How many people are "sociopaths?"

FRIDAY, JUNE 17, 2022

Just for the record, two estimates: On January 6, did Donald J. Trump know or believe that Mike Pence's life was in danger, or that his life might be in danger?

We don't know how to answer that question. We will say that many people seem to have taken that impression from yesterday's January 6 committee hearing. For example, today's Morning Joe program began with a segment which you can see titled this way at the program's web site:

Joe on Thursday revelations: Trump on Jan. 6 was working to cause harm or death to Pence

Is that an accurate statement concerning a real "revelation?" We can't say. We can refresh you concerning two estimates of the prevalence of sociopathy in the general population.

Long story short! In 2018, an article in Psychology Today offered this basic background:

EDDY (4/30/18): In 1994, the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders was published (the DSM-IV)....Regarding sociopaths (the DSM uses the equivalent term Antisocial Personality Disorder or ASPD), it said that overall prevalence “in community samples is about 3% in males and 1% in females.”

Between 2001 and 2005, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded the largest study ever done regarding the prevalence of personality disorders in the United States. Structured interviews were done with approximately 35,000 people who were randomly selected to be representative of the U.S. adult population in a variety of ways including age, income, gender and region. This study found that...3.7% would meet the criteria for ASPD (5.5% male and 1.9% female).

Say what? According to that study, 5.5% of the adult male population would be diagnosable for this personality disorder? That's what the survey said!

We offer this only as a point of general interest. For better or worse, no discussion of any such topic will be taking place any time soon within our mainstream press corps.

We also assume that people afflicted with this disorder didn't choose to be so afflicted. That doesn't mean that they might not be dangerous.

Why does Trump behave as he does? We aren't medical specialists ourselves, so we can't offer informed speculation about a question like that. For a more detailed discussion of this topic, you can just click here.


  1. "According to that study, 5.5% of the adult male population would be diagnosable for this personality disorder?"

    Whoa, that must be at least a quarter of your liberal tribe, dear Bob. Including, obviously this "Joe" character.

    We're not surprised, we must say.

  2. The incidence of sociopathy in the general population provides no information whatsoever to help diagnose Trump.

  3. "We also assume that people afflicted with this disorder didn't choose to be so afflicted. That doesn't mean that they might not be dangerous."

    Sociopathy in itself doesn't mean someone will be "dangerous." A sociopath who grows up in an unfavorable environment may be dangerous, but that is also true of non-sociopaths.

    Somerby keeps talking about things he doesn't know much about, using info he gets off the internet.

  4. Somerby links to his own Oct 5 2020 essay. He was not an expert back then either.

  5. It is true that some criminals are sociopaths, but it is also true that many sociopaths are diagnosed with the disorder because of problems that bring them into therapy, such as being unable to sustain one marriage after another, or being let go from several jobs. Somerby's idea that Trump represents a typical sociopath is nonsense, if only because Trump's wealth and life experiences are so far removed from most people's lives, from early childhood. Further, there are so many other things you could label Trump as being, including narcissistic and Machiavellian. There is some suggestion he had dyslexia or some other learning disability, but he was certainly both spoiled and abused as a child. He has exhibited germ phobia and some behaviors found in OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). How then does Somerby zero in on sociopathy as an explanation for Trump's behavior? A clinical psychologist wouldn't do that. But someone who casually reads checklists of symptoms on the internet, as Somerby appears to have done, could be misled about how clinical diagnosis works.

    To quote Barr, this is bullshit, nonsense, garbage.

    1. If you want your vice president murdered, you might be a..............





      a Republican!

  6. Bob doesn’t know how to answer that
    question, and he is not interested in
    exploring it in any serious way, because
    the obvious answer is
    “Probably yes.”
    This aspect of Trump’s rape of the
    Capitol had been largely forgotten or
    ignored by the Political Press
    across the board. Had Bob the least
    interest in doing what he claims he
    wants to do, he would have explored
    it a long time ago.
    The attack on the Capitol was an
    act of terrorism led by Donald Trump.
    Like MANY political problems, it’s a
    variety of other kinds of problems.
    A moral one, certainly, but amoral
    people like can’t really deal with

  7. We know Trump knew Pence's life was in danger because Trump responded to that proposition by seriously wondering if that would be so bad, Pence being killed. There goes their hero, Republicans, right wingers, conservatives, evangelicals. Amazing!

    Right wingers do loathe, it is a core state of being resulting from unresolved trauma. Republicans have learned through the years that what right wingers loathe the most is not being dominant over certain racial and gender groups. They have learned that if you offer a right winger a crumb, they will greedily take it as long as it is more than a Black person has. But if the offer is equal between Whites and Blacks, then right wingers will reject it, even if it harms themselves. Amazing!

    Right wingers are toxic to society, how do we rid ourselves of this scourge? By understanding the root causes and finding ways of preventing those causes. Directly related, right wingers claim to fret over black murder rates, but those murder rates are dwarfed by White suicides. Why are White people so sad?

  8. "A personality disorder is a way of thinking, feeling and behaving that deviates from the expectations of the culture, causes distress or problems functioning, and lasts over time."
    Trump's thinking and behaving does deviate from expectations of our culture. However, it's a stretch to say that it causes problems functioning. On the contrary, he has had an amazing list of successes. If anything, his unusual personality may help him function better.

    1. He pissed away his birthright and is known for being a whiny crook and Worst President Ever. He has no legacy but might have without a PD.

    2. Becoming President, even the worst ever, is a huge achievement. Given his utter lack of political experience, that election was an amazing achievement.

    3. However did he turn on the Republican voter so much they'd crawl over a football field of broken glass to vote for him?
      Tis one of life's great mysteries.

    4. "the most reckless insidious and calamitous failures in both legal and political judgement in American history".....Judge J. Michael Luttig

      he has had an amazing list of successes. If anything, his unusual personality may help him function better. David in Cal

    5. “Almost two years after that fateful day … Donald Trump and his allies and supporters are a clear and present danger to American democracy.” Judge J. Michael Luttig

      a huge achievement David in Cal

    6. No less than Judge Luttig, David.

    7. "Judge Luttig" sounds like a parrot's name.

    8. “Map Cheng Ji” sounds like someone who is paid to run interference for elites name.

    9. Anonymouse 8:33am, that’s Judge Mao Cheng Ji to you.

    10. Republicans haven’t put Mao on the Supreme Court. He must not be a serial sexual predator.