The End Of The World
Week 15

James Leavey's


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By James Leavey
According to Robert Hare, who teaches at the University of BritishColumbia and recently addressed a police conference in New York, one percent of the world’s population are clinical psychopaths, i.e.individuals who display early behavioural problems that later becomeanti-social.

He also blames the recent blue-chipaccounting scandals at WorldCom and Enron on psychopathic chiefexecutive officers, who are easily recognized by their deceit,short-temper, irresponsibility and craving for excitement. Such people,he says, are usually callous and cold-blooded and don’t care that anyoneelse, especially underlings, may have thoughts and feelings. They alsohave no sense of remorse or guilt.

Goodness gracious me! That almostdescribes to a ‘T’ many of the anti-smoking born-again puritans mostsmokers get on the wrong side of every day.

The good news is that Hare is now workingon producing a check-list that will enable companies to screen theiremployees for psychopathic tendencies. What a pity it isn’t already inplace, for President Bush, Prime Minister Tony Blair and several oftheir more hawkish cronies should have been screened years ago. It mayhave stopped them deciding to start a war that, in the words of theArabs, will “open the gates of hell” in the Middle East. And, by the by,it’s a war they haven’t yet actually bothered to give the rest of us anyserious, objective evidence on the ‘imminent threat’ posed by Iraq – notthat Saddam Hussein is a pussycat, but that’s not the point.

Meanwhile, research conducted at theUniversity of Maastricht in the Netherlands apparently uncovered‘dramatic evidence’ proving that marijuana is not only dangerous but itcan also cause serious psychotic disorders in people with no history ofmental illness. Indeed, the university’s results suggest that smokingcannabis can actually treble the risk of mental instability.

What no one seems to have picked up on isthat most people who smoke a joint, tend to diffuse the hash with loosetobacco. It’s only a matter of time before somebody else makes theconnection and then we shall hear that not only does smoking kill you,directly and passively and via the internet, no doubt, but it also, witha little help from cannabis, will send you round the bend.

And it will probably be a bloody-mindedpsychopathic director of an anti-smoking cartel indirectly sponsored bytaxes on tobacco who promotes the message.

The fact is that, whether we like it ornot, most psychos seems to succeed at work, mainly because they areusually arrogant, manipulative bastards who are paid huge sums of moneyto make quick vital decisions without worrying about the potentialimpact on the rest of us.
That’s why I blow smoke, anyway I can, just to get up their noses. For asmoke a day may keep the psychos at bay.

PS I wrote this column beforereading an impressive interview with Norman Mailer in this week's SundayTimes Magazine, in which Mailer described Bush as "a bit of a civilisedpsychopath." Glad to know it's not just me who thinks this...

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