Is Ben Carson An Actual Psychopath? Let’s Discuss!

This weekend, Dr. Ben Carson, presidential candidate, said a lot of disconcerting things. Chief among them, perhaps, was his disjointed explanation for why he believed abortion should be illegal in all circumstances, including rape and incest. He also compared women seeking abortions to slaveowners.

Dr. Carson’s explanation for why he believes rape victims ought to be forced to have their rapists; babies was that he had heard of people who have been the product of rape or incest that have gone on to have fulfilling lives. This, of course, is not the point. The point is that it would be a horrifying and traumatic thing for many victims to have to go through.

It’s not actually surprising to me that Dr. Ben Carson does not have a boatload of empathy for rape and incest victims. I don’t think he has a boatload of empathy for anyone. Because I think he might be an actual psychopath.

I am not being hyperbolic here – and I’m talking the clinical definition rather than the horror movie definition. Ben Carson is a neurosurgeon, an occupation with an abnormally high rate of psychopathy. Quite frankly, it’s kind of an asset in that profession in some ways, because you probably don’t want the person operating on your brain to burst into tears worrying about whether or not you’re going to be OK. Carson also has no affect. I mean, people describe him as softspoken, and that is somewhat true, but I think it’s more that he has very little affect, or emotion.

To boot, this weekend he went around talking about how, while he’s softspoken now, he was volatile as a teen, and once went after his mom with a hammer and stabbed one of his best friends. Uh. That is messed up, no? That is not normal rebellious teen behavior. I knew a lot of kids who were trouble, myself included — but I sure as hell didn’t know anyone who went after their mom with a hammer. That’s not something normal people do — at least not normal people who are not on PCP or anything.

By his own account, his mother Sonya Carson was a lovely woman and not at all abusive. By his own account, he was not on drugs. All political positions aside, I genuinely don’t understand how that is something anyone does if they are right in the head. That’s just not a well you go to, you know? There has to be something not OK inside you to be able to do something like that.

The fact that he’s “soft-spoken” now – well, the “quiet, kept to himself mostly” cliché associated with psychopaths comes to mind. Essentially what Carson was saying here is “Sure, I’m quiet now — but I could snap at any moment.” He is flat out saying that he has exactly two modes — this current soft-spoken one, and the one that compelled him to go after his own mother with a hammer — and that if he’s pushed, it just might be hammertime.

Also, let’s note that the only way he has of explaining why he finds something morally objectionable — from abortion to gun control — is by referencing historical incidents universally agreed to be “bad.” The Holocaust, slavery, etc. A classic symptom of psychopathy is “knowing the words but not the music.” What Carson is doing, basically, is listing things he knows are “bad” and trying to figure out a way that they are related. Although I disagree with them strongly, I would say that most opponents of abortion and gun control are likely able to explain their opposition without bringing the Holocaust or slavery into it. I also think that most people know that it’s not OK to list ways Jewish people could have prevented their own genocide, as Carson did earlier this month.

I could be wrong, but I think there’s something missing in Ben Carson.  It’s possible he’s not an actual psychopath, sure–but regardless of any clinical diagnosis, he still is a guy who went after his mom with a hammer. Something ain’t right there.