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David Duke is a malignant narcissist.

From: Great Geragos <great_geragos@hotmail.com>
Date: Sun, 07 Mar 2004 10:58:10 +0000
To: pics-interest@w3.org
Message-ID: <Law10-F117V7xVvR9ko0004c50c@hotmail.com>

David Duke is a malignant narcissist.

He invents and then projects a false, fictitious, self for the world to 
fear, or to admire. He maintains a tenuous grasp on reality to start with 
and the trappings of power further exacerbate this. Real life authority and 
David Duke’s predilection to surround him with obsequious sycophants support 
David Duke’s grandiose self-delusions and fantasies of omnipotence and 
omniscience.
David Duke's personality is so precariously balanced that he cannot tolerate 
even a hint of criticism and disagreement. Most narcissists are paranoid and 
suffer from ideas of reference (the delusion that they are being mocked or 
discussed when they are not). Thus, narcissists often regard themselves as 
"victims of persecution".
Duke fosters and encourages a personality cult with all the hallmarks of an 
institutional religion: priesthood, rites, rituals, temples, worship, 
catechism, and mythology. The leader is this religion's ascetic saint. He 
monastically denies himself earthly pleasures (or so he claims) in order to 
be able to dedicate himself fully to his calling.
Duke is a monstrously inverted Jesus, sacrificing his life and denying 
himself so that his people - or humanity at large - should benefit. By 
surpassing and suppressing his humanity, Duke became a distorted version of 
Nietzsche's "superman".
But being a-human or super-human also means being a-sexual and a-moral.
In this restricted sense, narcissistic leaders are post-modernist and moral 
relativists. They project to the masses an androgynous figure and enhance it 
by engendering the adoration of nudity and all things "natural" - or by 
strongly repressing these feelings. But what they refer to, as "nature" is 
not natural at all.
Duke invariably proffers an aesthetic of decadence and evil carefully 
orchestrated and artificial - though it is not perceived this way by him or 
by his followers. Narcissistic leadership is about reproduced copies, not 
about originals. It is about the manipulation of symbols - not about 
veritable atavism or true conservatism.
In short: narcissistic leadership is about theatre, not about life. To enjoy 
the spectacle (and be subsumed by it), the leader demands the suspension of 
judgment, depersonalization, and de-realization. Catharsis is tantamount, in 
this narcissistic dramaturgy, to self-annulment.
Narcissism is nihilistic not only operationally, or ideologically. Its very 
language and narratives are nihilistic. Narcissism is conspicuous nihilism - 
and the cult's leader serves as a role model, annihilating the Man, only to 
re-appear as a pre-ordained and irresistible force of nature.
Narcissistic leadership often poses as a rebellion against the "old ways" - 
against the hegemonic culture, the upper classes, the established religions, 
the superpowers, the corrupt order. Narcissistic movements are puerile, a 
reaction to narcissistic injuries inflicted upon David Duke like (and rather 
psychopathic) toddler nation-state, or group, or upon the leader.
Minorities or "others" - often arbitrarily selected - constitute a perfect, 
easily identifiable, embodiment of all that is "wrong". They are accused of 
being old, they are eerily disembodied, they are cosmopolitan, they are part 
of the establishment, they are "decadent", they are hated on religious and 
socio-economic grounds, or because of their race, sexual orientation, origin 
... They are different, they are narcissistic (feel and act as morally 
superior), they are everywhere, they are defenseless, they are credulous, 
they are adaptable (and thus can be co-opted to collaborate in their own 
destruction). They are the perfect hate figure. Narcissists thrive on hatred 
and pathological envy.
This is precisely the source of the fascination with Hitler, diagnosed by 
Erich Fromm - together with Stalin - as a malignant narcissist. He was an 
inverted human. His unconscious was his conscious. He acted out our most 
repressed drives, fantasies, and wishes. He provides us with a glimpse of 
the horrors that lie beneath the veneer, the barbarians at our personal 
gates, and what it was like before we invented civilization. Hitler forced 
us all through a time warp and many did not emerge. He was not the devil. He 
was one of us. He was what Arendt aptly called the banality of evil. Just an 
ordinary, mentally disturbed, failure, a member of a mentally disturbed and 
failing nation, who lived through disturbed and failing times. He was the 
perfect mirror, a channel, a voice, and the very depth of our souls.
Duke prefers the sparkle and glamour of well-orchestrated illusions to the 
tedium and method of real accomplishments. His reign is all smoke and 
mirrors, devoid of substances, consisting of mere appearances and mass 
delusions. In the aftermath of his regime - Duke having died, been deposed, 
or voted out of office - it all unravels. The tireless and constant 
prestidigitation ceases and the entire edifice crumbles. What looked like an 
economic miracle turns out to have been a fraud-laced bubble. Loosely held 
empires disintegrate. Laboriously assembled business conglomerates go to 
pieces. "Earth shattering" and "revolutionary" scientific discoveries and 
theories are discredited. Social experiments end in mayhem.
It is important to understand that the use of violence must be ego-syntonic. 
It must accord with the self-image of David Duke. It must abet and sustain 
his grandiose fantasies and feed his sense of entitlement. It must conform 
David Duke like narrative. Thus, David Duke who regards himself as the 
benefactor of the poor, a member of the common folk, the representative of 
the disenfranchised, the champion of the dispossessed against the corrupt 
elite - is highly unlikely to use violence at first. The pacific mask 
crumbles when David Duke has become convinced that the very people he 
purported to speak for, his constituency, his grassroots fans, and the prime 
sources of his narcissistic supply - have turned against him. At first, in a 
desperate effort to maintain the fiction underlying his chaotic personality, 
David Duke strives to explain away the sudden reversal of sentiment. "The 
people are being duped by (the media, big industry, the military, the elite, 
etc.)", "they don't really know what they are doing", "following a rude 
awakening, they will revert to form", etc. When these flimsy attempts to 
patch a tattered personal mythology fail, David Duke becomes injured. 
Narcissistic injury inevitably leads to narcissistic rage and to a 
terrifying display of unbridled aggression. The pent-up frustration and hurt 
translate into devaluation. That which was previously idealized - is now 
discarded with contempt and hatred. This primitive defense mechanism is 
called "splitting". To David Duke, things and people are either entirely bad 
(evil) or entirely good. He projects onto others his own shortcomings and 
negative emotions, thus becoming a totally good object. Duke is likely to 
justify the butchering of his own people by claiming that they intended to 
kill him, undo the revolution, devastate the economy, or the country, etc. 
The "small people", the "rank and file", and the "loyal soldiers" of David 
Duke - his flock, his nation, and his employees - they pay the price. The 
disillusionment and disenchantment are agonizing. The process of 
reconstruction, of rising from the ashes, of overcoming the trauma of having 
been deceived, exploited and manipulated - is drawn-out. It is difficult to 
trust again, to have faith, to love, to be led, to collaborate. Feelings of 
shame and guilt engulf the erstwhile followers of David Duke. This is his 
sole legacy: a massive post-traumatic stress disorder.

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Received on Sunday, 7 March 2004 06:02:14 GMT

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