The idea that what I want overrides what you want has increasingly become part of our thinking, our policies and even our laws. There is literally a federal case before the Supreme Court over the fact that many colleges and universities refuse to allow military recruiters on campus.
Why? Because, as the academics will tell you, they are opposed to the military, either in general or because they think the military are discriminating against homosexuals or for whatever other reasons they have.
These academics have every right to be against the military, for any reason or for no reason.
If they don't like the military, they can stay away from the military, since there is no draft. But what they want is to keep other people away from the military, by preventing students from hearing what the military recruiters have to say, as students hear what recruiters from all sorts of other institutions and movements have to say on campus.
Sowell gives several more examples of this mentality, but it is simply part of the casual narcissism that is so ubiquitous today.
I say "casual" because this sort of preoccupation with one's own desires--no matter how destructive the consequences of those desires are--is not only accepted in our society, but actively encouraged.
We hear it all the time. When it comes to desires and wants....well, the ends justify the means. Why? Because nothing is more important that what YOU want; what YOU desire; what YOU feel. That trumps everything.
In the case of the outraged academics that Sowell cites, they are firmly convinced of their moral high ground because they deeply feel the military is really evil. It's not so different for Osama Bin Laden, who also suffers from the same emotional delusion that his wants and desires are paramount and can be imposed on everyone.
In fact, this casual narcissism--promulgated by the pseudo-mentalhealth gurus; and which seems so benign and supportive of self-esteem--is the exact opposite of genuine self-esteem. Only people who have serious defects in the self feel it necessary to forcibly impose what they believe onto everyone else.
You have to be seriously unclear on the concept of freedom to attempt this in a free society.
In a free society, force or violence is generally frowned on. So those who want to impose their will on others try to do it through legal means that bolster their own rights at the expense of others.
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