Failure of Conservative Morality in Politics

I’ve been reading about American society from a few different directions. I have just read some books about political history (such as the writings of Richard Hofstadter), but most recently I’ve focused on the the generational theory of Strauss and Howe (I’ve perused several of their books) and the moral frames model written about by George Lakoff in his book Moral Politics.

Last night at work, I was reading Lakoff’s book and found it quite fascinating. His main premise is that conservatives use the Strict Father family model to frame their political views and liberals use the Nurturant Parent family model to frame their political views. It makes a lot of sense to me, but that isn’t what got me thinking.

Lakoff was using Reagan and Bush sr as an example of how conservative morality plays out in politics. Conservatives use the rhetoric of small government, but obviously there are many exceptions to this rule and many moral principles they hold higher than the ideal of small government. Basically, when a conservative speaks of big government they’re referring to social programs that benefit the people who conservatives don’t believe are deserving. It’s not about saving taxpayers’ money but about doing the right thing. Those who do right should be rewarded and those who do wrong should be punished.

So, in terms of Reagan and Bush sr, who was rewarded and who was punished? By giving tax cuts to the rich and increasing the size of the military, what was the moral purpose that conservatives were trying to achieve? Increasing the military seems more obvious on the surface. The evil, Godless commies needed to be punished and it was the righteous duty of God-fearing Americans to punish them. So, what did the rich do to deserve tax cuts? Well, the basic idea is that we live in a meritocracy and so the rich have earned their wealth through hard work and ingenuity. It’s wrong to take away from the rich what they’ve earned fair and square. The corollary of this is that the poor deserve to be poor and so it’s perfectly fine that the tax cuts don’t benefit the poor (including the working class poor). As the Bible says (Matthew 25:29), “For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.”

Still, Lakoff takes this one step further and it’s the best explanation that I’ve ever come across. He argues that Reagan and Bush sr (along with their advisors) weren’t stupid. They fully realized they were increasing the size of government and creating a massive deficit as had never been seen in all of US history. This wasn’t an accident. It was quite intentional. If social programs benefit the undeserving, this becomes a moral problem that must be solved no matter what the cost. If the country becomes immoral at the core, then all is lost and nothing else matters. By creating an enormous deficit, this forced Congress to tighten its belt and cut funding to all social programs. And that is exactly what happened. It’s so clever it’s evil.

This brings me to something else I read in of the books written by Strauss and Howe (I don’t remember which one). They pointed out that the GI generation was the most politically powerful generation in all of US history. The GI generation had more than three decades of GI presidents and two of those were Reagan and Bush sr.

The GI generation came to see itself as the Greatest Generation. They fought hard and worked hard. For most of their life, they saw American wealth and power ever increasing. They believed two things about this situation. First, they took personal credit for all of it and so they thought they were deserving of being rewarded for that they had done. Second, they assumed that this trajectory of increase would continue for a very long time. They were wrong on both accounts. There were complex reasons for America’s rise to wealth and power, but the main reason was that Europe was decimated by WWII. Without much competition, America’s exports dominated the global economy. This situation wouldn’t last for very long since the European countries were able to rebuild.

When Reagan and Bush sr were presidents, the GI generation was at the height of its power. They were golden and they were mostly free to use their power as they so desired. Since they thought they had earned it, they redicrected America’s wealth towards their own generation. The tax cuts to the rich were disproportionately directed to the GI generation since their generation was (and is) the wealthiest generation in US history. They also redirected money to their generation by funding expensive social programs for the elderly. So, where did this money come from? As I pointed out, social programs for the undeserving (i.e., the poor) were cut. A related example was Reagan’s kicking the mentally ill out of the psychiatric hospitals (and created a large population of mentally disturbed homeless people who then needed to be rounded up and put in prison).

Even more interesting is the fact that social programs directed at youth (from welfare to school funding) were all cut. This had two impacts. First, starting with young Boomers and ending with Generation X, the quality of public education decreased and SAT scores decreased. Second, Generation X became the most poverty prone generation in a century. While the GI generation remained wealthy, GenXers grew up to discover that their employment opportunities were as bad as was experienced by the whole country during the Bust Years of the Great Depression.

What must be understood is that GIs such as Reagan and Bush sr did all of this out of their sense of morality. They were simply doing what they thought was right. They were rewarding those who they thought deserved it and they were punishing those they thought deserved it. In doing so, the made America into a deficit-driven militarized empire which they saw as forcing America into its role of being the greatest nation in the world. The heavy costs of this were worth it in their minds.

The problem is that they couldn’t see the long term consequences. I don’t think they realized that creating such a deficit would increase out of control and end up crippling our entire country. They didn’t foresee how deregulation of markets would eventually lessen the power of the American economy. They saw the world through the lense of their own generation and didn’t realize how differently it would look to later generations.

They thought that benefitting the rich was the right thing to do since they believed the rich deserved the wealth they earned. It’s easy to argue against this in pointing out that it takes everyone in a society and not just those at the top to make an economy successful, but there is an even more important factor they didn’t understand. Many GIs became wealthy during a time when there were high taxes on the rich. How is that possible? How did the GIs become so wealthy despite being heavily taxed? This cuts to the heart of the misunderstanding that motivated Reagan and Bush sr.

There are many arguments about who deserves what, but there is a more essential issue about who can use wealth to the greatest benefit of society as a whole. To conservatives, those who become rich deserve their wealth because they theoretically will put their extra wealth towards wise investment in the economy. Sadly, it doesn’t work out this way. Innovation happens from the bottom up. Reagan and Bush sr implemented policies that increased the wealth gap which concentrated the wealth at the top. I forget the source, but I was watching an interview recently where the person was referring to data about wealth. That person pointed out that wealthy people don’t invest their wealth wisely. Beyond a certain level of wealth, extra money loses any practical worth. What the super rich tend to do with their extra money is gamble it in risky investments because it doesn’t really matter to them if they lose it. What they generally don’t do with it is invest it in further innovation. That is what happened recently with our economy. There were too many people making risky gambles and not enough people investing in industries that produce concrete products. Our economy has become dependent on the banking business and America has lost its innovative edge.

The conservative moral vision of Reagan and Bush sr has backfired.

Lakoff puts all of this into a larger context of the metaphorical frames used by conservatives and liberals. Reagan and Bush sr as GIs were seeing the world according to the experience of their generational cohort. And as conservatives they were seeing the world according to the Strict Father moral frame. It was because of their being GI conservatives that they implemented those particular policies. Like most of us, they couldn’t see outside of their reality tunnel. But the consequences of their narrow vision have been immense. Bush jr, although of the Boomer generation, was simply the ultimate endpoint of this particular worldview. Under Bush jr (aka The Decider), the military was strengthened and regulation was paralyzed (with eventual consequences as we now see with the BP oil spill), the deserving were rewarded and the undeserving were punished. Bush jr certainly was trying to return America to the conservative moral vision of a righteous country, but it’s become obvious that this vision has failed. The costs are just too high: undermined Constitutional rights, massive deficit, crippled economy, struggling small businesses, ever increasing wealth gap, shrinking middle class, environmental disasters, etc.

An opening has developed in the status quo of recent decades. People are hungering for a new vision. Many hoped that Obama could bring that new vision, but many have been or become doubtful. Lakoff sees the liberal vision as being in a difficult position. For various reasons, conservatives have been very successful in framing most of the political discourse in recent history. Liberals have an opportunity right now. It’s just not clear if liberals are presently capable of organizing their own moral vision and communicating it well. Even though conservatives have indisputably failed in their attempt, it isn’t yet determined if liberals will likewise fail during this time of change. What is for certain is that many cultural narratives are being formulated right now. The narrative that gains the most traction will most likely be dominant in politics for the next several decades… or so that is the prediction of Strauss and Howe. I guess we’ll find out.

Rand Paul: Racist or Radical?

This video provides a concise argument explaining why Rand Paul is a regressive asshat.

I don’t think he is a racist, but I suspect he might be racialist. If he isn’t either racist or racialist, I’m not sure he is radical either. The argument he proposed has been made many times before… even if not recently among respectable company.

One commenter to this video gave the best answer in saying that Rand Paul just seems ignorant of US history. Not racist or radical, just ignorant. Ya know, just another rich white guy blind to his own rich white guy privilege.

Is “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” Destroying the World?


Is “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” Destroying the World?

mikeS said Oct 12, 2008, 12:57 PM:             

  I recently posted this on my blog because I thought it a bit long for a thread. However, on second thought, maybe it might initiate some discussion. My thanks to Nicole.It seems fundamentally evident that, in order to aspire to a career in politics, one must eventually seek ‘votes’ to advance one’s career to ever higher office. Seeking votes means essentially being liked and to be elected to political office means being liked by more people than others seeking the same office.  This requires the acute and finely detailed tailoring of one’s ‘self’ in order to be liked, as opposed to NOT liked. This process easily eliminates those who are unable, for whatever reason, to tailor the ‘self’ in a way that generates votes through ‘likability.’ This tailoring process seems so deeply inherent to a political career, that the political aspirant may need to compromise his or her longstanding values and standards to achieve votes. A career in politics is not necessarily compatible with higher values like integrity (maybe this is why so much corruption exists in the field).   In fact, if standards and values are not to some degree compromised in order to increase ‘likability’ and collect votes, then the politician will eventually be eliminated from the field or at the least stuck in less esteemed positions. This elimination process, particularly in seeking the highest offices in which more votes are required, tends to produce a specific character type that, in many cases, may be inclined toward personality or character dysfunction almost to the point of a full-blown personality disorder.    I have found that the specific character disorder frequently exhibited by political aspirants is labeled Narcissistic Personality Disorder by the American Psychiatric Association, APA, (In fact, the spiritual philosopher, Ken Wilber, believes that “narcissism” is one of the most significant impediments to Deep Spirit, although his “narcissism” is a bit more complicated that the APA’s definition).       The APA has never, to my knowledge, made any psychological classification of politicians. However, I believe it is warranted. The problem is that in the field of politics it can be very difficult or almost impossible to identify those politicians with the disorder, since we all realize and tend to accept that politics is often a personality competition of celebrity proportions. Therefore, we could be witnessing a full-blown Narcissistic disordered personality right before our eyes, yet fail to recognize the symptoms of the disorder due to the very nature of politics in this postmodern age.          My point in this essay is in relation to the appearance of Deep Spirit and not necessarily, the appearance of narcissistic symptoms. However, Narcissism impedes Deep Spirit, particularly in those exhibiting symptoms of the disorder, and is generated primarily from fear. More specifically, in politics the fear is of not attaining votes because more voters dislike the political candidate. This is the fear of un-likability, that we all on some level experience. Yet my being disliked by many people may not result in the need to tailor my personality in order to be more liked so as to enhance my career, but for the politician this tailoring is crucial to career enhancement.             

Narcissism is a personality or “character” disorder actually diagnosable through the psychiatric model of mental disorders as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual or Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). The officially accepted criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder according to the DSM-IV is as follows :             

A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:




recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)  to be(1) has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects          



with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love   is preoccupied(2)         


(3) believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)    



(4) requires excessive admiration       



(5) has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations          



(6) is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends             

(7) lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others             

(8) is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her             

(9) shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes             

Although Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a classification of the psychiatric model of mental disorders, the condition is pervasive to the personality or ‘self’ and is essentially impervious to medications, and most psychotherapies. In other words, if you are afflicted with this ‘disorder,’ narcissistic personality is what you ARE and you most likely can be NO different since the core ‘self’ IS the disorder and will not change (at least, not in this lifetime, anyway). This is different from psychiatric mental disorders which are primarily due to brain or neurochemicals imbalances and can be treated through medications             

As the symptoms reveal, there is an almost complete self-absorption with little regard for others or the suffering of others. In fact, others are seen as only means to greater enhancement, or advancement, of the ‘self.’ Therefore, any spiritual perspective of ‘oneness,’ any unity of perception or converging of perspectives to include the collective as opposed to the Narcissistic individual, is essentially absent or at the least, greatly minimized.             

I contend that many of our national leaders meet, if not all the criteria, many of the symptoms of this character disorder (notice that only 5 of the 9 symptoms need be met for the diagnosis to be applied).             

Based on the limited research available regarding Narcissistic Personality Disorder it appears to be the result of early childhood deprivation or neglect in terms of building healthy psychological ego-self structures. Based on current statistics, only a very small percentage of the U.S. population is afflicted with this disorder (many medical statistics claim only 1% of the population, however, since narcissists rarely admit to the symptoms of this disorder they rarely attend treatment and thus fail to be statistically counted).             


Due to the grandiose nature of politics, individual politicians must be predisposed to acquiring high public esteem and self-glorification through the acquisition of ‘votes’ related to election and re-election. This election process tends to funnel, collect and lump together those who may be prone to narcissistic personality disorder, particularly at the highest political levels. This is a bit different then celebrity status, although certainly there are many narcissistic personalities in that field as well. Yet, since celebrities tend to be esteemed based on some artistic talent and exist primarily to entertain, politicians need not exhibit any specific talent other than that of tailoring the personality so as to attain the greatest number of votes thereby beating opposition. In addition, a movie or rock star can enhance their celebrity status through controversy, while a politician’s career can be completely derailed through anything less than a perfect personality and a stellar past. Therefore, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, though evident in other careers, is abundantly manifest in politics at the highest or national level.             

However, this is not to assume that all politicians exhibit the full-fledged disorder with most of the symptoms. It may be more indicative of a greater possibility of manifesting the “traits” or “styles” of the disorder. Some politicians will be more narcissistically disordered, while others may be less afflicted. But I contend that due to the nature of the career, most will exhibit symptoms even those who seem to appear the most “honest” (I hate to say it, but George Bush tends to conform quite adequately to this model of narcissism)             

One thing is certain however, the higher the office the greater the likelihood that those elected will exhibit symptoms of the disorder as opposed to merely traits or styles. Therefore, we will suffer, more or less, dependent on the degree of Narcissistic Personality symptoms the elected office holder is afflicted by.             

Based on this, and my strong belief that regardless of one’s professed religion, seekers of Deep Inner Spirit tend to be more inclined to a more generous “worldcentric” perspective and a vision that integrates all levels of our evolving global society. This vision is completely opposite of narcissism and actually demands the clearing of narcissistic symptoms (traits and styles) in order for others, as opposed to ‘self,’ to be even considered, let alone considered through a correspondence with a deeper Spirit within.             

However, Narcissistic individuals are very adept at “lip-service” or telling us what they believe we want to hear regardless of the truth factor (this is why outright ‘lies’ are referred to “mis-stating” the facts) in order to enhance likability and acquire votes . Due to this magnified self-absorption, they tend to lack a “worldcentric” perspective and are terminally ‘stuck’ in an egocentric view of the world and others. In fact, they tend NOT to be capable of considering any other perspective but their own (unless, of course, other perspectives are similar). The Narcissistic personality is dysfunctionally self-absorbed and wholly self-oriented and obviously not amenable to the progress of an evolutionary collective consciousness that seeks to encompass all perspectives, all the time.             

So, when you cast your vote this November, stop to consider which of the politicians seeking office seem to meet the above psychiatric criteria. This may help to insure that you are not voting for a candidate who is Narcissistic Personality Disordered having one chief value in mind above all others and that is the glorification of self. If this is the primary perspective they hold, then most likely they should not hold public office.             

Clearly, we are approaching difficult times ahead and the leaders we choose will need a foundation of Deep Spirit in order to help us seek that same foundation within ourselves. If we elect officials, no matter what party, who are personality/character disordered, we have no one to blame but ourselves for the disorder and corresponding symptoms we will no doubt experience. Of course, this statement may initiate an examination of the two-term election of George Bush and the question:
Can a large segment of a national population be Narcissistic Personality Disordered? I’ll leave that to brighter minds than mine, but the implications are bone-chilling.             

Peace Angels,
mike S              


Re: Is “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” Destroying the World?

Alan said Oct 12, 2008, 3:01 PM:             

  A narcissist is simple a man or woman who’s ego is so out of control that even in this egoic age they’re out of balance.  

I have had up close personal views of narcissists.  Of course, power draws people who live solely for themselves and  to please their self-image.  As does wealth.  These are the flames the intensely ego-centric flock to, like moths, only to burn.
This is why we have this pain-filled world, I agree.  
Time to declare war on greed.  (for money, power, pleasure, whathaveyou)
Time to stop declaring war on eachother.  Every time we do, we lose sight of the real enemy
as surely as Iraq had little to do with bin laden.





Re: Is “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” Destroying the World?

Nicole said Oct 13, 2008, 9:36 AM:             

  Alan and Mike, thanks.Mike, I am very grateful for you beginning the discussion with this marvelous blog of yours. It’s interesting, I just read a blog by Marmalade which is an in-depth personality analysis and comparison of the current candidates and past presidents, with a lot of detail of what leads to success in presidency, including the ability to lie well and being impulsive and passionate rather than collegial. It’s a very detailed blog though and I can’t do it justice so I hope you will check it out yourselves – Politics, Personality, and Character  I would love to hear what Marmalade and others think about this thread.    Alan, you’re so right about losing track of the real enemy. It has never been other people.    Light and peace,       Nicole          




Re: Is “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” Destroying the World?

Marmalade said Oct 13, 2008, 2:20 PM:             

  Thanks for the advertisement of my blog, dear Nicole.  As you know, I have a strong interest in personality.  Its quite fascinating all of the info that is out there.I noticed this thread when it was first posted.  I don’t know that I have much to add.  I can see the perspective of leadership roles attracting narcissists.  The one thing I would question is the issue of personality disorder.  If narcissism has offered survival value to the human species, then its not fair to call it a personality disorder.  Similarly, I’ve heard the theory that Attention Deficity Disorder may simply be a type of personality that no longer has a place in our society and such people are unfairly medicated.  The problem is that the world now is different than it was when humans evolved personality traits.  Narcissism may be quite benificial in a leader of a tribe but maybe dangerous on the largscale of international politics.  Also, maybe traditional cultures had ways of controlling narcissism from going out of control.   Marmalade   

Re: Is “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” Destroying the World?

Alan said Oct 13, 2008, 2:46 PM:             


Having lived with a narcissist, while I disagree with the very idea of ‘personality disorders’ a great deal, I can say that if the definition of personality disorders includes maladaptation, eg a state of being that causes extreme harm to the self or others, Narcissism must be a personality disorder.  We probably disagree about the idea that this state of being is or has ever been helpful.  Narcissism ruins everything it touches.  The story of King Midas is a very good myth about it.
In leaders, it is the most dangerous thing in the world…. whether tribe or nation.  These are just my .02 though…
Also, I’d be interested in reading a study about narcissism cross-culturally.  In Japanese culture, for example, as far as I know the children are so asked to empathize with each other that an individual who seemingly has no empathy at all (eg, a narccisist) is probably less of a likely phenomenon.  In fact, this set of behaviors, to me, is no more than a symptom of the larger imbalance of this particular society.  





Re: Is “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” Destroying the World?

Marmalade said Oct 13, 2008, 3:20 PM:             

  Alan,I haven’t ever studied it much, but from my meager research it seems that narcissism is a broad category.  I guess its important to know whether this thread is about narcissism in general or only narcissism as a personality disorder.  Here is something from the Wikipedia article:  Johnson [9] discusses Narcissism as constituting a spectrum, from a severe disorder with much in common with borderline personality disorder, to a much less severe, high-functioning form he calls “the narcissistic style.”   
“People who have a narcissistic
personality style rather than narcissistic personality disorder are relatively psychologically healthy, but may at times be arrogant, proud, shrewd, confident, self-centered and determined to be at the top. They may not, however, have an unrealistic image of their skills and worth and are not so strongly dependent on praise to sustain a healthy self-esteem.” [10]
As there are different types of Narcissism, I’d guess there are probably different causes of it also.  As an example I noticed acquired situational narcissism:    Acquired Situational Narcissism is a form of narcissism that develops in late adolescence or adulthood, brought on by wealth, fame and the other trappings of celebrity     





disorder.  pesonalityI was wondering about the social components to narcissism in our culture.  Maybe narcissistic personality style is common, but maybe narcissistic personality disorder isn’t.  Furthermore, maybe they exist on a gradient and maybe there is something about our society that turns the personality style into a          



, but this leads people to an even greater focus on their own personal problems because they have no one else to turn to.   is discouragedA cross-cultural study would be interesting.  I’ve read something about Japanese culture that relates to your comment.  The author was saying that Japanese culture has the opposite effect from what would be expected.  Individual expression         


I liked your last point.  Is Narcissism a personality disorder or a societal disorder?    











Re: Is “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” Destroying the World?

mikeS said Oct 13, 2008, 3:48 PM:             

  I realize the title of this post was rather pejorative and exaggerated. Nevertheless, I was not addressing “leadership roles” per say since clearly in many industries and fields leadership does not rely as heavily or at all on ‘likability’ or attractiveness. Many leaders rose to leadership positions meritoriously or through talent and there is not the need to tailor the personality so acutely as with politics.If narcissism has offered survival value to the human species, then its not fair to call it a personality disorder.   That would be an interesting discussion as to whether personality disorders have survival value. As Alan points out, they are maladaptive to the person and society and do tend to impair the individual or others in some way. There are many different personality disorders and I’m mostly familiar with antisocial (sociopathic) and narcissistic from 8 yrs of work in a prison.
Actually, it seems to me that Narcissism would have little survival value since it is not amenable to leadership roles beneficial to the tribe.
In addition, although I use psychiatric diagnoses in my work, I am also very suspect of the criteria. Rarely do individuals meet even the minimum requirments and personality disorders often overlap with mood disorders. This is why I mentioned “traits” and “styles” in my initial post. Attention Deficit is a mood disorder and treatable through drugs and personality disorders are frequently untreatable since it involves impaired ego development usually traced to childhood parenting in combination with genetic predispositions   My  point was  that diagnosable “narcissistic personality disorder” may be more observable through the political arena than in any other public realm. In addition, due to the postmodern politics, and the cult of celebrity, this may be more true than in previous times. In that sense it would be a societal problem particularly if the society is narcissistic, but that would also make it less visible TO the society. A good book on sociel narcissism would be “Culture of Narcissism” by Christopher Lasch, which is quite an indictment of American society.    Thanks : )
mike S       

Re: Is “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” Destroying the World?

Marmalade said Oct 14, 2008, 1:16 AM:             

  Hey Mike!  I’m not really in disagreement with you.  I just like to complicate
things. I was reading that research shows that Japanese are more self-critical. 
Self-criticalness intuitively seems quite opposite from Narcissism.  But I also
noticed that in an articleabout narcissism that strong self-criticism is
sometimes seen in relationship to strong self-regard.  I came across the view
that it might be helpful to separate two types of narcissism.  One more overt
and what is typically thought of as narcissism, but the other more hidden. 
Here is a paper that speaks about narcissism amongst Japanese being more
of the latter type:          

That paper also points out how narcissism relates to dependence.  Its not 
that  narcissists think only about themselves but that they think too much
about how others think about them.  They need confirmation of their own
self-regard.  Its the need for social acceptance that can lead to the
self-criticalness when they don’t live up to those externalized expectations.            

Of course, narcissism is very different in various populations.  The narcissism
of politicians is probably quite different than narcissism of prisoners, and the
narcissism of both of those populations probably would be quite different than 
narcissism amongst more average people.            

As a different perspective, here is an book excerpt about the relationship
between personality traits and narcissism:    

p. 234: One of the facets of FFM antagonism is arrogance, the central
trait of NPD (American Psychiatric Association, 2000, Millon et al., 1996). 
An advantage of the FFM dimensional classification of personaity disorder
though is the ability to distinguish between arrogant persons who are high
versus low in neuroticism. A longstanding concern within the clinical
literature on narcissism is the distinction between narcissistic
persons who
are consistently self-confident, arrogant, andconceited (what
Ronningstam, 2005, describes as the “arrogant narcissit”) versus the
narcissistic person who is quite insecure and self-conscious (the
“shy narcissist”; Ronningstam, 2005). The dimensional perspective of the
FFM would not create subtypes of a diagnostic category to address the
considerable variation that does occur, but would simply describe the
extent to which a person high in arrogance is also low in the anxiousness,
self-consciousness, and vulnerability facets of neuroticism. Further
distinctions would be provided by the extent to which the person is low in
extraversion (the shy narcissist) versus high in extraversion (the outgoing,
interpersonally engaging narcissist), or high in conscientiousness
(the narcissist who is relatively successful in school, college, and career).

And here is narcissistic personality disorder translated into FFM traits:    

High Neuroticism
Chronic negative affects, including anxiety, fearfulness, tension,
irritability, anger, dejection, hopelessness, guilt, shame; difficulty in inhibiting
impulses: for example, to eat, drink, or spend money; irrational beliefs: for
example, unrealistic expectations,perfectionistic demands on self,
unwarranted pessimism; unfounded somatic concerns; helplessness and
dependence on others for emotional support and decision making.             

High Extraversion
Excessive talking, leading to inappropriate self-disclosure and social
friction; inability to spend time alone; attention seeking and overly dramatic
expression of emotions; reckless excitement seeking; inappropriate attempts to
dominate and control others.        

Low Openness
Difficulty adapting to social or personal change; low tolerance or
understanding of different points of view or lifestyles; emotional blandness and
inability to understand and verbalize own feelings; alexythymia; constricted range
of interests; insensitivity to art and beauty; excessive conformity to authority.             

Low Agreeableness
Cynicism and paranoid thinking; inability to trust even friends or family;
quarrelsomeness; too ready to pick fights; exploitive and manipulative; lying; rude
and inconsiderate manner alienates friends, limits social support; lack of respect for
social conventions can lead to troubles with the law; inflated and grandiose sense of
self; arrogance.             

Low Conscientiousness
Underachievement: not fulfilling intellectual or artistic potential; poor
performance relative to ability; disregard of rules and responsibilities can
lead to
trouble with the law; unable to discipline self (e.g., stick to diet, exercise plan)
even when required for medical reasons; personal and occupational aimlessness.


Here are some other links that interested me:         …-a070739740             



Re: Is “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” Destroying the World?

mikeS said Oct 14, 2008, 5:39 AM:             

  Whoa! Marm,You are ‘researcher extraordinaire’!  In addition, I did not necessarily perceive you as disagreeing or agreeing. The point is achieving synthesis through the ongoing dialogue. I only feel disappointed if my posts stimulate NO discussion (I think you have said as much before).The point of ALL my posts, blog and threads, is to either initiate discussion, for OR against, and continue it possibly toward such a synthesis. I have not cornered the market on knowledge, nor am I narcissistically certain of anything (neat how I slid that in!)   You seem to have deconstructed the DSM-IV Narcissistic classification. I love deconstructing accepted beliefs and although I have not heard of FFM It certainly looks credible (although i do take issue with the old freudian term “neuroticism” which is rarely used in clinical circles due to its being so nebulous).    

The narcissism of politicians is probably quite different than narcissism of prisoners, and the narcissism of both of those populations probably would be quite different than narcissism amongst more average people.




disorder shine brightly as the prison environment lends itself to that presentation.  narcississtichis disorder in politics, but as soon as we put him behind bars we would see his  demonstrateon environmental factors. In other words, the same narcissist would covertly  be dependent psychosocial environment. To say that one type is overt and another covert, I believe, would the thebased on  be differentI disagree in that the “narcissism” would be the same, however, the behaviors would          



japanese narcissism, but could we posit then a further contrast in that  the narcissism of Japanese culture is much more covert than American? Yet, the narcissism is the same psychological phenomenon, only tailored to the cultural norms?   regardingI have not yet read the link you provided         


I will look over the links you have provided since they seem highly informative.    



However, my general point from the previous posts was that we could see, if we know what to look for, Narcissism (based on the DSM, but maybe even more adequately based of FFM) in the highest level of politics. My hypothesis was that at the highest level of political functioning, those most deeply afflicted by this disordered personality could be seen. But, again, only if we know what we are looking for and thus, I used the DSM criteria as model. I do feel we need to differentiate between average everyday narcissism, or selfishness, and the narcissism of a disordered personality.       



My suggestion that the disorder is “destroying the world” is related to the idea that if you place a conglomeration of Narcissistically disordered personalities in one big room, say the U.S. Congress for instance, with the intent of making decisions beneficial to the world, most likely nothing will get done and thus the world will gradually devolve into some form of self-destruction. Quite a leap, I know, but that’s my general thesis.
Sometimes I wonder if, in our politically correct society, we have a tendency to water down what are truly dysfunctional personalities. I feel this neither serves well the person nor the society.          



believe me when I say that I genuinely look forward to your complicating things further!! : )             

Peace Angels,
mike S             


Re: Is “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” Destroying the World?

Nicole said Oct 14, 2008, 9:11 AM:             

  Mike, I too am very pleased at the level of discourse this has generated, with Marmalade and Alan’s input! You guys all rock!I’m really looking forward to getting my teeth into that link about the Japanese, seems particularly relevant this week as I’m in the midst of arrangements for the pre-conference activities in early December with my colleagues in Tokyo and surroundings 🙂  Light and peace,   Nicole   

Re: Is “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” Destroying the World?

Marmalade said Oct 14, 2008, 3:11 PM:             

  Mike, this comment of yours stood out to me.My suggestion that the disorder is “destroying the world” is related to the idea that if you place a conglomeration of Narcissistically disordered personalities in one big room, say the U.S. Congress for instance, with the intent of making decisions beneficial to the world, most likely nothing will get done and thus the world will gradually devolve into some form of self-destruction. Quite a leap, I know, but that’s my general thesis.

Its always a strange experiment when you stick a bunch of similar people together.  The similarities become magnified.  I first noticed this when visitng type forums.  Put the same type in a single forum and you get weird social dynamics.  Its an educational experience because you quickly discover what distinguishes people amidst their similarities.  I wonder what the social dynamics are in a group of narcissists?  I wouldn’t want to be the observer.  It could get ugly.   Marmalade    

Re: Is “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” Destroying the World?

Marmalade said Oct 14, 2008, 2:13 PM:             

  I just thought of something amusing.I learned about FFM through studying MBTI.  FFM is a popular topic on MBTI forums and there has been correlations made between the two systems.  Both models have been researched on their own, but also some research has been done on how well they correlate.  Here is a paper about this:   FFM Extraversion correlates to MBTI Extraversion
FFM Openness correlates to MBTI Intuition
FFM Agreeableness correlates to MBTI Feeling
FFM Conscientiousness correlates to MBTI Judging    The fifth FFM factor of Neuroticism doesn’t correlate as strongly but does have some correlation to MBTI Introversion.        So, the fun part is if we take the FFM correlation to MBTI (ignoring Neuroticism) and add it to the FFM correlation to Narcissism.  What we get is that the ESTP type correlates to a Narcissistic personality.   The real fun part is looking at the MBTI analysis of politicians.  I’ve looked around at various blogs, articles and forum discussions.  There seems to be a consensus that McCain is an ESTP.          Of course, MBTI focuses on the positive and isn’t designed to understand psychiatric disorders.  But its a fun game to play.  Here is a humorous page about negative descriptions of MBTI types:             

ESTP: The Conman
As an ESTP, you are driven to succeed and to win. Your personality is dominated by your drive to test yourself and to triumph over your fellow man.
This generally expresses itself as an overwhelming urge to prove your self worth (and fatten your wallet) by taking advantage of the suckers, marks, and dupes who surround you–after all, isn’t that what they’re there for? It’s not your fault that their stupidity and gullibility lets them believe you when you say that Hershey’s Kissesses exposed to your patented psychic amplifier rays will let them fly! As your hero and fellow ESTP, P. T. Barnum, once said, “it is morally wrong to let a sucker keep his money.”
As an ESTP, your greatest fear is failure. Under no circumstances will you permit yourself that kind of weakness, which makes you ideally suited for a job at Enron, where your natural talents can be recognized and rewarded.
RECREATION: ESTPs enjoy recreational activities such as card sharking, pool sharking, and conning little old women out of their lives’ savings. They’re often fond of polo as well.          




Re: Is “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” Destroying the World?

Marmalade said Oct 14, 2008, 2:46 PM:             

  Related to FFM is the SLOAN model that takes the traits and describes all of the possible combinations.  This makes it more of a typology system like the MBTI.  MBTI ESTP translates into 2 SLOAN types:  SCUEN 
(2.9% of women; 3.2% of men) 

not easily hurt, spends more time in group activities than solitary activities, comes alive at parties and in crowds, not very religious, would not want to give up drinking or smoking, not mystical, not big on science fiction, does not care if people think poorly of them, not very introspective, fits in most places, does not like to go days without speaking to people, likes change, trusting, not very intellectual, underachiever, not easily moved to tears, thrill seeker, does not like to compromise, not apologetic, avoids difficult reading material, relaxed most of the time, likes danger, not punctual, impatient, not upset by the misfortunes of strangers, believes in an eye for an eye, not detail oriented, uninterested in the needs of others, avoids responsibilities, not known for generosity, more dominant than submissive, underachiever, likes crowds, aggressive, willing to take risks, not embarrassed easily, not passionate about improving the world, show off, socially comfortable, acts as they please, not bothered by disorder             

(4.5% of women; 2.1% of men)       

quick tempered, thinks winning is no fun unless people know you have one, does not keep emotions under control, prefers to do things with others, emotional, not very intellectual, prone to envy, comes alive in night life activities and crowds, vain, would not be happy if poor, prefers instant gratification, easily hurt, not very introspective, wants to be famous, seductive, does not readily admit mistakes, more comfortable when things are imperfect, would rather spend than save, feels best when others find them physically attractive, materialistic, finds ordinary tasks draining, wants things done their way, overwhelmed by unpleasant feelings frequently, spontaneous, easily frustrated, impatient, low self confidence, prone to jealousy, misbehaves, improper, acts out frustrations on others, opinionated, non known for generosity, more pleasure seeking than responsible, ambivalent regarding the suffering of others, hard to reason with, does not accept what others say, does not value solitude, unpredictable

Re: Is “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” Destroying the World?

Nicole said Oct 15, 2008, 8:26 AM:             

  Thanks, Marmalade, I really enjoyed that link with all the twisted MBTI characters! LOLOL!Thanks too for the SLOAN model, that’s an approach that was new to me. You are a veritable wealth of fascinating information.  Love,   Nicole      

Re: Is “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” Destroying the World?

Marmalade said Oct 15, 2008, 12:50 PM:             

  Yeah, I love that site.  I wonder if it was written by a disgruntled INFP.  The INFP description is not entirely unflattering.  Its good that the INFP population is kept from outgrowing its niche.There are few things that interest me more than personality.  Its researching personality that got me interested in the world wide web.  Its the web is a veritable wealth of fascinating information.  Marmalade   



Re: Is “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” Destroying the World?

Nicole said Oct 16, 2008, 9:05 AM:             

  I think it’s quite likely that it was a disgruntled INFP, LOL! I especially enjoyed “The Cult Leader”, as an ENFJ :):)Love,  Nicole   

Alexander McKay on Teen Sexuality

I was listening to As It Happens on public radio this evening at work. I heard an interview with Alexander McKay.

He was talking about research done on sexual behavior and society. He mentioned various data and how they compare between countries.

One particular fact was quite interesting and confirmed similar data I’ve seen. In countries with more relaxed attitudes about sexuality, there are lower rates of teen pregnancies. A possible explanation he gave is that kids in those societies feel more open to ask questions and seek out help.

What this reminded me of is the data that shows countries where abortion is legal have the lowest rates of abortion. It’s similar reasoning. A society that is more liberal about sexuality is more likely to provide more high quality sex education and high quality health care. Kids in those societies will have better acces to both info and contraception. Informing kids is important because how can we expect kids to act responsibly if we force them to act out of ignorance.

Since sex education has increased in developed countries, the rates of teen pregnancies and STDs has decreased. However, studies have shown abstinence only sex education to be a complete failure.

Here is an article Mr. McKay wrote:

“Trends in teen pregnancy in Canada with comparisons to U.S.A. and England/Wales”

Nietzsche & Rand, Sinners & Criminals

“The Christian resolve to find the world evil and ugly, has made the world evil and ugly.”

 ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

“There’s no way to rule innocent men.
The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals.
Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them.
One declares so many things to be a crime
that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.”

 ~ Ayn Rand 1905-1982