Updated: May 31, 2019
I think it's important to realize that there are people in this world who are just plain bad. I don't use the term evil because often, people will think I'm going biblical and really, I'm not. I'm talking about people who are sadistic psychopaths or power psychopaths.
The term psychopath is not a true psychiatric diagnosis and is not listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition. Instead, the term psychopath is lumped under the heading of Antisocial Personality Disorders. Also included is the term "sociopath".
page 659, DSM-V, 5th Edition.
The difference between a sociopath and a psychopath is significant. A sociopath is typically a loner, often a product of his environment and seen more frequently in poor socioeconomic conditions. These individuals have a tendency to be "unstable" and "crazy". They are prone to violence but in an impulsive manner which can be unexpected. They are unkempt and unable to hold a stable job and frequently are homeless.
They are unable to form close personal
bonds with other people, but may have a group or a single person they "accept". They are poor planners, and are frequently caught for crimes they commit. Such is the case of homeless sociopath James Howley who stabbed a man who gave him a dollar. It seems James saw the man had more than one dollar and that made him really angry. So he stabbed him. One could also consider violent gang members as sociopaths who have no concern for others, except for the group which encompasses everything for the sociopath. An example of this sort of behavior would be gangs such as MS-13 which have zero remorse for anyone outside of the gang. Once again we see that it's typically the environment (violent Central/South America) that gives rise to this mindset. Another example would be the Drug Cartels of Mexico. For what it is worth, both MS-13 and several cartels have links to fundamentalist Satanism. Cases include Mark Kilroy, the University of Texas student who was ritually sacrificed after being abducted in Matamoros during spring break. MS-13 members as well have been linked to ritual killings.
A psychopath on the other hand is typically well kempt, charming, "normal". Inside their head however, it's a different story. They are unable to have apathy or feelings for other human beings. They would watch a child drown, more interested in the flailing arms, than the fear on the child's face, or rather, be fascinated and even amused by it. Psychopaths are intelligent and cunning. While they have no ability to form personal relationships, they will fake relationships in order to hide their secret. Ted Bundy is a classic case. He is known to have killed 30+ women during the 1970's. Many of his victims regarded him as charismatic and attractive. He planned his killings meticulously and managed to evade capture for over a decade.
I further break down these two groups of "bad" people into power and sadistic subgroups. Unfortunately, they are not exclusive and some really bad characters belong to both. Power Psychopaths have control and domination goals. These include Tyrants such as Pol Pot who slaughtered over 1.2 million in his brief tenure as absolute ruler of Cambodia. Power and control of people is the primary goal as it brings satisfaction. Controlling more people brings more pleasure and when they exhaust their supply of people, they look elsewhere for subjects. Most conquerors such as Napoleon fall into this category. Control can also be through torture and submission. Sadistic subgroup includes individuals who derive satisfaction from causing harm, pain, and humiliation from others. They are not necessarily interested in long term control of multiple people, but rather inflicting harm. Usually, sadistic types develop sexual satisfaction through torture, rape, and murder as well.
Individuals in both sub-groups are not considered insane. It's just the way they are. Mentally ill people who cause harm are not aware that what they are doing is wrong. Sociopaths and especially psychopaths will go to great lengths to hide their actions, and they understand what they are doing is "wrong", but have no problem, or guilt doing it. As I said previously, sociopaths are thought to be a product of their environment while studies show psychopaths are genetically created.
The incidence of these predators? Based on previous DSM statistics, anywhere between .2% to 3.3% worldwide. Given that the population on earth is currently 6.8 billion, we can assume there are between 13,777,000 and 227,304,000 of these monsters among us. 70% will be males with alcohol use disorder and from substance abuse clinics, prisons, or other forensic settings. Prevalence is higher in samples affected by adverse socioeconomic (i.e., poverty) or sociocultural (i.e., migration) factors.
People gravitate to spheres of interest. Avid boaters go to boat shows. Womanizers go where the women are and pedophiles go where the children are. Those that wish to control masses of people, go into leadership. And yet so frequently, we see disbelief when a camp counselor, or a priest, or a coach is accused of sexually abusing a child under their umbrella. Most Americans cannot and will not accept the idea that bad people are in government. The same was true for a very long time under the catholic church. It was virtually impossible for many Catholics to accept the idea that their religious leaders were preying on their children, and yet, they were/are.
Rule of the Wolf: Psychopaths hide in costumes.
Rule of the Predator: Predators Follow the Prey.
Lastly, always remember that psychopaths and sociopaths come in ALL types of political persuasion. They are liberal, they are conservative, they are libertarian, they are anarchists. Failing to recognize this could cost you more than your life. It could cost you your country, for psychopaths often want more than death and torture and rape. Oftentimes control is the primary goal. Control through governance. Control through wealth. Control by tyranny and just like serial killers, they can't stop with one conquest.
Rule of the Obsessed: One is Never Enough.
The Good People
What about the good? I think we can agree that nobody is perfect. I think we can also agree that in order to be a good person, you don't have to be a religious person, you just need to possess the traits that found in good people. These traits build on each other. For example, a person of low integrity is likely not very fair.
What is a "good" person?
Good people identify bad people and bad things.
What type of person ignores others in bad situations? What type of person justifies bad actions? What type of person ignores a suspicion of something bad? Would a good person simply ignore a clue that a child was being sexually abused? Would a good person fear reprisals for a gut feeling that something bad was happening somewhere? Yes, but a good person has courage. Good people identify things for what they are, not what they pretend to be or not to be.
Good people have integrity.
Integrity is what you do when other people are not watching. It's doing the right thing when you know that you could get away with the wrong thing.
Good people are Loyal.
A good person can be trusted to support those they ally with. They are not swayed by greed, or lust, or personal gain. They will give up those things to maintain the trust they have earned.
Good people earn the respect of other good people.
Too often people expect respect when they have not earned it. Don't confuse civility with respect. Everyone deserves decency and manners. This is what makes us a "Civil Society". Respect is a feeling one has for another that has deserved it. In a way it is similar to admiration with the affection. We hold someone we respect in higher standing than those we do not respect.
Good people are responsible for their actions.
We cannot change others, only ourselves. Good people do not blame others for their mistakes or shortcomings. When they err, they own it. A person who makes a mistake and then says, "I made a huge mistake, I am sorry." earns far more respect than a person who blames others.
Good people have humility.
Humility is knowing that you are not perfect or right all of the time. Humility earns respect.
Good people have compassion.
Good people care about the feelings of others. They understand that pain and hurt can be inflicted by the things that are said. They feel bad for people who feel bad and share their pain. They do not act like they care as that is psychopathy. They truly care about the feelings of others.
Good people are fair
Through compassion and integrity, good people can determine what is fair. At times this is obvious such as the distribution of food rations. Other times it can be more complex such as determination of punishment for a crime committed.
Good people are forgiving.
This is not to say all things should be forgiven. It means good people don't hold meaningless grudges and understand that people make mistakes. Good people also forgive themselves after taking responsibility for their actions.
Good people have courage.
Despite the fear, a good person pursues a plan because they believe in the plan and know the plan is right and a good course of action. It is this weakness that is so commonly taken advantage of by bad people in today's world.
Good people remain undivided.
Good people are not easily turned against each other because they trust and respect each other.
Good people don't let bad people do bad things.
Without good people, bad people dominate. Bad people do bad things and bad things can make more bad people. We see this in inner-cities and the Third World. If you have the traits of goodness, you will be able to accomplish this through trust, loyalty, courage, compassion, and integrity.