The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

President First Person Singular and His Radical Cult of Antisocial Admirers

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:

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.

(Hat-tip: Instapundit.)

 

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  • DavidD

    Why must people on the Left devote so much of their energy looking for inequality in the “social, political, economic, gender, sexual, and environmental” spheres, anyway? You find what you expect to find. Why can’t people just look within themselves for answers rather than try to blame everything on the Other?

  • JeffS

    First, I suppose everyone (with a rational mind) should be grateful that Obama isn’t using the Majestic Plural.

    Yet.

    Second …… our culture is “The Culture of Me”. The media pushes, academics teach it, celebrities and politicians practice it. One has to wonder if this is terminal narcissism.

  • CPAguy

    Liberalism appeals to those whose development has been arrested and lack the ability to distinguish between facts and fairy tales.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003232872834 Becca Lower

    You didn’t mention him here, but CNN’s Piers Morgan fits the mold, too. He denigrates those who disagree with him. I heard that the petition seeking his deportation, on the White House website, is only a few hundred signatures short…

  • AnonymousDrivel

    I can’t express any more plainly: Obama is SUCH an a**hole. No wonder practically no one from his pre-community corruption days remembers him. Who would want to associate with him long enough for him to leave a mark?

  • Sayinso

    Jeez, RSM, give it a rest. Obama won, you lost. Move on aleady!

  • JeffS

    What, we can’t point out flaws in the character of the President of the United States? Dissent is patriotic, doncha know?

  • Sayinso

    If it were only that, JS. But the anti-O crowd around here is pretty much refighting the last war; or perhaps it’s just a sign of your ongoing failure to come to grips with having lost the War of Northern Aggression [tm]. In any case, you guys should be trying to figure out how to convince the majority that somehow you have better ideas. On second though, keep doing what you’re doing. The echo-chamber around here is loud, resentful, spiteful, brutish, and nasty, but nobody’s listening. Good.

  • http://twitter.com/bdogdesign John Bradley

    find out whether he brings anywhere close to that amount of venom to discussions with students who disagree with him.

    “And disagree… no one durst.
    He’s the best, of course, of all the worst.
    Some wrong been done, he done it first.
    And he stinks so bad, his bones been chokin’
    Weepin’ greenish drops
    In night of the Iron Sausage,
    The torture never stops.”
    –FZ

  • http://opinion.ak4mc.us/ McGehee

    or perhaps it’s just a sign of your ongoing failure to come to grips with having lost the War of Northern Aggression [tm].

    Oh, right. We’re all just a bunch of neo-confederates. The fact my great great grandfather and two of his brothers served in the Union Army — one of the brothers killed in Middle Tennessee — is just history, like that silly hundred-year-old document signed by a bunch of dead white guys, the one we call the Constitution.

  • JeffS

    Nice try at deflecting the question, Sayinso. But only a try. And a failed one.

    If lefties can screech about Bush for 12 years, we can bitch about Obama being an open narcissist, if not a hard core socialist.

    And even knuckleheads like you know that Slate is anything but a clone of Fox News. So maybe you ought to pop over there and suggest that they move on, hmmm?

  • Sayinso

    McGehee(haw) – I can’t help it if you’re p*ssing on your ancestors blood-earned legacy. That’s on you, dude.
    JS – Not sure what you’re Slate/Fox comment was about, or where it came from. But it’s fine with me if you continue to spew here and I hope you and RSM et al get the broadest exposure. You may make yourselves feel good with your blather, but you’ll get nowhere with those who aren’t hate-soaked loosers.

  • JeffS

    Obtuseness and poor reading comprehension as well. No surprises there.

    Hint: check out the links in Stacy’s post. Since you didn’t read it in the first place.

  • http://boogieforward.us/ K-Bob

    Just for comparison, here’s the number of times Lincoln referred to himself in the Gettysburg Address: 0

  • FOAF

    “get nowhere with those who aren’t hate-soaked loosers.”

    Are yo the same guy who posted on Althouse “why are you wingnuts so insulting”?

  • Jason Holloway

    Has anyone here written a eulogy? A eulogy is SUPPOSED to be very personal. The basis for a eulogy almost always includes a lot about how the person shaped your life.

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