Excerpt: Preface

From the Preface:
This book is about human nature and human freedom, and the relationship between them. Its contents are an outgrowth of my life-long interest in how the mind works. That interest, beginning at about age twelve, eventually led me to careers in clinical and forensic psychiatry and to the particular access these disciplines provide to human psychology. Disorders of personality have been a special focus of this interest. First in clinical practice and then in forensic evaluations, I have had the opportunity to study the nature of personality and the factors which affect its development. The practice of forensic psychiatry has permitted an especially close look at the manner in which all mental illnesses, including personality disorders, interact with society's rules for acceptable conduct. These rules, both civil and criminal, largely define the domains of human freedom and the conditions that ground social order.

Historically, of course, western ideas about freedom and social order have come from fields quite distant from psychiatry: philosophy, ethics, jurisprudence, history, theology, economics, anthropology, sociology, art and literature, among others. But the workings of the human mind as understood by psychiatry and psychology are necessarily relevant to these disciplines and to the social institutions that arise from them. This book is an attempt to connect mechanisms of the mind to certain economic, social and political conditions, those under which freedom and order may flourish. Although I have made strenuous efforts to follow where reason leads, I have not written this book out of intellectual interest alone. My intent has been more "generative" than that, to use one of Erik Erikson's terms. It has, in fact, grown out of a deep concern for the future of ordered liberty. In their efforts "to form a more perfect Union," America's founding fathers intended, as the Preamble tells us, to establish justice, insure peace, provide for the nation's defense, promote its general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty. But the entire twentieth century, and the dawn of the twenty-first, have witnessed modern liberalism's relentless attacks on all of these goals and on all of the principles on which individual liberty and rational social order rest. Although they are strikingly deficient in political substance, these attacks have nevertheless been successful in exploiting the psychological nature of man for socialist purposes. To counter the destructiveness of these attacks requires a clear understanding of the relationship between human psychology and social process. It is my hope that this book makes at least a small contribution to that purpose.