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The worst quality a president can have and how it affects us

Lyndon B. Johnson, Teddy Roosevelt, and Richard Nixon scored highest in narcissism, a trait that will increase the probability of battle.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Teddy Roosevelt, and Richard Nixon had one trait in frequent: narcissism. The correct query: did they know? The reply is just one: the reflex is extreme complacency within the consideration of 1’s personal colleges. 

The time period refers back to the mythological character Narcissus, in love with himself (he drowned when making an attempt to kiss his picture mirrored within the water). But if we discuss this character dysfunction in individuals who train energy, the implications are amplified.

Without going any additional, science itself by the journal ‘PLOS ONE’ provides us a transparent instance. 

Donald Trump’s management fashion was characterised by an exaggerated sense of self-importance and a disregard for others, two key traits of narcissism. While many psychologists have pointed to the narcissistic traits of Trump’s character, little analysis has thought of whether or not his supporters may have related tendencies, in keeping with the examine.

The similar writer Matthew M. Yalch, from the University of Palo Alto, means that individuals with an exaggerated picture of themselves mixed with susceptibility to feeling undervalued could possibly be interested in Trump’s nice character. 

In different phrases, individuals with narcissistic tendencies could possibly be seduced by Trump’s narcissistic character, searching for to defend his price by figuring out along with his authoritarian and aggressive methods.

According to a professor of Psychiatry, being “pathologically narcissistic is living devoted to the enhancement of one’s own image before others and before oneself. This is not the same as having ambitions or wanting to develop with excellence the task that one has been assigned. In reality, it is quite the opposite. For the narcissist, the important thing is not the mission but your own success.”

“They are distinguished because they do not show a genuine appreciation for others or their needs, although they can often adopt speeches of enchantment and imposed affections.”


Now comes a new study that finds that probably the most narcissistic American presidents since 1897 most popular to instigate conflicts with different great-power nations with out searching for the assist of allies. The outcomes confirmed that of the presidents, the best in narcissism, together with Lyndon B. Johnson, Teddy Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, as we’ve got listed above, have been roughly six instances extra more likely to provoke a dispute with one other nice energy in a given yr than a president with common ranges of narcissism.

The inclination to ‘do it alone’ in worldwide conflicts dovetails with the need of these with a excessive degree of narcissism to improve their very own reputations and self-image and seem robust and competent to others, mentioned John Harden, writer of the examine and scholar of PhD in Political Science from Ohio State University (USA). 

“The most narcissistic American presidents differentiated themselves from others in the way they approached foreign policy and world politics,” in keeping with Harden.

And he insists: “They were more likely to weigh their personal wishes over political survival or the interests of the country when it came to how they handled some disputes.” 


Harden studied presidents from round 1897, when the United States turned an incredible energy on the earth, by George W. Bush in 2009. 

To measure presidential narcissism, he used a 2000 knowledge set created by three researchers to evaluate the personalities of the presidents. These researchers tapped into the information of presidential historians and different consultants who had written no less than one e-book a couple of president. They every accomplished a character stock with greater than 200 questions in regards to the president they studied.

Other analysis has had individuals fill out the identical ballot utilized by historians on behalf of an acquaintance. The outcomes confirmed that these individuals answered the character questions in a lot the identical method as their acquaintances.

Using the outcomes of the character check for the 19 presidents from 1897 to 2008, Harden analyzed 5 sides that relate to a standard measure of grandiose narcissism: excessive ranges of assertiveness and thrill-seeking, and low ranges of modesty, compliance, and directness.

Harden decided that these 5 components are correlated with narcissism in a separate evaluation utilizing a basic inhabitants pattern.

Willing to lie

“These facets describe people who want to be in charge of everything, seek the center of attention, boast of their achievements and are willing to lie and flatter to get what they want. They would certainly also be willing to insult others,” highlights the skilled . 

“So that’s a pretty good description of a narcissist,” he continues.

Based on these outcomes, Lyndon Johnson was the president who scored the highest in narcissism, adopted by Teddy Roosevelt after which Richard Nixon. The president who scored the bottom in narcissism was William McKinley, adopted by William Howard Taft and Calvin Coolidge.

“The results are in line with the common evaluations of the presidents,” he explains. 

“Ethically principled McKinley, sensitive and often overwhelmed Taft and taciturn Coolidge are at the bottom of the list. Meanwhile, self-absorbed and image-conscious figures like Johnson, Roosevelt and Nixon are at the top.”

To see how narcissism associated to worldwide battle, Harden used one other knowledge set, referred to as ‘militarized interstate disputes’. These knowledge embody all instances during which one nation threatened, displayed, or used drive towards one other from 1816 to 2014.

Harden particularly analyzed disputes unilaterally initiated by the United States towards different nice powers, such because the Soviet Union and China. 

Any battle during which the United States sought assist from allies was not counted as a unilaterally initiated great-power dispute. 

Many of those conflicts usually are not well-known to the general public, in keeping with Harden, however they created quite a lot of pressure amongst world leaders.

Operation Giant Spear

For instance, Nixon began Operation Giant Lance in 1969, which despatched a squad of nuclear-armed B-52s to patrol the ice caps close to Moscow. Johnson launched the so-called Lightning Bug War in 1964, sending drones on missions to the inside of China.

In his examine, Harden took into consideration and managed for a variety of things, along with the president’s narcissism, that will have performed a job in these conflicts, together with however not restricted to the president’s political celebration, if the president was in his closing time period and if he had army expertise if the nation was bored with battle or in recession, if the Government was unified below a single celebration, and if the incident occurred throughout the Cold War.

After taking all of those components into consideration, the outcomes confirmed that the likelihood that the United States would unilaterally provoke no less than one main energy dispute in a given yr was about 4%. For presidents with probably the most narcissism, the likelihood was round 29%, greater than six instances larger. For presidents on the decrease finish of the narcissism scale, the likelihood was lower than 1%.

“The raw data speaks for itself. The three most narcissistic presidents had unilaterally initiated great power disputes that represented between 33% and 71% of all those that started. Meanwhile, the last three had none,” says Harden.

There are a number of the reason why extra narcissistic presidents can be extra more likely to begin fights with different great-power nations with out the assist of their allies, Harden notes.

Center of consideration

“Why would a leader who concentrates on his image and historical notoriety ‘waste time’ with powers of lesser status?” Asks the principal investigator. They would additionally work with out companions as a result of they don’t wish to share the highlight and don’t imagine that others would have one thing to contribute.

Leaders with a excessive degree of narcissism additionally behave in ways in which enhance tensions, such as taking actions to undertaking energy. They are prepared to take dangers. They additionally carry out dramatically and ship out unclear alerts, Harden provides.

While the general public and a few political scientists might imagine that US presidents act with the most effective pursuits of the nation in thoughts, this examine supplies proof that some use their workplace to really feel highly effective and necessary:

“Leaders with a high level of narcissism don’t want the same things from their position as everyone else.”

According to some consultants, “in the social sphere it is very common for them to adopt populist discourses that simulate a concern for the good of others that in reality hides an exclusive interest in their own self-enhancement.”

“The narcissist seeks power and lacks scruples. That is why he tends to reach positions of power more frequently than others. But, for the narcissist, no power is enough, he always lives in fear that it will be taken from him. For this reason he tends to be very distrustful and insensitive. The risk posed by the narcissist with power is very high. Because ultimately he prefers the ship to sink rather than lose power over it.”

Image Credit: Getty

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