Elie Wiesel, the nobel peace prize laureate and holocaust survivor, lost $15.2 million of his charity's money and lost his own personal life savings to Bernie Madoff. What did he have to say about him?
"Psychopath’ — it’s too nice a word for him,” Mr. Wiesel said in his first public comments on Mr. Madoff and the Ponzi scheme he is accused of perpetrating on thousands of individuals and charities, including the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity.Sociopath is too nice of a word for him?! I thought this day would never come! But NPR criticizes Wiesel's choice of words. In a 5+ minute commentary, their resident linguist says the following (paraphrased):
"Sociopath,’ ‘psychopath,’ it means there is a sickness, a pathology. This man knew what he was doing. I would simply call him thief, scoundrel, criminal.”
Sociopath is not a term we use affectionately, we reserve it for unsympathetic malefactors. . . Certain clinical language exonerates badness by reframing it as illness. Sociologists describe this phenomenon as the medicalization of deviance. . . Sociopath is a loose term now used to describe anyone unfettered by the pangs of conscience. . . "Sociopath" doesn't add anything to what Victorians would describe as "heartless wretch," but now it comes draped in a whitecoat.Thank you for your unsolicited opinion, NPR. Wiesel, on the other hand, is clearly a true visionary and humanitarian.