Traits of a sociopath

Sociopath is now a retired term in psychology and has been replaced by psychopath. I disagree with that because I think the word psychopath is most commonly associated with mental illness. Sociopath better connotes personality defects which are distinct from illness. I am also suspicious that the psychology profession desperately wants to depict serial killers as mentally defective in order to excuse them from criminal responsibilty and treat them as mental patients. To allow that would be to subject ourselves to yet more dangerous predatory behavior from these criminals, in my view.

Here are the traits that Dr. Robert Hare claims make one a psychopath, which I prefer to call a sociopath. It uses a 3-point scoring system from 0 to 2.

1. Glibness/superficial charm (an easy 0)
2. Grandiose sense of self-worth
3. Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom (I got a 2 on this one)
4. Pathological lying
5. Conning/manipulation
6. Lack of remorse or guilt
7. Shallow affect
8. Callous/lack of empathy
9. Parasitic lifestyle
10. Poor behavior controls
11. Promiscuous sexual behavior
12. Early behavior problems (another 2)
13. Lack of realistic, long-term goals
14. Impulsivity
15. Irresponsibility
16. Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
17. Many short-term marital relationships
18. Juvenile delinquency
19. Revocation of conditional release (guess that refers to parole violators)
20. Criminal versatility (Not just a criminal, but a multi-faceted one? Serial killer who steals valuable art, embezzles from his employer runs for election to office?  I’ve read about some of those, but only in novels)

A psychology professional is supposed to use this to build a profile of a person to determine whether they can be classified as a psychopath. They are supposed to do an interview that should last up to 3 hours and have access to collateral sources such as criminal records for verification. The person is scored by giving points from 0 to 2 for each trait. Having none of a trait is a 0, showing some respects of a trait is a 1, and a score of 2 if the trait is present in all respects. A perfect score is 40; a score of 30 and above marks one a psychopath. All people have some of these traits, and a specific cutoff seems shaky to me. A 29 is not a psycho but a 30 is? Too imprecise, I’d say. Psychopathy is not as definite as pregnancy. I’d say it this way: Too close to 30 should raise eyebrows; Anyone above 30 is likely to be a problem; those within a few points of 40 should be considered dangerous. But then, there a lots of people who might score 10 and are also dangerous. Having a good 6th sense is still a valuable attribute.

The problems with this little test abound. The biggest one is that while probably all psychopaths are people you probably wouldn’t want to know, most psychopaths are not criminals. That alone is enough reason not to allow the psychology profession to use this test to excuse criminal behavior.

The incidence of psychopathy in the general population ranges from 1 in 25 to 1 in 250, depending on what you read.

I self scored a 14, being as objectively hard on myself as I could. Good news. If you double my self score, I’m still not a psychopath.

If you’re particularly brave have your spouse score you. Mine’s out of town so couldn’t.

NOTE: Trait No. 7, Shallow Affect, might not be obvious. I looked it up and it refers to a person who occasionally shows deep emotions but an objective observer would see it as an insincere and shallow display. Homicide detectives with years of experience may become experts in detecting this trait in suspects.

Global warming will turn women into prostitutes?

Well, that’s what Democrat Congresswoman Barbara Lee says. There hasn’t seemed to be any global warming going on for the last 17 years, but put that aside for now.

The amount of warming predicted in future due to human existence is about 1° C, from a doubling of CO2. The warmers have another argument that the increase will more likely be three times that amount, or 3° C. Their argument is just three times the BS, but OK let’s allow that.

From my experience with women over several decades every increase in the temperature in a room or outdoors simply makes them happier. Whether it’s 1 or 3 degrees of increase pales compared to the current maximum differential between average temperatures in the United States. It’s about 24° C. That’s between Alaska and Florida. It’s 21° C between Minnesota and Florida. One or three more degrees doesn’t seem that it would matter much.

Barbara Lee would be on firmer ground if she were predicting that global warming will cause widespread outbreaks of female euphoria.

Wisdom and history in 15 minutes

From Powerline Blog, Steven Hayward listens to Fred Siegel in the two videos below. The first is 8 minutes and the second is 7 minutes long. I can’t think of a better way to spend 15 minutes.

Fred Siegel has written several books on political history. The two I’ve read are The Revolt Against the Masses, How Liberalism Has Undermined the Middle Class; and The Future Once Happened Here, New York, LA, DC and the Fate of America’s Big Cities. I have Prince of the City: Giuliani, New York and the Genius of American Life on my shelf. I’ll read it when I finish the two in front of it.

Brooklyn Law School unhappy with its bar passage rate

Graduates of the Brooklyn Law School (BLS) have traditionally done well on the Multi-state Bar Exam (MBE).  In July 2013, 94% of its first-time exam takers passed the MBE. In July 2014 the BLS passage rate fell to 84%, still respectable by national standards.  Not good enough though, according to Dean Nicholas W. Allard.  Dean Allard blames not BLS or its students, he blames the National Conference of Bar Examiners for making the MBE too difficult. He wants an audit of the MBE.

BLS is not alone. First time takers of the 2014 MBE did worse than first-time takers in 2013 around the country.  My own law school, University of Denver, saw 87% of its graduates pass the MBE in 2013 and 84% in 2014.  The University of Colorado scores were 91% in 2013 and 82% in 2014.  BLS and both Colorado schools are well above the national average.

In an Op-ed in the National Law Journal Dean Allard says he believes too much power rests with the National Conference of Bar Examiners. You’d have to register to read it all, but TaxProf has the salient parts. Here is an even shorter “salient parts:”

Trying to improve the broken bar-exam system for licensing lawyers has been for too long like tilting at windmills while singing “The Impossible Dream.”

There is a disconnection between what the bar exam tests and what the American Bar Association and law schools require students to learn. Graduates must enroll in costly cram courses, forgo gainful employment for almost three months and incur collectively hundreds of millions of dollars in costs and lost income to survive the semiannual culling of the herd. Nor does the bar exam, which relies heavily on questions developed and scored by the National Conference of Bar Examiners, measure what one needs to know to be an effective lawyer.

Last July’s historic nationwide drop in the bar passage rate brought into sharp focus the urgent need to overhaul a system that ill serves the public, the profession and certainly the graduates of our law schools. Over the past several months, fellow deans across the country have asked for a complete, credible and accurate explanation of the July 2014 results. We still are waiting.

I’m may be not qualified to criticize Dean Allard or BLS, which is a top law school that has produced a stellar record of graduates who went on to become names familiar to nearly all in the legal profession. However, I think he is wrong.

First of all, the purpose of the bar exam is to protect the public from anyone below a certain level of mental acuity and diligence from becoming lawyers.  The purpose of the MBE is to establish a nationwide standard for one day of a two-day exam, the second day typically devoted to the parochial laws of the state in which the applicant intends to practice.  If one thinks of the lawyers one knows or has encountered one quickly realizes that you don’t have to be genius to be a lawyer.  There is already a serious question of how well the MBE and state bar exams are protecting the public from incompetent people gaining a law license.

Moreover, and here I may be wrong, but I don’t think the MBE was suddenly made more difficult. If one applies Occams Razor, the simplest of competing explanations for any phenomenon will usually be the correct one. Law school enrollment is down nationwide because jobs for law school graduates have been shrinking for several years. It is likely that law schools are lowering their admission standards in order to keep enrollment up.  Lowering admission standards can be done without writing it up into a proclamation of intent.  There is a lot of discretion involved and it is being exercising by human beings. Human nature is such that we are not always fully conscious of changes we make in how we exercise our discretion.  Especially when a certain outcome is desired, in this case keeping a steady flow of income to your law school in order to keep your job.

Law schools have been pumping out droves of new lawyers for years. This is one of many factors that have resulted in too many lawyers chasing too few jobs.  It was inevitable that the potential pool of new law school applicants would take notice and decide to pursue a different career path. Law schools are having a hard time coping with the new reality.

France doesn’t like Obama’s Iran deal

Obama Administration Threatens U.S. Allies for Disagreeing with Iran Nuke Deal.

Western policy analysts who spoke to the Free Beacon, including some with close ties to the French political establishment, were dismayed over what they saw as the White House’s willingness to sacrifice its relationship with Paris as talks with Iran reach their final stages.

A recent phone call between Obama and Hollande was reported as tense as the leaders disagreed over the White House’s accommodation of Iranian red lines.

[A] Western source familiar with the talks said the White House is sacrificing longstanding alliances to cement a contentious deal with Iran before Obama’s term in office ends.

“The President could be […] sacrificing our alliances with France, Israel, and Saudi Arabia—key partners in Europe, the eastern Mediterranean, and the Gulf,” the source said. “But he’s blowing up our alliances to secure a deal that paves Iran’s way to a bomb.”

That’s it. Obama is paving the way for Iran to get a nuclear bomb.  He actually wants Iran to have a nuclear bomb, and he’s apparently unconcerned with the prospects for a nuclear exchange between Iran and Israel and what that might mean.

Obama has become dangerous. He’s even losing France which is ruled by socialists.

Remember when Obama came into office saying he was going to repair all of the relationships with our allies that George W. Bush was alleged to have poisoned?  Obama has managed to offend just about everyone except Iran.  He’s always hated Israel, and now he soured things with France of all places.  Saudi Arabia as well doesn’t like Obama’s nuke deal with Iran.

There is irony here, Obama is driving Israel and several Muslims countries into an alliance over his all out crazy passion for Iran to get a bomb.  Once upon a time nuclear proliferation was something the Left said they wanted to stop.

Putting Fascism in proper perspective

Democrats have fostered the notion that Fascisim is a right-wing ideology.  That’s always been hard for me to swallow given that the three Fasicst governments in history never seemed very right-winged to me. The three Fascist regimes were Nazi Germany, Italy under Mussolini, and the longest lasting of the three being Francisco Franco’s Spain from 1939 until Franco’s death in 1975. None of these were right wing, at least not according to Democrat’s definition of “right wing” meaning conservatives in America from and after about 1950.

Democrats base their accusation of fascism against conservatives mainly on the abortion issue. I guess they believe pro-life is fascist and pro-abortion is the pinnacle of enlightened reason. The trouble with that is one’s position on abortion does not neatly fall along the lines of one’s overall political preference.  While conservatives are more likely to be pro-life and liberals more likely to be pro-abortion, there are conservatives who are pro-abortion, lots of them in fact, and liberals who are pro-life. Fewer of those it’s true, but still more than just a few.

A charge of Fascisim doesn’t square with what most conservatives generally believe. Constitutionally limited government is the main tenet upon which nearly all conservatives agree. You might say the idea of the Federal government being one of enumerated and limited powers, as enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, is the very essence of conservatism in America. It is the one idea most agreed upon. In all else associated with conservatism there is more diversity of opinion among American conservatives.

Jonah Goldberg worked hard to find a general definition of Fascism in his book, Liberal Fascisim:

[T]otalitarian in that it views everything as political and holds that any action by the state is justified to achieve the common good. It takes responsibility for all aspects of life, including our health and well-being, and seeks to impose uniformity of thought and action [Gleichschaltung], whether by force or through regulation and social pressure.

If one accepts Goldberg’s definition of Fascism, and applying it to the three Fascist regimes mentioned at the beginning of this post I think it is hard not to accept it as accurate, it’s also an accurate definition of liberalism in America. It fits radical feminism perfectly. In no way does it describe conservatives.

The Republican party as presently constituted is not the natural home of conservatives. It’s just all they’ve got right now. The Republican leadership favors big government almost as much as do Democrats. Nevertheless, to call the Republican party Fascist is so inaccurate as to be idiotic. The Republican party began as a movement to end slavery in America.  From after the Civil War until the 1932 election black Americans voted solidly Republican in percentages nearly the same as they give to the Democrat party today. Even though the Republican party had lost the black vote 32 years earlier, it was the Republican party who most championed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It was also the Republican party that strongly supported the Supreme Court’s decision ending school segregation in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, and gave majority support to Republican President Eisenhower’s Civil Rights Act of 1957 which was meant to assist and extend the Court’s decision in Brown and protect voting rights of black Americans. It was Republican President Eisenhower who sent Federal troops to Arkansas to enforce desegregation of schools when it was being strongly resisted by its then Arkansas governor Orville Faubus.

William Jefferson Clinton’s main hero, Senator J. William Fulbright, was a staunch segregationist.

Neither Conservatives nor the Republican party deserve to be called Fascists. It’s high time for the real Fascists to stand up.

Americans not buying what whacko environmentalists selling

Two recent Gallup polls are bad news for the environmental alarmists.

Americans Rating of Environment Inches Up to Record High

In U.S., Concern About Environmental Threats Eases

The graph below shows the percentage of Americans who rate the quality of the environment as excellent, fair and poor. The latest results show that 50% rate the environmental quality as excellent, 40% fair and only 10% say the quality of their environment is poor.  This has to be astounding considering that the American people have been hectored by whacko environmentalism for the last 50 years.

quality_environment

Praise and thanks should go to those who have actually done their part to improve the quality of the environment. They are the people you never hear about, the ones who have quietly been at work improving the emissions of cars and trucks so that the air quality in most major cities has improved beyond the wildest dreams of anyone who remembers the smog of the 1960s and 1970s.  The lakes and rivers of the upper Midwest and East were toxic sewers a mere 50 years ago and today they are, for the most part, clean, healthy and thriving fisheries. The whacko environmentalists are loathe to admit any of this because their power, influence and ability to raise money depends on an ever-continuing narrative of environmental doom.

As Steven Hayward says, “Well, at least there’s global warming.  Wait—you say that’s not working either?”

No, Sorry. Gallup again:

…the nature of the environmental agenda may indirectly be influencing Americans’ concern. The primary focus of the environmental movement has shifted toward long-term threats like global warming — issues about which Americans tend to worry less than about more immediate threats like pollution. Importantly, even as global warming has received greater attention as an environmental problem from politicians and the media in recent years, Americans’ worry about it is no higher now than when Gallup first asked about it in 1989.

All this is more evidence of an eternal truth of life.  Since the beginning of human civilization there have always been a two distinct factions of people; those who are problem solvers and another who are mere problem complainers.  The problem solvers seek answers and solutions to problems, and resolutions to fractious political issues.  The complainers have no interest in solutions to problems or resolutions to issues.  They depend upon and they thrive on the problems and the issues.

Lawyers, at least the ones who think about it, know this because it is that second group that make up their best clients; they are the ones who sustain lawyers’ incomes (if you can get them to pay their bill).

Norman Borlaug (1914-2009) and the Green Revolution

What he did 50 years ago was called the Green Revolution. It saved a billion lives. If he hadn’t done it then, nobody would be allowed to do it today. Liberals would fight to stop it.

Don Surber explains what Borlaug understood:

The way to fight diseases that attack wheat and other cereals was not through pesticides and the like, but rather through breeding. Spoiled, rich liberals today pooh-pooh and demonize GMO food, but mankind has been modifying plants since the dawn of civilization. Indeed, it is what led to civilization. We call it farming.

We should be thankful for many good things that were achieved in the past and which could not be achieved today because toxic liberalism has infected Western civilization with so many crazy ideas such as political correctness, multiculturalism, man-made global warming/climate change hoax, pseudoscientific food fear, radical feminism, idiotic notions like “critical theory” which holds that it doesn’t matter if a woman lies about being raped because a lot of other women were raped, and the hopeless dream that safe and reliable renewable energy would replace fossil fuels if we just stopped all use and production of fossils fuels.

Liberals don’t like the real world so they have decided to try to live in a make-believe world. In their make believe world the modern world can be reversed and humanity will return to a primitive existence where we read by candle light and join hands to sing Kumbaya around a camp fire while trying to keep warm.  I don’t know what their contingency plan will be when we run out of fire wood which, given the world population of today, wouldn’t take long.

Tell him what he should be told

“There are twenty-seven specific complaints against the British Crown set forth in the Declaration of Independence. To modern ears they still sound reasonable, in large part because so many of them can be leveled against the federal government of the United States.” —P. J. O’Rourke

Bibi tells Obama