Most people are
familiar with the so-called "Dark Triad" of psychological traits that
are sometimes used to define people as being evil. That triad of traits is:
narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy.
Now, a new study
seeks to define a "Light Triad," three traits associated with
particularly good people and prosocial outcomes. Psychology Today reports:
The three subscales
of the Light Triad Scale are conceptualized as follows:
in Humanityㅡor the belief that, generally speaking, humans are
Sample item: I think
people are mostly good.
the belief that humans across all backgrounds are deserving of respect and
Sample Item: I enjoy
listening to people from all walks of life.
the belief that others should be treated as ends in and of themselves, and not
as pawns in one’s own game.
Sample item: When I
talk to people, I am rarely thinking about what I want from them.
Whether these three
factors truly comprise a "Light Triad" is certainly a matter of
opinion, but it's hard to argue that anyone who significantly expresses these
traits is anything other than prosocial.
What I found most
interesting about this proposed "Light Triad" is how closely it
corresponds to run-of-the-mill libertarianism. Libertarianism in the classical
tradition is based on the belief that human beings can figure out tough
problems emergently, without the aid of government decrees to force it to
happen; that's faith in humanity by anyone's measure. Libertarians also believe
deeply in a profound sense of human dignity (via freedom) and respect (via
equality); and that's humanism through-and-through. Finally, freedom in the
libertarian sense of the word is steeply rooted in the belief that human beings
are not slaves and should not be forced to do anything. We often contrast this
to the implications of things like socialized health care, which seem to
suggest that patients are entitled by right to the labor of doctors and nurses.
In other words, we object to such things because we don't think doctors and
nurses ought to be treated as means to someone else's end. And that is the
essence of Kantianism.
Naturally, none of
this should imply that libertarian individuals should score high on the
"Light Triad." All I mean to suggest is that libertarianism is consistent with the "Light Triad,"
and thus we can consider it prosocial, at least by that measure.