The reality of the lizard people

The reality of the lizard people, by Eric Ramond (esr). This seems absurd at first, until you realize its actually a serious complaint in a ridiculous wrapper. The crazy lizard story provides the cover for a darker truth.

One of the loonier and more wonderful conspiracy theories floating around the Internet is it many of the world’s elite are shapeshifting lizardoid extraterrestrials. This explainer seems to sum it up pretty well.

When I first encountered this idea I was gobsmacked. How could anyone actually believe such a thing? And yet, apparently, many people do — millions of them, if polls on the topic are to be believed. …

What is it about their experience of reality that believers in lizard people are coding in this cheesy [science-fictiony] imagery? What are they actually trying to talk about?

The answer came to me almost immediately once I managed to formulate the question. That was the moment at which I realized that, barring one unimportant detail, lizard-people theory is actually true.

The unimportant detail is the part about the lizard people being actual extraterrestrials. But let’s look at the rest of it. The believer says: Our elites behave as though they are heavily infiltrated by beings hostile to the interests of ordinary humans. They hide behind a mask of humanity but they have alien minds. They are predators and exploiters, cunning at hiding their nature — but sometimes the mask slips.

Nothing about this is in any way wrong, once you realize that “lizard” is code for “sociopath”. Sociopaths do, differentially, seek power over others, and are rather good at getting it. The few studies that have dared to look have found they are concentrated in political and business elites where drive and ruthlessness are rewarded.

“Lizard” is actually a rather clever code, if you happen to know your evolutionary neuroanatomy. Oversimplifying a little, humans have an exceptionally elaborate neocortex wrapped around a monkey brain wrapped around a lizard brain. The neocortex does what we are pleased to consider higher cognitive functions, the monkey brain does emotions and social behavior, and the lizard brain does territoriality/aggression/dominance.

What is wrong with sociopaths (and psychopaths – these categories are not clearly distinguished) is not entirely clear, but it is certain that their ability to experience emotions is damaged. The monkey brain is compromised; sociopaths live more in their lizard brain and display a lizard-like ability to go from flat affect to aggressive violence and back again in two blinks of an eye.

So, yeah, aliens. We have a live conspiracy theory because a lot of people can sense the alienness in their sociopathic/psychopathic bosses and politicians — and sometimes the mask slips. Not having any grasp of the language of abnormal psychology, they reach for the nearest metaphor handy. …

Since explaining this to some of my friends, I’ve taken to using the term “lizard people” when I mean sociopaths, the uncaring predatory monsters who reveal themselves by seeking domination over others.

Often when looking at the behavior of the elites — over many different areas — we come to the same question: are they evil or stupid? Surely they cannot be that deliberately ignorant, so they must be evil. But us normal people are rarely evil for long, and in any case some other people go along with it, so they can’t really be evil. So they must just be stupid. But you cannot rise to those positions being that stupid. Hmmm, what’s going on?

The answer could be just that they they are lizard people. Contrary to everyone’s assumption, many of the elite simply don’t care in the slightest for the rest of us. Because they aren’t normal, like us. They just do what’s good for them. So they are evil, not stupid.

UPDATE: