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The Psychology of Malignant Narcissists - People of the Lie

The Psychology of Malignant Narcissists - People of the Lie

Dec 20, 2023

The Psychology of Malignant Narcissists - People of the Lie

Key Takeaways

The video by Academy of Ideas delves into the psychology of evil in politics, drawing heavily on the work of American psychiatrist M. Scott Peck. It discusses the concept of malignant narcissism and its prevalence in political figures. Evil is defined as the force that seeks to kill life or liveliness, and it is not necessarily about physical destruction but can also be about killing the spirit or essential attributes of life, such as autonomy and growth.

While all humans are capable of evil, as noted by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, certain individuals, particularly psychopaths and malignant narcissists, are more prone to evil actions. Malignant narcissism is described as a specific variant of narcissistic personality disorder, characterized by an inflated sense of self and a lack of empathy. It exists on a continuum, with the extreme end leading to a pathological state where individuals are obsessed with maintaining an image of moral purity, despite their actions.

Malignant narcissists are driven by a deep fear of being perceived as morally inadequate, which leads them to a state of self-deception to maintain their self-image. This self-deception silences their conscience, allowing them to commit harmful acts while still believing they are on the side of good. Scapegoating is a key mechanism used by malignant narcissists to project their own moral failings onto others, thus avoiding self-examination.

The video cautions against hastily labeling political figures we disagree with as malignant narcissists, as this can mimic the scapegoating behavior of the narcissists themselves. It emphasizes the importance of recognizing our own potential for evil to avoid projecting it onto others and to develop the ability to detect malevolence in others.

Best Quotes

  • "Evil is not committed by people who feel uncertain about their righteousness, who question their own motives, who worry about betraying themselves. The evil in this world is committed by the spiritual fat cats, by the Pharisees of our own day, the self-righteous, who think they are without sin because they are unwilling to suffer the discomfort of significant self-examination."
  • "The central characteristic of narcissism is an inflated sense of self. Narcissists are overconfident and admire themselves to a degree that is not warranted by the reality of who they are or what they have accomplished."
  • "The problem is that they misplace the locus of the evil. Instead of destroying others, they should be destroying the sickness within themselves."
  • "The evil hate the light, the light of goodness that shows them up, the light of scrutiny that exposes them, the light of truth that penetrates their deception."


In conclusion, the Academy of Ideas video presents a compelling examination of the role of malignant narcissism in the realm of politics. It suggests that the self-deceptive practices of political figures, who are driven by an inflated sense of moral righteousness, can lead to destructive actions that they justify under the guise of fighting evil. The video urges viewers to be cautious in their judgments, to recognize their own potential for wrongdoing, and to use truth as a tool to combat the spread of malevolence. By understanding the mechanisms of evil, individuals can become wiser and more capable of addressing the challenges facing modern society. Supporting the Academy of Ideas helps to further the dissemination of such insights, contributing to a more informed and proactive citizenry.


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