It is safe to say that most politicians these days could be diagnosed with a range of mental conditions, and many would likely be labeled sociopaths or psychopaths.
The terms psychopath and sociopath are often used interchangeably, even by mental health professionals. The symptoms are somewhat consistent between the two: lack of conscience, no moral compass, manipulative, low range of emotions, interpersonally insensitive. The psychopath is deadly. He is well spoken, charismatic, fearless, controlling, socially potent, a habitual liar, calm to a disturbing degree in the face of chaos and cold hearted. He is a master at blaming others.
David Freeman, in an Huffington Post science piece, quotes clinical psychologist Dr. Stout, who points out that though the psychopath may not feel “higher emotions” like love and guilt, they may not have actual consciences, but they study those of us who do – and “simply pretend.”
Psychologists say early signs of psychopathy include compulsive lying, blaming others for any failures or shortcomings and often torture of animals for curiosity sake. Psychopaths tend to do things to study consequences, without concern for long-term impact. I know, it sounds like most politicians today. And it probably is, not to mention any names.
As Mr. Freeman points out in his article, psychopaths make a great first impression. He points to other characteristics, too. He points to the initial popularity of Pol Pot, Hitler, Ceausescu and others, but the golden boy image quickly fades to one of a ruthless, inhumane manipulator with very dark intentions.