There are subtle differences between what I am describing and the ubermensch concept though. My categories, I'd say, are closer to being varieties of "men without backs"/last men (see Fukuyama's "End of History"... and no I am not a neocon :))
But let’s step back here. I am using the word in its
everyday, loosely overloaded sense. As in, you telling
your friend, “you are such a !@##$ sociopath.” I want to
stick to the term for two good reasons. One: Hugh
Macleod’s original cartoon which inspired this series is
too good to give up. Second, distrust of communities and
groups, and a stubborn individualism, are the main
personality characteristics here (and this position is
not original to me; it is derived from William Whyte).
Words like “player” or “enlightened” (two suggested
alternatives) don’t cut it.
This sort of argument leads to a sort of self contradiction similar to "everything is relative" (in what frame do you evaluate "everything is relative"? Surely not a global, objective one.) If, more charitably, we assume it's not morality, per se, that he questions so much as a sheeplike adherence to it, that's fine, but it's also a bit of a false dichotomy (you're either slavish and unthinking, or a sociopath).
Further, the notion that sociopaths "take responsibility" for their subjective morality seems dubious. It seems just as likely to me that the moral thought of this group is mostly limited to post hoc rationalization.
I'm unfamiliar with the author, but one possible way of resolving the apparent contradiction would be to distinguish between "good vs. evil" and "good vs. bad" - a solution originally, as far as I know, proposed by Nietzsche, where "good vs. evil" is a matter of group, "slave" morality, while "good vs. bad" is a matter of "master" morality. It actually maps quite cleanly to what the author is talking about, though I'm uncertain whether or not that is deliberate.
Edit: Also, statements like
(you're either slavish and unthinking, or a sociopath)
feel a bit like misreading the author to me; he's abusing the word "sociopath", which can be criticized, but here you appear to be using it in a non-value-neutral manner, which rather misses the point of the article.
so his choice of labels has a touch of irony and is a bit harsh. Basically, he's saying you can use more euphemistic labels -- self-actualizing; process-oriented; outward-focused/idealist, etc. -- but his labels represent the unvarnished truth, with a touch of bitchiness.
And thank you for the reference. That helps explain some of the article.
So yes, this entire edifice I am constructing is a determinedly amoral one. Hitler would count as a sociopath in this sense, but so would Gandhi and Martin Luther King.
Whether good or evil, the morality of a sociopath is something he or she takes responsibility for.
More people taking individual moral responsibility is a good thing.
To a sociopath there is no other justice other than whichever favors him the most. The blogger in question has evidently read little to no literature on the subject.
It is interesting to note that over a fourth of all convicts display sociopathic characteristics, among them a complete lack of remorse for their actions.
I agree that player, pawn and spectator would have been better.
If the clueless often go “evil” in the “we were only following orders” mode, losers often go “evil” in bystander mode,