Pathocracy, identified by the Polish psychologist Andrzej Lobaczewski, is the condition where government of a society is dominated by those with psychopathological disorders. It begins when one such disordered individual emerges as a leader figure; soon, their personality amplifies it, filtering out those appalled by their brutality and irresponsibility but attracting others who see it as charisma and decisiveness. Soon, others with psychopathic traits attach themselves to the power hierarchy, while responsible and moral people leave or are ejected, and before long, the entire government is filled with people with a pathological lack of empathy and conscience. This psychopathy soon spreads beyond the government, through the population, through propaganda and polarising ideology.

Lobaczewski based his theory on two regimes he observed in his life: the Nazi occupation of Poland, and the subsequent Soviet-backed Communist regime. In return, he was imprisoned and tortured by the Communists, only managing to publish his theories after escaping to the US in the 1980s. While his observations were based on the moral rot in 20th-century totalitarian societies, the phenomenon is transferrable to other contexts; it is suggested that post-Reagan/Thatcher capitalist-individualist societies particularly select for psychopathic and narcissistic traits.

The good news is that, according to Lobaczewski, pathocracy is not stable, eventually falling apart as its brutality alienates the population.

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