A provocative study suggests: Left-Wing Extremism and its Unsettling Connection to Psychopathy and Narcissism
In pioneering research published in the distinguished journal Current Psychology, compelling associations have been drawn between left-wing extremism and perilous psychological traits, specifically psychopathy and narcissism.
Based on preceding studies, the authors anticipated that a conspicuous level of narcissism would be noticeable among individuals exhibiting strong tendencies towards left-wing authoritarianism. Ann Krispenz and Alex Bertrams, the eminent authors of the study, have thus proposed a groundbreaking theory, terming it the "dark-ego-vehicle principle."
This innovative principle suggests that individuals bearing these 'dark' traits—pronounced narcissism and psychopathy—are lured towards certain kinds of political and social activism. These arenas then serve as a platform to cater to their egotistical needs rather than genuinely pursuing social justice and equality, as they told PsyPost.
According to the research, left-wing extremism may have its roots entrenched in detrimental and self-serving psychological behavior. Some forms of activism, the authors argue, provide these individuals with opportunities to demonstrate moral superiority, thereby gaining social status, dominating others, and engaging in social conflicts and aggression for thrill-seeking satisfaction.
The research further highlights a striking paradox within the realm of left-wing authoritarianism: individuals often fail to uphold the principles they vehemently advocate.
The research points out that activists are frequently seen misusing social justice as a facade for their unruly behavior. These individuals, high on Left-Wing Authoritarianism (LWA), could brand anyone opposing their 'progressive values' as 'old-fashioned', repress free speech to regulate right-wing beliefs in educational institutions, and even resort to violence to achieve political goals.
Amidst this turmoil, the study brings attention to the concerning fact that privileged individuals who identify with LWA might manipulate activism to satiate their narcissistic needs, diverting it from its primary goal of achieving social equality for marginalized groups.
The authors stress the importance of making minority groups cognizant of such narcissistic 'foes' within their activist movements, as these individuals could potentially derail the cause, undermining the efficacy of the activism.
Further delving into the complex minds of grandiose narcissists, the study proposes that their aspirations for fame, distinction, and elevated social status lead them to covet influential positions that offer social visibility, outreach, and access to financial and other resources.
It is essential to note that the authors do not claim the monopoly of authoritarianism on either side of the political spectrum. They acknowledge the extensive literature and research available on right-wing authoritarianism while also noting the relatively sparse research available on authoritarianism among supporters of left-wing political ideologies.