It’s pretty much a given that if you are a politician, that you are psychopath/sociopath.
It’s no secret that politicians can be driven by outsized egos. I mean, who among us really thinks he or she deserves a seat in Congress — or a desk in the Oval Office?
But can egotism alone explain why so many elected officials seem to get caught telling lies, having affairs, committing financial improprieties or engaging in other scandalous behavior? Not everyone is convinced that it can, and some in the blogosphere have gone so far as to wonder if bad-boy (and bad girl) politicians are actually psychopaths. And a recent article in The Atlantic asks of these pundits:
Could they be right? If these pundits mean that the targeted office-seekers are evil or “crazy,” probably not. But if they are pointing out that politicians and psychopaths share certain characteristics, they could be on to something.
Just what does it mean to be a psychopath? Turns out psychopathy isn’t a formal psychiatric diagnosis but a term first popularized by Medical College of Georgia psychiatrist Hervey Cleckley in his 1941 classic The Mask Of Sanity. Psychopaths seem superficially normal but tend to be cold-hearted, lacking in empathy, egocentric, manipulative, irresponsible, and antisocial. Or, as a 2007 Scientific American article put it:
Superficially charming, psychopaths tend to make a good first impression on others and often strike observers as remarkably normal. Yet they are self-centered, dishonest and undependable, and at times they engage in irresponsible behavior for no apparent reason other than the sheer fun of it… Psychopaths routinely offer excuses for their reckless and often outrageous actions, placing blame on others instead.
Hmm. That description could probably describe more than a few politicians — though you and I might not agree on whom to nominate for psychopath status. But before indulging in any armchair analysis, I reached out to Dr. Martha Stout. A clinical psychologist who was long affiliated with Harvard Medical School, she’s the author of The Sociopath Next Door and other popular books on emotional disorders (including a forthcoming text that explores the link between emotional disorders and politics). By the way, Dr. Stout tends to use the term sociopath instead of psychopath, explaining to me that the terms are often used interchangeably by mental health professionals.
Anyway, when I asked Dr. Stout if there’s any truth to the contention that politicians are more likely to be psychopaths, she said in an email that no solid statistics were available to prove or disprove the hypothesis. Yet despite the lack of proof, she gave a surprisingly definitive answer to my question:
Yes, politicians are more likely than people in the general population to be sociopaths. I think you would find no expert in the field of sociopathy/psychopathy/antisocial personality disorder who would dispute this… That a small minority of human beings literally have no conscience was and is a bitter pill for our society to swallow — but it does explain a great many things, shamelessly deceitful political behavior being one.
At one time, she continued, the terms psychopath and sociopath conjured up image of mass murderers and serial killers. “As it turns out, the majority of sociopaths/psychopaths never kill anyone with their own hands, nor do they end up in prison,” she said. “A smart sociopath can avoid prison and find other, less conspicuous ways to satisfy his or her lust for dominating and controlling others, and what better way than through politics and big business?”
An observation made surprisingly by both sides of the political isle.
A recent book claims to have pinpointed the top 10 jobs most likely to attract psychopaths — one of which hits particularly close to home for us here at TheBlaze.
As flagged by AOL Jobs last week, psychologist author Kevin Dutton argues in “The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success” that “a number of psychopathic attributes [are] actually more common in business leaders than in so-called disturbed criminals — attributes such as superficial charm, egocentricity, persuasiveness, lack of empathy, independence, and focus.”
Basically, certain fields of work are more likely to attract psychopaths than others.
Here’s the list of jobs with the highest rates of psychopathy:
3. Media (Television/Radio)
7. Police Officer
8. Clergy person
10. Civil Servant
And the lowest rates of psychopathy:
1. Care Aide
6. Charity Worker
8. Creative Artist
Does your field fall into either list? Let us know in the comments.
While both sides of the isle recognize that psychopathic/sociopath behavior is relatively common among politicians, it’s of course always the politicians from the other side who exhibit such behavior. A rather unsurprising fact given that when asked about politicians the vast majority say that most politicians are corrupt, except for their own politician.
Examples of this kind of psychopathic/sociopath behavior literally fill the 24/7/365 television/cable/radio/internet News cycle.
On the 1-10 Harry Reid Scale of Demagoguery, this gets … a seven. Reid’s Kochsteria and his labeling of two men as “un-American” from the floor of the Senate for engaging in the political process in opposition to his own agenda has to get the ten. Abusing the term “terrorist” during a partisan political event has to get a little lower rating, but not by much:
Harry Reid, caught red handed attempting an illegal land grab, retorts by calling those that exposed and resisted him, Domestic Terrorists. Harry Reid is a powerful Senator, and carefully made his libelous accusation from the Senate floor, where he is by law granted immunity from any form of suit or prosecution for making such false and defamatory accusations.
Hillary Clinton is definitely on the Right’s list, right up near the very top of psychopath/sociopath list, and for very good reason. At this point what difference would it make? Yea… four dead, and you refuse to take responsibility for utterly and completely failing in what was absolutely and undeniably your responsibility. Now Hillary is preparing to play the Grandma card in her unending quest to secure her residency at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
So, where does the viewing the world through stupid glasses come in you ask?
Anyone who thinks, that anyone willing to pay millions of dollars to get a job that only pays $125,000.00 a year, isn’t a psychopath/sociopath and a career criminal is wearing those stupid glasses. Hillary has been surrounded by scandals, Whitewater, Travelgate, Benghazi and still she presses on finally coming up with the mother of all disgusting campaign slogans… Hillary the Grandmother. Really? That is her big accomplishment that qualifies her for being President of the United States of America? You honestly have to be wearing Stupid Glasses if that appeals to you in any way shape or form. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans are still dean, but to quote Grandma Hillary, what difference at this point do it make? I imagine to Christopher Steven’s is still makes one hell of a big difference, sadly Christopher isn’t able to give his personal opinion on the matter, he is far to busy being DEAD…
America’s self anointed Aristocracy aka the official elected political class are playing games with America’s economy, freedoms, Liberties, and shredding the United States Constitution for their own personal profit. All while 95% of America are busy cleaning their Stupid Glasses so that they can better read and repeat the insane talking point that their side feeds them.
the Democrats claim that the economy is roaring, that it has recovered, that the future has never looked better, then demand that Republicans pass an emergency unemployment extension bill. At the exact same time, Republicans claim that the Democrats have destroyed the economy, that it hasn’t been this bad since the great depression, then turn around and say that if the chronically unemployed would just quit being lazy and stop mooching off the government they could get jobs and everything would be cool because really there is no need to pass a emergency unemployment extension bill.
Again, you absolutely have to be wearing Stupid Glasses not to see what is happening here. Both parties elected officials are destroying the economy for their own personal profit, using the American people as weapons against each other, counting on the pain that they inflict on their constitutes being the catalyst that gives them the upper hand over their political enemies.
Republican Speaker of the House John Boenher is no exception, in fact, he’s “Hell Bent” on passing immigration re3form this year.
A big gamble if true, but not a crazy one. He’s betting that nothing the GOP does, up to and including amnesty, will enrage grassroots conservatives so much that they’re likely to stay home in protest in November because of it. Anger at ObamaCare trumps all. When the dust settles, after a week or two of talk radio calling Boehner a traitor for passing an immigration bill and vowing to go third party, everyone will swallow hard and decide that they have no choice but to vote for the GOP anyway in the name of stopping O-Care. The redder the Senate turns next year, the greater the odds of repeal in 2017. Although if they’d sell you out on immigration, I’m not sure why you’d think they won’t sell you out on that too when the time comes.
You have to have had your stupid glasses super glued to your head to not know how the Republican base is going to react to this. Yes, the Republican Party has no shortage of psychopath/sociopath in it’s leadership.