Authenticity in the Age of Political Narcissism

Articles Feb 13, 2023

How many of us spend time believing; even slumbering under the illusion that our lackadaisical days are soon to yield to a splendid state of affairs where present suffering will become a remnant of some previous era of our lives?

I certainly don't want you to frenetically labor under a time-intensive and overly strenuous recognition of the fact that life is finite. I do want you to consider, however, that all of the issues that are swirling around our culture today require active engagement. To the extent that any of us remain passive recipients of the experience of our own lives we are certainly missing targeted areas upon which our cognitive steel could be tested; this much the extreme sides of both the left and the right understand. And that’s just the problem…that we now have a cock fight between the most bizarre and personality-disordered people in our society dominating the social and cultural realm.

My question posed above is very similar to the question I have for those living a monastic life: what if everybody lived as a monk, believing that God would provide? Certainly, everyone would find that God is not interested in providing in the absence of the effort of people. If everyone lived like a monk, everyone would starve because no one would be sourcing food, or taking care of problems in the real world.

This is just the problem causing such an odious fermentation in our social and political world. In essence, we have a news circuit, political sphere, and social realm being dominated increasingly by psychopathic, borderline, and severely narcissistic personalities. These are the loudest people speaking out, and they tend to scare the rest of us off because they use a pathological level of aggression in the midst of conflict. Normal people do not attack or pursue for the purpose of destroying those with whom they disagree. That is a psychopathic extension of malignant narcissism, and it is becoming somewhat normative.

This reaction style took form in our college campuses, partly because we dramatically reduced the standards and rigors for entrance. One of the reductions in the standard for entrance stood firmly on the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). When the ADA began covering people with mental fragility, I might call it, essentially what happened was that many with fairly serious psychiatric instability now had a new tool with which to hammer the doors of academia: the threat of litigation. Admissions departments began a tedious process of avoiding calamity with such people, much like the rest of us are doing in society broadly. We essentially opened the cities and fled for the hills, and the barbarians simply walked into the citadel gleefully perplexed. If you would like an example of this type of phenomenon unfolding, go to YouTube and search for Brett Weinstein at Evergreen College or click here. If you have any questions about what you are seeing, make no mistake about it: you are witnessing extremely mentally ill people in a sadomasochistic enactment with administrators at the college.

As cognitively underwhelming and emotionally overwhelmed young adults emerged out of newly minted liberal arts programs they began infiltrating corporations and college administrations. Many people thought that they were simply going to get in line with typical functions of reality and shed their adolescent skin, but they turned their sights toward anyone in the world whom they believed to be the external cause of their internal emotional agitation. One of the first vivid displays of this in my lifetime was the Occupy Wall Street movement where rather unsavory people dropped trout and excreted atop police cruisers. The temper-tantrum movement began and supremely educated college students whaled about unfairness and demanded solutions without offering ideas or constructive engagement with the institutions that they believed were simply evil. They did this while ironically pledging allegiance to Apple.

The current generation coming of age is a descendant of this movement. And, the moment is grim. We have an entire generation of "educated" young adults who believe that words that you speak and with which they disagree are tantamount to actual interpersonal violence. Imagine the narcissism that makes such an experience possible, and now ask whether it is possible to hold a conversation about anything meaningful with such a person. Anything meaningful usually involves points of contradistinction, and contradistinction is synonymous with growth in almost every facet of life. Divergence and differentiation form the very essence of maturation in both the physical world as well as the philosophical and intellectual bonding elements of human nature.

This brings me to a fundamental question. What is it that I want to do with my life? How is it that I can best represent the aspiration toward say, truth and beauty? Is it possible to do that while remaining even mildly deferential to those who would control the very elements of my inner world? If I yield to any amount of actual or perceived control on the parts of the radical elements of our society, am I not victimizing myself to their personality-disordered maniacal plans for my conduct?

And so, how is it that you would like to spend your time remaining on this planet? This is no small issue. Every time you hush yourself up and remain falsely docile in the face of that which you know to be insane, I would submit that you are committing a cardinal sin of existence: wasting a moment of your time in a life whose end you cannot predict. And so it is possible that every time you fawn at the personality-disordered psychopaths seeking to control your very thoughts as well as the movement of your lips you are potentially wasting the actual last minute of your life.

The Real Clear Podcast with Dr Lucas Klein is the in-depth analysis and commentary on current political events through a psychological lens. The Real Clear podcast covers a wide range of topics, from the latest election results to policy debates, to exploring the impact of current events on the political landscape.