Peggy Noonan has written a wonderful column about diverse topics. Here is a brilliant note about our soft cultural narcissism. Link here.
In her words: "Now, on TV every day as people remember some trauma or triumph, they stop as if on cue-- they know this is expected of them-- and weep. They think this shows sincerity and sensitivity. But they feel too much about their struggles. I sometimes watch with fascination those shows where people lose weight. They often begin to sob as they fall off the treadmill or remember the Twinkie they didn't eat. This is now the national style. It makes Europeans laugh."
As a nation, we have been traumatized. And we are following the prescriptions that our therapy culture has set out for us. As Noonan correctly notes, they are making us an international laughing stock.
Surely, it would be better to follow her prescription and to emulate the spirit of the men who landed on the moon. In her words: "We should take our eyes off ourselves. We should go someplace again. It would remind us who we've been, which would remind us who we are."
Noonan is right about this, but now that our president has become a therapist-in-chief, a man who traverses the globe to tell the world, and, by extension, ourselves, that we need to overcome our tendencies to think that we are special, that we have accomplished great things, and that we can compete against anyone anywhere.
Noonan is right to propose that we can only rebuild our national greatness by tapping in to the successes we achieved in the past. But how is this going to happen when our president insists that we need to reset American history, the better to get in touch with the guilt that we ought to be feeling for what we used to think of as successes?
To Obama, we are not a great and proud people; we are ordinary, with our faults and foibles, just like everyone else.
Think of a coach who takes over a team that has had more than its share of success and whose new message is that when the team succeeded in the past it caused the other teams to feel bad, and thus, to dislike us.
So, we are no longer going to compete. We are no longer going to strive to be the best. We are now, as a team, going to try to be liked, to be popular... like a bunch of children in high school.
As Peggy Noonan said: people around the world are now laughing at us.