My correspondents ‘DuMuarier-Smith’ and Evan Hadkins have been worrying away at the question of whether certain jobs attract/require psychopathy.
DM-T: I’ve been reading Robert Hare’s depiction of the psychopath. Does anyone else think the depiction fits politicians to a T?
EH: I guess the big question is: are there some situations where psychopathology is useful (or, a bigger stretch, good). I’m a bit of an Agatha Christie devotee. She wrote a novel where the murderer was someone who had been very useful during the war but who didn’t really fit civilian society. Would this be an example? Part of me wants to say, “No! Never!” another part wonders with this part is just being unrealistic and sentimental.
[Hare] has used [PCL-SV] to esti-
mate that maybe 1% are psychopathic, even if
they have never committed a crime, according
to research presented recently at a meeting on
psychopathy research. “Some psychopathic fea-
tures are not necessarily a bad thing for society
— in some professions they may even help,”
says Hare. “Too much empathy, for example,
on the part of a police officer or a politician
would interfere with the job.”
I’m not saying anything, I’m just saying.