MSNBC commentator Steve Schmidt says, “In America, a sociopath will beat a socialist seven days a week and twice on Sunday.” Like most patriots, I’d probably support a high-functioning law-abiding sociopath over a socialist, as well. After all, only one of the two is propelled by an ideology that’s an affront to the ideals of American life. The selfish self-obsessed sociopathic politician will still be constrained by the law and constitutional limits on state power. The socialist, on the other hand, will be driven by the idea of rolling back limits on state power. The corrupt sociopath may inflict temporary harm on the system, but the socialist is intent on overturning the system forever.
If I ever voted, the efficacy and decency of a candidate’s policies would be far more important to me than his empathy or exemplary personal life. It’s not to say that a person shouldn’t be judged by how he acts in the real world. It’s only to say that in our system a bad people can sometimes do good. If, say, this theoretical sociopath president decided — for whatever reasons sociopaths do the things they do — to nominate judicial picks that ended up protecting viable unborn children and helped reinforced proper constitutional limits, he would be far preferable morally than the personally righteous socialist. Of course, this has never been the choice. And probably never will be.