Let's start with how the political left actively works to diminish, debase or degrade their political opponents--not in any appropriate way by attacking their ideas; but in a deliberate attempt to destroy them personally so that in their opponents' destruction their own self-worth can be puffed up. In fact, the sine qua non of the progressive political left is the politics of personal destruction.
In this, they have been aided and abetted by the Gurus of Self-Esteem. Most people confuse "self-esteem" with what I will refer to as a "sense of self". It is the latter--not the former, that is so often screwed up in the angry, violent, grandiose, and generally narcissistic people in the world. If you have a healthy "Self", you are likely to have a healthy self-esteem--which is not the same at all as a high self-esteem.
The psychological defect in malignant narcissism is a broken or distorted sense of one's SELF. The excessive self-esteem and swaggering arrogance that you see in a typical bully comes from a distortion of reality that person has with regard to their own self. It was once widely believed that low self-esteem was a cause of violence--and you see that idea reflected today in the platitudes and rationalizations for terrorism or any destructive behavior-- but, the reality is that most violent individuals, groups and nations think very well of themselves.
The triumvarate of cognitive contradictions promulgated by today's narcissistic left, and which claim to be based on "scientific" psychology includes the hyping of (1) self-esteem (i.e., increasing your self-worth without having to achieve anything; (2) hope (i.e., achieving your goals without any real effort) and (3) victimhood (i.e.,it's not your fault that you haven't achieved anything or made any effort).
The first of these cognitve contradictions leads to inappropriate arrogance and an inflated sense of one's own self worth; which, since it is not based on anything real but only only on the denigration or debasement of others, is extremely fragile and must be defended--violently and ruthlessly, if necessary--when challenged.
To the extent that a person's behavior is mostly motivated by perceived insults to their self--i.e., their narcissistic core; then the "insult" will usually prompt a typical display of narcissistic rage directed toward the unfortunate individual whose person or ideas threatens them.
Such rage responses are invariably destructive, mean, and often incredibly petty. These rages are generally not beneficial to society-at-large (in fact, such actions often have strong sociopathic or antisocial elements to them) , although the person in the throes of narcissistic rage will often convince themselves that they are behaving perfectly appropriately and even for "the good" of others. You can often imagine them chanting to themselves, "I am so special! I am so special!"; or like Homer Simpson, "I am so smart. S-M-R-T, I mean S-M-A-R-T", as he accidentally sets the house on fire.
Far too often, narcissistically flawed individuals are hopelessly attracted by the grandiose opportunities of the political arena (as well as the Hollywood arena) like moths to a flame. Their sense of self is starkly invested in the desire for power over others (always justified to themselves, of course, as being "for their own good"); a constant need admiration and adulation; and grandiose, often insatiable ambitions.
This arrogance thuse makes them remarkably adept at the "politics of personal destruction".
For the narcissist it is always a zero-sum game he or she plays with other individuals. From the perspective of the narcissist, if someone else "wins", the narcissist "loses". It cannot be otherwise, since on some level they know that their own talent and skills are way overblown. Hence, they cannot hope to "win" based on those talents alone. Thus, the behavior of the classic narcissist is mostly directed toward making others lose so they can win by default. To that end, there is no behavior or tactic that is considered out-of-bounds or over-the-top.
Ad hominem attacks are preferred since the narcissistic is hopelessly outclassed on the battlefield of ideas. Watch carefully and you will notice that whenever an idea or proposal is brought forth regarding the economy that is inconsistent with their ideology, the postmodern left attacks the person whose idea it was, NOT the idea itself except through gross distortion and deception. Paul Ryan and Chris Christie are just two recent examples of conservatives who are personally attacked to ensure that their ideas are not discussed in any rational or civil manner.
And, as mentioned previously, watch the rage and vicious insults that are casually expressed toward anyone who should know their place in the leftist victimhood heirarchy (e.g., a woman or a black conservative for example) dares to disagree with their political positions.
Hence the current state of political discourse and the ubiquitous personal attacks that have become the trademark of all political campaigns to some extent, but which are constantly decried by the left, even as they desperately try to pin anything bad that happens on their enemies, the conservatives or Republicans.
The tragic shooting of Representative Giffords by a paranoid schizophrenic is a case in point. The left self-righteously and arrogantly pinned that one on Sarah Palin, a go-to whipping
Frankly, a schizophrenic is truly sick in every medical/physiological/biological sense of the word; but the progressive left suffers from an illness that is
philosophical/moral/spiritual and ethical sense.
If you want to understand why politics has become so virulent and personally vicious you need not look any farther that this sad truth. While politics still occasionally brings out those who have strong personal integrity and values; often it is the people of no integrity and values who are obsessively attracted to the field and are triumphant--and that is true on both sides of the political spectrum.
By that, I mean that those who would actually make the best leaders generally opt out of the process, because they tend to be too healthy to generate the continual rage necessary to destroy all opponents; or they lack the required-- and mostly distorted --sense of personal "perfection" and grandiosity that drives the power-hungry.
I am frequently reminded that it is hopelessly naive these days to expect the electorate to vote for a person based on what that person actually stands for; instead, these days most people respond to the negative campaign ads that slice and dice the other guy; and are mainly influenced by botoxed faces and Hollywood-packaged good-looks rather than the content of any candidate's character. And, the less they know of that character, the better (witness the character with tabula rasa who was elected in the last Presidential election)!
Real personal integrity and character comes from having a consistent set of values and exhibiting behavior driven by those values. Today's classic narcissistically-driven politicians can only flutter in the political winds, and zelig-like easily take on whatever characteristics their public care to project onto them.
Arrogance is not necessarily a vice--or even a deadly sin--when you actually have achieved something in the real world to be arrogant about. But spending other people's money and claiming it is your divine right to do so; looting other people's wealth; or seeking to control other people's lives so that you can feel virtuous and powerful is about as deadly a sin as there is. Wretchard writes in "The Fatal Phrase", a post about arrogant serial seducer and former head of the IMF (and the socialist party in France) who incredulously asked a hotel maid he was forcing himself on, "Don't you know who I am?"
People actually like to feel important. they crave recognition and using the words “don’t you know who I am” indicates they believe they’ve arrived and the waves should part before them.
John Kerry is rather notorious for this same behavior. And who can forget Qaddafi's "Tokyo Rose" Cynthia McKinney who assaulted a police officer at the Capitol back in 2006 because he had the temerity to ask for identification from her. Not surprisingly, because he did not immediately recognize her, she framed the encounter that she was a "victim" of 'racial profiling' (see #3 in the cognitive contradictions listed above).
This is not the kind healthy self-esteem which allows a person to face real threats in the real world very effectively because the narcissist cannot deal effectively with threats they do not perceive as personal--why should they care much about any other kind, unless the polls indicate they should?.
That is why candidates like Obama are so attractive: because this same voting base that once adored Hillary now find her too too obvious and coarse, and have swung over to the unknown, tabula rasa candidate on whom they are able to project their own fantasies without any intrusion by harsh reality.
The best leaders are not obsessed with themselves; with polls; or with accumulating power by pandering to all sides. Those leaders may, in truth, have many other personal flaws--but not particularly of the dangerously narcissistic variety. Whatever those flaws (and we all possess them), they are characterologically able to be more concerned about dealing with external reality; rather than in preserving a distorted and fragile internal one.
Avenging petty slights and insults is not a high priority to a psychologically healthy person. Those healthy individuals are far more likely to direct their psychological energy toward dealing with real-world geopolitical threats that endanger both their country and the people they have the responsibility to protect; rather than using that country or the power of their office to counter threats to their endangered self and act on their grandiose fantasies about themselves.
The latter is the same psychological pathology that is rampant among dictators and dictator wannabes of all stripes. Their concern about others in their group/nation is purely of the “l’état c’est moi” variety.
That the needs of the nation, or the people they serve, might be different from their own; or that doing the right thing is often different from doing the popular thing, are foreign and dangerous concepts. The only reality they know--or care about--is the one inside themselves.
This aristocratic arrogance that is characteristic of a typical narcissist makes them view all issues through the prism of their own sad little egos.
Let us turn for a moment to another great poobah of unrestrained narcissism and aristocratic arrogance; the pious and morally righteous ex-President Jimmy Carter; who provides a case demonstration of the those who claim genuine superiority over others. "James Taranto tells this pertinent story about Carter by way of John Sugg:
Carter fittingly used a parable to illustrate how he'd like to see the political/religious debate unfold.
"I was teaching a Sunday school class two weeks ago," he recalls. "A girl, she was about 16 years old from Panama City [Fla.], asked me about the differences between Democrats and Republicans.
"I asked her, 'Are you for peace, or do you want more war?' Then I asked her, 'Do you favor government helping the rich, or should it seek to help the poorest members of society? Do you want to preserve the environment, or do you want to destroy it? Do you believe this nation should engage in torture, or should we condemn it? Do you think each child today should start life responsible for $28,000 in [federal government] debt, or do you think we should be fiscally responsible?'
"I told her that if she answered all of those questions, that she believed in peace, aiding the poor and weak, saving the environment, opposing torture . . . then I told her, 'You should be a Democrat.' "
Geez. I have met many 6 year olds with a clearer grasp of morality than this tired old man who never met a dictator that he couldn't support; and who appears to think that if someone disagrees with him, then they are clearly against peace; against the poor and weak; against the environment; and for torture!
Just as Barack Obama and his sycophants (or Cynthia McKinney and hers) believe that anyone who challenges them must be racist.
These are examples of the two fundamental types of malignant narcissists -- the "grandiose" narcissist, whose exaggerated sense of self-importance is dominant; and the "idealistic" narcissist, whose exaggerated self-righteous veneer of concern for others masks an underlying obsession with imposing their views on everyone else.
Both types are a plague on humanity; and both represent well-traveled avenues and justifications for limiting freedom and imposing tyranny. The "grandiose" narcissist shares the same psychology as any thug, bully, or tyrant; while the "idealistic" narcissist is the basic psychological fodder for the many groups (run by the grandiose types) who desire to impose their beliefs onto others.
Most narcissists go back and forth between the two basic types, since they are actually flip sides of the same psychological coin. Aristocratic arrogance and pious self-righteousness might appear to be opposites at first glance, but they both are hallmarks of individuals who are unhealthily obsessed with their own sad, little selves.
Gaghdad Bob at One Cosmos, took up this topic in "The Envy of the Left (or No Good News Goes Unpunished)"), and I will quote him at length:
According to Webster's, envy is defined as "malice," and a "painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another, joined with a desire to possess the same advantage." The psychoanalytic understanding of envy is that it is an unconscious fantasy aimed at attacking, damaging, or destroying what is good, because of the intolerable feeling that one does not possess and control the object of goodness. As such, it is an aspect of what Freud called the death instinct, since it ultimately involves a destructive attack on the sources of life and goodness. Particularly envious individuals cannot tolerate the pain of not possessing and controlling the "good object," so they preemptively spoil it so that they don't have to bear the pain.
What is critical--and so perverse--about envy, is that it is not an attack on "the bad" or frustrating, but a hateful attack on what is good. As a result, the psyche of such individuals confuses what is bad and what is good, and cannot experience a sense of gratitude toward the good, the sine qua non of happiness and mental health. The envious person does not want to have a relationship with the good object, but wants to be that object. If it cannot be the object, then it attacks it to eliminate the tension.
Yesterday was an instructive but disturbing case study in the many ways of envy. Here we had such wonderful news coming out of Iraq, but the left found a multitude of ways to devalue, attack, and "spoil" the news through their excessive envy--by ignoring it, by downplaying it, by qualifying it, and by completely assaulting it with near-psychotic delusions.
Bob goes on to detail the general discontent on the left when good news came out of Iraq during Bush's term. If you can recall back to that time, there was NEVER anything that was positive about that war for the left. All good news was twisted and made to appear bad. Harry Reid even went on about how the "war was lost", and this meme was repeated over and over again as the left sought to undermine any and all progress there. The MSM was entirely complicit in this.
Contrast this sharply to the accolades (albeit grudging at times) that many conservatives and Republicans gave to Obama for ordering the operationthat killed Bin Laden. I heard it repeatedly said, even on eeevil Fox News! Granted that they all would have preferred that the previous Administration had been successful at this; and were annoyed that Obama (in his usual arrogant "It's all about me" way took more than his share of the credit); but nevertheless, they managed to control their envy because they realized what a positive event this was for the country.
You would be loathe to find a progressive who, even today, is willing to give Bush any credit at all for his actions on behalf of the U.S. Everything Bush ever did was bad; the same things when Obama does them are wonderful beyond belief.
Envy is such an important but generally ignored concept, probably because people don't want to consider the sinister ways it operates in their own lives. But it is a key that unlocks many mysteries, particularly in politics. So strong and ubiquitous is envy, that you cannot have a political system that doesn't accommodate or find some way to manage envy. You might say that one party will generally represent the envied, the other the envious. Guess which ones.
ENVY is, without doubt, the underlying emotion behind the Marxist trope, "from each according to his ability; to each according to his need". The "enlightened" and morally bankrupt left has always believed that economic self-interest means simply voting yourself a share of the money earned by others. They wouldn't know how to create wealth if their lives depended on it; that's why they seek power over others--they see it as the only way they can survive in the real world; but since they cannot admit that to themselves, they will seize other people's wealth with one hand, while signing the political bills that make it impossible to create the wealth on which they themselves depend.
The truth is that they deeply hate those who create the wealth they want to steal, and seek to destroy them--even though at some level, they understand they cannot survive without them.
They count on the fact that this reality never spoken of in polite society.
The envy of the postmodern progressive left is palpable. It is malignant and it consumes them. But they don't care. They have convinced themselves that they stand for things like "peace" and "freedom" and "truth"--but they have really chosen to ally themselves to the side of darkness and despair, slavery and oppression, lies and distortions; and they can no longer even appreciate when a truly magnificent achievement takes place before their very eyes unless they can claim credit for it.
What can I say about entitlement and the left's preoccupation with it that hasn't already been said? In this area, the political left's narcissism has run completely amok. Any challenge to their supposed superiority is met with rage. In typical projection, they perceive all opposition to them and their policies to be based on the most sinister of motives; people who oppose them are always characterized as lacking intelligence (never mind that Bush got better grades than Kerry--that fact was always downplayed because Bush had to be portrayed as stupid and inept).
This is how they puff up their own inadequate egos. But sadly, denigrating others is never enough for long to keep those egos inflated. They must find others to debase and destroy, like an addict who needs the high.
Narcissists always want more. Whatever you do is never good enough for them, and they also generally show no gratitute or express any thanks--even when someone goes out of their way for them. Like the most spoiled of royalty, they merely expect that they should be the center of your world at all times.
This attitude is normally seen in toddlers, who want what they want and they want it now. Every parent has had to deal with this kind of whining. When you see this attitude repeatedly in an adult, then you know you are dealing with psychopathology. Many adults whimper at the slightest inconvenience, delay, or restriction. Why? Because, like toddlers, they are convinced they deserve what they want when they want it. They are "entitled" to it.
And the left envision a entire society of entitlement. Their doctrines of multiculturalism and political correctness are all designed to use entitlement as a justification for redistributing the wealth of others. Their various special victim groups are taught to see everything through the prism of their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation etc. That way they can never mentally leave the ideology of the left and are trapped forever in it, demanding that their needs and feelings always be the first priority of others.
Case in point provided by Mark Steyn:
Since most of The Corner's metropolitan pantywaists seem to be cowering in terror from the light flurry devastating Washington this morning, let me offer this headline from the sports pages of The Seattle Weekly:
Gay, Mentally Challenged Biracial Male Cheerleader Claims Discrimination
He was allowed to join the high-school cheerleading team but was not given a set of pom-poms and was prevented from wiggling his hips. So naturally he wants Washington to take political action. This sounds like a job for Harry Reid and Rahm Emmanuel, with their well documented interest in biracial males and the mentally challenged.
In psychiatry we use the term "sense of entitlement" to describe the outrageous attitude of some of our more narcissistic clients who believe that the world "owes" them and they want to collect NOW.
This sense of entitlement has seeped into the culture and we have that good old progressive mentality to thank for it. The psychopathy such an attitude engenders is not a pretty sight. But there's a lot of blame to go around, starting with parents unwilling to set limits; as well as the entire worthless "self-esteem" movement that hypes self-esteem at the expense of self-responsibility and accountability.
All these factors have led to a culture of entitlement which encourages dysfunctional and highly antisocial behavior where the only concern is for one's own needs of the moment and their gratification. Many other factors in our culture reinforce this sort of behavior and even reward and enable it.
The influence of the cult of victimhood grows ever wider as the celebration of victimhood and the sense of entitlement promoted by a quasi-religious leftist/Marxist dogma has become a way of life.
As I have noted many times before, this sad situation has come about in part, because so many of the clueless individuals on the political left have an intense narcissistic need to see themselves as "champions of the oppressed"; hence the constant need to find and maintain an oppressed class of people to champion. Is it any wonder that our "gay, mentally challenged, biracial male cheerleader looks to government to solve all his problems and reimburse him for all his "suffering"?
This attitude also dovetails nicely into the Marxist dialectic (which is the foundation of the entitlement culture) and its greedy, grasping promotion of envy and egalitarianism. The world is divided up into two groups, you see: the oppressors (i.e., white, male,heterosexual, Republican, Americans, Israelis; etc. etc) and the oppressed (everyone else).
The political left proudly stands in solidarity with the oppressed victims of the world; and it is worth noting that their stance is particularly ego-gratifying if those they champion are undeserving victims (i.e., similar to Alfred P. Doolittle's "undeserving poor"-- who have needs as great as the most deserving of victims; in fact, their needs are even greater).
We are seeing more and more ridiculous stories like the one to which Steyn links. Each one more ridiculous than the last in a never-ending attempt to out-entitle each other.
As you can see, there is quite a bit of overlap in the political left's use of Arrogance, Envy, and Entitlement in the field of politics. At the heart of each of these deadly sins is the belief that their ideology produces superior people with superior intellect, entitled to have power and rule over others. But the "superiority" and sense of entitlement that they desperately cling to is just a thin disguise for the deeper and darker emotions of envy and hatred of the good.
In Part III, the narcissistic sins of Exploitation and Bad Boundaries will be covered.
Have a good weekend!