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Putin, Trump, and other successful sociopaths in society: why? (1 Viewer)


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Nov 18, 2016
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Vladimir Putin is acting with a level of brazen temerity that has really caught the world offguard. But to psychologists who study workplace dynamics, this is nothing new and quite familiar. They have described something called a “dark triad”: narcissism, sociopathy, and Machiavellianism, which seem to predict great success in achieving positions of great power, and then using that to create huge amounts of pain and destruction in their wake.

Their narcissism, coming from either deep insecurity and inferiority complex, or its opposite, their arrogance and sense of entitlement, lead these people to seek positions of great power. Their wildly scheming and unethical, but admittedly highly effective underhanded tactics, ie their Machiavellianism, leads them to succeed; and once there, their sociopathy, without any sense of empathy or remorse for the unbelievable amount of pain they are causing, allows them to inflict enormous amounts of pain and destruction with ease or even pleasure.

We have all seen it, and may have even experienced it ourselves in our personal or work lives. It exists everywhere from politics and business, to the halls of power in the professions like law, medicine, or academia. Think about someone like Harvey Weinstein in the movie industry.

So how can we, as a society, protect ourselves against such malignant narcissists? It turns out it’s not easy. We may have an evolutionarily hardwired predisposition to falling for such strong man leaders, especially when facing uncertainty and insecurity. The founding fathers of this country took a step in that direction in setting up systems of extensive checks and balances against such mentally deranged people. But even such an elaborate system, as we have seen recently, can buckle and strain to the point of breaking under the weight of such charismatic leaders.

Here is a political scientist who has studied the social psychology of such leadership, how and why they end up being so successful, and what we as a society can do to protect ourselves. Fascinating stuff:

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