Daily: Bulletproof Confidence, Blunted Empathy – How boarding schools produce warped leaders

The English public school is one of the country’s strangest and often most sinister institutions. James Scudamore, author of the moving and gripping novel of memory, friendship and abuse English Monsters, talks to Arthur Snell about his own experience with the mad and petty regime of the English boarding school. How did this culture spread the “profound damage” of men who’d seen true horror in war down to generations of pupils? And why do public schools produce an emotionally damaged elite? 

  • “There’s a special toxicity in that closed world of elitism and privilege.”
  • “That blend of extremely rigid rules and the psychopathy of the punishments… it’s incredible that these things were still going on as late as the 80s.” 
  • “One thing you have to do to survive is to completely shut down your empathy. And another is to fall into extreme flippancy.”

Presented by Arthur Snell. Produced by Andrew Harrison. Assistant producers Jelena Sofronijevic and Jacob Archbold. Music by Kenny Dickinson. Audio production by Alex Rees. THE BUNKER is a Podmasters Production


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