Psychopaths in Power, by Robert Royal

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*Image: The Mad Man with Fear by Gustave Courbet, c. 1844 [National Museum of Art, Oslo, Norway]

By Robert Royal, The Catholic Thing, Sept. 12, 2023

Robert Royal is editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. His most recent books are Columbus and the Crisis of the West and A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century.


There’s so much that is false, wrong, erroneous, chaotic (and its twin brother, demonic) in the world at present that it’s difficult to see your way as it all swirls around us. But every now and then, someone hits on an illuminating insight that pierces through, like a lighthouse in a raging storm. The great psychologist and social commentator Jordan Peterson recently found exactly the right few words for our predicament: Psychopaths are in power. Others have said as much. He added, however, that the psychopaths have been utterly brilliant in using terms like freedom, tolerance, inclusion, openness, and diversity to disguise the destruction they’re causing, making it look sane, progressive, constructive, compassionate, even “Christian.”

A bit of realism based on experience treating mentally disturbed people. …