Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Predator At Our Doorstep

I've just finished reading Confessions of a Sociopath, written by the pseudonymous M.E. Thomas, a law professor who confesses herself to be a sociopath who has integrated fairly well into mainstream society. The book offers a chilling if somewhat annoyingly self-aggrandizing portrait of the mind of a person lacking the normal constraints that conscience and empathy impose on most of us. Her goal in writing the book was to show that lacking the conventional tools to successfully navigate life doesn't automatically make one a 'monster.'

I will take M.E. Thomas at her word. Less likely, however, am I to feel even a modicum of sympathy for the worst of all contemporary psychopaths/sociopaths (as far as I understand it, the terms are interchangeable) known as the corporation. Accorded personhood status in the United States but something less than that in Canada, the corporate mentality is such that it has virtually no imperative beyond making money for its shareholders, no matter the extent of its immoral albeit legal exploitation of anyone and anything in pursuit of that goal.

A letter in today's Star reminds us all of the some of the terrible costs of having such predators within our midst:

Our youth deserve more mental health support, Opinion Oct. 7; and Offer hope to troubled kids, Editorial Oct. 4

I find both Michael Kirby’s campaign and your support of it to be superficial. Certainly kids with problems should be helped, but it seems that there are more and more of them as time goes on, hence the appalling incidence of suicide among young people. Why should this be?

I have just read a wonderful article by John McMurtry in the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) Monitor for October. Its headline is “Profit-driven system exploits, mistreats vulnerable youth.” Corporations, it says, are profit-driven psychopaths, with no regard for anything at all but money, and they are exploiting our children.

Young people are sold junk foods and beverages, poisoned by untested chemicals and drugs and an increasingly toxic environment, addicted to junk commodities, and exposed to media, which induce aggressive and violent thought, create artificial, harmful, needs, and discourage rational thought, decency, or the search for real knowledge. They are supposed to become unthinking consumers and cheap labour for corporations.

We do really know what is good for children — whatever helps them to grow to be their best selves. With so many young people living in an environment that is physically, mentally, and emotionally toxic, it is easy to understand why our children are in trouble.

We need a caring society to elect a caring government that will pass laws and regulations to prevent the harming of the young. Michael Kirby wants to pull the drowning children out of the river. I suggest we stop pushing them in.

Jenny Carter, Peterborough


  1. Any society which devours its young has no future, Lorne.

    1. That's the problem with a predatory mentality, Owen. it never considers the long-term, only its need for immediate gratification.

  2. Krishnamurti: It is no measure of health to be well adjusted in a profoundly sick society.
    With that quote in mind, I think the increase in our mental health, health and mood disorders is really no mystery.

    I also wonder whether we are not creating some selection pressure for psychopathy. After all, psychopaths such as M.E. Thomas are often quite successful in society, and social success is one biological attractant.

    I read some of Thomas' blog last spring, and grandstanding is a good word, but it rang false to me. She seemed to be both rationalizing and trying to justify her behaviour, which made me think she knows she is a creep. If she is trying to explain herself, would that not indicate that she cared what others thought? I thought one of the characteristics of psychopathy is not caring what others thought.

    1. That is a very good point, Karen. Thomas' book does seem to be a grand justification of her state, even though she alleges that she simply wants to remove the stigma that psychopathy carries. She does make the point that people like her serve a function in society, something others who have studied the disorder have made. The ruthless executive who maximizes his company's profits, the killing machine needed in war, etc. come to mind as quick examples. I guess she also establishes that being a psychopath is not synonymous with being a serial killer, thereby dispelling a popular myth.

    2. Narcissism may also be present with sociopathy.

    3. And Ms Thomas seems to have that in abundance, Dan.