[W]e have found ourselves ruled by psychopaths because we have a system wherein (A) those who are willing to do anything to anyone are rewarded with immense wealth, and (B) immense wealth translates directly to immense political power. Add in the fact that studies have shown that wealth itself kills off empathy and compassion, and you’ve got yourself a perfect recipe for a plutocratic dystopia dominated by antisocial personality disorder.
Whatever you want to call it, people who have this condition (and are able to avoid prison) tend to do quite well for themselves by our society’s standards. Because they don’t see other people as anything other than tools and resources, they don’t let empathy and compassion stand in their way when viciousness and exploitation will help them achieve their goals.
They quickly rise to the top in corporate and financial settings, in media institutions, in government agencies, and in politics. In modern society this ability is a natural advantage that the rest of us simply cannot compete with.
But it’s not just our current iteration of society which elevates psychopaths to the top. A casual glance through recorded history all around the world reveals an essentially unbroken track record of genocide, slavery, torture, exploitation and degradation as far as the eye can see, with the driving characters time and again being depraved dominators, conquerors and mass murderers.
So what can be done, then? How can we ordinary, feeling, caring human beings protect ourselves from this segment of the population which has been driving us into disaster after disaster since the dawn of civilization before they get us all killed?
Passing a bunch of laws against manipulation and deception wouldn’t work either. Manipulators actually love rules and laws, because they can figure out how to manipulate them and use them to their advantage.
One can .. .imagine a culture which values empathy, compassion and helping others instead of valuing wealth, accomplishment and conquest.
In such a culture we’d see the ability to connect with people and work for the good of the whole elevated, rather than seeing the ability to do whatever it takes to claw your way to the top of the heap elevated. In such a society psychopathy would actually be an immense disadvantage, rather than an immense advantage.
And that, in my opinion, would be the marker of a healthy society: one in which psychopathy and sociopathy become grave mental handicaps that the afflicted need to actively seek help for.