Posted on | December 23, 2012 | 20 Comments
“[I]f we were going to define the left, at least in this country, I guess I’d say that it would revolve around something like people who were committed to the eradication of social, political, economic, gender, sexual, and environmental inequality both in the United States and around the world through the use of a variety of means, ranging from an activist government to revolutionary cadres. . . . I would certainly include myself in this definition of the left.”
– Erik Loomis, Dec. 13, 2012
“On the fringes of the radical movement, many tortured spirits actively sought a martyrdom made doubly attractive by the glamour of modern publicity. The left, with its vision of social upheaval, has always attracted more than its share of lunatics, but the media have conferred a curious sort of legitimacy on antisocial acts merely by reporting them. . ..
“Narcissistic patients, according to [psychiatrist Otto] Kernberg, ‘often admire some hero or outstanding individual’ and ‘experience themselves as part of that outstanding person.’ They see the admired individual as ‘merely an extension of themselves.’ . . . The narcissist admires and identifies himself with ‘winners’ out of his fear of being labeled a loser.”
– Christopher Lasch, The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations (1979)
This past week, Becca Lower counted the number of first-person pronouns (I, me, my, mine) in President Obama’s response to the failure of “fiscal cliff” negotiations with House Republicans. In his memorial to Sen. Daniel Inouye, however, the Narcissist-in-Chief set a new standard:
— Robert Stacy McCain (@rsmccain) December 22, 2012
Whatever the topic, whatever the occasion, the actual subject of any Obama speech ultimately is always Obama:
Someone needs to tell Barack Obama — it must get particularly confusing this time of year — that his own birth is not Year One, the date around which all other events are understood. His much-noted, self-referential tic was on cringe-worthy display Friday when the president gave his eulogy for the late Sen. Daniel Inouye, who served in Congress for half a century representing Obama’s birth state of Hawaii. . . .
From Obama’s telling, the next significant event in Inouye’s life was greeting his new Senate colleague, Barack Obama.
What was admirable about Inouye, according to Obama, was that he was worthy of Obama’s admiration. This solipsistic “argument” is the essence of Obama’s politics, and calls to mind Thomas Sowell’s brilliant 1996 book, The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy. What matters to liberals, Sowell explains, is not whether their policies produce any real improvement, but rather how these policies affirm the belief of liberals in their own moral and intellectual superiority.
As the embodiment of that politics, Obama incites his admirers, who feel empowered by his example to act out the implicit judgment against demonized enemies whom they condemn as manifestly inferior to themselves. Erik Loomis’s deranged rants come to mind:
Reading how vile the comments of this “gifted young scholar” were, I did start thinking that, at a minimum, some people at [the University of Rhode Island] should occasionally monitor his class or question his students to find out whether he brings anywhere close to that amount of venom to discussions with students who disagree with him.