I see the MiddleClass as psychopaths. When you say the word psychopath. Images of axe wielding homicidal maniacs come to mind. But the truth is considerably less histrionic. And comes in the form of the compulsive liar who always gets what they want. The social butterfly who leaves a whirlwind of destruction in their wake. Or the “interspecies predator” who controls others to satisfy their own selfish needs.
I have always been suspicious of the MiddleClass. Never really able to understand their demeanor. But when I came across Dr. Robert Hare’s Psychopathy Checklist. While researching on my first screenplay. It all fell into place.
The checklist is the psycho-diagnostic tool most commonly used to assess psychopaths. It is a clinical rating scale of twenty items.
- Glibness/superficial charm
- Grandiose sense of self-worth
- Pathological lying
- Lack of remorse or guilt
- Shallow affect
- Callous/lack of empathy
- Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
- Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
- Parasitic lifestyle
- Poor behavioural control
- Promiscuous sexual behaviour
- Lack of realistic long-term goals
- Juvenile delinquency
- Early behaviour problems
- Revocation of conditional release
- Many short-term marital relationships
- Criminal versatility
When completed. The test subject is scored anywhere between “0” and “40”. The prototypical psychopath scores the maximum “40”. A score above “30” diagnoses the subject as psychopathic. I see scores above “30” manifest all the time in the attitudes and behavior of the MiddleClass. Individual members may not be psychopathic. But as a class it’s a different story. Take that core member of the MiddleClass. Bankers. I’d score their behavior as follows.
- Glibness/superficial charm (2)
- Grandiose sense of self-worth (2)
- Pathological lying (2)
- Cunning/manipulative (2)
- Lack of remorse or guilt (2)
- Shallow affect (2)
- Callous/lack of empathy (2)
- Failure to accept responsibility for own actions (2)
- Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom (2)
- Parasitic lifestyle (2)
- Poor behavioural control (2)
- Promiscuous sexual behaviour (2)
- Lack of realistic long-term goals (2)
- Impulsivity (2)
- Irresponsibility (2)
- Juvenile delinquency (1)
- Early behaviour problems (1)
- Revocation of conditional release (2)
- Many short-term marital relationships (0)
- Criminal versatility (2)
That’s a Checklist score of “36”. They should be banged up. But they’re not. They’re allowed go about their business. In the name of the free market. And a profit.
I see scores above “30” in the well dressed politician who demonstrates a complete lack of empathy by admonishing the long term unemployed. There in the grandiose sense of self-worth innate in parents who set up a school for their children. And there in the bankers who fail to accept responsibility for the whirlwind of destruction they left in their wake.
I have no idea what to do with this insight. But there is some small satisfaction in being able to j’accuse. “It’s ‘cause you’re psychopaths!”