August 3, 2020


The Woke Left v. the Alt-Right: A New Study Shows They're More Alike Than Either Side Realizes (Zaid Jilani, 8/03/20, Quillette)

Researchers Jordan Moss and Peter J. O'Connor, both of the Queensland University of Technology, studied a group of 511 US residents, stratified according to age, gender, ethnicity, and employment so as to be roughly representative of the US population as a whole, with a view to examining the link between political attitudes and the so-called three "Dark Triad" personality traits: Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy. These are traits linked with toxic personality types, including those associated with manipulative, self-centered, and callous behavior. In an e-mail, Moss told me that he had noticed a change in the university climate. "I wanted to know why these ideas propelled the cultural conversation as much as it seemed... and decided to look into the psychological traits that these ideas manifest from," he told me.

The authors note that "the majority of research on personality traits and political constructs has focused primarily on mainstream political attitudes and behaviours. These studies often use unidimensional measures of left-right political orientation or simple two-dimensional measures of liberalism and conservatism." In light of the fragmentation of long-standing political coalitions in recent years, however, these simplistic models now seem inadequate. And so Moss and O'Connor chose instead to study three sets of attitudes "falling outside of the traditional continuum," designated by the researchers as (1) Political Correctness-Authoritarianism (PCA), (2) Political Correctness-Liberalism (PCL), and (3) White Identitarianism (WI). While the latter is a right-wing subculture (often known as alt-right), the first two are variants of leftist ideology. Both PCA and PCL are centered on protecting minorities from discrimination and criticism. But PCA adherents, unlike PCL counterparts, embrace "the belief that aggression and force are appropriate methods to achieve ideological goals."

The questionnaire relied upon by Moss and O'Connor contained dozens of questions. One section gauging PCA attitudes, for instance, asked respondents what level of punishment should be meted out to professors who use racist, sexist, or homophobic slurs, with answers ranging from "not punished" to "immediately dismissed" to "court trial." Another asked whether students accused of sexual assault should have the presumption of innocence.

What Moss and O'Connor found is that while right-wing adherents of WI and left-wing adherents of PCA are "thought to reflect opposing ends... of the political spectrum," they actually shared remarkably similar personality characteristics: "Our study indicates that an emerging set of mainstream political attitudes--most notably PCA, WI, are largely being adopted by individuals high in DT [i.e., Dark Triad traits] and entitlement. Individuals high in authoritarianism--regardless of whether [they] hold politically correct or rightwing views--tend to score highly on DT and entitlement. Such individuals therefore are statistically more likely than average to be higher in psychopathy, narcissism, Machiavellianism and entitlement." (The authors also supply a footnote to the effect that "we also ran all analyses controlling for the Big Five personality traits--Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, Neuroticism--to check whether effects of [Dark Triad] variables could simply be attributed to normal variation in personality. Our results confirmed that incremental validity of [Dark Triad] traits and Entitlement remained [statistically significant] for both WI and PCA when controlling for Big Five traits in addition to age, sex, education, and ethnicity.")

It's why they hate America generally, and the Founding in particular, which is universal rather than identitarian.

Posted by at August 3, 2020 7:04 PM