The Psychopathy of the Left: Know thy Enemy

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by Frederick Hink, American Thinker:

Eric Hoffer, in The True Believer, identified three groupings of people involved with mass movements: men of words, practical men of action, and fanatics. These can be further summarized as the benefactors — politicians and community leaders who gain power through aggressive protests; the agitators who play the role of true believers by manipulating causes and people to gain recognition and power; and the cannon fodder, those who are easily manipulated and see social justice as a means to gain social acceptance and self-worth. Hoffer did not have access to psychological studies of individuals within mass movements; had he, his contemplations may have focused upon the personality traits of individual participants within mass totalitarian movements — especially among the agitators and cannon fodder — and concluded true belief was not the only driver toward violence.

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From man-on-the-street interviews of Hamas sympathizers, two of these groupings are on full display: the agitators deny the barbarity of the Hamas atrocities on October 7th, dismissing it as “Zionist” propaganda; the cannon fodder is exposed as a legion of brainless twits — many did not know what river or what sea they were demanding for their Palestinian brethren. “Queers for Palestine” activists do not know of the warm welcome they would receive from Hamas if they visited the Gaza Strip. Hint: it involves stones and rooftops.

But what motivates people to deny the truth — or ignorance altogether — in order to spread mayhem and destruction?

There have been numerous studies that have suggested that right-wing authoritarianism (RWA) is dominated by “strict endorsement of conservative social norms and values …the compliance with established authorities… and antagonistic behavior toward outgroup members.” (Krispenz and Bertrams, 2023) These past studies have labeled right-wing groups as homophobic, misogynistic, Islamophobic, and all-around dirty scoundrels. Of course, when we think about right-wing versus left-wing, we assume conservatives versus progressives; but keep in mind, the dictatorial mullahs in the Muslim world are considered conservative, right-wing authoritarians who would happily stone to death a homosexual or “misbehaving” woman and slit the throat of any number of persons they deem infidels.

Historically, few studies have examined left-wing authoritarianism (LWA) in any detail because, of course, left-wing adherents are all well-meaning, empathetic, altruistic souls who are — through strict compliance with social justice — simply trying to make the world a better place for us all.

Ann Krispenz and Alex Bertrams’ “Understanding left-wing authoritarianism: Relations to the dark personality traits, altruism, and social justice commitment” is one of several new examinations of left-wing authoritarianism (LWA) and what fuels the fire of zealotry, particularly among the agitators and cannon fodder. “Dark personality traits” refers to the dark triad — the antisocial traits of Machiavellianismnarcissism (not the subclinical version of which we are all sometimes guilty), and psychopathy.

In the aftermath of the Floyd and January 6th protests, professors Krispenz and Bertrams (University of Bern) examined similarities and differences between the two groups. “While there is wide agreement that RWA and SDO [social dominance orientation] are valid psychological constructs… the notion of left-wing authoritarianism (LWA) has been met with skepticism by many researchers… even though some empirical studies found evidence for the existence of authoritarianism also on the left side of the political spectrum…” Academic “skepticism” is fed by the bias of left-leaning researchers who believe right-wing, knuckle-dragging Trump voters are monolithic, religious zealots who seek to enforce theological diktats, armed with “assault rifles” fed with large-capacity magazines.

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