June 12, 2015
I rarely read comments, but someone recently sent me this one from David Brooks” op-ed “The Campus Crusaders.” Anne from New York City wrote:
It’s not trauma; it’s narcissism. I am a psychotherapist. Real trauma survivors typically seek to avoid talking about their traumas and often have to be coaxed to go to psychotherapy. People who start campus crusades because they’re offended or their feelings are allegedly hurt probably have a different primary diagnosis.
Anne was referring to the social-justice warriors”or, as Julie Burchill calls them, “cry-bullies””who drag innocent people through shame hell in the quest for equality. Brooks acknowledges that these people are driven by emotions, not facts, but they have “noble impulses.” I”m not so sure. In fact, I think there is a lot more truth in that one comment than there is in Brooks” entire piece. These people don”t behave like social human beings who have any concept of justice, and they are far too cowardly to be associated with warriors. They seem more like the mentally ill. Michael Savage claims that “liberalism is a mental disorder,” and I”m beginning to think he’s right.
Why would someone who has suffered a horrible trauma want to march around with a sign that says “I suffered a horrible trauma”? We all know people who have had trauma in their lives. Many will discuss it when coaxed, but they rarely volunteer it. When you do finally get them to talk about it, they”re weird after. It ruins their day. Women who were anally raped don”t want to drag their mattress around for months and then make a porno reenacting the rape. They want to move on. We all hope they”ll have the courage to press charges first (with the police, not the school), but that’s up to them.
I spoke to Amier Carmel, a psychoanalyst here in New York who works with severe mental illness. “If someone walks into my office and immediately presents me with trauma,” he says, “it usually means there is some underlying toxic dynamic behind this trauma.” He describes the cry-bullies as people with “an intense need to control” and says that “the resentment associated with this need to correct is often an induced feeling used to fix another problem.” This makes perfect sense. Whenever I argue with liberals and they preach to me about immigration, education, or women’s rights, their lack of knowledge on the subject makes it clear they”ve never looked it up. “It’s never about what it’s about,” as Derb would say. Ask them how many illegals are in the country and they”ll rarely get within 10 million of the number. Ask them how much we spend per student per year and they”ll say, “Not enough.” Ask them how much young women without kids make compared with men and they”ll say, “Women need a choice.” They”re not in it for the truth. They”re in it for the platitudes of the crusade and the power it evokes. We all know that by know. The question is why.
Carmel has a fascinating answer. “The destruction of the family,” he opines, “is the single most destructive force in the past 40 years.” Amier then discusses the back-and-forth kids do, going from mom to dad every time they have a grievance. “This dance,” he says, “is how we attain justice. It’s how the parameters of our sense of internal integrity are defined.” Amier seems particularly concerned with the lack of fathers. “The father sets down the law. When he is not there, a sense of anxiety takes root and that leads to outwardly directed hostility. Soon you are looking to the outside world to show you what the limits are. You”re “acting out” and hoping society will control you. The desire for paternal law becomes pathologized.” Amier calls PC violations “narcissistic injury” and adds that this fear-driven petulance becomes especially dangerous when the ideology becomes someone’s entire identity. “When that happens,” he says, “it’s as though rationality and socialized relationships dissolve. The ideologically identified person can often become wildly reckless because they seek the obscuring of accountability with increased pathos.”