Why Are Liberals So Certain?

An excellent question over at Morgan’s. I took a stab at an answer over there, but I think it needs fleshing out. So:

Here’s The Last Psychiatrist on the new narcissism. Worth reading in full, as almost all of his stuff is, but here’s the upshot:

Consider the narcissist who wants his wife to wear only white, high heeled pumps.  The narcissist wants this not because he himself likes white high heel pumps– which he might– but because the type of person he thinks he is would only be with the type of woman who wears white high heeled pumps.  Or, in other terms, other people would expect someone like himself to be with a woman who wears those shoes.  What he likes isn’t the relevant factor, and certainly what she likes is irrelevant.  What matters is that she (and her shoes) are accessories to him….

Narcissists typically focus on specific things as proxies for their identity.  As in the example above, that the woman might be obese or a paraplegic could be ignored if the footwear was the proxy for identity.  These proxies are also easy to describe but loaded with implication: “I’m married to a blonde.”  Saying “blonde” implies something– e.g.  she’s hot– that might not be true.  But the narcissist has so fetishized “blondeness” that it is disconnected from reality.  The connotations, not the reality, are what matters (especially if other people can’t check.)

Emphases added. It’s not a word-for-word description of liberal behavior. The clinical narcissist’s proxy — the specific fetish object around which his identity revolves — remains stable over time, whereas the liberal’s changes all the time, effortlessly, without warning, like a school of fish. But it’s in the ballpark.

Consider Morgan’s example, the Kung Flu facemask. I think it’s fair to say that liberals are obsessed with this. Moreover, it’s obvious that it is an obsession, in the clinical psychological sense — it doesn’t matter to the liberal why you have to wear a facemask, as indeed the supposed rationale changes daily. It only matters that you wear a facemask. You wearing a facemask is central to their identity as liberals, just as the narcissist’s obese, paraplegic wife wearing high-heeled pumps that went out of style 30 years ago are central to his identity in TLP’s example.

If you look at it from the perspective of the liberal’s chosen identity, a lot of their behavior makes sense. Who, exactly, is the type of guy whose wife wears white high-heeled pumps? Figure that out, and you’ve got the guy nailed. Maybe in his mind he’s James Bond. You want to know what he’ll do in a certain situation, think about what James Bond would do…

… except that’s not right, either. You have to think about, not just what James Bond would do, but what that guy thinks James Bond would do. It’s a lot tougher, requires a second “filter,” if you will — you have to get into not just Bond’s head, but the headspace of a guy who thinks he’s playing James Bond. (And maybe even into the different iterations of Bond — if the guy thinks he’s Pierce Brosnan’s Bond, and you’re basing your evaluation off Daniel Craig’s Bond, you’ll come to different conclusions, even though you’re both trying to figure out what “James Bond” would do in a certain situation)….

Fortunately, James Bond is a fictional character. That makes it a lot easier, because if you want to reverse-engineer the narcissist’s thought processes, you can use the same basic story template he’s using. Remember, the narcissist thinks he’s the star of his own movie. That’s a big help, because even though there are a lot of James Bond movies, they all have the same basic structure, in which Bond faces the same basic situations, and handles them in basically the same way. So instead of asking “what would James Bond do?” about a specific mundane situation that has never come up in the movies, it’s much easier to translate it into a movie scene. What would James Bond do if the window guy at Mickey D’s forgot to super-size his fries? Dunno; James Bond has never faced that kind of thing in the movies. If Bond ever were to go through the drive-up at McD’s, it’d be because the fry guy is actually Blofeld in disguise…

See what I mean? The question “What would James Bond do?” becomes a lot easier to process if you first figure out “What James Bond movie scene is this?”

To return to Morgan’s question, and the mask: For the Liberal, the character they’re playing is “Genius.” House MD, or maybe Mulder from the X-Files. Maybe Spock, if they’re old enough, or Commander Data, or whatever, the actual character doesn’t matter much for predictive purposes. What matters is that the character “Genius” is what they think a heroically big-brained movie character would do in a given situation. The docs in the ER think it’s just a bad flu, but Genius — in this case, House MD — knows it’s really some pathogen that hasn’t been seen since 1378. The Vancouver cops think it’s a gangland slaying, but Mulder knows it’s really the chupacabra. And, of course, Genius is right! It doesn’t matter that Scully and the Vancouver cops have seventy-seven other much more plausible theories. The mountain of data arguing against the chupacabra doesn’t matter. Hell, it doesn’t even matter that what Mulder is 100% right about this week directly contradicts something he was 100% right about last week:

What he’s right about doesn’t matter. At all. All that matters is that he’s right, every single time. And he knows it, every single time. He doesn’t express doubt. He doesn’t wonder if Scully might be right, just this once. Scully’s never right, because that’s the character, so even though her objections are logical, reasonable, and backed by shitloads of actual evidence out in the real world, she’s wrong, because she’s Skeptical Sidekick and he’s Genius, that’s the movie they’re in.

Look at it that way, and their behavior suddenly makes a lot more sense.

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36 thoughts on “Why Are Liberals So Certain?

  1. mkfreeberg

    I’m so glad you picked on X-Files.

    I think I have an easier time keeping my mouth shut during a Hallmark Christmas movie than keeping my mouth shut during an episode of X-Files…when Mulder pulls out his “I talked to the scriptwriters so I know it’s a frozen head having an out-of-body experience that robbed this bank” shtick. And that’s really saying something because after an hour of Hallmark Christmas movie I have to leave the room, if I’m not actually being sent out of the room.

    Why does Dana always-wrong Sculley ever bother saying ANYTHING after awhile…

  2. Publius

    I would say that you just ruined X-Files for me, but that would require putting emotional weight on a scripted TV Show. Which is leagues dumber than anything that happened in any episode of the X-Files, either “Monster of the Week” or “Alien Conspiracy Sweeps Plot” variety.

  3. Severian Post author

    That’s the main reason I never got into X-Files. I was near to the ideal demo when it came out — nerdy college guy — but though I appreciated some of the clever writing in the “monster of the week” episodes, the series as a whole drove me nuts. “It’s a reverse vampire from the dark side of the moon, Scully! It’s just so obvious!!” And of course it always was. There was absolutely no point to Scully. She wasn’t even a competent foil, since she was always wrong, and as stupid as the plot required her to be (which ranged from “kinda dim” to “sorority girl on roofie night”). She didn’t even do much for me as eye candy (and what is it with nerds and redheads? Can someone explain that one to me sometime?).

    As fun as this trip down amnesia lane is, though, I hope the point stands. You want to know why Liberals act the way they do? It’s because in their minds they’re Mulder, or Cdr. Data, or whatever. They probably don’t articulate it to themselves like that — that is, have running interior dialogue where they refer to themselves as “Agent Mulder” — but it’s clear that they’re playing a character. They’re acting how they believe Genius would act, and they got that affect from shows like X-Files.

    1. Publius

      It not only stands, it’s persuasive. I was in the same demo, and once I glommed the pattern, I pretty much only tuned in to get my weekly Gillian Anderson fix (redheads are semi-rare, hence “exotic” in a relatively low-risk way to nerds. Best guess, anyway). I tuned out several seasons before it finally ended.

      I would add that Mulder was something of a Gen-X archetype, always The Coolest Guy in the Room. That shit was like Crack for Nerds of our time. The belief that somehow your book smarts will translate to Being Dangerous and therefore Badass was a lie almost too beautiful to dispense with.

      In any case, ego-investment is the mother of certitude.

      1. Severian Post author

        I like your redhead theory.

        I like your other theory, too, and it’s another reason I could never get into the X-Files. Mulder was supposed to be cool???

        I mean, I know that’s what all my friends thought, but I never saw it. It seemed to me that the show’s writers went out of their way to make him look like a loser. The glimpses of his personal life, such as it was, that we got on the show were depressing — lives alone, no friends, no family, spanks it to porn, not even a pet. He didn’t even seem particularly smart, as you never saw him actually putting the pieces of the puzzle together — it was always just, “Aha! This is obviously the work of the chupacabra!” And it always was.

        He did have a killer smirk, though, give him that. Jon Stewart wishes he could smirk like Mulder.

        Worse, he never even tried to put the moves on Scully. Worst, and most implausible, was that she never even tried to put the moves on him. I mean, I’m no lothario, and I was about as nerdy a pizza-faced virgin as they come back in the days, but even I knew about the panty-dropping effects of adrenaline. Mulder saved Scully’s life once every other episode. You’re telling me she never once jumped his bones after all that, as they were driving through the endless Canadian wilderness back from yet another time he saved her from the cancer-eating mole people?

        You can’t get laid after that, my friend, you’re a loser with a capital G-A-Y.

        1. Publius

          You’re absolutely right, and that’s the difference between Actually Cool, and Nerd Cool, in which various forms of social dysfunction are reframed as Iconoclasm. I drank deep from that well before I realized I was never ever going to touch a boob if I kept it up.

        2. Maus

          A liberal (viz. degenerate) would say that David Duchovny was saving his cool juice for the role of Hank Moody in Californication, who manifests as the anti-Mulder: a womanizing alcoholic trainwreck of a man. Mustn’t let oneself get typecasted in the cess pit that is Hollywood. It’s all drivel geared toward fueling the bland Walter Mittys of the world.

    2. L. Beau Macaroni

      Severian – I agree with everything that you said about The X-files. I also think that Publius’s guess as to why so many nerdy guys have a thing for redheads is fairly on target.

      The Last Psychiatrist was a readable, thought-provoking blog, back in the day. I started reading it in 2012, just a couple of years before its author gave up on it. I think that the same author tried the same idea in a different form, at a tumblr called “Hotel Concierge.” You can check it out here: https://hotelconcierge.tumblr.com/

      I am sad to report that nothing new has appeared at “Hotel Concierge” since May of 2018.

      My short list of blogs that are even more dead than The Last Psychiatrist? “Everyday Stoicism.” What happened, Sev?

      1. Severian Post author

        There just wasn’t a point anymore. Those posts took forever to write, and they reached the exact same audience these do. The audience I was shooting for just wasn’t there. These are more fun – get to talk about boobs and such with a bunch of likeminded old farts.

      2. Severian Post author

        thanks for the link to the tumblr blog. That sounds like him. Kinda fell in love with his own voice, didn’t he?

        (for the record, I don’t think he “gave up” on the TLP site. I think he got outed).

      3. Frip

        It’s amazing the number of Dissident Right & Realist blogs out there. I have them all bookmarked. Like 70 of them. Not to mention the D-Right YouTube channels. Yet oddly, I usually only go to two D-Right blogs. If I were 20 again I’d probably be addicted to reading them. You could literally spend every hour of the rest of your life reading these great blogs, and still not get through all they have to say. So much talent, with so much to blog about in these times. We’re very lucky. I remember in college all I had was National Review on microfilm. No one was really bothering with microfilm in ’94. I must have looked like a weirdo.

        1. Frip

          Sometime we should all list our favorite rightwing blogs. In oder from our favorites on down to our less favored.

          Anyone know if Chateau H. is back? I can’t find him. What a loss. I didn’t read him much, but when I did he always seemed to be good. I guess I could go on Gab and find out. But I never really go to Gab either.

          Ace of Spades is alright. He tries to be funny all the time and it gets tiresome. I don’t read him enough to have an opinion I should shut up. Anyone on our side is freaking awesome that’s all I know.

  4. Maus

    All the stars are aligning. Bat Out of Hell because metal rules. Wuflu pandemic courtesy of bat soup. Batman because Bruce Wayne is a secretive oligarch. The fetishtic object which ties them all together is a flying mouse, which makes me the ideal prophet. The Apocalypse is nigh… (at least for this week).
    [Pardon me while I consult the DSM IV for the diagnostic criteria for narcissistic personality disorder. Moo hoo ha ha.]

  5. WOPR

    I’ll add one, Ender’s Game where they are Ender. No one else is as brilliant as they are.

    I never could get into The X-Files. Some of the monster of the week episodes were fun. But other than that it was incoherent drivel. No one will ever remake it because no one could believe that gov’t is half that competent.

    Also, Gillian Anderson is the good enough looking for nerds type. She’s not so hot looking that deep down you know you would never stand a chance.

  6. Pickle Rick

    I never got into the X-Files. Sci-fi isn’t my thing, nor cop shows, so a sci-fi cop show really wasn’t doing anything for me.
    I think around that time I was watching “Friends”.

    As for redheads, there’s only drop dead gorgeous or ugly, no in betweens. Gillian never tripped my trigger. I’m into dark haired girls more than redheads.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=i6l8MFdTaPE

  7. Frip

    Sev: “What would James Bond do if the window guy at Mickey D’s forgot to super-size his fries?”

    Funny.

    Speaking of narcissism and Bond never going to McDonald’s. One time a narcissist “buddy” of mine, who I rarely see, and don’t really like, asked me to dinner. He said “where should we go?” I said “Let’s go to Outback and watch the game.” He says, “I’m not going to Outback and sit next to a bunch of dirtbags in baseball caps.”

    First, I could can understand that a person with pretentions, who usually only hangs out in LA and his posh college town, to rarely if ever go to Outback. But to outright refuse to go? Once?

    Second, does he think Outback is another word for bus station or something?

  8. Wuhan Luke

    Hola!
    Publius beat me to the punch, had I knew how to log on quicker I would have said the Redhead is the safe, budget tour of exotic places the Nerd wishes to visit.
    And to keep in fashion with my tardiness, I’d like to foist some comments on the movie/music/rent/own analogy.
    First, Music – Music brings you places. It brings up memories, takes you to your future, gives you strength, and has you cringing. All with the same song or piece. Throw on a copy of the Beatles Abby Road and I’m either smelling the algae in my fish tank at 9 years old or smelling the cheap perfume that accompanied my first roll in the hay in the back seat of dad’s car many years later. It can become a victory song of some planned action or the wail of self pitying loss. Music is to life what a canvass is to a painter, a stage to a set builder, the road you choose on a map for that day and time.
    Motion pictures on the other hand, are a set piece already built and served for the viewer. It can be chock full of emotional triggers, as is their purpose – I dare anyone to watch A.I. for the first time and not be affected – but those emotions prodded will always be the same with every viewing. Maybe a little less each time, but you’ll laugh a bit where the script says so, cry when told, and therefore the adventure wanes and the copy gathers dust in the cabinet.
    So how does this relate to Progressives in my assertion in relation to Sev’s analogy? I simply believe the Prog doesn’t have the wetware to take go on adventure with song. for them, it will always be that one special day, that one “meaningful moment”, and never changing, just like a movie is to a normal person.
    I’m not saying anyone with a tin ear or questionable taste in music is automatically a Prog, I’ve many friends and associates who’s idea of (good) music is appalling to me but they can still take trip to different places with it and still command where they’ll go. None are in lockstep to the Party Line.
    So, they neither buy nor rent the soundtrack to their lives, they just burn unnecessary resources to stream a low bitrate copy for the moment at hand.

    1. Frip

      Good comment Wuhan.

      I’m just gonna comment on a trivial part of it. You mentioned Beatles reminding you of algae. When I smell the scent of an indoor clorinated pool, it makes me uneasy. I hated required smimming in junior high phys.ed. I was so white that I’d turn heads. Like a midget turns heads. By nature of the pack, girls together will IMMEDIATELY comment to each other about anything strang in their field of vision. I was so white that I’m the only guy in the world to identify with that short bagel shop guy flipping out on those women last year. I was too normal to do that. But yeah, he was right. Chicks are dicks.

  9. prm

    Wrt playing a part in a movie, you have people larping as people-sticking-it-to-the man, or being-revolutionaries, or fighting-the-power, because they all imagine they are fighting past battles.
    The problem for them is that they’ve all been won. There are no movies they are needed for, hence the invention of ever more fine grained nonsense (micro-agressions) or big-lie nonsense (men can be women). To a first approximation there is no racism, no more than the background prejudice against anything, race, sex, class, gingerness, that all have would suggest.
    But they need a movie to be in, so they pretend they are fighting slavery. Hence multi-millionaire F1 driver pretending he’s still in chains.
    Women are now massively privileged in everything, so they need to pretend they are Suffragettes. Gayers are over-represented, so objecting to gay pedophiles throwing money at pole-dancing boys is the new phobia to fight.
    And of course, anyone who objects to any of this is a cat-fancier, because they are all noble warriors fighting moustache guy. Even as they roam the streets as Brownshirts enforcing orthodoxy.

  10. texinole

    “The problem for them is that all [left battles have] been won.”

    That x 1000. The left won, which was bad enough, and now their civil war is spilling on to the rest of us. They’re woke bullshit is simply not funny anymore.

    Some recent Sev postings converging here: (1) Total leftist control of cultural and political institutions achieved and now maintained by (2) people who missed out on the Summer of Love and for whom LARPing is now the only option because (3) they live in a (Disney) movie in which they play the dashing hero fighting against…oops…see (1) above.

    I used to bristle at all the “cuck” talk and excused the non-left’s lack of pushback on the basis that “we” simply are not that interested in political power, but rather our families. But everyone has their breaking point and must choose when to say “no” and mean it. So now you have a young(ish), non-white guy like me frequenting sites deliberately set up for old fart white guys (hey you said it!) because of how few Americans are willing to stand up for their liberty.

    1. Severian Post author

      You might consider therapy. 🙂

      Seriously, though, that’s one of the things I really hate about this “White Nationalist” bullshit. What they — and Blacks!! — call “acting White,” I call “being civilized.” There’s nothing White about respecting the rule of law, approaching problems rationally, and upholding community standards. Those are the baseline characteristics of any group that has managed to figure out agriculture.

      What is specifically White is what we call Western Civ. St. Peter’s, the Mona Lisa, Beethoven, that kind of thing. But here’s the thing about that: Those are all objectively high achievements — high human achievements. You don’t have to be White to appreciate them; all you have to do is be human. And I’ll go one further: I am a fan — a BIG fan, yuuuuuge — of what the Angry Studies crowd calls “cultural appropriation.” You want to “appropriate” the Mona Lisa? Be my guest! See above — it speaks to humans, all of us, and therefore it speaks to you, too. Take it, work on it, transform it, build on it… hell, destroy it (metaphorically), if in doing so you make a meaningful statement about the human condition. That’s how civilization progresses.

      What I’m for, above all, is the rule of law. Without it, we might as well go back to swinging in trees… which is, as it turns out, pretty much exactly what civilization’s enemies want. They don’t actually want to be in charge. They see “being in charge” as a way station on the path to the total destruction of all civilization, all consciousness. Igor Shafarevich was right — Socialism is nothing more than a suicide cult. Anyone who opposes it, be they of whatever race, creed, color, sex, or orientation, is welcome to as much of “my” culture as he can handle.

      1. texinole

        Yep, which is why I was at first confused why activists would claim such things as “individualism”, “science” and the like were white constructions. I thought they f*cking loved science?! It’s incredibly insulting to everyone who benefit from such things, much less those who champion them.

        But I forgot to take them at their word. As true bigots they’ve long assumed, well, lets see…

        -Blacks cannot follow the 3 rules popularized by Ben Shapiro (I know, I know, and (((this bullshit))) doesn’t make him wrong) therefore are not capable of joining whites in the middle class. Middle-class liberals offering the same hard advice to Shaniqua that they’d offer their own struggling niece is laughable to many, including on the right.

        -Hispanics cannot learn English AND math+history+geography+etc, therefore they institute special classes that do not challenge spanish-speakers, thereby guaranteeing an underclass stays that way.

        -Women are strong, independent, and just-as-if-not-more capable than men by way of having a vagina…so we must ensure society-wide protections for them that are maintained and enforced by men.

        Actually this was way easier than I thought and could go on forever. Point being when you are a collectivist, by definition your fellow-travellers lack agency. I imagine it impossible to view your unilaterally appointed “wards” as anything put pathetic losers with such a worldview. That they often prove you right doesn’t help.

        1. Severian Post author

          I am forever amazed that more non-White folks don’t find this insulting. Like, fighting-words, pistols-at-dawn-level insulting.

          Spend some time in a college town. These are the people who have it all figured out? You’re gonna run my life for me, you know what’s best for me… you, who can’t figure out what your pronouns are today. You, who breaks down crying when the cafeteria is out of free-range, fair-trade, organic, shade-grown tofu. You, who lack both the know-how and muscle tone to change a tire. Etc.

          Really? YOU know how everyone else should be living? If I were non-White, I’d be furious at their presumption. Hell, I am anyway. I can’t imagine experiencing it as my day-to-day.

          1. texinole

            “Like, fighting-words, pistols-at-dawn-level insulting.”

            Does a pistol-ized AK-47 and four 30-rd mags count? I’ve bet that it will.

          2. contrariandutchman

            That’s clearly not a regulation dueling weapon Texinole, I suppose it’s fine for settling scores with the woke though, no gentleman would stoop to dueling them.

      2. 3g4me

        Severian – What you write here ( “that’s one of the things I really hate about this “White Nationalist” bullshit. What they — and Blacks!! — call “acting White,” I call “being civilized.” There’s nothing White about respecting the rule of law, approaching problems rationally, and upholding community standards”) does not comport with what you’ve written at Zblog (helping out ‘fellow’ Whites). You have to police your community boundaries by some method. If you don’t want to use race but rather purported ‘character’ or adhering to some theoretical ‘principles,’ then you remain, at best, a civic nationalist. If you are willing to include anyone who claims to support Western Civilization (or who at least says they don’t hate it) then you are right back with the purported melting pot and we can all get along bullshit. I don’t buy it, and I’m surprised (and saddened) to see that you do.

        1. Severian Post author

          There’s nothing particularly White about the rule of law, being on time, etc. The Japanese do fine with it.

          There’s no realistic possibility of a White ethno-state, here or anywhere — history has moved on. The best we can hope for is some kind of divided-sovereignty, Austro-Hungarian Empire type arrangement. In that arrangement, I will help out my fellow Whites first because that’s my tribe.

          I know, I know, terribly cucky of me… but I’m interested in things that might actually happen out in the real world, not the purity-spiraling fantasies of keyboard commandos (like so many at Z Man’s), who spend most of their time putting lots of (((parentheses))) around (((words))).

          1. 3g4me

            If you start out willing to compromise and begin making ‘exceptions’ from the start, of course there’s no way Whites will carve out a homeland in the real world. Your blog and your worldview, but I think you are dead wrong. Judging people by character, as individuals, is great in theory . . . but in the demographic age it is sheer suicide.

  11. Frip

    Never watched X files so don’t know about Mulder. If you like MILFS (Mothers I’d Like to Ferry Cross the Mersey) Woody Allen knows how to pick them for his movies. Such as “Hollywood Ending”, with Téa Leoni, Kimberly Amber Theissen (from Saved by the Bell), Debra Messing. And Stephanie Roth Haberle, (if you’re into the Holocaust survivor look. Which I am.)

    If I was the guest on a dating show I’d want the following MILFS to try and win a date with me. My top MILFS in their MILF prime: Parker Posey, Téa Leoni, and Kate Blanchett.

    Winner by category:

    Funny Milf: Parker Posey

    Intelligent: (Hot Librarian Milf): Téa Leoni

    Classy Milf: Kate Blanchett

    The winner is Téa Leoni. She does it for me on multiple levels.

    And to think we were supposed to be discussing Diogenes right now. My god, why does everything have to end in tragedy.

  12. BadThinker

    Not to go on about Vox Day, but his concept of the ‘Secret King’/’Gamma’ works well to help explain this attitude, at least among the men. What is odd is that Mulder in the X-files is *actually* an outsider and really never learns any of the truth – he fails nearly every single time. He also definitely gets with Scully – they have a kid together, but in the most Gamma way – “they must give up the child to protect it” – no normal Family allowed. It’s Gamma fantasy over and over again, at least most of the ‘conspiracy’ episodes are.

    But from time to time the writers did make Mulder the fool. They even had an Area 51 guy show up to laugh at all of his silly beliefs – the guy had been in charge of making up much of the stuff Mulder took so seriously.

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  14. Southern Belle

    I do enjoy a good cultural appropriation. During the next Burn, Loot, Murder event, I think police (if they show up) should blast Beethoven, Mozart, Puccini et al. through speakers ’cause we know they don’t like classical. Maybe it will do for them what Slim Whitman did for Martians in Mars Attacks!

  15. kirkforlatt

    Frip, you made my day.

    “MILFS (Mothers I’d Like to Ferry Cross the Mersey)…”

    Good shit, man. Beats the hell out of my youngest daughter’s take on that song: “Hey, Pops…were they singing about a homo on the other side of that river?”

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