My Dark Triad Profile

The Dark Triad is one of those things that I hadn’t heard about until recently. It’s a trifecta of "negative" personality traits: Narcissism, Machiavellianism and Psychopathy – or, roghly speaking, preoccupation with self, tendency toward deceit, and lack of emotional depth/sensitivity. I could have told you before I took the test that the only one of these I was really in danger of scoring higher than average on was Narcissism. I’m not an Ayn Rand fan for nothing: I really do like myself quite a lot, and I have trouble sometimes taking other peoples’ situations into account. But I’m not psychopathic and not even remotely machiavellian. I couldn’t be manipulative if I tried – I’m just not that subtle, or that good an observer of human behavior (see "narcissist," above). And as for psychopathy, I’m very thoughtful, and I actually do have a lot of empathy, even if it’s mostly of the abstract/Kantian kind.

Here’re my actual results (from the online survey I took):


No, I don’t object at all to the idea that this largely accounts for my politics. In fact, I’d say this is more or less exactly what you might expect the profile of a standard-issue Libertarian to look like. The preoccupation with self is an obvious one – but I think the most telling of the three is the extremely low score on "machiavellianism." The one thing you can’t accuse Libertarians of being is manipulative or deceitful. Leaving people to their own devices is the cornerstone of the whole philosophy, and pursuant to that goal we advocate a set of laws that’s small and maximally clear, so as to minimize both the need for interpretation and the likelihood of unintended consequences.

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