Exposing the Not-So-Subtle Narcissism of Conservative America

PaulRyanAlmost a year ago I wrote an article titled The Conservative March Toward a Society of Sociopaths.  If you haven’t had a chance to check it out I’d encourage you to do so, because it kind of goes along with what this article is about.

Before I get started, let’s define narcissism:

Narcissism: Mental disorder characterized by extreme self-absorption, an exaggerated sense of self-importance, and a need for attention and admiration from others.

For a lot of people, they view someone who’s vain or egotistical as being narcissist.  Which is true.  In fact, if you look up the term “narcissism,” there are quite a lot of variations on what constitutes having narcissistic tendencies.

But when I talk to conservatives and examine many of their policies (especially social ones), they just seem to have this ethnocentric sense of self worth that their ideas are the only valid ones and their views on life are the only ones which are acceptable.

Take homosexuality for example.  Because they disagree with it, they believe same-sex marriage should be illegal and it should be perfectly legal for businesses to discriminate against gay Americans.

They feel the same way about abortion.  They want every person in this country to define life as when they feel it’s created.  Because they don’t feel a woman should have any control over her own body, especially if she’s pregnant.

They’re mostly Christians so they think that it should be the ruling religion over the United States.  Any other religion is just flat-out wrong – according to them.  

Many of them seem to believe that if same-sex marriage is legalized and abortions are allowed to continue, God will smite the entire planet.  Because they seem to be unaware that they aren’t the only Christians on this planet and billions of people aren’t Christian at all.

Canada, for example, is a predominantly Christian nation and they’ve had legalized same-sex marriage for years.  But these conservative Americans seem to think that they are God’s chosen people above all others.

Then they go around judging poor people as “lazy” simply because they found some level of success.  Because, you know, if they can do it, everyone should be able to.

And aren’t you aware that you should follow the exact same set of virtues and morals as they do?  After all, that’s how they were raised.  You should have been raised the same, and if you weren’t, well – too bad.

Then let’s not forget how they go around proclaiming themselves to be the lone true patriotic Americans in this country.  And if you doubt that, just go look at the “God Bless America,” “Support our Troops” and American flag bumper stickers they have all over their vehicles.

And if the bumper stickers don’t prove their patriotism, just look at how many guns they own.  Because apparently you’re not a “real American” unless you have an unhealthy obsession with lethal inanimate objects.  At least according to them.  

Or look at these open carry folks.  They’re so super patriotic that they apparently feel you’re only a true American if you strap a semi-automatic assault weapon to your back and scare the hell out of families eating at local chain restaurants.

Because, you know, a concealed weapon just doesn’t draw enough attention to themselves to show off just how “American” they are.

These people can’t help but draw attention to themselves for being conservatives.  They relish in this belief that they are the only “true Americans.”  That anyone and everyone who isn’t just like them isn’t really an American.

They believe that their religion, morals, social norms and ethics are so amazing that whether millions of people like it or not, they should all comply with whatever set of values they believe everyone else should follow.

They seem unable to tell the difference between a narcissistic belief system centered around the notion that everyone should be exactly like them, and a true belief in freedom – even in the face of disagreement.

See, as a progressive, I can support the right for a woman to have an abortion even if I don’t personally agree with abortions.  I can support the right for the KKK to exist even though I find their beliefs reprehensible.  I can even support the right for conservative Americans to personally oppose homosexuality, other religions and women’s rights.  Just as long as they don’t try to make everyone else in this country follow the same set of values that they do.

But unfortunately, that’s exactly what many conservative Americans constantly try to do.

So, when you look at the three traits of narcissism in the definition above, many conservative Americans meet all of them:

  1. Self-absorption: Their belief that everyone should be able to accomplish what they have, follow the same social norms that they do and adhere to their values and morals.
  2. Exaggerated sense of self importance: Their belief that their ideology is the one and only one everyone should follow.  That simply because there is something with which they disagree that means everyone should disagree with it as well.
  3. Need for attention and admiration from others: Their frequency on talking about how “patriotic” they are.  Their tendency to have some kind of visualization around them (bumper stickers, flags, shirts) telling everyone how “American” they are.  Gun nuts who feel the need to “exercise their Second Amendment rights,” not by sensibly owning guns or carrying them in a concealed fashion, but by drawing attention to themselves by having a semi-automatic weapon openly strapped to their waist or back.

Hell, even with the recent capture of one of the masterminds behind the Benghazi attack, some on Fox News speculated that the timing of the arrest seemed awfully suspicious being that it landed around the same day they were set to interview Hillary Clinton.  As if President Obama ordered a military operation at a particular time because Fox News happened to be interviewing Hillary Clinton.

I’m sorry, but if you honestly believe that, in my opinion you’re suffering from some kind of mental illness.

Narcissism is something I see in many conservatives I encounter.  An ideology based on a society where only what they value, believe and see as morally acceptable should be allowed – and anyone who might disagree with them be damned.

Because, after all, who are you to question them?  Only they have the right to question others.

And if you doubt me on what I’ve said here, just go ahead and ask one of them.  I’m sure they’ll be glad to tell you exactly how right they are and how wrong everyone else is.


Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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  • Sandy Greer

    The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.
    ~ Leonardo da Vinci

    • Aly

      It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt…
      ~Mark Twain

  • buricco

    Or look at these open carry folks. They’re so super patriotic that they
    apparently feel you’re only a true American if you strap a
    semi-automatic assault weapon to your back and scare the hell out of
    families eating at local chain restaurants.

    Strap a Russian semi-automatic assault weapon.

    • pennyroyal

      just saw photos of two women in a Target (stupid name for a store) with assault weapons and kids in tow. Now if they strapped dildos on, that would be radical!!!

      • MadameDelphi

        Actually, that would be a great idea as a protest, strap on a dildo, say it’s your weapon of choice & walk around like that wherever they open carry. See what happens. Interesting that the dildo will probably be perceived as a threat & will cause the wearer to be arrested. Someone please run with this as a protest.

      • pennyroyal

        here and I thought I was being snarky. Thanks.

      • jedi woman

        Actually, that would likely get them arrested. Go figure!

  • Dr. Dee

    I’d say they suffer from a mental state known as white privilege.

  • Linda

    Change the word Conservative to Liberal and the article would still apply to some Liberals just as now the word applies to some Conservatives.
    Sincerely, a Conservative.

  • Steve Temke

    The triple whammy for this narcissism is to be wealthy, religious and conservative.

    In their minds, wealth equals power and since they have wealth they must be right. Religion lends a mistaken sense of morality to their delusions. Conservatism? They will do things the same way they always have, no matter what. On some levels, I see conservatism as a mental issue on it’s own since many show an almost irrational fear of, and avoidance of change.

  • Filtering and overgeneralization are two of the 10 Distorted Thought Processes that are addressed in cognitive behavioral therapy. So is “black and white” thinking. You’re treading on dangerous ground when you start labeling people you don’t agree with as “mentally ill”. You’re also doing the same thing in this post that you accuse Conservatives of doing: overgeneralizing and simplifying. You’re also playing the “if I believe it, then it’s correct” card, as well.

    You’re also stigmatizing mental illness, and I don’t mean by comparing the mentally ill to conservatives. You’re oversimplifying something that is very complex to bolster a weak argument that marginalizes people with mental illness in order to put down another group of people you don’t like.

    Just because someone shows signs of narcissism doesn’t mean they’re mentally ill. Narcissism is a symptom of *several* mental illnesses, including bipolar disorder, and personality disorders. Many mental disorders are co-morbid or co-occurring with other mental disorders. Unless you’re a psychiatrist or someone who is qualified to diagnose, you have no business diagnosing people with something that you clearly do not understand.

  • Westcoastliberal

    I know a LOT of people who act just as you describe 🙂 Great piece!

  • Fred Reames

    Well said.

  • Raymond Clark

    I would say their love of strength and contempt of anything weak is also a dead ringer for narcissism. You know they wouldn’t worship a dead Jew on a cross if he couldn’t also Sodom and Gemorragh them into the stone age.

  • Raymond Clark

    They have no cash to care for the sick or weak but plenty of dough for nuclear and conventional weapons.