It is intuitively obvious that people who have the need to emphasise how “moral” and “kind” they are tend to not be very nice people.
Have you ever been at a party where you have started chatting to someone who is “Woke.” Perhaps she is vegetarian, makes a point of purchasing organic food, signs petitions and goes on occasional environmental protests. She will be very pleasant and outgoing until you say something that indicates that you are on what she perceives as the “enemy” side, such as that genetics might play a role in crime. At this point, she will turn: she will become cold, she will shun you. This is because the Woke are not genuinely kind people at all. Many of them behave as they do because they have a personality disorder and a growing number of studies are showing this to be true.
A personality disorder is defined as an enduring pattern of disruptive thoughts, behaviours and moods. There are various personality disorders, but it appears that those most strongly associated with the “Woke” stereotype are “Narcissism” and “Machiavellianism.” Machiavellianism is characterised by manipulative behaviour, deception, a desire for power and trying to force others to comply with your wishes. Signalling Wokeness in a leftist society is a play for power. Narcissism is characterised by entitlement, arrogance, exploitation, grandiosity and a desire for praise. Wokeness, in a liberal society, involves believing you are morally superior to others and may elicit praise. These are two of the “Dark Triad” personality traits, the third being Psychopathology.
Unsurprisingly, then, a new study by Hannes Zacher of Leipzig University in Germany — “The dark side of environmental activism” — has found a clear connection between the Dark Triad traits and leftism. In the study, published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, Zacher administered a leftism scale to 839 full-time employed Germans which measured such facets as anti-hierarchical aggression, anti-conventionalism and top-down censorship. He also administered to them accepted scales of Narcissism and Machiavellianism, further asking them about their environmental activism.
What did he find? Machiavellianism was positively associated both with left-wing authoritarianism and with environmental activism. Fascinatingly, he then controlled for personality type — in psychology this is measured using the “Big 5” personality traits of Openness, Conscientiousness (rule-following), Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism (mental instability) — and found that the association still held: Machiavellianism predicts leftism and environmental activism.
This is one of a growing number of studies to have made this connection. In “Why dark personalities participate in politics?,” also published in Personality and Individual Differences, Polish researchers found that Narcissism was consistently related to left-wing political participation, such as joining boycotts and blocking streets. Such people receive Narcissistic affirmation via such actions — they reassure them of their moral righteousness — and their grandiosity means that they are certain that whatever they do is right.
A study in 2020, “The Dark Triad traits predict authoritarian political correctness and alt-right attitudes,” on a sample of Americans, found that the key predictors of Authoritarian left-wing attitudes were scoring high on the scales of Machiavellianism and Narcissism. Interestingly, it also found that “Alt-Right” activists, though not leftists, scored high on Psychopathology. It is unclear why, but one possibility is that psychopaths tend to be attracted to danger and if you are serious political dissident — “Alt Right” in a Woke society — then you are potentially placing yourself in a dangerous situation.
Even quite everyday left-wing activities seem to ultimately have some association with Dark Triad traits. The recent study “The dark side of going green: Dark triad traits predict organic consumption through virtue signaling, status signaling, and praise from others” in the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services found precisely this. Drawing on a survey of 337 people, the researchers found that the intention of buying organic food and the willingness to pay extra for organic food was mediated by status consumption and by the belief that one would receive praise from others. In addition, it was found that those who were inclined to “virtue-signal” about these purchases had high levels of Narcissism and of Machiavellianism. In other words, to some extent, people who purchase organic food are motivated by their Dark Triad personality traits and this is especially true of those who want you to know that they have made these purchases.
All of this, indeed, is consistent with evidence from broader studies of personality differences. These tend to show that “conservatives” are high in Agreeableness and Conscientiousness and that they are low in Neuroticism. Liberals, on average, are the reverse of this: they are selfish and have low mental stability. This was set out in a study where, conveniently, quite the opposite findings were reported, and widely publicised, due to a “coding error.” If you experience the world as frightening and dangerous, which those who are high in Neuroticism do, then it makes sense that you would wish to take control of that world. Hence Neuroticism is associated with Machiavellianism according to the study “The dark triad and normal personality traits.”
Returning to that party where you meet the Woke activist, note that she shuns you rather than the other way round. This is consistent with the evidence that liberals are more likely to break friendships with conservatives than the other way round. They are also more likely to avoid talking to friends and family who have different political views than are conservatives. This may be because, being higher in Neuroticism and Narcissism, they are more likely to be overwhelmed by negative feelings when the views they hold — which are important to making them feel superior and important to papering over their inner turmoil — are challenged.
This research seems to indicate that society has turned Woke because leftists are more power-hungry, but also partly because they are more mentally ill: Conservatives are simply too mentally stable, too content with life and, well, too nice.potent