Psycopathy is not a pathology it is a privelege and a gift it is the American Dream
Debate Rounds (3)
Facet 1: Interpersonal
Grandiose sense of self-worth
Facet 2: Affective
Lack of remorse or guilt
Callous/lack of empathy
Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
Facet 3: Lifestyle
Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
Lack of realistic, long-term goals*
Facet 4: Antisocial
Poor behavioral controls*
Early behavioral problems
Revocation of conditional release
Many short-term marital relationships
Promiscuous sexual behavior
These traits have nothing to do with working hard to get something. In fact, the traits I starred are the opposite of determination and hard work. Therefore, psychopathy is counter to the American dream.
 The Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised
The term psychopathy is not considered as a synonym for criminality, there are however clear traits that criminals in general share.
Of the Hare traits you have starred, I will argue that some if not all are
criteria for assessing proneness to criminality.
Parasitic lifestyle- Criminals are parasitic this is not the same as lazy the stance of the criminal is one which rejects honest labour as a means of supporting one's needs. Psychopaths are associated with manipulative skills that enable them to control others to meet their own needs. Manipulative skills are important in getting to the top in an organisation.
Lack of realistic, long-term goals* With criminals any long term goals are objectively unrealistic, they will remain at the bottom of the heap and the system will keep them there.
Impulsivity* Impulsivity the ability to see an opportunity and react to it is a trait that belongs within the mythology of the American Dream.
Irresponsibility* Criminals are essentially irresponsible. The quote I would like to make (though I do not have the citation) is that looking for Psychopathic traits which are also criminal traits, in a criminal population is like looking for 'hay in a haystack'.
Poor behavioral controls* Criminals are associated with poor behavioural controls being overcome by anger and aggression. Whether psychopathic or in need of anger management. This measure is at least moot. Another trait associated with psychopathy is coldness lack of emotion.
I shall argue the Psychopathy is not a catch-all term for the criminally insane and indeed argue that there are psychopaths in the general population who are not prone to criminality. These can be regarded as sharing the same traits that are shown by the psychopaths and differentiate from others within a prison population. Finally, I will argue that these very traits are reflected in the very successful within general society.
Pro argues only a psychopath can live the American dream, but offers no definition of "psychopath" and no support for this assertion. When I define "psychopath" and point out his lack of support for his assertion, he makes an extremely hard-to-understand objection to my definition, but he still does not offer a different definition, nor does he defend his original claim.
Pro wins only by persuading you that the "traits measured out in diagnosis of psychopathy" are necessary for "the American dream". (i.e. you need to be a diagnosable psychopath in order to enjoy upward socioeconomic mobility in the US.)
The question is: what exactly are traits of a diagnosable psychopath? Pro never cares to give an answer, so I answer it in R1. I list the traits in the Hare checklist. The Hare checklist is, literally, the list of traits that people use to diagnose psychopaths. It is what Pro's words in R1 refer to. This is not up for debate.
Pro evidently objects in R2, but it is extremely difficult to determine exactly what his objection is because his post is so unclear and because he does not offer a different list of traits for diagnosing a psychopath. All I can divine from his post is his what I will do my best to paraphrase:
"The Hare checklist describes criminal behavior, not psychopathy. My position is that psychopaths, not criminals, are successful in America. Therefore, my position is not that the traits on the Hare checklist are necessary for the American dream; instead, my position is that that the traits that distinguish a psychopathic criminal from a non-psychopathic criminal are the traits necessary for the American dream."
First, that is not even a valid argument. Pro takes a logical leap from the true statement that "psychopath" and "criminal" are not synonyms to the false conclusion that, when defining "psychopath", we should ignore traits that correlate with criminality.
Second, as I said earlier, this is not up for debate. In R1, Pro did not say "to live the American dream, you must be the kind of person I personally would generally call a psychopath." He said (paraphrasing) "to live the American dream, you must be a diagnosable psychopath." Again, the Hare checklist is used to make that diagnosis.
Third, Pro never even defines "psychopath" or offers a different list of traits. If you reject my definition of "psychopath", then the term "psychopath" is undefined in this debate, and therefore, Pro's position contains an undefined term. You cannot vote for Pro's position if you do not even know what it means.
It seems that what Pro is trying to do is to limit the debate to the strengths associated with psychopathy while ignoring the weaknesses. That will not work. Psychopathy is a mental condition (mental illness? personality disorder?) with largely negative consequences. In fact, psycopaths are far, far less likely to succeed in the US than non-psychopaths because they are so much likelier to be imprisoned.
We have established that Pro can only win by convincing you that you need to have enough of the traits on the Hare checklist for a psychopathy diagnosis in order to move upward in the US, economically and socially. And there is no support whatsoever for this claim. Literally the only example of success he gives is "getting to the top in an organization." But that is an extremely narrow definition of "success".
You can move upward socially and economically by offering pretty much anything of value. For example, if you are from a poor family and you grow up to be a very good baker and you make good money baking, then you are living the American dream. I would like to see Pro argue that only a psychopath can become a good baker.
A baker is, of course, just an example. Just pick your favorite type of artisan, artist, engineer, doctor, nurse, or literally any other profession that requires skill for success and not a lack of self-control, conscience, and regard for others.
And it is not even necessary to be a psychopath to get to the top of an organization. Pro claims it is important to "manipulate" people to do this. However:
First, simply "manipulating" people is not necessarily psychopathic. "Cunning/manipulative" is just one trait on the Hare checklist. To be a psychopath, you must also exhibit other traits, like pathological lying.
Second, manipulation is not necessary for moving up in an organization. I know this may come as a shock, but sometimes, people are promoted simply because they are good at what they do.
Pro really has nothing to stand on.
I am honestly baffled by Pro's posts. It seems like, for Pro, this debate is an outlet for some kind of jealous resentment of successful people. Or maybe a teenage disillusionment phase. Unfortunately, "I resent successful people" or "I have given up on the American dream" is a sentiment, not a debatable position.
In response to Con, I put it that there are no necessary and conditions for living the American dream. I deny claiming that psychopathy is a necessary condition for living the American dream. Like Con, I do hold that there are certain traits which disfavour living the American dream and traits which favour it.
I do not claim anywhere that psychopath traits are necessary for living the American dream. That is Cons interpretation. But as we can agree that there are favourable and disfavorable traits for living the Dream interpretation I shall continue on that basis. You can live the dream through your own effort, you can live it just by luck or wealth inheritance, you can live it by pushing the law to and for some beyond its limits (ie Microsoft will pay fines rather than amend its business decision' and you can fail to prosper despite hard work, scrupulous honesty and talented entrepreneurship.
To put my argument loosely I am claiming that the specific traits that distinguish a psychopath from the rest of violent ASBD criminal populations of which they form a part, may well be reflected in the population as a whole. And that people who share these 'Psychopathic traits' are enabled rather than disabled by them in many areas of life. Areas associated with the American Dream. I chose the term American Dream as it is a secular notion with roots in the American Constitution as opposed religiously based the Good life or the Joy of Amishness. Furthermore in the US it is considered as politically neutral. The right to enjoy, life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
The meaningfulness of the term psychopathic is grounded in part on the greater likelihood of recidivism among psychopathic inmates over those gaining While ASPD is treated as a clinical diagnosis, Psychopathy is not. Being used instead within forensic Psychiatry in profiling and in the decision of whether a person should be released from custodial sentences.
Current research into Psychopathy is leaning towards the view that psychopathy may be attributed a clinical meaning. Hare's work is in part geared towards the development of a clinical diagnosis for a clinically identifiable syndrome, or disorder that generalises to the general population.
Given that Psychopaths fall under the ASPD diagnosis it is natural to look at the differential traits of the psychopath within an ASPD group.
Psychopathy can never function as a clinical term when it makes essential reference to external data in its findings. If the diagnosis is to be meaningful in psychiatric terms it should be on the basis of observed behaviours.
Much has been made in pop-psychology of psychopathy tests. These tests make not direct appeal to criminal history.
I claim that Con needs to show that the traits specific to psychopathy are either neutral or negative with regard to personal success in a free-market economy.
Pro argues against his own position. His position is that something is required for the American dream, but then in R3, he says that thing does not exist. He loses for that alone.
But even ignoring that fact, his position as stated in R1 is untenable. He never defines "psychopath", so I do that for him. My definition is not an obscure one like you see in semantics debates, but rather, the most commonly used definition in the field of psychiatry. If you accept my definition, then his position is false. If you reject my definition, then his position contains an undefined term, and therefore, it has no meaning, and therefore Pro loses.
"The traits measured out in diagnosis of psychopathy are the very traits required to live the American dream."
This is Pro's thesis statement (aka "resolution"), with spelling corrected. Pro wins if and only if he persuades you that this statement is true. He has the entire burden of proof -- if I can present even one feasible way to live the American dream without being a psychopath (like being good at what you do), then I win. He tries to deny this in R3 when he says "I do not claim anywhere that psychopath traits are necessary for living the American dream," which is a direct contradiction of himself. Furthermore, if you let him change his position in R3, then there is no point in even deciding on a topic before the debate begins. He had plenty of time to think carefully about what he meant to say before he started this debate. It is his responsibility to defend what he said he would defend and you should hold him to that.
He actually proves his own position false in R3 when he says "While [antisocial personality disorder] is treated as a clinical diagnosis, Psychopathy is not. Being used instead within forensic Psychiatry in profiling and in the decision of whether a person should be released from custodial sentences."
That is, his position is that the traits measured out in diagnosis of psychopathy are required for the American dream, but he admits there is no such thing as a diagnosis of psychopathy. Something that does not exist cannot be required for living the American dream.
Pro loses for that reason alone.
But even if you show Pro mercy and pretend he said "psychopathic traits" instead of "traits measured out in diagnosis of psychopathy" (which you should not), there is still the question: what are "psychopathic traits"? Here is how that question has played out in this debate:
Pro: Psychopathic traits are required for the American dream.
Me: The Hare checklist lists the psychopathic traits, and those traits are not required for the American dream.
Pro: "Psychopathic traits" are not the traits on the Hare checklist, but rather, the traits that distinguish psychopathic criminals from non-psychopathic criminals.
Me: Then what are those traits?
Pro: They are the traits that distinguish psychopathic criminals from non-psychopathic criminals.
See the problem here? Pro's definition of "psychopathic traits" is circular. He never lists or describes the traits he is trying to debate about. He never gives us any picture of what makes a psychopathic criminal different from a non-psychopathic criminal (except that psychopaths are likelier to return to criminal behavior)*. So I had to do that work for him by posting the Hare checklist. He criticizes this checklist by saying things like "Psychopathy can never function as a clinical term when it makes essential reference to external data in its findings." But he offers no alternative definition or list of traits. You can either reject or accept my definition of "psychopathic traits" as "the traits on the Hare checklist" (which I list in R1).
If you reject my definition, then you have no way to define "psychopathy" other than what Pro offers. There are two possibilities:
1. "Psychopathy" is simply the quality of being likely to return to criminal behavior. In this case, I win easily. If you return to criminal behavior, then you are likely to return to prison. If you return to prison, then you are not living the American dream. (I realize Pro's claim is a bit more nuanced -- he claims that the same traits that cause criminals to return to crime somehow help non-criminals to succeed socioeconomically -- but he never describes those traits, so it is impossible for him to meet his burden of proof.)
2. "Psychopathy" refers to nothing. Voting for Pro would be like voting for someone who says "Barack Obama is the prime minister of the US."
If you accept my definition, then it is pretty easy to see why the traits of a psychopath are not required for living the American dream. I argue that if you are good at what you do, then you are very likely to live the American dream, and Pro does not disprove this. (In R3, he makes the statement in passing that "you can fail to prosper despite hard work, scrupulous honesty and talented entrepreneurship", but he does not explain why that can be true. For all we know, it is simply due to bad luck, and being a psychopath would not help you overcome bad luck.) Furthermore, Pro gives no reason why the lack of traits such as "failure to accept responsibility for own actions", "poor behavioral controls", and "promiscuous sexual behavior" would hold you back in the world.
If you have read this far, then you are already showing Pro the mercy of pretending he said "psychopathic traits" instead of "the traits measured out in diagnosis of psychopathy". If you want to show him the additional mercy of pretending he said these traits are "a net positive for living the American dream" instead of "required for living the American dream" (which you should not), then he still loses. Psychopathic traits (defined as the traits on the Hare checklist) are a net negative. The simple reason is that psychopaths are much, much likelier to be in prison than non-psychopaths are (as Pro and I both agree), and if you are in prison, then you are not living the American dream. This outweighs any advantage you might get from traits like "glibness/superficial charm".
* Here and there, Pro makes passing references to traits like "you want something really bad and are willing to do anything to get it", "manipulative skills that enable them to control others to meet their own needs", "the ability to see an opportunity and react to it", and "pushing the law to and for some beyond its limits". However, there is no reason to believe these traits are "psychopathic". One -- one -- of these matches a trait on the checklist, "Cunning/manipulative", but first of all, as I have proven, you can easily rise to the top of an organization simply by being good at what you do, and second of all, simply trying to win the game of office politics is not "psychopathic". A psychopath compulsively tries to manipulate people, along with compulsive lying, even when it is unnecessary. A psychopath lies to, and emotionally blackmails, even the people closest to him. That is the fastest way to lose friends, and when you lose friends, you are less likely to get people to support you.
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