The common perception of the term “psychopath” is the criminal psychopath, such as John Wayne Gacy or Ted Bundy. But there is a growing awareness that the distinguishing factor in the psychopathic condition is the absence of emotional connection – no sympathy, no empathy, no conscience, no remorse, no guilt – whether the psychopath is chopping up human bodies or defrauding investors of billions of dollars. Identified sub-types include Political Psychopaths, Corporate Psychopaths, and Military Psychopaths, in addition to mass murderers.
Professor Robert Hare is a leading expert on Psychopathy, having co-written the excellent book, Snakes in Suits, and having devised the Hare Psychopathy Checklist – Revised (PCL-R). The Hare Checklist is a tool for professional use, by trained professionals. From the Hare Checklist (see below), many particular traits may be associated with psychopathic behavior, and only a trained professional is capable of making a definitive judgment. Most psychopaths do not display all traits, nor to the same degree. Karl Marx loved his children but provided for them very poorly, Casey Anthony would rather not have had a child, preferring to party. Casey Anthony exhibited psychopathic behavior patterns, and in her trial, the prosecutor specifically compared Anthony’s behavior to the traits listed in the Hare Checklist. The Hare Checklist grades each of twenty items, looking for a total score to determine the degree of dysfunction. Karl Marx can be speculatively scored against the Hare PCL-R insofar as we have a track of his behavior from his family history, from his letters and writings, and from his contemporary associates (radicals all) as indicated by the numbered checklist items below….[ ]