Shortages in the Land of Plenty: Ponerology, The Science of Evil


“Political ponerology (1984) is a concept popularized by Polish psychiatrist Andrzej Łobaczewski. Łobaczewski advocated using the fields of psychology, sociology, philosophy, and history to account for such phenomena as aggressive warethnic cleansinggenocide, and despotism.”


What is evil actually?  According to Lobaczewski, it is directly tied to the black personalities I described in an article published in TIG on Feb. 15, titled “The Dark Triad”.  The question to ask is how deeply can dangerous and antisocial personalities infiltrate governments and essentially destroy civil society for personal gain, power and even pleasure?  Lobaczewski makes a strong case for how this process follows a predictable course and whole societies ultimately fall prey to the power of a few megalomaniacs.  It’s been our history for centuries and it will continue unless we recognize the patterns and study the important works of scholars like Lobaczewski.  The full text of his book is available free online.

According to Lobaczewski, all societies find themselves fluctuating between happy times and unhappy times.  Happy times are defined by peace, prosperity, law and order.  Unhappy times are full of war, famine, terrorism, financial collapse, sickness and despair.  There typically isn’t a natural reason for the unhappy state; there just needs to be a preponderance of Dark Triads in charge.  How do these deviant personalities gain so much power?  It’s quite simple as the unique personality traits of this 7% of the population gives them an incredible advantage over the majority who actually has a conscience.    

Such traits include an unhealthy fascination with themselves, hypocrisy, a lack of empathy and respect for others, a preoccupation with obtaining power by any means – including manipulation and lying, stealing and potentially criminal behaviour , violence or explosive anger, violating social norms, especially around empathy, a lack of remorse for any harm caused, arrogance and a need for praise and attention.  These outwardly charming and charismatic people are capable of heinous crimes such as rape, abuse and pedophilia.  If we study their uncensored actions, we see the evidence.  Why would we let them gain political power?  It’s because we are largely unaware of their true nature until it’s too late. 

Lobaczewski describes how these political leaders put society under their spell with their powerful skills to gaslight the public into believing their invented narratives; narratives designed to create fear and disarray.  They are the predators and in fear, we become their victims.  They use information control, propaganda and divisiveness to break down the fabric of society.  They know that we are disgusted by the thought of true evil and rather than expose them – we look away.  We revert to the “freeze” state as we intuitively react to the threat.  We even believe their propaganda no matter how absurd it is.  We collectively come down with Stockholm Syndrome under their spell and we unconsciously become their loyal subjects.  Virtue signalling towards their propaganda becomes common behaviour as many unknowingly align themselves with their tormentors.  We often watch deranged leaders battle each other at the world’s expense.

In 1986, I found myself on a plane to Toronto.  I ended up in a four hour long conversation with a young chap on his way to the Kingston Penitentiary to spend two weeks interviewing Clifford Olson, the renowned serial killer who confessed to killing 11 children and teenagers in the early 80’s. This PhD candidate from UBC was a student of Dr. Robert Hare – arguably the world’s leading expert on psychopathy.  It was an important conversation for me personally as it explained the personality of a monster like Clifford Olson.  It wasn’t difficult to see similar personality traits in individuals that had crossed my path in the course of my short life.  People like the pedophile Catholic priest who skillfully and effortlessly groomed my entire community as well as my own family.  It’s the sort of information that forever changes one’s world view.  

What I learned was chilling because it described disordered personalities that are able to commit immoral crimes without a second thought.  This fact, however horrific, is critical to understanding how truly evil acts keep being inflicted on humanity.  The sort of personality who can abuse and kill innocent children are also the category of humanity that can choose to destroy whole countries without a backward glance – given the opportunity and resources to do so.  If they don’t end up in jail, they can be world leaders!

Many people are waking up to the fact that evil is real and the face of it becomes easier to spot if one accepts why it happens and why knowledge and understanding are our only defences as we find ourselves facing authoritarianism – a favourite tool of the Dark Triads.  An excellent review of Lobaczewski’s book can be found at