“Just to say Trump is “unfit” and “dangerous” is not enough and the public will not understand. We need to tie his psychopathology to his presidential behavior in the observable, in the concrete. [In my view], his pandemic response and his attack on democracy are where his psychopathology is evident.”
Alan D. Blotcky, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in Birmingham, Alabama (source)
While Trump might be the most prominent potential psychopath in the world today, I still believe the bigger issue we have to face isn’t one man, but the system that allows psychopaths to hold extreme power and wealth. Trump is merely a symptom of a much bigger problem.
Probably no surprise if you’ve read the book, but new research by Pavel S. Blagov Ph.D. which is about to be published in the journal Social Psychology and Personality Science suggests that “people who scored higher on the psychopathic subtraits of meanness and disinhibition tended to show less interest in social distancing and hygiene”. (source)
Blagov is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Whitman College.
As the Black Lives Matter protests continue around the world, I’ve been doing a series of interviews on the Bullshit Filter podcast with members of our American audience, trying to get their perspectives on the causes and solutions of the current wave of anger towards police.
One of the fastest and simplest solutions I can see is to run every cop through a psychopath test to identify which of them need are more likely to do others harm. It doesn’t require entirely re-thinking policing or new kinds of legislation and it’s hard for anyone to argue with. By its very nature, policing is a career choice that would seem attractive to psychopaths, as it offers an enhanced level of personal power. While I’m sure most cops are good people, trying to help their community, it makes sense that a higher-than-average percentage of them are going to be psychopaths.
So I’d like to see a movement pushing for every police department to implement psychopath tests and then to come up with a range of strategies for what they are going to do with the cops that get a high score. Perhaps they could be required to have desk jobs; or be partnered up with someone who has a low psychopath score; or be subjected to regular review by a panel of confirmed non-psychopaths.
This isn’t going to solve all of the problems of police violence – not all racists are psychopaths – but it would have to make a huge difference and I think it would be a terrific place to start.