There comes a time when we must admit a sad fact: The psychological community has fallen from their pedestal and now exist on equal footing with the likes of political campaigners, race opportunists, and mystics.
Researchers like Daniel Shaw forsake critical analysis for the cheap buzz and chuckles one can garner from using magazine-level psychology terminology to form a barely coherent form of trendy politics. But unlike common purveyors of what we consider unhealthy political dialogue, we have a mental health expert linking healthy psychological functioning with political alignment.
Appearing on Rachel Bernstein’s IndoctriNation podcast, Shaw manages to simultaneously give the impression of discussing characteristics of narcissism while outing himself as a stereotypical member of a narcissistic group.
Like observational humor swept through New York’s comedy scene in the early 90s, stringing together multi-syllabic adjectives is a steady favorite of the academic community when describing conservative politicians. Extra points are awarded for length and obscurity.
Shaw, using psychopathy and sociopathy interchangeably for the sake of making sentences longer, does his best to highlight how narcissism is only an occurrence on one side of the political aisle.
In discussing Trump, Shaw refers to a type of sociopath (psychopath) that believes themselves to be beyond any kind of ethical norm. The clinician goes on to break a chief ethical code of his profession in his following sentence, declaring from his arm-chair that Donald Trump has always had omnipotent delusions.
When discussing “those who are repelled” by Trump, Shaw describes a people with a “powerful alliance with the idea of justice and with the idea of persecution.”
Despite Shaw joining a cult in his 30s, the clinician seems to identify with this innately just group.
He goes on to speculate that people with a Judaic background might have an innate resilience to apparently Trump-like leaders since they remember the holocaust. Not to miss a group to racially stereotype, Shaw also declares that African Americans have the same ability since they had dealt with slavery.
Remember, in-group satisfaction is a belief that the in-group and one’s membership in it are the reasons to be proud of Leach et al. (2008). Sound familiar?
Collective narcissism is related to inter-group distrust and a tendency to perceive out-groups as hostile toward the in-group, while in-group satisfaction is associated with a tendency to perceive out-groups as trustworthy and benevolent (Golec de Zavala et al., 2019a).
As is typical with narcissists, Shaw is unable to empathize or come to any understanding of those who might not share his political leanings. As is reiterated throughout the performance, Shaw shrieks out about how Trump supporters only followed because 45’s hate allowed them to give up on pretending they don’t hate. Imitating a “typical conservative,” Shaw mockingly blurts out ” Donald gives me uh you know a free ride to go ahead and hate as much as I want.”
Being very serious, is it not a shocking sign of how far the field of psychology has dropped that a clinician genuinely makes these childlike generalizations about large portions of American society?
During the BLM riots, we first noticed a strange occurrence: so many of the arrested or otherwise identified had ghastly criminal histories – many involving sex crimes. Like guilty-minded Christians were seduced by holy men to find their redemption on a crusade, modern opportunists make short work of convincing those in our society with the least to offer that they, too, can be part of “change” and “hopeful revolution.”
Similarly, fallen academics like Shaw are unable to recognize their own blind allegiance – or the hate that blooms from unhealthy group narcissism. With the power to truly influence as clinical professionals, those like Shaw live in world so removed from diversity of thinking that the idea of any ideology that is “other” can only be seen as “hate” and some form of trick. Meanwhile, using the words of clinicians and educators, these offenders continue their recruitment and propaganda roles for their chosen narcissistic group. To use Shaw’s logic, people with few accomplishments like to feel part of something big.
While Dr. Shaw might think he’s escaped the cult his morally superior mind fell for in his 30s, many of those tendencies still seem to remain in place.