Yes, Narcissists Lack Empathy And Can’t Be Trusted, But Fortunately, They’re Honest!


There was a fascinating little story in the Washington Post last week. Apparently researchers have found that a long diagnostic survey used to identify narcissists is no more effective than a simple, direct question: “Are you a narcissist?”

Narcissists just aren’t ashamed of their narcissism, and as the story points out, that shouldn’t be surprising. Narcissists see the world as revolving around them, feel superior to everyone else, and typically aren’t inclined to hide their light under a bushel basket. They also are smart enough to know they are self-absorbed, and if they thought that was a bad thing, they wouldn’t be true narcissists, who tend to believe that everything about themselves is peachy keen. Narcissists also lack empathy, so comprehending why people like them are often distrusted (because, in fact, they aren’t trustworthy) might be beyond them.

Professor Brad Bushman, co-author of the study, tells the Post that being able to identify narcissists easily is a boon for everyone, including the narcissists themselves, pointing out that if you already think you’re perfect, you’re not going to make an effort to improve yourself. “And it’s bad for society as well,” he says, “because if you’re selfish you’re less likely to be a cooperative and helpful member of your community.”

Fortunately for them and society, narcissists, despite all their unethical tendencies, are honest…at least about their malady. Continue reading

A Three-Year-Old’s Privacy, Sacrificed For A Story


Showing the excellent ethical instincts that frequently characterize his blog for the Wall Street Journal (though not always), James Taranto accurately identifies blatantly callous and unethical conduct by the New York Times, its reporter, and the adult subjects of a Father’s Day feature called”And Baby Makes Four.”  The story, intended to highlight the proliferation of non-traditional family structures in modern America, focused on a 3-year old boy whose mother conceived him using the sperm of a gay friend.

The Times named and interviewed both the mother and the friend, who often babysits the toddler but professes no desire to ever be a father to him in the parental sense. The Times story describes how the sperm-donor watches the clock in boredom, waiting to be relieved of his child-care duties, and how observing the child—his son— play sometimes fill him with “profound despair.” Continue reading