The Mask of Sanity–a 75 year old book on sociopathic personalities warns of monsters who walk among us

I introduce below a link that discusses psychopaths and the president and previous informative descriptions of the problem. The author also insightfully remarks on the fact that personality disorders are variable in intensity of dysfunction but in one degree or another are widespread in the population.

I insist on using the word sociopath to describe the bamster, since psychopath could be understood to literally describe any of a number of pathological mental states.

Sociopathy is the way to describe the nature of the Group B personality disorders–that are not crazy, or psychotic, but socially destructive and dysfunction at a severe level that is damaging and disruptive to their social functionality and lives of the people round them. In addition to the straight up sociopaths group B personality disorders include narcissist, dependent, borderline and histrionic. Any family that has one of these types in a significant expression will be able to match the family member with the specific type, but it is important to understand some times personality disorders have a mix of dysfunctions and certainly a variable intensity.

Children may exhibit personality disorder traits, but are not mature, so the diagnosis of personality disorder is only applicable to mature adults. Personality disorders are also culture specific. Therefore some personality disorders would be normal in some cultures–some cultures encourage chauvinism, cruelty and deception, for example.

That damage, however does not impede their continued dysfunctional and destructive behavior, because they have no conscience with regards to civility or morality, they are severely self-absorbed. In addition to having no conscience, they have no regard for the injuries they inflict on family, friends and social or work associates.

The bamster is my exhibit one, but most readers can name a sociopath in their circle of acquaintances–just think–the biggest jerk you know and it’ll be a start.

This essay reviews the points made by Hervey Cleckley, the psychiatrist author of The Mask of Sanity written 74 years ago. Dr. Cleckley systematically described the sociopathic (he used the word psychopathic) personality that was described even earlier by a Brit Physician JC Pritchard as “moral insanity.” I can see how Pritchard came to that insight since sociopaths have no moral compass, they consider themselves free of a moral or even civil, behavioral restraints. They are special, sui generis in their own minds.

The reason so many succeed, like the bamster, is they can turn the charm on and off to achieve their goals, and lie without hesitation.

You think about it, immediately you can add John Kerry and the two Clintons to the list of political characters who display sociopathic narcissistic liar traits from what we see of their public behaviors. Assume private behaviors are worse in the case of personality disorders since even the egomaniac likes to keep up an acceptable front of attractive traits. Remember Clinton going from laughing to tearful in about 5 seconds when captured at a funeral by a media camera?


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