So while I agree with your sentiment we as a society are just not wise enough to implement that.
Previous discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17287319
Further, read up on the Stanford Prison experiment, it was pretty much faked. Here's the first google hit https://www.vox.com/2018/6/13/17449118/stanford-prison-exper...
I find this a remarkable statement, what do you take empathy to be? Do you think that people can realistically care for others in a purely cognitive, non-emotional sense?
I cannot empathize with a goldfish because I can't know what it's like to be a goldfish but i can care for it because I know its needs.
I can empathize with someone who is ill because they are human and I've been ill but i cannot care for them because I don't know their needs.
You need empathy to outwit an opponent, for example.
But the question really dealt with a situation where it was objectively possible to figure out if someone was a sociopath. Like if you could do a DNA test and have cast iron evidence one way or the other.
Would that change the moral aspect somewhat?
How do you know that being a business leader or politician doesn't induce psychopathy?
Furthermore, how do you objectively assess whether someone meets the threshold for being banned from a position of leadership?
If you're not opposed to watching anime, you might be interested in Psycho-Pass. It describes a future in which society persecutes people based on such assessments.
Psychopaths are born, sociopaths are made.
Also, I'm sure that to get to such positions, these people were thoroughly reviewed by others in all their aspects before being given such positions, so what you suggest is already done to an extent. It may be however that those people doing the reviewing may find these features desirable, or at least not bad enough to outweigh the features they found that are desirable.
1. Recognize culturally that sociopathy is real and present in a noticeable percentage of people.
It’s commonly seen as an exotic phenomenon that means someone is a tv serial killer, rather than someone who has a social deficit.
2. As well as teaching skills of empathizing, we need to also teach about the limits of empathy.
There is currently a trend towards teaching empathy in both schools and workplaces. I think that without also teaching the limitations and that different people genuinely have different capacities, this actually makes people more susceptible to sociopathic manipulation.
3. As a result of 1&2 we can make more discriminating choices of who should have power.
I think sociopaths can do a lot of harm from positions of power, but I don’t think they are somehow inherently evil.
We probably don’t need so many of them in unaccountable positions, but I think that ultimately it’s common form of neurodivergence and if we culturally understood that it’s not something to worship, but to come to terms with, we would be able to collectively mitigate the negative effects.
4. I think we are a long way away from any of this. Understanding the experience of a person who is neurodivergent in any way is not a common skill yet. This works both ways.
Declarations that somebody is "mentally ill" are almost universally done to target undesirables for persecution.
This is close to the plot of the anime "Psycho Pass", except they were testing for some vaguely defined, emotion based "crime coefficient" rather than empathy specifically. Society was covered in surveillance gear that constantly scanned a person's "hue" and the moment it got too "cloudy," they could suffer social and legal consequences, including being locked away or shot on sight by the police.
Sometimes without even committing a crime, mind you. Merely witnessing a traumatic event can cloud your hue. Artists and musicians have to be licensed because of the societal risks of exposure to their work. One character was permanently outcast from society for merely questioning the system.
What resulted was a society that was, outwardly, peaceful and crime free, but seething with pathological issues just under the surface, a facade of utopia over a violent and ruthless fascist dystopia. Nothing good ever comes from declaring people with certain traits to be undesirable, then making them a permanent underclass.
The problem isn't that sociopaths exist, so much as our society encouraging and rewarding sociopathic behavior at the highest levels of power. If, rather, we rewarded and encouraged empathetic and moral behavior, then sociopaths would either have to conform to that to succeed, or wouldn't succeed.
even assuming it's beneficial, who would define who's a psychopath and who isn't?
Of course, that doesn't stop it being abused for exactly what you say, since someone has to write the code or what not.
I feel more and more ideas are floated around and taken seriously that involve punishment based on a categorization that's largely subjective and where the authority is granted to a mob.
This AskHN mentions sociopathy which anyone can declare anyone else as sociopathic by cherry picking personality traits and past experiences.
The answer is No. Always. Unless someone is infringing on someone else's rights or breaking the law of the land they are free to live their life as they see fit. Period.
Because that answer contains the answer to your question.
As it stands the slippery slope of abuse far outweighs any potential benefits.
But that implies other possibilities. For instance, Vinay Gupta describes himself as an ethical sociopath. He thinks that being freed from emotional empathy gives him an edge when thinking about topics like disaster planning.
Similarly, I’ve heard it’s common for surgeons to have a bit less empathy than normal. Not full sociopaths. But enough to look on a bloody, twisted body pulled from a motorcycle accident, and operate a bone saw.
In the imaginary future where we can precisely test for qualities like sociopathy, it might be sufficient to have candidates for positions of power publicly disclose the ways in which their minds deviate from the norm.
Sociopathy might have some functions in human society, and maybe it’s been preserved by evolution for a reason. (Or maybe there’s some game theory thing happening where there’s a stable equilibrium of cooperators and defectors).
The real problem is when the rest of us are deceived into getting into a relationship with a sociopath, where we have to rely on their conscience.
My impression is that we aren't at the point where we can detect sociopathy reliably enough for a ban like this to be realistic. With such subjectivity and unreliability, it can just become a tool for governments, and those who influence governments, to abuse their power. I could even see it _increasing_ the amount of sociopathy amongst those in power. But once we develop the ability to detect sociopathy more reliably, I think the question changes, and I'm not sure what I think.
Personality disorders are not considered mental illness under the law.