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“Public Enemy #1”?

Quotes from the BBC documentary, Psychopath1:

▪ “There are few more emotive words in the English language than psychopath—a clinical word for a condition that has only recently begun to be properly defined.”
▪ “[There are] tens of thousands of other people out there who are psychopaths but are not serial killers.”
▪ “And by far the vast majority are neither criminal nor in prison. But the kind of harm that psychopaths can cause at home and in the workplace is deeply damaging and costly in every sense.”
▪ “There is something missing. [The psychopath] has no compunctions.”
▪ “They are dangerous, without a conscience, and all around us.”
▪ “In the workplace, they often disrupt and destroy the good working of the business or an operation …”
▪  “[They are] “Public Enemy #1.”

If one in every one-hundred people2 manifests psychopathy in our present world;

If this one percent causes highly disproportionate injury relative to their numbers;

If most of us equate psychopaths with acts of violence, horror, and criminality;

If, in fact, most psychopaths inflict their harm and chaos in more inconspicuous, subtle ways3 through:

◦ pathological lying;
◦ cunning, conning, and manipulation;
◦ charm, sincerity, earnestness (when it suits their purpose);
◦ remorseless, callous behaviors;
◦ seeding contention and confusion;
◦ denial, maligning, blaming others, refusing responsibility;
◦ living without conscience; without empathy.

If such behaviors are becoming more of an issue in communities, business, and government;

If we are reluctant to name “mid-grade” psychopaths for what they are because they don’t manifest in shocking headlines, and because the term “psychopath” is such an emotionally-charged word;

THEN maybe we should affix some prefix to the term “psychopath” to get past our hesitation to name what has become a devastating problem with increasing numbers of victims.

Of course, there is concern about labeling people,4 but how many family members, employers / employees, and others endure endless confusion and mental / spiritual abuse because they do not know how to recognize or name behavior patterns that are “mid-grade” psychopathic?

So, what should we call a person who will not maim or kill the body, but who is obsessed with maiming and destroying the psyche (and often, the reputation) of others through remorseless, pathological lying, conning, manipulation, etc.?

What should we call people (including corporate faux-persons) who twist everything into a self-serving, destructive distortion?

1.BBC documentary, Psychopath:
2. In Britain, the ratio is estimated to be one in every two-hundred, while one in one-hundred is an American statistic; see the BBC documentary at the beginning and at 16:15 min.
3. Some of this list comes from Prof. Robert Hare’s Checklist and some from other observations. Hare’s Checklist for the full psychopathy spectrum can be found at . See also a prior Déjà Vu post concerning this subject at
4. TEDx talk: “How to Spot a Psychopath” by Jon Ronson (14:24 min.): . Anyone who has suffered at the hands of a psychopath (mid-grade or otherwise), may find JR’s presentation quite flippant. His concern about labeling however is worthy of consideration, but without Prof. Hare’s work, we might still be in the state of confusion and turmoil that allows psychopaths to wreak their havoc without being counted or accountable. Nonetheless, we should proceed with caution, taking Prof. Hare’s advice that a few checklist characteristics do not make a psychopath: “What you have got to do is have a cluster or combination of characteristics that hangs together.”