Barack Obama has shown many of the signs of narcissistic personality disorder, as has been popularly described by Dr. Samuel Vaknin. But such symptoms of malignant narcissism are a component of a broader psychological profile on Barack Hussein Obama: Our president is likely a sociopath.
I know, I know. I don’t have a degree in psychiatry (though I studied psychopathy intensely, wrote approved research on the subject, scored and assisted with personality research, interviewed clinical psychologists regarding the causes of psychopathy, and was recommended for a career in psychiatry after working as a departmental assistant). And the use of such diagnostic measures as the Hare PCL-R (Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised) carries with it more caveats than the number of times Obama’s missed par this year.
Still, last time I checked this isn’t a laboratory. We are not in a clinical setting. I have no power over Barack Obama, but the power-hungry tyrant sure has plenty of power over me. So I think the question of whether or not the aspiring tyrant is a sociopath is fair game, but I’ll leave it to the professionals to ascertain how closely or widely I miss the mark.
There is widespread debate on the difference between psychopathy and sociopathy. But for the layman, I will boil it down to brass tacks. Psychopathy is usually considered to be a neurological condition where the subject is unable to process fear, and thus is tremendously difficult to socialize. Psychopaths do not develop a healthy conscience, and often commit acts without remorse to serve their own selfish ends. Sociopaths, on the other hand, are able to develop emotions, as shallow as those may be, and may feel some guilt for how they exploit others for personal gain.
While psychopathy is widely considered to have neurophysiological causes, sociopathy is hypothesized to be caused by environmental factors, such as growing up in an unstable home environment. As expert Robert Hare wrote in Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of Psychopaths Among Us, the difference between psychopathy and sociopathy ”reflects on the origins and determinates of each.”
A fairly good blog post explains the distinction further:
The last main difference between psychopathy and sociopathy is in the presentation. The psychopath is callous, yet charming. He or she will con and manipulate others with charisma and intimidation and can effectively mimic feelings to present as “normal” to society. The psychopath is organized in their criminal thinking and behavior, and can maintain good emotional and physical control, displaying little to no emotional or autonomic arousal, even under situations that most would find threatening or horrifying. The psychopath is keenly aware that what he or she is doing is wrong, but does not care.
Conversely, the sociopath is less organized in his or her demeanor; he or she might be nervous, easily agitated, and quick to display anger. A sociopath is more likely to spontaneously act out in inappropriate ways without thinking through the consequences. Compared to the psychopath, the sociopath will not be able to move through society committing callous crimes as easily, as they can form attachments and often have “normal temperaments.” The sociopath will lie, manipulate and hurt others, just as the psychopath would, but will often avoid doing so to the select few people they care about, and will likely feel guilty should they end up hurting someone they care about.
So, while these two terms seem interchangeable on the surface because they share many of the same characteristics, they are more like two sides of the same coin. Looking at the differences may seem futile; however, looking at psychopathy and sociopathy as different constructs may prove to be helpful in understanding the etiology of these disorders, and in the development of effective treatment methods.
This isn’t an academic paper, therefore I will dispense with the formalities and go to the meat of the argument. I don’t believe Barack Obama could be a psychopath, because as a professional politician, he would need to have higher emotional intelligence than a psychopath. If one does not feel empathy, one must at least be able to fake it, which I believe Obama does.
Barack Obama’s tumultuous childhood, where he seems to have been raised by shadowy socialists, matches the background of a sociopath in almost textbook fashion. Perhaps he was raised not only to be a socialist, but a sociopath as well, due to the sociopathic personality traits one would desire of a budding dictator. Obama might have been raised to be a socialopath, if you will.
We will use the popular version of the Hare PCL-R to lay out the case. Of course, nothing could be confirmed without testing. But we can’t even get the guy’s college records, so the point is moot.
The lists are below, without commentary. To fully lay out the case would require far more documentation than can be compressed into one fairly readable blog post, so I will simply put forth the list and link articles above that touch on relevant traits. I trust that the reader is informed and has been awake during the Obama presidency. I will make no attempt to convert a true believer in Obama with an exhaustive list of links and references. If a reader demands specific examples on a particular score, I am glad to provide them.
Factor 1: Personality “Aggressive narcissism”
Grandiose sense of self-worth
Lack of remorse or guilt
Shallow affect (genuine emotion is short-lived and egocentric)
Callousness; lack of empathy
Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
Factor 2: Case history “Socially deviant lifestyle”.
Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
Poor behavioral control
Lack of realistic long-term goals
Early behavior problems
Revocation of conditional release (N/A?)
The informed reader capable of dispassionately analyzing Barack Obama should see stunning overlaps between the list and Barack Obama’s background, personality, and behavior. Again, this is sheer speculation. But if Bill O’Reilly can call Obama’s father a “sociopath,” I think it is fair game to discuss the possibility with the president himself.