The Dark Side of Liberty -- How It Breeds Sociopathy
Updated: Nov 20
Sociopathy is not a clinical term, according to Psychology Today. The website also claims that sociopathy and psychopathy are not the same. While sociopaths are made, psychopaths are born. Please correct me if I'm wrong, as these two terms are often used synonymously.
Sociopathy can be described as an antisocial personality disorder. It can be defined by a lack of empathy, remorselessness, and so on. Perhaps, in a way, many of us share antisocial traits, including myself, possibly.
Anyways, I will be using this term to describe antisociality. Let's begin with my findings. Please remember that I'm a philosopher, not a psychologist. I do not diagnose, I philosophize.
Liberty is a great thing to have in society. That's what I think anyway, despite my sensitivities. The fact that many of us are allowed to express ourselves is something that not everyone is allowed to do. This is one of the reasons the world suffers from such great inequality.
Freedom of expression gives us the permission to say, theoretically, whatever is on our mind. Wise or dumb, it does not matter. I would argue that it's difficult to philosophize in a society where you are expected, by law, to keep things to yourself.
Why? Because the authorities are usually stronger than us. They have the power and the men to shut us up if nothing limits them from doing so. That's why it's important to have a separation of powers in a democracy: to keep the balance of power through checks and balances. By that method, the authorities will not be too powerful to stand in the way of our rights when they are busy balancing each other.
In addition, freedom of opinion is a great feature of a democracy. No matter how wise or foolish your opinions are, a true liberal democracy will not tell you that you should keep them to yourself. This is because freedom of opinion is embedded in freedom of expression, which allows us to express our opinions freely. At least in theory, right?
However, the dark side of liberty, or its flaw, comes when it also allows us to be disrespectful. We might also be tempted to be hateful, violent, and entitled to our lack of empathy. Whether you lack empathy by default or not, a liberal democracy cannot force you to have empathy either way.
Some may claim that we are responsible for other people's emotions. They might claim that, even if that responsibility is not taken on by billions of people, it still exists. The problem with this argument comes from the fact that the origin of that responsibility is unknown, to me at least. Either way, the mature thing is to be responsible for our own emotions.
(If I am wrong about this, please let me know. I can always edit my own articles. It is great to have content available digitally and not in print).
The permissions of liberty allow us to be complete jerks. That is, as long as we do not do anything illegal as a result of our jerkiness. Are we forced by law to care for someone in emotional distress? Of course not; it's not necessarily our jobs.
Are we forced to be loyal to others forever? Not at all. Hence, some may deceive and betray. Must we avoid blocking others on social media at all costs? Again, no. In theory, we can block anyone we want. Even people who are madly in love with us.
We may cry and complain about how people hurt us emotionally, even though it is our own prerogative to handle our emotions. We may complain that anyone can offend us without a scrap of empathy. We may feel betrayed and enraged when our loved one deserts us on Valentine's Day.
In reality, liberty permits all of those. That's because liberty has a darker shade, which may go unspoken due to bias.
I am a liberal in my philosophy. It's one of the reasons I entertain the philosophies of others. Including on Philosocom, as well. Sure, I have my limits, but I respect the fact that people are always going to think differently than me. And that's okay regardless!
Being laughed at by sociopaths matters little when I can focus on those who appreciate my work. It's not like everyone's a full-blown sociopath or even a major sociopath. We are free to react to reality however we please, and that goes for both sides.
I may ask for basic respect on this site, but I would not demand others do the same when it is outside my domain. After all, I cannot force anyone to care, especially if they are uninterested in something I write or in my writings in general.
The point of this article is to show you that, despite the fact that liberty allows darkness, it can also allow light. I'm speaking metaphorically, of course.
And likewise, liberty gives us the freedom to not only be ourselves but to also voice that self, publicly. It also gives us the possibility to change however we please, whenever change is possible.
Perhaps psychopaths are bound to lack empathy and cannot change that even if they want to. I therefore conclude that an anti-social behavior can be a choice of our own even if we do not have the personality disorder of ASPD. We can act like anti-social jerks o whatever extent, if at all, to begin with. For whatever reason, regardless of its rationality. Our right to act as in an anti-social way is enforced and normalized by democratic freedoms and by contemporary cultures.
Sociopathy isn't even a clinical term, as I described earlier. I just think people become more antisocial to help themselves endure the sociopathy they themselves experience in their everyday lives. You know, to adjust. That's when conformity shows its flawed reasoning: When it corrupts your mentality, and "It's fine. Grow up".
Why? Because we are allowed to not conform (to various extents). It's especially true when that conformity is more than unnecessary, morally wise. Should we bully someone specific because our friends do it too?
Thanks for reading!