Posted: 17 Dec 2008 12:55 PM CST
IN THE BOOK, The Sociopath Next Door, Martha Stout says something really interesting. Her book is about normal, everyday sociopaths (also known by the somewhat outdated term, “psychopath”). In other words, the book is not about serial killers, but about the neighbor who drives you crazy, the spouse who seems dedicated to making your life miserable, the cruel, unfeeling boss, etc.
A sociopath is someone who feels no empathy for other human beings. The consequences of this lack are enormous. These people are, in many ways, not recognizably human. And there is no cure for sociopathy. It is not caused by upbringing. Therapy only makes them worse.
About two percent of the population is sociopathic, and those who are in a relationship with a sociopath need to understand what makes sociopaths tick. The more you know, the less likely you are to be fooled, used, or destroyed by a sociopath.
But Martha Stout said something interesting for us here in our conversation about Islam. She wrote about the techniques sociopaths use to exploit people around them. Sociopaths use people. And there is one thing sociopaths use more than anything else because it works so well with normal people. Their ultra-effective weapon is to evoke pity.
The most reliable sign, the most universal behavior of unscrupulous people is not directed, as one might imagine, at our fearfulness. It is, perversely, an appeal to our sympathy.
I first learned this when I was still a graduate student in psychology and had the opportunity to interview a court-referred patient the system had already identified as a “psychopath.” He was not violent, preferring instead to swindle people out of their money with elaborate investment scams. Intrigued by this individual and what could possibly motivate him…I asked, “What is important to you in your life? What do you want more than anything else?” I thought he might say “getting money,” or “staying out of jail,” which were the activities to which he devoted most of his time. Instead, without a moment’s hesitation, he replied, “Oh, that’s easy. What I like better than anything else is when people feel sorry for me. The thing I really want more than anything else out of life is people’s pity.”
I was astonished, and more than a little put off. I think I would have liked him better if he had said “staying out of jail,” or even “getting money.” Also, I was mystified. Why would this man — why would anyone — wish to be pitied, let alone wish to be pitied above all other ambitions? I could not imagine. But now, after twenty-five years of listening to victims, I realize there is an excellent reason for the sociopathic fondness for pity. As obvious as the nose on one’s face, and just as difficult to see without the help of a mirror, the explanation is that good people will let pathetic individuals get by with murder, so to speak, and therefore any sociopath wishing to continue with his game, whatever it happens to be, should play repeatedly for none other than pity.
More than admiration — more even than fear — pity from good people is carte blanche. When we pity, we are, at least for the moment, defenseless, and like so many of the other positive human characteristics that bind us together in groups…our emotional vulnerability when we pity is used against us…
The reason I thought that was interesting and relevant is that pity is one of the most common techniques Islamic supremacists use, and it is the main reason they’ve been able to get away with as much as they have so far. They exploit the egalitarian, multiculturalist, good-hearted nature of non-Muslims. They evoke pity and then use our own kindness and our desire to “get along with others” against us.
I was just reading the book, Tripoli: The United States’ First War on Terror. The ruler of Tripoli had been seizing U.S. merchant ships, adding the ship to his own fleet, keeping the contents of the ship, and selling the captured sailors into slavery. It was a very lucrative pirating business. The U.S. wanted Tripoli to stop it, of course. The ruler of Tripoli said, “Sure, we’ll stop attacking your ships if you pay us tribute every year.”
So for awhile the U.S. paid the tribute because they were a new country and had no navy to speak of, and they wanted to continue with their overseas trade. But the ruler of Tripoli decided the tribute they had agreed to wasn’t enough, so he demanded more and when he didn’t get it, he started seizing U.S. ships again.
Meanwhile, the U.S. was frantically building a navy, and by this time had enough warships to put up a fight, so they did. Suddenly Tripoli’s ruler wanted to talk peace. But in the negotiations, the man negotiating on behalf of the ruler asked for a gift of money. The U.S. said no, absolutely not. The U.S. said basically, “You have not been fair in any way and have only acted as our enemy, and no, we will not pay you to stop the fighting.”
Then Tripoli’s negotiator tried to appeal to pity: “But Tripoli is very poor,” he pleaded. “she cannot subsist without the generosity of her friends; give something then on the score of charity.” In this case, Tripoli had already established a poor reputation with the Americans, so the pity plea did not work. But even after the U.S. negotiator said no, Tripoli’s negotiator tried to make the U.S. negotiator feel guilty for not feeling pity. He asked, basically, “You say you want peace but you won’t give this gift of charity to obtain the peace?”
Islam uses the pity plea anywhere it can. Mohammad used it, Muslims in Tripoli were using it, and Muslims today are still at it. In their dealings with powerful non-Muslims, the basic stance of Islam is: “We are an oppressed, persecuted people. We’re a minority. We’re under siege. We are wrongly accused. We’re the victims of bigotry, hatred, and Islamophobia.” And if they can’t find anything to point to that proves their oppression, they literally create something.
It’s like a game they are playing, except this is a game with very serious consequences. A single sociopath using the appeal to pity can completely ruin the lives of many people. And this is, of course, nothing compared with what Islamic supremacists have done. They’ve killed over 270 million people since they started. They’ve ruined even more lives, and they are affecting the lives and livelihoods of billions of us today.
I would like to spend my time working on productive, positive, life-affirming activities. Instead, I am spending many hours of my short time here on earth trying to stop the insidious Islamic encroachment, reading and writing about things I wish didn’t exist. It’s an upsetting topic. It’s disturbing. But the consequences of ignoring it are even worse, so I devote a large portion of my life to it.
And, of course, I’m not alone. Every one of us has been influenced in hundreds of ways we don’t even know about by the third jihad (and the first two jihads).
It’s important to understand how they do it. One of the most successful techniques they use is the appeal to pity. The good news is that as soon as someone sees the appeal for what it is, the game is over, the magic disappears, the trance is lifted.
When you find a good example of how Islamic supremacists use the appeal to pity, please give us the example in the comments on this article. Let’s help each other see through the con game, and with our open eyes, let us completely defeat the third jihad.