Sociopathy in Authority Figures

Do you know someone who will use any means necessary to get what they want with little regard for everyone else? Do you know someone who believes that they are a notch above everyone else but lack the resources or capabilities to back this up? Do you know someone who is never willing to admit their own mistakes no matter how obvious it is that they are responsible for whatever mishap occurred? Do you know someone who simply blames others when finally caught in the open about their failings and personal frailty?

Then maybe, you’re in the company of a sociopath. Well, I’m not really an expert in the matter. In fact, I am sometimes worried that I’m one myself but my psychologist insists that I’m not. Anyway, the questions above aren’t really a guarantee that someone is sociopathic but it is certainly a good place to start. What I cam to discuss is the existence of sociopathy in people, especially here in the Philippines and why we, the common people, often turn a blind eye to it. Is it because we are afraid? Is it because so many of us fail to understand the concept of sociopathy? Or could it be that there are more sociopaths in our society than any of us ever considered?

sociopathA sociopath is a person who cannot feel empathy. They simply find it impossible to put themselves into the shoes of others and fail to understand the pain of the people that they hurt. They are also unable to apologize because they cannot comprehend the idea that they can make a mistake. The idea that they are at fault in a given matter never occurs to them because they believe themselves to be perfect or at least special in some way. When criticized, instead of reacting properly, they attack the critic instead, refusing to acknowledge their faults.

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Also of note is that sociopaths often make successful politicians or businessmen. This is because they tend to be very ruthless to the point that they are willing to betray their friends just to get ahead. In fact, for people of this sort, the idea of friends is a twisted concept. Instead of seeing “friends” as allies and comrades in their lives, they simply see them as tools to be used and discarded as needed.

Anyway, since we’re on the subject, I’d like to mention a few things first. Let’s talk about military personnel and police officers first, shall we? Anyway, I give due respect to all the military personnel who fight for the freedom and sovereignty of our beloved country and the police officers who struggle to keep us all safe from criminals and other social vermin, often at great risk to themselves and are often underpaid by our greedy and apathetic government. Unfortunately, based on a bit of history, even our military personnel and police officers have also had their fair share of sociopathic individuals. The same can certainly be said of the many terrorist organizations that now infest our fair country of the Philippines.

Tvtropes isn’t exactly the most reliable of sources but they certainly have something to present to us about the topic of sociopathy and how it can get really bad when people of authority have it. Anyway, sociopaths are already a danger to society but if they are given weapons of any kind and are given the condition or justification to use them, they will do so without fail and with often tragic or disastrous results. According to Tvtropes, there are actually multiple kinds of sociopathy in the military at least. These are often the people that make great terrorists, mass murderers and the secret police for a given government. Here they are:

The Jingo

These are the people who hide behind a cause to justify their crimes against humanity. This is often includes fundamentalists rant that what they are doing is for God and what they are doing is justified because it is “God’s Will”, even if what they’re doing involves shooting unarmed civilians or brutally executing wounded and surrendering combatants. The Nazis also used this excuse as they claimed that killing millions of people is justifiable because they are doing it for the good of the Fatherland.

For all my nerdy friends out there (no offense, I am one too) a good example of this would be the Red Skull, at least, back when he was still with the Nazis. He did terrible things for Hitler and always hid behind his master’s ideology to rationalize the reprehensible acts he committed.

The Psycho

These are people who are nasty from the beginning. They just joined the military only because there, they could kill without fear of reprisal. These are often people who are unstable to begin with but somehow managed to join the military so they can kill for fun without having to deal with pesky laws. Examples of this sort include folks like Amon Goeth who is actually the villain of the Schindler’s List film who was portrayed by Ralph Fiennes and Shiro Ishii of the Japanese Imperial Army who led the Unit 731 project which conducted inhuman experiments on prisoners and civilians.

A good example of a fictional character that can be included in this is Jane Turner of Valkyria Chronicles. Yes, her the giggling brunette with the eye-patch. Although she is one of the “good guys” her motivation in the war (killing enemies) does not speak well of her mental constitution.

The Unwilling Conscript

Now, it’s true that most people are good, or at least innocent. Mostly, anyway. But then war comes around and changes them. It makes them bitter and cynical and it changes them from the once sweet kids that they were into utter monsters. Examples of this include conscripted soldiers or children forced into becoming rebels as they are often unwilling participants in a given war. In the end, they are broken after being forced to kill so many people that they become desensitized to death and destruction.

I would have to say that Roy Mustang and some of his compatriots from Fullmetal Alchemist are certainly a good example of this especially during their campaign during the Ishval War. It was clear that a lot of them didn’t want to go through with it but had to commit various atrocities under orders from their commanders.

The Broken Soldier

These are the people who have seen so much bloodshed, they simply don’t care anymore. These are people who believe that “the end justifies the means”. These are the people who will use any means necessary to reach their goal no matter how brutal it may seem. While they may have good intentions at heart, their methods will leave you cringing in terror.

I can present Nick Fury of The Avengers fame for this. While he just wants to protect people, he will do so at extraordinary and often immoral lengths.

Having a sociopath in a seat of power is not just dangerous but is probably the dumbest idea anyone can come up with. A sociopathic warrior might be tolerable if enough people keep tabs on them. But a leader who is sociopathic will only lead a nation to ruin. Does Nero ring a bell?

So, do you know a sociopath in authority?

11 Replies to “Sociopathy in Authority Figures”

  1. Is the military service (land forces, navy, air force) something compulsory/obligatory in the Philippines or is it a job where everyone who wants to join has to apply and has to undergo severe testing and examination? Or is it a complete professional army?

  2. The Philippines has a professional military. By law, every Filipino male is required to undergo a training program that includes some military drills in the final year of their secondary education and during the first two years of their tertiary (college) education. The purpose is to provide for a reserve force in the event that the armed forces will require additional troops if the country is threatened by a hostile entity. Ths idea is along the lines of the national service requirement of countries like Germany and Israel.

  3. Thanks Johnny.

    We had a mandatory military service untill somewhere in the 80s. Each prospect had to undergo an examination (incl morse code, eye sight and other physical tests). After giving the okay, one had to serve for 18 months from the age of 19 or so. It was not a perfect army bec you got all sorts of people enlisted from low IQ to totally uninspired. In short, not really a professional army.

    Now it is a job and the examination and requirements are high. Today those who get killed in action knew what could have happened to them because they chose that line of job/employment voluntarily. It is a calculated risk. Most dutch soldiers die in a battle field abroad. So they dont even die to protect dutch territory but merely protecting peace or other goals. Its a high prize to pay.

    1. Not like Dutch territories are a constant setup for wartorn battlefields. Most of the fighting are taking place in former British Empire acquisitions.

  4. BS Aquino is a Sociopath, an Amoral person, and a Congenital Liar. Same as those people around him like: CaDuwag, Purisima, Roxas, Drillon, De Lima, Trillanes, etc…

    They don’t care bout the country. They care for themselves; their pockets and bank accounts; and their positions in the government.

    The fallen 44 SAF were sacrificed, and used as a means to an end… to their so called:”peace in Mindanao with the MILF/ISIS/Al Queda…

    The Islamic Jihadists are mostly Jingos…they hide behind their God Allah, to commit barbaric crimes , against humanity. Same as those MILF, Abu Sayyaf, etc…they are criminals, hiding behind a religious ideology of Radical Islam…

  5. the ‘Socio-path’ is ,first and foremost, an ‘anit-social’ or ,in lay terms…a fuckin criminal.The mentality, in all its manifestations, has that one insidious characteristic above all else. The criminal menatlity, ha, ain’t so bad ! there are more around than most people realize!

    1. Sociopaths aren’t necessarily criminals. They are just predisposed to criminal behaviour owing to their pathological lack of empathy. But there is such a thing as a high-functioning sociopath. Those are usually the ones intelligent enough to be aware of what they are and what happens when they don’t take a bit of effort to manage their condition and stay out of trouble. They are usually smart enough to turn their sociopathy into a tool applied to a focused effort to succeed in a society unencumbered by such invonveniences as scruples and having to give a shit about other people.

      1. the criminality involved in the behavior of these individuals is usually the first thing noticed by anyone, outside of family members (who may or may not know the condition of the psycho),and is what brings the attention to them in the first place and garners them the label.

  6. Everyone in the Philippine government who has any authority worth speaking of. The good ones are either powerless or dead—think Jesse Robredo, who I still suspect was murdered because he actually dared to do the right thing for once.

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