Friday Ephemeraren’t
Provoke, Whine, Rinse, Repeat

And This Is Your Shocked Face

Elizabeth Nolan Brown, writing in Reason:

Here’s some fun new research looking at “the consequences and predictors of emitting signals of victimhood and virtue,” published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. The paper—from University of British Columbia researchers Ekin Ok, Yi Qian, Brendan Strejcek, and Karl Aquino—details multiple studies the authors conducted on the subject. Their conclusion? Psychopathic, manipulative, and narcissistic people are more frequent signallers of “virtuous victimhood.”

I can hear you gasping as I type

The so-called “dark triad” personality traits—Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy—lead to characteristics like “self-promotion, emotional callousness, duplicity, and tendency to take advantage of others,” the paper explains. And “treated as a composite, the Dark Triad traits were significant predictors of virtuous victim signalling.” This held true “even when controlling for factors that may make people vulnerable to being mistreated or disadvantaged in society (i.e., demographic and socioeconomic characteristics) as well as the importance they place on being a virtuous individual as part of their self-concept,” the researchers note.

The authors also note that pretentious victimhood and feigned piety “may be used as a social influence tactic,” a “resource-extraction strategy”:  

Claiming victim status can also facilitate resource transfer by conferring moral immunity upon the claimant. Moral immunity shields the alleged victim from criticism about the means they might use to satisfy their demands. In other words, victim status can morally justify the use of deceit, intimidation, or even violence by alleged victims to achieve their goals. Relatedly, claiming victim status can lead observers to hold a person less blameworthy, excusing transgressions, such as the appropriation of private property or the infliction of pain upon others, that might otherwise bring condemnation or rebuke.

The psychological dynamics and nakedly spiteful inclinations of “social justice” devotees have of course been illustrated here, quite vividly, on more than one occasion. And if I can be excused for quoting myself:

It’s interesting just how often “social justice” posturing entails something that looks an awful lot like spite or petty malice, or an attempt to harass and dominate, or some other obnoxious behaviour. Behaviour that, without a “social justice” pretext, might get you called a wanker or a bitch. A coincidence, I’m sure.

Via Protein Wisdom