Kings, Conquerors, Psychopaths: From Alexander to Hitler to the Corporation
Remember in history class how we were taught that all the kings, conquerors, and subsequent rulers in ancient times were great men? How we focused on their limited positive achievements, disregarding the human carnage it took to accomplish them?
In Kings, Conquerors, Psychopaths: From Alexander to Hitler to the Corporation, author Joseph N. Abraham makes the indisputable case that “Conquest is murder and theft; Conquerors are vicious criminals; Conquerors become kings; Kings designed civilization; And we are the products of civilization.”
Despite what we were indoctrinated to believe, these iconic figures were not benign rulers or philosopher-kings. Instead, and the facts bear it out, they ascended to power because of personality traits that include a confluence of psychopathy, narcissism, Machiavellianism, and sadism, or as Abraham refers to this malevolent mix, “the dark tetrad.”
The reasons for the primacy of the “atrox,” the term the author uses for those individuals with these personality traits, are two-fold: genetic and conditioning. Abraham points out that humans are pack animals and that the characteristics of a successful alpha male very closely resemble that of the “dark tetrad.” Furthermore, the chances of flourishing or even surviving under such a leader necessitate blind obedience; ergo, civilization is designed by the atrox and we are products of his civilization.
Considering that I read this book during Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, it provided some disturbing revelations about this modern-day atrox’s motivation. According to Abraham, “when the conqueror invades, he robs civilians of their wealth, their freedom, and their lives. He may claim any number of reasons for his conquest, including protection, ideological conversion, liberation, trade preservation, or others. It does not matter. Those arguments are rationalizations, or at best secondary concerns, for a simple reason: without profit, conquest is impossible. Without obscene levels of profit, it is unattractive.”
He also convincingly applies these traits to modern-day corporations, suggesting that “King and conqueror have morphed into modern business and political leaders, who continue to exploit us and expend our lives for power, wealth, and narcissism.”
So compelling are Abraham’s arguments that it’s not an exaggeration to say Kings, Conquerors, Psychopaths: From Alexander to Hitler to the Corporation changed my world view. Despite being dense with facts and theories, the book is extremely readable, with countless historical revelations and profound insights throughout. The most discouraging of these is the idea that “Horror is our past. If we do not embrace that fact, it will also be our future, over and over, until we finally do learn to understand and to control it. Or until we disappear from the planet.”
|Joseph N Abraham MD
|Hidden Hills Press
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