Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sarah Palin: sociopath?

So says a former Palin staffer. I rarely give credence to these accusations. It's so easy to call anyone you don't like a sociopath or psychopath or narcissist or whatever term seems to embody unrestrained evil at any given time. This particular accusation seemed less accusatory to me, though. As reported by the Anchorage Daily News, when ex Palin aide Paul Bitney was asked whether he believed Sarah Palin was sane, he replied, "Is a sociopath sane?" Good question, John Bitney.

But I was curious. You always hear that sociopaths are overrepresented as heads of state, so I did a little bit of "empirical research." I googled the names of several well-known politicians and likely sociopath/NPD subjects and discovered (1) American politicians seem much more likely to be or be accused of being a sociopath or narcissist than politicians from other countries and (2) accusations seemed to track my own non-professional guesses. Here are the biggest "offenders":

Palin 853,000 hits for sociopath, 478,000 psychopath, 781,000 narcissist
Obama 1.73M for sociopath, 289,000 psychopath, 1.75M narcissist
GW Bush 2.16M for sociopath, 2.95M psychopath, 1.54M narcissist
Hillary 741,000 for sociopath, 768,000 psychopath, 702,000 narcissist

I feel like people think warmongering = psychopath, and arrogance and ambition = narcissists, or if they want the insult to have more teeth, sociopath. But I doubt that any of these people are sociopaths. I can't imagine a sociopath ever thinking becoming a world leader would be worth the trouble. Maybe if something like that dropped in my lap I would take it, but usually there are decades of scheming and mask wearing involved. Or so I 'm told...


  1. Man. Sarah Palin is so hot. I'd jump her bones, any day, any where.

    Sarah Palin = sociopath bait.

  2. I've know someone in Alaska who is studying politics, working under one of the senators who says Palin seems to just go with the flow, doing what the nearest person says is best for her. And that makes me think that Sarah Palin isn't a sociopath.

    I don't think a sociopath that makes it to that kind of power did it by doing whatever she was told to do or say. I don't see anyone in that kind of power doing whatever they were told and being someone in charge of a state. Instead of looking at her as a sociopath you should look for the strings controlling her and follow them to the most likely candidate for the term “politically sociopathic” in her circle of advisers.

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  5. As always, it all depends on how you define the term “sociopath”. I imagine so called “sociopaths” come in all shapes and sizes and are found on all levels of society. It’s an equal opportunity “disorder”. There must be truly stupid sociopaths and dizzyingly brilliant ones, beautiful ones and butt ugly ones, extraverted ones and introverted ones. I can see room for sociopaths with great ambition and those with virtually none at all. I’m defining the term sociopath at this particular moment as merely those with little to no conscience (the Martha Stout/Dr. Robert way). If defined this way, I could totally see many (not all) world leaders being sociopaths, especially when you combine little to no conscience with intelligence, self discipline, vaunting ambition and a pragmatic mind set. And I figure that wearing masks for decades isn’t so bad. I’ve been wearing them all of my life, so what’s a few more decades? Not that I’m in or plan to be in politics.

    Is Sarah Palin a sociopath? Eh, who knows? I don’t know enough about her or her background to hazard a guess myself. But I do agree that she comes off idiotic. Either she does that on purpose to bond with her target audience, or she is in reality, an idiot. Has the term sociopath become an epithet for anyone in the public eye that someone else doesn’t like? Absolutely. Which is again one of the reasons I find the spectacle of people on internet forums fighting over the honor of being a “true sociopath” to be a tad bizarre.

  6. Sarah Palin looks like a man. Any man who thinks she's hot, has a severe testosterone imbalance.

  7. Politicians are narcissists.

    Lobbyists are sociopaths.

  8. Well said!

    -still too lazy Daft

  9. dubya had it fall in his lap. no conscience, i wouldnt call him a "smart" sociopath, cause i think he is a dumb fuck and needs to be charged with crimes against humanity. (along with cheney, rumsfield, rove, miers, rice and the list goes on and on....)

    palin, eh, she doesn't believe in evolution, what more can you say about her..(just keep her away from the big red shiny buttons)

  10. ^Yawn

    I don't see Palin as a sociopath. She seems more a creation of her party -- a relatively unsophisticated provincial politician carefully managed by party leadership. She's too passive and careless to be a sociopath.

    Don't see W as a sociopath either. But Dick Cheney definitely has potential -- he certainly goes beyond 'smart and ruthless' but I don't see him as an idealoge or true believer.

    Obama and Hillary both have an aura of malignant narcissism. There's always an 'I know whats best for you' tenor to their public address.

    Vladimir Putin strikes me as the most flamboyantly pathological world political. I kind of admire that guy.

    I think the powerful influencers are more likely to be sociopaths than actual PMs or presidents. Too many constraints when you're the 'leader'. Kissinger comes to mind (another guy I have to admire).

  11. Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.
    --Henry Kissinger

  12. A true ruler is as moral as a hurricane. Empty, but for the force of his gale.

    A corrupted ruler on such a path sees treachery and betrayal all around him.

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