And all identity politics is narcissism. Because of course it is.
Previously this has been known as tribal politics or, in the case of Orwell, nationalism.
"The following are the principal characteristics of nationalist thought:"
1. "Obsession. As nearly as possible, no nationalist ever thinks, talks, or writes about anything except the superiority of his own power unit. [...] The smallest slur upon his own unit, or any implied praise of a rival organization, fills him with uneasiness which he can only relieve by making some sharp retort."
2. "Instability. The intensity with which they are held does not prevent nationalist loyalties from being transferable.[...] In the first version of H. G. Wells’s Outline of History, and
others of his writings about that time, one finds the United States
praised almost as extravagantly as Russia is praised by Communists
today: yet within a few years this uncritical admiration had turned into
3. "Indifference to Reality. All nationalists have the power of not
seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts. A British Tory will
defend self-determination in Europe and oppose it in India with no
feeling of inconsistency." Kto kogo.
More on 2: when a previously praised tribe causes narcissistic injury to the loyalist, they become a disloyalist.
I think Orwell's piece would be downright good for the soul with some rectified names. E.g. as with Wells, he throws some well-deserved shade at Chesterton, by which I mean he deals in concrete, falsifiable, relevant examples.
This is not to say Chesterton couldn't clap back, but... have you heard? Tu quoque is a fallacy. Both sets of accusations would be true.
"Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage – torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians – which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side."
One of the reasons I enjoy moral nihilism is that I don't have to be outraged by any of this. Knowing my place, I know I can't encourage or discourage the practices anyway. Kind of none of my business, except insofar as I must secure myself against them.
Trying to be outraged when "my" side does bad things to its enemies is hard. Much easier to be accepting when the other side does bad things to its enemies. Indeed it's a good thing when they glorify "outrages" because it means they don't cover it up, meaning in turn that I don't have to go looking for what I need to secure myself against.
Thus I secure myself against the likes of Chesterton. Though not forgetting to also secure myself against Orwell's solecisms...such as his lack of moral nihilism. It's clear that what Orwell considers an outrage is based largely on past political campaigns against his side's enemies, not on what is and is not cooperative or effective.
"One quite commonly finds that great national leaders, or the founders of nationalist movements, do not even belong to the country they have glorified. Sometimes they are outright foreigners, or more often they come from peripheral areas where nationality is doubtful. Examples are Stalin, Hitler, Napoleon, de Valera, Disraeli, Poincaré, Beaverbrook. The Pan-German movement was in part the creation of an Englishman, Houston Chamberlain."
If the narcissist could get their jollies by telling the truth they wouldn't be a narcissist. The fundamental symptom of narcissism is boundless self-hatred.
Narcissists create an elaborate fake identity because they're beyond certain their real one would face unlimited rejection. (Ironically, by adulthood, they have no real identity.) In modern times, all the worst white supremacists are some flavour of brown. At best they're trailer trash.
Someone with healthy respect for their true identity doesn't need politics. They quietly work at the shoe and flower store or whatever, rather than showing up in the news. If they're lost enough to attempt politics, the intensely narcissistic vibe will drive them off sooner rather than later. The predisposition causes a selection effect.
As they are crazy, there's some back-feeding too. Foreigner Lenin resented Russia for being foreign, and thus deliberately tried to ruin it. Narcissist Lenin wanted to be "seen," meaning he wanted Russia to hate him as much as he hated himself, which he tried to provoke by causing it damage. Meanwhile facade Lenin tried to shield his dead narcissist soul by raising Lenin cachet as far as possible. Being hated is unpleasant, so he tried to avoid being seen, so he wouldn't be hated. Lenin was a highly skilled narcissist, and socially speaking facade Lenin's manipulations won that tug of war.
Lenin's bottomless self-hatred lent all these desires almost limitless intensity. He simply wanted it more; he was willing to sacrifice everything in a way his rivals weren't quite willing to do.
Meanwhile, self-hating narcissist Russians felt they deserved to be punished for being so despicable, and cheerfully supported Lenin's narcissist rampage. (Further: see tomorrow's post re: Christianity.) Being ruled by a hostile foreigner let them dissociate with their own identity, and as far as they couldn't dissociate,
"It makes it possible for him to be much more nationalistic – more vulgar, more silly, more malignant, more dishonest – than he could ever be on behalf of his native country, or any unit of which he had real knowledge."
If the narcissist were to become genuinely ignorant of their lies, their narcissism would be cured, for they would no longer believe they deserve to be hated.
As such, the narcissist likes to choose topics on which they're ignorant, to minimize cognitive dissonance.
Naturally, this is wildly irresponsible.
"Transferred nationalism, like the use of scapegoats, is a way of attaining salvation without altering one’s conduct."
Last Psych's favourite - defence against change.
"Pacifist literature abounds with equivocal remarks which, if they mean anything, appear to mean that statesmen of the type of Hitler are preferable to those of the type of Churchill, and that violence is perhaps excusable if it is violent enough."
Ha. Women: "Your violence is bad because it's not violent enough to make me wet." Likewise men nodding along with said women for white knighting purposes. The rule is: be aggressive aggressive, not passive aggressive, you pussy.
"After the fall of France, the French pacifists, faced by a real choice which their English colleagues have not had to make, mostly went over to the Nazis"
The correct way to cure a pacifist is to shove them in a locker and then give them an out if they join you.
I'm not sure what you could possibly use a pacifist for, but if you have a use for them, that's how.