David Gillespie

Well Done, 2018: Our Society Is a Utopia (for Psychopaths)

Guys, we did it. Despite our best efforts, the society we’ve built is a place where those with the least morals gain the most.


We didn’t mean to do it, but we have created a perfect world for psychopaths.

If I were to sit down with the express aim of designing a society where psychopaths could flourish, it would be almost identical to any modern capitalist society, or at least where most are heading very quickly. There would be almost no communal property. Government would have been reduced to a tax-collecting rump, tasked mostly with providing bare minimum services to the destitute. Almost all government assets would have been liquidated in search of the “efficiencies,” not to mention the money offered by business operators. The power system, the ports, the railways, the banks, the post office, and even core services like health and unemployment would have all become partially or fully privatized.

All communal services would be delivered on a largely user-pay basis and the concept of community assets—like the public pool or public transport—would cease to be fashionable. The interests and rights of the individual would trump any consideration of the collective good at every turn. Institutions that previously reinforced community values—such as businesses, religious groups, and families—would wilt under the sustained economic pressure to maximize individual gain. Increasingly, business and government agencies would internally restructure in a way that rewarded individual and competitive economic performance rather than satisfying community expectations.


We didn’t mean to do it, but we have created a perfect world for psychopaths.


Bullying and domestic violence would accelerate as the community standards which held them in check decayed. Honesty would become something to which we all paid lip-service whilst desperately trying to get away with as much as we could. We would come to expect the same levels of almost-honesty from our political representatives and become inured to their flexible relationship with the truth. It wouldn’t make us love them but we would know where they were coming from. We would no longer trust our leaders or public institutions. Indeed, we would quickly learn the only people we could trust were ourselves and whoever Uber rated with five stars. In the race to compete with others, narcissistic behavior would become so common that barely anyone would notice it as being unusual. Everyone would be expected to self-promote at every possible opportunity.

The society I have described is highly individualistic. Every day, in every way, the members of that society compete with each other for scarce resources. Cooperation and trust are almost non-existent, and honesty is a vague and flexible concept. In that society, humans have no need for empathy, trust, cooperation, or a moral code which enables communal living. In that society, all that matters is individual self-interest and getting the most for yourself without regard to anyone else. In that society, having a brain with a socialization circuit upgrade is a significant impairment. You will have qualms about breaking the law. You will try not to exploit others as much as you can. You will try to avoid dishonesty unless it is really necessary. In that society, empaths are the sub-normals. And being a psychopath is a distinct advantage.

Having a brain unfettered by moral constraints or empathy makes you a winner and probably even the President.


David Gillespie

David Gillespie is a father of six, a recovering corporate lawyer, a former co-founder of a successful software company, and the author of eight bestselling books. His first book, Sweet Poison, published in 2008 is widely credited with starting the current Australian wave of anti-sugar sentiment. You can find more of his work at http://davidgillespie.org/

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