Many thanks this to Roger L. Simon of PJMedia for speaking to the issue of Andrew McCarthy’s “Moral Narcissism” or “In other words, if you propose or do something, it only matters that you feel good or righteous about what you did or are proposing, that it makes you feel better personally. The results are irrelevant, as are how the actual activity affects others” and “a narcissism of ideas and opinions. The views that make you feel good about yourself, that make others praise you and make you part of the “club,” are what is most important to you and your self-image. They literally define you.
Whether those views are based in fact or whether the results of those views are the least bit salutary is immaterial. The moral narcissist, therefore, is almost always blind to reality, indeed disinterested in it. It’s the pronouncements that count and are real. Moral narcissism leads inexorably to politically correctness. It is, in fact, the mother’s milk of political correctness”.
Simon and McCarthy have found the words that I have been struggling with since I have tried, so unsuccessfully over the years. to bring liberals together with centrists and right wingers to defend Israel’s right to self determination, negotiation and self defense in a hostile neighborhood.
The question for me and us, as a people is…has moral narcissism become an epidemic among our people and could it be considered a spreading terminal illness threatening our very existence? Yet, as we become more divided religiously, politically, psychologically, sociologically and in other ways we collectively are losing control over our own collective destiny and face difficult collective times ahead, but others all to willing to show us the sword or oven door.
The moral narcissist starts with self and projects to others thinking he or she won’t be perceived like “those others,” instead of what’s the best for all involved and how can I help. I have seen the self-righteousness of the moral narcissists who claim a moral high ground projecting their feel good self aspirations without regard for the consequences to others.
These are not bad or evil people, these are just people who, quite frankly can’t get beyond their own self image projections and are blinded by how they want to be seen rather than what may realistically be best for others.
I think it is what differentiates many “pro-Israel” advocacy groups, each claiming to have the right path to advance our people, not realizing the further chaos and havoc they are creating among Jews around the world and the incredible resources they are draining to assert themselves as “the one true” path to Jewish self-determination.
Moral narcissism exists both in the right and the left. Both extremes profess to have all the answers without consideration for the effect on others, since they “don’t know” and really “don’t count.” They don’t profess a high moral ground, having, instead, litmus tests of who is pure and who is tainted. They are simply right and there is only excommunication for those not accepting the party line. What these moral narcissists want is not result to resolve difficult problems, but a following to expand their own notions of what is right and what is wrong.
In fact, I pride myself in having been officially excommunicated by both the extreme right and extreme left as being a “difficult person” for precisely advocating for common ground, less sanctimoniousness, less autocratic rule with absolute truths and more difficult resolution-oriented processes to find common ground.
We, as Jews, must decide and coalesce around more realistic moral principles and existential codes which draw us together rather than drive us apart. We are like those other Jews, whether we like it or not. We have similarities with our enemies and must continue to strive for common ground. We must be supportive of one another and leave no one behind. With these principles we abandon the narcissism and become truly moral and may even win from our enemies some long lost battles and wars. The rantings of the extreme left and the extreme right are pathologically splintering us, hopefully not beyond repair or future existence. These pathological rantings turn off our young, fuel our enemies and leave us more vulnerable than ever, not just in Israel, but as a people on this planet.