I disagree with Mr. Balko's comparision of feudal samurai with psychopathy. Granted I am no expert in samurai. I agree that both may share some characteristics such as lack of empathy/callousness--as in when testing the sharpness of one's sword on peasants, but I believe characteristics such as loyalty to one's lord, duty, budo as a purpose of life, and acceptance of responsibility would not be consistent with psychopathy. Also, my image of a samurai would not include characteristics such as pathological lying, conning/manipulativeness, early behavioral problems, or engaging in a wide range of various types of criminal activity. A samurai was an efficient instrument of his time.
Would you label me a psychopath if I tested the sharpness of my blade on an innocent person? Loyalty to one's superior is still a part of modern day organized crime families, all of which employ total psychos. Regarding duty, in the Cosa Nostra when someone is marked for death a brother or childhood friend is often sent. I'm not sure that the path the feudal era samurai followed could be classified as budo in the modern sense of the word. I found that in researching the power struggles and conflicts of the time the romantic image of the samurai held by most was inaccurate.Cunning, manipulativeness and treachery, especially when one found himself on the losing side were not only common but often decided the outcome of the battle.The violent training engaged in by samurai children would be considered early beahavioral problems today, which explains the dojo/daycare phenomenon. Feudalism = survival through criminal activity, mainly extortion and murder. A samurai was an efficient instrument, much like someone who collects a debt or does a hit for a gang, or a cop or soldier who provides muscle for those politicians Lynn mentioned to profit is an efficient instrument.