Sociopaths and Society

  • January 2, 2013


In learning alot about various convicted psychopaths in the past few months (Bundy, Rodney Alcala, BTK, Dean Corll etc…) , it’s evident that this is a recurring problem. As a society we don’t know what to do other than incarcerate/execute these people, when we actually manage to catch them. And then there are the corporate sociopaths who do things like defraud millions of people and cause the 2008 financial meltdown. The fact is that 1% of people are born as sociopaths/psychopaths and this has wide ranging implications for the world. (While technically sociopath/psychopath are the same thing, in this post, I associate sociopath with corporate/political sociopathy and psychopath with individuals like Ted Bundy, while acknowledging that in the real world there seems to be a contiuum rather than a black and white distinction)

I started thinking about this about a month ago when I posted on an anarchist propaganda picture on facebook. I don’t remember word for word what I said but it was to the effect of “Look, anarchy on paper, it is interesting “ideal”. The idea of a society that doesn’t need governing because all humans are on the same page about working together for the greater good is a nice thought, and if it were 100% applicable in the real world, I’d be down or at the very least open to the idea. This however requires a fundamental collective understanding and respect for the health and well being of fellow man. The fact is though, simply with the existence of sociopaths and estimation that 1% of people are sociopaths, and anarchic society, as well as a communist society for that matter, will inevitably fail.”

So how do we deal with sociopaths as a society? How do we manage them? Unfortunately, largely they are managing us. This article takes a crack at it and is a very interesting thought experiment and starting ground. http://www.alternet.org/visions/how-will-99-deal-psychopaths-1

I was reading through the comments on the article and in one discussion thread someone got into racism/sexism and how that also allows sociopaths to flourish, a thread I don’t want to focus on other than reposting a 10 min Ayn Rand rant on Racism which someone had posted.
This video is interesting and very articulate in its own right on racism and how it is just blatently illogical, however it is when she eventually ties in individualism and capitalism that a few things clicked for me.

Both of these lead me to realizing that while I love the ideal of capitalism, in the context of how a capitalist society rewards individual achievement, drive, sacrifice, and hard work, it is the sociopathic tendencies, largely in the higher echelons, which often, but not always result in the corporate/governmental sociopathy that are at the root of many societal problems. It seems that it doesn’t matter what political system is in place, sociopaths are continually not taken into account in these systems where they inevitably “fuck with” the ideal.

So on the one hand you’ve got sociopathic CEOs, politicians, policy makers, presidents/country leaders dictators, which the last paragraph implicitly focuses on, but you also have Psychopaths who fucking murder, rape, and torture people! These people are the monsters of society. There has got to be a better way than just wait for these people to strike.

Thought experiment (controversial for sure, but an idea to be tabled and discussed for pros cons, benefits of and actual real world effectiveness): we can already identify sociopaths through MRI imaging, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128116806 largely through how they don’t physiologically respond emotionally to stimuli which would normally elicit an emotional response from us (presuming that you aren’t a sociopath) i.e. looking at a bloody dead body, or a scene of carnage such as a multiple car crash, or a person who jumped from a building. So what if every person on the planet was scanned for sociopathy, and now we have a database of all the sociopaths in the world, what is the next step? (while also keeping in mind that while an overwhelming percentage of violent offenders are sociopathic, not all sociopaths commit violent crimes)