Radical Lack of Empathy and Obsessive Self-Pity are the Defining Mark of Conservative Psychology in the Age of MAGA

The most prominent feature of conservative psychology in the Age of MAGA (and a feature that has done nothing but metastasize over the past 25 years or so), is a now-sociopathic and intensely narcissistic lack of empathy combined with an intense sense of self-pity. The sufferings of any person who is not either the conservative himself or, in some way, an extension of his ego is, with tremendous consistency in that subculture, regarded as

1. non-existent;
2. contemptible;
3. funny; or
4. an attempt at guilt manipulation in a bid for power.

Meanwhile, the extreme commitment of conservatives to a narrative of their own victimhood (an excellent fundraising tool) warps and destroys their ability to care about or relate to any human suffering or need not to their immediate advantage in the quest for lawless, nihilist power at any price.

Evidence for this abounds. For example, the entire struggle of the conservative movement to sneer at the history of oppression of the brown and poor in the United States as some contemptible thing called “wokeness” is nothing more or other than the attempt to insist that this history of oppression simply does not exist. Books are being banned, history classes banished, and history erased by a conservative subculture completely dedicated to the proposition that it never happened and besides, if it did, it doesn’t matter now, no matter what those suffering from its effects today may say.

Take the recent spree of conservative book banning. Numerous school districts in UtahMissouriFlorida, and Virginia have pulled books from libraries, typically in response to pressure from right-wing parents whipped into a froth by conservative elites like Virginia governor-elect Glenn Youngkin (R). Texas state Rep. Matt Krause complied a list of 850 books deserving of suppression because they “might make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex.”

Relatedly, here is the sociopathic conservative cult demanding that Juneteenth be observed because it’s All about Them, yet not be observed if it in any way centers brown people:

Celebration of the end of slavery that centers the slaves is evil, because its not about the sociopathic narcissist conservative, who is the only thing that matters. Somehow they manage to neglect the fact that with the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, the heirs of the Confederacy joined the GOP in the late 60s and have only become more extreme in their racism and self-pity. The sufferings of brown people are non-existent. The sufferings of those who fought their captors are seized upon and claimed as their own by conservative narcissists who sob with outrage at the removal of Confederate statues as an assault on “our heritage”.

Likewise non-existent for the sociopathic conservative are the millions and millions of dead COVID victims (a million+ in the US alone), as well as the countless other victims suffering from Long COVID. They simply do not matter and are, ipso facto, not there, according to “prolife” MAGA “All Lives Matter” types mildly inconvenienced by having to wear a mask or asked to get a vaccine for the sake of the immunocompomised:

No. The Real Victims[TM] were conservative sociopathic narcissists asked to mask and get vaccinated abd show consideration for the immunocompromised. Indeed, some of these narcissists managed to combine radical lack of empathy toward Holocaust victims with epic levels of self-pity:

So, for instance, there is Reactionary Holocaust Denier E. Michael Jones, famous for claiming that

the narrative that the Jews were gassed in the Holocaust is a “conflation” of facts. He explained that in reality, the typhus-infested Jews who emigrated from “unhygienic” shtetls in Eastern Europe to America through Germany “had no idea what a shower was” and were made to take a shower and had their clothes deloused with Zyklon-B. He elaborated that as a consequence, Zyklon-B has been conflated with showers by the Jews. He said that Auschwitz had amenities such as a swimming pool, and that Hollywood is the “regime that rules America” and sustains the Holocaust “narrative”. 

Fresh from committing such outrageous lies about the supposed non-existent Holocaust victims, he also weighed in on vaccination to affirm the self-pity of the sociopathic conservative narcissist:

Note that this ipsi dixit by an ignoramus with no medical knowledge whatsoever was pre-emptively handed down from Sinai in December 2020 he could not have possibly known a thing about COVID vaccines. But he still has a much easier time believing completely unfounded nonsense about a vaccination that might personally inconvenience him than the abundantly documented facts about the mass suffering and death of people about whom he cares nothing. Neither the dead of Auschwitz nor the dead of COVID exist. Only the self-pity of the Reactionary matters.

The second form conservative lack of empathy assumes is the easy assumption that when somebody who is not Themselves suffers, it is because they are contemptible.

So, for instance, whenever somebody brown with a police record (no matter how trivial that record may be) is murdered, the reflexive conservative sociopath response is to gloat that they had it coming. This is the story with people ranging from Eric Garland to Trayvon Martin to George Floyd to Jordan Neely and countless more. Their sufferings can be dismissed because they were contemptible vermin and they got the instant vigilante death penalty they “deserved” for selling cigarettes, or resisting being murdered or resisting being suffocated.

Contempt is also due to the poor according to the conservative sociopathic narcissist:

Not for Jesse Watters and his audience of cruels at FOX is the warning: “Then the King will say to the goats on his left, ‘Depart from me into the everlasting fires prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was homeless and you called me a failure in life and demanded I be stigmatized.'” (cf. Matthew 25:31-46)

Another way in which the conservative sociopath dismisses all suffering but his own is to call it funny. Whether it’s a man murdered in cold blood by the cops:

Or Trump telling his audience of cruels “You gotta see this guy” before sending them into hysterics at the mockery of the disabled:

Or Gun Cultists, no longer even bothering to lie about “concern for victims” or “thoughts and prayers” but simply gloating at the helplessness of Normals to prevent the slaughter of their children in schools:

…one major response of the conservative sociopathic narcissist is simply sadistic, mockery and naked enjoyment of the sufferings of others.

Of course, it goes without saying that their own sufferings (including the countless examples of wholly imaginary sufferings caused by everything from chemtrails to 5G reception to the conspiracy that stopped JFK from appearing at Dealey Plaza to “reinstate” Trump to prosecution for espionage and insurrection) are expected to be accorded universal pity and that, when this is not immediately forthcoming, the Conservative sociopath is filled with equal parts self-pity and violent threatening rage.

Finally, the conservative sociopath, projecting their own continual need to control others with lies, often sees any human suffering but his own as a form of guilt manipulation.

So, for instance, the conservative sociopath Gun Cult instantly and repeatedly explained one gun massacre after another as a “false flag operation” undertaken by the victims themselves as part of a conspiracy to make the Gun Cult look bad. In this depraved view of things, the True Victims[TM] of the massacre of children at Sandy Hook were not the children butchered by a kid with easy access to the technology of mass slaughter, but the Gun Cult. Indeed, Alex Jones made a long and lucrative career of sending out his flying monkeys to torture, threaten, and harrass the parents of the dead of Sandy Hook with accusations ranging from claims that they murdered their own children to claims that the children never existed. Likewise, the instant accusations leveled against the victims at Parkland were that they were “crisis actors” manipulating tragedy for political gain, not traumatized kids who had just seen their friends slaughtered.

Indeed, the characteristic response of the Gun Cult to all gun slaughter is archetypal in this regard. Every slaughter (a more than once a day occurrence) is now treated as non-existent,

its victims contemptible and funny,

When the Florida state legislature voted down a gun control measure supported by many of the student activists who survived the February school shooting in Parkland, Florida, [Dinesh] D’Souza mocked their disappointment on Twitter. After swift and furious backlash from across the political spectrum, he said he was “truly sorry” for his “insensitive” tweet, claiming it was actually a critique of the media.

*and* as a ploy for guilt manipulation.

The response of the Gun Cult is never “Dear God, what can we do to prevent this?” and is always, “Don’t blame me! Don’t touch my gun!” and coupled with self-pity (in D’Souza’s case, the self-pitying claim that he is a victim of misunderstanding about his supposed “critique of the media” and not himself the cruel mocker and victimizer of the victims of trauma at Parkland. Why? Because whatever is imaginary things suffered by the conservative sociopath, not the 50K deaths and the countless traumas suffered by other people, is the only real thing there is.

This pattern of conservative sociopathic denial of the the sufferings of others and domineering hyperwill to always and forever center their own self-pity will always be so until Normal people learn to center the real sufferings of real victims and stop being intimidated by the self-pitying wails of the most selfish demographic in the US: conservative sociopathic narcissists.

Tomorrow, I will take a look at the way conservative Christianity in the US has, like tofu, taken on the flavor of this sociopathic subculture of narcissism and thereby lost the salt of the gospel. And we will talk about how to recover that salt.


6 Responses

  1. I’ve realized for quite some time, that the beliefs of these types of conservatives are a very fragile construct. In order to sustain it, it requires for them to jettison any notions of empathy, kindness and accounting for other people’s lived experiences. The same goes for factual reality, basic epistemology and any notion of expertise that doesn’t fit their narrative.

    They have to do this, because their beliefs cannot survive otherwise.

    1. I suspect it’s a chicken and egg problem or some kind of feedback loop. At any rate, what is abundantly clear is that this cult is now caught in a black hole or vortex from which it cannot escape barring some act of grace from God. From what I have seen, they have abandoned the good of the intellect and therefore seem only capable of learning from intense, self-inflicted pain–and even then it’s a crap shoot. If their self-inflicted suffering is accompanied by the sight of those they hate suffering even more, they will often cling to the self-destructive behavior because they love watching those they hate suffer more.

    2. @Mark:
      I’ve wondered unironically, if the world-wide saturation of lead in the atmosphere didn’t also play a part in all this. I’ve herd people talk about the significant drop in violent crime once we stopped using lead in our gasoline, but how would those effects of decreased intelligence and increased sociopathy manifest in upper socio-economic ladders?

      So maybe one of the reasons things are the way they are, is because everything is being run by old people with brain damage. Literally.

      1. That’s a distinct possibility. The issue isn’t lead levels now, but what the exposure was in childhood.

        Some studies estimate nearly half the population had a degree of lead poisoning in childhood with a potential loss of 3-6 IQ points.

        Even still, I think it has more to do with American entitlement and a culture which celebrates willful ignorance and sociopathy.

  2. What makes me want to cry is the number of people who believe these lies (that vaccinations are dangerous or unnecessary, that racism no longer exists, that everyone should have access to assault weapons). Part of the reason for this is that people have somehow gotten the idea that mainstream media is not to be trusted therefore opening them up to trusting these other sources of “information”. I see no answer, but keep speaking your truth Mark.

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