A lack of empathy is the sine qua non of the sociopath:
ANN ARBOR, Mich.---Today's college students are not as empathetic as college students of the 1980s and '90s, a University of Michigan study shows.
The study, presented in Boston at the annual meeting of the Association for Psychological Science, analyzes data on empathy among almost 14,000 college students over the last 30 years.
"We found the biggest drop in empathy after the year 2000," said Sara Konrath, a researcher at the U-M Institute for Social Research. "College kids today are about 40 percent lower in empathy than their counterparts of 20 or 30 years ago, as measured by standard tests of this personality trait."
I've recommended The Average American Male and The Lie for an understanding of today's college-age kids. They are as bad as the books depict.
As for causes, Randall Parker blames video games. I blame Baby Boomers. You've told your kids for years that they are special - better than everyone else. They took you at their word, and became the self-involved twits you now depend upon for your future.
Oh, you don't depend on your children? Instead, it's they who depend upon you? Think again. There are some real-world implications to your children's attitudes.
As you might expect, all road lead to Wall Street. Retirement savings will mean nothing if the Me Generation decides that working hard to maintain the Great American Ponzi Scheme doesn't offer anything it in for them.
One of the empathy-measuring questions was:
2. Sometimes I don't feel very sorry for other people when they are having problems.
"But it's your duty!" Duty is so old-fashioned, and course Boomers ran the United States into a $13 trillion dollar debt. That debt is not something the Boomers intend to pay off. Boomers have been mortgaging Generations X's, Y's, and Me's futures. Even if we gave a crap, why would we fall for that argument? Why is it our moral duty to pay off your debts?
You waved flags while our friends who were too unwise to realize that "service" is a lie, were murdered in Iraq. You ran Wall Street. When Wall Street collapsed, you ran to and Congress - which you also ran - for trillions. In 20 years, why do you expect young people to care what happens to you?
Hyperinflation will hit. Inflation is an abstract concept, but it's easy enough to understand. Inflation is best understood as a stock-market loss. If your 401k lost value during the beginning of the stock market collapse, then you understand inflation. Inflation means you have the same amount of money, but each dollar is worth less. Economically speaking, it's no different from suffering a market loss.
If you have $3,000,000 in retirement savings with an inflation rate of 50%, how much money will you have after one year? Think about that question deeply - preferably before going to the polls in November.
The Bailout screwed over the majority of Boomers to enrich a few rich-and-well-connected Boomers. What did you get out of the Bailouts? A 25% gain in your 401k? Goldman Sachs executives got enough money in one year to never worry about money for the rest of their lives. All this, thanks to you.
Damn, aren't the Boomer-sponsored-and-controlled Bailouts seeming like an even worse idea? Forget that the Bailout screwed over your children by costing over $2 trillion. That was short-sighted and selfish. It really was disgusting. It was also expected. It was Boomers, after all. Yet the kids will eventually be fine.
Fortunately for the Me Generation, they have decades left to work. Given the economic crisis and hyperinflation that is about to unfold, they''ll probably need four decades. Time is on their side. If the stock market goes to zero or inflation hits 100%, a 20-or-30-something can start over. Even a 40-something will be able to start over.
The Boomers are approaching retirement - or so they think.
How many more years do the Boomers have left to work? If inflation hits in 2020, what would that mean to you? How will you recoup the lost dollars? It's not like you can work forever.
It's fun to scream at and about the kids - whose sole crime seems to be laziness and a penchant for flip-flops and video games. But your wars and bailouts killed yourselves, Boomers.
If this doesn't make sense today, it will once you're happily retired only to watch your retirement funds swirl down Goldman Sachs' toilets. In 10 or 20 years, who will bail you out?