(image by DonkeyHotey)
Psychopaths are predators without empathy. They don't care. Psychopaths have a pattern of meanness and manipulation. They use their prodigious charisma, boldness and ability to stay calm in situations that would stress out or upset most people to manipulate, dominate, exploit and get over on their victims.
Psychopaths engage in predatory behavior for fun, because it gives their lives meaning-- they feel superior, which feeds into the narcissistic personality disorder that most psychopaths comorbidly experience.
Psychopaths win at all costs. Well, the successful ones win doing anything that they can get away with. And psychopaths tend to be loners, or to get into profoundly dysfunctional, abusive relationships. There are psychologists who specialize in helping victims of psychopathic relationships.
So, reading the rantings of one psychopath, I started wondering: if psychopaths could change the rules to their benefit, what would they do? Here are a few ways that you might expect psychopaths to try to shape the culture, the narrative and the rules.
1- The first thing they'd do is to attack rules and regulations that require people to be civil, honest, ethical, fair and respectful to all others. They would attack the rules and regulations by attempting to characterized them negatively. They would use their charm and ability to lie with a straight face to persuade people that rules and regulations were designed to take away their freedom, to allow government to make more money, to take money away from hard working people.
2- Next, they'd create a cult of individualism, extolling the rights of a person to live as an individual, with the freedoms to be an individual. Think Ayn Rand-- her characters and followers. This is a manifestation of narcissism, distorted to look like something special. It's not. Humans evolved as members of small communities and groups. That is the natural way that humans have lived for hundreds of thousands, even millions of years, if you include our predecessors.
3- They'll sell the "I Did It On My Own" Story. Being loners and narcissists who want to get all the credit, who believe that they are the best in the world, Psychopaths would do all they could to sell the narrative that people make it on their own, that the idea that government or the commons, or social networks or social safety nets make a difference. They would mock people who suggest that it takes a village, or that millionaires made their millions with the help of the society around them.
4- Oppose Democracy, Fair, Honest Voting and voting rights for all. Psychopaths may love hierarchy and the domination associated with it. They love the challenge of rising to the top and the game of getting there. Democracy is an inconvenience that can create an egalitarian environment of fair play and just rules. That's no fun. Psychopaths would love to see those kinds of inconveniences done away with. So they'll try to muck up the voting system, try to take away direct representation and direct elections. They'll rig the system -- think gerrymandering-- and yes, both major parties do it. It's bi-partisan. They'll change the rules so that they give extra advantage to those with extra power and money, especially to those who will cheat. And they'll do all they can to take away the right to vote, especially people who will oppose their selfish interests.
5- Damage the Environment: Psychopaths, being self-centered and narcissistic, and not caring about laws or rules or consequences or other people are going to be more likely to abuse and damage the environment. Who cares if the water is polluted downstream as long as the psychopath can buy bottled water for his or her mansion? Who cares if climate change will disrupt the lives of billions and cost trillions if there's a profit to be made?
Geese, but close enough...
(image by Rob Kall)
I'm not saying that anyone who advocates for the kinds of changes and policies that I speculate psychopaths would want is a psychopath. The more I learn about psychopathy the more it becomes clear to me that there is a psychopathy continuum-- some people have some of the traits and some people have more of the traits. But if it walks like a duck and looks like a duck...
What would YOU predict a psychopath would do, in terms of behaviors that we see nowadays?