In response to Nick Booth: Don’t shout at lefties like Owen Jones. He is secretly working for us, Phil wrote:
For many years I was wondering what was really the underlying cause of Owen Jones and Mehdi Hasan and Polly Toynbee and all those left-wing commenters on The Guardian’s Comment is Free (CiF). As I became more aware of certain concepts in psychology, I realised they all suffer from a form of narcissism, an type of narcissism previously undefined by psychologists.
Psychologist define physical narcissism (we are familiar with people that believe themselves so beautiful that we should all bow before them in awe and lavish them with praise) and intellectual narcissism (people like Richard Dawkins who winds even his own supporters up with his insufferable arrogance). I have defined a new form – Compassion Narcissism.
Compassion Narcissism is most easily diagnosed by examining what people say and comparing it with what they do. Somebody with real compassion doesn’t say much – they just help. Somebody with compassion narcissism will say a lot of compassionate things, but there will be very little evidence that they actually spend much time or effort doing compassionate things. If you look at all the people described in this article you will see that they all suffer from compassion narcissism – they simply say compassionate things but don’t appear to do anything.
Compassion narcissists behave this way because from an early age they received praise for simply saying the right things suggesting they were compassionate. There was a story in the media a couple of weeks back about a little boy who took pity on a homeless man. Massive praise was lavished on this little lad from his mother and the wider community because he said things that were compassionate – but he didn’t actually do very much! It was the mother that paid for the homeless man’s lunch. That’s where compassion narcissism starts – when we lavish praise on children for saying the right things rather than doing the right things. Then it continues throughout life, because Owen Jones and similar people continue to have a lot of attention lavished on them by the left-wing media for simply saying nice things rather than doing nice things.
Commenters on CiF have the same mentality – you can see they are just interested in promoting themselves for saying nice compassionate things and then defining themselves as vastly superior to horrid “righties”. Narcissists love to feel superior. Compassion narcissists will grind down anyone on the basis that they simply aren’t compassionate enough – that’s why the Left are always fighting among themselves – narcissists can’t cope with other narcissists because they are always trying to prove themselves superior to each other.
Of course, if the compassion narcissists actually did anything compassionate they would quickly find that it is rather difficult. Saving somebody under Waterloo Bridge from a lifetime of alcohol abuse is tricky. So much easier to suggest that if the government threw some money in the general direction of the poor then the problems would just melt away.
Remember – the purpose of socialism for the compassionate narcissist is not to actually resolve problems – it is just a handy vehicle for appearing compassionate in public by spending other people’s money while making sure much of that money ends up in your pocket. The fact that socialism doesn’t resolve anything is actually rather useful – the compassion narcissist can continue to use the problems endlessly to feed from. Being able to continue to say “We must save the NHS” (because you utterly failed to save it last time you were in power) is manna from heaven for the compassion narcissist. Socialism is the gift that keeps on giving for the compassion narcissist.
The greatest living examplar of Compassion Narcissism in the UK is Dennis McShane. A man so convinced that his apparent compassion is in itself a free pass for life that he believes he should have been spared from gaol for expenses fiddling.