How Psychiatry Is Failing America

12 mins read

​​​Anyone who cares about facts, truth and reality understands knowledge is power, and any denial of knowledge usually results in a weakening of power. 

Anyone who is always focused on themselves and their own power understands they must deny others the knowledge of their self-serving nature. If they don’t, their power to use distorted facts, dishonest truths and false realities to get things they want but have not earned will be greatly diminished. 

That is why most highly selfish people will instinctively and compulsively say and do unconscionable things when confronted with the hard truth. They know from a lifetime of experience that they must keep their selfish motivations hidden or they may be denied whatever they crave. In essence, these self-absorbed people know they must put on a mask of a sellable persona for those they target, via a seemingly bottomless supply of shameless half-truths, lies, manipulations, alternative facts and false narratives. If their victims wake, power over them is lost. 

Now imagine if being compulsively dishonest, selfish, greedy, manipulative and power-hungry were all traits, tells, symptoms and behaviors of a well-established spectrum of highly predictable personality disorders that range from unhealthy narcissism to psychopathy. You would think America would have some kind of warning system, at least a basic public awareness, that keeps the darkest on the spectrum from being considered fit for “public service.” These people are virtually incapable of being of service to anything but themselves psychologically.   

It is logical to expect our country’s best psychiatrists, psychologists, experts and media to warn us about people who are so psychologically selfish that if they ever gained political power, they would shamelessly destroy all of America’s guardrails and corrupt every “public service,” in attempts to transform their fantasies of greed and power into reality. Certainly, if we were not being warned of such compulsive predators of democracy in our midst, leadership in the psychiatry and psychology fields would be failing America on a foundational level.

I acquired my psychological expertise in the late 2000s by spending a few years studying how to rescue a close friend caught in a sociopath’s web. After the rescue, I began speaking with my wisest friends about what I had learned about the pathological narcissism epidemic hiding in the shadows. I was shocked that most of what I thought I knew about psychology was wrong. My friends all confirmed they were at least as ignorant as I had been before my years of practical application studies in the most effective ways to defend yourself against predators with dark disorders. 

Among the most stunning aspects of my studies were the numbers. Most top experts have concluded that psychopaths make up 1% to 4% of every society, which means at least one out of every 100 people you meet is a psychopath. The best-case scenario for America is we have 3.3 million psychopaths. 

Some might respond that most psychopaths are in prison since roughly 50% of America’s prison population are psychopaths. However, with a prison population of roughly 2.2 million in 2019, that would leave at least 2.2 million psychopaths who appear to be living seemingly “normal” lives. 

After processing the numbers, I realized we are lured by detective shows and movies into wrongly thinking we know who and what pathological narcissists, sociopaths and psychopaths really are. The messages we have been subconsciously fed through entertainment is that they are almost all crazed, twisted serial killers and other sorts of “evil” criminals. Because these kinds of people seem like rare aberrations in society, we don’t need to give them much thought during our busy lives. I know I never considered that one out of 100 hundred people I saw or met was a psychopath.

Personally, I was beyond shocked when I discovered that millions of Americans had psychological disorders that meant their every waking moment was spent serving themselves, no matter the cost to others. How, without hesitation, many would corrupt American democracy and rule of law, to live out their authoritarian fantasies as God-Kings ruling America, or at least in support of a God-King who allows them get away with their sad power-trips and immoral acquisitions of things they don’t deserve.

Since educating myself about these various dark psychologies and disorders of pathological narcissism, I have watched and listened in horror and disbelief as nearly all of my favorite political scientists, experts and media personalities revealed via their commentaries that they were just as ignorant about these personality disorders as I was. I felt like I fell down a massively misunderstood rabbit hole and found seemingly hidden psychological secrets and answers about humanity’s “dark side.” 

The question I kept asking was: How is it possible that almost all of us who are well-educated in political science could be so in the dark about the psychology of the pathological narcissists, sociopaths and psychopaths, who by nature and/or nurture are compulsively trying to take over America and every other country in the world, due to their pathological cravings for greed, power, dominance and control?

In 2014, as I began to speak out on social media about how most conservatives and the Republican Party itself were consistently giving near perfect impressions of narcissistic, sociopathic and psychopathic behaviors, traits and tells, the pushback was fierce. 

The first main line of attack was that I was being irresponsible and hyperbolic for making psychological connections. The second was to discredit what I was saying with “Are you a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist, because if you are not, you have no business making such psychological statements and declarations?” 

The first line of attack never bothered me because I always do my best to be accurate and responsible, so being irresponsible and exaggerating is rarely in my nature. However, the second line of attack did bother me because it was an easy way anyone could dismiss the valuable psychological information I was trying to share with others for democracy’s sake, and it was a wall I was repeatedly slammed into. 

Then I had a revelation. 

I was thinking about how in 1964, after the Republicans nominated Barry Goldwater for president, Fact Magazine sent out a questionnaire to 12,356 psychiatrists asking, “Do you believe Barry Goldwater is psychologically fit to serve as President?” 

The resulting article about Goldwater was neither fair nor scientifically sound. Less than 20% responded, and nearly half who did said they didn’t know enough about him or saw him as psychologically fit. However, the magazine’s cover was “1,189 psychiatrists say Goldwater is psychologically unfit to be president!” The article contained inaccurate and ridiculous assessments like “I believe Goldwater has the same pathological make-up as Hitler, Castro, Stalin and other known schizophrenic leaders.”

Goldwater lost the 1964 election in large part due to fears that he would be trigger-happy with nuclear weapons, but he won a libel suit against Fact Magazine, and it went out of business. The American Psychiatric Association, which was and still is America’s dominant psychiatrist organization, was embarrassed by the role psychiatry played in the unfair and unscientific psychological assessment of Goldwater.  

Several years later in 1973, the APA adopted the Goldwater Rule, declaring, “It is unethical for a psychiatrist to offer a professional opinion unless he or she has conducted an examination and has been granted proper authorization for such a statement.” As if anyone with dark psychological issues running for public office would ever give permission to have their disorders, dysfunctions, and compulsions released to the voters.

Coincidentally or not, rumors say that in 1973 a drunk and depressed Richard Nixon roamed the halls of the White House late at night complaining to statues about his Watergate scandal, so it would have been a priority for Nixon’s henchmen like Roger Ailes, Roger Stone, Paul Manafort and the Republican Party itself to avoid having him psychoanalyzed, at all costs.

The Revelation: So the Goldwater Rule ethically forbids psychiatrists and by extension psychologists from any public assessments of politicians like trump, who clearly exhibit all the symptoms of a dark and dangerous disorder. And self-taught experts like myself, who are only trying to share knowledge about how to identify the most dangerous ones, can be automatically dismissed as not credible because we are not “licensed” psychologists or psychiatrists. If both of these are true, then nobody can say anything about anyone, ever. 

This Catch-22 finally explained how narcissists, sociopaths and psychopaths in our politics have so effectively hidden in the dark and in plain sight for so long. They have essentially been shielded, protected and obscured from public view since 1973 by the APA’s ethical code. Denying voters the power of knowledge is how psychiatry is failing America.

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Sam is an international strategist, writer and traveler. He grew up in the multicultural SF Bay Area with a liberal teacher mother and conservative stockbroker father, which gave him a natural desire to bridge cultural and political differences. In the 2000s, Sam recognized a friend needed rescuing from a bully, so he studied bullying psychology. He later discovered he had accidentally become an expert in the psychology of narcissists, sociopaths and psychopaths when others kept asking for help. Sam went on to write his dream book explaining America.

*Find Sam on Twitter @slipperyhero.

*Book link:

*Hear him discuss narcissism on the Backwards & In High Heels podcast:

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