I have long had a problem with people applying the label, “psychopath,” to any behavior the speaker finds reprehensible. In other words, “psychopathy” equals “bad.” Finally, I have come across an article that attacks that practice:
Psychopathy: Racism and Ableism from the Medical-Industrial Complex
by Autistic Hoya
But politics makes odd bedfellows. While I love the writer for standing up for psychopaths, I find some ideas that I either disagree with or which even make me laugh out loud. In reading the article I will be discussing here, I am entering Politically Correct Land; Nay, I am smack in the center of the storm.
This article even contains a trigger warning: “Disability-related slurs and other ableist language, mention of rape, racism, and ableism.” While I support social justice, I find a faction of left-wing movement folk to be absurd. I guess that’s a good thing in that it ameliorates my loathing and hatred for the Right. At least the Right gets some things right…er, correct. I agree with them in wanting the Nanny State off my back when it comes to saving me from myself. I’m an adult and I’ll choose what substances to imbibe. I also consider the Transgender Movement wrong-headed and chafe under the authoritarian insistence on everyone giving lip service to the Movement’s opinions (er…delusions). I laugh, along with everyone else at such monstrosities as first grade children being accused of sexual harassment because they gave another kid a kiss. Ditto to the charge of child abuse applied to kids who are mean to other kids. So, in immersing myself in this article, I am entering what I consider alien territory.
The article calls bullshit on the casual way people, OK, the way we casually use “ableist” terms to diss one and other. For example, “to refer to one’s political opponents as blind or deaf to progressive ideas.” While I can see calling one’s opponent “retard,” is oppressive to those who really are retarded, saying someone is “blind” because he cannot see one’s point doesn’t really strike me as oppressive to the blind. Maybe I am the one who is blind or, pardon me, deluded, ON NO! That’s ableist too. Delusion is a symptom of schizophrenic psychosis. What can we say about extremely wrongheaded people? This degree of PC dogmatism is cutting the balls off the language. Isn’t it? We can’t call them morons, idiots, fools, crazy. <shrug>
On the other hand, I am sick and tired of people calling everyone who does something really bad a “psychopath.” There is a tendency to blame psychopaths for all the ills of society. Our system is “psychopathic.” Tina Taylor of Psychopathic Times believes society’s ills can be cured if we could only prevent psychopathic politicians from taking office. Of course, that raises the question of how we identify psychopaths. Tina has an answer to that: brain scans. Brain scanning as a diagnostic tool for psychopathy is controversial. Unfortunately (or fortunately), one can’t really have a policy until we can know with a degree of certainty who we are talking about.
I have only come across one person (until now) who linked psychopathy with race. Black people are prone to it, said this person. The article by Autistic Hoya also says that people diagnosed with Anti-Social Personality Disorder (ASPD), the American Psychiatric Association’s stand-in for psychopathy, are disproportionately black. Of course, leftists tend to find rich white folk more psychopathic and they bolster their claims with studies indicating that the richer one is, the less empathy he has.
The article bemoans the fact that psychological anomalies are stigmatized. Few people look at the reason people are considered “mentally ill” in the first place. Those called mentally ill are the people who behave in ways that disturb the majority of people in a society. Therefore, “mental illness” and stigma seem inseparable. The concept of mental illness was originally created in order to fight stigma. Instead of calling someone “bad,” one said he was “ill.” But the connection between behavior society disapproves of and disapproval cannot be severed by change of terminology. Let’s face it. Outcasts will be outcasts no matter what you call us. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep fighting for precision in language. But the very precision takes us to the same point we have been trying to get away from. All society seeks conformity. Freud had a name for it: Civilization and it’s Discontents. Can the connection between those two things ever be severed? In the meantime, STOP CALLING ALL BAD PEOPLE PSYCHOPATHS.
- Psychopathy: Racism and Ableism from the Medical-Industrial Complex. Autistic Hoya
- Could a Brain Scan Diagnose You as a Psychopath?
- Psychopath TEST Politicians.
- Help Teach: What is a Psychopath? Tina Taylor
- Solving for Psychopaths in Control. An example of how psychopaths are maligned by the “good people.”
- This is How Normal Life Feels as a Psychopath. Jessica Brown