Pardon a brief, but I believe illuminating detour into psychology.
For this detour, I’ll ask your brief indulgence; try to go back to a time, five short years ago, where the term “Narcissism” hadn’t been hijacked by cancel culture to refer, like “Racism”, “Whiteness” and “Fascism”, to refer to “anything that triggers me or refers to people I hate but can’t reasonably define why”. Like all those terms, and many more, modern leftist academic and media culture has dumbed it almost out of existence. Remember a few years back, when the term “narcissism” was both an ethical description of a personality trait – solipsism to the point of self-destruction – and a clinical diagnosis, one of many flavors of “Personality Disorder”.
With that indulgence asked, onward.
I may be the only pundit in the world who refers to this article, 20 Diversion Tactics Highly Manipulative Narcissists, Sociopaths And Psychopaths Use To Silence You – a key tool for describing modern-day “progressives”.
And when you read through them, it’s not even a stretch.
- Gaslighting: “Mask (or climate, or white supremacy) denialism shows you don’t care about others!”,
- Projection: This blog has made a virtual science out of cataloging that trait.
- Nonsensical conversations from hell: the language of modern academic “social justice”, which has been leaching into and leeching from public education for decades, is the very definition of the “word salad” that defines this trait.
- Blanket Statements and Generalizations: “One in five women will be raped at university”, and the concepts of “Toxic Masculinity (Whiteness, Individualism, etc, etc)” leap out at one.
- Deliberatelly misrepresenting your thoughts and feelings: Here was a master class in the subject.
That’s just the first five. I could – and soon, no doubt, will – go on from there.
Indeed, I commend you to read the list, and think of how it applies to the Progressives you deal with.
Captain Obvious phoned in with the following statement of the plain-as-day: As the Democratic Party has moved sharply to the left, and been taken over by people who reject the tenets and goals principles of the civilization that the United States has always led, control of power has become the goal.
“Yeah, but that’s all politics”.
Sure, in a sense. And I don’t want to overidealize the way 240 years of American politics have hewed to those principles.
But it’s not a stretch to say that Hubert Humphey would be laughed out of today’s Democratic Party; that Lyndon Johnson would be revered not for his principles, but for his tactical acumen; that Jimmy Carter would be treated like a naive college kid.
You can say, if you want, that the Democratic party doesn’t itself exalt the worst, most toxic traits of modern “progressive” culture – cancel culture, identity politics, an academy that would have made Orwell recoil in horror, and a desire to control not only the narrative but history itself that Mao would have loved.
You could say – as many Democrats have said to me – that the fact that Biden is, himself, proof that Democrats reject this. To do this, you have to ignore the fact that his mental shelf date is (I take no joy in saying this, dealing as I am with a parent with dementia) very obviously approaching, and those waiting in the wings make no bones about their own goals and means. You have to ignore the way the left is governing at the state and especially local level, looking at the left’s “bench”, the Lori Lightfoots and Gavin Newsomes and Fredo Cuomos and Squiggy DiBlasios, not to mention the endless self-adoring prattle of The Squad.
And you can look at the tortuous rationalizations – “Nonsensical conversations from hell” – by which they justify the months of rioting to which, it’s fair to say, last week’s rumble at the Capitol was in large part a response.
But let’s be clear on something, here:
Where Blame Is Due
The blame for the Capitol riot goes to the rioters, and those, up to and including the President, who fomented it. No way around it.
But it didn’t happen in a vacuum.
Progressivism – with its habit of hamfisted power that rules by turning people against each other – was the fuel for the fire, not only last week but behind our society and country’s downward arc this past few decades.
And like all fires, it needs a spark and air to start burning.
We’ll come back to that next.