Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Signs and Symptoms

Here are some items from psychologist Robert Hare's diagnostic checklist for psychopathy:

*1. GLIB and SUPERFICIAL CHARM -- the tendency to be smooth, engaging, charming, slick, and verbally facile. Psychopathic charm is not in the least shy, self-conscious, or afraid to say anything. A psychopath never gets tongue-tied. They have freed themselves from the social conventions about taking turns in talking, for example. *

*2. GRANDIOSE SELF-WORTH -- a grossly inflated view of one's abilities and self-worth, self-assured, opinionated, cocky, a braggart. Psychopaths are arrogant people who believe they are superior human beings.*

*3. NEED FOR STIMULATION or PRONENESS TO BOREDOM -- an excessive need
for novel, thrilling, and exciting stimulation; taking chances and doing things that are risky. Psychopaths often have a low self-discipline in carrying tasks through to completion because they get bored easily. They fail to work at the same job for any length of time, for example, or to finish tasks that they consider dull or routine. *

*4. PATHOLOGICAL LYING -- can be moderate or high; in moderate form, they will be shrewd, crafty, cunning, sly, and clever; in extreme form, they will be deceptive, deceitful, underhanded, unscrupulous, manipulative, and dishonest.*

*5. CONNING AND MANIPULATIVENESS- the use of deceit and deception to cheat, con, or defraud others for personal gain; distinguished from Item #4 in the degree to which exploitation and callous ruthlessness is present, as reflected in a lack of concern for the feelings and suffering of one's victims.*

*6. LACK OF REMORSE OR GUILT -- a lack of feelings or concern for the losses, pain, and suffering of victims; a tendency to be unconcerned, dispassionate, coldhearted, and unempathic. This item is usually demonstrated by a disdain for one's victims.*

*7. SHALLOW AFFECT -- emotional poverty or a limited range or depth of feelings; interpersonal coldness in spite of signs of open gregariousness. *

*8. CALLOUSNESS and LACK OF EMPATHY -- a lack of feelings toward people in general; cold, contemptuous, inconsiderate, and tactless.*

*9. PARASITIC LIFESTYLE -- an intentional, manipulative, selfish, and exploitative financial dependence on others as reflected in a lack of motivation, low self-discipline, and inability to begin or complete responsibilities.*

*10. POOR BEHAVIORAL CONTROLS -- expressions of irritability, annoyance,
impatience, threats, aggression, and verbal abuse; inadequate control of
anger and temper; acting hastily.*

*12. EARLY BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS -- a variety of behaviors prior to age 13, including lying, theft, cheating, vandalism, bullying, sexual activity, fire-setting, glue-sniffing, alcohol use, and running away from home.*

*14. IMPULSIVITY -- the occurrence of behaviors that are unpremeditated and lack reflection or planning; inability to resist temptation, frustrations, and urges; a lack of deliberation without considering the consequences; foolhardy, rash, unpredictable, erratic, and reckless.*

*15. IRRESPONSIBILITY -- repeated failure to fulfill or honor obligations and commitments; such as not paying bills, defaulting on loans, performing sloppy work, being absent or late to work, failing to honor contractual agreements.*

*16. FAILURE TO ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR OWN ACTIONS -- a failure to accept responsibility for one's actions reflected in low conscientiousness, an absence of dutifulness, antagonistic manipulation, denial of responsibility, and an effort to manipulate others through this denial.*

*18. JUVENILE DELINQUENCY -- behavior problems between the ages of 13-18; mostly behaviors that are crimes or clearly involve aspects of antagonism, exploitation, aggression, manipulation, or a callous, ruthless tough-mindedness.*


I have omitted three or four items from this list, which don't seem to apply to Mr. Bush. Sexual promiscuity and unstable marital/romantic relationships constitute two of the items. Although these pertained to his youth, he has remained married to Pickles, although who can say what the emotional content of this relationship may be? The other omitted items pertain to interactions with the criminal justice system, which he has managed largely to avoid, due to his family wealth and privilege. Regarding childhood behavior, a school chum reported that he used to shove firecrackers into frog's and throw them into the air to watch them explode.

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