adapt to coexistence with a social system wherein “dura lex sed lex”, not an understanding of people, decided a person’s fate; this then led later to the desire to reach the Gospel’s goals by means of Roman methods.
The greater and truer the original ideology, the longer it may be capable of nourishing and disguising from human criticism that phenomenon which is the product of the already known specific degenerative process. In a great valuable ideology, the danger for small minds is hidden; they can become the factors of such preliminary degeneration, which opens the door to invasion by pathological factors.
Thus, if we intend to understand the secondary ponerization process and the contents of human associations which succumb to it, our consciousness should separate that original ideology from its counterpart, or even caricature, created by the ponerogenic process. Abstracting from any ideology, we must, by analogy, understand the essence of the process itself, which has its own etiological causes which are potentially present in every society, as well as characteristic developmental patho-dynamics.