Why are conscience-bound human beings so blind? And why are they so hesitant to defend themselves, and the ideals and people they care about, from the minority of human beings who possess no conscience at all? A large part of the answer has to do with the emotions and thought processes that occur in us when we are confronted with sociopathy. We are afraid, and our sense of reality suffers. We think we are imagining things, or exaggerating, or that we ourselves are somehow responsible for the sociopath's behavior.

Annotation

Stout notes that those who possess a conscience are ill-equipped to confront those who have none. They gaslight themselves into believing they must be imagining things. They deny, rationalize, minimize destructive behavior rather than confront the fearful truth. They do not wish to believe that there are certain people who simply do not have the ability to empathize. It is too horrific to imagine that someone could commit such cruelty without any remorse. Unfortunately, the lack of willingness to believe in such a mindset is exactly what makes conscience-bound individuals so susceptible to being exploited in the first place.