Not all sociopaths become the violent murderers of horror movies, or sadistic creatures trolling the night for victims. Most sociopaths convince everyone around them that they are not a sociopath. You know and interact with sociopaths, probably every day. According to some estimates, about 4% of the population could be considered sociopathic, meaning they feel no guilt or remorse, and do not care about others’ suffering. You could say what makes a sociopath is lack of conscience.
And worse, sociopaths are generally charismatic, and naturally seek positions of power. While reading up on the sociopaths, I came across what looks like an interesting book on the subject by Martha Stout called The Sociopath Next Door. It is not that these people wouldn’t murder, or don’t want to rape, they simply do not see that as an expedient way to get what they want. But, if you are in the proper position of power, you can get away with murder, rape, and any other number of things which might appeal to a sociopath.
So 1 in 25, at least 12 million Americans, are sociopaths, just waiting to gain the advantage over you or me, so that they can do whatever they want, no matter how much it hurts others, as long as it serves their interests or desires.
The fact is, we all almost certainly know at least one or more sociopaths already. Part of the urgency in reading The Sociopath Next Door is the moment when we suddenly recognize that someone we know—someone we worked for, or were involved with, or voted for—is a sociopath. But what do we do with that knowledge? To arm us against the sociopath, Dr. Stout teaches us to question authority, suspect flattery, and beware the pity play. Above all, she writes, when a sociopath is beckoning, do not join the game.
More easily said than done. How can I not join the game of the IRS agent auditing me, or the cop who has pulled me over, or the bureaucrat who has denied my permits and licenses? In a world of free association, we could simply avoid sociopathic people, or protect ourselves when we come into contact with them. But when sociopaths attain extra rights and privileges, and not only protection for, but endorsement of their crimes, what are we to do?
Elect the right people? Chances are, many of these races for office are one sociopath running against another. And then these people appoint the bureaucrats, and hire the police. They approve and promote people that are like them, that will similarly serve their interests, and that will turn a blind eye to sociopathic behavior.
Question authority, or better yet, reject authority when possible. If everyone were actually considered equal, instead of some with government backing having more right and protections, then we would be able to simply react to a sociopath properly when they initiate force against us. So if authority in general is rejected, if we refuse to submit to force, that would make it easy to react to sociopaths. No you may not take my money because you claim you will do better things with it than I could. Oh but the poor, elderly, sick….
Beware the pity play. Do you honestly think they care? Does anyone honestly believe the politicians when they say they want to or have helped the poor? Is that what Obamacare is about, helping sick people? Or is it about controlling people, casting minions down into their rightful place beneath the boot of sociopathic rulers? If politicians cared about solving poverty, it would be solved. I know this because the tax dollars spent on welfare per household in poverty dwarf the median income of Americans.
You could say it is simple inefficiency, but I say it is deliberate theft. But what do we expect from a system that allows sociopaths the benefit of the doubt, while us peasants must explain why we want privacy, we must seek permits to build, protect ourselves, open a business, and seek permission to move about, drive, travel, and we must pay our rulers for them graciously allowing us to work. How bout we all keep what is ours, and anyone that tries to take it can be assumed to be a sociopath, instead of assumed to be a philanthropist?
I just so happen to be reading A Clockwork Orange at the moment. The sociopathic narrator Alex gets out of jail after multiple rapes and murders to find his sociopathic former friends and cohorts have become police officers. These friends in fact engaged in the same rape and murder for which Alex was punished, but they were not caught. Now they have been given the badge and the gun, and set loose upon society to keep order. Alex runs into them, and even though he was being beaten up (albeit by a man he had once attacked) the police find it more enjoyable to teach Alex a lesson. They drive him out to the country side where they beat him, possibly worse, and leave him in the cold to his own devices.
Yes, it is only a book. But the point is that sociopaths are naturally drawn to positions of power. If a sociopath has no conscience, and wants to kill someone, he may not do it simply for fear of his own harm or death, or confinement if he is caught. But the disturbing trend of late is that police do not receive the same punishment for their crimes that the general public receives. The case that comes to mind is a former prison guard who received only probation and no jail time after being found guilty of 25 counts of sexual assault against female inmates, and trafficking drugs into the prison. He did not care about the injuries he caused to others. He found the proper channel to express his sociopathic desires. This channel served him well, as he will not have to answer for his crimes.
So if we stop giving some people power over others, we don’t have to worry about being at the mercy of a sociopath. What a novel concept, self ownership, and freedom of association. But as it stands now, any sociopath can well position himself with power, and be free to carry out his sadistic desires with impunity, all in the name of authority, or charity.