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Are Psychopaths Running Rampant in the Worlds of Business and Politics?

By       Message Roger Shuler     Permalink
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View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to H3 6/23/11

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Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer

This blog probably would not have been possible without the "assistance" of psychopaths. That's because I would not have had a legal story to tell if Mrs. Schnauzer and I had not encountered several likely psychopaths at critical junctures over the past 10 years or so.

I've covered a number of legal stories that do not involve my wife or me--the Don Siegelman and Paul Minor political prosecutions, the domestic-relations nightmares of Alabamians Sherry Carroll Rollins and Angela Turner Drees--and I strongly suspect that psychopaths play leading roles in those cases, too.

After witnessing over-the-top misconduct by a number of individuals, Mrs. Schnauzer and I have found ourselves, in so many words, saying, "That boy (or girl, in a few cases) ain't right." Those thoughts inspired me to conduct some layman's research on sociopathy--that term and psychopathy can be used interchangeably; they mean the same thing--and write several posts on the subject, as it applies to justice and politics. (See here and here, for example.)

Now we have a new, best-selling book that draws attention to psychopaths and the impact they can have on our lives. "The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry," by Jon Ronson, sits at No. 17 on The New York Times  List of Best Sellers in the Hardcover Nonfiction category.

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We are pleased to see a well-known author--Ronson wrote "The Men Who Stare at Goats"--tackle an important subject. But we suspect readers who are seriously interested in psychopathy should use Ronson's book as an entry point to the subject. I haven't read Ronson's book yet, so I cannot offer a review. But a check of reviews to this point indicates Ronson's book is entertaining but relatively lightweight and short on conclusions.

The book is based on The Hare Psychopathy Checklist, developed by Robert Hare, a renowned Canadian criminal psychologist. Hare has spent more than 35 years researching psychopathy, and his checklist has become the primary psycho-diagnostic tool for assessing the disorder.

Hare's 20-part checklist can be divided into three categories:

Factor 1: Personality "Aggressive narcissism"
Glibness/superficial charm

Grandiose sense of self-worth

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Pathological lying


Lack of remorse or guilt

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I live in Birmingham, Alabama, and work in higher education. I became interested in justice-related issues after experiencing gross judicial corruption in Alabama state courts. This corruption has a strong political component. The corrupt judges are (more...)

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