A non-psychopathic individual asked the following question a few days ago on my tumblr page:
Why should society try to change the stigma attached to psychopathy? Shouldn’t we keep you at arm’s length to protect ourselves? You will hurt others for your own benefit and feel nothing of their pain – that makes you dangerous to us, and it is unwise to allow you into our lives.
I answered with the following brief response:
Yes, I could take advantage of others for gain. I would not feel regret or remorse over it. However, I could just as easily do good for others or even just be a completely neutral force, which is more likely. The intent is not to hurt, but to gain benefit. Wrongdoing is just one avenue of many for such an end.
Society wants to paint the condition as one of bloodlust, but really it is of gamesmanship. If the purely destructive potential is just that, potential, then why should there be an arbitrary stigma when the rest is just a zero-sum game? Shouldn’t the players be the sole force in determining who wins and loses?
I have thought about their all too common concerns a lot since then. I like to think that the concern listed above is an example of the selective morality of the non-psychopath. Psychopaths, in general, are not concerned about the morality of a situation, but rather the benefits that could be had as well as how the situation in question effects the “rules” of the larger game. For example, I may be transgender, but my concern of the transgender plight, in general, is limited to the effect it has on me and my ability to succeed in this life. To the person that battles homicidal thoughts and desires, I have no fear. Thoughts are not actions. I don’t have the double standard that the non-psychopath has when it comes to choosing groups to demonize in one fell swoop. I treat individuals as individuals and let their own actions shape my perception.
Some non-psychopaths believe that the answer to the overly-destructive subset of psychopaths is to stigmatize us all and to keep us in cages, real or imagined. As I mentioned in my original response, should not our actions dictate our fate and not our latent proclivities? By judging us before we’ve acted, they are violating their own perceived moral superiority. Their ethical and moral “high ground” seem only to extend to those that have an equal respect for morality and ethics. How can such a dichotomy be justified? Would not the more ethical response be to exercise caution, but not stigma? We may be foreign, but we are still human.