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Can Leftists Overcome Their Narcissism and Rage?

A left-wing professor at Columbia thinks they should try.

Mark Lilla, writing in today’s Wall Street Journal, criticizes his own side (the left) for derailing itself with identity politics. He says that liberalism’s post-1960s embrace of identity politics resonates with young people in “our highly individualistic bourgeois society—a society that keeps them focused on themselves and teaches them that personal choice, individual rights and self-definition are all that is sacred.”

Lilla, who is a professor of the humanities at Columbia, and who identifies himself as a “frustrated liberal,” says he is struck by the difference between his liberal students and his conservative students. The conservative ones formulate opinions and make arguments based on ideas and principles. The liberal ones, though, base their arguments (such as they are) on an assertion of identity (e.g., “Speaking as a lesbian of color, I believe that…”). Lilla goes on:

“Conservatives complain loudest about today’s campus follies, but it is really liberals who should be angry. The big story is not that leftist professors successfully turn millions of young people into dangerous political radicals every year. It is that they have gotten students so obsessed with their personal identities that, by the time they graduate, they have much less interest in, and even less engagement with, the wider political world outside their heads.

“The politics of identity has done nothing but strengthen the grip of the American right on our institutions. It is the gift that keeps on taking. Now is the time for liberals to do an immediate about-face and return to articulating their core principles of solidarity and equal protection for all. Never has the country needed it more.”

Yeah, good luck with that. The Democrat Media-Academic Complex has spent decades indoctrinating people to believe that identity and feelings were the only things that mattered. Rage has been the fuel of the left for decades, and they don’t really have any alternative fuels available. You’re not going to get very far in changing left-wing rage culture when universities are offering courses on “The Intersectionalities of Fat Shaming” and media outfits are publishing stories about how blonde women are inherently racist.



  1. “The politics of identity has done nothing but strengthen the grip of the American right on our institutions.”

    Exactly which colleges and/or universities does the right have a grip on? What the right has a grip on is the knowledge of the damage the left has done not only to higher learning, but to this nation as a whole.

    Comment by Hope's Human — August 12, 2017 @ 3:45 pm - August 12, 2017

  2. two observations: 1. “…and return to articulating their core principles of solidarity and equal protection.” would that equal protection be like passing a civil rights act that makes racial discrimination illegal, then passing affirmative action laws to make it legal to practice racial discrimination against white people?
    2. there are “conservative students” at Columbia? wait until the administration finds out about that. heads are going to roll in the admissions dept.

    Comment by salg — August 12, 2017 @ 4:04 pm - August 12, 2017

  3. I wonder how long until he gets fired for creating an unsafe learning space?

    Comment by Clifford — August 12, 2017 @ 4:25 pm - August 12, 2017

  4. How timely.

    Today’s Leftists Have Devolved Into Such Lame, Uncool, Intolerant Moralists They Can’t Even Realize It


    Comment by Cyril — August 12, 2017 @ 6:49 pm - August 12, 2017

  5. “Can Leftists Overcome Their Narcissism and Rage? ”

    How? Narcissism and Rage is what defines them.

    Comment by alanstorm — August 12, 2017 @ 7:51 pm - August 12, 2017

  6. I remember taking a Sociology class at UMass, Race Sex and Social Class for one of my liberal arts requirements. Man, did I ever make enemies with this leftist professor because I didn’t agree with the leftist, Marxist, collectivist bs I was being fed!

    Comment by James — August 12, 2017 @ 9:15 pm - August 12, 2017

  7. Also, another good assessment recently made in the inherently racist Lauren’s …

    Why I Hate Pride Parades

    It’s as if the left was hard at work to make the gays look / be considered as unlikeable as possible — a bit like, ya know, their best friends do from that other vantage point called… fundamental islam.

    Weird or what? /sarc.

    Comment by Cyril — August 12, 2017 @ 10:22 pm - August 12, 2017

  8. There are psychoanalytics explanations, too.

    The Self-Destructive Left and Pinocchio’s Temptation for the Victim Identity

    The choice process of abandoning to take responsibility for self-improvement.


    Comment by Cyril — August 12, 2017 @ 10:54 pm - August 12, 2017

  9. It is a good question. The question can also be asked if Rightists can do the same …

    Comment by Cas — August 12, 2017 @ 11:39 pm - August 12, 2017

  10. So, let’s summarize.

    – V posts about a thought-provoking article from Mark Lilla, where Mark Lilla talks about leftie narcissism/rage in meaningful terms, as he takes the trouble to define what he means and what he would like the Left to overcome.

    – Cas’ response? Name-call the Right. And not meaningfully (as no effort is made to define or explain anything).

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 13, 2017 @ 12:32 am - August 13, 2017

  11. Hm… speaking of jobs… Is it just me, or,

    has anyone else noticed, evil hard right wingers seem to organize events mostly on week ends, while the hard left is observably capable to get their riots or blocking highways any day of the week, at any time, mornings, afternoons, or evenings.

    I cannot help but wonder if there would be more to this peculiar correlation, there?

    Comment by Cyril — August 13, 2017 @ 3:15 am - August 13, 2017

  12. @11 sorry. Wrong thread.

    Comment by Cyril — August 13, 2017 @ 3:24 am - August 13, 2017

  13. “Can Leftists Overcome…”

    It might very well be that it’s easier to answer than it seems.

    For instance, those who will call him a sell out,

    Why I Left the Left

    … well, I guess, no, they can’t.

    Comment by Cyril — August 13, 2017 @ 4:25 am - August 13, 2017

  14. The simple ans simplistic answer is “No”.
    They see the world as a zero-sum equation; “you lose, we win.”

    Comment by Ted B. (Charging Rhino) — August 13, 2017 @ 7:45 am - August 13, 2017

  15. Cas.. list 5 rage filled rightist riots in the last 3 years. I will list 10 rage filled leftist riots in the last 18 months.

    Comment by TnnsNe1 — August 13, 2017 @ 9:14 am - August 13, 2017

  16. @15

    … yup.

    To begin with!

    Comment by Cyril — August 13, 2017 @ 1:55 pm - August 13, 2017

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