Soft Narcissism

Above It All

Alex over at Amatopia continues the discussion on conservatism's cultural failures begun by myself and Rawle Nyanzi. Alex's contribution is to go a bit more in-depth about why conservatives abandoned the field to Leftists in the arts.
I contend that by abandoning the arts, conservatives created this illusion of being temperamentally unsuited.
Plenty of practical, conservative types are artistic. They are just not let into the industries that their ideological opponents control.
Luckily, with gatekeepers mattering less and less, this will eventually prove to be no obstacle at all.
Thus, I don’t agree with Rawle that the perceived leftist tendency to deal with speculation or emotion–or being supported by others!–gives them a “psychological advantage” in art. As we see, many converged, overly political movies, TV shows, and books utterly fail in the storytelling department because of their overtly political nature.
The only advantage I can see, psychological or otherwise, is the fact that the gatekeepers are also of the Left.
This goes to Brian’s point about refusal to fight. Conservatives don’t like being told what to do and don’t like telling others what to do.
But your business isn’t government. A person has every right to treat their own business or organization as a dictatorship. Conservatives believe that the purity of their ideals will inspire their enemies to see their way of thinking.
Bullshit. Verifiable, irrefutable bullshit.
All sticking to “muh principles!” does is ensure that you will be disadvantaged. Unilateral disarmament does not work. 
Most responses to Alex's correct observation about the conservative tendency to justify preemptive surrender on the basis of "principle" is to accuse the observer of asserting that no one should have principles. A closer look reveals that the conservative making the accusation is simply doubling down on his "muh princples" rhetoric.

I--and I feel safe in assuming Rawle and Alex--don't want conservatives to abandon their principles. As I said in the post that sparked this conversation, I'd like conservatives to actually let their stated principles inform their actions instead of using them to excuse inaction.

Another vital reality that often seems lost on conservatives is that not all principles are universally applicable in all places, at all times, and in all circumstances. It's healthy and smart to periodically check your principles against conditions on the ground to make sure your ideas correspond to reality.

This self-examination is especially important now that the enemy's game largely consists of coming up with new rules for themselves while holding the rest of us to the old rules. In situations like this, those who stick to the old rules aren't principled. They're saps who are forfeiting any chance of implementing their principles.

Equally important: conservatives must come to terms with the fact that a particular tactic is not necessarily evil just because it may be distasteful. Using Rommel's strategy didn't make Patton a Nazi. Every measure has to be individually evaluated based on intent, means, and circumstances.

The last word goes to Alex.
It’s Schoolyard 101: the dirtiest player dictates the rules of the game. Conservatives choose the soft narcissism of being the most rigidly principled guy in the room.
This is the real psychological disadvantage. By trying to stay above it all to assure their own egos that they’re the most principled dudes in town, they’ve entirely ceded the battlefield.
Nice job.


  1. Brian,
    I start the self reflection asking some questions:
    1) who are we? Are we conserving,preserving or restoring? Or that's a false first principle because it's all simultaneously?
    2)is the Benedict option off the table or an option among others? I tend to favour a multipronged approach. Engage,retreat, pick your fight, keep your counsel
    3) alao should we imitate the early Christians and through our behaviour,commitment to truth, beauty and the good seduce the world once again?
    4) How do we check our values and ideas to the ground reality of where we live and adapt accordingly without becoming wishwashy?
    My very modest prescription is to engage the culture and show by art deed and behaviour that we offer the good, true and beauty joyfully.
    People will compare and contrast both and draw conclusions.
    Mind you my question and prescriptions are probably naive bordering on innocent. So I submit them for critical examination.
    Final thought:be like the early Christians and engage the world with a mix of prudence and piety

  2. The Left took the Benedict Option off the table when they made it clear they'll never leave us alone.

    1. Brian ok so French warfare it is. I'm still reflecting how to sly like a serpent and wise as an owl in order to defeat the cult of