Mosquitoes, Marriage, and Empathy – The Niches Psychopaths Fill

Psychopaths fill a niche.  In a prosocial and empathic world, there is an advantage for a group to act both antisocially and without affective empathy.  If this were business, we would celebrate the ingenuity of such a group to find such a niche and to capitalize upon it.  However, this is not business, this is life, and as such, neurotypicals lose their collective shit when faced with someone who can act while the rest of the crowd stands still.  We acknowledge the annoyances of the mosquito with its bloodsucking ways, but we do not eradicate it for ecosystems are calibrated to survive with its existence.  The same train of thought should be applied to the realm of psychopathy.  I will concede that the unchecked psychopath may be an irritant to those neurotypicals around him, however I do believe that society could not function for long without his existence.

This blog has always been geared toward the successful psychopath.  For this discussion, we will ignore those psychopaths that find their way into the prison system for they obviously cannot contribute to society.  We need psychopaths for society to run well, however.  At the very least we need individuals that can channel their inner psychopath.  What force would law have without courts that could not place matters of empathy aside?  We cannot have rule by empathy but by logic.  How good would our surgeons be if they became distraught when a patient was fading?  What defense would their be for the accused if their lawyers succumbed to visceral feelings regarding the plaintiff?  What about our leaders?  Can leaders be effective if their judgement is clouded by the sins of their allies?   We need a lack of empathy in selective areas for society to function.  It helps that psychopaths can gravitate to these positions with their natural traits, but we must also demand that neurotypicals in these positions behave similarly.  The consequence of anything otherwise is too great.  Far too often, those with power (be they surgeons, lawyers, judges, the executive branch of the government, etc.) that succumb to empathy make things worse.

The surgeon who is overwhelmed with grief by the fading patient will not add any probability to the patient’s survival.  The lawyer that is stricken with sadness for the murder victim will not be of any use to her client.  The executive branch overwhelmed by the sins of others will resort to actions that threaten fragile alliances.  Turning to more current events, consider the case before the United States Supreme Court that will determine whether states can deny homosexual couples the ability to marry.  Introducing empathy without reasoning can make the Constitution weaker or stronger as a consequence.  What if instead of examining the important question of whether rights lie with the individual, state, or both, a decision was made solely out of empathic longing for an marginalized group?  Hundreds of years of precedent could be thrown out the window while hundreds of years of precedent to come could be set.  Such decisions cannot be made lightly and they cannot be made solely with empathy, no matter how the unintelligent masses may wish it so.  (Lest the reader infer something unintended, I use this example solely to demonstrate the gravity empathy can have, I am not tipping my hand on what I personally believe regarding this case).

The short-sighted eradicate the mosquito.  Likewise, the misguided attempt to eradicate psychopathy.  As with any demographic, there will be a separation of those that can function within society and those that cannot.  However, we need those that can function to exist in the niches that they fill.  The alternative is a world run by empathy and it would be a world snuffed out by its own vengeance in no time flat.

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