It's All About Me [Michael Ledeen]
Here's a primal scream that appeared in today's WaPo. It's from a woman in Arlington, Va., whose Marine son is headed for Iraq in a few weeks. She's upset, and who can blame her? She's doubly upset since she thinks the war is senseless, and I understand that. She's triply upset because she wrote a Master's thesis some years ago at Columbia about Iraqi Kurds, and there she begins to lose me. And then she tells us about the view from her old office (of Arlington Cemetery), and about her grim feelings when she hears flyovers for the funerals there. Indeed, the whole thing is not about him at all, but about her. Her feelings, her politics, her history. There's really nothing about him at all (nor about his father, for that matter), except for dark thoughts about what might become of him. He'll be changed (of course he will), maybe he'll be wounded (the odds are against it, but yes, he might. He might be killed, as he well knows). In short, both she and her Marine are victims.
Not. He chose freely, he was not compelled to join the Corps. Why did he make that choice? Surely not because his mom told him to. And surely not, as so many would have it, because he's from the underclass and has no other way to earn a living. But he, the Marine, doesn't get a word. We get her memories of his early childhood, but nothing about the current man.
Narcissus running wild as he so often does in our world.
I have written about this sort of malignant narcissism (masquerading as "selfless" concern) that motivates many members of the antiwar crowd. Particularly the "gimmicky" exhibitionists like Code Pink or those who prance around in the nude for "peace" and scream hysterially about impeaching Bush and Cheney.
As Ledeen notes, it is all about them; and it is the equivalent to shouting LOOK AT MEEEEE! at the top of their lungs because their thoughts, their feelings, their policies, their moral righteousness are the only things that are important.
If the peace movement really were a peace movement, its members would be denouncing the true threats to peace and trying their damndest to disarm and neutralize the likes of Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah etc. etc. Instead, they champion these groups, demand cease-fires with them-- never acknowledging that there is no way to hold them to account when they break the ceasefire, as they inevitably do, and say little about their standard operational policies that deliberately target the innocent. But the brave peace activists march in solidarity with these foul groups; and proudly wear the latest "hate couture", thinking it shows how tolerant and compassionate and virtuous they are; unaware of the irony that it serves instead to demonstrate the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of their pacifist ideology.
If only the mother Ledeen comments on could actually see her son's choice to enter the military and go to Iraq as his choice; i.e., the choice of a grown individual who is separate from her, she might indeed be sad or even very upset at his choice but not suffer such a severe narcissistic blow to her sense of self.
If she could see her son as a man separate from her own self; with ideas and beliefs of his own; entitled to make his own decisions and live his own life, she might be able to cope better. But what individuals like herself and Cindy Sheehan share is not some "higher moral authority", but one of the most serious defects in narcissistic development.
They fail to see others as separate human beings and relate to them only as extensions of themselves.
Motherhood is a deeply joyous, but ultimately a strongly narcissistic endeavor; and it is never easy for any mother to appreciate that her son or daughter has grown up and is a separate human being. But doing so is a crucial psychological signposts of adult maturity--even mothers must accept this reality.
Those who do not get beyond this point in their development and expect others to have the same feelings, goals and priorities that they do are doomed to a life of constant frustration with outbursts of narcissistic rage and inappropriate behavior demanding that the universe conform to their wishes and desires--or else.
Becoming "antiwar protesters" or embracing one of many leftist-inspired maneuvers that help them to delusionally believe their narcissism makes them more "sensitive" and "caring" and, of course, obviously morally superior to the rest of us losers. Armed with such entitlement and basking in their own self-righteousness then feel justified in forcing their thoughts, feelings and wishes on you "for your own good". The self-deception of these do-gooders is breathtaking.
Antiwar protestors always make a point of asking rhetorically what war is good for? You have heard them chanting this query at almost every one of their peace marches. The truth is that no sane person wants war, but aggression may be the only possible response to evil.
The only response to mothers like the one above--0r all the Cindy Sheehan wannabees--is to suggest that they act like adults and not children. "Narcissisus running wild" may be cute in a toddler, but it is rather pathetic in a grown person.
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