My Son, the SociopathrnThe Education of a No-Manrnby Andrei NavrozovrnAfew years ago, before my son was born, I spent a weekendrnin the Hamptons at the conntry house of a moderately hiprnAmerican investment banker. There were about 20 of us to dinnerrnthat evening, with all the usual cosmopolitan strains amplyrnrepresented. Boring and predictable as the whole business was,rnby about two o’clock in the morning wine and cognac were doingrnto the conversation what Harvard and Wall Street can neverrndo on their own, and I was deep in a meaningful discussionrnwith a German. By way of social definition, I should mentionrnthat the man was in his 40’s, a member of the Knickerbocker inrnNew York, and had the heiress to a reasonably important industrialrnfortune for a wife.rnI tested the water by saying something mildly original aboutrnHitler, whereupon your usual guest at a Hamptons dinner partyrnwould have moved at least one chair away. Nothing. ThernGerman even nodded assent. Then I said something inflammatoryrnabout the unification of the Fatherland being a Sovietrnploy. Again, nothing. I was almost beginning to think the manrnhad a brain. We spoke about life in London, and then he askedrnme if I was planning to have children. Just one, I said. If it is arnboy, would I send him to school in England? I replied that, boyrnor girl, I had no intention of sending my child to school. Hernasked why.rnAndrei Navrozov is Chronicles’ European correspondent.rnI began answering him. He took off his tie. I went on withrnmy answer. He took off his jacket and put it over the back of hisrnchair. He undid his cufflinks and began rolling up his sleeves,rnand suddenly I looked up and saw that his face had becomernblue, as if engorged with venous blood. He was shaking withrnhatred. A few minutes later, he called for the hostess, who wasrnGerman, and told her that he would pack his bags and leave thernhouse at once as he found it impossible to spend the night underrnthe same roof with the barbarian. I remember that it tookrnthe rest of the guests until dawn to placate him, while I was leftrnalone at the dinner table with my glass of brandy and a halfguilty,rnhalf-sarcastic smile.rnI can now admit that my presentation on the subject ofrnhomeschooling had not been so innocently improvised as I laterrnmade it out to be, when making my excuses to the host andrnhostess the following morning, but had in fact been honed,rntempered, and made lethal like some barbarian tool of war inrnhundreds of similar conversations with equally excitable menrnand women over the course of a lifetime. It was the Germans,rnmoreover, who had invariably managed to distinguish themselvesrnby the uncontrollable force of their reactions, as thoughrnthe mere verbal proclamation of a parent’s right to incubate arnsociopath in the privacy of the home were an actual crime withoutrnan historic parallel, far more barbaric or heinous than any ofrnHitier’s. After all, those crimes were committed in the name ofrn16/CHRONICLESrnrnrn