Are Leftists narcissists?

The  Mayo definition:

"Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental health condition in which people have an unreasonably high sense of their own importance. They need and seek too much attention and want people to admire them. People with this disorder may lack the ability to understand or care about the feelings of others. But behind this mask of extreme confidence, they are not sure of their self-worth and are easily upset by the slightest criticism" 

The Mayo clinic is America's leading hospital

Narcissism seems to be getting a  lot of press these days.  In particular, women are often being advised to be wary of  relationships with  narcissist men.  I think there is no doubt that the term is over-used.  Normal selfishness should not be confused with mental illness, where a mental illness is a loss of reality contact

Nonetheless something like narcissism can be observed in some  people who have a reasonably good grasp of what the world around them is like.  They are selfish and have a high opinion of themselves but not to a disabling degree.  They are not blind to where they stand with other people.  They are within the psychological normal range.

A related concept is need for approval.  The academic psychology literature on that is large and goes back a long way.  In that literature it is  generally seen it as weak and something to be overcome.

I see  something like narcissism and need for approval in Leftists.  But to avoid implications of mental illness I have mostly avoided those terms and instead made use of the Greco/Latin term "ego" ("Εγώ"), which simply means "I" in both languages.  Freud popularized the word to refer to the conscious self and it has now passed into common use in roughly that meaning.  I say that Leftists have  "excess ego" or "weak ego", implying that they are people who have a high opinion of themselves but that opinion is weakly held and needs a lot of propping up, similar to what we see in true narcissists

It is excess ego that they badly want to be seen as kind and wise and noble.  So it is akin to narcissism  but is not as unrealistic.  The stances they adopt generally WILL gain them approval.

A classic example that is rather politically hot at the moment is rent control.  People advocating it present themselves as "caring" about poor tenants and the policy does at first glance seem beneficial to tenants. 

 I am not going to give a lesson in economics here but suffice it to say that the  policy in fact works out very badly for tenants before long.  It reduces the number of places being offered to  tenants and makes then pay HIGHER rents for what they get

But the Leftist gets immediate credit for "caring" and that is what they want. The conservative who points out the adverse long-term consequences tends by contrast to be seen as  uncaring

I give many more case studies of Leftism in action here:

So ego need is certainly  pernicious.  It causes Leftists to advocate policies that sound good even when they are not.  An exceptionally moronic example of that  in some American cities  in recent years  has been the cry "defund the police".  Most defunders by now have become refunders but the damage done in the meanwhile has been considerable

So, Yes. Leftist ego need is a low grade form of narcissism.  It is not a clinical condition but it still does a lot of harm

It should be noted that some care is needed in talking about narcissism among non-clinical populations. Freud's seminal article on narcisissm claimed that traits of grandiosity and vulnerability covaried and that is obviously confirmed in the definition drawn from clinical experience by the Mayo clinic. 

But it should not be assumed that the same is true in the population at large. The findings of Paul Wink in particular show that in the general population, not all vulnerable peope have feelings of grandiosity and not all people with grandiose views of themselves also have feelings of vulnerability.  Wink found that the two traits formed independent Varimax factors.

But within Wink's sample, there was  a subset of respondents in which the two factors DID  go together and it is such people whom we can reasonably describe as sub-clinical narcissists. Such people will be at least strongly inclined towards Leftism.  Whether people who are simply vulnerable or simply grandiose are drawn to Leftism is at this stage unknown

My claim that Leftists are people with large but weak egos in an inference extracted from what Leftists do.  It explains what they do. But there is also some general population survey research showing that strongly Leftist views are associated with narcissism.  See the two U.S. studies by Krispenz & Bertrams below

I make no claim that ego need is the whole of Leftist motivations.  As I have discussed elsewhere, there are many influences which may lead to Leftism.  See

Chief among them would appear to be a tendency to anger.  The great outpouring of rage and hate that greeted the election of Donald Trump leaves no doubt about that. Never before has hatred been so openly expressed by so many people.  Krispenz & Bertrams also found an association between Leftism and antagonistic attitudes.  They conclude that Leftist activists "use political activism to endorse or exercise violence against others to satisfy their own ego-focused needs".

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments containing Chinese characters will not be published as I do not understand them