October 02, 2009

Planet Narcissism

The stunned disbelief of many Americans towards the failure of Chicago to get through the first round of the Olympic Committee?s selection pageant reminds me, as if I needed reminding, of the kind of globalized narcissism the defines both Left and Right in this country. I?ll refrain from going into the right-wing version of this, in which conservative identity politics is wrapped up in not apologizing for our having troops stationed all over the planet and our going on various pointless campaigns in the Mid East. We?ve had our fill us this. But we haven’t really experienced full-throttle left-wing narcissism in a while, since the leftists themselves have been in outraged-and-appalled opposition for the 2000s.

I?d boil it all down to this: Conservatives want everyone on the globe to both fear America and be eternally grateful to us for our liberating ways. The Left, on the other hand, wants to be loved. They want the world?s peoples to see America as a shining light of tolerant, diversity-laden goodness?and thus be dying to have enlightened American bureaucrats come over to their countries and manage their affairs. 

I was trying to get at this the other day with my column on why no one in Washington actually wants to leave Iraq, Afghanistan, and pretty much everywhere else:

[C]an anyone imagine what might ensue if two countries decided to resolve a major international dispute without the United States? ?help? (and admitted openly that they didn?t much care what that country that owes everyone so much money thought about it.) I envision Mesdames Hillary and Albright barging uninvited into some negotiation chamber with mascara running down their cheeks, crying out with indignation and shame, ?Don?t you people understand that we?re in-dis-pen-sable!?

In a video I found on Drudge, some WGN reporters are featured expressing their astonishment at the fact that Chicago didn?t get past the first round since, you know, the town?s so ?diverse? and its presidential spokesman is half-Kenyan and all?I mean, doesn?t stuff like that appeal to ?the world?? 

If a nation is ?indispensable??that is, if it has no interests of its own but only represents global hopes and dreams?then it is, in fact, entirely dispensable. If something?s everywhere, then it?s nowhere. And if vibrant multicultural hipness is the top priority, then why should the Olympic Committee pick Chicago when it could have Rio?

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