Narcissistic Rage on the Left

Different people have different emotional styles — a fact that is important today, because the Democrat party, which used to sound moderate, is now specializing in screaming rage.  

When New York gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin was nearly murdered by a knife-wielding thug the other day, we probably saw a direct result of screaming rage being broadcast, over and over again, by the Big Media.  We should not be surprised if this happens more often in this political climate.

The woke left today is full of "narcissistic rage," as it's called in psychiatry.  Hitler exhibited narcissistic rage in his radio speeches, and that style of emotional agitation can be powerful in stirring people up.  But during the same years, FDR gave calm radio chats that were meant to reassure Americans.  Conservatives might not love FDR, but nobody would confuse him with Hitler.

What is worrisome today is that the Obama-Biden left now seems to be deliberately adopting narcissistic rage as a weapon of war.  This can't be pure chance, because the Democrats have a small army of high-paid consultants who write and massage their public messages.  When Liz Warren does her Vladimir Lenin imitation, we can see the professional polish of her act.  Those high-paid media spinners of the left will undoubtedly raise their rhetorical heat higher and higher toward the midterms.  That will not be an accident.  Some of the woke left may be genuinely mad, but there is method in their madness.  Their aim is to make all of us a little more mad.

Most Americans don't like psychiatric jargon, but we don't need jargon to feel Hitler's narcissistic rage in those old speeches, even if we don't understand the words.  Screaming hatred is a danger signal in everyday life, and it tells us to get away from the screamer as fast as possible.  Hitler's radio rages were both deliberate and spontaneous: he went on the air to throw spectacular s--- fits, and then he improved his act by getting ever more diabolical.

Most of us can't fake screaming rage and hatred.  There are actors who can, but ordinary people sound like that only "in extremis."  A cat caught in a deadly trap will scream and strike out, but that is a last-ditch defense.  Happy cats don't scream.

The quality of a person's rage can be diagnostic.  Malignant narcissists like Hitler are fairly rare, but psychologists have learned to look for three big personality traits: grandiose narcissism, Machiavellian manipulation of others, and sociopathy — the absence of feelings of guilt.  This is called the Dark Triad of personality traits.

There are hundreds of credible scientific studies on the Dark Triad.  I suppose that somebody could run a Dark Triad checklist on the rhetoric of the left today, and that old Devil's horns would pop up, all right.

But it's not a joke.  Dark Triad personalities are unusual in American life, and that applies to the English political tradition in general.  In other political cultures, malignant personalities seem to show up more often, maybe because different cultures throw up different kinds of leaders.

What is extremely worrying today is something we all know in our guts: our political language is now poisoned by Dark Triad words.  

Now consider this: is there more trash talk on the modern left or on the right?

You know the answer.

Dark Triad personalities can stir up extreme violence, especially among desperate teenage boys, who seek revenge for their emotional wounds.  Teenagers have emotional turmoil, and boys are apt to be more aggressive than girls. 

Take an Austrian boy named Adolf.

Or take a small group of school killers in the news.  Teenage killers are picking up their bad vibes from the general culture, because they are not stupid.  They hear the adults screaming with rage, and then it becomes easier for them to act it out. 

Something very bad has happened in our everyday politics, and it looks like a daily assault by a screaming faction of the left.  This is not something normal and healthy, just as the rise of Hitler was not normal or healthy for most Germans after World War 1.

The U.S. Civil War killed more than half a million people, mostly men.  No other American war has been as bloody as that.  But at the end, Abraham Lincoln was able to call for peace "with malice towards none and charity for all."

That was the voice of sanity, and it's the one that Americans need to hear again.

Image: RV1864 via Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

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