RULE WITHOUT CONSCIENCE | 1999-03-20
It will not surprise the reader to be told that psychopaths dominate America's political system. What he may not realize is why the present setup makes this situation inevitable.
When I first heard about psychopaths, it was a frightening idea. I was already in my early twenties, I had taught at the university level, and I was working with my neurologist brother on research we were invited to Walter Reed to discuss. But the concept of a psychopath was new to me.
Suddenly I discovered there were people who had no real feelings of guilt or obligation WHATSOEVER. This was an extreme concept to me. Naturally, I assumed it was a very, very unusual. In the 1960s, it was generally assumed that it was very, very rare indeed.
Recently, we discovered that psychopaths are not, in fact, rare at all. At least one percent of our entire population is psychopathic. Why didn't we know that earlier?
We didn't realize it because we expect psychopaths to be easily identifiable. Surely, we thought, if a person is so different that he has no conscience at all, it would show.
It turns out that quite the opposite is the case. Intelligent psychopaths are so good at appearing normal that they often make the rest of us seem abnormal.
The case of Ted Bundy is instructive. Absolutely nobody who knew Theodore Robert Bundy believed he was capable of torturing and killing all those young women. In the opinion of those who knew him, he was not just an unlikely suspect, he was the LEAST likely suspect.
Said one close friend: "Ted Bundy is the most caring and compassionate person I have ever known."
Sounds like a lot of TV evangelists, not surprisingly. Sounds like a lot of dedicated liberal activists, not surprisingly.
While you and I are spending our efforts dealing with our regret and our many different forms of guilt, the psychopath carries NONE of that baggage. All he has to do is study how to get along in our society.
Well, what USED to be OUR society. It is his society now.
You must remember that the psychopath is raised in our society. All he is interested in is pushing the right buttons. And never before in history has there been a society that reduced itself so entirely to pushing buttons, and nothing else, than America today.
Parents no longer have any influence in determining their children's partners. Now what we call "love" is entirely a product of how a guy pushes the right buttons in a bar or on a date. A normal young man stumbles. The psychopath knows exactly what he wants and he studies absolutely nothing but how to get it. He is loving, considerate, and, above all, he is "cool."
The psychopath has no prejudices. In Nazi Germany, the psychopath could act like he hated Jews as much as any regular Nazi. But in our society he has the absolute advantage of being able to look you in the eye and say he doesn't care about race, family, or anything else except what you want him to worry about. He is the ideal white gentile.
The psychopath is a great preacher. You and I have genuine feelings of guilt, and they are not trustworthy. You may feel guilty, but you won't show it every minute.
The psychopath will show it every minute. He has been faking emotions all his life, and he's GOOD at it. You may have difficulty persuading yourself that you were called by the Lord to preach the Gospel. For a psychopath, that is no problem. You will feel guilty when you have to interrupt your sermon to raise money. Not the psychopath.
Need some guilt? The psychopath can give it to you right on the spot.
The next time you see a picture of the serial killer Ted Bundy on television, look at his eyes. They are the picture of childlike innocence.
Psychopaths very often have those innocent, honest-looking eyes of a Ted Bundy. The reason for this is that psychopaths ARE innocent. No psychopath can ever do anything against his conscience. He does not have a conscience. This is not guilt. This is the only true innocence.
As Bundy put it shortly before his execution: "I have never felt guilty about anything in my life. I feel sorry for people who feel guilt."
I wonder if a respectable conservative can be anything BUT a psychopath. It seems that those who dominate the media would be able to smell the potential for heresy in a rightist, and would never trust anyone with a conscience that might cause him to feel something and betray his respectability.
Every liberal who deals with Southerners is haunted by the feeling that one of them could have a conscience. In 1964, the Civil Rights Act required that every Southern school district make a "good faith effort" to integrate the schools. What does this mean? It means that every Southern school official must genuinely WISH to have integration. It is a psychological statement which requires that every Southern official not just OBEY the integration law, but that he BELIEVE in integration.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 required that every Southerner have a total internal change in his FEELINGS about integration. No one with deep convictions need apply. Feelings can cost a district all of its Federal funding. To a liberal or a respectable conservative, the highest form of morality is catching a Southerner at having personal beliefs which are not Politically Correct.
Alan Alda played a senator in a TV movie, and one of that senator's moral triumphs was to reveal that an old segregationist Southerner had made a statement to a friend of his that he still didn't believe in integration. If he had revealed that a person with top secret security clearance had told a friend he was a Communist, it would have been McCarthyism. Personal conversations are protected by true morality, if those conversations have to do with Communism. But not segregation. To reveal private conversations that show a white gentile is not a true psychopath on race is heroism of the highest sort.
People who have normal private opinions and guilt and other feelings often react in odd ways. The reaction of some people to hearing awful news is often to say something totally irrelevant and silly. Some laugh wildly. But these people are reacting to their internal feelings. The psychopath has learned to do without such feelings. Psychopaths have no such distractions, and their reactions are right, perfectly right.
The psychopath has spent his entire life learning how to react correctly. He is the perfect citizen of the sound bite age. He is the
absolutely perfect lawyer in a society ruled by lawyers. He is the perfect big time preacher. He is the perfect talk show guest. He is the perfect modern political candidate.
For a person to remain Politically Correct is almost impossible unless he is a psychopath. Today, every person who is a public spokesman must be ready, willing and able to change his language and attitudes immediately.
One week, he must be the best friend the repeat criminal ever had. He must recognize that the so-called "criminal" is just a victim of Society.
But the next week, he must be "sensitive" to "women's" concerns." He must be outraged at all the repeat rapists this evil society has released on the streets to prey on women. And he must make these switches without looking back. To be a respectable conservative, you must agree that what the liberals are now doing is bad, but everything they did in the past was good.
If you go to any political meeting, you will hear people talking, not about what is right, but how to "package" their views. There has always been "packaging," but today the package is everything.
When it comes to packaging, no one can compete with psychopaths. That is all the psychopath has done all his life. A normal person spends his life trying to deal with his emotions, and how to express what he feels. The psychopath has spent his life on what all politics is now about: putting his responses in the right package.
It would seem that the psychopath has all the advantages. In our society, he does. In earlier times, there was a healthy suspicion of anyone who was "too smooth." People had their own loyalties and prejudices, and they tended to expect their leaders to react the way they did. They tended to like it if their leaders were a bit prejudiced and inconsistent. They were expected to have healthy prejudices.
But today, we want the right package, and ONLY the right package. We comb through a person's entire life history to find out if he ever made a single unforgivable statement. A person who can spend his entire life without making a single unforgivable statement has GOT to be a psychopath.
In the early 1970s when Nixon tried to appoint a Southerner to the Supreme Court, he nominated one Southerner, and liberals looked up comments his nominee had made a quarter of a century earlier on race and used them to defeat him.
Nixon named another Southerner, and the liberals did the same thing to him.
Hugo Black was a Southerner who got on the Supreme Court, and he had been a KLANSMAN! But Black did what the two Southerners nominated by Nixon had not done. He made a total, complete, and absolute switch to extreme leftism.
If a Southerner is to get approval by our rulers today, he must make a switch only a psychopath finds it easy to make.
And if a Southerner doesn't make the psychopathic switch, respectable conservatives will be the first to tear him apart.
I remember that in the 1960s there was another Southerner who was a favorite of liberals. He wrote a book called Congressman From Mississippi. In that book he explained that he had risen in Mississippi as a segregationist right winger, and had served in Congress in that guise. But when President Kennedy appointed him to the Board of TVA, he came out of the closet as a lifelong liberal. He was a liberal hero, the perfect Southern white gentile.
It never occurred to liberals that, if the wind changed, this guy would probably announce he had always been a closet Nazi, and would put them in a gas oven without a qualm.
There is no animal on earth more dangerous than a man who is truly without prejudice.