I believe myself in many ways to be a borderline sociopath living somewhere between the majority of the population and those rare outliers completely divorced from emotional reasoning (an oxymoron if there ever was one, and yet it seems pretty obvious that most people use emotion very frequently in decision making).
I have a decision making process that is driven by factors such as responsibility, politeness, practicality and reason rather than difficult to qualify 'squishy' emotional considerations. I am a good father and husband because that is what I am supposed to be, having allowed my life to go down that road, admittedly because of a lack of passion to take it in any alternate direction.
But I know what sort of behavior is appropriate and correct, what sort would be frowned upon, and I take pains to conform to the former in the interest of living a simple life. I don't take great satisfaction in social interaction, but I am quite accomplished at it should I choose to turn on the 'charm switch'. As my dentist, with whom I am quite close, says, I may be a bit crazy, but I present very well so the minor oddities are overlooked. Dentists are interesting people, working all day, every day with people that they are putting in discomfort. An ideal career for a sociopath I would think, as one would not feel any reservation or guilt about all the drilling and poking and constant one-sided conversations to which the victim/patient cannot respond. But I digress.
On your website you have covered a number of comparisons between sociopaths and other categorizations of non-standard mental positions, i.e. narcissists, and you often touch on subtleties between behaviors and mental states that are sociopathic vs indicative of somewhere else on the psychedelic rainbow spectrum that is the human mental condition. I haven't seen any mention of misanthropy however, and I often wonder about the applicability of that particular label to a sociopath.
Not liking humans in general could apply to sociopaths, and yet I think someone truly absent of a moral compass feels neither love nor hate for other forms of life, human or otherwise, but sees everyone as simply a tool to be used or discarded as needed for amusement or practical considerations. But I do find that so much of human society disappoints me, and that everything would be better if only there were far fewer humans around mucking things up, packing into my subway car, leaving their shopping carts in my way, and fouling the oceans and air with stink. Anyway, I'd be quite curious to learn of your stance toward humanity in general at some point. Perhaps one's opinion of the value of human life has nothing to do with a sociopathic mental state, and I'm confusing issues. Possibly misanthropy is itself an emotional response, and thus misanthropic thought is evidence counter to a sociopathic mindset.
I try to exercise thought problems such as this with my wife or best friend, but oddly enough they are both two of the most empathic people I have ever met in my life - they both refuse to even consider the trolley problem, for example. Isn't it odd that someone who considers himself to have a very weak moral compass, and sees the practical value of being able to set aside one's emotions when making decisions, should be so close to two people that would feel guilty if they accidentally make someone feel sad? I think I could spend days simply discussing guilt with someone, and the extent to which foresight of guilt factors into our decision making. Oh, to have been able to hang out in a bar with Nietzsche, chatting over beers and perhaps throwing some darts.
Anyway, I want to thank you for the book. It was an interesting read, and I will be loaning it to all of my full-blown empathy-saturated friends. I rather wish I knew you or someone like you personally, as you seem like a fascinating individual and I do feel that I have more in common with someone with your sort of mindset than with just about everyone in my social circle. Of course, I'd have to manage to obtain some sort of insurance against you attempting to ruin me for sport, but sorting out that too would be an interesting challenge.
I think that sociopaths aren't necessarily misanthropic, although if they are misanthropic, there's not a lot keeping them from being very much so and without any sorts of constraints of guilt. Maybe introverted sociopaths tend to be more misanthropic for the reasons you cite, i.e. the crowds and the stink?
I generally like people. They are nature's greatest creation. Even when they are behaving irrationally, I find them to be fascinating -- endlessly unpredictable. There are times when I am annoyed by them and times when I like them less, but I'm self-aware enough to realize that has more to do with my own shifting moods than them actively doing anything to drastically disappoint me.