“Leftists are Motivated by Self-Interest and Envy, Not Compassion: The Evidence” a rough transcript of a video by Edward Dutton

The left wing have a conception of themselves as good, compassionate and kind. They have compassion for the less well-off, who suffer, while conservative people have no compassion.

Findings of Verhulst et al.[1]

What Verhulst et al. found was that being left wing is predicted by being low in agreeableness, low in altruism, low in empathy, i.e., being selfish, low in compassion, and low in conscientiousness – i.e., low in impulse control and rule following, high in neuroticism, mental instability, feeling negative feelings strongly like jealousy and anger, with the feeling that the world is an awful place, and having low self-esteem. Left wingers try to gain self-esteem by claiming to be morally superior and asserting they are left wing in order to seem morally superior.  Neuroticism is associated with the feeling that the world is unfair and wrong.

Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind and the Five Moral Foundations

Five Moral Foundations

1) Care/harm: Ability to feel (and dislike) the pain of others. It underlies virtues of kindness, gentleness, and nurturance. Dutton tends to interpret this as avoiding harm for yourself, especially for narcissists – those wishing to advertise their moral superiority.

2) Fairness/cheating: This foundation is related to the evolutionary process of reciprocal altruism. It generates ideas of justice, rights, and autonomy.

Haidt later acknowledged that “equality” has little to do with fairness, and fairness has more to do with getting your just desserts and proportionality, and thus righteous anger at those who take more than they contribute, or without contributing at all.[2]

3) Loyalty/betrayal: This foundation is related to our long history as tribal creatures able to form shifting coalitions. It underlies virtues of patriotism and self-sacrifice for the group. It is active anytime people feel that it’s “one for all, and all for one.”

4) Authority/subversion: This foundation was shaped by our long primate history of hierarchical social interactions. It underlies virtues of leadership and followership, including deference to legitimate authority and respect for traditions.

5) Sanctity/degradation: This foundation was shaped by the psychology of disgust and contamination. Feces, rotting bodies, and open sores are disgusting. Sanctity involves the opposite of this.

6) Liberty/oppression added after The Righteous Mind was written.

Chimpanzees have a dominant male who doesn’t contribute much. Humans can use weapons to equalize superior strength. They can also use language to hurt someone through gossip and they can use speech to conspire against the leader. Hunter/gatherers are intensely egalitarian, and will take down anyone who gets too high, too full of himself. Haidt describes it as freedom from oppression and hatred of oppressors, and connects it with a concern about government tyranny. Leftists see inequality as inherently oppressive. The successful must have gained their status through underhanded means – colonialism, glass ceilings, and racial discrimination.

Unconditional love involves a kind of equality; one that ignores pertinent and very real differences of intelligence, character, and abilities. This must be coupled with conditional love that pushes people to develop and grow; to become strong, capable, and self-reliant, one that recognizes the higher and the lower, the better and the worse. Only conditional love is consistent with education. “Equality” cannot distinguish between being literate and illiterate, numerate and innumerate, or whether a slave-owning culture is better or worse than a non-slave owning culture. The logic of naturalistic materialism is leveling; particularly since it cannot accommodate moral realism. So, transcendence is necessary to make striving for Beauty, Truth, and Goodness possible and to provide an intuition of the existence of the higher. The abandonment of beauty by modern culture coincides with the rejection of God.

Ed Dutton in his use of Haidt’s categories conflates fairness with equality, not because he thinks the two are the same thing, but because “equality” is the liberal obsession and is necessary for comparing leftists with conservatives. Equality gets coupled with a desire to avoid hurt feelings that might arise if someone’s superiority were to be acknowledged. Diversity, inclusion, and equity is just another manifestation of the fixation with equality, and the concomitant notion of the equality of outcome, which takes egalitarianism to a new level of pathology. This sickness hit a new height of ridiculousness when the airline Delta announced it would choose its pilots by the DIE criterion instead of by ability. The next step would be to select surgeons by the same method and to refuse to be treated by an élite white male, particularly a Jew (you know, oppressors of Palestinians) even in an emergency. There are some nonpathological applications of fairness as equality, such as the equality involved in, for instance, cutting a cake into equally-sized pieces prior to distribution. Or, perhaps that we are equal in the eyes of God, or before the law, understood as an ideal.

But, the singular obsession with equality, with harm avoidance (hurt feelings), defines the liberal hegemony that took off with a vengeance in the 1960s, with its radical emphasis on individuality rather than concern about the group. There are people whose every political and philosophical utterance can be largely reduced to “leveling;” to deny the existence of the higher and lower, and to see accepting those things as retrograde. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. All cultures are equal. Morality is all a matter of perspective. Classical music is not generally aesthetically superior to pop. Men and women are not just equal, but the same, etc.

The claim by Haidt and Dutton is that the right wing are high in all five categories, including the group-oriented foundations.

  • Equality/Fairness
  • Harm avoidance
  • Obedience to authority
  • Sanctity and holiness
  • Loyalty to the In-group

The left wing are high in the two individualistic foundations:

Equality and harm avoidance, and low in group orientation. They are low in caring for others.

This allows a liberal to focus on himself as an individual, and to climb to the top of the hierarchy, the top of the group, rather than focusing on the good of the group. The liberal hates his own group, and uses out-groups, to attack his own group. This phenomenon is called “ethnomasochism.” It could first be seen with Rousseau, who went on to inspire Karl Marx and later left-wing politics.

Leftists promote the cause of blacks, the out group, merely in order to chastise their own group for their self-serving purposes. Studies have found that leftists are no more likely to date or marry someone of a different race than conservatives, nor to have them as friends. They are as likely to look up racist jokes online as conservatives. Virtue signaling leftists have deemed people of color to be powerless and they do not wish to associate with them. They do not go to live among the people of color they supposedly love. Leftists are more patronizing of people of color than conservatives and will address them differently. Conservatives will write the same email for everyone. Leftists do not care about truth or logic, and do not worry about contradictions. Caring about truth is related to the “sanctity” category which leftists do not value. Since Leftists are more Machiavellian and interested in power, they are happy to disregard truth to achieve their goal of self-promotion. Leftists are white supremacists. They spend all their time talking about how powerful white people are. They claim white people control finance. They control the world through imperialism, colonialism, everything. She, the liberal, is white, so this means she is powerful, and that makes her feel good. By attacking her own in-group, using the out-group, she can ascend the white corporate hierarchy by being more anti-white than the next person. Each person ups the ante to be more antiwhite than thou. She can build her career by calling other people white supremacists and attacking people who will not say that they hate white people or Western culture. She will tear society apart and create social division in the process and virtue signal her way to a six-figure salary working for a multinational company as a chief diversity officer, or a lucrative career in HR. Her career will involve throwing members of her own in-group, whites, under the bus and promoting active discrimination against them. She will be a “race traitor.” This is exactly and literally what Wokesters recommend that white people do, using that actual phrase; to pretend an allegiance to the outgroup, while actually being single-minded careerists. It is instinctive to prefer the in-group. But, smart people can use their intellect to override their instincts and persuade themselves to believe something it would be very good for their career to believe. It is possible, for the smart, to self-brainwash once they have determined who seems to be “winning.”[3] They will, of course, alter direction and affiliation as soon as conditions change.

Dutton says, if you are opposed to harm, that will allow you not to want to harm yourself and get to the top of the group by avoiding harm. Believing in equality is self-promoting if you are not at the top of group, you bring everyone down and get to the top of the group that way.

Each is to count for one and none more than the other: Predictors of support for economic redistribution

By Chien-An Lin and Timothy C. Bates who studied 251 people.

A desire for relative economic equality is not compassion.

Malicious Envy 0.26

The biggest predictor of wanting economic redistribution is being an angry person motivated by spite, who is envious of those who have more than you do. Therefore, they signal they want economic redistribution.

Selfish – they want what others have.

Neuroticism – they feel malice, anger, and envy. They are jealous of other people.

The neurotic feel negative feelings strongly; more strongly than positive emotions like joy.

Those filled with malicious envy want what other people earn to be taken away so they can individually feel of higher status compared to other people.

Instrumental Harm 0.21

This is the second highest predictor of wanting economic redistribution.

Being in favor of instrumental harm, means being happy for some people to be hurt; to experience pain and suffering for a greater good – and on their view, the greater good is an economic redistribution. This is not compassionate. This is the attitude that allowed farmers in the Ukraine to starve to death. To kill millions of people for the greater good. Their focus on equality leads them to say that it is so unfair that anyone has more than them – which is malicious envy. Utilitarianism, as the corrupt moral theory that it is, actively promotes instrumental harm.

Self-Interest 0. 19

Low agreeableness is equated with not being very nice people. It is to eschew cooperativeness and concern for others’ thoughts and feelings.

Left wing policies and signaling left wing policies allow you to get what you want. You convince yourself that you are left wing because it is in your economic interests to do that. The left wing are high in Machiavellianism and narcissism. They are power hungry. Being narcissists, they think they deserve high status.

As a side note, having millions of people go to college who should not be there, means millions of relatively unemployable people with low literacy skills, etc., who think that they have been unfairly treated. E.g., I have a BA in Women’s Studies. Where is my high-paying job and high social and economic status?

Communal Fairness 0.15

Childlike, neurotic, mind – ‘It’s so unfair.”

Compassion 0.04% – not statistically significant

The left wing are not motivated by compassion at all, says Dutton. They simply signal that they are compassionate. Being narcissists, they want people to think they are great and fantastic. Being Machiavellian they realize that signaling you are compassionate helps you reach the top of the hierarchy.

Social Mobility and Political Regimes – Intergenerational Mobility in Hungary 1949-2017

What happens when left wing regimes come to power? You might expect a highly compassionate regime, highly focused on fairness and equality, with very high levels of social mobility, as everybody is the same and are pushed into being the same, for the poor to become relatively richer, for the richer to become relatively poorer. This paper looks at upper class surnames that tend to end in “y” in Hungary, which is associated with an aristocratic heritage. Conversely, Roma are the poorest group in Hungary.

1949-1989 – Communism existed in Hungary during these years.

1989-2017 – Capitalism took over after that.

Nothing changed. The heritability of socioeconomic status is between 0.6 and 0.8 in both regimes. Gregory Clark in The Son Also Rises: Surnames and the History of Social Mobility[4] studied England and inherited socioeconomic status from the Medieval Period until 1950 and found the same phenomenon. Inherited social status remained the same, at 0.7. In Hungary, people with high social status surnames are just as overrepresented under communism as under capitalism. The Roma have lower social mobility under communism and also today. The only real alteration is a rapid change in who constitutes the extreme elite. The general elite, for instance, the Hungarian Academy of Science, or doctors, or Prime Ministers remain the same. Twenty-nine percent of Hungarian PMs have a surname ending on “y,” meaning they are over-represented by 15x the numbers in the population that have an aristocratic surname.

Humans have two instincts: Being part of the group. And, rising to the top of the group. Those high in group instincts care about the good of the group, not themselves.

Will Storr in The Status Game, agrees that being white is regarded as high status. But that has not always been the case. The Muslims enslaved whites at one point, castrating the men and having them serve high functions in some cases. And in the UK, 69% of Chinese go to university compared with 30% of whites. In the US, Asians are the most successful group, followed by Jews, then non-Jewish whites, Hispanics, and then blacks. It makes no sense that we do not speak of Asian privilege or Jewish privilege. One tactic is to call Asians “white adjacent.” That is to conflate whiteness with success. That is white supremacist. The leftist says, white people are powerful. White people are evil. But, I’m different. They see whites as high status, and they want to be high status. The US is supposed to be racist, and so is Norway. Only about 30% of minorities feel they did not get a job because of race in those countries. In the UK and Sweden, much more left wing than the US and Norway, it is more like 60%.

[0] This is a rough transcription of a video, with added comments, to be found in Edward Dutton’s “The Jolly Heretic” channel, available on YouTube, Odysee, and Bitchute.

[1] Verhulst, B., Hatemi, P. & Martin, N. (2016). Corrigendum to ‘The nature of the relationship between personality traits and political attitudes’ [Personal. Individ. Differ. 49 (2010): 306–316]. Personality and Individual Differences, 99: 378-379.
Verhulst, B., Hatemi, P. & Martin, N. (2010). The nature of the relationship between personality traits and political attitudes. Personality and Individual Differences, 49: 306-316.

[2] https://irfankhawajaphilosopher.com/2016/08/18/haidt-the-righteous-mind-chs-7-8/

[3] This is an attempt to summarize some of the comments Edward Dutton makes in his video “Why We Must Fight the White Supremacy of the Woke Left.”

[4] https://www.amazon.com/Son-Also-Rises-Surnames-Princeton/dp/0691168377/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=the+sun+also+rises+gregory&qid=1637873069&sr=8-2

39 thoughts on ““Leftists are Motivated by Self-Interest and Envy, Not Compassion: The Evidence” a rough transcript of a video by Edward Dutton

  1. That is a description of Trump and the Right Wing, not the Left Wing. That is Right Wing hypocrisy to attribute those Right Wing negative characteristics to Leftists and Liberals. It is the Right-Wing Projection Psychological Defense Mechanism. None of those things are true of the Left-leaning people: it is the characteristic of Right Wing Robertson-TRUMP Republicans.

  2. My second son is a freshman in college and we were just this morning discussing a paper he has been assigned on “institutional values.” I suggested that he argue that any institution that publishes a list of its values actually values most of all a reputation for having values. Warming to my topic, I went on to suggest that any institution (or individual) that tells you that they are outstanding in some virtue, is, in fact, deficient in that virtue. Smart people never tell you how smart they are. Good looking people let their good looks do the talking. Virtues are the same. The louder the talk, the slower the walk.

    I trust non-whites see anti-white whites as rats and finks–useful rats and finks, but rats and finks nonetheless. We can more easily see the status-seeking of rats and finks if we look at examples outside the charged topic of race relations. I’m sure you have met academics who trash their own institutions in the hope of raising their own status.

  3. They murder the “people” in the name of “The people”. They simply relabel them as “Kulaks” to be liquidated.

    A Collectivist that destroys the very Collectivist society they are in charge of. Whilst having all the people love them for it.

    Until an outside force forcibly stops them.

  4. I find Dutton’s number-crunching flipchart approach to politics reductive and depressing. Still, I suppose he has to make a living somehow.

    • Hmmm. OK. I suppose that leaves expansive and uplifting approaches involving guesswork. It makes a change from people complaining about the Wokedom and cancel culture. There’s not much more to say on that topic. I find it a breath of fresh air. It is a bummer that he thinks that the US and Western Civ are in the middle of an irremediable decline. But, those who control the corporate media, the universities, our tech lords, and the government have declared as much, saying the American experiment is over. We are Coming Apart as Murray’s book title suggested.

      • Do you find it inspiring and refreshing? Academics in the social sciences crave legitimation and invoke the objectivity required for e.g. mathematics or physics. I’m suspicious of this approach for two reasons: first, it operates on the belief that everything can be explained by reference to “the data” – I assume the skeptical view of Covid-19 sometimes expressed on this site is also informed by a thorough review of “the data” (or “the science”)? Second, that anything which isn’t backed up by data is therefore ineligible for consideration – so perhaps you can remove the quotation from de Maistre below your title. Thinkers like him (or Solzhenitsyn or Scruton) would surely be consigned to the dreaded “expansive and uplifting” approach.
        The Right, like the Left, can be a rather broad church. It isn’t helpful to categorize people with whom one disagrees as having certain psychological features, so therefore we can smugly assume ourselves to be morally superior. (I don’t include fanatics of either persuasion, where perhaps psychology can explain rather more than it normally does.) Generally I’m in agreement with Dutton and I’ve watched his YT channel many times, so I’m not unfamiliar with his approach. There just doesn’t seem to be anything especially “conservative” about it. In terms of philosophy, theology or aesthetics it can tell us nothing. It’s as if – well, there is just no room for wonder in this (forgive me for using this word again) reductive approach.

      • I would say that recognition of the social psychology of political persuasions could foster both humility and tolerance. This wasn’t the case when the Left was slandering the Right with the accusation of an “authoritarian personality,” but we can always hope. There are, it seems, people born with a need to feel morally superior–what we used to call self-righteous–and instead of crowding into the churches they today crowd into leftist political causes. Their latest home is ironic since it is supposed to be based on human equality.

        I wouldn’t call this account “reductive” since it doesn’t reduce these personality traits to a single explanation. There is a strong suggestion that the explanation is not entirely environmental, but it certainly leaves plenty of room for environmental conditioning.

      • Hi, Andrew:

        Yes. I find it inspiring and refreshing. I’ve never encountered someone like him before. These things are contextual. Hearing another anti-Woke analysis rehashing the same talking points I find to be dull and repetitive.

        I’m willing to listen to what scientists have to say about things. One can do that without descending into scientism. Dutton, BTW, is in fact wedded to scientism explicitly. He states it in his book on Religion and IQ. He also goes to church despite being an atheist. He’s one of those pro-religion atheists.

        That division into pro-social vs anti-social traits I find quite interesting. As I write below, I am disconcertingly on the anti-social side – more accurately, as JMSmith has pointed out, merely unsociable in my case. But, we are born with our personalities – which both scientists and parents can agree – so it doesn’t make sense to beat myself up too much on that account, although I feel a bit guilty about it anyway.

        He doesn’t think everything can be explained by the data, but he does think that using data is the only way to explain things. Personally, I don’t think in such a manner. His problem not mine. Yes. He’s reductive. By quoting him, I am not thereby holding him up as a new model for the right.

        I’m a philosopher, not a social scientist, and so there is no danger that I will become a Dutton exclusionist. His worldview is utterly unsatisfactory, but that is again his problem, not mine. I’m not looking for his worldview.

        I did not know, for instance, that dysgenics is lowering our IQ at an alarming rate, and provably so. It makes sense that civilization cannot continue if we are too dumb even to maintain it. It also explains why physics has not progressed since the 1940s – something I have found dumbfounding. I am highly interested in his “there is no such thing as low hanging fruit when it comes to discoveries and innovation” position – it only seems like that after the fact. After some genius has pointed something out that hadn’t noticed and then we go “Of course, that’s obvious.” A famous example is wheels on suitcases.

        A psychological approach seems necessary when one is staring at a very extreme pathology – one that involves total self-annihilation. All white people are evil. All of Western Civilization is evil and must be discarded. Logically, such people should commit suicide immediately. They do not. What gives? And such a description is not a strawman that nobody holds. I wish it were. They are explicit about it. Then, the rest of us go along in silence. So, most Leftists probably don’t believe these items. Dutton’s explanation that, nonetheless, each tries to outdo the other in embracing Woke leading to these extreme positions seems true. Also, that intelligent people are better at self-brainwashing and convincing themselves of rubbish than the dull, was also interesting to me. We can learn from people with which we disagree.

        I am a white Western male. Defending myself rhetorically from those who wish me dead is not virtue signaling and asserting moral superiority. At some point, it might have to be more than rhetorically as we seem to be in the process of coming apart.

        In fact, my psychological profile fits rather well with the Leftist one. I am rather distrustful of other people (for good reason as an academic dissident – but my distrust extends beyond that). I have low agreeableness and don’t spend a lot of time worrying about what other people think, feel, or desire. I’m polite and nonobnoxious, I’m an OK neighbor and citizen, but a society with too many people like me in it would collapse, not to mention there being not much use for philosophers. I like having a wife and one or two very close friends and not much more besides. I recognize the misanthrope communist type – I had a teenage friend who hated people and yet wanted socialism. Now I get it. Funnily enough, he was also a vegetarian who hated vegetables. The only vegetable he liked was garden-fresh peas.

        Dutton has a self-acknowledged contradiction – namely his devotion to truth and admits that it is indefensible given his avowed beliefs. You, Andrew, and I, are also devoted to Goodness and Beauty and thus we are more complete thinkers than him. Yay, us!

      • Richard @ I think you should draw a distinction between unsociable and antisocial. Your personality sounds similar to mine. I find the cost of socializing often exceeds the benefits, but I’m not misanthropic or a mischief maker. My experience of antisocial individuals is that they are often very sociable because this maximizes their opportunities for misanthropic mischief. I know that I enjoy the sound of laughter in the next room, provided those laughing aren’t insisting that I join them.

        BTW, this post got a nice mention at the Assistant Village Idiot blog.

      • @JM Smith. That’s a good point. I’m going to adopt your nomenclature. As you say, I don’t wish everyone else harm, I just don’t want to join them, especially if it is a matter of, God forbid, playing cards or board games.

      • You and I are cut from the same bolt of cloth. My aversion to cards and boardgames has been the sorrow of my mother, my wife, and my children. The sound of shuffling cards and rolling dice do help me concentrate on my reading.

  5. This has to be said, although it’s rather sad to do so. Like everyone else, individual Leftists are a mix of virtues and vices; we all know Leftists who seem nice enough (although they couldn’t return the compliment). It may well be that I have all sorts of discreditable motives that I would not admit to myself. However, the assertion of their moral superiority, and the complementary assertion of our moral inferiority, has become such a central part of the Leftist worldview–that those who disagree are not only wrong but wicked–that it must be challenged head-on. Something must be wrong with a movement that’s so aggressively concerned with the superior moral status of its members.

    • Hi, Bonald. Most of the people I end up socializing with are Leftists and most are decent people. I just disagree with them politically – you know, like we used to do in the old days. I feel the need to confess, however, that I regard those who promote Woke fanaticism (which is not the people in my broad social crowd) are evil. They scapegoat me, and I’m afraid, I scapegoat them right back.

    • Your own article links says: According to Simon Payaslian, the scholarly consensus classifies the Soviet famine (at least in Ukraine) as a genocide. That’s why Ukraine gets mentioned by name.

      • This discussion is tangential to the main point of the post, so this will be my last digression on the Soviet famines, on which I am not an expert. However, I have read various essays on it over the years, leaving me with the impression that the framing of the famine as a genocide is contentious and politically motivated (in the similar way as the non-recognition of the Armenian genocide by the Turks). Both the Bolsheviks and the Stalinists were undoubtedly evil, but they were ostensibly driven by class ideology rather than ethnic hatred (let’s not get into the outsized role of the Jews in the early Soviet Union). On the other hand, if any one ethnic group was targeted in Soviet rhetoric, it was the ‘Great Russians’ not the ‘Little Russians’.

      • I am aware of Soviet apologists downplaying the intentional starvation of the Ukrainians, but that’s about it. That was the uncontentious and political motivation for doing that. It seems like recognizing that genocide would be of a piece with recognizing the genocide by the Turks against the Armenians. Denying either genocide would seem comparable, one to the other.

      • I won’t try to argue whether or not the Soviet famine in Ukraine (as opposed to elsewhere in the Soviet Union) should be classified as a genocide, since I am not competent to do so, but dismissing the very question as “Soviet apology” is disingenuous. One doesn’t have to be a Soviet apologist to want to understand the real motivations and history of communist mass murder, at the very least so as to avoid repeating it insofar as possible.

  6. “[Curtis] Yarvin went on Michael Malice’s show and talked about how leftism is about pretending to care about people you don’t interact with in order to justify being an asshole to people you do interact with. In my experience with liberals, this is very true.”

    • Yes. I also find using out-groups to attack the in-group very interesting. They don’t really care about black people (if they did, black on black crime would get attention). They just use black people to hit other white people other the head with, hopefully en route to a 6 figure salary as a chief diversity officer.

      • A number of your cobloggers here were readers of Auster’s view from the right blog. Auster used to note that there are three groups in the left-liberal script: goodwhites, badwhites, and blacks whose purpose is to be an object for goodwhites to demonstrate their virtue on. In the left-liberal worldview, blacks aren’t really moral actors, they’re merely objects/accessories.

      • Thanks, cameron232. Yes. That’s a helpful way of putting it. The latter is proven when what is being promoted is patently not in the best interests of blacks.


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