From time to time I find myself wondering if Barack Obama is a sociopath.
The topic of sociopathic personalities has come up before in my life. Someone I've discussed it with at length provided wise counsel: detecting and labeling someone as a sociopath is almost impossible. It is much more likely that the target of the assessment has some sociopathic qualities but is actually just a broken, imperfect human being like all of the rest of us.
Let's set aside the specific personality, and ask the question another direction: What if the President of the United States... a single person in charge of the largest economy, most powerful military, and most impactful political organization in the world... what if the person that we the people elected to that position... was a sociopath?
Time for a definition:
My simple understanding of sociopath is a person who can lie without compunction, without pause for feelings of guilt for his actions or sympathy for the individuals harmed.
Such a situation, a sociopath as president, would be nothing short of a nightmare. The ability to launch wars. The ability to write executive orders. The ability to arbitrarily enforce or not enforce any laws. The ability to affect economic markets. The ability to shut down transportation, regulate commerce, seize assets, nationalize industries. The ability to redirect or shut down funding. The ability to confuse our foreign policy, abandon our allies, support our enemies. The ability to oppress any number of people or organizations, inside or outside of the country, using any of the various arms and powers of the federal government.
Such a person could almost do anything they wished. Not an attractive situation. And something that might be helpful to work out. So...
How would we know if the president was a sociopath?
Per the advice I've received before: most likely we will not be able to know. But we will be able to detect the lies, if we maintain a mindful watch. As suspicions build, challenge the lies. Poke at and question the things that simply don't make sense. If the answers are regularly insufficient to resolve the concerns... well, it doesn't matter if the person is or isn't a sociopath. It's not possible to live a stable life on our own terms if someone with great influence on our lives is regularly lying to us.
What would we do if the President of the United States was a sociopath who would lie without compunction and implement policies without any concern to the moral implications or imposition caused?
If we suspect a sociopath in our lives, the best thing to do is to exit them from our lives. It is not necessary to be dramatic. There is no need for an energetic confrontation. We should feel no need to prove to them or anyone else that we are correct. In fact, consider that if the person is a sociopath, they will be capable of a response that we would not likely predict or anticipate, leaving us very vulnerable if we ratchet up the emotions.
Calmly, simply, patiently reduce their influence in your life.
That path will be made very difficult if your life is dependent on the suspected individual. If the sociopath is your boss... you might need to secure a new source of income. If the sociopath is your parent... challenging. If the sociopath is the President of the United States...
...you're going to want to make sure you're living a life as independent as possible from the federal government. You're going to want to ensure your rights to form a local and state government according to your needs is independent from possible interference by the federal government. You're going to want to make sure your local economy and government can operate effectively if federal funds are removed. You're going to want to make sure you are able to maintain your own life without federal funds or favorable programs. You're going to want to ensure that your right to organize and fund a political opposition are not restrained by the federal bureaucracy.
Social Security. Medicare. Medicaid. Food Stamps. Education funding. FEC regulations, IRS designations. Healthcare laws. Federally insured mortgages. Targeted tax deductions.
Are we independent enough to respond to and protect ourselves from the possibility of a sociopath in charge?