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zackli

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« on: August 11, 2014, 11:09:27 am »
First off, I'm going to be using authoritative language to explain this idea, which has probably been espoused at least 5 times before, but this is only because I'm too lazy to make it more "exactly" what I mean due to the number of words that would be required and the fact that I don't have much time before I have to get ready for work.

The PCL-R:

glib and superficial charm
grandiose (exaggeratedly high) estimation of self
need for stimulation
pathological lying
cunning and manipulativeness
lack of remorse or guilt
shallow affect (superficial emotional responsiveness)
callousness and lack of empathy
parasitic lifestyle
poor behavioral controls
sexual promiscuity
early behavior problems
lack of realistic long-term goals
impulsivity
irresponsibility
failure to accept responsibility for own actions
many short-term marital relationships
juvenile delinquency
revocation of conditional release
criminal versatility

This is a somewhat official/somewhat unofficial method used by psychologists to diagnose the subject with "psychopathy" which practically makes them the devil incarnate; official in that it is "to be used by trained officials only" and unofficial in the sense that the DCM doesn't list it as a valid disorder. On a scale of 0-2, how much money do you give to the homeless?

It has been used to suggest both that the criminal should have longer sentences (because they're the devil incarnate) and that they should have shorter sentences (because they're obviously not responsible for their crimes due to a brain defect). It is also used by all of your friends to give them a reason for not liking certain people who apparently do not meet their standards for what "normal" is.

There are a fair number of these traits which are either being instilled into the citizenry or that the media is trying to make you think the traits are being instilled into the citizenry. I won't go into too much depth because I have to get ready for work soon, but here are some of the traits and the ways in which they are being instilled. If you want, feel free to add to this list.

glib and superficial charm - The inherent importance of beauty is greatly exaggerated, "techniques" for appearing nice and friendly regardless of actual intent are available to those interested
grandiose (exaggeratedly high) estimation of self - You're an awesome person! Sure, you may have no life and be a pedophile and be stuck in prison, but it's just because you haven't been taught how awesome you are. Self-help books, religion, rugged individualism, etc.
need for stimulation - teenagers on their phones all the time, more?
pathological lying - Possibly techniques for appearing nice and friendly (depends on the individual using them) More?
cunning and manipulativeness - Same as above, game theory, more?
callousness and lack of empathy - the capability of most to walk or drive by people in need without a second glance

The inherent subjectivity in applying all of these "traits" based on whatever perception a "trained" psychologist (or your friend) has of the person's background and a detailed interview is like calling something a dog upon hearing that it is a four legged mammal with teeth and sometimes makes noises. That dog, however, is being judged by a jury of cats (and dogs like it are responsible for all of the problems with society).

Basically, this is a rant on the mis-use of science applied to one specific instance. Obviously, some people aren't nice and having "guidelines" for things to watch for might be helpful, or it might turn out terribly and alienate the entire population because of priming, confirmation bias and the fundamental attribution error.
It is naively assumed that the fact that the majority of people share certain ideas or feelings proves the validity of those feelings. Nothing is further from the truth.... The fact that millions of people share the same vices does not make those vices virtues, the fact that they share so many errors does not make the errors truths, and the fact that millions of people share the same form of mental pathology does not make these people sane. - Erich Fromm