'Reputation Savaging' and Virtue Signaling
Psychologist says these behaviors are rooted in dark psychological traits
Jordan B. Peterson is a controversial, polarizing personality. So him declaring that America has developed a cultural attraction to destroying others without reason, is going to get more attention. most of it negative.
While the psychologist, author and media commentator has his legion of admiring followers he also has intense critics. Peterson mostly operates well in those societal crosswinds yet he isn’t entirely comfortable with the blowback.
In comments sure to trigger new anger and mockery, he says there is growing online reputation savagery and it’s being driven by psychological traits that should be recognized as highly troublesome.
Dr. Jordan B. Peterson Explains ‘Online Reputation Savaging’ And Why People Virtue Signal In New Episode Of ‘Exodus, is an article written by Ben Whitehead at The Daily Wire.
“Part of what’s pathologized social media at the moment, and this is why I’ve been objecting to at least a certain kind of anonymity, is that you can cast out reputational aspersions,” Peterson says. “I’ve talked to a bunch of psychologists about this recently because we’ve been looking at what personality attributes go along with online reputation savaging.”
He details what behavior traits were discussed and revealed in those conversations.
“They’re exactly what you’d expect: It’s narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and sadism,” Peterson says. Sadism is newly added, he concluded, “because the other three attributes ‘weren’t bitter enough.”
Those are bold diagnoses. Let’s take a quick look:
Narcissistic Personality Disorder: is a psychological disorder characterized by a persistent pattern of grandiosity, fantasies of unlimited power or importance, and the need for admiration or special treatment.
Machiavellianism: is a personality trait that denotes cunningness, the ability to be manipulative, and a drive to use whatever means necessary to gain power. It is one of the traits that forms the Dark Triad, along with narcissism and psychopathy.
Psychopathy: is a neuropsychiatric disorder marked by deficient emotional responses, lack of empathy, and poor behavioral controls, commonly resulting in persistent antisocial deviance and criminal behavior.
Sadism: tendency to derive pleasure from inflicting pain, suffering, or humiliation on others.
Are Peterson and his fellow psychologists accurate in their experienced, professional analysis? There will be debate and pushback. There always is. He explains the reasoning.
“Peterson believes that social media and virtualization contribute to bearing false witness,” Whitehead writes, adding, “Making matters worse, Peterson says, is that there is no punishment for this type of bearing of false witness, which only enables more of it.”
True and maybe not so true. While many “savage” the reputation of others, causing loss, pain and suffering, there is also the rise of — and maybe Peterson doesn’t know this — law firms and attorneys specializing or otherwise practicing online defamation law. Of course, unfortunately, not every “reputation savaging” rises to the level of defamation, yet the damage remains real.
Free speech is critical and valuable yet it, like any legal right and power, is going to be abused and regularly operate outside the spirit of the law.
Peterson boldly theorizes or knows what drives this type of attack online.
“The reason that people are so motivated to do that is because once you can abstract an ethic, there’s actually nothing that’s more valuable than your reputation,” Peterson says. “It’s the thing upon which all the trades that you engage in with everyone else depends.”
Let’s go over that again: “It’s the thing upon which all the trades that you engage in with everyone else depends.” That means credibility — real or perceived — trust, relationship, opportunity given, kept, forfeited or taken away unjustly. Peterson is astute and correct on this observation, analysis and comment.
He asserts that creating a false narrative about a reputation or “savaging reputations” and doing so, “without cause,” are both “real crimes.”
Uh oh. I saw it. Did you? Peterson opens himself up to a debate point or criticism from those who can’t stand him. He says, “without cause.” To him, that seems objective.
Critics will see it as subjective or subjective objective (yes, I know that’s nonsense, yet it exists). One person’s perception and conclusion deemed factual and objective is another person’s subjectivity and vice versa.
The same can be said about “savaging reputations” and “virtue signaling.” Each side of an intense argument will vehemently disagree on what is reputation savaging and whether it is with or without cause, deserved or undeserved and virtue signaling or not.
Reputation savagery is deeply pleasing to angry or raging humans and virtue signaling also feels great. Both are addictive, habitual behaviors and tribal conflicts are thick with them.
This is the battle or war many people may have to endure and fight one day, professionally and personally.
Michael Toebe writes “Reputation Notes” and is the founder and specialist at Reputation Quality, a practice that serves and assists successful people and organizations in further building reputation as an asset and responsibly, ethically protecting, restoring or reconstructing it.
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