The Pope, the Psychopaths, and a Sense of Humor
It is slowly beginning to dawn on the citizens of this great Republic that psychopathy is a real concept with real and quite negative effects. President Obama is often portrayed as exhibiting psychopathic traits such as grandiosity, lack of feeling, dishonesty, and parasitism, and that is only what his supporters say of him. For example, the Congressional Black Caucus threatened that Blacks would stay home in the 2012 elections (they didn’t) if Obama did not fulfill his promises concerning improvements in Black employment rates, but Obama was not listening and Black unemployment rates remain at record highs. But that is what psychopaths do. Psychopaths have no feelings for other people, but they are expert at manipulating their victims for their own benefit. Psychopaths have no empathy, no sympathy, no guilt, no remorse, no conscience, and no sense of humor. President Reagan had a great sense of humor, but President Obama does not. Only a trained psychologist can make an official determination of psychopathy, but the warning signs are recognizable and should be taken as a red flag.
Psychopathic behavior is characterized primarily by a “Socially Deviant Lifestyle” (Anti-Social Behavior) and “Aggressive Narcissism.” Psychologists maintain that one percent of the population is psychopathic, but that more intelligent and more cunning psychopaths gravitate toward positions of wealth and power for selfish purposes. Dr. Robert Hare, the originator of the Psychopathy Check List – Revised (PCL-R), puts the number of corporate psychopaths at four percent of corporate executives. Dr. Clive Boddy makes a convincing argument that the 2008 financial meltdown was driven by political and financial psychopaths. with the Boards of Directors of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, with their $10 billion accounting fraud, as prime suspects.
I am a professional engineer, not a professional psychologist, and I am therefore not qualified to determine the psychopathic score for President Obama or for anyone else. On the other hand, many of the items on the PCL-R, such as dishonesty and parasitic lifestyle, are quite direct and leave little room for interpretation. I had the great good fortune to work for four psychopaths early in my career, as confirmed by a professional psychologist. When a person is a two-faced liar and has narcissistic and anti-social characteristics, you should be on the alert and take precautions to protect yourself.
Psychopaths are very careful to present a charismatic front to an audience, regardless of how dishonest and manipulative they are in their personal dealings or dealings with subordinates. There are many domains in which psychopaths operate: political (all dictators), financial (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Boards of Directors), corporate (Jeff Skilling, “Chainsaw” Al Dunlap), beneficent (Jim Jones, Jim and Tammy Fay Bakker), and serial-murder (Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy).
It is well to monitor closely those in positions of trust, as we have seen too many politicians, bankers, executives, teachers, and religious figures who have used the authority of their positions to cover for hideous crimes. Now comes Pope Francis I to the head of the Catholic Church, which has been mired in psychopathic abuse and corruption. The new Pope’s first statement to the Cardinals who elected him was, “May God forgive you for what you’ve done.”
That may be the funniest statement ever made by a pope, and is very reassuring of Francis I’s humanity and stability in these parlous times.