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The Unburdened Mind

Article #310 • Written by Christopher S. Putnam

“I don’t think I feel things the same way you do.”

The man sits at the table in the well-fitted attire of success—charming, witty, and instantly likeable. He is a confident, animated speaker, but he seems to be struggling with this particular point.

“It’s like… at my first job,” he continues, “I was stealing maybe a thousand bucks a month from that place. And this kid, he was new, he got wise. And he was going to turn me in, but before he got the chance I went to the manager and pinned the whole thing on him.” Now he is grinning widely. “Kid lost his job, the cops got involved, I don’t know what happened to him. And I guess something like that is supposed to make me feel bad, right? It’s supposed to hurt, right? But instead, it’s like there’s nothing.” He smiles apologetically and shakes his head. “Nothing.”

His name is Frank, and he is a psychopath.

In the public imagination, a "psychopath" is a violent serial killer or an over-the-top movie villain, as one sometimes might suspect Frank to be. He is highly impulsive and has a callous disregard for the well-being of others that can be disquieting. But he is just as likely to be a next-door neighbor, a doctor, or an actor on TV—essentially no different from anyone else who holds these roles, except that Frank lacks the nagging little voice which so profoundly influences most of our lives. Frank has no conscience. And as much as we would like to think that people like him are a rare aberration, safely locked away, the truth is that they are more common than most would ever guess.

"[M]y mother, the most beautiful person in the world. She was strong, she worked hard to take care of four kids. A beautiful person. I started stealing her jewelry when I was in the fifth grade. You know, I never really knew the bitch -- we went our separate ways." –Hare, Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us

The word psychopathy dates back in an early form to the 19th century, but as a modern term it’s primarily used in reference to the work of Canadian psychologist Robert Hare. Hare’s PCL-R tool (Psychopathy Checklist - Revised) was developed to test for a wide range of socially deviant behaviors and personality traits, the most important being the absence of any sense of conscience, remorse, or guilt. The result of this combination is a destructive, self-serving, and often dangerous individual sometimes called “the born criminal."

The psychopath's world is a strikingly skewed one in which the normal laws of human emotion and interaction do not apply—yet it serves as reality for a sizable portion of humanity. Spanning all cultures and eras, roughly one man in every 100 is born a clinical psychopath, as well as one woman in every 300. They are so common that every person reading this sentence almost certainly knows one personally; indeed, a significant number of readers are likely psychopaths themselves.

Many potential psychopaths might not even realize they have the condition, nor has there traditionally been any easy way for others to recognize them. The leading scientific test is Hare's PCL-R, but to be valid it must be performed by a qualified professional under controlled conditions. For those who can't be bothered with such expensive frills, we present the PCL-DI: an alternative, PCL-inspired test guaranteed to appear scientific.

The concept of the psychopath is only the latest and most refined in a long string of attempts to account for a certain pattern of conduct. In the 19th century, psychiatric clinicians began to notice patients in their care who fit no known diagnosis, but who nevertheless displayed strange and disturbing behaviors. They were impulsive and self-destructive. They had no regard for the feelings and welfare of others. They lied pathologically, and when caught, they shrugged it off with a smirk and moved on to the next lie. It was a puzzle—because while there was clearly something unusual about these patients, they showed none of the psychotic symptoms or defects in reason thought necessary for mental illness at the time. Indeed, apart from a tendency to follow foolish and irresponsible impulses that sometimes got them into trouble, they were coldly rational—more rational, perhaps, than the average citizen. Their condition therefore came to be referred to as manie sans délire (“insanity without delirium”), a term which later evolved into moral insanity once the central role of a “defective conscience” came to be appreciated. By the 20th century, these individuals would be called sociopaths or said to suffer from antisocial personality disorder, two terms that are still used interchangeably with psychopathy in some circles, while in others are considered distinct but related conditions.

The psychopath does not merely repress feelings of anxiety and guilt or fail to experience them appropriately; instead, he or she lacks a fundamental understanding of what these things are. When asked a question such as “What does remorse feel like?” for instance, the typical psychopath will become irritated, deflect the question, or attempt to change the subject. The following response from a psychopathic rapist, asked why he didn’t empathize with his victims, shows just how distanced such a person can be from normal human emotion:

"They are frightened, right? But, you see, I don't really understand it. I've been frightened myself, and it wasn't unpleasant." –Hare, Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us

Arriving at a disaster scene, a psychopath would most likely gather to watch with the rest of the crowd. He might even lend assistance if he perceived no threat to his own safety. But he would feel none of the panic, shock, or horror of the other onlookers—his interest would fall more on the reactions of the victims and of the crowd. He would not be repulsed by any carnage on display, except perhaps in the same sense as serial killer Paul Bernardo when he described cutting up one of his victims’ bodies as “the most disgusting thing he had ever done.” He was referring to the mess it made.

Despite this emotional deficiency, most psychopaths learn to mimic the appearance of normal emotion well enough to fit into ordinary society, not unlike the way that the hearing impaired or illiterate learn to use other cues to compensate for their disabilities. As Hare describes it, psychopaths “know the words but not the music.” One might imagine that such a false and superficial front would be easily penetrated, but such is rarely the case, probably because of the assumption we all tend to make that others think and feel essentially the same way as ourselves. Differences in culture, gender, personality, and social status all create empathy gaps that can seem almost unfathomable, but none of these is as fundamental a divide as the one that exists between an individual with a conscience and one without. The psychopath's psychology is so profoundly alien to most people that we are unable to comprehend their motives, or recognize one when we see one. Naturally, the industrious psychopath will find this to his advantage.

Some psychologists go so far as to label the psychopath “a different kind of human” altogether. Psychopathy has an environmental component like nearly all aspects of personal psychology, but its source is rooted firmly in biology. This has caused some researchers to suspect that the condition isn’t a “disorder” at all, but an adaptive trait. In a civilization made up primarily of law-abiding citizenry, the theory goes, an evolutionary niche opens up for a minority who would exploit the trusting masses.

This hypothesis is supported by the apparent success many psychopaths find within society. The majority of these individuals are not violent criminals; indeed, those that turn to crime are generally considered “unsuccessful psychopaths” due to their failure to blend into society. Those who do succeed can do so spectacularly. For instance, while it may sound like a cynical joke, it’s a fact that psychopaths have a clear advantage in fields such as law, business, and politics. They have higher IQs on average than the general population. They take risks and aren’t fazed by failures. They know how to charm and manipulate. They’re ruthless. It could even be argued that the criteria used by corporations to find effective managers actually select specifically for psychopathic traits: characteristics such as charisma, self-centeredness, confidence, and dominance are highly correlated with the psychopathic personality, yet also highly sought after in potential leaders. It was not until recent years—in the wake of some well-publicized scandals involving corporate psychopaths—that many corporations started to reconsider these promotion policies. After all, psychopaths are interested only in their own gain, and trouble is inevitable when their interests begin to conflict with those of the company. This was the case at Enron, and again at WorldCom—and Sunbeam CEO Al Dunlap, besides doctoring the books and losing his company millions of dollars, would allegedly leave his wife at home without access to food or money for days at a time.

Hermann Goering
Hermann Goering

The thought of these people wearing suits and working a 9-5 job conflicts with most people’s image of psychopaths gleaned from films like The Godfather and The Silence of the Lambs. But it shouldn’t be surprising. A lack of empathy does not necessarily imply a desire to do harm—that comes from sadism and tendencies toward violence, traits which have only a small correlation with psychopathy. When all three come together in one individual, of course, the result is catastrophic. Ted Bundy and Paul Bernardo are extreme examples of such a combination.

"Do I feel bad when I hurt someone? Yeah, sometimes. But mostly it's just like… uh… (laughs). I mean, how did you feel the last time you squashed a fly?" –Unnamed rapist/kidnapper

If psychopaths often appear where we don’t expect them, neither does the clinical term always apply where we think it might. Nazi Luftwaffe chief Hermann Goering is thought to have met the diagnostic criteria, but Hitler's own behavior was frequently inconsistent with that of a psychopath. Columbine killer Eric Harris fit the description, but his accomplice Dylan Klebold did not. In total, only about 20% of a typical prison population qualifies as psychopathic (half of the violent offenders), and the difference from the general population is readily apparent to those who know them well. Even the most hardened of normal offenders can find their psychopathic cellmates unnerving.

The same discovery awaits most anyone who becomes close to such an individual. In romantic relationships, a psychopath may be charming and affectionate just long enough to establish intimacy with a partner, and then suddenly become abusive, unfaithful, and manipulative. The bewildered partner might turn to friends and family with their story, only to be met with disbelief—how could the warm, outgoing individual everyone has come to know possibly be guilty of these acts? All too often, the abused partner blames the situation on themselves, and comes out of the relationship emotionally destroyed.

But from a comfortable distance, the impression given off by a psychopath is often highly positive. The same absence of inhibitions and honesty that makes psychopaths so dangerous also gives them unusual powers of charisma through self-confidence and fabricated flattery. The aforementioned Sunbeam CEO Al Dunlap was a legend in business circles—“a corporate god,” some called him—precisely for his ruthless, results-oriented business style and in-your-face, furniture-hurling personality. In social circles, psychopaths are often the most popular friends among members of both sexes. And strikingly, in entertainment media such as films and books, it’s not just the villains who tend to have psychopathic personalities—it’s the heroes, too.

One doesn’t have to look far to find examples of this kind of protagonist. James Bond, the promiscuous, daring secret agent who can ski down a mountainside while being chased by armed attackers without breaking a sweat, is a textbook case. Frank Abagnale Jr., the charming con-man on whom the recent book and film Catch Me if You Can were based, is another highly likely candidate. And nearly every character played by action stars such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone—the ones who vow revenge on an enemy and rampage about while coolly spouting one-liners—would qualify for a diagnosis.

“I wouldn’t be here if my parents had come across when I needed them,” he [‘Terry,’ imprisoned bank robber] said. “What kind of parents would let their son rot in a place like this?” Asked about his children, he replied, “I’ve never seen them. I think they were given up for adoption. How the hell should I know?” – Hare, Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us

The reasons we look up to these conscience impaired people are unclear.

Recent Bond film <em>Casino Royale</em> didn't shy away from acknowledging Bond's psychopathic tendencies
Recent Bond film Casino Royale didn't shy away from acknowledging Bond's psychopathic tendencies

Most likely it has something to do with the confidence they exude, the ease they seem to feel in any situation—a trait that comes easily in someone essentially incapable of fear or anxiety. Maybe we’re easily suckered in by their natural glibness and charm. Or maybe on some level we envy the freedom they have, with no burden of conscience or emotion.

The psychopaths, for their part, will never know things any other way. Most experts agree that the condition is permanent and completely untreatable. It’s been theorized that their situation is the result of a kind of inherited learning disorder: without dread or anxiety to deter them, psychopaths are unable to make the associations between behavior and punishment that make up the building blocks of a normal conscience. That being the case, it is questionable whether a description such as “evil”—which is not uncommon in both the popular and scientific literature—can really be applied to individuals incapable of understanding what it means.

But to those who cross their paths, this may be small comfort.

Article written by Christopher S. Putnam, published on 20 January 2008. Chris is a writer and bomb-disposal expert for the Damn Interesting A-Team. He posts from an undisclosed location in Saskatchewan, Canada.

Article design by Alan Bellows. Edited by Alan Bellows.
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366 Comments
arvash
Posted 20 January 2008 at 01:52 pm

FIRST!! >:D someone had to do it.


jeickhoff
Posted 20 January 2008 at 01:56 pm

I work with many psychopaths. I work in a jail and the one that I remember the most was a guy that had eaten part of a couple of people that he killed. When he was being interviewed by detectives, they ordered food rather than interrupt the interview. The suspect said that he wanted "meat lovers pizza" and then laughed about it.


textual_harassment
Posted 20 January 2008 at 02:02 pm

The last criterion on the self-test was my favorite :)


kittykactus
Posted 20 January 2008 at 02:33 pm

Damn Interesting indeed. I've always wanted to learn about psychopathy.


eternal_pessimist
Posted 20 January 2008 at 02:41 pm

Wow! Damn Interesting indeed! I may know a psychopath or two now that I think of it...


GeorgeAR
Posted 20 January 2008 at 02:54 pm

It's amazing how many people I know, some related to (by marriage) that fit this profile. I wonder if people think that about me?


oldmancoyote
Posted 20 January 2008 at 02:59 pm

DI indeed. Have met a number of these guys. It is strange interviewing on of these people all shackled up and going to jail. They often understand the concept of breaking the rules and the consequences that go with it. They just don't understand why what they did should be considered "bad."Itt's sort of a "what's the big deal?" attitude. Definately creepy.


Bewildered
Posted 20 January 2008 at 03:27 pm

arvash


Bewildered
Posted 20 January 2008 at 03:28 pm

arvash - No they didn't. I find it interesting that the 'psychopath' is considered abnormal in this article. In the article about depression (can't think of it's title), people with depression have been found to have a more realistic view of the world than a 'normal person' does. This could apply to psychopaths also. I think that most of the greatest achievers in our society would fall into the psychopath category, and the people that do the dirty work that 'us normal folk' just dont want to think about, like cleaning up after crime scenes etc. would be considered psychopaths also. Emotional detachment is a skill that can be learned as well as inherited, but can emotional detachment be un-learned? that would be the question to answer to help the 'psychopath' become 'normal' again... But it think in all honesty that the non-violent psychopath is a credit to our society and they would not want to be 'normal'.


Asshe
Posted 20 January 2008 at 04:32 pm

The scary thing about articles like this is that based on what's written here, many people I know would class me as a psychopath - but I know I'm not one. Hope nobody spooks at shadows!


1c3d0g
Posted 20 January 2008 at 04:37 pm

I'd probably classify as a psychopath (or worse), even though I do know the difference between right and wrong and do feel guilt and such. But for some things, such as (for instance); if I caught a burglar in my house, I wouldn't hesitate to put him down and end his life right there. Or if someone killed a person I loved, they'd bought themselves a death sentence immediately. I would hunt them down, torture them and kill them slowly and painfully. I *know* it's wrong to do such a thing, but impulsively I'd do it without thinking twice. I just can't help it. Maybe I do need professional medical attention, but hey, I try to look at it this way: stay out of my way and I'm cool with everyone, you f*ck with me or someone I care about, and you (and the people responsible) will get what's coming their way. :-|


jliu
Posted 20 January 2008 at 04:46 pm

"For instance, while it may sound like a cynical joke, it’s a fact that psychopaths have a clear advantage in fields such as law, business, and politics. They have higher IQs on average than the general population. They take risks and aren’t fazed by failures. They know how to charm and manipulate. They’re ruthless."

Sounds like House...


oldmancoyote
Posted 20 January 2008 at 05:06 pm

Emotional detachment-such as those who clean up crime scenes-is situational. That would not classify someone as psycho pathic.

uc3dog, your response to those situations would not reach the bounderies of psychopathy either.

The fact that you know right from wrong and choose the latter is different from not grasping the concept of why something is considered wrong by "sane" society.

Psychopathy is a much deeper issue. Even anger is completely different with most pschopaths. ic3dog's reaction is not typical of psychopathic behavior as a typical psychopath would have little, if any, emotional reaction to something that happened to someone else.

These behaviors are often noticable from an early age. However, once psychopathic/sociopathic behavior is noticed behavior is usually modified to blend in with so-called normal society.

What is so frightening is how well they blend in. Think Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dhamer etc. Dhamer had one of his victims in his house with police officers present. He convinced them that the victim was drunk and they were just having a lovers quarrel about it. THERE WERE SEVERAL CORPSES ALREADY STORED THROUGHOUT THE HOUSE! Had he not been so charming he would have been caught right there. Instead, look at the results.


Dean
Posted 20 January 2008 at 05:26 pm

Wow! This article describes my Mum's ex-husband so well. Very charming, until he married Mum and then turned completely uncaring and abusive. He is in the army, so he gets the oportunity to shoot at people and be shot at (his words). He wanted to become a helicopter pilot in the army but failed the psych test because he was a danger to himself and others. He found this very funny. When mum left him it did not affect him emotionally at all. He also has zero interest in ever meeting his son again (or his daughter from a previous mariage). So how succesful a psycopath is he? I guess he found a legal way to satisfy his violent tendancies by joining the army, and on the whole he manages to fit into society. Its just bad news for anyone who gets to know him personally.


Merus
Posted 20 January 2008 at 05:37 pm

I know I wouldn't classify as psychopathic, because I worry about it. Sure, I'd make a good supervillain, but the important thing is that I recognise the pain that would cause. The point, I guess, is that psychopaths simply don't understand, and I realise this sounds trite, what it is to be human. (I'm guessing Bewildered probably checked a fair few of the boxes in the test - the whole attitude that there's nothing wrong with being a psychopath seems like it's a telltale sign.)

Though it's DI that many movie heroes would qualify as psychopaths.


Bicep
Posted 20 January 2008 at 05:46 pm

DI article. I've been reading articles for about 6 months and just finally got around to getting a username so I can comment. I'm not sure whether I enjoy the articles or the comments more. This is a great site.


shadowflyt
Posted 20 January 2008 at 05:58 pm

"That being the case, it is questionable whether a description such as “evil”—which is not uncommon in both the popular and scientific literature—can really be applied to individuals incapable of understanding what it means."
"Evil", by neccessity, appears to be a moral term. Morality, regardless of any one particular definition, still defines generally, whether something may be good or bad ( evil ). I cannot imagine - or perhaps, to be more honest, I do not believe that a psychopathic person is incapable of understanding what it means. If the psychopath who tortures and kills another were subjected to the same tortures, would not he or she object to such treatment? This would undeniably illustrate a conscious understanding of right and wrong. Would it be intellectually satisfying to believe that Hermann Goering, pictured above, would feel the same if the atrocities he committed against others were perpetrated against him? Regardless of any fancy social concepts, I do not believe any individual on the receiving end of "evil" has any problem at all understanding it. Therefore, in that same concept, should the roles be reversed - should the "evil" one become the victim, he/she too would prove that such behaviour is unwanted, undesirable, wrong, evil, etc.. He would, in fact, be making a moral decision ....


oddharmonic
Posted 20 January 2008 at 06:06 pm

@Bewildered: the DI article you're thinking of about depression is The Total Perspective Vortex.


solitas
Posted 20 January 2008 at 06:39 pm

"...the absence of any sense of conscience, remorse, or guilt..."

(I will not insert a 'hillary' reference here.)

:D


drizen
Posted 20 January 2008 at 06:39 pm

Great Article. I find Psychopaths to be damn interesting, and always looking for articles as such.
Can anyone please explain to me the below?
If Scientology condemns Psychiatry and Psychology as fake, does it too condemn Psychopaths as myth?
I mean, if they do not recognize chemical in-balance in the brain, people who can't empathize with others pain, and all the other traits of a Psychopath, then do they not believe they exist.
Or do they believe they exist but are inclined to act that way due to reasons only Scientologists can understand?
If the latter, then isn’t it any Scientologists obligation to inform us of there beliefs anyway?
- I mean no offence by this comment, I respect all people’s beliefs and there right to believe them, however I am merely curious.


Bewildered
Posted 20 January 2008 at 06:52 pm

Merus - Alas, i don't believe i am a psychopath, i have a good sense of right and wrong and my mind and body let me know when the line is near or crossed. But i also have a good sense of live and let live and get quite frustrated when i see a person with one trait being considered 'normal' and another considered a freak. For the record, i didn't actually click on the test, but i will now just to make sure that what i'm saying isn't some delusion on my part :-) I'd be content to be a psychopath though, ignorance is bliss...
1c3dog - take a chill pill, happens when you're not sure which one of 4 people did the damage? Kill them all? and their families? That's why we have a legal system and don't deal with things out of anger...
Thanks Odd - i couldn't quite think of it, it was driving me psychotic!


Bewildered
Posted 20 January 2008 at 06:54 pm

Hey drizen - in my above comment where i said live and let live - i meant to add 'except scientologists'


Meeshymeg
Posted 20 January 2008 at 07:59 pm

Just a few days ago, I got into crimelibrary.com and have spent hours reading up on serial killers, so this is a pretty timely article for me. I studied Psychology for years and I've always been fascinated by psychological disorders, especially abnormal ones. I'm probably MOST interested in antisocial personality disorder. I'm commonly attracted to many people who fit the descriptions listed here in spite of myself. It's the confidence, charisma and willingness to take risks. I find myself jealous, wishing I didn't care as much what others think of me. I answered the test questions as myself, and then as one of my best friends, and he's most certainly a psychopath. It's interesting to see the positive side of psychopathy expressed. It's such a frightening disorder. It's very hard, maybe impossible, to trust someone like that when you know just how unmoved they are by the emotions of others. It does make one to think outside society's box, but when they want to destroy things, the results are dismal. Damn Interesting, I need to buy the Hale book.

Shadowflyt said: "If the psychopath who tortures and kills another were subjected to the same tortures, would not he or she object to such treatment? This would undeniably illustrate a conscious understanding of right and wrong."

Not really. A psychopath has no problem looking out for themself. To them, they are the only one that matters. They don't want to be tortured any more than someone with a conscience, but it's not related. Right and wrong, and good and bad are not really moral terms to a psychopath. They understand them as legal terms, but what's good for the psychopath is "good" or "right", what's bad for them is "wrong". I actually doubt that a psychopath would beg for mercy. It seems much more plausible that they would become angry and self righteous instead. It really is considered the least curable of all mental disorders, maybe because it's inherited (I hadn't heard that before, just that it starts in childhood as Conduct Disorder) but also because a psychopath almost never decides to go into therapy on their own. Sometimes they're forced by law, or by family members, but historically they are unwilling and narcissistic participants who do not see anything wrong with themselves and generally blame others.


Web
Posted 20 January 2008 at 08:04 pm

Absolutely fascinating. I always thought there was something wrong with the "hero" running around killing "bad guys" (think innocent hired help.) Now I know that they're all just a bunch of psychopaths. Thank you Christopher for this DI article!


flatrick
Posted 20 January 2008 at 08:09 pm

Nice article, although I hoped to learn a bit more. Not your fault though, just nothing new under the sun i guess.

As for most of the commentators, I get the vague feeling they either (and hopefully) read the article too hastily, or did not understand its quintessence.


shadowflyt
Posted 20 January 2008 at 08:32 pm

Meeshymeg writes "A psychopath has no problem looking out for themself. To them, they are the only one that matters. They don't want to be tortured any more than someone with a conscience" - and so I must ask ... Why? WHY do they NOT want to be tortured any more than someone with a conscience?


binnyva
Posted 20 January 2008 at 08:40 pm

What do these people(psychopath) expect of other people - do they expect others to empathize with his problems?


Marsupial
Posted 20 January 2008 at 09:22 pm

I think psychopaths can have a very positive impact on society. While they may not understand emotions, they have been known to work better logically. Emotions can be added into an equation just like any other variable. They can account for the general populations feelings without needing to feel such themselves. So, the lack of emotions can be made up for with superior reasoning. Of course, the violent pyschopaths are another story. But they are not a majority among psychopaths and we should not judge the whole on the actions of the few.


Jitterwyser
Posted 20 January 2008 at 09:52 pm

shadowflyt said: "Meeshymeg writes "A psychopath has no problem looking out for themself. To them, they are the only one that matters. They don't want to be tortured any more than someone with a conscience" - and so I must ask … Why? WHY do they NOT want to be tortured any more than someone with a conscience?"

Because it hurts. They'd have no qualms about torturing someone else, because it doesn't hurt the psychopath themselves. If they were being tortured, they would be in pain. They'd see their own misfortune as a bad thing, but not because of any moral issue with torture.


Old Man
Posted 20 January 2008 at 10:45 pm

Fascinating article, and very well-written.

I don't think I know any psychos, and I'm glad!

So, to get this straight, psychopaths can experience the normal range of human emotions (anger, love, jealousy) except for those that involve any sense of empathy?


Dean
Posted 20 January 2008 at 10:54 pm

binnyva said: "What do these people(psychopath) expect of other people - do they expect others to empathize with his problems?"

I think they could use other peoples empathy for their genuine or fictitious problems if they wanted, and not feel any guilt in doing so. If someone didn't empathize, it's not like you'd hurt their feelings.


missdove
Posted 20 January 2008 at 11:10 pm

flatrick said: "Nice article, although I hoped to learn a bit more. Not your fault though, just nothing new under the sun i guess.

As for most of the commentators, I get the vague feeling they either (and hopefully) read the article too hastily, or did not understand its quintessence."

Would you care to explain this 'quintessence' that you think they have not understood?
Some articles I have read say it's not so much that psychopaths lack empathy, in the sense of the ability to understand other people's feelings - they lack compassion. Evidence of their empathy is their ability to manipulate others' feelings - you can't do that if you don't understand what they are and how they work.
I've known a couple of socio/psychopaths, I think. Fortunately they weren't the violent sort, they were just bloody annoying and inconsiderate.


Lisette
Posted 20 January 2008 at 11:20 pm

DI... though self-diagnosis is not a good thing!!!


Tink
Posted 21 January 2008 at 12:09 am

Great article! DI!
The movie: The Bad Seed is an excelent example of the baby psycho[pathic]. I recommend any of you younger readers to look it up and watch it. The original version is much better than the recent re-make.
Also, one commented on visiting crimelibrary.com, one of my favorite sites. If you would realy like to while away a couple of hours for the sheer joy of exploration, look up Hanibal Lector....(yeah!) they actually have a profile and pschoanalisis of the character. Too cool.
Thank you Christopher!


mustamike
Posted 21 January 2008 at 12:39 am

Sigh. Charm and drive coupled with a complete disregard for the opinions of others. I wish I had it.


supercalafragalistic
Posted 21 January 2008 at 12:50 am

So timely an article. Just tonight I encountered a person who was callous, uncaring and highly abusive. This was an old friend of mine that I made a special trip out into the Chicago cold to see this evening. I couldn't figure out if he was psychopathic, or if he just wanted to upset me. Either way I left quickly and I'm much better off. I was surprised and really ticked. If you're a nice person those types can see you as prey. Tonight I had a first hand experience with the vile behavior described above and I can personally attest to the level of annoyance that it causes. It made me feel angry. Grrrr. Thanks for letting me share :)


wh44
Posted 21 January 2008 at 03:51 am

Old Man said: "So, to get this straight, psychopaths can experience the normal range of human emotions (anger, love, jealousy) except for those that involve any sense of empathy?"

Yes and no: I think it hits the nail on the head to say "no empathy". However taking out empathy takes out a whole range of emotions, including love. They may like sex, they may like 'possessing' an attractive mate, but can never feel the real bonding that is love.

shadowflyt said "and so I must ask … Why? WHY do they NOT want to be tortured any more than someone with a conscience?"

Because it hurts. The thing with a psychopath is that they think of themselves as fundamentally different from others, like a normal person perceives the difference between themselves and a bug - you have no trouble understanding that a bug will flee if hurt, but may not relate the bug's hurt to your own sense of pain - so it is for the psychopath and their emotions. This does not make them stupid. On the contrary, there is some support for the idea that, for some, it is precisely because they are smarter that they perceive themselves as fundamentally different.

Empathy is usually learned as a child: there are numerous studies demonstrating how it works. My favorite book on child rearing, "Bringing Up a Moral Child" (Amazon.com, unfortunately out of print), is chock full of them.

These methods for raising empathy are, of course, less effective in adults. I would not recommend trying to reform an adult psychopath - you're very likely to get him angry at you, and that can be a very bad place to be.

Psychopathy is also much more common in adopted and foster children. When it starts developing in children, it is often called "Attachment Disorder" (Wikipedia). Unfortunately it appears that most treatments out there are ineffective if not directly counterproductive, e.g. rebirthing (Wikipedia). The best current book I know on treating children who are heading down this road is Beyond Consequences, Logic and Control" (Amazon.com).


wh44
Posted 21 January 2008 at 04:52 am

Please excuse my ignorance: who is the guy in the main article picture?


Rook
Posted 21 January 2008 at 04:58 am

Had to get an account upon reading this article -- felt I needed to react in some way. Damn Interesting of course.

I found it a bit disturbing to read this, as I could relate to a certain extent with several things mentioned here. I haven't spoken to anyone professionally about this, or informally for that matter. I can interpret and understand others' feelings and actions effectively. In every situation, however, I am more concerned for how I can benefit. I don't feel like an asshole. But I can't see why anyone else would feel differently from their own perspective. If I'm wrong in this, do explain why. Sacrifice or selfless behavior seem like excuses to further one's own image or create security for oneself in the future.

In day to day conversation, (not here!) I lie constantly. Nothing harmful particularily, but whatever I think will improve my standing in a given situation. I am very rarely tangled in these lies, as I am very effective at planning them out quickly. No one has got a clear image of who I am, and sometimes I also wonder if I even do. But I'm quite good at manipulating the way people see me and how they at toward me.

I am promiscuous in my own quiet way, and I tend to abandon relationships as soon as I begin to feel too committed. Let me state that I am not abusive. I do not harm others intentionally at any time. I think such things come around in circles. I don't really care about what people expect from me, including teachers and law enforcement, so long as I think I can avoid consequences. The idea of coming to physical or emotional harm does not upset me, but this can largely be attributed to my diagnosed mood disorder, as can my utter lack of long-term (and often short-term) goals. I am on medication and in psychiatric counseling to deal with depressive tendencies. I actually have exceptionally low self-worth.

I don't feel bad about anything I do unless experience teaches me that it cannot further my intentions. I learn from such mistakes after one or two falls, and move on quickly. I am absolutely certain I have feelings one way or another, but I do tend to exaggerate or mask them to meet the needs of circumstance. The way I see it, they don't have a particular use except insofar as I can make them useful. I try to learn more every day by watching people, writing down my experiences, and thinking about how interaction works and what it means both between peers and strangers.

It was disconcerting to think that the traits noted in this article lined up so frequently with aspects of my own personality.

I realize while I write this that it may look outrageous. I am not trolling. I am trying to be very honest and clear about the way I feel, a lot easier to discuss online than face to face with people I share my life with. I hope you'll look at this as an interesting case study, and bat around some speculation. I'd like to figure some things out, and thought this might be useful. What do you think?


Rook
Posted 21 January 2008 at 04:59 am

Oh, and that's Bundy.


Rahalia
Posted 21 January 2008 at 05:10 am

The same discovery awaits most anyone who becomes close to such an individual. In romantic relationships, a psychopath may be charming and affectionate just long enough to establish intimacy with a partner, and then suddenly become abusive, unfaithful, and manipulative. The bewildered partner might turn to friends and family with their story, only to be met with disbelief -- how could the warm, outgoing individual everyone has come to know possibly be guilty of these acts? All too often, the abused partner blames the situation on themselves, and comes out of the relationship emotionally destroyed.

Well. Hello, ex-husband...

(Not quite emotionally destroyed over here, but came close to it.)


Spamboy
Posted 21 January 2008 at 05:27 am

arvash getting in the first comment kept me from teetering over the edge on the self-test. Now I can continue to go undetected.


nona
Posted 21 January 2008 at 05:28 am

That was chilling. I've known for a while now that pyschopaths and sociopaths don't necessarily have to become Ted Bundy style killers - they can just live normal lives. I didn't realise that pyschopathic qualities was what big corporations looked for in their CEO's - and presumably the same sort of qualities have been prized in world leaders, both past and present. Thay whole Al Dunlap situation is seriously disturbing - yet I bet people thought 'who cares how he treats his wife? He's making money for us!'

BTW - crimelibrary.com - absolutely fascinating place, though sometimes a bit black and white when it comes to moral judgements.


pogmog
Posted 21 January 2008 at 05:40 am

This is just evolution... Anxiety and fear are tools for survival against wild animals (fight or flight response). Maybe these 'psychopaths' are just more adapt to the world of today.


Stanislav
Posted 21 January 2008 at 05:57 am

Wow, I know a guy who scores almost 100% on the "test." He has all the tendencies, combined with a hare-trigger temper, a passion for revenge when he feels even remotely slighted, a very bi-polar personality, and the regular ingestion of mind-altering substances (both legal and illegal). Fortunately, he lives far away from me now, and our only contact is via e-mail, but even that is unnerving. One message will be "normal" and friendly, then he will pick up on some innocent little thing in the reply and go off on a threatening tirade, then when he's back to normal he will blatantly deny having said those things, even if you confront him with a copy of the e-mail. I've always thought that of all the people I know, he's the "Most Likely to be Mentioned in a CNN Breaking News Report Someday." I've distanced myself from him over the years, but hesitate to cut him off completely, lest that in itself set him off. (He's been known to fuck up people that he thinks have dissed him with long-distance revenge -- hacking their accounts, spreading rumors or reporting false allegations to law enforcement, etc.)


Anonymousx2
Posted 21 January 2008 at 06:35 am

pogmog said: "This is just evolution… Anxiety and fear are tools for survival against wild animals (fight or flight response). Maybe these 'psychopaths' are just more adapt to the world of today."

1. Disturbing thought, but I applaud your insight; you might very well be correct. In one sense, psychopathic men represent the ultimate "Alpha Male," don't they?

2. I wonder how many professional football players fit this article's definition?

3. Can we consider the persons who post here frequently (some compulsively, apparently) to be highly egocentric?

4. Given the idea that psychopaths lack empathy but have learned how to imitate "normal" emotions, I wonder how many "computer nerds" would fit nicely within this article's definition? I have often heard that "computer nerds" live on the computer because they can't handle the real world. If it is true, at least they aren't out among us.

5. This is kind of a long post, and I post here frequently. Perhaps I should be worried about myself.

On second thought, no, I don't think so.... I took the article's test, and everything came out okay.


mandalyn74
Posted 21 January 2008 at 07:24 am

I am also a true crime buff, and have perused most if not all of the articles in the 'murder' section of crimelibrary.com. I have read much on there about attempts to define psycopathy, although in most cases it is after the fact, once the killer is caught it is easy to look back on their behavior and classify them as a psycopath. The trick would be to identify the signs and be able to do something about it BEFORE they murder dozens of people. We can all think about the serial killers such as Bundy and Dahmer and see the obvious diagnosis, but the fact that there are actually a larger percentage of psychopaths living normal lives completely under the radar is actually rather scary. In most cases the killer was living a fairly normal life until one day something just snapped, or some major event in their lives triggered them to go out and commit violent acts. So, isn't every clinical psycopath potentially dangerous under the right circumstances?


peridot window
Posted 21 January 2008 at 08:46 am

Fantastic article!


beartiger
Posted 21 January 2008 at 08:51 am

Nice article. I was struck particularly by the suggestion that psychopathy is a good survival strategy for our times. In the twentieth century, psychopathy was popularized as a system of ethics by Ayn Rand. Her ethics (egoism, which existed actually for centuries before) amounts to an ethics that is motivated by personal consequences only. That is, you do the right thing only because doing the wrong thing can result in retaliation against you. Ayn Rand made feeble attempts to respond to this objection to her ethics. Her argument was essentially that certain actions are beneath a moral person. But, given that she thought all her ethics were purely rationally based, this begs the question as to what makes any particular action wrong and therefore "beneath" the actor. I've argued this point with a lot of Objectivists (as followers of Ayn Rand's philosophy call themselves). Only one has (chillingly) agreed with me. The others have disagreed but had no convincing counterargument. As the article points out, there is an advantage to pretending not to be a psychopath, so most of them learn to fake it.

I don't know what the percentage of people are hard core Rand disciples, but I wouldn't be surprised if about 1% of educated types (i.e., the sorts who are likely to do things like base their personal ethics on philosophy) are Objectivists, which happens to correspond to what the article estimates as the percentage of psychopaths. That seems a good estimate, in my experience.


kyodan69
Posted 21 January 2008 at 09:10 am

As a real-life bomb disposal expert, how do I get on the Damn Interesting A-team? E-mail me, Alan.


chenobble
Posted 21 January 2008 at 09:13 am

I don't know what concerns me more - the potential behaviour of the unfortunate people with this condition, or the comments on here supporting such behaviour.


kyodan69
Posted 21 January 2008 at 09:24 am

Stanislav said: "Wow, I know a guy who scores almost 100% on the "test." He has all the tendencies, combined with a hare-trigger temper, a passion for revenge when he feels even remotely slighted, a very bi-polar personality, and the regular ingestion of mind-altering substances (both legal and illegal). Fortunately, he lives far away from me now, and our only contact is via e-mail, but even that is unnerving. One message will be "normal" and friendly, then he will pick up on some innocent little thing in the reply and go off on a threatening tirade, then when he's back to normal he will blatantly deny having said those things, even if you confront him with a copy of the e-mail. I've always thought that of all the people I know, he's the "Most Likely to be Mentioned in a CNN Breaking News Report Someday." I've distanced myself from him over the years, but hesitate to cut him off completely, lest that in itself set him off. (He's been known to fuck up people that he thinks have dissed him with long-distance revenge — hacking their accounts, spreading rumors or reporting false allegations to law enforcement, etc.)"

First, understand that a psychopath will not feel emotionally driven to do any of the things listed in the character profile of the article. If a person you know does these things out of emotion, then they are usually just mean, or even sadistic. Those types of personalities are emotionally driven.


Hoekstes
Posted 21 January 2008 at 10:03 am

OK so I'm a psychopath. No remorse here. So that's why I always get "You're the most selfish person in the whole wide world!!"... booo f*kn whoo. Business is going well though...


sssssssspoon
Posted 21 January 2008 at 10:40 am

wow


shnookylangston
Posted 21 January 2008 at 11:39 am

My upstairs neighbor is a classic sociopath. She's a con artist, a pathological liar, a thief, and a sometime prostitute when she's desperate for money. She fits every single criterion of sociopathy. She has absolutely no conscience or sense of remorse or real emotions, and she sees other people only as a means for her to get what she wants. She's never had a real job or worked an honest day's work in her life. She thinks she's smarter and more clever than everyone else, she plays the victim if she's caught, she's superficially charming, and she has an uncanny ability to immediately hone in on an angle (or weakness) to connect with her potential victims. She counts on people thinking that she's just like them and everyone else. There are always red flags, but people tend to ignore them. She tried to hone in on my wife and me, but we saw the red flags immediately and steered clear of her. She lives to lie and manipulate people, and she'll test you with more and more outrageous lies to see how far she can go. She's currently under 4 felony indictments for fraud and stock fraud because she got sloppy stealing money from someone who thought she was her "best friend."

Piece of advice: Pay attention to those little red flags.


adastra
Posted 21 January 2008 at 11:46 am

Do you think the watchers in government, the moral defenders, the police, the religious right, the Homeland Security types, read DI? Ooops! Forget I said that! In fact, I didn't say that. It was... umm... my cat! She cat types all the time, and although I love her... no, no I don't! I'll be happy to turn her her over... to anyone that asks:-/


Acidophilus
Posted 21 January 2008 at 11:48 am

This article brings up some interesting ideas. Psychopaths can exist on the largess of society only because the majority of people have empathy. Human society could be considered somewhat hive-like, and psychos are the loafer ants that don't do any real work but eat anyway. Would it lead to greater harmony in society if people like this were screened for and eliminated? Should psychopaths have their right to live even though they pose a constant threat to those around them? Does having no empathy and fear make you less than human? Empathy is not just an knee-jerk emotional reaction, but the mental acknowledgment that the things you interact with everyday have minds like you, and aren't just gibbering meat sacks. Autistics technically view the world in some ways that are more "truthful", but being that the condition makes it difficult for them to interact with other humans and adapt to new enviroments, it's considered a disorder. What's more important, traits that that allow people to maintain societies, or that increase personal ability?


sd9sd
Posted 21 January 2008 at 11:52 am

Was carefully clicking on the buttons of the psychopath test, and burst out laughing on seeing "Posts "first!" comments on Internet sites".
Simply superb, Christopher! Simply Superb!!! :)


Alan Bellows
Posted 21 January 2008 at 12:18 pm

kyodan69 said: "As a real-life bomb disposal expert, how do I get on the Damn Interesting A-team? E-mail me, Alan."

I love it when a plan comes together.


damncurious
Posted 21 January 2008 at 12:31 pm

ugh!

I just ran the quicky test using my daughter as the subject and she comes up as being pretty psychopathic - so is there something like PFLAG for for this?


openside
Posted 21 January 2008 at 12:52 pm

For all of those who have administered this test to themselves and those they know - you may want to check you reality guages.

From the article, immediately before the 'test' (note the subtle humour):
"The leading scientific test is Hare's PCL-R, but to be valid it must be performed by a qualified professional under controlled conditions. For those who can't be bothered with such expensive frills, we present the PCL-DI: an alternative, PCL-inspired test guaranteed to appear scientific."


openside
Posted 21 January 2008 at 12:53 pm

Sorry - "check your reality gauges"


openside
Posted 21 January 2008 at 12:56 pm

missdove said: "Would you care to explain this 'quintessence' that you think they have not understood?

Not really my place to say, but I think 'flatrick' may have been referring to the liberal and literal use of the 'test' provided in the article?


smokefoot
Posted 21 January 2008 at 01:25 pm

Rook - I think most of your symptoms are related to depression, not psychopathy. Depression will make you feel distant from other people, and make it hard to relate on an empathic level, and also make it hard to care what other people think. Being manipulative proceeds from there.


zfish7
Posted 21 January 2008 at 02:52 pm

I found this very DI, I also think it is interesting to point out that these people are mentioned quite a few times in the Bible but modern churchianty will not touch something like that with a ten foot pole. 2 Peter 2:12, Jude 1:10, Psalms 58:3-6, Romans 9:22. My best answer as to why God made these people is Romans 9:22.


Mikell
Posted 21 January 2008 at 03:21 pm

But what about the flip side? People who have too great a dose of empathy - who cry when a fly falters.
Seems there is a continuum here: doormats to raging a-holes. (apologies if that's too insensitive) Maybe a different way to put it - a range from predator to prey.
If there is no effective way to attenuate psychopathic characteristics, is there also no way to reduce the vulnerability of the over-emapthetic?
Interesting that a larger proportion of the male population is said to be psychopathic compared to females. This could explain a lot, and I wonder if we had information about how the genders fall on a scale from most to least emapthetic, whether the curves would be mirror images of one another.
I guess it's all a part of life on the planet - dealing with individuals on their own merits and trying not to be too shocked when people don't live up to expectations. So, be alert out there, and don't turn around too fast, lest you get stabbed in the face.


JGJones
Posted 21 January 2008 at 03:25 pm

beartiger,

Egoism is not Psychopathy. As an example, take the anecdote about about a very famous Egoist and the argument he gave in favor of Egoism describing our actions:

It is said that Abraham Lincoln stopped his carriage and proceeded to wade into a mud hole to free a piglet who was stuck in the mud and suffocating. Upon his return his companion cleverly sought to strike a blow against Lincoln's belief in Egoism. "Rarely have I seen an act more altruistic and selfless", he said. Lincoln replied, "If I had allowed that poor little piglet to suffocate, I should never have been able to sleep tonight."

Egoism states that we all do things that are in our own best interest, whether we realize it or not, and Ethical Egoism prescribes that we should strive to act in our own best interest in a determined way, even if our own best interest is only to feel good about ourselves and avoid guilty feelings or remorse at the expense of getting our shoes and pant legs muddy.

As you can see, conscience and empathy play a large part in the Egoist perspective; and, Social Contract goes a long way toward explaining the existence of conscience and empathy.

It is rather obvious that Psychopaths lack the natural or learned tendency to act or feel in a way that corresponds to the tenets of Social Contract; this, contrary to your statements, has absolutely nothing to do with Ethical Egoism or any other system of Ethics, not even Hedonism.

Egoism is no more Psychopathy than Natural Law is Schizophrenia.

In case you are wondering, I'm not an Objectivist. I am a Rule Utilitarian, and I know I'm not a Psychopath; because, I wouldn't have let that little piglet suffocate either.


Spike
Posted 21 January 2008 at 04:48 pm

Being more on the side of the "selfless goody two-shoes" and overly empathic (I cry over sentimental coffee commercials) myself ( I get teased about it all the time), I think these people are very scary. As far as being highly intelligent, charming, etc., just remember that old saying that if something (or someone) seems to good to be true, it probably is.
I liked JGJones story about Abraham Lincoln and the pig. True character shows in what we do when no one is around. I wouldn't have been able to let the piglet die either.
Chilling article Mr. Putnam, DI and a nice big piece of pie.


Bewildered
Posted 21 January 2008 at 05:34 pm

Acidophilus - I'm all for wiping out a section of the population, as long as the proponents of wiping out that section are the first to go... How would you feel about that?


SoxSweepAgain
Posted 21 January 2008 at 05:40 pm

arvash said: "FIRST!! >:D someone had to do it."

In this one case, I smiled.


Geckofiend
Posted 21 January 2008 at 06:12 pm

"Human society could be considered somewhat hive-like, and psychos are the loafer ants that don't do any real work but eat anyway"

Actually, after RTFA it's apparent that they're FAR from loafer ants...


wh44
Posted 21 January 2008 at 07:06 pm

damncurious said: "ugh!

I just ran the quicky test using my daughter as the subject and she comes up as being pretty psychopathic - so is there something like PFLAG for for this?"

1) take that test with a grain of salt! It is halfway a joke.
If your daughter's behavior really is a problem:
2) have her see a psychologist (take time to find a good one!) and listen to what he says
3) Do your own research into psychopathy / attachment disorder and how it applies to her. (I suspect you would anyway, considering you were interested in a support group).

If your daughter really does turn out to have attachment disorder, one of the people who wrote "Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control", has a website, and I found this list of support groups there.

I have never been to one of these support groups, so I cannot personally vouch, but I think they are probably okay. Be warned: there are whole movements "out there" that use authoritarian methods that will only drive the behavior deeper underground without addressing the root of the problem - keep your eyes open.


Meeshymeg
Posted 21 January 2008 at 07:08 pm

Shadowflyt-Others have it covered already. They don't want to be tortured because it hurts them physically. It wouldn't keep them from torturing someone because they don't care if it hurts someone else. They can't sympathize.

Missdove said: "Some articles I have read say it's not so much that psychopaths lack empathy, in the sense of the ability to understand other people's feelings - they lack compassion. Evidence of their empathy is their ability to manipulate others' feelings - you can't do that if you don't understand what they are and how they work."

I think that's a great way to explain it, lacking compassion, thanks.

To the few, including the author of this piece, who suggested that it may be adaptation: That's compelling, and it is a logical idea, except that psychopaths have existed throughout human history, haven't they? In roles of power, especially. Do you mean since before evolution they've learned to play on other people's emotions for their own gain? I wonder if it exists in apes. My boyfriend (not a psychopath, or an ape, but a physicist, yay!), tries to distance himself from emotions so he can sort things out logically. That used to worry me, but I've come to realize that 1) he can't do it as often as he would like to, and 2) sometimes it's good to be rational instead of getting all wrapped up in depression or rage or something. I suppose that there's a point for adaptation in small numbers. Psychopaths may get things done, but compassion is the glue that holds society together. If we were all psychopaths, no one would really benefit.

Acidophilus said: "Autistics technically view the world in some ways that are more "truthful", but being that the condition makes it difficult for them to interact with other humans and adapt to new enviroments, it's considered a disorder."

I think the difference here is the idea of social contract (as mentioned by JGJones here). While autistics can be very literal, that doesn't mean that their picture of things is more truthful, it's just different because it's lacking the larger social picture. My adult sister has Asperger's Syndrome and she is very selfish and stubborn. She doesn't empathize with others, but it's because she doesn't understand the emotions others feel, this is why I think missdove is on the money when she says it's not empathy that psychopaths lack, it's compassion. My sister is compassionate at times, and can be very loving, but she doesn't understand what makes someone else feel bad unless she actually sees them crying, and then she can only relate by thinking they're upset about what makes HER sad. A sociopath understands the social framework and just doesn't care unless it benefits them to exploit the system, an autistic misses the reasoning involved. It is strikingly similar. I wonder if the two are related, and if it all ties in to the adaptation theory. Hmmm.

Beartiger- It's funny that you brought up Ayn Rand. I've never read any Rand (but I've heard scathing critiques). My sociopathic friend (no, I wasn't basing it on this test) is a big old fan of hers for precisely the reasons you've mentioned.

Mikell said: "But what about the flip side? People who have too great a dose of empathy - who cry when a fly falters...Maybe a different way to put it - a range from predator to prey.
If there is no effective way to attenuate psychopathic characteristics, is there also no way to reduce the vulnerability of the over-emapthetic?"

I would group myself in there, I'm overly compassionate sometimes, and a depressive. I've already mentioned my attraction to the magnetic personalities so many psychopaths possess. I'd say that I'm a great mark and quite vulnerable, but I've studied these behaviors, as well as learned from experience, and can generally keep from letting sociopaths take advantage of me by recognizing when I'm being used for something other than my company. One close friend is an exception, he's hurt me badly (emotionally) in the past, the only reason I feel safe is that he's in another country and I didn't speak to him for years until he came to me and apologized (just to get on my good side, he said he didn't remember what he did wrong, until I gave him a laundry list). Others like me aren't as lucky and get very hurt when they get into those relationships. As long as they aren't traumatically abusive, we heal, and learn. Maybe a brush with a psychopath can help the doormats to grow a thicker skin? I'm making excuses for myself. Still scary, though, and I have to warn myself away sometimes.

Obviously, I can go on and on, and keep contradicting myself. This is really my cup of tea, but I'll stop here.


lundy
Posted 21 January 2008 at 07:09 pm

sounds like my dad.


Meeshymeg
Posted 21 January 2008 at 07:13 pm

Ok, that posted before I could edit, sorry. I want to add that Asperger's Syndrome is a mild form of autism (for those who didn't know), and that it makes my sister completely inept socially, in contrast to the charming personalities of psychopaths. The end.


username
Posted 21 January 2008 at 07:18 pm

I love the part about "manie sans d'elire"! Had some bad wrecks and sometimes dreams are hard to distinguish from reality. I know I'm crazy so can I get a check? Most crazy people not know they are crazy so should be worth something..........


Acidophilus
Posted 21 January 2008 at 07:28 pm

Bewildered,
I wouldn't feel anything, because I would never myself support such a thing. A truly fair and just society cannot be founded on evil things, such as state sponsored murder. I merely brought it up because I think it's interesting and important to think about. I'm sorry if you thought I was trying to troll, I like to bring up provocative things only because they make for good discussion. Ideas that are abhorrent should be talked about, or else we won't truly understand what makes them so. And to Meeshymeg, with autistics I was referring to the way that they constantly perceive environment as brand new, and can notice things that neurologically typical people don't. Autism has no benefits for social interaction as far as I'm aware.


shadowflyt
Posted 21 January 2008 at 08:08 pm

Jitterwyser (post 29) and Wh44 (post 37) both answer that the psychopath does not want to be tortured any more than some one with a conscience “because it hurts.” However it is said, it is still painfully obvious that being hurt is not a good thing. Jitterwyser is unable to escape the “moral” ramifications in stating that “their own misfortune [is] a bad thing.” Nor does Wh44 escape the “moral” ramifications in providing a rationalization for the psychopathic behavior. People do not make excuses for doing good. There is no need to rationalize away good behavior. Wh44 states very well and quite truly, I believe, that the ability to rationalize does not make them stupid. Whether or not we like to think of “good” and “bad” as moral issues, we still understand that the psychopath has chosen to do something to another person that he or she would not want done to himself/herself. To justify or rationalize the behavior by stating “I am fundamentally different” than the one I am hurting illustrates, again, a consciousness of the badness, evil, or dare I say it, the moral wrong being done to another.


shadowflyt
Posted 21 January 2008 at 08:34 pm

wh44 said: "Please excuse my ignorance: who is the guy in the main article picture?"

I believe the picture is of Ted Bundy


Joshua
Posted 21 January 2008 at 11:13 pm

sd9sd said: "Was carefully clicking on the buttons of the psychopath test, and burst out laughing on seeing "Posts "first!" comments on Internet sites".

Simply superb, Christopher! Simply Superb!!! :)"

Meh... What he really should have done was rig the test so that clicking "Yes" on that item automatically produces a rating of "Pure psychopath" regardless of your other responses. :P


_Felix
Posted 22 January 2008 at 01:53 am

This article perpetuates three myths:
that rationality is opposed to morality,
that unemotional morality is impossible,
and that morality is written in our genes.
And it ends with a dose of moral relitivism.


PJMurphy
Posted 22 January 2008 at 04:16 am

This entire subject is predicated on a patently false premise: Morality is Absolute.

It's not. Not at all.

We think of psychopaths as lacking the capability to distinguish between Right and Wrong, when history has proven that these abstract concepts are valueless. If something is Right, absolutely morally Right, then shouldn't it always have been Right, and always will be Right?

Yet some of the things we now find morally reprehensible have a long history. Allow me to offer a few examples....

Slavery. Almost everyone reading this would be in agreement that slavery is Wrong. In fact, it would be almost impossible to find a proponent for slavery, certainly in the Western world. Although it persists in areas of Africa (ironic), it has mostly been eradicated. But why?

Not because it's Wrong. If it were Wrong, then how did it persist for almost all of human history? The Romans, The Egyptians & The Greeks all used slaves to build their civilizations, to quarry the stone for the magnificent buildings that survive to this day. Slaves were spoils of war, and conquered people were sold to offset the costs of conquest. Whether to row the galleys, or to serve in the homes of the conqueror, slaves were an essential part of the economies of almost every culture in the world, up to a couple of hundred years ago.

And what happened a couple of hundred years ago? The Industrial Revolution. Why invest in owning a human that needs food and lodging, can be unpredictable in behaviour and output, and requires rest, when a machine can get the job done, and machines don't die. Granted, you can put 2 machines together as much as you like, and they'll never breed a third machine, but in all other respects, machines are superior to slaves. Watt did more to end slavery than any moral epiphany. But for thousands of years, slavery was Right.

How about Public Executions? Another thing we consider Wrong, and even proponents of capital punishment agree that public executions as a form of entertainment are, at the least, distasteful. But again we see something NOW considered Wrong that has thousands of years of history of being Right.

Gaging psychopathology against this variable moral compass is simply a mistake. Those qualities we interpret as mental illness would be exactly those which would have made a fine Viking, or a soldier in some conquering army, raping and looting and pillaging and torturing and perfectly comfortable in knowing that all of it was Right. His comrades, his Priest, and his King would tell him so.

Note to self: FIRST you pillage, THEN you burn. I hate getting that one mixed up.

So, as an avowed psychopath, I can tell you frankly that Right and Wrong are illusions, that Morality is NOT absolute, and that all that remains is practicality. You all are nothing but currency, to be saved or spent according to what's practical for me. If I choose to help you paint your living room, it's not that I like you, and want to be kind to you, it's because six months from now I'll ask you to help me move.

If I take an hour or two to listen to you vent over a breakup, it's not because I empathize, it's because I want to bind your loyalty closer to me. Frankly, I couldn't be bribed into giving half a shit about you or your fucked-up life. But I'll fake it, because it suits my purposes.

If I spout mindless drivel about how you're the center of my universe, it really means that I want someone to cook and clean for me, and that it feels good when I stick parts of my body into parts of yours. And when you come around to seeing that I really AM a cold-hearted bastard I can replace you in a very short time.

Now, this doesn't mean I'm going to start murdering my neighbours, or dissecting the cat. There is no practical benefit in it for me....who am I going to borrow a smoke from? As well, incarceration doesn't really appeal to me. But Right and Wrong don't enter the equation.


wh44
Posted 22 January 2008 at 04:19 am

shadowflyt said: "Nor does Wh44 escape the "moral" ramifications in providing a rationalization for the psychopathic behavior."

I'm not entirely sure what you're saying here. If you are saying that not knowing the difference between good and evil can itself be evil, then I agree (emphasis on "can": small children don't know, but they are not evil).

shadowflyt said: "To justify or rationalize the behavior by stating "I am fundamentally different" than the one I am hurting illustrates, again, a consciousness of the badness, evil, or dare I say it, the moral wrong being done to another."

If you're saying I'm committing the evil of rationalizing evil psychopathic behavior: no, I'm just attempting to provide understanding. It is hard to fight something you don't understand.
If you are saying that the psychopath rationalizes his actions this way, you've missed the point of the article: the point is the psychopath doesn't rationalize. They are often surprised when someone other than the one harmed takes offense at their action, and only then do they bother with any kind of defense of their actions.

_Felix said: "that rationality is opposed to morality,"

Sorry, I must have missed that. Where exactly was that?

_Felix said: "that unemotional morality is impossible,"

Unemotional anything is near impossible: people are not motivated without emotion.

_Felix said: "and that morality is written in our genes."

There is a pile of evidence that some basic morality is written into our genes, and the genes of all the "higher" social animals (antelopes, but not ants).

Are you complaining that this might imply that some people do evil things because they have "bad" genes? I think that is too simplistic a view of the world: while I do believe everyone is responsible for themselves, regardless of environment and genes, I also think we should not be blind to these factors. Again: it is hard to fight something if you don't understand it.

Finally: I think the free online book The Authoritarians" can give a lot of insight into the very real harm being done by socially dominating psychopaths in society today, right now. It is not a perfect book: the labels he uses are often unhelpful and he tends to be polemical, but the research and his conclusions appear to be very well founded.


wh44
Posted 22 January 2008 at 04:54 am

PJMurphy:

Thank you for perfectly demonstrating the viewpoint of a typical psychopath.

If you want to understand the psychology of "normal" people better, understand that people experience the pain of others in their "in group" as their own pain. Literally painful - like someone is cutting them, or twisting their insides. For a large portion of the population that "in group" is now the entire human race and often other species as well (note the rise of Animal Rights activism).

Another way to look at a psychopath is, as someone who has reduced their "in group" to themselves.


wh44
Posted 22 January 2008 at 05:14 am

Looking back at my last post, it occurs to me that a psychopath would not see the positive side of this kind of empathy. Let me correct that: not only does one feel the pain of others, one also feels many of the joys. If someone rights an injustice, I feel elation. If a friend accomplishes something, I feel good about it too. And then there's the huge difference between "feels good when I stick parts of my body into parts of yours" and making love. :-)


supercalafragalistic
Posted 22 January 2008 at 07:05 am

mandalyn74 said: "I am also a true crime buff, and have perused most if not all of the articles in the 'murder' section of crimelibrary.com. I have read much on there about attempts to define psycopathy, although in most cases it is after the fact, once the killer is caught it is easy to look back on their behavior and classify them as a psychopath. The trick would be to identify the signs and be able to do something about it BEFORE they murder dozens of people. We can all think about the serial killers such as Bundy and Dahmer and see the obvious diagnosis, but the fact that there are actually a larger percentage of psychopaths living normal lives completely under the radar is actually rather scary. In most cases the killer was living a fairly normal life until one day something just snapped, or some major event in their lives triggered them to go out and commit violent acts. So, isn't every clinical psychopath potentially dangerous under the right circumstances?"

What you wrote above reminds me so much of the person responsible for the Virginia Tech shootings. I remember so many fellow students and people who knew him saying they all thought he might kill someone someday. There were a lot of signs that were ignored in that situation. He seemed very angry, but I would say he was a psychopath in that he thought his violent suicidal rampage was good for him.

Rook said: "No one has got a clear image of who I am, and sometimes I also wonder if I even do. But I'm quite good at manipulating the way people see me and how they at toward me."

Well at least you know something isn't right in your world. Since I don't have this problem it is hard to be empathetic which is very ironic considering what we are talking about. Emotions are this wonderful soup of reactions, but it's a lot more organic than it is logical. Imagine being able to tag experiences like how you tag pictures on flickr, and each tag can trigger emotional reactions based on each individual's personal set of tags like "Chocolate ice cream makes me happy." And the culture at large can determine cultural tags that are followed by everyone like "9/11 makes America sad." I would say to just make sure your personal set of tags aren't wildly out of sync with the tagging system of the culture at large, and just try not to step on anyone's toes so to speak. Additionally, if it is someone you are really close with you could try to learn their emotional idiosyncratic traits and be respectful of them by asking them questions about how they feel about certain things. I'm pretty emotional but also quite logical so I hope this helps out. Good luck with getting your emotional groove on. :)


Richard Solensky
Posted 22 January 2008 at 07:06 am

What I find interesting is the idea that corporations apparently "select" for psychopathic behavior. In fact, there's quite a bit of theorizing out there that corporations themselves can be considered psychopaths:

See, for example, "The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power" by Joel Bakan; or the movie "The Corporation" based on it (by Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott and Joel Bakan).

A Corporation exists for the sole purpose of maximizing the profits of its shareholders. Everything else - including social responsibility - is secondary, at best.


Isselderiel
Posted 22 January 2008 at 09:27 am

Thought I would say something about the comments on Ayn Rand. The thing to understand about her writing is that she idealises rationality. She does however not consider emotion a bad thing, but she wants to rationalise that as well. Several characters in her books show psychopathic traits in that they refuse to adhere to laws of morality not of their own making and often behave in antisocial ways.
But objectivism and egoism does not idealise the psychopath, they merely recognise that all our emotions and thoughts originate with the ego. And they do so for a reason. The idea is to understand these reasons and work toward that which makes you feel better.

When one of Rands characters decide to stop supporting his family because he sees them as freeloaders it is not just some psychopathic whim. He realises that he has no true emotional exchange with them and so refuses to stand by moral and social convention.
The idea of egoism is simply to work for ones own best interests, emotions before economy. If this does tend to create strong, confident and fearless individuals, that is still not psychopathy.

It is understandable, though, that Rand attracts sociopaths ans psychopaths since on the surface it can give legitimacy to some of their acts.


Meeshymeg
Posted 22 January 2008 at 09:32 am

PJMurphy- Morality is a pretty abstract concept. I dislike the term because it makes us think in black and white, and instead I think of it as part of social contract. I'm not convinced that it's inborn, despite what people say. I think it's something you're taught from birth by interacting with others (this can work in animals, too) and becomes second nature. That explains how people can condone slavery, or still have no laws against gender or sexuality based hate crimes (to be more current) but later see those things are reprehensible.

Your conscience can be made up of whatever group you relate to, like Indians, dentists, Athiests, lacrosse players, whatever. Most people relate to as many other humans as they can contemplate (their monkeysphere, I guess). What your group thinks of as wrong is wrong. What your group enjoys is good. When you narrow a group down to just one person, you get the psychopath.

Our human interactions are all social lubricant, we all try to minimize our own pain and maximize our pleasure, it's just that most people care about doing that for all the other people their brain has room for. I don't want to gain off of someone else's misfortune, I'd feel guilty of doing wrong, and that gets in the way of maximizing pleasure. So is that guilty feeling my conscience/morals, my fear of retribution, or both? I think it's a social construct to keep most of us in line. It's bad for society overall to have too many vultures. It's pretty effective, but we still need laws. We can't be concerned about every person in the world at once no matter how much we try, we don't seem to have the capacity, and that leaves us free to take advantage of those outside of our group.


Circlehead
Posted 22 January 2008 at 09:45 am

Very interesting article. But I don't see how Bond could be classed as a psychopath. It seems to me that he does have a strict moral code, and one that actually means something to him, rather than one he's simply learnt to abide by. Hasn't he put his own life on the line for others many times? As far as I know he has never killed an innocent person. When his wife was killed (I think in the one with George Lazenby), didn't he show grief? In Goldeneye (I think), a friend and fellow secret agent turns to the dark side, and he offers bond a chance to join him, an option which would have given him a greater chance of survival and likely led to personal gain. Bond refused. Surely a psychopath would have readily abandoned his assumed principles, since they would have had no meaning for him anyway?

Having a moral code that allows you to kill under certain circumstances doesn't make you a psychopath.
I disagree that most or many fictional heroes could be considered psychopathic. A fundamental component for any hero is surely empathy. True, a lot of fictional heroes have complex and enigmatic personalities, and seem to be able to maintain coolness in situations which most people would find highly disturbing, but that could better be explained by their will to do what needs to be done, and by strong nerves, rather than a lack of feeling.


Richard Solensky
Posted 22 January 2008 at 11:23 am

I believe the Psychopathic designation for Bond comes from the fact that he rarely, if ever, shows any sort of remorse or regret for his kills. More often than not, he dispatches them with a quip that shows that he clearly does not care that he has cold-bloodedly ended a human life.

His only saving grace is that he is doing it in order to foil an even more dangerous psycho.


Gypsydancer
Posted 22 January 2008 at 12:39 pm

My ex husband is a sociopath(clinically diagnosed). I was married to him 17 years. The extremely interesting facet of those 17 years comes in the fact that he was adopted shortly after birth. His birth brother (another adoptee) found him first, and they were surprised they were so alike- their criminal records matched up, (although my ex had spent more time in prison-and was proud that he had "beat his brother" in these stats), their alcoholism and addictions matched, etc. Then, after more searching, we met the birth family-Yikes! They are almost all afflicted with mental illnessess and addictions (sociopathy, paedophilia, Narcissitistic Personality disorder, BPD, drug, alcohol, sex and gambling addictions). I truly believe my ex and his brother were hard wired genetically for a predisposition to certain addictions as well as psychopathy. And me? Co-depentant in recovery and just diagnosed with BPD.


silentwisp
Posted 22 January 2008 at 01:14 pm

It seems like a lot of the comments are from people attempting to claim that they're psychopathic or know someone who is. I'm not saying you don't, or you aren't, but unless you've been diagnosed by a professional, you're probably suffering from something less severe.

There are a lot of other disorders that share a lot of the traits of being a psychopath, not to mention that people in general just seem to give less and less of a shit about other people. Hence the old idea about being "neighborly" and now less and less people even KNOW their neighbors, much less would help a neighbor out. Just because people in general care less about other people doesn't mean you're a psychopath because you don't give a shit about people.

Also, it seems like most of you are more likely to relate to narcissistic personality disorder than psychopathy. It's just like psychopathy, except you have a conscience. You know what's right and wrong, and you feel good or bad about doing good or bad things, you just don't give a shit.
It's probably worse than psychopathy, because you can actually feel horrible about something, but you care more about yourself and what you want than you do about other people.

Good for you?

Also, if you've ever loved anyone or can think of anyone who you love so much you would never hurt them, you're probably not a psychopath.


sweetvioletsa
Posted 22 January 2008 at 01:23 pm

I was married to one of these guys. That marriage nearly killed me and when it was over, it took me more than five years to recover. He never laid a hand on me, but his ability to manipulate and to be completely untouchable, emotionally, was almost my undoing. Any person who find themselves in a relationship with one of these people...don't hold out hope for a decade, like I did, that he will finally "see the light" and change. They won't...they only get worse...and you only get more sad and more confused. Save yourself and get out as soon as you can.


yesyouam
Posted 22 January 2008 at 07:41 pm

So, is Lt. Commander Data a psychopath?


lundy
Posted 22 January 2008 at 07:45 pm

for starters, I'm 15. I've grown up and my parents divorced when i was in 7th grade. Since then i have seen my father swindle and screw over my mother at every corner. I am convinced my father IS a sociopath. I'm not an unruly or another stupid teen (i hope you can take my word for it!) insulting their parents because i dislike them.

Personally, i believe that sociopaths or psychopaths are fully aware of emotions of others. I think they are aware because they do experience the emotions, just not from within, they are externally experienced. For example, a child learns by seeing their mother, father, or other siblings interact. The psychopaths may learn emotions from siblings and parents, but not experience them. It may be similar to hearing about another person's experiences and learning from them while still not experiencing them yourself. Although you yourself did not experience what happened, you could feign, or tell the story as your own and fool others into thinking you have experienced it. Therefore, I believe, Psychopaths can feign or act an emotion, but not truly grasp it.

I'm also curious if there are different degrees as to how psychopathic a person is. Or if there is a opposite disorder, where a person may care too much.

just my two cents. :)


oldmancoyote
Posted 22 January 2008 at 07:49 pm

PJMURPHY, I agree with your major point, morality is not an absolute. It never has been and never will be. However, it is a generalized set of standards agreed upon by society at large.

Our modern military personnel find themselves in constant conflict because of this. Military personnel have oneprimary duty: to kill. This is an act society deems immoral. Remove "war" from your thoughts here. concentrate on the killing of other human beings. Society says it is wrong therefore it is wrong. That is morality. That soldier, sailor, marine or airman is put in a situation to commit an act he/she knows is morally wrong. We now tell them it is ok in situation. Conflict!

Society also deems helping others as a moral act. Take saving someone elses life. But how many of us would throw a floatation device to ol' Mr. Bundy up there if we saw him drowning? Very few I'd bet.

The biggest Source of morality is religion. Not to put any beliefs above others, but different religions have different beliefs therefore their views of what is a moral act and what is not.

Alittle food for thought. Nice that you brought out absolute morality PJ.


ChrisW75
Posted 22 January 2008 at 07:55 pm

Rook - Seriously, talk to someone in a professional capacity. I saw someone suggest it was depression, not sure if that's the case but if it is, talking to someone should help. If you are indeed a psychopath, then self awareness of this could help you maintain balance and help prevent you "going over to the dark side".


ChrisW75
Posted 22 January 2008 at 08:03 pm

DI Article, very interesting. I watched a documentary years ago on this, and saw an interview with a psychopath in an institution. Was was talking about the 3 boys he'd killed before he was caught, and the guy he killed in the institution. He explained how he was riding his bike along a street one day and saw a small boy there and wondered what it would be like to kill him, lured him away and strangled him. He rather liked it so then a while later found another and killed this one too. The third time he upped the ante because he didn't get as much of a thrill out of the second one as the first so he tortured the boy for some time before eventually killing him. He talked of these things with about as much emotion as most people talk about going down the road to buy a loaf of bread. It was truly chilling to watch.


c0uchtime
Posted 22 January 2008 at 08:40 pm

PLAYBOY magazine, way back in the early 70s, made note of the 'usefulness' of the psychopath in society and how they had no allegiences to any one or any lifestyle or value system and, as such, tend to be highly adaptable to changes in society, bending with the times and the flow of things, unlike the rest of us who acquire the standards of our times and then cannot change easily. Witness how anyone older than, say 35, is committed to certain singers and songs that were the stuff of their 'growing-up' culture (along with TV shows, breakfast cereals, ball teams, etc). They have a hard time accepting new music, new products, new fashions, and so forth and feel a dedication to their era. The psychopath, on the other hand, leaves it all behind and embraces new technology, new fashion, etc. because they can never be 'wedded' to any of the elements of the times of their lives. That sort of adaptation serves a purpose for society and for evolution, lest we all become stick-in-the-muds.


tarteauxpommes
Posted 22 January 2008 at 08:42 pm

As I was reading this, I was just thinking, "Wow. [Certain friend of mine] could possibly be a psychopath and I wouldn't even know." And that is sort of scary. Thank you DI, now you've made me afraid of my friends. ;)


jeickhoff
Posted 22 January 2008 at 08:44 pm

Here is a couple of links to stories about a person that I had to deal with that I think is a psychopath.

http://www.rd.com/family/family-life/unstable-woman-terrorizes-a-neighbors-family/P2/article.html

http://www.pitch.com/2005-03-17/news/kill-thy-neighbor/full


shadowflyt
Posted 22 January 2008 at 08:49 pm

Wh44,
Thank you for your corrections (post 83). This forum is conducive to brevity and therefore sometimes lacking in clarity. I should never wish to portray you (or anyone else) as evil for sharing their thoughts and ideas in this forum. The description you give of the Psychopath is right on the mark, I believe. He is intelligent (or can be), and aware of his actions. His apathy is not in question at all, neither is empathy or compassion or any other character trait. And I am in no way stating that morality is either absolute or relativistic – All these points are peripherals. The soapbox I am standing on is merely to point out that the psychopath does make a conscious choice, and is therefore accountable for his actions. I confess to being pigheaded in my UNbelief that the psychopath is incapable of making a morally good choice in place of a morally bad choice. In other words, I refuse to believe that the psychopath (or any person, for that matter) has NO choice but to do evil. This, of course, is said with my apology up front to anyone who may be offended by my choice of words describing morality, but if they would be offended by it, then I guess my point is well made …:) 


c0uchtime
Posted 22 January 2008 at 08:54 pm

I'd like to point out that James Bond is fictional and thus has no diagnosis. Even Ian Fleming is off the hook, although he did seem to have the ability to describe a character that all of us would like to be like, mostly because we are stuck with having feelings and worries and hang-ups and inhibitions and tend to get scared or angry or frustrated or buckle under pain and pressure, etc. That we would identify with and imagine ourselves to be free of all these limiting human factors doesn't make the character a sociopath. It makes us envious of someone who can be heroic and get the girl and know just exactly how to drive a fast car and what to order for breakfast in Istanbul. That so many can contrive of such a suave and sophisticated rake and enjoy his exploits has more to do with imagination than criminality.


Old Man
Posted 22 January 2008 at 10:40 pm

I don't think Rook is a psycho. Just very self-absorbed. Look up from your navel- there's a whole world out there! Mere teenage angst...

couchtime - are psychopaths really better at adapting to new technology? Don't they form sentimental attachments to things (a one-way process) as much as anyone else? You make them sound like supermen, when in fact many of them are deeply flawed (a higher proportion of psychos in prison than normal people in prison, for example).


Old Man
Posted 22 January 2008 at 11:03 pm

What's really interesting here is the assumption that there is no compunction to behave ethically if you cannot connect with another person's feelings, e.g. It's acceptable to hurt you because your pain means nothing to me.

For me, and most people I think, ethics are rules that one lays down for oneself or internalises, and really have little to do with how our transgressions will affect others. I refrain from stealing or beating annoying people because I don't want to get arrested, fired or beaten up. Most of the time, I wouldn't want to cause suffering to anyone/anything, and the thought of it even makes me queasy, but you know how it is when you get greedy or angry... I always hold myself back, but the desire can be strong.

Do soldiers in wartime find it hard to kill because they do not want to cause someone fear and pain, or because they do not want to break the ultimate taboo?

Is ethical behaviour imprinted on us through the emotions? During our formative years, are we explicitly taught that we shouldn't do to others things that cause US pain? Is that how such restrictions are enforced - we are made to associate others' pain with our own? Empathy as the base of ethics?

Are those soldiers afraid of causing themselves pain - pain that they will themselves create? After all, humans are not actually connected, only socially.

I really never thought of it that way.


farmer-dave
Posted 22 January 2008 at 11:44 pm

"charisma, self-centeredness, confidence, and dominance are highly correlated with the psychopathic personality, yet also highly sought after in potential leaders."

"Despite this emotional deficiency, most psychopaths learn to mimic the appearance of normal emotion well enough to fit into ordinary society, not unlike the way that the hearing impaired or illiterate learn to use other cues to compensate for their disabilities."

"They lied pathologically, and when caught, they shrugged it off with a smirk and moved on to the next lie. "

Gosh, am I the only one to notice the perfect fit of this description to the Bush-Cheney "team"?


Teaflax
Posted 23 January 2008 at 05:13 am

That there test uses "presently" incorrectly. It means "soon", not "now".


wh44
Posted 23 January 2008 at 05:25 am

Old Man said: "For me, and most people I think, ethics are rules that one lays down for oneself or internalises, and really have little to do with how our transgressions will affect others"

There are several levels on which ethics operate, including as internalized rules, but also as matters of the heart. I think the most poetic explanation comes from the Baha'i Faith:

71. O SON OF MAN!
Write all that We have revealed unto thee with the ink of light upon the tablet of thy spirit. Should this not be in thy power, then make thine ink of the essence of thy heart. If this thou canst not do, then write with that crimson ink that hath been shed in My path. Sweeter indeed is this to Me than all else, that its light may endure for ever.

(Baha'u'llah, The Arabic Hidden Words)


Teaflax
Posted 23 January 2008 at 05:37 am

solitas said: ""…the absence of any sense of conscience, remorse, or guilt…"

(I will not insert a 'hillary' reference here.)

:D"

Good, because then I won't insert a Dubya reference. :P


GeorgeAR
Posted 23 January 2008 at 08:31 am

solitas said: ""…the absence of any sense of conscience, remorse, or guilt…"

(I will not insert a 'hillary' reference here.)

:D"

Or Billy reference either.


deluvina
Posted 23 January 2008 at 11:16 am

"...an evolutionary niche opens up for a minority who would exploit the trusting masses."

Fascinating.


AKALucifer
Posted 23 January 2008 at 02:27 pm

jeickhoff said: "I work with many psychopaths. I work in a jail and the one that I remember the most was a guy that had eaten part of a couple of people that he killed. When he was being interviewed by detectives, they ordered food rather than interrupt the interview. The suspect said that he wanted "meat lovers pizza" and then laughed about it."

I hear things like this and I always think I'd probably laugh as well. However I don't think that's actually a psychopathic tendency more the ability to compartmentalize the fact that on the one hand its actually a quite clever pun while on the other hand its a pun about a brutal murder.


Jeffrey93
Posted 23 January 2008 at 06:10 pm

mandalyn74 said: "I am also a true crime buff, and have perused most if not all of the articles in the 'murder' section of crimelibrary.com. I have read much on there about attempts to define psycopathy, although in most cases it is after the fact, once the killer is caught it is easy to look back on their behavior and classify them as a psycopath. The trick would be to identify the signs and be able to do something about it BEFORE they murder dozens of people. We can all think about the serial killers such as Bundy and Dahmer and see the obvious diagnosis, but the fact that there are actually a larger percentage of psychopaths living normal lives completely under the radar is actually rather scary. In most cases the killer was living a fairly normal life until one day something just snapped, or some major event in their lives triggered them to go out and commit violent acts. So, isn't every clinical psycopath potentially dangerous under the right circumstances?"

You're joking right? I'd think a self-proclaimed crime buff would know that Dahmer didn't just snap...that boy was screwed up from day one. I don't know many people that, as a youth, go around collecting road kill to take home and dissect...or kill a dog just to open it up and see how it works

He should have felt sorry for the pain he put the dog through, he should have felt bad for it and it's family that will never see it again. He should have felt bad for the animals that were dead on the side of the road. But he didn't, probably because he couldn't.

Personally I don't think I could even approach a flattened cat and look at it's eyes...this guy went searching for things like that...then picked them up, took them home...and ripped them apart. Killing humans didn't require Dahmer to 'snap', it just required him to escalate the behaviour he exhibited as a child. Apparently what made Dahmer "snap" was a surgery he had...it changed him, why? Dunno. He was a popular kid (much like the article suggests psychopaths will be) prior to this, he then became more withdrawn. He still was able to turn on the charm (like the article states psychopaths do easily) to get person after person after person to go back to his apartment where he would introduce them to their maker.
Having read the article I'm not sure why you think psyhcopaths being more abundant than originally thought is 'scary'. It takes a different type of person to commit acts of violence on another human being, being a psychopath would make this easier to do...but there would still need to be a desire to do it. Just because the psychopath won't feel remorse for his/her actions...doesn't mean they have a desire to commit acts that they should feel remorse for.


Jeffrey93
Posted 23 January 2008 at 06:14 pm

GeorgeAR said: "Or Billy reference either."

solitas said: ""…the absence of any sense of conscience, remorse, or guilt…"

(I will not insert a 'hillary' reference here.)

:D"

Add intelligence to that list of conscience, remorse or guilt....and you'd be talking about Dubya!


Jeffrey93
Posted 23 January 2008 at 06:23 pm

_Felix said: "This article perpetuates three myths:
that rationality is opposed to morality,

I think it is...well...can be. Given the situation you can act rationally or morally. It's actually a problem with soldiers and others in positions that need to act rationally and not morally. Can't always be doing both.

that unemotional morality is impossible,

I'd think if you are unemotional your morality would be because it's what you're supposed to do, it's what other people say is the "right" thing to do. Not because you understand it. If I have no emotion or ability to feel remorse for my actions upon others....why would I have any morality at all? It would be confusing to me....why can't I kick that cat like I'm attempting a 60 yard field goal? Because it's wrong? Why? Because it hurt the cat? Who cares?

and that morality is written in our genes.

I think the article said that the lack of morality is written in our genes.


ChrisW75
Posted 23 January 2008 at 07:10 pm

I think the general thrust of the discussion on Psychopaths shown in the article is not that psychopaths are more violent than non-psychopaths, but that psychopaths, having the same urges as the rest of us, are uncaring of the results of violence that they perpetrate on others. Therefore a psychopath could lead a completely blameless existence, but could just as easily commit violence or murder if it should suit their purposes, without any qualms whatsoever.
For instance, say you've been with your partner for several years and are considered as a de-facto married couple. The relationship is unravelling and half of what you jointly own is going to be given to this other person. Most people would consider losing half their stuff a better option than committing murder, despite the fact that in murdering someone who is leaving, you essentially lose nothing. A psychopath has no emotional attachment to the idea of murdering someone, therefore the idea of losing material goods, their house etc would be considered worse than killing someone (if the person is leaving never to return, what's the difference if they are alive or dead?). At the end of the day, they are faced with a choice - lose the person and half your stuff, or just lose the person...
This is when a psychopath becomes dangerous. They don't "snap" or "lose it" one day, it just comes to a decision they make where killing someone seems like a better idea than not.


c0uchtime
Posted 23 January 2008 at 07:38 pm

There certainly is a higher than average # of prisoners who are ASPD (Antisocial Personality Disorder), compared to society, at large so to speak, but that STILL means most of them are walking among us. One might even conclude that the ASPDs in prison are something MORE than just ASPD. Some are drug addicts and THAT is the main reason they are doing time. Others ain't all that bright and merely got caught out of stupidity. And others may have temper problems, impulse problems, etc. that are predominant and not under as much control as must be the case in their more successful, unimprisoned diagnostic 'cousins', such as the politicians and other con-men ('confidence', not 'convict). In any case, the results of ASPD persons upon society is hardly limited to crimes. The price we pay for them amongst us goes untold, except perhaps by their family, neighbors, co-workers, etc.
I am fairly convinced that sentiment is not part of sociopathy. They may collect baseball cards but they sell them easily and walk away without a twinge of regret, same as they would sell their grandmothers. Therefore, any 'attachment' they feel has a pricetag and isn't at all like
real attachment that perseveres as a feeling of loss. That is the curiosity about ASPD... attachments are contrived and imagined and wash down the drain and are mostly feigned to appear like others. Now and interesting side angle is this: They know they are faking it but they generally think everyone else is, too! At least the others who qualify in their minds as "Dogs" who are supposed to take advantage of the "Sheep". Betcha Roger Waters could see the patterns when he was conceiving ANIMALS.


PJMurphy
Posted 24 January 2008 at 02:35 am

ChrisW75 said:

For instance, say you've been with your partner for several years and are considered as a de-facto married couple. The relationship is unravelling and half of what you jointly own is going to be given to this other person. Most people would consider losing half their stuff a better option than committing murder, despite the fact that in murdering someone who is leaving, you essentially lose nothing. A psychopath has no emotional attachment to the idea of murdering someone, therefore the idea of losing material goods, their house etc would be considered worse than killing someone (if the person is leaving never to return, what's the difference if they are alive or dead?). At the end of the day, they are faced with a choice - lose the person and half your stuff, or just lose the person…

Bad analogy....

First off, it wouldn't be "my" stuff, it would be "our" stuff. The other person is entitled to half of it. Secondly, it's just stuff, and I can always get more and better stuff. And most importantly, the odds of getting away with it are very slim. The risk isn't worth it.

Here's a better analogy...

You're in your second floor bedroom, cleaning a rifle, on a dark and stormy night. You look out the window, and your neighbor is in his backyard, in the rain, digging a hole in his garden.

You've always suspected that he's a shady type, perhaps a coke dealer. He has nice clothes, a new car, fancy jewelry, but never seems to go to work. Once the hole is big enough, he goes into his garage, and returns with a clear plastic bag, filled with stack after stack of money, which he clearly intends to bury in the garden. There are no lighted windows, nobody about, and the rain will wash away any traces of blood spatter that would indicate the trajectory of the shot, as well as cover the sound. In short, you can shoot this guy, take the money, and be absolutely 100% certain to get away with it. But you can't just dig up the money, because he would never rest until he found out who did it, and he would surely kill anyone who stole his money.

Let's up it a notch...he's an acquaintance, you've had a few beers here and there, and maybe watched a ball game now and then. You're not best friends, but you get along okay.

So, do you pull the trigger?


Captain Splattergore
Posted 24 January 2008 at 06:16 am

This is my first post on this site, and it's the first article I've read here. Damned interesting for sure... I'm in the military and this article describes me and most of the people I live and work with. The military loves psychopaths and if you aren't one they try to make you one. Please remember that these psychopaths are our psychopaths. The best field medics, the best leaders in combat, they're all psychopaths. If you're ever in combat you'll pray that the men around you are psychopaths. Psychopaths aren't necessarily bad people, they're just able to go through life unhindered by the emotional things that cripple other people. There are too many negative connotations surrounding the word psychopath. Hopefully this article informs people that not all psychopaths are serial killers. They're just people that think differently, and in some fields of human endeavor the ability to think logically without emotion is a tremendous advantage.


Captain Splattergore
Posted 24 January 2008 at 06:19 am

In response to PJ Murphy's scenario, yes I'd pull the trigger and kill a rich, shady stranger. If I knew the person... well, how much money are we talking? Anything over $300k is worth killing an aquaintance.


J.K.
Posted 24 January 2008 at 08:13 am

Could the argument be made for varying shades of psychopathy? After reading this it tries to come off saying it's a black or white issue, and not a decision of sorts. I'm not quite sure about that as what if one could just block their emotions and the 'little voice' and do as they need just as a 'true' psychopath does by nature. I'm thinking of a concept like a lightswitch psychopath. Mind you it would likely be a trained ability, someone worked to stifle the little fears and voices you have over right and wrong so that the job could get done whether getting it done as a ceo, or getting someone done as a killer, thief, etc.

Honestly outside of the clinical cases I'd say many people have a little bit of a psychopath in them more or less on their ability to shut down the boundaries that designate someone as one.


J.K.
Posted 24 January 2008 at 08:19 am

...oh and PJ in post 119 there on the 'gardener' scenario there. Logically speaking I'd be afraid of going to jail, as I know deep down I wouldn't last long either due to other inmates or the confinement so I'd need to be kept on suicide watch in a private cell as I'd do it. That out of the way...if I felt with the scenario I could off the guy in the dark, during a lightning flash and crash of thunder to scope my target and block out the bang of the rifle I'd seriously consider it. If it were a friend no, but a no one/slight acquaintence, as the other guy above my 1st post said...how much $?


Vako
Posted 24 January 2008 at 10:05 am

Those interested in psychopathy and sociopathy may also want to look up "malignant narcissism".


fatal retreat
Posted 24 January 2008 at 11:52 am

Crimelibrary.com, my favourite site after DI.

I've wondered for a while if I'd turn out to be psycho. My friends tell me my obsession with crimelibrary.com is just healthy curiosity. I'm not so sure. maybe I'm just getting ideas....


Bluesock
Posted 24 January 2008 at 01:05 pm

yesyouam said: "So, is Lt. Commander Data a psychopath?"

Interesting question. My guess is probably no. If I remember right, Data does have a conscience mechanism in his programming, it just doesn't operate on an emotional level. Also, since he lacks all emotion, he also lacks the negative emotions that make psychopaths (and to some extent humans in general) who they are: anger, greed, the need for stimulation and self-aggrandizement, etc.


Jack Olson
Posted 24 January 2008 at 01:20 pm

Bear Tiger, you misconstrue Ayn Rand. She wrote, "There can be no such thing as a 'right to enslave'". She insisted that you must recognize and respect other people's rights, which is the exact opposite of a psychopath's attitude.

The protagonists in her novels are self-absorbed but it is their antagonists who are the real psychopaths, indifferent to the suffering they cause in their pursuit of power over others.


Skytree
Posted 24 January 2008 at 03:38 pm

Anyone else think of Bush and Cheney, et al?

Also, I disagree that this is somehow evolutionarily beneficial in our modern world. What sort of use is a father who has no concern for his offspring's welfare? A great deal of human physiology and culture is dependent upon the exact opposite. Perhaps it is true that the corporate world inadvertently selects for just the qualities a psycho/socio-path possesses (not surprising, given that corporations themselves are practically psychopathic), but this does not necessarily improve that person's chances of passing down genetic material.

Therefore, I would venture to guess that the prevalence of this disorder is a result of current society's dysfunctions, and not reflective of the overall evolutionary process in the least. After all, a world entirely composed of psychopaths would be utterly chaotic, as exhibited what just a few of these individuals can do in our current US administration!


Romandante
Posted 24 January 2008 at 03:58 pm

PJMurphy...totally agree with your thoughts.

Instruction booklet for Psycho to get ahead: 48 Laws of Power
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_48_Laws_of_Power


Bluesock
Posted 24 January 2008 at 04:23 pm

Also, I disagree that this is somehow evolutionarily beneficial in our modern world. What sort of use is a father who has no concern for his offspring's welfare?

But what about a father who can dupe another man into raising his kids for him? And even if the trait lowered the survival rate of children, the increased promiscuity that goes with it probably made up for it.

After all, a world entirely composed of psychopaths would be utterly chaotic, as exhibited what just a few of these individuals can do in our current US administration!

A world full of them would be, but that's not what we've got. Just a few here and there can be beneficial, at least to the psychopaths themselves.

It's kind of like color blindness. In most cases it's a disadvantage, and it certainly wouldn't help us any if our entire species had it. But there's evidence that color blind men are able to break certain kinds of camouflage that other people can't -- so by having just a few of them around, the group benefitted and the trait was passed on.


wargammer
Posted 24 January 2008 at 09:02 pm

Bewildered said: "arvash - No they didn't. I find it interesting that the 'psychopath' is considered abnormal in this article. In the article about depression (can't think of it's title), people with depression have been found to have a more realistic view of the world than a 'normal person' does. This could apply to psychopaths also. I think that most of the greatest achievers in our society would fall into the psychopath category, and the people that do the dirty work that 'us normal folk' just dont want to think about, like cleaning up after crime scenes etc. would be considered psychopaths also. Emotional detachment is a skill that can be learned as well as inherited, but can emotional detachment be un-learned? that would be the question to answer to help the 'psychopath' become 'normal' again… But it think in all honesty that the non-violent psychopath is a credit to our society and they would not want to be 'normal'."

so Mother Teresa is a physco?
there is a difference between OCD and this.
most successfull people have OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder)

i think perhaps YOU should take the psycopath test.


dtaylor
Posted 25 January 2008 at 01:28 am

Anyone else think of Bush and Cheney, et al?

Oh please! If they were psychopaths we would have turned Afghanistan into a glass parking lot. Then we would have neutron bombed Iraq, strolled in a few weeks later, and taken the oil.

Instead we used expensive precision munitions in Afghanistan while dropping food during the day. And in Iraq we're still on the ground trying to protect normal Iraqis from radical Iraqis while the bulk of their oil sits untouched in pools which literally bubble to the surface.

I am sick and tired of people from this generation painting anyone they disagree with as evil monsters. If you question global warming models you're a holocaust denier. If you think Saddam broke the law and deserved to lose his government you're a Nazi, and Bush is Bushitler. If you want to drill for oil or build a power plant then you must hate the Earth and be for killing baby animals. Tired of excessive taxes and plans to socialize the U.S. economy? You're an insensitive monster who hates the elderly and children. Want tighter immigration controls? You must be a racist!

I'M SICK OF IT! If you disagree with a policy, then disagree using rational, logical arguments. If you have to resort to ignorant fallacies and name calling, stay out of the public discourse completely.

Bush is not a psychopath. But if I have to put up with citizens and politicians (i.e. Clinton and Obama) ripping each other apart over political differences much longer, I might become one!


demack
Posted 25 January 2008 at 06:01 am

I have read the letter of a guy in Melbourne Australia who shot and killed approx 9 innocent people in the street (Julian Knight). He wrote the letter in prison to someone he used to serve with in the Army and the correlation between some of the above profiles and the comments he made in the letter are very accurate. I distinctly remember him referring to his actions as being "taken quite seriously by authorities". His words were quite surreal - almost as though he was detached from he had done and did not comprehend the seriousness - what a fruitloop!! Hopefully he'll stay in prison for the rest of his natural life!!


wh44
Posted 25 January 2008 at 09:22 am

dtaylor said: "
Anyone else think of Bush and Cheney, et al?

Oh please! If they were psychopaths we would have turned Afghanistan into a glass parking lot. Then we would have neutron bombed Iraq, strolled in a few weeks later, and taken the oil.

Oh please! I was hoping that things wouldn't get partisan, but I just can't let this pass: assuming Bush were a psychopath (I am not saying he is or isn't), what personal gain would he get from turning Afghanistan into a glass parking lot, or neutron bombing Iraq? Is that anything compared to the gain in power from perpetual war? What about all the profit Cheney, Bush Sr. and others are making because they are invested in "military" stocks? There is a lot more money and power to be gained in perpetual war than in the "glass parking lot" solution.

dtaylor said: "Instead we used expensive precision munitions in Afghanistan while dropping food during the day.

Expensive munitions = big profits for Daddy. The amount of assistance being spent in Afghanistan is a pittance, virtually nothing when compared to the military expenditure.

dtaylor said: "And in Iraq we're still on the ground trying to protect normal Iraqis from radical Iraqis while the bulk of their oil sits untouched in pools which literally bubble to the surface."

The U.S. presence there is also protecting the oil. Interestingly, the oil has been unmetered since the war began. Bushies, like Paul Wolfowitz, were predicting that the profits from that oil would pay for the invasion and occupation. How much has been pumped and where has that money gone? I certainly don't know, but I find it suspicious.

dtaylor said: "I am sick and tired of people from this generation painting anyone they disagree with as evil monsters."

Funny you should say that. The word "evil" used to be rarely heard in politics, and then mostly from fringe groups. I was quite shocked when I first heard GWB talking about the "Axis of Evil" and such: he and his followers use morally weighted words like "evil" much more than those on the other side of the aisle. Such words leave little room for diplomacy: nobody thinks of themselves as evil. I leave you to draw your own conclusions.

dtaylor said: "If you question global warming models you're a holocaust denier."

No, you're just in denial - you're also using 'holocaust' to make it sound over the top. Any objective look at current evidence indicates that mankind is causing global warming. If you want to trot out evidence to the contrary, please check that it hasn't been disproved first - that seems to be a favorite of anti-global warming folks.

dtaylor said: "If you think Saddam broke the law and deserved to lose his government you're a Nazi, and Bush is Bushitler."

I think Saddam deserved to lose his government, but not so much that we needed to kill over 100,000 Iraqi citizens (minimum estimates, realistic estimates have topped 1 million) and 3000 of our own soldiers. If you think this wasn't predictable, then tell me, why was the General who first predicted this outcome (before the war) fired by GWB?

dtaylor said: "If you want to drill for oil or build a power plant then you must hate the Earth and be for killing baby animals."

I would not accuse an opponent of "being for killing baby animals" (unless, of course, they really and obviously were) - you're just putting over the top words in your opponents mouth. Would you deny that there can be good reasons for opposing drilling or building a power plant in a particular location?

dtaylor said: "Tired of excessive taxes and plans to socialize the U.S. economy? You're an insensitive monster who hates the elderly and children."

I note you use the word plans. The fact is, the U.S. has been headed in the opposite direction for decades now: social spending was dwarfed by military spending even during the Clinton years, much more so now. If you want to reduce taxes, stop the war.

dtaylor said: "Want tighter immigration controls? You must be a racist!"

Please tell me, why do you want tighter immigration controls? Seriously, think about it. Do you think they are taking away our jobs? Have you ever worked one of those jobs that they typically get? Do you think that they want to abuse our social system? If that were true, why are they so eager to take such crappy jobs?

Note my emphasis on "they" and "our": virtually all arguments for tighter immigration controls rely on dividing the world up into "us" vs. "them", and then implicitly or explicitly saying that "we" are better than "they" are. How is that not racist?

dtaylor said: "I'M SICK OF IT! If you disagree with a policy, then disagree using rational, logical arguments. If you have to resort to ignorant fallacies and name calling, stay out of the public discourse completely."

You took the words out of my mouth.

dtaylor said: "Bush is not a psychopath. But if I have to put up with citizens and politicians (i.e. Clinton and Obama) ripping each other apart over political differences much longer, I might become one!"

Funny you should say that. If you look at Republicans vs. Democrats, the Republicans are much more partisan and downright nasty. For example, look at your example: Clinton and Obama. The media has hyped their differences no end, but if you actually look at what they say, watch them in debate together, they are very collegial and respectful. That kind of behavior in the Republican party would be labeled "friendly".

Summary: if you're going to go on a verbal rampage, please try and put some thought and possibly some research into it instead of just regurgitating what you have been fed by Fox News, Bill O'Reilly and the right-wing propaganda machine.


Optimus
Posted 25 January 2008 at 09:42 am

I had read all the posts some days ago and tried to post a comment from my mobile phone which was lost. Now that I have access to the internet from a PC again, I will try to write in short some of my comments to specific posts.

Someone could be emotionally detached if after a period on his life emotions become a burden or under social pressure maybe but that has nothing to do with psychopathy imho. He can still return back to his normal functioning and his emotions might still secretly annoy him which he might not want to show in public. The psychopath cannot feel emotions even if he wanted to.

Also, I don't think some other mental disorders mentioned here have anything to do with this. I think depression and OCD are on the other side, where emotions really affect and become a burden.

As for geeks mentioned, maybe you talk about people with Asperger's Syndrome (btw not all geeks are related with AS though and not all AS people are related to computer geeks). AS people have not naturally acquired social skills and they have to copy them manually. Because of this fact, there are usually misunderstandings between AS people and "normal" people communication during social situations which gives the misinterpretation that AS people lack of any emotions which isn't true. But that's far from comparing them with psychopaths.


Guy_Inagorillasuit
Posted 25 January 2008 at 12:09 pm

I joined up specifically to reply to this DI article. Fascinating! I was romantically involved with a charming, sexy sociopath for a while. She was clever, remorseless, conscienceless, sexually promiscuous, amoral, a trained actress, a relentless liar. She was also very ADD, and had Tourette's. I was blindsided by sex and glamour. We started living together a week after we met. The whole thing went sour as soon as the wealthy guy she was trying to make jealous actually got jealous and asked her to marry him. She dumped me and wed him less than 2 months later. In retrospect, yes, I saw the red flags but chose to ignore them. Thank heavens I wasn't rich! Her new husband is, which is of course why she wanted him. I consider that I got out of it relatively unscathed.

I subsequently predicted that she would quit her job and start spending his money, and that's precisely what she did. I also predicted that she would divorce him within two years and take him to the cleaners in the settlement. She has a but less than a year and a half to do that, but I expect to be fully vindicated.

Never having been involved with such a poisonous, manipulative personality, I had no defenses. I would know better now, of course. *shudder*


Circlehead
Posted 25 January 2008 at 02:49 pm

An improbably large proportion of people here seem to think they or their friends are psychopaths. Wishful thinking?

I'd suggest that if you're having any kind of crisis of conscience over the thought that you might be one, then you're not one! And if your friend is a real psycho then he's not really your friend! How can a person be your friend if he feels no empathy? He might, for one reason or another, be able to behave as a friend might, but surely true friendship requires some feeling.

I think a lot of people are confusing recklessness, cruelty, or just plain jerkitude for total indifference.

And I don't think any fictional heroes could be called psychopaths. If the audience really believed the 'hero' had no empathy then the designation wouldn't fit. It might make for an interesting character but not a hero. I know what people are thinking of when they say a certain fictional hero is a psychopath, but there's always the suggestion that he really does have a heart after all. Why else would he go back to save the woman/child when he has a chance to escape (as seems to always be the case).

Bond kills bad guys. And he doesn't need to have a cry afterward. But if he didn't have ANY empathy he'd just as soon slaughter his latest sexual conquest.


farmer-dave
Posted 25 January 2008 at 03:36 pm

WH44,

Extremely well said.


SedonaScallywag
Posted 25 January 2008 at 04:04 pm

My father was a psychopath, his traits almost perfectly match the test profile above. So I believe I have more of an in-depth understanding of the diagnosis than most.

According to his case history, his parents didn't believe in picking up and comforting him from birth 'til age 3. They believed any tender and affectionate attention might "spoil him". Therefore, the "attachment disorder" fits him to a "T".

Though I have a sister, his wrath was always focused on me. He criticized everything I did and nearly every thought I expressed. I was always amazed by his ability to apparently transform from hollering at and whipping me to answering the phone and speaking to someone at the office with Bill Clinton like charm and warmth. What a crock!

I could write a book about his modus operandi, but throughout his life he cheated without actually being involved in legally defined crime. From having someone write his thesis at NorthWestern to always keeping lover on the side, it's so sad. He arranged to have my mother medicated on Elavil for behavior eleviation. Though it was tragic, I just about laughed when it backfired, and she turned manic and started venting her rage on him for a change.

Despite being increasingly successful in his profession, he refused to help either my sister or me to attend college. Despite the fact that I had a scholarship to the University of Chicago, I still couldn't afford to attend.

After I was an internationally published photographer or was featured in gallery openings in Aspen, he wouldn't even look at my work or say "boo". My mother suggested that he was jealous.

Anyway I must say I gave a great sigh of relief when he expired while I was taking care of him 'til the end. Fortunately, somehow or other I've always been amazingly resilient.

I still prefer Maslow's heirachy of values pyramid to define an individual's level of functioning, and a psychopath by definition cannot fit into the higher levels of creativity and spirituality.

Affimative self-expression is not within the grasp of the psychopath's consciosness. As a beholder beauty never enters. I can understand why he was so jealous of me, since I had such an enriched experience of ideal values -- you know, the good, the true, and the beautiful.

He knew these would never be within his real, and my heart goes out to anyone who must spend their live denied the wonders that some of us enjoy every day.

Vague, diagnostic terms like psychopath or sociopath are okay as far as they go, but from a broader view, as a nation we are slipping further and further away from what Erich From described as "the sane society". Greed, dominance/submission, and a multitude of dysfunctional behaviors are the norm. Little wonder that our "leaders", the CEO's and neocons have risen to the top, and are ultimately besmerching our formerly most cherished ideals.

The United States is in the process of a dysfunctional, addictive crash, unfortunately, none of us are immune to the impacts.

However, some of us who find greater satisfactions in life not necessarily tied to or dependent on "shopping 'til you drop", driving the biggest, baddest SUV, or living the biggest McMansion. So our lives will continue with "small, but beautiful" satisfactions.

We can overcome our materialistic distractions, and take actions to eliminate the destructive domination of the neocon, psychopathological "alpha" males/females, whenever we become desparate enough. Or I loath to even consider the alternative! We must wake up, in the spirit of our original founding fathers!


demack
Posted 26 January 2008 at 06:26 am

WH44 - I also agree with farmer dave - extremely well said. Good to read a well thought out response to the diatribe posted by dtaylor!!


12345
Posted 26 January 2008 at 03:34 pm

I will go against the grain of comments here and say that I don't particularly like how the article was worded. I'm afraid many people will read this and perceive just about anyone, including those with social anxiety disorder or those sharing even a slight similarity to a sociopath as being a freak of society who enjoys putting on a face for personal gain or satisfaction in devouring people. I will say that I am without doubt a sufferer of social anxiety and will often "put on a face" to appear happy when I am really not. Most of my relationships with people are short and I do find it difficult to fit into almost any social situation. For unknown and yet to be explained reasons however, I do indeed notice that people naturally attract to me and find me highly likable and at work am often placed in favor of the higher ups despite my lacking of communicative skills. I do consider myself unique and feel I am an exception to what is considered by the standards of society to be "normal" (if there is such a thing.) I certainly DO think about others but I am more inclined in thinking about myself first because honestly most people are sheep and will not return the favor. I am the sort of guy who leaves the last remaining paper towel in the bathroom unused for the next patron and will use my clothes instead to dry my hands. I don't tell people that I've left the last paper nor do I demand a compliment, the act is completely anonymous and there is certainly no personal gain to come out of it other than to bring a smile to someones day. On the other hand I am less likely to be in a state of shock or horror being witness to a terribly morbid accident scenario. I am essentially the guy you want to stay close to come a zombie plague as I am a survivalist more than anything else and that may be why I and people like me are more inclined to finding success than others, not because I share traits of a sociopath even if I suppose I am one... Intellectuals of the early 1900's believed that all plagues insects and rats would be extinguished by the year 200o as did those who thought with certainty that the world was flat at one point or those who are certain that some guy floats around in the clouds watching over us allowing us passage into another existence... This article itself states that the sociopath condition is still highly mysterious to this day so why are you inclined to believe everything said in this article is certain or fact? Everyone is certainly different based on many factors and thats without needing fact. One other thing this article DOES do right is in showing that NOT every sociopath grows up to become a mass murderer. Still people are people and they will become jaded by anything they read or watch or hear such as the fear of those who are even remotely different to themselves (such as racial differences for example). Once upon a time powerful people who were highly respected told us those of color were insignificant and most people nodded agreeably until someone unique themselves brought light to the situation. My point is I'm sick of all these articles trying to fit everyone into certain categories. Your either a freak or your normal, nothing in between no gray area where its possible to be slightly different and beautiful at that. Still I did find the article rather interesting and just hope to inspire thinking outside the article itself. Btw I am an artist by profession so I find a particular advantage to having disorders work in my favor.


tech42er
Posted 26 January 2008 at 03:39 pm

This is interesting. I'm pretty sure I'm not a psychopath, since I value love, friendship, and especially helping others above all else. I mean, I'm human, but I feel guilty when I do wrong. Thing is, I'm a libertarian, a big believer in individual rights, the free market, and people doing whatever they want. I'm not big on the welfare state, (progressive) taxes, or the nanny state. Because my political philosophy tends toward greed and self-interest at the expense of others (let rich people keep their money, shrink welfare and government services), some would accuse me of being psychopathic. However, I see it the other way: I'm probably too naive and empathetic. Because I give to charity and try to help others whenever I can, I assume others will, too and private charity (people helping the poor because they have freely chosen to) can replace welfare (people helping the poor because they have no choice). What do yo guys think?


12345
Posted 26 January 2008 at 03:44 pm

psychopath, sociopath..They are the same right? Just wanted to chime in again and say I've been watching through the entire James Bond collection for the past two weeks and am enjoying every one of them so far. :)


wh44
Posted 27 January 2008 at 08:58 am

12345 said: "... very long post ..."

An interesting post. Might I suggest you break it up a bit into logical paragraphs? It is much less intimidating and others are more likely to read it then.

12345 said: "I will say that I am without doubt a sufferer of social anxiety and will often "put on a face" to appear happy when I am really not."

Been there, done that. This is probably why people like you. I've found, at least for my circumstances, it is better not to "put on a face". I have enough job stress without it.

12345 said: "I am the sort of guy who leaves the last remaining paper towel in the bathroom unused for the next patron and will use my clothes instead to dry my hands."

I prefer to go tell an employee. They are usually thankful for the information. Or, in my place of work, I'm the guy that refills the dispenser and the coffee machine, despite it not being my job.

12345 said: "My point is I'm sick of all these articles trying to fit everyone into certain categories. Your either a freak or your normal, nothing in between no gray area where its possible to be slightly different and beautiful at that."

I agree that is a failing of this article - that is probably because that is current thinking among psychiatrists and psychologists.

I think the entire psychopathy thing may be due to a defense mechanism: allowing doubt about a past cruel action would allow intolerable levels of guilt, so the person has to go into denial of one sort or another in order to survive. This denial can range from "it didn't really happen", through "they brought it on themselves", to the psychopathic "other people aren't really like I am". This kind of denial acts as a rather sharp cutoff, such that psychologists think that something is organically different, where it may not be.

tech42er said: "Because my political philosophy tends toward greed and self-interest at the expense of others ... some would accuse me of being psychopathic. However, I see it the other way: I'm probably too naive and empathetic. Because I give to charity and try to help others whenever I can, I assume others will, too and private charity (people helping the poor because they have freely chosen to) can replace welfare (people helping the poor because they have no choice). What do yo guys think?"

I think any system can work, including the libertarian system, if there are enough people of "good will" in the society, and that no system can work if there aren't enough. I think a large portion of the population is lacking education on basic ethics and morality - how and why moral behavior is a good thing, and so the U.S. is on the decline, regardless of which system we use.

I think we need to do something about that. The problem is, there is no "quick fix" - ethics is something best taught by example, and that takes time.

Ethics and morality has traditionally been the domain of religion and so ethics is often left out of the school. Churches on the other hand have become increasingly divisive, separating their followers from others, saying "we are the only 'true' ones", which often leads those followers to behave less than morally towards other people.

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" is found in every major religion, and all other laws flow from it.


Kalliste
Posted 28 January 2008 at 04:17 am

What isn't pointed out in articles like this is that psychopaths aren't to blame for everything - empathy is a double-edged sword and `us and them' works to make people act tribally in a way quite often far more destructive than the depradations of a lone psychopath. Of course, psychopaths may well confound the issue by playing on that.

And, BTW, whatever the hell else it is morality isn't based on logic - check out Godel's Theorem if you don't believe me


casaba
Posted 28 January 2008 at 05:13 am

1c3d0g said: "I'd probably classify as a psychopath (or worse), even though I do know the difference between right and wrong and do feel guilt and such. But for some things, such as (for instance); if I caught a burglar in my house, I wouldn't hesitate to put him down and end his life right there. Or if someone killed a person I loved, they'd bought themselves a death sentence immediately. I would hunt them down, torture them and kill them slowly and painfully. I *know* it's wrong to do such a thing, but impulsively I'd do it without thinking twice. I just can't help it. Maybe I do need professional medical attention, but hey, I try to look at it this way: stay out of my way and I'm cool with everyone, you f*ck with me or someone I care about, and you (and the people responsible) will get what's coming their way. :-|"

I think your statements show a much stronger signs of a 'sadist' than a 'psychopath', but obviously that's just my reading. For one, the fact that you clearly care for your family seems to exclude the diagnosis of 'psychopath'.


wh44
Posted 28 January 2008 at 06:39 am

Kalliste said: "... empathy is a double-edged sword ... Of course, psychopaths may well confound the issue by playing on that."

Very good point. Again, I point your attention to the free online book "The Authoritarians", which addresses that extensively.

Kalliste said: "And, BTW, whatever the hell else it is morality isn't based on logic - check out Godel's Theorem if you don't believe me"

Umm. Sorry, I'm not following you. I am very familiar with Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems (Wikpieda reference), but I don't see how a proof that any logic system must, per definition, be incomplete (i.e. cannot prove its own consistency), prevents you from applying the current standard logic system to morality.

I still think pretty much all reasonable moral code follows logically from "do unto other as you would have them do unto you". "Logically" in this case includes using reasonable assumptions (like: "anyone who has not killed themselves, probably does not want to be killed") and logical inference ("do unto...' + 'anyone...' => 'Thou shalt not kill'.").


randomuser
Posted 28 January 2008 at 09:00 am

Haven't bothered to read all of those comments, but I thought I'd post on this, seeing as everyone seems interested.

Psychopaths don't feel emotions, at least not like 'normal' people. They can be switched on and off.
Like anger for instance... I can get angry whenever I like, like flicking a switch, and display all the symptoms of anger. Inside, I don't really feel angry at all, more like an observer, studying the reactions of people around me to what I'm doing.
Same with other things... I started deciding what hours I wanted to go to work, rather than following the hours my employer set me. I got a warning for my timekeeping and am irritated that they are questioning what I want to do, rather than being sorry that I have messed them around and broken the rules.
Now, I know what 'normal' people would think in that situation, that the employer is correct and I should be reprimanded. I do have a clear knowledge of what people perceive as right and wrong actions. But I seriously do believe that the world I'm living in is my world, and everything that goes on has an effect on me which I must attempt to control, and them trying to stop me doing things my way was a definate inconvenience.
In my relationship, I admit to using my family, and I don't feel sorry for that. I could leave, but I am not miserable... neither am I happy. I am just content with the way things are.
My wife cooks for me, cleans for me, does anything I ask.. if that were not the case, then I wouldn't stay around. I don't 'love' her, in the common descriptions of that emotion, I feel an affection towards her, but certainly not strong enough to be called love.
I've stolen things before, but it was easy, as I didn't get nervous or panic.. I just picked an item up and walked away with it. I have never harmed another living creature, but I have no doubt that it would be quite easy, I just don't have the desire to do that.
The only real 'emotion' that I can say I honestly feel is irritation (if that's even an emotion). I get irritated by things constantly, and always those things that are stopping me from doing what I want to do, or making it more difficult. But I find a way around it.
I'm never happy, or even really sad... I just live, in my own way, in my own world.... I'm comfortable with that.
I would break any law if it was beneficial to my own personal gain, and I wouldn't feel sorry if I were caught.. I've been caught on things before and mostly, I find it amusing.
I could tell you lots more, or answer questions for those interested in how we perceive the world, but I probably don't have space here.


wh44
Posted 28 January 2008 at 11:15 am

randomuser said: "Haven't bothered to read all of those comments, but I thought I'd post on this, seeing as everyone seems interested."

This shows a profound lack of respect for the other participants in this discussion. Most likely you are a "troll", looking to provoke a maximal response.

Normally, the proper response to that is no response. However, at a meta-level, your post is an object lesson in how a non-psychopath can display many of the attributes of a psychopath. There are many different types of trolls, who troll for very different reasons. You can find out more about that here (http://www.io.com/~zikzak/troll_thesis.html).


wh44
Posted 28 January 2008 at 11:42 am

That was a bit of a washout.
Turns out that the "thesis" at http://www.io.com/~zikzak/troll_thesis.html is itself a form of trolling. Good enough that I didn't detect it in the first quick scan.
Somewhat more reliable information can probably be found at Wikipedia, however take it with a grain of salt: I am sure the trolls are active there too. :-)


12345
Posted 28 January 2008 at 11:11 pm

wh44, thank you for taking the time to respond to my comment. Lots of interesting discussion here to think about. .


randomuser
Posted 29 January 2008 at 03:44 am

12345,
Many thanks for the diagnosis!
Here's me thinking I was displaying psychopathic behaviour, when all along I was a troll.

I feel much better now!


wh44
Posted 29 January 2008 at 04:14 am

randomuser,
you might also be a psychopath - that just doesn't look like the reason for posting "I am a psychopath". If you had bothered to look, which you pointed out at the start you didn't, you would have seen there were already two similar posts to yours, with some interest/discussion. There is little to no interest in rehash.

If you weren't truly interested, why would you post without reading the discussion? I think the most likely cause is, you want to provoke reaction, preferably angry, for the sake of reaction, also known as trolling or flamebait.

You have provoked a reaction, but not an angry one. Unless you have something truly interesting to say, I'm going to stop "feeding the troll" now.

BTW: I'm wh44, not 12345.


randomuser
Posted 29 January 2008 at 05:53 am

Sorry wh44, I obviously didn't read your post very well, as I got your name wrong.
There's a misunderstanding, which seems to be my fault entirely.

I read the article, which didn't provide anything really new, but when I noticed the length of the comments (which as you know, I only skimmed over), I thought that everyone seemed quite interested in the topic.
You said in your last post 'If you weren't truly interested, why would you post without reading the discussion?'.... I never claimed to be interested at all, I said that it seemed everyone else was interested, and so I provided an outlook that I thought might add to your interest.

Unfortunately, as I didn't read properly through the comments, I was unaware that people had already discussed the things that I mentioned.

I wasn't posting for impact... 'Look!! I'm a psychopath!!', as its not something to be proud of or shout from the rooftops really... its just normal... more just because I thought that questions may have been asked in the comments that my post might have answered.

Maybe I SHOULD have read all the comments first, but I'm not all that bothered anyway.
If my comments weren't interesting, then I won't continue the discussion, because it wasn't particularly interesting to me in the first place, I was just providing a point of view.


Radiatidon
Posted 29 January 2008 at 11:41 am

Hello all, I’m back. Had some slight mishaps to overcome. For instance my barn caught on fire. Had some week-plus-old Boar kids (market goat from South Africa) housed there and got to play fireman. Blasted adults saw me running into the smoke carrying a large bucket of water (only choice I had thanks to the sub-zero weather). Same style of bucket we usually grain them with, and the dolts followed me into the blaze. Between dousing the fire with water, dragging burning debris out with a pitchfork, booting the ill-contempt’s out, and running around the haze filled barn rescuing the newborns my night was very hectic.

Unfortunately we lost three kids and one foal, but it could have been worse. Spent the last little while rebuilding and repair. So all is good again.

As some of you know, I was unduly tortured. I would classify those past tormentors as psychopaths. Though I cannot be sure of all I remember, pain has a way of clouding rational thought, there are some I am certain of. For instance, two of my tormentors talked about their families like someone who was casually whittling on a piece of wood, or skipping rocks across the water as they chatted. Only at the time they were slowly twisting nails into my arms.

I discovered if I did not cry out as they desecrated my flesh, they would become extremely angry. They would slap me until I passed out, or grab rocks and smash my fingers between them. One seemed to derive pleasure by touching my eyes, even so to force his finger into the orbit past the tear duct. Some days the right eye just will not focus correctly. Really a pain if I say so myself. The eyes are very adept at healing, even from the damage mine received, wondrous indeed!

Of the scars born those days from long ago, they appear as extremely faint pink or white lines and dots. Many do not even notice them, including the ones that circle my head like a crown. My feet tell a different story. Neither pinky toe sports a toenail to this day. The right large toe sports a misshaped nail that covers only half the nail-bed with a 1/8” rise on the right half, looking like a frozen wave above the bare nail-bed. A horrendous scar covers the soft tissue below my right ankle. At one time a hole existed there that one could drop a golf ball into.

During this time, they acted as if this was their right. That I was inferior and deserved all that they could do to me. I myself grew despondent, and when they pointed a pistol at me I prayed that the single shell was in the chamber as each took a turn spinning the cylinder and then pulling the trigger. But of course when the gun only clicked, a pistol whip was usually my reward.

Finally came the day when they released me. I think that they did not believe I would survive. I only recall being dumped into a trunk as they laughed, and when I awoke, it was in a sewage filled pit.

During my ordeal, I recall neither compassion nor disgust in my tormentors at the ravages performed upon my body. The only time they seemed disgusted is when I refused to cry out from the pain.


Radiatidon
Posted 29 January 2008 at 12:29 pm

Radiatidon said: "...Had some week-plus-old Boar kids..."

Sorry, I needed to correct this. Thats Boer as in Dutch for Farmer migrants that settled in South Africa in and around Cape Town and not Boar as in the Sus scrofa or wild boar of Europe.


sid
Posted 29 January 2008 at 02:11 pm

wh44 said: "Oh please! I was hoping that things wouldn't get partisan, but I just can't let this pass: assuming Bush were a psychopath (I am not saying he is or isn't), what personal gain would he get from turning Afghanistan into a glass parking lot, or neutron bombing Iraq? Is that anything compared to the gain in power from perpetual war? What about all the profit Cheney, Bush Sr. and others are making because they are invested in "military" stocks? There is a lot more money and power to be gained in perpetual war than in the "glass parking lot" solution.

Your point may have more merit if you could show that "Cheney, Bush Sr. and others" were not already heavily invested in "military" stocks prior to the hostilities in Afghanistan and Iraq beginning. Or that they adjusted their investments to focus solely on the industries that are providing the means to continue these conflicts. If "they" are pushing war for profit, as you imply, then surely "they" are also adjusting their portfolios to focus on the munitions and equipment being used, and pulling all their money out of military-type investments that may not be utilized in the two conflicts.

Expensive munitions = big profits for Daddy. The amount of assistance being spent in Afghanistan is a pittance, virtually nothing when compared to the military expenditure.

Yes, a bomb costs more than a loaf of bread. Your point? It costs money to wage a war, but just because that is more expensive than the aid, doesn't mean there is some nefarious conspiracy. Furthermore, virtually the whole world agreed going into Afghanistan was a good thing. Again, your point?

The U.S. presence there is also protecting the oil. Interestingly, the oil has been unmetered since the war began. Bushies, like Paul Wolfowitz, were predicting that the profits from that oil would pay for the invasion and occupation. How much has been pumped and where has that money gone? I certainly don't know, but I find it suspicious.

Well, would you rather the oil not be protected? We're there, whether or not you agree with the reasons, and the oil is there. Should we ignore it? What folks predicted and what has transpired is immaterial, since we know predictions are often just as likely to be wrong as right. But your question/comment are silly and transparent. Of course you want everyone to think that Bush, et al, are secretly lining their pockets with illegal oil money. You just don't have the courage to come out and say it, because people might think you just don't like Bush, which you clearly don't.

Funny you should say that. The word "evil" used to be rarely heard in politics, and then mostly from fringe groups. I was quite shocked when I first heard GWB talking about the "Axis of Evil" and such: he and his followers use morally weighted words like "evil" much more than those on the other side of the aisle. Such words leave little room for diplomacy: nobody thinks of themselves as evil. I leave you to draw your own conclusions.

Virtually ALL politicians use "morally weighted" words, and have done so for some time. Do a little research. Reagan (whom you may also dislike) used the term "Evil Empire" to describe the USSR. Anti-gun politicians (both Ds and Rs) refer to "evil assault weapons" when trying to ban some semi-automatic firearms, and have been doing so since long before Bush was in office. "Evil" is not a new term to politics.

No, you're just in denial - you're also using 'holocaust' to make it sound over the top. Any objective look at current evidence indicates that mankind is causing global warming. If you want to trot out evidence to the contrary, please check that it hasn't been disproved first - that seems to be a favorite of anti-global warming folks.

No, there is still an active debate on the subject. And he wasn't using the term "holocaust" to sound over the top. Those who have disagreed with the theory of man-made global warming have been compared to "holocaust deniers." Many who disagree have been afraid to state their views because of the expected backlash against them for being so bold as to question a theory that is being forced down the public's throat. Whether or not global warming is because of man's influence has not been irrefutably proven, no matter what you might want to believe.

I think Saddam deserved to lose his government, but not so much that we needed to kill over 100,000 Iraqi citizens (minimum estimates, realistic estimates have topped 1 million) and 3000 of our own soldiers. If you think this wasn't predictable, then tell me, why was the General who first predicted this outcome (before the war) fired by GWB?

You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but your question is silly and pointless. To whom are you referring? And if we take your question as being somehow true, then the answer would be we don't know, but your phrasing is designed to make the only possible answer be, "Because GWB didn't want to hear that prediction, so he looked for someone who would tell him what he wanted to hear." We get it. You don't like Bush, and you love to share your opinions, no matter if they are not supported by any facts.

I would not accuse an opponent of "being for killing baby animals" (unless, of course, they really and obviously were) - you're just putting over the top words in your opponents mouth. Would you deny that there can be good reasons for opposing drilling or building a power plant in a particular location?

Again, you miss the point, either intentionally or otherwise. Extremists in the conservation movement constantly make outrageous statements that liken the concept of drilling for oil in Alaska, for example, to an attempt to exterminate all of the animals there in exchange for oil. Would you deny that there can be ways to drill for oil without wiping out entire ecosystems?

I note you use the word plans. The fact is, the U.S. has been headed in the opposite direction for decades now: social spending was dwarfed by military spending even during the Clinton years, much more so now. If you want to reduce taxes, stop the war.

Social spending has expanded. By saying it has been dwarfed by military spending is a clever misdirection. You want people to believe social spending is down, when it is not. This is a similar tactic to politicians who claim a particular party wants to cut spending for x. In fact, the party wants to cut the spending the other party proposed, but still increase it over the prvious year. Just by not as much. Military budget has always exceeded social spending. If you want to show there is an actual reduction in social spending, please show the evidence.

Please tell me, why do you want tighter immigration controls? Seriously, think about it. Do you think they are taking away our jobs? Have you ever worked one of those jobs that they typically get? Do you think that they want to abuse our social system? If that were true, why are they so eager to take such crappy jobs?

Another nice attempt at misdirection. Can't speak for the author you're attacking, but I'd like to see tighter controls to cut down on illegal immigration. My mother was an immigrant, and came in the country through all the legal channels. What's wrong with wanting everyone else to do the same? And maybe more secure borders will help keep out those who want to do serious harm to this country? I have no problem with immigration. It's illegal immigration with which I take issue. Unfortunately, whenever people talk about immigration, lots of people start implying racism. That's just a fact.

As for the jobs question, yeah, I've done lots of labor jobs. Landscaping, moving furniture, dishwashing. What's your point? If I had to, I'd do them again.

Note my emphasis on "they" and "our": virtually all arguments for tighter immigration controls rely on dividing the world up into "us" vs. "them", and then implicitly or explicitly saying that "we" are better than "they" are. How is that not racist?

Yes, YOUR emphasis. You make the point. He didn't say "they" or "our," you did. So you have now labeled anyone who wants "tighter immigration" a racist, regardless of their reasons, but you had to do it by interjecting terms that were not used. Just terms you seem to think everyone MUST use when discussing the subject.

You took the words out of my mouth.

Pot? Kettle?

Funny you should say that. If you look at Republicans vs. Democrats, the Republicans are much more partisan and downright nasty. For example, look at your example: Clinton and Obama. The media has hyped their differences no end, but if you actually look at what they say, watch them in debate together, they are very collegial and respectful. That kind of behavior in the Republican party would be labeled "friendly".

Get a grip. Both sides are known for bitter infighting, and the Clinton/Obama feud is an excellent example. It's gonna get much worse, but it also may be just as bad on the other side. This little blurb of yours can probably be best described using the technical term. You are utilizing a tactic known as "I know you are, but what am I?"

Summary: if you're going to go on a verbal rampage, please try and put some thought and possibly some research into it instead of just regurgitating what you have been fed by Fox News, Bill O'Reilly and the right-wing propaganda machine."

Um, ditto, but I guess replace "FOX News, Bill O'Reilly and the right-wing propaganda machine" with "NBC News, Keith Olbermann, and the left-wing propaganda machine."


Teaflax
Posted 29 January 2008 at 04:37 pm

There IS no left wing propaganda machine in the US. Anyone who is a centrist by the standards of the rest of the world is considered a raging loony lefty in the US. America has a right wing and a far right wing, in great part due to the absurd two-party system (twice as good as a one-party system, 2 x 0 = 0) and a clear, effective and concerted effort by the Republicans to pull the center rightward.


wh44
Posted 29 January 2008 at 10:45 pm

Radiatidon said: "Hello all, I'm back."

Yay! Good to have you back.

sid said: "Your point may have more merit if you could show that "Cheney, Bush Sr. and others" were not already heavily invested in "military" stocks prior to the hostilities in Afghanistan and Iraq beginning. Or that they adjusted their investments to focus solely on the industries that are providing the means to continue these conflicts. If "they" are pushing war for profit, as you imply, then surely "they" are also adjusting their portfolios to focus on the munitions and equipment being used, and pulling all their money out of military-type investments that may not be utilized in the two conflicts."

Silly me, I thought I was poking a hole in dtaylor's "glass parking lot" argument as opposed to actually accusing Bush. Oh, wait: "wh44 said: "...(I am not saying he is or isn't)...", I was.

I note that you do not address the "power" argument, which is actually the more relevant for a psychopath.

sid said: "Yes, a bomb costs more than a loaf of bread. Your point? It costs money to wage a war, but just because that is more expensive than the aid, doesn't mean there is some nefarious conspiracy. Furthermore, virtually the whole world agreed going into Afghanistan was a good thing. Again, your point?"

Again, my point was that dtaylor did not have a point.

sid said: "Well, would you rather the oil not be protected? We're there, whether or not you agree with the reasons, and the oil is there. Should we ignore it? What folks predicted and what has transpired is immaterial, since we know predictions are often just as likely to be wrong as right. But your question/comment are silly and transparent. Of course you want everyone to think that Bush, et al, are secretly lining their pockets with illegal oil money. You just don't have the courage to come out and say it, because people might think you just don't like Bush, which you clearly don't."

"Silly and transparent"? It is known as a rhetorical question: it is meant to be transparent! I prefer not to be partisan, but you're right, I don't like Bush. Not a surprising prediction when over 60% of American voters don't like him, including a substantial portion of his own party.

However, more to the point, your counter attack conveniently ignores my original question: where is the money going? The President should know, and if he doesn't, then it's just as bad as if he was lining his pockets with it - either way we are losing over one hundred million (estimate) in revenue every day.

sid said: "Virtually ALL politicians use "morally weighted" words, and have done so for some time. Do a little research. Reagan (whom you may also dislike) used the term "Evil Empire" to describe the USSR. Anti-gun politicians (both Ds and Rs) refer to "evil assault weapons" when trying to ban some semi-automatic firearms, and have been doing so since long before Bush was in office. "Evil" is not a new term to politics."

Yes, I do remember Reagan (a Republican), and I wasn't the only one shocked by his use of the term "Evil Empire". If you remember that, then you must remember the furor in the press, too.

You say the Democrats use morally weighted words just as much, but they do not. To prove the point, I've hunted up old State of the Union addresses and counted how often the word "evil" was used:
Bill Clinton: 1993: 0, 1994: 1, 1995: 1, 1996: 0, 1997: 0, 1998: 0, 1999: 0, 2000: 0, Total: 2
George W. Bush: 2001: 0, 2002: 5, 2003: 4, 2004: 1, 2005: 1, 2006: 2, 2007: 2, 2008: 1, Total: 16
I realize it is not a perfect comparison, but if you can think of a better one, please present it.

sid said: "No, there is still an active debate on the subject. And he wasn't using the term "holocaust" to sound over the top. Those who have disagreed with the theory of man-made global warming have been compared to "holocaust deniers." Many who disagree have been afraid to state their views because of the expected backlash against them for being so bold as to question a theory that is being forced down the public's throat. Whether or not global warming is because of man's influence has not been irrefutably proven, no matter what you might want to believe."

1) If there is serious debate, please tell me where it is: the only debate I have seen, is over how bad it is, not whether or not it exists. See Scientific American, Science magazine, Nature, etc.
2) I note you ignored my request to cite credible evidence.
3) Both sides have accused each other of suppression: Science magazine did reject an anti-global warming article (note: total rejection rate for all articles submitted is ca. 30%), and the White House has redacted reports and threatened firings.
4) I have looked at the evidence on both sides myself, and find the evidence for global warming pretty compelling.

wh44 said: "I think Saddam deserved to lose his government, but not so much that we needed to kill over 100,000 Iraqi citizens (minimum estimates, realistic estimates have topped 1 million) and 3000 of our own soldiers. If you think this wasn't predictable, then tell me, why was the General who first predicted this outcome (before the war) fired by GWB?"

sid said: "You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but your question is silly and pointless. To whom are you referring? And if we take your question as being somehow true, then the answer would be we don't know, but your phrasing is designed to make the only possible answer be, "Because GWB didn't want to hear that prediction, so he looked for someone who would tell him what he wanted to hear." We get it. You don't like Bush, and you love to share your opinions, no matter if they are not supported by any facts."

It looks like I was wrong: General Shinseki apparently simply retired June 11, 2003. It is pure coincidence that he predicted that a much larger force would be required to hold a postwar Iraq.

Lawrence Lindsey was fired for predicting the Iraq war would cost between 100 and 200 billion dollars in September 2002 (it is now way past the high estimate).

So, yes, I think it does look like Bush fires people who disagree with him, and yes, it is supported by fact (he also fired two Generals who were against the surge, and countless others: try googling "bush fired disagreed"). And no, I didn't share this with people until provoked by dtaylor's diatribe.

If you think the quagmire was not predictable, maybe you should see this 1994 video of Dick Cheney (youtube).

sid said: "Again, you miss the point, either intentionally or otherwise. Extremists in the conservation movement constantly make outrageous statements that liken the concept of drilling for oil in Alaska, for example, to an attempt to exterminate all of the animals there in exchange for oil. Would you deny that there can be ways to drill for oil without wiping out entire ecosystems?"

I am not an extremist, I do think there are responsible ways to drill for oil. I said as much in my first post. I was objecting to dtaylor's "must hate the Earth and be for killing baby animals" tirade. Are you denying that there are fact-based objections to the plans for drilling in Alaska?

sid said: "Social spending has expanded. By saying it has been dwarfed by military spending is a clever misdirection. You want people to believe social spending is down, when it is not. This is a similar tactic to politicians who claim a particular party wants to cut spending for x. In fact, the party wants to cut the spending the other party proposed, but still increase it over the prvious year. Just by not as much. Military budget has always exceeded social spending. If you want to show there is an actual reduction in social spending, please show the evidence."

dtaylor was implying that it was social spending that was busting the budget. I stand by my statement: if you want to reduce taxes, stop the war. The war has now cost the U.S. nearly 500 billion dollars in direct costs (National Priorities Project), over and above the usual military spending.

sid said: "Another nice attempt at misdirection. Can't speak for the author you're attacking, but I'd like to see tighter controls to cut down on illegal immigration. My mother was an immigrant, and came in the country through all the legal channels. What's wrong with wanting everyone else to do the same?"

What's wrong with that is:
1) Going through legal channels has become much more difficult since your Mother's time: My wife's sister is an American (born and raised in the U.S.), her husband has been trying to get a work visa for many years now (no, they are not on welfare: she works and he takes care of their little boy). They are on the verge of giving up and moving back to the UK.
2) Effectively securing the borders is prohibitively expensive: e.g. the proposed border wall will cost billions, if it is ever made, and any sane analysis of it will tell you that it will barely make a dent in illegal immigration.

sid said: "And maybe more secure borders will help keep out those who want to do serious harm to this country? I have no problem with immigration. It's illegal immigration with which I take issue."

I doubt that even much more secure borders would keep out a resourceful terrorist willing to give up his life to attack the U.S. Meanwhile we pay a lot of tax dollars to try and keep people out who just want a chance at a better life.

sid said: "Unfortunately, whenever people talk about immigration, lots of people start implying racism. That's just a fact."

Unfortunately, much of the time when people start talking about immigration, they are being racist.

sid said: "As for the jobs question, yeah, I've done lots of labor jobs. Landscaping, moving furniture, dishwashing. What's your point? If I had to, I'd do them again."

I was, rather obviously, destroying the argument that "they take our jobs". The fact is, that by doing the low paying menial jobs, they are taking jobs that no one else wants and actually creating "higher level" jobs: they are consumers too, not just workers.

sid said: "Yes, YOUR emphasis. You make the point. He didn't say "they" or "our," you did. So you have now labeled anyone who wants "tighter immigration" a racist, regardless of their reasons, but you had to do it by interjecting terms that were not used. Just terms you seem to think everyone MUST use when discussing the subject."

Yes, MY emphasis. At the risk of sounding like a broken record: why do you want "tighter immigration"? Because Ma did it legal? Because it will make it marginally more difficult for terrorists?

dtaylor said: "I'M SICK OF IT! If you disagree with a policy, then disagree using rational, logical arguments. If you have to resort to ignorant fallacies and name calling, stay out of the public discourse completely."

wh44 said: "You took the words out of my mouth."

sid said: "Pot? Kettle?"

Excuse me? Are we reading the same things?

dtaylor used mostly unsubstantiated claims and fallacies, then accused others of doing that. I found it rather galling, so I used facts and rational argument for a point-by-point rebuttal to his one-sided diatribe.

You, for your part, seem to conveniently ignore or misunderstand a lot of what I say, have the gall to accuse me of "misdirection", and are now accusing me of not using facts and reasoning?!

sid said: "Get a grip. Both sides are known for bitter infighting, and the Clinton/Obama feud is an excellent example. It's gonna get much worse, but it also may be just as bad on the other side. This little blurb of yours can probably be best described using the technical term. You are utilizing a tactic known as "I know you are, but what am I?""

I repeat, I don't see this feud. The worst I have seen is a tiff in the debate on Jan. 21 (youtube, in the first two minutes). Taken in the context of the many times they have explicitely praised each other, that is not a feud (dictionary.reference.com).

Summary: if you're going to go on a verbal rampage, please try and put some thought and possibly some research into it instead of just regurgitating what you have been fed by Fox News, Bill O'Reilly and the right-wing propaganda machine.

sid said: "Um, ditto, but I guess replace "FOX News, Bill O'Reilly and the right-wing propaganda machine" with "NBC News, Keith Olbermann, and the left-wing propaganda machine.""

I was favorably interpreting dtaylor's emotional tirade and lack of facts and logic as simple "regurgitation", as opposed to willful distortion.

I don't watch NBC News or Keith Olbermann - I don't own a TV - though I will admit to having seen Keith Olbermann in online video clips two or three times. I've seen more O'Reilly clips than Olbermann.

My daily news source is slashdot, where the favorite candidate appears to be Ron Paul. This is supplemented occasionally by reading a potpouri of online sources, primarily CNN, Fox, ABC, AOL, International Herald Tribune (British), Der Spiegel (German) and Heise Online (German).

Your post is not regurgitation inasmuch as you address my post. However, I find it rather irksome that you conveniently ignore much of what I said.

I stand by what I wrote.


tazzle
Posted 30 January 2008 at 01:54 am

Interesting article, and some interesting comments, as well... though I'm finding the political arguments here unfortunate and distracting (not to mention really long to scroll past). Why not do this at a political discussion site instead?

Radiatidon, I am curious about the circumstances surrounding your awful experience... can you point me to a post or comment that explains this history?


wh44
Posted 30 January 2008 at 04:40 am

tazzle said: "Interesting article, and some interesting comments, as well… though I'm finding the political arguments here unfortunate and distracting (not to mention really long to scroll past). Why not do this at a political discussion site instead?"

I agree, at the same time, I can't let such nonsense go unanswered. So, I will repeat a request made in earlier discussions:

Alan: Can we please have forums? You could put a link in and move posts that are only marginally relevant (e.g. dtaylor's and sid's posts and my responses) to a new thread, where the tangential discussion could continue for those interested. If there is a technical difficulty with true forums, perhaps a pseudo forum: create a stub article and attach the posts to that?


Radiatidon
Posted 30 January 2008 at 07:42 am

tazzle said: "Radiatidon, I am curious about the circumstances surrounding your awful experience… can you point me to a post or comment that explains this history?"

In the below referenced material, I was just a tourist wandering in the wrong area at the wrong time. Part of a larger group of friends exploring an open-air market, I stopped to admire some beautiful, handcrafted articles. As I conversed with the artisan about purchasing some of her wares, a drunken man knocked me into the women’s stand. Trying not to fall, I accidentally hit her with my elbow, which resulted in her crying out in pain. Without warning I was surrounded by some very dark and very angry faces. I was only able to say “Hey guys...” before a fist bloodied my nose. I was dragged off the street into an alley and beaten unconscious. The rest is related in the following links.

http://www.damninteresting.com/?p=913#comment-17915

http://www.damninteresting.com/?p=913#comment-17988


tazzle
Posted 30 January 2008 at 10:20 am

Thanks, Radiatidon. Such a harrowing tale; I'm very sorry for what you've suffered. As Kalliste said:

"What isn't pointed out in articles like this is that psychopaths aren't to blame for everything - empathy is a double-edged sword and `us and them' works to make people act tribally in a way quite often far more destructive than the depradations of a lone psychopath."

Regarding PJMurphy's interesting comments about the relativity of morality, it seems that there is quite a bit of current research into the "science of morality", as explained in the article The Moral Instinct: "Moral intuitions are being drawn out of people in the lab, on Web sites and in brain scanners, and are being explained with tools from game theory, neuroscience and evolutionary biology". It's quite long, but very interesting.


sid
Posted 30 January 2008 at 04:12 pm

wh44 said: "Yay! Good to have you back.

Silly me, I thought I was poking a hole in dtaylor's "glass parking lot" argument as opposed to actually accusing Bush. Oh, wait: "wh44 said: "…(I am not saying he is or isn't)…", I was.

No, you were misdirecting. And failing to use facts or logic. What fact did you offer?

I note that you do not address the "power" argument, which is actually the more relevant for a psychopath.

Your "power" argument is pointless, as "power" can be perceived in any number of ways. It would certainly be a show of "power" to go the glass route, and the fear generated from such a display of "power" would, itself" generate additional "power." Your "perpetual war/power" scenario pales in comparison to the "power" a swift and decisive victory would have generated. And your "financial gain/power" scenario is merely speculation, as I explained, and not based in facts.

Again, my point was that dtaylor did not have a point.

So, you were making a point that someone else had no point by having no defensible point yourself? Interesting strategy.

"Silly and transparent"? It is known as a rhetorical question: it is meant to be transparent! I prefer not to be partisan, but you're right, I don't like Bush. Not a surprising prediction when over 60% of American voters don't like him, including a substantial portion of his own party.

Yes, rhetorical questions tend to be silly and transparent. They have no use in reasoned dialogue, unless you want to be snarky or provocative. Most people try to claim they are nonpartisan. Few achieve it. I don't need to look at opinion polls, though, as you are simply too transparent.

However, more to the point, your counter attack conveniently ignores my original question: where is the money going? The President should know, and if he doesn't, then it's just as bad as if he was lining his pockets with it - either way we are losing over one hundred million (estimate) in revenue every day.

http://washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080130/FOREIGN/458073763/1001
Just because you don't know where the money is, doesn't mean it is unknown.

Yes, I do remember Reagan (a Republican), and I wasn't the only one shocked by his use of the term "Evil Empire". If you remember that, then you must remember the furor in the press, too.

Yes, a Republican, who to this day has incredibly high approval ratings. Since you felt the need to note he was a Republican (which, presumably, everyone knows), it would seem that you aren't just someone who doesn't like Bush, but someone who doesn't like Republicans. Fair enough, but any hope of you putting forth the illusion that you are not partisan is effectively gone, in my opinion.

You say the Democrats use morally weighted words just as much, but they do not. To prove the point, I've hunted up old State of the Union addresses and counted how often the word "evil" was used:
Bill Clinton: 1993: 0, 1994: 1, 1995: 1, 1996: 0, 1997: 0, 1998: 0, 1999: 0, 2000: 0, Total: 2
George W. Bush: 2001: 0, 2002: 5, 2003: 4, 2004: 1, 2005: 1, 2006: 2, 2007: 2, 2008: 1, Total: 16
I realize it is not a perfect comparison, but if you can think of a better one, please present it.

Oh, I did not realize "evil" is the only "morally weighted" word. I guess it's OK to say "evil" on occasion, then, just not too frequently. I work in the world of politics (and own a TV), so I probably have a better grasp of how both sides use emotional rhetoric (or "morally weighted" words, if you prefer) to further their agenda. Both sides are generally wrong when they do so, but someone with partisan feelings might obviously take more offense when the other side uses them.

1) If there is serious debate, please tell me where it is: the only debate I have seen, is over how bad it is, not whether or not it exists. See Scientific American, Science magazine, Nature, etc.
2) I note you ignored my request to cite credible evidence.
3) Both sides have accused each other of suppression: Science magazine did reject an anti-global warming article (note: total rejection rate for all articles submitted is ca. 30%), and the White House has redacted reports and threatened firings.
4) I have looked at the evidence on both sides myself, and find the evidence for global warming pretty compelling.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with you forming an opinion on one side of this debate. But to claim there is no debate is simply wrong.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming_controversy
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2007/10/the_globalwarming_debate_isnt.html
http://www.globalwarming.org/

It took a matter of minutes to come up with this. Few say global warming doesn't exist. Many dispute that it is caused by the actions of humans. It may be, but there is still an active debate, regardless of how you wish to deny it.

But the real point you evaded was the claim that those who deny man's responsibility are villified by the other side. That's what dtaylor was saying. It's true, and you attacked him for telling the truth.

It looks like I was wrong: General Shinseki apparently simply retired June 11, 2003. It is pure coincidence that he predicted that a much larger force would be required to hold a postwar Iraq.

Lawrence Lindsey was fired for predicting the Iraq war would cost between 100 and 200 billion dollars in September 2002 (it is now way past the high estimate).

So, yes, I think it does look like Bush fires people who disagree with him, and yes, it is supported by fact (he also fired two Generals who were against the surge, and countless others: try googling "bush fired disagreed"). And no, I didn't share this with people until provoked by dtaylor's diatribe.

There is no "fact" that Lindsey was fired because of his prediction. The "fact" is that he was gone shortly after. You, and certainly others, have simply come to a conclusion as to the reason. To quote from "Princess Bride," I don't think you know what that word (fact) means. Oh, and since most people seem to think the "Surge" has worked, to this point, then I guess Bush was right to fire those generals, if that's why he did it.

If you think the quagmire was not predictable, maybe you should see this 1994 video of Dick Cheney (youtube).

That's not the discussion, but another nice attempt at misdirection. I never said "the quagmire was not predictable," nor did dtaylor. Try to stay on topic.

I am not an extremist, I do think there are responsible ways to drill for oil. I said as much in my first post. I was objecting to dtaylor's "must hate the Earth and be for killing baby animals" tirade. Are you denying that there are fact-based objections to the plans for drilling in Alaska?

Nobody said you are an extremist. You questioned dtaylor's statement about how some extremists call those who wish to drill for oil animal killers. They do that, even if you don't, but you were itching for a written confrontation. As for your question, nope.

dtaylor was implying that it was social spending that was busting the budget. I stand by my statement: if you want to reduce taxes, stop the war. The war has now cost the U.S. nearly 500 billion dollars in direct costs (National Priorities Project), over and above the usual military spending.

He implied nothing of the sort. You inferred. Your proposal may, indeed, lead to lower taxes. But that has nothing to do with what dtaylor said. He said when people rail against taxes, the natural response from some is to imply they hate kids and the elderly. That is oftn true, and I see it happen all the time. Again, stay on topic.

What's wrong with that is:
1) Going through legal channels has become much more difficult since your Mother's time: My wife's sister is an American (born and raised in the U.S.), her husband has been trying to get a work visa for many years now (no, they are not on welfare: she works and he takes care of their little boy). They are on the verge of giving up and moving back to the UK.
2) Effectively securing the borders is prohibitively expensive: e.g. the proposed border wall will cost billions, if it is ever made, and any sane analysis of it will tell you that it will barely make a dent in illegal immigration.

1) Becoming a citizen should be difficult. Since you don't know what my mother went through, however, you really have no point. Knowing what it takes to become a citizen of other industrialized countries, however, U.S. citizenship is generally far easier.
2)Ah, so it's expensive and may not work, so don't bother. Then again, it may help. Then again, nobody said anything about the border wall. If your solution is to just open the borders, then you are in a distinct minority. Most people (even those who don't like Bush, like you) want to see immigration reformed, predominantly to go after illegal immigration.

I doubt that even much more secure borders would keep out a resourceful terrorist willing to give up his life to attack the U.S. Meanwhile we pay a lot of tax dollars to try and keep people out who just want a chance at a better life.

Again, it might not work, so why bother trying? A rather defeatist (no, not pragmatic) attitude. As for folks looking for a better life, go through the proper channels, and that's fine. Or maybe look at ways of improving their country so life there is just as good as it is here.

Unfortunately, much of the time when people start talking about immigration, they are being racist.

And much of the time they are not. Again, the point dtaylor was making was that no matter what the intentions, folks who talk about immigration reform are regularly labeled as racist with no basis in fact.

I was, rather obviously, destroying the argument that "they take our jobs". The fact is, that by doing the low paying menial jobs, they are taking jobs that no one else wants and actually creating "higher level" jobs: they are consumers too, not just workers.

No you weren't. American citizens will do the same jobs, and have for some time. In fact, some are losing their jobs because there is a labor force that will do it cheaper. Why pay minimum wage or higher when you can pay someone here illegally far less? And are they also consumers? To a certain extent. But a lot of that money also goes back to their home country, which would generally not be the case if the job were being done by a citizen.

Yes, MY emphasis. At the risk of sounding like a broken record: why do you want "tighter immigration"? Because Ma did it legal? Because it will make it marginally more difficult for terrorists?

Yes, YOUR emphasis. It's not an Us v. Them argument, in the sense you wish to craft it. It's a Legal v. Illegal argument. Two reasons already stated, and many more that deal with economics and overall global improvement. It's not racism, although I can appreciate if it makes you feel better if it is.

Excuse me? Are we reading the same things?

dtaylor used mostly unsubstantiated claims and fallacies, then accused others of doing that. I found it rather galling, so I used facts and rational argument for a point-by-point rebuttal to his one-sided diatribe.

Never saw a single fact in your diatribe against dtaylor. Just unsubstantiated claims and fallacies. Still not sure if you're the pot or the kettle.

You, for your part, seem to conveniently ignore or misunderstand a lot of what I say, have the gall to accuse me of "misdirection", and are now accusing me of not using facts and reasoning?!

I haveen't ignored or misunderstood a thing. I've pretty much got you figured out, and it didn't take much effort. You are very prolific in your use of misdirection. you're just not very good at it.

I repeat, I don't see this feud. The worst I have seen is a tiff in the debate on Jan. 21 (youtube, in the first two minutes). Taken in the context of the many times they have explicitely praised each other, that is not a feud (dictionary.reference.com).

Just because you don't see it, doesn't mean it's not there. You just may not be paying close enough attention.

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20080130/D8UGERC80.html

This feud will soon escalate into an attempt to destroy the legacy of Bill Clinton. That will get interesting. Buy a TV if you want to watch.

I was favorably interpreting dtaylor's emotional tirade and lack of facts and logic as simple "regurgitation", as opposed to willful distortion.

I don't watch NBC News or Keith Olbermann - I don't own a TV - though I will admit to having seen Keith Olbermann in online video clips two or three times. I've seen more O'Reilly clips than Olbermann.

My daily news source is slashdot, where the favorite candidate appears to be Ron Paul. This is supplemented occasionally by reading a potpouri of online sources, primarily CNN, Fox, ABC, AOL, International Herald Tribune (British), Der Spiegel (German) and Heise Online (German).

Your post is not regurgitation inasmuch as you address my post. However, I find it rather irksome that you conveniently ignore much of what I said.

I stand by what I wrote."

Again, I haven't ignored anything. I've covered your statements, disputed and dispelled them, and pointed out where you have tried to use misdirection to get off topic.

I would expect you to stand by what you wrote. You offered nothing more than opinions, conjecture, partisanship, and thinly-veiled insults. Those can't really be disproven, since they are all a matter of your perspective. Unless you change your perspective, then I expect you to continue to stand by what you wrote. But you are still, at virtually every turn of this discussion, wrong. In my opinion.


wh44
Posted 31 January 2008 at 10:11 am

sid: since you seem to have trouble identifying facts, I am going to put an extra label "(fact)" next to some of the more obvious facts, for easy identification.

wh44 said: "Silly me, I thought I was poking a hole in dtaylor's "glass parking lot" argument as opposed to actually accusing Bush. Oh, wait: "wh44 said: "...(I am not saying he is or isn't)...", I was."

sid said: "No, you were misdirecting. And failing to use facts or logic. What fact did you offer?"

You are failing to point out where I was misdirecting. I was using plain logic. dtaylor made an assertion, that if GWB were a psychopath he would have turned Afghanistan into a glass parking lot, I demonstrated that there was a gaping hole in that logic.

sid said: "Your "power" argument is pointless, as "power" can be perceived in any number of ways. It would certainly be a show of "power" to go the glass route, and the fear generated from such a display of "power" would, itself" generate additional "power." Your "perpetual war/power" scenario pales in comparison to the "power" a swift and decisive victory would have generated. And your "financial gain/power" scenario is merely speculation, as I explained, and not based in facts."

My "financial gain/power" scenario is speculation?!?!

President Bush is the most powerful president in history: he has gained the right to declare war from congress (fact, presscue), arrogated the right to send prisoners to gitmo with no Habeas Corpus, including American citizens (fact, nytimes), he has been illegally phone-tapping on a massive scale (fact, bbc), he has the right to declare martial law and suspend elections in an emergency he himself is allowed to define (fact, Defense Budget bill PL 109-364, provision "Use of the Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies", passed in Oct. 2006). No president in history has had these powers (fact).

It is also fact that his father and friends have been making millions off of his waging war (fact, see the Carlyle Group). Bush himself was required to divest himself of stocks to avoid conflict of interest, but that has not prevented his Daddy from making a mint.

These are facts, not "speculation". The "glass parking lot" is speculation.

wh44 said: "Again, my point was that dtaylor did not have a point."

sid said: "So, you were making a point that someone else had no point by having no defensible point yourself? Interesting strategy."

I think my statements stand for themselves.

sid said: "http://washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080130/FOREIGN/458073763/1001
Just because you don't know where the money is, doesn't mean it is unknown."

I was wrong. It isn't a hundred million dollars a day that is missing, only 5 to 15 million (fact, nytimes).

sid said: "Yes, a Republican, who to this day has incredibly high approval ratings. Since you felt the need to note he was a Republican (which, presumably, everyone knows), it would seem that you aren't just someone who doesn't like Bush, but someone who doesn't like Republicans. Fair enough, but any hope of you putting forth the illusion that you are not partisan is effectively gone, in my opinion."

You are conveniently ignoring the point that I was making: Republicans use morally weighted words more. So of course, it is relevant that Reagan is a Republican. How could it not be relevant when you cite him as a counter-example? He is a further example!

wh44 said: "...
I realize it is not a perfect comparison, but if you can think of a better one, please present it.

sid said: "Oh, I did not realize "evil" is the only "morally weighted" word. I guess it's OK to say "evil" on occasion, then, just not too frequently. I work in the world of politics (and own a TV), so I probably have a better grasp of how both sides use emotional rhetoric (or "morally weighted" words, if you prefer) to further their agenda. Both sides are generally wrong when they do so, but someone with partisan feelings might obviously take more offense when the other side uses them."

You are deliberately playing stupid. I repeat: if you can think of a better (objective measure), please present it!

sid said: There's absolutely nothing wrong with you forming an opinion on one side of this debate. But to claim there is no debate is simply wrong.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming_controversy
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2007/10/the_globalwarming_debate_isnt.html
http://www.globalwarming.org/

It took a matter of minutes to come up with this. Few say global warming doesn't exist. Many dispute that it is caused by the actions of humans. It may be, but there is still an active debate, regardless of how you wish to deny it.

But the real point you evaded was the claim that those who deny man's responsibility are villified by the other side. That's what dtaylor was saying. It's true, and you attacked him for telling the truth."


You and dtaylor are right, many are villified for denying global warming.

May I point out that if you actually read the first link, it states that there is a consensus among climate scientists that global warming is caused by human activity and cites multiple sources (fact), and that the only debate is in some segments of the U.S. (fact). The other two links are to partisan organizations (fact).

sid said: "There is no "fact" that Lindsey was fired because of his prediction. The "fact" is that he was gone shortly after. You, and certainly others, have simply come to a conclusion as to the reason. To quote from "Princess Bride," I don't think you know what that word (fact) means. Oh, and since most people seem to think the "Surge" has worked, to this point, then I guess Bush was right to fire those generals, if that's why he did it."

So, Lindsey was fired for some other reason? Probably because he had BO.

The surge has worked? So, people aren't being killed on a daily basis anymore?

We've lost 9 more soldiers since the weekend (fact). Killings are down, but very far from gone, and we cannot maintain this troop strength for long (fact).

sid said: "That's not the discussion, but another nice attempt at misdirection. I never said "the quagmire was not predictable," nor did dtaylor. Try to stay on topic."

Excuse me, you and dtaylor were arguing for the Iraq war. So, if you are saying it is irrelevant that a quagmire was predictable, that is saying you are for the quagmire, the hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths and the deaths of our service men and women (currently at 3940). All so that Saddam Hussein could be removed from power.

I didn't think you could possibly be for such a thing, and so thought that the predictions were relevant. Please, excuse me if I was wrong.

... oil drilling ... defense budget ... taxes ...

Fine: we agree, that some people on both sides are over-the-top partisan. If you stop claiming to be right because there are people on the left who are wrong (known as the straw man argument), then we can drop it.

sid said: "1) Becoming a citizen should be difficult. Since you don't know what my mother went through, however, you really have no point. Knowing what it takes to become a citizen of other industrialized countries, however, U.S. citizenship is generally far easier.
2)Ah, so it's expensive and may not work, so don't bother. Then again, it may help. Then again, nobody said anything about the border wall. If your solution is to just open the borders, then you are in a distinct minority. Most people (even those who don't like Bush, like you) want to see immigration reformed, predominantly to go after illegal immigration."

I don't know precisely what your mother went through, but if it is more than 10 years ago, then it was a lot easier than it is now. I know a few people who have immigrated and some who are trying to now. I currently live in Germany, and I know it is tough to get into Germany, but still not as tough as it is to immigrate to the U.S. today. (I don't have time to look it up right now - but my personal anecdotal evidence is pretty strong).

My own stance is that we need to reform immigration to make it easier: then those few who still take the illegal route will stick out and be easier to catch.

wh44 said: "I doubt that even much more secure borders would keep out a resourceful terrorist willing to give up his life to attack the U.S. Meanwhile we pay a lot of tax dollars to try and keep people out who just want a chance at a better life."

sid said: "Again, it might not work, so why bother trying? A rather defeatist (no, not pragmatic) attitude. As for folks looking for a better life, go through the proper channels, and that's fine. Or maybe look at ways of improving their country so life there is just as good as it is here."

As I said above: if we make it easier for those who are just looking for a better life, then there will be far fewer who will take the illegal route and it will be easier to catch those who do. I think that would be much more effective than building a useless wall.

wh44 said: "Unfortunately, much of the time when people start talking about immigration, they are being racist."

sid said: "And much of the time they are not. Again, the point dtaylor was making was that no matter what the intentions, folks who talk about immigration reform are regularly labeled as racist with no basis in fact."

The point was and remains, that those most interested in "tightening immigration" are, in fact, racists (fact, publicgood.org).

sid said: "No you weren't. American citizens will do the same jobs, and have for some time. In fact, some are losing their jobs because there is a labor force that will do it cheaper. Why pay minimum wage or higher when you can pay someone here illegally far less? And are they also consumers? To a certain extent. But a lot of that money also goes back to their home country, which would generally not be the case if the job were being done by a citizen."

Okay, I concede the point. Some jobs are taken and not replaced by high-end jobs. The solution is still to make legal immigration easier: then they are citizens and can demand minimum wage.

sid said: "Yes, YOUR emphasis. It's not an Us v. Them argument, in the sense you wish to craft it. It's a Legal v. Illegal argument. Two reasons already stated, and many more that deal with economics and overall global improvement. It's not racism, although I can appreciate if it makes you feel better if it is."

The citizen watch groups and others pushing hardest for "immigration reform" are racist. Does it make you feel better to imagine that they are not?

sid said: "Never saw a single fact in your diatribe against dtaylor. Just unsubstantiated claims and fallacies. Still not sure if you're the pot or the kettle."

If you saw no facts, then you weren't looking. No wonder I had to repeat myself so much.

sid said: "I haveen't ignored or misunderstood a thing. I've pretty much got you figured out, and it didn't take much effort. You are very prolific in your use of misdirection. you're just not very good at it."

I stand by my words.

sid said: "Just because you don't see it (the Clinton/Obama feud), doesn't mean it's not there. You just may not be paying close enough attention."

Hmmm. It looks like the tiff might actually turn into a feud. Note that the article is dated January 30, my post was January 29 (fact).

sid said: "Again, I haven't ignored anything. I've covered your statements, disputed and dispelled them, and pointed out where you have tried to use misdirection to get off topic."

If you weren't ignoring things, why did I have to repeat myself so much?

Aside from the fact that this entire discussion is offtopic, I have not been offtopic with respect to dtaylor's post.

sid said: "I would expect you to stand by what you wrote. You offered nothing more than opinions, conjecture, partisanship, and thinly-veiled insults. Those can't really be disproven, since they are all a matter of your perspective. Unless you change your perspective, then I expect you to continue to stand by what you wrote. But you are still, at virtually every turn of this discussion, wrong. In my opinion."

Your summary is, itself, a perfect example of what you accuse me of.


sid
Posted 31 January 2008 at 03:26 pm

wh44 said: "sid: since you seem to have trouble identifying facts, I am going to put an extra label "(fact)" next to some of the more obvious facts, for easy identification.

You are failing to point out where I was misdirecting. I was using plain logic. dtaylor made an assertion, that if GWB were a psychopath he would have turned Afghanistan into a glass parking lot, I demonstrated that there was a gaping hole in that logic.

Let me see if I can simplify things for you (he said, tongue-in-cheek). Nothing in your previous posts are "facts." I'll take care of the "facts" you NOW are including, but that will not change the actual fact that you supplied no facts in your initial response to dtaylor (just partisan, regurgitated vitriol), and the "facts" you have since supplied, by and large, are not actual facts. Mostly opinion, speculation, and the occasional anecdotal reference.

You exposed no "gaping hole" in anyone's logic. You merely offered another speculative opinion that supports your anti-Bush agenda. dtaylor offered an opinion as to why the partisan slap at Bush/Cheney was unwarranted, and you responded with a weak counterargument that was, and is, unsupported by facts. I, in turn, pointed to other arguments as to how Bush, if he were truly just seeking power, could have better achieved those results. If you think the protracted war argument carries more weight than the swift victory argument, then you have a serious lack of understanding regarding the global political climate. Just an opinion, but certainly supportable by looking at the theories without your anti-Bush myopia.

Your misdirection was when you decided to reject the "glass parking lot" scenario by not even considering the idea that such action would increase his power by striking absolute fear into other countries. You then continued the misdirection by suggesting a scenario to support the Bush-bashing that is not supported by facts. I explained that in a previous post, but to refresh, the financial gain scenario must be supported by documentation showing reallocation of investments that would indicate there was not heavy investment in defense-related corporations prior to the war, but there was leading up to it. You would then need to show that those investments were focused in the areas that showed remarkable profit, as opposed to those that did not. What you failed to mention is that conservatives tend to believe in a strong military, and likely invest in corporations that rely on military contracts. Heck, most people know that such investments are often times, even in times of peace, quite profitable. Your argument has no merit because it cannot be proven, thus, it is merely your opinion, and, again, unsupported by facts.

My "financial gain/power" scenario is speculation?!?!

Yes, it is. See above.

President Bush is the most powerful president in history: he has gained the right to declare war from congress (fact, presscue), arrogated the right to send prisoners to gitmo with no Habeas Corpus, including American citizens (fact, nytimes), he has been illegally phone-tapping on a massive scale (fact, bbc), he has the right to declare martial law and suspend elections in an emergency he himself is allowed to define (fact, Defense Budget bill PL 109-364, provision "Use of the Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies", passed in Oct. 2006). No president in history has had these powers (fact).

So many corrections, so little time. Anyway, Bush most powerful in history? That's an opinion, not a fact. It all depends on how you define power. The war in Iraq has weakened his standing in most parts of the world, which greatly diminishes his power. Same at home.

Bush has not "gained the right to declare war from Congress." First, in this context, Presidents have power, not rights. Rights are reserved to the people. Second, the proposal to which you refer is being suggested to restrict ANY President (obviously geared towards Bush right now) from engaging in ANY military action against Iran. Not all situations, just Iran. Furthermore, the Constitution merely says formal declarations of war must be made by Congress. Technically, we are not at war with Iraq, we are involved in a military action. And this was with Congressional approval. In contrast, Harry Truman put us in Korea without Congressional approval. In fact, Wikepedia states there have been at least 125 occasions when a US President has taken military action without Congressional approval. Nothing new here, so, not a fact (or, perhaps, just irrelevent).

Habeas Corpus? Suspended by Lincoln during the Civil War, and by Grant in the 1870s. Lincoln did it in response to riots, militia action, and under pressure from some generals to rein in "Copperheads," who were Democrats opposed to the war. His suspension was struck down in court, but he ignored the ruling. Grants actions were in response to KKK activities.

In '42, the Supreme Court ruled unlawful combatant saboteurs could be denied Habeus Corpus. In '96, Congress passed, and Clinton signed, the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, which set certain limitations on HC. So, again, this isn't uncharted territory. A "fact," perhaps, but irrelevent.

Phone tapping is a touchy subject for many, but what the Bush Administration has been doing has yet to be declared "illegal," so, not a "fact." Other Presidents may very well have done the same (yes, I know, just speculation), and certainly they all had the power to do so. It would be up to the courts to determine the legality of such action, and up to now, they have not rendered a decision. Again, no "fact," here.

PL 109-364 was passed by Congress, and gives all Presidents from this point on the same power (not right). It is new to Bush, true, but not exclusive to him, and was passed by a Congress controlled by the Democrats. Yes, this, indeed, is a fact, but is still irrelevent. By your arguments I infer (see, that's the word to use) you mean to imply (again, proper use) that this action was somehow secretive, nefarious, and intended to benefit Bush, and Bush alone. In fact, it was done under full public scrutiny, and all Presidents from this point on will have the same power, unless it gets repealed. Again, factual, but irrelevent and unsupportive of your arguments.

It is also fact that his father and friends have been making millions off of his waging war (fact, see the Carlyle Group). Bush himself was required to divest himself of stocks to avoid conflict of interest, but that has not prevented his Daddy from making a mint.

Yes, the Carlyle Group is an investment firm making money. There are many like it. Yes, former-President Bush was an advisor, is not now, and is likely profiting from ALL of the investments in which Carlyle is involved. Yes, current-President Bush was on the Board, but left in '92 to run for Gov. of Texas. Yes, Carlyle has many military investments, the bulk of which were acquired in '97. These are, indeed, facts. Your conclusion, however, is specious, at best. I guess in '92, Bush knew he'd be Pres. one day, and get us involved in military actions, so he quit the Board. Then, in '97, this cabal of nefarious operators knew Bush would be elected in '00, and get the U.S. involved in military actions, so it started amassing military investments. I think your foil may be wrapped a little tight.

These are facts, not "speculation". The "glass parking lot" is speculation.

Some facts, but mostly irrelevent, as I've carefully explained. Ultimately, your "most powerful president in history" statement is just your opinion, and pretty unsupportable.

I think my statements stand for themselves.

Yes, they stand as a bunch of opinions based on your dislike of Bush, not on any real or relevent facts.

I was wrong. It isn't a hundred million dollars a day that is missing, only 5 to 15 million (fact, nytimes).

You've been wrong on so many levels, it's nice to see you finally acknowledge it once. Oil missing? Yes, a fact. Bush responsible or somehow involved (at least, that seems to be what you are implying)? Not a fact. Point of mentioning it? Unknown, but probably so you can be provocative. "Ohhh, there's oil missing. Bush doesn't know where it is. What could that mean?" Translation, you are trying to implicate Bush as either being corrupt or incompetent to promote your anti-Bush agenda. Not very creative or insightful. Missing oil could be because of sabotage, theft, mistakes in accounting, a combination of these posibilities, or some other unkown reason/s. But the issue is being investigated, not ignored.

You are conveniently ignoring the point that I was making: Republicans use morally weighted words more. So of course, it is relevant that Reagan is a Republican. How could it not be relevant when you cite him as a counter-example? He is a further example!

I have yet to ignore a single point you have made. In fact, I specifically countered your point by stating BOTH SIDES use "morally weighted" words. You pointed solely to the use of the word "evil" as an example, which is obviously not the only example. I mentioned Reagan's use of the word to show that it is not new to the public discourse. And he's still quite popular, so any flak he may have received from liberals obviously didn't do much. On the other hand, you even cited Clinton as using the word. And I can guarantee FDR used the word a few times leading up to and during WWII. I know you support Ds over Rs, but I was making sure others who may be reading this exercise in futility would clearly understand that, so they can weigh your opinions accordingly. Let me be clear on this. Both sides use "morally weighted" words, and with regular frequency.

You are deliberately playing stupid. I repeat: if you can think of a better (objective measure), please present it!

I'm not playing anything, I just ignored a tragically flawed attempt at some sort of objective measure. You want a better formula? Take a random sampling of Ds and Rs holding public office. Era and office is not specifically important, but they should match (e.g., 10 Ds and Rs holding similar offices from the '30s, '40s, '50s, etc.). Then, come up with a list of "morally weighted" words. Then, take speeches made by the folks in the sample and do a simple comparison. There, that is a far superior measure than your simplistic Bush v. Clinton State of the Union "evil" paradigm.

You and dtaylor are right, many are villified for denying global warming.

Ah, an actual admission that we are right. And only after bludgeoning you over the head ad nauseum with actual facts and reason. Who would have thought?

May I point out that if you actually read the first link, it states that there is a consensus among climate scientists that global warming is caused by human activity and cites multiple sources (fact), and that the only debate is in some segments of the U.S. (fact). The other two links are to partisan organizations (fact).

You may, as I did. But you are wrong. What the link states is that proponents of the man-made theory are claiming consensus. Those who disagree, and there are many outside the U.S., say there is not. Multiple sources expressing disagreement are also cited. As for your dismissal of the other links, partisan in what way? Are they partisan becasue they disagree that global warming in man-made? If that's the case, then I guess thos who support the man-made theory are also partisan. If your partisan tag is based on something else (perhaps some actual facts?), then feel free to elaborate.

So, Lindsey was fired for some other reason? Probably because he had BO.

Cute, but irrelevent.

The surge has worked? So, people aren't being killed on a daily basis anymore?

We've lost 9 more soldiers since the weekend (fact). Killings are down, but very far from gone, and we cannot maintain this troop strength for long (fact).

Well, if it is your position that the only definition of success for the surge is a complete eradication of all hostilities and casualties, then no, it has not worked, But that's not what people either expected or promised. It has worked to reduce violence, which was its goal. Even war critics have agreed that it has worked. The media has agreed that it has worked. Only the extremists from the anti-war movement disagree, and come up with such clever ads as "General Betray-us." I guess I know where you stand.

Sustainable, though, it's not intended to be. In fact, because of the success there is talk of drawing down troop numbers.

Excuse me, you and dtaylor were arguing for the Iraq war. So, if you are saying it is irrelevant that a quagmire was predictable, that is saying you are for the quagmire, the hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths and the deaths of our service men and women (currently at 3940). All so that Saddam Hussein could be removed from power.

I didn't think you could possibly be for such a thing, and so thought that the predictions were relevant. Please, excuse me if I was wrong.

Again, you are wrong on so many levels it boggles the mind. Where, exactly, did I argue for the war? I merely pointed out flaws in your anti-Bush/anti-war arguments. That is not the same as being for the war. I just don't like to see someone bluster illogically, while accusing someone else of doing the same. For the record, I support the actions in Afghanistan, along with the reasons to go in, and support the actions in Iraq, but don't necessarily think we needed to go in. In other words, we are there now, so let's do what needs to be done to stabilize the country, get it on its feet, and get out. If you cannot see the difference between that and supporting the war from the get-go, then you are either not very smart, or far too partisan to get it. I guess in response to your juvenile quagmire comment, I will respond with, oh, so I guess you support Saddam torturing and executing innocent civilians.

Fine: we agree, that some people on both sides are over-the-top partisan. If you stop claiming to be right because there are people on the left who are wrong (known as the straw man argument), then we can drop it.

I didn't say I was right because those on the other side use inflamatory rhetoric. I said dtaylor was right with his examples of inflammatory rhetoric. He didn't say the other side does not do the same thing. He simply said he's sick of being hit with inflammatory rhetoric when he states a view with which extremists on the other side disagree. I've said numerous times both political parties use "morally weighted" words. I presumed you understood that to also mean both sides of any issue have extremists that do the same. Again, i was defending the specific examples cited, which you attacked. I'm just happy to see that you finally agree with me and dtaylor.

I don't know precisely what your mother went through, but if it is more than 10 years ago, then it was a lot easier than it is now. I know a few people who have immigrated and some who are trying to now. I currently live in Germany, and I know it is tough to get into Germany, but still not as tough as it is to immigrate to the U.S. today. (I don't have time to look it up right now - but my personal anecdotal evidence is pretty strong).

Yeah, I've got some pretty solid anecdotal evidence, too. Again, from my experience (through others and media reports), it's easier to become a U.S. Citizens than it is most other industrialized nations. If you want to try to prove me wrong, then I guess you need to find the time.

My own stance is that we need to reform immigration to make it easier: then those few who still take the illegal route will stick out and be easier to catch.

A valid opinion, but one with which I tend to disagree. I say keep it as is, get harder on the illegals, and maybe work to make the other countries from where the illegals are coming better so there won't be such a strong desire to "escape." Logically, wouldn't that help make the whole world a better place?

As I said above: if we make it easier for those who are just looking for a better life, then there will be far fewer who will take the illegal route and it will be easier to catch those who do. I think that would be much more effective than building a useless wall.

Again, wall isn't the only solution, but it may have some merit. I guess we'll see. Unfortunately, it's hard to tell its effectiveness, since you cannot really tell how many it has stopped. You can look at estimates of how many illegals came across before, and how many after, but how accurate are those numbers, really? Anyway, like I said, keep the rules the same and crack down on the illegals.

The point was and remains, that those most interested in "tightening immigration" are, in fact, racists (fact, publicgood.org).

Um, I hate to burst your bubble, but Public Good is a left-wing network. It is extremely partisan, starkly anti-right-wing (and, of course, anti-Bush, who is actually softer on immigration than most on the right), and certainly very supportive of an open-borders policy. Of course it's going to say that most people who want to tighten immigration are racist. It helps its cause. That doesn't make it true, or a fact, though.

Okay, I concede the point. Some jobs are taken and not replaced by high-end jobs. The solution is still to make legal immigration easier: then they are citizens and can demand minimum wage.

Glad for the concession, and again, I disagree with your conclusion, but we've covered that

The citizen watch groups and others pushing hardest for "immigration reform" are racist. Does it make you feel better to imagine that they are not?

Some may be. I don't belong to, or support, any that are (any that aren't, either, as I express my views directly to my elected representatives). And the groups pushing hardest against immigration reform are mostly far-left, socialist organizations. They are anti-big business, anti-Bush (not sure why, though, since he's much softer on immigration than am I), anti-military, anti-gun, etc. So what? We've already established that virtually every side of every political or social issue has extremists.

If you saw no facts, then you weren't looking. No wonder I had to repeat myself so much.

Again, you haven't offered much in the way of facts. Some now, but mostly irrelevent to the discussion, but previous posts have been remarkably devoid of facts. Again, quoting Princess Bride, I do not think you know what that word (fact) means.

I stand by my words.

As was expected. You would have to change your actual opinions to recant any of the opinions you have offered.

Hmmm. It looks like the tiff might actually turn into a feud. Note that the article is dated January 30, my post was January 29 (fact).

Finally, a relevent fact. Yes, this article was published after your posting. I guess you are unaware of the months of back-and-forth between the two candidates. Nasty little stuff, like a Clinton staffer bringing up Obama's admitted youthful drug use, and the links to Clinton staffers of an e-mail trying to promote the misconception that Obama is a muslim, and some sort of Manchurian Candidate. Again, buy that TV, or read the news more carefully. This has been going on for some time.

If you weren't ignoring things, why did I have to repeat myself so much?

Because you were either unable to see I addressed your points, and firmly disputed them, or unwilling to admit so. And actually, you didn't really repeat yourself so much as offer new opinions/arguments with each new post, then claim you posted facts where none existed, then offer facts that were either not factual or not relevent to the discussion.

Aside from the fact that this entire discussion is offtopic, I have not been offtopic with respect to dtaylor's post.

Yes, you have. dtaylor's post was a complaint about the response of excessive, negative rhetoric whenever certain issues were raised. To be completly on-topic would have been to counter his complaint with proof it doesn't happen. You didn't. Closer to on-topic would have been to defend the rhetoric. You did in some ways (immigration reform=racism). But where you really jumped off track was when you tried to use dtaylor's posting as a forum for airing your anti-Bush, anti-war, pro-man-made global warming views. Throwing in anti-war reference in response to the social spending issue? Off-topic. Drilling for oil response? Unnecessary, irrellevent, and basically pointless.

Your summary is, itself, a perfect example of what you accuse me of."

No, I have been meticulously on-topic, and trying desperately to steer you back to the topics of dtaylor's post. I'll grant you that I don't always offer facts, but I also didn't claim that I had, or when I did, I actually offered not only facts, but facts relevent to the discussion. Yes, I offer opinions, but generally make it clear they are such. I can be partisan, but my postings have not been partisan in any way. Unless, of course, you feel that defending certain facts and realities is somehow partisan. Just because I dispute your anti-Bush opinions, for example, doesn't make me pro-Bush. My goal was not to support Bush, but to dispell your baseless, unsupportable allegations. And I would hope any insults I may have included were not thinly-veiled. When I offer an insult, I intend the recipient to know he has been duly insulted. If any were unclear, for that, I most humbly apologize.


haki345
Posted 31 January 2008 at 07:41 pm

jeickhoff said: "I work with many psychopaths. I work in a jail and the one that I remember the most was a guy that had eaten part of a couple of people that he killed. When he was being interviewed by detectives, they ordered food rather than interrupt the interview. The suspect said that he wanted "meat lovers pizza" and then laughed about it."

okay that is bloody hilarious. how can you not see the humor in this and laugh?


haki345
Posted 31 January 2008 at 08:12 pm

"In most cases the killer was living a fairly normal life until one day something just snapped, or some major event in their lives triggered them to go out and commit violent acts. So, isn't every clinical psycopath potentially dangerous under the right circumstances?"

"until something just snapped"
rings close to the truth. Think about it every day they live a lie, they play a game, they hide who they are in the shadows so as not to ruin everything, they have to supress their natural urges. this takes and enourmas amount of effort and to do it every day. constantly you are forced to hide and put a show. the game pays off at times. for it is a wonderful thrill to play with peoples minds and live life as a game. as a psychopath you do it every day, you have no choice. But only a great man can or a dead man can do it forever. The only way out is death, be physical or internal.
You are either forced to play the game or quit, in order to quit you have to come to face a very touchy matter, you have to abandon the only reason you've ever lived, it is the only thing that keeps them alive, the love of the thrill that comes with living, and spinning lies, playing with people, emotion, power, heartlesness. a psychopath loves himself dearly. he is the only that matters in his mind. it is a highly internal struggle, the strain is constant and the veil is only skin deep sometimes they cannot handle it and they do just snap.


wh44
Posted 01 February 2008 at 03:36 am

sid: I have a life to live and can no longer afford to spend hours answering your specious arguments. If you want to deceive yourself, go to it. I doubt you're fooling anyone here who doesn't want to be deceived.


sid
Posted 01 February 2008 at 02:52 pm

Yes, when hopelessly overmatched, the best course of action is to beat a hasty retreat. I really don't believe you choose to no longer respond, I believe you see that you simply are unable to rise to the level I have set as the standard in this discussion. Not sure what has changed in your life that leads you to abandon your quixotic cause, but perhaps you simply no longer have the stomach for promoting your partisan ideology when faced with a superior opponent. Of course, that's just my opinion.

But I do appreciate your holier-than-thou perspective. Yes, I must be desperately trying to "deceive" myself because I actually believe your pointless, inaccurate ramblings have somehow found a morsel of truth. You must know me so well.

Just try to keep your partisan views either to yourself, or make sure they are at least supportable (so far, not) and (most importantly) on topic, and we'll get along just fine. When you stick to subject matter you actually understand, you do just fine, so my unsolicited advice to you is to stick to those areas. Otherwise, I'm sure we'll go round and round again, in the future. Which, of course, is fine with me. I love a good dialogue, even when it seems otherwise pointless.

The readers here aren't likely to be "fooled" by either of our views. They will probably review the dialogue and see who actually makes salient points. I've disputed and dispelled, rather effectively, every one of your "facts," which may not convince some that my views are correct, but have probably led some to cast some serious doubts as to your ability to support your anti-Bush cause. Unfortunately, you may also have to bolster unrelated posts with real research and actual facts, since some may simply openly question everything you say, now that you have shown your inability to defend your positions.

That said, I say good day to you, sir.


wh44
Posted 01 February 2008 at 04:18 pm

sid: I can and have adequately defended every position. I simply have a life to live beyond bickering with a partisan such as yourself.

I work more than 40 hours a week (I'm a programmer), I have a bathroom that I'm redoing, I'm learning Chinese, visiting friends, practicing guitar. I don't have time to write responses for several hours every evening (it takes time to "boil things down" to short salient arguments). Anybody who reads our respective posts can make up their own mind, and I'm happy with that.

Good day to you too, sir.


Acidophilus
Posted 01 February 2008 at 06:05 pm

This discussion got really lame after someone made that crack that Bush was a psychopath. I'm sure there are better places to have in-depth political discussions than on this article.


missdove
Posted 02 February 2008 at 08:35 pm

yesyouam said: "So, is Lt. Commander Data a psychopath?"

As someone else pointed out, Data has ethical programming based on Asimov's laws of robotics (not to harm a human, not to allow harm to come to a human through his inaction, and to avoid harm to himself as long as this does not clash with the first two laws - though I suppose for the Star Trek universe you have to include something like 'for human, read also Vulcan, Klingon, Bajoran, etc'). His elder brother Lore lacks such programming and does appear to behave psychopathically in a number of cases, and to influence Data to behave similarly when he manages to hack his ethical programming.
His confusion about human emotion, though, does not appear to be a psychopathic trait, because he is very interested in normal emotion and would like to understand and experience it - he clearly sees it as valuable and important. Data is a character that many high-functioning autistics and Aspergians identify with, because he is aware that the way other people think and feel is valid, and that it would be helpful to understand it, while also being aware that it is very different from the way his own mind functions. In fact, in the episodes in which Lore is able to manipulate Data to behave like himself, he achieves this by bribing him with emotional stimuli.
And in any case... he is a made up android in a pretend story about space exploration.


sid
Posted 04 February 2008 at 11:29 am

wh44 said: "sid: I can and have adequately defended every position. I simply have a life to live beyond bickering with a partisan such as yourself.

I work more than 40 hours a week (I'm a programmer), I have a bathroom that I'm redoing, I'm learning Chinese, visiting friends, practicing guitar. I don't have time to write responses for several hours every evening (it takes time to "boil things down" to short salient arguments). Anybody who reads our respective posts can make up their own mind, and I'm happy with that.

Good day to you too, sir."

Gee, it only takes me a short time to pick your stuff apart. Not sure why it takes you hours, but since it does, I guess I understand. My job, raising a two-year-old, remodeling my kitchen, visiting friends (doesn't everyone do that?), and all the other random personal stuff is a little time-consuming, too. But if I were going to start blasting someone with partisan rhetoric, as you did dtaylor, I'd be sure to make the time to defend my comments. But noting the weakness of your positions, again, I understand you losing the taste for such endeavors. Most people who throw partisan jabs just because they think they have the opportunity to get away "clean" tend to follow the same course as have you. Blast, defend/misdirect weakly if confronted, then quit when it's clear you are in over your head.

I guess your opening statement kind of boils this whole discussion down succinctly. Just settling for "adequate" has never been my thing, but if that's what works for you, so be it. I guess that's pretty obvious when one compares our arguments. I'd suggest you haven't even reached the level of "adequate," but that's a horse that's been ridden into the ground.

I said, GOOD DAY!


Silverhill
Posted 04 February 2008 at 04:18 pm

missdove said: "...Asimov's laws of robotics (not to harm a human, not to allow harm to come to a human through his inaction, and to avoid harm to himself as long as this does not clash with the first two laws..."
Just a small adjustment here, from a fellow Asimov fan:
(1) A robot must not harm a human or, through inaction, allow a human to come to harm.
(2) A robot must obey humans' orders, except where this would conflict with the First Law.
(3) A robot must protect its own existence, except where this would conflict with the First or Second Law.


wh44
Posted 05 February 2008 at 07:35 am

sid: ROFL! You just have to have the last word, so you can maintain the illusion that you've "won".


sid
Posted 05 February 2008 at 08:54 am

wh44 said: "sid: ROFL! You just have to have the last word, so you can maintain the illusion that you've "won"."

If that interpretation makes you feel better, then so be it. Realistically, though, somebody always has to have the last word. The fact that you continue to make comments and offer your personal opinions (yes, that's a fact) simply means that I can choose to address them or choose to ignore them. I choose to address them. If that amuses you, then I'm happy to amuse you.

Ultimately, though, the very same opinion you offer of me can be said of you. You have abandoned the dialogue, claiming you don't have the time, yet you curiously have the time to try to get in the last word, in a weak attempt to create the "illusion" you have somehow managed to make a point. But you cannot simply take your ball and go home if I won't allow you to, which seems to cause you as much frustration as failing to gain any traction in the original discussion. Now that's funny. In my opinion.


middleager
Posted 05 February 2008 at 02:21 pm

How damn interesting! couldn't read all the comments thoroughly but feel much better now. would think of myself as a desperate psychopath but for the sense of humor. really fascinating how information changes the world! the article is a most curios stuff, the test is much fun and the endless discussion is just a thrill. have examined myself by 8 types of psychopathy described in wikipedia and each is to some extent about me...to the extent I want it to be about me))) that is definetely the case! what I mean is that as long as such terms (note TERMS not phenomena) exist there will always be psychos and schizos among us. call it Big fear (as with Castaneda), or social epidemic, or whatever. just a few points to think over.
the first one. how long has that branch of psychology dealing with psychopaths existed? is "psychopath" is just a more general term for a number of types of antisocial behaviour, or the hole classification is to rationalize the irrational, to spot the extremes? does "normal" mean "lacking psychopathy at all" or "to some extent"? so to what extent and what if the extents are not unified worldwide? sorry, just a bit of Dostoyebsky may be. psychopaths are humans too, most of them are not in jails, some may be quite nice people, a few might be well-known genius (have just read Richard Brenson's book), so who are the rest then?
the second one. the so called normal people. i think i'm quite normal though my ex-girlfriend thinks otherwise (note i'm from Russia and some things may sound overexaggerated but basically we aren't considered normal as a whole). if you take the east that is generally "abnormal" to the west but still constituting the most part of population - is it a psychopathic civilization? if we take only clinical cases - are there any surveys revealing the trends among developed and developing countries and the real numbers of the "psychopathically abused" in both? i don't think there is any difference in "abused minds" among races but cultures do make psychopaths different, i'm sure. perhaps it's a norm somewhere.
the third. is not it a social disease? there's so much of aggression, depression and other inadequate (or adequate?) states within the society - is a psychopath the most vulnerable then or The Untouchable one? i wonder, what would "computer nerds" think of the whole stuff. don't think they need society in it's present form any more. moreover - they are the society of the future, decentralized and virtual. am i wrong? if i were a high IQ psychopath - i would prefer to surf into the web than walk zombie-like in a consumers' world))) beter create my own))) there seems to be some kind of double standard in psychopath definition. the victim of genetic misfortune, social disbalance or mere rumours (people say, you know) or a drop-out individual with disproportioned values? who cares in the web and why not make if the fame?
The last one. just a bit of humor. the life here in Russia is a lethal dyagnosis - but it's also a treatment. hope we don't have that many self-made psychiatrists so far)))the analysis, you know, has always ended on the bottom of the bottle. make fun and take care)))


Monty Python
Posted 06 February 2008 at 01:14 am

BLACK KNIGHT:
Right. I'll do you for that!
ARTHUR:
You'll what?
BLACK KNIGHT:
Come here!
ARTHUR:
What are you going to do, bleed on me?
BLACK KNIGHT:
I'm invincible!
ARTHUR:
You're a looney.
BLACK KNIGHT:
The Black Knight always triumphs! Have at you! Come on, then.
[whop]
[ARTHUR chops the BLACK KNIGHT's last leg off]
BLACK KNIGHT:
Oh? All right, we'll call it a draw.
ARTHUR:
Come, Patsy.
BLACK KNIGHT:
Oh. Oh, I see. Running away, eh? You yellow bastards! Come back here and take what's coming to you. I'll bite your legs off!


ZeTron
Posted 06 February 2008 at 06:09 pm

I would like to point out that this site is AWESOME. The articles are excellent and entertaining to read because they truly are Damn Interesting, while peppered with witty humor. I read the entire comment section, which are always insightful and on par with the article. (btw is would be about 95 pages printed!).

Sid: You lost, this is my view and the view of my brother and two friends at work. Who all enjoyed this article and more so your comments. You're and rather good debater, but your view of the world is askew. (Don’t bother responding as I will not be checking back, for a long time anyway, as I assume you will)

We need a forum for comments like mine

Thanks again Christopher for a great article!


my2cents
Posted 11 February 2008 at 09:44 pm

"Spanning all cultures and eras, roughly one man in every 100 is born a clinical psychopath, as well as one woman in every 300."

Finally, proof that men are more psychotic than women!


mscharlie
Posted 18 February 2008 at 11:49 am

Upon answering the questions on the "detector" test/quiz, my ex-boyfriend was right on the mark! He was diagnosed bi-polar in prison. When he skipped out for the 2nd time (yes, I was stupid) he left me in debt for almost 20K again. He was/is so intellegent and a real Fox. In the course of our relationship he would tell me of the smoozing, bilking and hurt he had created right down to his own mother! To my amazement and belief that he was reformed, he FOXED me and my family too. He knows the deep pain he had caused but could care less.


booradley137
Posted 20 February 2008 at 04:59 pm

After completing the Psychopath Detector Test, I have come to the conclusion that I am a psychopath...........or maybe just ADHD!!


Kmom
Posted 23 February 2008 at 03:14 am

This is my first time on this site, so my first post. I read several articles, and this one grabbed me right away. How early can the symptons be detected? I have a 9-year-old son, diagnosed with ADHD and ODD. I don't think any of his doctors or therapists have really dealt with his real issues. He just doesn't care. He honestly believes that he doesn't have to follow rules, they don't apply to him. He enjoys picking fights and pestering, then tries to get the other person in trouble. He never considers consequences for any of his actions, because he doesn't think there will be any. He flat out lies just to see the other persons reaction. He doesn't seem to have any honest emotions except anger. It's almost like you can see him watching to see my reaction when he cries. It feels like, he's not really sad or hurt, he just wants to see how I'd react if he was sad. It seems faked or forced. I'm not really sure how to explain it, and no one else sees it.
I filled out the questionaire with him in mind, and I was frightened with the results. How can I tell if this in a genuine concern, or not? I can't get any of his doctors to hear me, they think I'm over-reacting. But, frankly, I know him better than they do.


inrelisa
Posted 23 February 2008 at 05:50 am

Gosh the last time I killed a fly I felt horrible.


Tippy
Posted 23 February 2008 at 07:25 am

Funny, I read this article and thought it pretty much described many corporate professional in America and the UK...


krs-10
Posted 23 February 2008 at 07:58 am

I am a teacher in a fairly large high school and have encountered many disturbed children (as many of you know that the cases of mental illness in children as risen considerably without sure reason), and I have seen one sure fire case of a socipath. The child is an American citizen but his mother is here illegally, she is a fine woman and a caring mother. She told the child that he could not go to a party therefore called immigration to deport his mother, she was deported and he simply did not care. When something like this occurs the child is placed in foster care and of course a check into his living situation and no abuse was found. The child gave no explanation or care and doesn't mind foster care and all seems relative to him. On thursday of last week was his last misbehavior, that I am aware of, and he was impersonating school officials through the phone to get his friends out of class not because they wanted to leave ( it was pizza day, the only reason) but because he was bored and could care less about others wants or needs. He is interesting to watch and very little can be done for him now especially because his mother is not there to request testing. Sad but I am not sure even treatable.


ddphilip
Posted 23 February 2008 at 08:08 am

Geez....I'm now positive that my ex-husband is a psychopath. He definitely meets all the criteria. Very interesting article.


wojo
Posted 23 February 2008 at 08:23 am

I am a department manager for a small factory. Recently I was given a new hire to train in my department. In the 3 short months he has been with us he has gone on a personal attack with everyone in the department even to the point of getting one person fired by lying. Since I am "lower management" I am not included in hiring or firing although I work on the shop floor side by side with the workers. Training takes 2 months so I had ALOT of one on one with this guy and got to know him pretty well....He is such a psychopath its not even funny. Now that he is out of training I see him run from office to office spouting such carisma and BS to suck up it would make you vomit. Since he has already succeeded in lying and getting someone in the department terminated, I fear for the welfare of all of us. I see how the "uppers" are falling for his manipulative ways and he has made it clear he will do what it takes to get to the top.

I know most of us have had to deal with people like this at some point in our lives but this one is a real booger. He recently let me in on the fact that he was just released from prison after 10 years for grand larceny even though he was adopted as a baby by a doctor and obviously comes from money. 10 years and hes not even 30 yet. This only drives home the fact he is a true and serious psychopath.

In my opinion a psychopath going into prison at the age of 18 for 10 years is only going to help him fine tune his psychopathic ways. It is PRISON after all. So now I am seeing the results of this and frankly I am terrified and open to advise! Talking to the "uppers" is not the way to go, this will appear as I am "picking" on him and will also put me in his crosshairs.

So, any advice, Ill take it, prayers and good wishes too...LOL


toro1920
Posted 23 February 2008 at 09:23 am

Jiliu I really liked your post, it does sound like the character of House. I never knew that Pschopathy is what it really is. I though it only applied to serial killers and movie monsters.


nissa89
Posted 23 February 2008 at 10:45 am

From my knowledge I do believe that if we fallow Sigmund Freud's point of view about humans having the id(unconscious desires such as killing someone or torturing someone), the ego(putting the desires of the unconscious into a more realistic and moral action) and finally the super ego(the standard behaviour in society and only doing what is right) we will understand psychopaths a lot more.
Now the point I want to make is that I believe psychopaths develop such a detatchment of emotions because as children they were never taught the difference between right or wrong. At birth till a couple years into life, infants only think that life is all about them, they will do what they want because they want. At one point, through the help of the development of the ego and the super ego thanks to society basis and morals from their parents, they learn that others have feelings and doing good for others is part of life. When a child isnt exposed to such an environment, they stay stuck in their "id". And so what is naturally unconscious for us and buried deep inside, becomes their conscious, their reality therefore to them their actions arent considered bad.
I believe that psychopaths are not the villains, however the victims of our world.


kdd8
Posted 23 February 2008 at 10:57 am

I think psychopaths are a product of our society. America is a psychopath-egocentric, charming, the list goes on. In a country like America there is no wonder we have a lot of psychopaths. We breed and raise them to be.


nissa89
Posted 23 February 2008 at 01:15 pm

kdd8 said: "I think psychopaths are a product of our society."

I agree :)


Fangorn
Posted 23 February 2008 at 01:19 pm

wh44 said: Anybody who reads our respective posts can make up their own mind, and I'm happy with that.

Definitely. Sid, sorry, you lose. I choose to pay more attention to posters who can make their arguments without resorting to insults, name-calling, snide personal attacks, and otherwise simple asshattery. You lose, Sid.

Wh44 - well done.


widowson
Posted 23 February 2008 at 01:46 pm

So Bill Clinton is a psychopath?

Look at the detector:

Superficially charming; "silver-tongued"
Self-absorbed and egocentric
Easily bored, in need of constant stimulation
Lies habitually (please refrain from lying presently)
Manipulative; a swindler
Remorseless; rationalizes wrongdoings or is outright indifferent to them

It's rather troubling, if you think about it. A charming liar is bad enough, but a charming psycho is worrisome.

Yes, I'm going to get blasted as being political, but seriously, look at his past behavior, his treatement of women, his propensity to lie and think about it?


a_person
Posted 23 February 2008 at 01:47 pm

This is my first time on the site, and damn interesting it is. After reading beartiger's post on Ayn Rand, I feel compelled to write a reply that perhaps can offer another suggestion on the subject of psychopaths and the way we view the issue.

Ayn Rand's philsophy and ethics, it can be argued (and has been argued), contains a lot of holes in reasoning and logic that have essentially rendered it discredible. I would think that psychopaths, with their higher IQ and overabundant capacity for reason and logic, would find themselves locating the failures and weaknesses of Objectivism rather than aligning with the argument. Many have argued that it is the persona of Rand and Objectivism that people subscribe to, moreso than the actual argument. A good (fictional) exposure of this is Mary Gaitskill's "Two Girls, Fat and Thin."

Instead of Rand, consider Foucault. Whether or not one agrees with his arguments, they are of higher intellectual sophistication, which again I would think that a psychopath with a high IQ would align with more fully.

To pursue Foucault in a more general sense pertaining to this article, I think it's relevant to bring up his argument that psychiatry and related professions of 'normality' have created a structure of social surveillance--we suspect and survey others ("they are so common that every person reading this sentence almost certainly knows one personally"), and we also engage in the act of self-surveillance ("a significant number of readers are likely psychopaths themselves"). Clearly a number of posts have attested to this. Unlike Foucault, I'm not suggesting that this surveillance is entirely wrong--I can certainly see the benefits of identifying those with antisocial characteristics--but I think it's important to keep in mind the social structure in which we exist, where moral and ethical agreements combined with knowledge toward a marginal group can lead us to make fairly quick judgements and decisions. I think this is why, over time, we have seen paradigm shifts in acceptance of certain 'marginal' groups such as slaves, homosexuals, etc. I'm not predicting that psychopaths will some day not be regarded as problematic--I'm just trying to point out that even the concept of 'normal,' to which psychopaths are defined in terms of opposition, is mutable.

Just something to think about.


w000t
Posted 23 February 2008 at 04:07 pm

Nice article, but I have to disagree on the characterization of James Bond as a psychopath. While the character as portrayed in the movies may indeed seem to fit the bill perfectly, this is largely a result of the necessary simplification of characterization for the screen. In Ian Fleming's books (which are paradoxically darker for having a more feeling Bond), Bond is a much more complex character. Fleming frequently examines Bond's famous drinking and womanizing as a way for him to escape his conscience and "silence the voices of all the people he's had to kill in the line of duty" (Goldfinger, 1959 - paraphrased from memory). While the movies' Bond may be easier to portray in ninety minutes, the books give us a character that is tortured by the characteristic definitively absent in a psychopath: a conscience.


AndyChicago
Posted 23 February 2008 at 09:12 pm

This is my first visit to the site and I find an article on one of my favorite subjects! Some excellent books have been mentioned in the comments as additional reading. Another truly great and reader friendly book is "The Sociopath Next Door". It is written by a Harvard psychiatrist whose name escapes me at the moment.


piratenewsdotorg
Posted 23 February 2008 at 11:54 pm

Funny how these Dr PhDs never dare accuse our own politicians and psychologists by name of being psychopaths and genocidal maniacs. Probably out of fear of losing their own MKULTRA contracts, or winding up strapped to a gurney with electrodes lobotomizing their brains.

"If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, heh heh heh, just so long as I'm the dictator, heh heh heh." —George Bush Jr, convicted drunk driver, pled guilty to cocaine possession (expunged after diversion, community service and probation), demoted from pilot to mail clerk for AWOL and desertion of Vietnam Wars, sued for rape (plaintiff Margie Shedinger murdered), accused of homosecuality (his dominatrix Leola McConnell is missing and presumed murdered), questioned by police as a suspect in mass murder of a Satanic narco cult in Brownsville/Matamores, built his ranch in Waco/Crawford, currently sued with in federal court under the RICO Act for perpetrating the terrorist massacres on 9/112001, along with accused rapist Dick Cheney (2 DUI convictions). His father George Bush Sr was sued under the RICO Act for narcoterror bombings during Iran-Contra). Along with Bill Blythe III (a/k/a Bill Clinton, bastard son of trillionaire Arkansas governor Winthrop Rockefeller) and lesbian wife Billary Rodomski Clinton (who personally ordered tha massacre of 80 Christians at church in Waco/Crawford), genocided 2.6-million Iraqis and Afghanis (both are former US allies "just following orders" from CIA and MI6). Prescott Bush was Adolf Hitler Shicklegruber Rothschild's top Nazi in North America, who was arrested 3 times during World War 2 for violating the Trading with the Enemy Act, and paid a $750,000 forfeiture. Then there's Yale Skull & Bones homosexual Nazi death cult for grave robbers, plus Bohemian Grove where the Bushes and Clinton perform annual "simulated" human sacrifice to a 50-foot-tall idol of Molech/Satan and run around nekked with 3,000 gay men holding each other's peepees while they weewee.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNo0_klKzis
http://piratenews.org/911con.html
http://911forthetruth.com
http://september911surprise.com

Is Bush a psychopath? Is poly ticks defined as "many bloodsucking creatures"? Does fluoride lower IQ 20 points in Nazi death camps? Does the pope get sued for pedophilia in Nazi death camps and the Catholic church?

"QKHILLTOP was a cryptonym assigned in 1954 to a project to study Chinese Communist brainwashing techniques and to develop interrogation techniques. Most of the early studies are believed to have been conducted by the Cornell University Medical School Human Ecology Study Programs. The effort was absorbed into the MKULTRA program and the QKHILLTOP cryptonym became obsolete."
-U.S. Senate Hearing on MKULTRA, Appendix C, QKHILLTOP DEFINITION, 1973
http://druglibrary.org/schaffer/history/e1950/mkultra/AppendixC.htm

"The concepts involved in manipulating behavior are found by many people both within and outside the Agency to be distasteful and unethical. Nevertheless, there have been major accomplishments both in research and operational employment. Over the ten-year life of the program many additional avenues to the control of human behavior have been designated under the MKULTRA charter, including radiation, electro-shock, and harassment substances. Some activities raise questions of legality implicit in the original charter. A final phase of the testing places the rights and interests of US citizens in jeopardy. Technical Services Division initiated a program for covert testing of materials on unwitting US citizens in 1955. TSD has pursued a philosophy of minimum documentation in keeping with the high sensitivity of the projects. Some files contained little or no data at all. There are just two individuals in TSD who have full knowledge of the MKULTRA program, and most of that knowledge is unrecorded."
-MEMORANDUM FOR: Director of Central Intelligence
FROM: CIA Inspector General, NB 108-113, 26 July 1963
http://wanttoknow.info/mindcontrol#_ednref13

"We need a program of psychosurgery for political control of our society. The purpose is physical control of the mind. Everyone who deviates from the given norm can be surgically mutilated. The individual may think that the most important reality is his own existence, but this is only his personal point of view. This lacks historical perspective. Man does not have the right to develop his own mind. This kind of liberal orientation has great appeal. We must electrically control the brain. Some day armies and generals will be controlled by electrical stimulation of the brain."
-Dr. Jose Delgado, Director of Neuropsychiatry, Yale University Medical School prof and CIA mind control scientist, Congressional Record, No 26, vol 118 February 24th, 1974


Cathy
Posted 24 February 2008 at 01:31 am

My mother fits this description to the tee. I always thought she had narcissistic personality disorder, but I think Psychopath would be closer. This causes distress to state this as I still love her. I realized a few years ago that there is nothing I can do to get her to empathize with hardships I experienced or when things were going exceptionally well (for myself or for anything or anyone else...example is 911...like the article says, she was interested in the "reactions" but never once sympathized with the victims). Its frustrating to be around this and sometimes I just keep my distance when it gets bad.
Imagine a little kid growing up with a parent like this. Yes, I had alot of problems by the time I left home at 17. But, too, I have had to develop my own sense of self worth and give myself the nurturing I did not receive. I feel others pain very deeply. Maybe this is one of the outcomes for growing up with a psychopathic parent.... Maybe there is a term for the complete opposite of psychopaths?
I'm on a pretty clear path now...I'm in my late 40's. But its been a lifelong journey and struggle to come to terms with a parent like this. She is still up to her same games. Short term friends, manipulating, charming...she really is a fascinating person. Just doesn't have a consciense.


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