|What would a sociopathic candidate look like?
According to excerpts from the book, The Sociopath Next Door, a sociopath has:
. . . a glib and superficial charm that allows the true sociopath to seduce other people, figuratively or literally—a kind of glow of charisma that, initially, can make the sociopath seem more charming or more interesting than most of the normal people around him. He or she is more spontaneous, or more intense, or somehow more "complex," or sexier, or more entertaining than everyone else. Sometimes this "sociopathic charisma" is accompanied by a grandiose sense of self-worth that may be compelling at first, but upon closer inspection may seem odd or perhaps laughable.
In addition, sociopaths have a greater than normal need for stimulation, which results in their taking frequent social, physical, financial, or legal risks. Characteristically, they can charm others into attempting dangerous ventures with them, and as a group they are known for their pathological lying and conning, and their parasitic relationships with "friends."
And sociopaths are noted especially for their shallowness of emotion, the hollow and transient nature of any affectionate feelings they may claim to have, a certain breathtaking callousness. They have no trace of empathy and no genuine interest in bonding emotionally with a mate. Once the surface charm is scraped off, their marriages are loveless, one-sided, and almost always short-term.
The sociopath is out for himself alone. When he deals with another person, or with a group of people, he attempts to do so by lies, flattery, and the creation of fear.
Benjamin Wolman, founder and editor of the International Journal of Group Tensions, writes: "usually human cruelty increases when an aggressive sociopath gains an uncanny, almost hypnotic control over large numbers of people. History is full of chieftains, prophets, saviors, gurus, dictators, and other sociopathic megalomaniacs who managed to obtain support . . . and incited people to violence." Insidiously, when such a "savior" abducts the normal population to his purpose, he usually begins with an appeal to them as good people who would like to improve the condition of humanity, and then insists that they can achieve this by following his own aggressive plan.
All of these characteristics, along with the "symptoms" listed by the American Psychiatric Association, are the behavioral manifestations of what is for most of us an unfathomable psychological condition, the absence of our essential seventh sense—conscience.
The book also explains why people are easily snookered by sociopaths. In brief, those most prone to being snookered were raised to not question authority, especially the authority of successful people.
Whew! Thank goodness a sociopath has never been president of the USA and none of the current presidential candidates is a sociopath.