[Ed. – It’s not that I don’t sympathize with Roger Simon’s sentiments here. But I do think we have all GOT to stop focusing on personalities and litmus tests, and start prioritizing a vision for the America we want. Can you tell me what George Will’s vision for America is? No, you can’t — because that hasn’t been what he talked about for the last 30 years or more. Splitting hairs on other people’s policy positions is what Will has been doing. Policy positions aren’t a vision for America. They’ve become something actively destructive, in fact: they’ve become a way to fight over politics without ever acknowledging how America is being transformed for the worse. That’s the disconnect the old-consensus right just doesn’t get. We have to do more than find policy positions we like today. The infrastructure of national politics and policy is sick and rotting at its core, and no amount of maneuvering INSIDE the old-consensus framework will fix that.]
I admit to having moral narcissism on the brain, having just published a book on the subject, but the announcement by conservative columnist George Will that he has left the Republican Party and has registered “unaffiliated” in the state of Maryland is such a pure example of MN that I wish I had had a chance to add a few pages about it, maybe even a chapter.
Most of the examples in I Know Best are from the liberal-progressive side, so it would have been good for balance at least to have included such an esteemed conservative as Will — a man who has now turned Lesley Gore’s 1963 hit “It’s My Party” on its head by declaring in a speech at the Federalist Society that “this is notmy party.”
Was it ever his party? I thought it belonged to all its members. But never mind. How does Will’s proclamation demonstrate moral narcissism and why does that matter? Allow me to be a little narcissistic myself and quote from my book:
What you believe, or claim to believe or say you believe—not what you do or how you act or what the results of your actions may be—defines you as a person and makes you “good.” It is how your life will be judged by others and by yourself. In 19th-century France, the gastronome Jean Brillat-Savarin told us that “You are what you eat.” In 21st-century America, almost all of us seem to have concluded that “you are what you say you are. You are what you proclaim your values to be, irrespective of their consequences.” That is moral narcissism.