Who Is Your Favorite Political Psychopath?
There are few people I know who use the word psychopath correctly. I sure don’t. This story results from the suggestion of a friend who does.
Turns out quite a few historical political leaders are highly ranked psychopaths according to Dr. Kevin Dutton, an Oxford psychologist who has the fun job of exploring psychopathic tendencies among US presidential candidates.
Dr. Dutton must be pretty busy because (a) there have been a lot of presidential candidates and (b) most of them seem pretty sick.
Guess where President Trump ranks on Dutton’s historical list and, just to stay bipartisan here, guess where Hillary fits on his scale measuring such things as fearless dominance, self-centered impulsivity and cold heartedness. For some reason men have to score higher than women to make the cut.
Using the Psychopathic Personality Inventory — Revised (PPI-R) (sounds pretty official to me), Dutton has 15 famous figures on his list. They are by no means all bad.
St. Paul (#5), Jesus (#6), Winston Churchill (#7), Margaret Thatcher, George Washington, Elizabeth I, Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Gandhi (#s 11 through 15) would not have been on my list as I misused the term psychopath, but there they are on Dutton’s list.
More predictably, Henry VIII takes top psychopath honors followed by Idi Amin, Adolf Hitler and William the Conqueror rounding out the top four. Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor Nero and Oliver Cromwell are numbers eight, nine and ten. Those sound more like the psychopaths we know and love.
Here is a link to Presidential candidates may be psychopaths — but that could be a good thing describing Dutton’s project.
If you decide to pursue a career in deciding who is or is not a psychopath, you begin with the Hare Psychopathy Checklist.
“In the test, a clinician interviews a potential sociopath and scores them on 20 criteria, such as “promiscuous sexual Behavior” or “impulsivity.” On each criterion, the subject is ranked on a 3-point scale: (0 = item does not apply, 1 = item applies somewhat, 2 = item definitely applies). The scores are summed to create a rank of zero to 40. Anyone who scores 30 and above is probably a psycho.”
Here are the 20 criteria.
1. Do you have “excess glibness” or superficial charm?
Yes for sociopaths
2. Do you have a grandiose sense of self-worth?
Yes for psychopaths
3. Do you have an excess need for stimulation or proneness to boredom?
Psychopaths hate that
4. Are you a pathological liar?
Psychopaths don’t care about the truth
5. Are you conning or manipulative?
Psychopaths believe they can fool those around them
6. Do you display a lack of remorse or guilt?
Psychopaths don’t care
7. Do you have “shallow affect”?
Psychopaths show a lack of emotions when an emotional reaction is appropriate
8. Are you callous, or do you lack empathy?
Psychopaths just don’t care when bad things happen to other people.
9. Do you have a “parasitic lifestyle”?
Psychopaths prefer not to work for a living. They feel it is easier to take stuff from other people.
10. Do you have poor behavioral controls?
Psychopaths find it difficult to keep themselves in check.
11. Do you have a history of promiscuous sexual behavior?
Psychopaths like one-night stands.
12. Do you have a history of early behavioral problems?
As children, psychopaths often have a history of cruelty to others.
13. Do you lack realistic long-term goals?
Psychopaths prefer crazy schemes over life or career goals.
14. Are you overly impulsive?
Psychopaths get two “verys” on this one.
15. Do you have a high level of irresponsibility?
Psychopaths aren’t big on doing the right thing.
16. Do you fail to accept responsibility for your own actions?
When you’re a psycho, it’s always someone else’s fault.
17. Have you had many short-term “marital” relationships?
Psychopaths have an inability to commit to, or repeatedly betray, long-term relationships.
18. Do you have a history of juvenile delinquency?
Psychopaths start young.
19. Have you ever experienced a “revocation of conditional release”?
Even when psychopaths catch a break — like being let out of prison on probation — they tend to screw up.
20. Do you display “criminal versatility”?
Psychopaths differ from normal criminals because they don’t really care which type of laws they break — they’ll break any of them, under the right circumstances.
So, where does President Trump rank on Dr. Dutton’s list and where does Hillary Clinton rank?
Trump finishes third between Idi Amin and Adolf Hitler while Hillary ranks ninth between Napoleon and Nero.
Maybe that is why she lost?