The Response Aroused by the Psychopath

What do we mean by 'psychopath'? We need to know this before we can understand the response which he arouses. The term 'psychopath' or 'psychopathic' covers a wide range of observable phenomena but there is one common denominator: the overriding determination to attain certain goals, and these by flouting the values which the society holds sacred. This was a point made succinctly by Edward Glover (1960): 'Moral obliquity is in fact the hallmark of the psychopaths who engage the attention of the courts.'

It was, for instance, a value of this country to accumulate wealth by hard work and saving and correspondingly taboo to obtain this by robbery or fraud. But this alone would mean that all revolutionaries are psychopaths, so there is another important diagnostic criterion: the criminal psychopath always acts in isolation. This is why Karl Marx saw the criminal as a reactionary and not a revolutionary.
Last updated on: Wednesday, 11 April 2012

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