Wounds and ignorance can mislead your heart to a wrong viewpoint. When people care more about feeling good than doing good, society gets worse. Welcome to the age of hashtag activism and moral narcissism.
How good are you? Let's count the ways.
Are you tolerant and accepting?
Do you care about the environment? About animals? Maybe people?
Are you against barriers and walls?
How often do you say it online? A lot?
According to moral narcissists, all answers should be yes. Otherwise, you might be a bigot, among other things. You're familiar with the "phobic" terms. They're thrown around today as commonly as "hi" and "bye." And they definitely don't feel good.
We're living in an age in which how the answers to these questions sound and feel matter so much more than what the implications of those answers actually mean. That's what you get when you combine a society full of psychologically wounded (and therefore sensitive) people with a culture that, above all else, desires (and is addicted to) pleasure. Why would anyone in such a society want the truth, especially when it hurts?
What Is Moral Narcissism?
In his book I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic If It Hasn't Already, Roger Simon explains, "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."
What you claim to believe or say you believe, not how you act, defines you as a person and makes you good.
So why is this a problem? Isn't it okay to want to feel good? It's a problem for many reasons, but let's stick with two for now:
1. The Divorce from Reality
First, because as a society we're slowly divorcing from reality. Facts are no longer important if the facts make people feel bad. In fact, they're the enemy.
2. Failing To Act
Second, we have become a society that fails to ACT because we care more about how we LOOK. And if we look good, we feel good...at least in the moment.
We protest with signs and shout for change, but we do little to actually create that change, as long as it FEELS right.
We have replaced action with hashtag activism. We let the whole world know how wrong something is by posting on Instagram, but we fail to show the world that we're doing anything about it, as long as it FEELS right.
We search competitively for the most unique photo of a tragic event with the caption "thoughts and prayers" underneath, but personal thoughts help no one, and the prayers are often promised but not prayed.
Two major shifts in culture are to blame for today's moral narcissism:
Changes To Education
Once the most prized and sought-after institution that enabled society to flourish, grow, and prosper, formal education has become a fallen idol. It no longer empowers; it creates victims. Broke, in-debt-the-rest-of-your-adult-life, victims. Due to the Marxist professors at many of the top universities, more students than ever are graduating brainwashed by years of terribly flawed social, political, and economic theories.
How does this relate to moral narcissism? Because Communism is a great example of something that sounds nice – a theoretical utopia – but when put into practice, has disastrous and violent repercussions.
Formal education has become a fallen idol. It no longer empowers; it creates victims.
Additionally, the Judeo-Christian values that our country was founded upon have been shoved to the side and are more disdained than ever. You might not be Christian or Jewish, but for American democracy to live on and thrive, we must recognize that it's these values that uphold our society.
We can also blame much of this on the injection of modern philosophy into curricula across the nation. Over the second half of the 20th century, French Postmodernism, specifically, made a mockery of established philosophy. Always-skeptical and questioning of everything, this so-called "modern way of thinking" made any true reality – any objective truth – impossible.
But there is objective truth, whether people like to acknowledge it or not.
A Focus on Feelings, Not Reason
The second core cause of moral narcissism is our obsession with feelings. More than ever before, the focus of modern society is on pursuing pleasure and feeling good. And this means, at all costs, tolerance over morality. In other words, anything can and should be tolerated. Well, almost anything. There's one thing that's utterly intolerable...and that's people who have an opposing opinion, especially one grounded in traditional moral reasoning.
Moral narcissism is the impersonator of morality and virtue that only seeks to inflate one's ego.
A moral narcissist is not someone who strives to be moral, because narcissism, like pride, is a vice – not a virtue. Moral narcissism is the impersonator of morality and virtue that only seeks to inflate one's ego. Moral narcissism has left everyone searching for self-gratification and social validation. And where is that getting us? Why aren't these self-gratifying feelings leading to happiness? If "self-love" was the answer, why are more people depressed more than ever? Because at the end of the day, the only thing narcissism breeds are feelings of insecurity and self-loathing.
Want to feel moral? Practice a morally good lifestyle. Go DO moral things. And don't worry about Instagram witnessing you in action.