The narcissistic delusions of Leftists *UPDATED*

Can I say that an entire political ideology is narcissistic?  Because I’d really like to say that about Leftism, a political movement that sometimes seems like the textbook definition of narcissism.  Although the DSM is a highly political book, it’s still the starting point for any diagnosis of narcissism:

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders fourth edition, DSM IV-TR, a widely used manual for diagnosing mental disorders, defines narcissistic personality disorder (in Axis II Cluster B) as:[1]

A pervasive pattern of grandiosity(in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

  1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
  2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  3. Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
  4. Requires excessive admiration
  5. Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
  6. Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
  7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
  8. Is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her
  9. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

Doesn’t the above list make you think of behavior patterns on the Left?  Here, let me walk you through it:

“Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements).”  Think of the Left’s Obama hagiography.  He was the embodiment of all that was Left.  Despite the lack of any proof, such as grades or real world accomplishments, we were assured that Obama was the most brilliant, successful, competent person ever to grace the Oval Office.  Even now, as Obama’s initiatives inspire visceral dislike in the American people, who are not better of now than they were four years ago, Obama and his crew routinely chastise the American people for failing to recognize his greatness.  We are routinely told that any failures occuring under the Left’s  governance lie, not with the Left itself, but with the idiocy of the American people.

“Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.”  See above.  Also, check out Obama’s “ocean rising” speech, back in 2008, which speaks both to Obama’s own messiah fantasies and to the entire Leftist belief in its world-changing powers.

“Believes that he or she is ‘special’ and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions).”  Again, see above.  Obama’s vacation is also emblematic of this particular facet of narcissistic personality disorder.  If you’ve been following Obama’s most recent vacation, you’ll see that he has eschewed the prosaic Camp David or, God forbid, a working vacation such as those Bush enjoyed at his ranch.  He stays in luxury, socializes only with the self-proclaimed (and wealthiest) elite, and generally distances himself from the hoi polloi.  Michelle Antoinette shares his expensive tastes.  Both justify their conduct on the ground that they deserve this treatment and can only be comfortable (i.e., relax and get away from it all) when surrounded by “the best.”

“Requires excessive admiration.”  And again, you can look to the above for evidence of this requirement.  Fundamentally, whether speaking of grandiosity, fantasies of success, a sense of uniqueness or the uncreasing demand for admiration, one can can see that they’re all slightly differently stated sides of the same coin.  The Narcissist is his own God, and needs others constantly to remind him of the truth of this theology.

“Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations.”  Ditto.

“Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends.”  There is no better example of this than the way the Left uses minorities, especially blacks, to justify its big government fetish.  This is true whether we’re talking about (a) Jim Crow busily trampling blacks civil rights (because Jim Crow was big government directed at explicitly racist ends) or about (b) the current welfare society that emasculates black men and generally infantilizes the entire black community by preventing its members from becoming independent adults.

“Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.”  The best illustration I can think of this is the whole “civility” debate that’s sprung up recently.  In the Leftist world, civility is entirely a one way street.  Those who are not Leftists are not allowed to speak critically of the Left (or its individual members).  However, on the Left, there is no such thing as incivility.  There is only speaking the truth about the evil that is conservativism.  This is why expressions such as “tea bagging” become common currency on the Left, and Maxine Waters vile and vulgar statements go unremarked.

“Is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her.”  The nature of Leftism is envy.  It is a political doctrine based entirely on making sure that the other guy doesn’t have more than you have.

“Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.” — Barack Obama is Exhibit A.  And Exhibit B.  And Exhibit C, ad infinitum.  However, if you think I’ve over-used Obama to make my point here, feel free to substitute Janeane Garofalo, or Keith Olbermann, or Ed Schultz, or most of Hollywood or [you fill in the blank].

The above is not to say that the conservative side of the spectrum doesn’t have its own pathologies.  I’m just arguing that a pervasive narcissism characterizes the Left.

It might help here if I explained what triggered this whole line of thinking in the first place.  I happen to know, pretty well, a couple of narcissists.  I recently had an insight about them:  narcissists are unable to distinguish between facts, opinions and morality.  A narcissist’s opinions and understanding become the only standard, rendering inoperative such things as objective and subjective thought or debatable moral issues.

For example, while I, a non-narcissist, might say that, having sampled all the french fries in the region, I like McDonald’s fries best, a narcissist will say that McDonald’s fries are the best.  The narcissist cannot contemplate the possibility that his preferences are not objective fact. This is why all discussions with narcissists quickly devolve into name calling — or, more accurately, end with the narcissist calling you names.

Since there is only one truth — the narcissist’s — you, by expressing contary opinions, are actually challenging his status as a God head  As I said above, the narcissist is his own God, and needs others constantly to remind him of the truth of this theology.  When you differ from the narcissist, you have shown yourself to be a heretic.  Auto da fé being unavailable, ad hominem attacks are the only thing left in the narcissist’s arsenal.

So yes, I’ve convinced myself that the Left is, collectively, a political movement suffering from narcissistic personality disorder.  What do you think?

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

The Bookworm Turns : A Secret Conservative in Liberal Land, available in e-format for the new low price of $2.99 at Amazon, Smashwords or through your iBook app.

UPDATE:  I’m not the only one struck by Leftist delusions.  My friend Garry is thinking along similar lines.

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  • Lyte Lee

    Yes.  I marvel at the inability for self-reflection and saw a parrellel between Barry and certain types, like those responsible for 9-11 and thereafter. I believe it begins with self-diefication on some level thus explaining the above mentioned lack of ability to even consider the question,  “Is this really true.”  For the left, God either doesn’t exist, or is irrelevent or is a figment of their imaginations and agrees with them about all manner of social policy. It reminds of the Old Testament verse below:

    Psalm 50:21 “These things you have done and I kept silent; you thought I was altogether like you. But I will rebuke you and accuse you to your face.These things you have done and I kept silent; you thought I was altogether like you. But I will rebuke you and accuse you to your face.
     (emphasis mine)

    To the left, if God exists, God just like them.

     As a Christian I’m confronted with the question, “Is this really true,” constantly and constantly have to wiegh the evidence for with the arguments against.  I must say, I wholeheartedly accept it’s exlusive truth claims but not without well explored reasons.  Why does the left think they’re right is a question that baffled me for many years.  I concluded because they assume they believe all the right things but the question is are they right because the things they believer are true or are they right by virtue of the fact that they believe them.  I have concluded, with certainty, it’s the latter. 

    As I said earlier, I believe narcissisic pathology begins with self-diefication.  As someone once said, “If God is dead, someone has to take his place.”  I wholeheartedly agree with your acute diagnosis but I think the cause begins in Atheism of some kind to some degree. 

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    The Left is an alliance that is malignant and an enemy of humanity.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Lyte Lee: “I concluded because they assume they believe all the right things but the question is are they right because the things they believer are true or are they right by virtue of the fact that they believe them”

    Well, (snort!) duh, that’s because it just wouldn’t be fair if that was not so. If I believe something to be so, then I have just as much right as anybody else to be right. So there! I think that I will now go and listen to John Lennon sing “imagine”, again.  

  • jj

    Wait a minute – McDonald’s fries are the best!  (Except for Frugals, but they’re a regional, not a national chain.)

  • Caped Crusader

    An outstanding presentation of the charges and supporting facts of the accusations. He stands convicted on all counts. Well done, Madam Prosecutor!

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    Also, check out Obama’s “ocean rising” speech, back in 2008, which speaks both to Obama’s own messiah fantasies and to the entire Leftist belief in its world-changing powers.

    What you talking about, Book? I clearly saw Obama raise the levels in Japan. Clearly the ocean was raised.  So who says Obama doesn’t have apocalyptic powers? That’s real down homeboy making it good.

  • Charles Martel

    Bradley Ogden, a Bay Area chef with a very good rep, once told a local magazine that he thought McDonald’s fries were prit near the best in America. I’m no fan of the chain, but I agree. The fries have always been good. You have to give props when it’s called for.

    Back to NOTUS (Narcissist of the United States): Beautifully written indictment, Book. Now we just have to make sure that as many Americans as possible become acquainted with NPD by November 2012.

  • Danny Lemieux

    I see that our gracious host Bookworm is getting widespread and well-deserved accolades for this post. 

    If I can make a small contribution to the conversation, let me highly recommend the superbly erudite Wretchard’s (Richard Fernandez) prose on the same subject of Leftwing narcissism, in this case Obama’s…

    http://pajamasmedia.com/richardfernandez/2011/08/25/more-bad-luck/2/ 

    Best takeaway line from this excellent essay…

    “The president famously ascribed his woes to a “run of bad luck.” Someone should have reminded him that Nemesis, the bringer of tragedy, “originally meant the distributor of fortune, neither good nor bad, simply in due proportion to each according to what was deserved.” In that view, you make your own luck, and there is a large dose of irony in watching the Left, which believes in no deity but itself, eager to hang the rap on God.”

    In fact, one could only but hope that this would serve as the perfect epitaph for the Left.

  • Mike Devx

    > “[...] there is a large dose of irony in watching the Left, which believes in no deity but itself, eager to hang the rap on God”

     Actually, what they’re up to, is the avoidance of responsibility for the tragedies and horrors that they are directly responsible for.  I don’t see anything ironic.  Just thoroughly maddening and disgusting.

    You could say it starts in the late 60s, with leftist policies deliberately introduced that had the unintended effect of utterly destroying black urban families.  Or the world-wide ban on DDT, which has resulted in millions of deaths, especially in Africa.  All unnecessary and tragic; and untold millions more who suffer needlessly.

    “But we had the best of intentions!” they will whine.  “Our goals were just!”

    You left out a word, leftists.  When judged against reality:  Your goals were just AWFUL.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    Evil is what evil does.

  • Charles Martel

    It is interesting when men make feelings their king and mistake it for conscience.

  • Blick

    Better living thru self-delusion.

     I think your description hints at it but I will add that liberals are cowardly bullies. They only demonstrate against the helpless (Obama threatening Social security payments) or those who will be self-restrained in their response. (Ghandi was successful only because of the British system. In any dictatorship he would have lasted two minutes.) They will make excuses for the violent because otherwise they would have to confront the violence.

  • Mike Devx

    An article by Charles Blow of the NY Times has this delicious headline:

    “We Need Government To Step Up And Be Smart”

    Whaaa-aaat?  Here I thought the whole raison-d’etre of putting government in charge of our lives is that they already *were* so much smarter than you!  So much smarter than me!  I should let them take care of me and my children and loved ones because, why, they’re simply superior in every way!

    So why have they decided to be dumb all these sixty years?  Did no one think to remind them that they’re supposed to be smart, at least once every, oh, fifteen years or so?

    “We Need Government To Step Up And Be Smart”

    Shoot, I guess all these last sixty years we *haven’t* needed government to step up nor be smart.  It’s OK, Guys, just sit there and do absolutely nothing but play with your navel.  We’ll let you know when we actually *need* you.  That’ll be in 2011.  According to Charles Blow.

    I have a gentle few words of wisdom for you, Mr. Blow.  Maybe big government CAN’T step up.  Maybe big government CAN’T be smart.  Not when it’s trying to micromanage the affairs of three hundred million people?

     

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    The Leftists basically want government to be their brain because otherwise they wouldn’t have one.

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