It's not the only, or even an optimal way, though. I've been criticizing people who seem to think the only viable strategy when you're completely amoral is going all out, grabbing power and then destroying people once you gain it, etc - while this might work in some situations, it won't work in others. Or even most of them. Most of the time, you are most secure when you actually don't ruin people left and right, because there is ALWAYS a bigger fish in the pond, and thus you will always need allies. Thus, even in a world where morality doesn't exist, concepts of virtue, honor etc. were never invented, it pays to foster good relationships with people, for completely rational reasons - or not rock the boat at all, depending on the situation.
Not left and right, maybe, but that's not the same as not ruining people. Particularly if you are up against superior or equal competitors (in terms of effective power), sociopathy may be your only advantage and hence you may be best off ruining people to exploit it.
A charismatic NON-sociopath has the same potential. Most people in power are not actually sociopaths, though a disproportionate number of them tend to climb the ladder ; In fact, trying to act like a sociopath while not being one is a very suboptimal strategy, because you can't just turn things like empathy on and off. Same thing about being a sociopath in an environment that doesn't tolerate ruthlessnes. You might still go somewhere, but you will step on a lot more toes along the way.
It is possible to reduce the degree of one's own moral feeling by self-training, however. This is made easier by natural human hypocrisy (which thus adapts more easily to doing so).
In addition, all environments tolerate some degree of ruthlessness (to use an extreme case, in board games. To use a more practical one, making the 'hard decisions). There is almost always some way to be immoral that can be gotten away with as well.
There's people who did it for you:
1.conformity to the rules of right conduct; moral or virtuous conduct.
2.moral quality or character.
3.virtue in sexual matters; chastity.
4.a doctrine or system of morals.
5.moral instruction; a moral lesson, precept, discourse, or utterance.
All of those require sentients to be around to even make sense.
Most people, if confronted with something like the Holocaust, would instinctively agree with the claim "That's just wrong". That, intuitively, is the core idea of morality. I wasn't sure precisely how to define it so I didn't. Options 1, 2, and 3 are also all flawed because they imply an objective good or evil they do not define- how can something be 'moral' without reference to such, how can there be 'right' conduct without reference to such etc? You could be implicitly claiming that whatever society says is moral is moral, but if so you should say so? (If you thought this was a debate about what society SAYS is moral the whole time we've been having this whole argument on a misunderstanding) If we go with 4 than there are different 'moralities' giving us little grounds to argue on, and 5 is the same.
Most importantly, 1, 2, and 3 can exist without sentients as any objective right or wrong exists regardless of how sentients in fact act, let alone whether they exist at all.
I think I might throw my hands up in exasperation. I argued that is no need for an morality to be based on empathy as a 'maximize my returns at low risk' morality ALSO allows a society to function, and can give rise to identical behavior.
I show this to you, you agree with each point and then say 'But my morality says individual freedom is the highest good, so I'd rather get rid of all of these rules that I agree with for the sake of liberty. ' In other words, 'Na na an na na , I can't hear you.'
I made peripheral references to my sentimental love of freedom, not primary references. Your argument may convince a person who starts from self-centered premises (and who is poor) to support universial healthcare, but as any starting want is inherently arbitrary cannot convince somebody who starts from different premises (I was just giving an example).
As I mentioned, you cannot infer a moral obligation
in such matters. This has implications in some of the argument you haven't adressed. For example, the fact that choosing individually to become a cheat has a statistically insigificant impact on the number of frauds in society and can often be a profitable career. Or the fact that for me and quite possibly for you exploiting knowledge of one's Aspergers Syndrome by others could make plotting against others in the workplace in order to get promoted easier (at least for a carefully planned one-off).