If you’ve watched Twitter videos from the “Libs of TikTok” account or watched as activists burned down cities in the name of “justice” and “equity,” you’ve probably concluded there’s something wrong with the liberal Left.
Well, a new study published in Current Psychology, a peer-reviewed journal, agrees with you.
Those individuals prone to “left-wing authoritarianism,” or “LWA,” the study found, display “higher levels of narcissism” and psychopathic traits and are more likely to endorse “antihierarchical aggression” and “top-down censorship.”
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“The top-down censorship dimension of LWA is described as the preference for the use of authority (governmental and institutional) to deal with opposition and the strive to suppress any speech that is considered as offensive and intolerant,” the study states. “For example, individuals with high levels of top-down censorship may strive to suppress free speech to regulate the expression of right-wing beliefs in educational institutions.”
“Antihierarchical aggression” is defined as “the motivation to forcefully overthrow the established hierarchy and punish those in power.”
“For example, individuals might express their antihierarchical aggression by the endorsement of political violence to fight for social justice,” the study explains. “Individuals with high levels of LWA are thus assumed to be hostile towards the present social and moral authorities while feeling morally superior and endorsing the use of violence to reach one’s own political goals.”
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And then there are the problems associated with LWA “anticonventionalism.”
“The anticonventionalism dimension of LWA is characterized by the absolute endorsement of progressive moral values,” according to the study. “For example, individuals with high levels of anticonventionalism might declare anyone to be homophobic who is opposing gay marriage.”
The study’s authors, Ann Krispenz and Alex Bertrams, discuss a “phenomenon” they call the “dark-ego-vehicle principle.”
“According to this principle, individuals with dark personalities – such as high narcissistic and psychopathic traits – are attracted to certain ideologies and forms of political activism,” they write. “We assume that such individuals use ideologies and political activism as a vehicle to satisfy their own ego-focused needs instead of actually aiming at social justice and equality.”
Bertrams and Krispenz continue:
For example, a highly narcissistic/psychopathic person may participate in a pro-BLM protest pretending to fight against racism while actually using such protesting activities to meet their own aggressive motives and thrills (e.g., via violent escalations during pro-BLM protests). Further, such individuals might be attracted to pro-BLM activism, because this form of activism can provide them with opportunities for positive self-presentation (e.g., virtue signaling).
“In particular, certain forms of activism might provide them with opportunities for positive self-presentation and displays of moral superiority, to gain social status, to dominate others, and to engage in social conflicts and aggression to satisfy their need for thrill seeking,” the authors told PsyPost.
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On Twitter, the paper only confirmed what many already believed to be true.
Think we all figured that out already.
— sheila whittington (@irishwhisperer) May 25, 2023
— Алексис (@SanityInWV) May 25, 2023
Needed a study to see this?
— R Torres (@TorresR119) May 25, 2023
Krispenz and Bertrams warned that “minority groups should be made aware of the narcissistic ‘enemies’ from within their activist movement, as these individuals could hijack the cause thereby reducing the success of the activism in many ways.”
“As grandiose narcissists typically desire fame, distinction, elevated social status, and high social importance, they can be assumed to strive for influential positions that involve social visibility and outreach as well as access to financial and other resources,” they told PsyPost.
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Those fitting the “dark personality” profile may not even want to find solutions to the problems they claim to care so much about.
“While pretending to be prosocial, narcissists tend to have low empathy and to be primarily interested in satisfying their self-centered needs,” Krispenz and Bertrams said. “Therefore, instead of striving for reasonable solutions, narcissistic individuals will rather be interested in keeping the perception of problems going to maintain their highlighted position.”
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