Today's must-read is Lee Smith's Weekly Standard interview with Roger Simon, the novelist familiar to most of us as a PJ Media blogger. The occasion for the interview is Simon's new book, I Know Best: Moral Narcissism and How It Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn't Already.
The Amazon description says:
Forget Narcissus and his reflection, Moral Narcissism—the almost schizophrenic divide between intentions and results now pervading our culture—is the new method for feeling good about yourself. It no longer matters how anything turns out as long as your intentions were good, that you were “moral.” And, just as importantly, the only
In the interview, Simon defines plain old narcissism as "excessive selfishness" and explains how the new "moral narcissism" affects our culture:
Moral narcissism is one source of the political correctness that pervades our culture. In the book, I explain that: "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. … You are what you proclaim your values to be, irrespective of their consequences."
An exemplar of moral narcissism was Rachel Carson, whose book The Silent Spring led to the banning of DDT and thus to uncounted deaths from malaria. And yet the green movement, of which Ms. Carson is a foremother, retains the moral high ground. Simon says:
Today we live under a diktat from that movement. At your average Brentwood (Los Angeles) or Upper West Side (Manhattan) cocktail party you will be told of the imminent dangers of anthropogenic global warning by someone who doesn't know the second law of thermodynamics. They are obeying the diktat. If they didn't, they would find themselves ostracized by colleagues, friends, and family.
A former financial supporter of the Black Panthers–he's definitely evolved in his opinions–Simon talks about nostalgia, Whittaker Chambers, Bernie Sanders, O. J. Simpson, and why he founded PJ Media in this interview.
I urge you to read this brief and provocative interview.