Thankfully most people have a reasonably healthy conscience and are able to effectively self govern themselves while doing minimal harm to others. Conversely there is small yet significant part of any given population who operate seemingly without conscience. Their lives tend to be structured around the concept of winning. They lie, cheat, manipulate and cause harm to others unburdened by shame, guilt or remorse. They also have the uncanny ability to rationalize and believe that their harmful actions are justified or in the right; they feel entitled. We, those with a healthy conscience, are often unwitting fools and pawns in their game. It is unconscionable that our fellows lack this vital cognitive resource and governance. Because of this it is easy to fall victim and promote their authority.
We call these people sociopaths, narcissists and they are the embodiment of what many consider evil. They account for as many as 1 in 10 of us. They seek positions of power; be it your community association board, correctional officer or bureaucrat for those less intelligent and skilled, but those who are clever and refined walk the halls of political power, high finance, and lead corporations. They are your neighbor who always has juicy gossip, your manipulative friend or lover, your parent who makes you feel less than, your co-worker or boss who is always creating tension or drama, they are the toxic people in our lives who always make us feel a little crazy or require us to slightly suspend reality.
It is not a level playing field. Their inability to feel guilt and shame, need to win and remarkable ability to rationalize their behavior gives them the advantage. While they may be fewer in numbers, their power and influence is great. As we continue to remove culturally reinforced boundaries, religion, standards of behavior, rights and alike; this will provide fertile ground for them to thrive. Through technological advances, unnecessarily complex systems (e.g. finance and banking), and ever increasing bureaucracy that will provide cover their ability to do harm will expand.
This awareness is the key to humanity’s future.