Was William F Buckley a Malignant Narcissist? Well, you can never be sure at a distance, but I long suspected it. His face had a slightly shocked, frozen aspect, with glassy eyes, and an uncertainty at what he was seeing, even as he adopted a “devil may care” attitude. The picture below is a perfect example of what I look for in the narcissistic face. That is at President Reagan’s inauguration. Notice how the face is kind of a mixture of shock, horror, and an attempt to overlay it with a blank expression. Even so, if you look, you can see the amygdala beneath it.
I kept my mouth shut though, what with no enemies on the right and all. However Jonah Goldberg recently said it was time to John Birch the Alt-right. (Good luck with that, numnuts, as an economic apocalypse approaches and the nation finds itself overrun with your Establishment-approved, religion-of-peace amigos. You’ll be lucky to one day escape the mob that is coming yourself. I look on this piece as my get out of jail free card, should I ever have the misfortune to be captured in Jonah’s vicinity.)
So I am free to discuss things like this openly now. If the Cuckservative Establishment wants to attack the Alt-right, lets take a look at their saintly standard bearer, through the lens of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Our source material will be the piece written by his son in the New York Times. At the time I read it, I was repulsed by what appears to be a case of pretty severe Malignant Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Here I will explain why, after quotes from the article.
First is the picture of him. Notice how despite his youth, you can still see the glassy, disconnected eyes. And the sneer of contempt, almost to the point of a growl with an upcurled lip, which is manifest on the left side of his face, and masked on the right side. That facial asymmetry always seems to hold when I see something aberrant. Faces are handed, and the left side almost never hides the demons within as well as the right.
Now the article.
Pup’s self-medicating was, I’d venture, a chemical extension of the control he asserted over every other aspect of his life. The term “control freak” is pejorative. Put it this way: Few great men — and I use the term precisely, for Pup was a great man — do not assert total control over their domains…
He was invariably the sunniest and most pleasant creature in the room. The moods of those in attendance upon him — Mum’s, mainly — did not always match his.
A TV remote control in the hands of an autocrat of the entertainment room becomes a “Star Trek” phaser set on stun. He and Mum might be watching “Murder on the Orient Express” with a half-dozen guests when, just as a key plot point was being introduced, suddenly the screen would fill with a documentary on Che Guevara or the Tuareg nomads of the Sahara…
There, the three of us would eat one of Julian the cook’s delicious meals on trays and watch a movie. I say “a movie,” but “movies” would be more accurate, since several minutes in, without bothering to say, “Let’s watch something else,” he’d simply change the channel. One day, when I was out of town and called to check in, Danny reported, with a somewhat-strained chuckle, “We watched parts of five movies last night…”
Once or twice during the convalescence, I became so splutteringly frustrated after the fourth or fifth channel change that I silently stormed out of the room.
I know what Buckley was doing because I have seen this mind in action. That storming out was what Buckley wanted. Think about it. He was watching those shows. Was he not drawn into them? Was his interest alone not piqued to see the climactic resolution unfold? Was his boredom climaxing at the exact moment everyone else’s interest was maximally invested?
The satisfaction he felt when everyone else was enraged at that critical moment was more pleasurable to him than seeing the plot twists revealed. Look at the results. Christopher storms out enraged. He was not blind to that. Nor was he callous. When Christopher stormed out, I guaranteed you he smiled with satisfaction to himself, amused at the irritation he created – and then he watched one program uninterrupted.
He felt good when people were enraged, and that minor pleasure was all that he was looking for. Would you ever do this to a friend? I would wager not. Yet narcissists love this. They are miserable inside, and making other’s miserable makes them feel better. It is why being around a narcissist is so miserable. Here, Buckley was quite sunny, so long as everyone else was miserable. But if anyone had ever called him on his familial perfidy, or refused to play his irritating game, he would have exploded in a rage.
Buckley was not a great man. He was, like all narcissists, an insecure, mentally damaged coward, elevated to his position by an establishment that saw him as a useful idiot who would happily suppress the most fierce advocates for freedom, from John Birch to Ayn Rand.
Notice he did not have the balls to openly confront those he wished to torment. He would never face down an enemy and subdue them in glorious conflict. His greatest victory would be exploiting the loyalty of a close family member, to get away with some petty torment which they themselves would laugh at in writing years later. That was the closest thing to a “victory” in open combat that Buckley would ever attain.
He was a good writer, but just as Mussolini’s ability to make the trains run on time, and Hitler’s gift of oratory did not make them great men, Buckley’s far lesser gift of the written word leaves him even more short of the mark – as evidenced by the fact that I will bet half of the readers seeing this are not even exactly sure who he was.
Even back then, the Establishment was like this, as I will expound upon at the end of this article.
Everything was perfect. Mum had brought and wrapped presents for everyone, arranging them around a Christmas tree she had contrived. (She was brilliant at Christmases, Mum.) She brought and strung up little twinkling lights. Drinks were served. “Silent Night” was playing on the CD player. The boat was anchored in the most charming, lovely, beautiful, protected cove in the entire Caribbean. You see where this is going. Everything was perfect.
At which point Pup suddenly decided that it would be even more perfect if they up-anchored and moved across the way to a different cove… On that Christmas Eve, Mum said, “Bill, just leave it.” But leaving it was not Bill’s way. No, no. Ho, ho, ho.
Dick’s recitation of what followed is quite hilarious, but I’d guess it was far from hilarious at the time.
Pup ordered the anchor up, and as they proceeded across the bay, a sudden squall hit, drenching everything, washing presents overboard, shorting out the Christmas lights, knocking over the tree; whereupon, in the dark and confusion, the yacht went aground. So instead of spending a lovely, calm Christmas Eve in the protected cove listening to Bing Crosby singing amid the twinkling lights, they spent it in the dark, at a 45-degree angle atop a sandbar, in a rainstorm. All because Pup had insisted that it would be “so much nicer over on the other side.”
Again, everything was wonderful, everyone was happy, and he purposely exerted great effort to fuck it up, and did it in such a way as to avoid being blamed for doing it purposefully. This was purposeful, and let it not escape your notice, Buckley lacked the courage and the balls to do such openly. Not only did he fuck up the very people who were loyal to him – he did not even have the courage to do so openly, to their face.
Notice also, Christopher says, “in the dark,” and notes the lights were lit. It was night, they were at anchor, and everything was wonderful. He pulled his hook – in the dark – in shallow water – with a storm imminent – and screwed everything up. Pulling anchor is a pain in the ass. Sailing in shallow waters during the day is an asshole puckering experience. He did it all anyway – at night – and ran aground. Nobody would do that for no reason. He was miserable watching all the happiness, to the point he could not sit still, so he went to all that trouble.
Things were too nice, everyone was happy, and he had to fuck it up. Like it or not, that is a classic Narcissist move.
I had planned to leave mid-July on a trip to the West Coast. One night as we watched the first of three — or was it four? — movies, he said apprehensively, “When are you leaving for California?”
“I’m not, Pup. I’m going to stay here with you.”
He began to cry. I went over and patted him on the back. He recovered his composure and said, somewhat matter-of-factly, “Well, I’d do the same for you.”
I smiled and thought, Oh, no, you wouldn’t…
When I was 11, I spent three weeks in a hospital without a visit from him. True, he was on a trip to South Africa at the time, and in 1962, South Africa was a long way off. Still, when finally the doctors told Mum that I might not make it, she flashed word to him: come home, and that he did, briskly, catching the next flight and changing planes — as he related proudly — in Nairobi, Cairo, Athens, Rome, Paris, London and . . . Reykjavik! His absence from my sickbed was not any failure of love. It was, perhaps, just how it was in those days: the mothers took care of the children. By the time he arrived back, I was out of danger.
Again, Narcissists are excellent bullshit artists, and often believe their own bullshit. He left his own child sick, and only began his return when his child had reached the point he was going to die. Then, later on, he relates how he would stop everything for an ill loved one when he obviously wouldn’t and didn’t when he had the chance.
Here is the kicker. The tears are not love. I know this mind from the inside out. He left Christopher sick when he was a little child because he didn’t care. He enraged him for fun, just to amuse himself. He took the entire family away from Christopher in frustration because he was enjoying his moment when he graduated. This wasn’t love.
The tears are due to the release of his ultimate insecurity – his own insecurity over his potential stupidity compared to others. That type of crying is a result of a painful emotion, released. A billionaire pays your mortgage to prevent your family from being evicted. A cop risks his life to save your child from a burning building. This type of crying is a result of someone doing something that relieves your emotional pain suddenly, and all at once.
He cried, because in that moment, he felt that he had Christopher fully fooled. That meant, if Christopher would so fully sacrifice himself for “Pup,” then clearly Pup could not be an idiot. It relieved his ultimate insecurity. He had fooled Christopher completely. He had to be the smart one. This is the cerebral narcissist’s dream – tangible proof which they can handle in their brain, that everyone else is an idiot, and they are the smart one. It relieves the great insecurity which drives them unrelentingly to try and one-up everyone else.
Of course the joke was on Buckley. He was actually being fooled by someone who was not only smarter, and who knew the score, but who was “more good” as well. Were Pup to read this, that is the twig-snapping image which would immediately be flagged as it passed through his amygdala. I guarantee you, if he had known that these printed words of Christopher’s were destined to hit this page this way, one day, he would have blown his top. Not only was he the dumbest person in that room, he wasn’t even the most good, and here it was on the pages of the New York Times.
Ten minutes into my college graduation ceremony, he got bored and rounded up the family and friends in attendance and whisked them off to lunch at what we now call an “undisclosed location,” leaving me to spend my graduation day wandering the campus in search of my family. I ended up having my graduation lunch alone, at the Yankee Doodle diner. When I confronted him back home, grinding my back molars, he merely said airily, “I just assumed you had other plans.” Pup — on my graduation day?
Narcissists cannot stand seeing others be the center of attention. Buckley was in agony because he was forced to sit while his son enjoyed a moment in the spotlight – and he couldn’t fuck it up for him either. He was in such agony that he had to scoop everyone up and swept them somewhere else, abandoning his own son on his big day.
Think about that. Would you have done that to your son, who looked up to you and was loyal to you? Would you have wanted to miss his moment of success? No psychologist in the world would miss this. This is major, category-5 personality disorder territory, and it can only be driven by an insecurity that is similar in its epic magnitude, and cuts to the core of his being.
As an aside, when I read this, I thought in my head, a middle brother. The two cases which this reminded me of, were both middle brothers, and a quick look at wiki showed the pattern held here. My thinking is, a younger brother grows accustomed to being the center of attention, enjoying how his older brother languishes as he is lavished. Then an even younger brother shows up and steals the show, and he provides a constant stimulus of envy over what would have been, had the younger brother never been born. That is as conditioning as practicing a golf swing endlessly, all day long, from the time you are a little kid. You get better at it and it happens ever easier. Pretty soon you are a savant.
I hate guys like this. I view them as pure evil. And yet, as I read this, I still feel the agony they live in, and almost feel sympathy. This was a man who had everything, and yet I will guarantee you, even at the wheel of a sailboat on a sunny day heading into untold adventures in the Caribbean with friends and all the money in the world, he was the most miserable, fearful, insecure, jealous individual on earth. He could never be happy, no matter what he exuded to the rubes he roped in, because he would always picture somebody else being happy. He could only ruin somebody else’s day, and feel a passing satisfaction at his perfidy. You cannot escape amygdala defects. They infect every moment of life – to the point they make you do an endless stream of unbelievably stupid shit like this.
I hate this psychology and would derive great pleasure from tormenting it, and yet there is no denying that these characters spend their lives in a tortuous prison entirely of their own making, and they can never escape for a moment. It is ironic.
“Say, Pup, I know you want your ashes in the cross. . . .”
“I absolutely want them in the cross,” he said, in a pre-emptive, “Firing Line” tone of voice.
“Right. Right. I was only thinking, what if, you know, the house, if I, well, you never know . . . if I ever had to sell it. . . .”
“Your point being?”
“Well, I mean, a new owner . . . surely . . . might, uh. . . .”
“Why wouldn’t a new owner want the cross?”
“Well,” I said, taking a deep swig of my frosty see-through, “they might be, I don’t know, Jewish, or whatever. They might not want an enormous crucifix in their garden.”
“It’s a work of art,” he said.
“It is. It is absolutely that. (Clearing of throat.) Still. . . .”
“I wouldn’t worry about it.” How well I knew this formulation. “I wouldn’t worry about it” was W.F.B.-speak for “The conversation is over.”
Again, adherence to a false reality and refusal to consider perfectly plausible alternative realities. All driven by an amygdala which cannot even touch upon the slightest adverse emotional data. He would rather deny and block out, and endure the worst consequence, than honestly examine, and talk about simple reality.
I remembered Pup grinning one day over lunch, announcing: “Say, have I told you about my new best friend? George McGovern! He turns out to be the single nicest human being I’ve ever met…” Some of Pup’s great friendships were with card-carrying members of the vast left-wing conspiracy: John Kenneth Galbraith, Murray Kempton, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the A.C.L.U. head Ira Glasser and Allard K. Lowenstein, among many others.
You can judge a man by the company he keeps. Of course I can’t say the Republican Establishment side would be any better. How many of those characters did Reagan view as close friends? From my understanding he was particularly repulsed by the Bush family, who themselves view Bill Clinton as a wonderful person. That is a non-Narcissist, and the dividing line which delineates them from the narcissist.
People such as Narcissists, who have nothing real inside, whose entire lives are momentary fictions they have conjured in their heads to assuage their eet and would have enjoyed seeing people happy around her, speaks volumes. He needed someone who was as miserable as he was to look at. I wouldn’t even rule out them being a sort of tag-team happiness-ruining duo. It is entirely possible that Buckley tagged in the inimitable Mrs. Buckley to ruin their daughter’s night, and was amused to no end as he sat stoically at the head of the table and watched mum begin her assail on Kate Kennedy. They surely appear to have had something in common.
I remember another story which I had assumed was in this article. Buckley was on a sailboat down somewhere around Costa Rica, if memory serves, with a friend, when he proposed they watch some show that he knew the local English language station was broadcasting. The friend agreed, but when they turned on the TV, the show was already halfway over. Buckley picked up the phone, and said something to the friend like, “Lets see if the Buckley name carries any weight down here.” Buckley proceeded to call the station manager, and say how he had been looking forward to the program, but had missed the first half. To the friend’s amazement, the show began rewinding to the beginning, Buckley thanked the guy on the phone, and hung up.
Years later, someone told the guy Buckley had been laughing at him for being so stupid. Buckley had the show on a VCR tape, and he had already watched half of it, when he began playing it for the friend. There was no guy on the phone. Buckley had faked the phone call, and rewound the VCR tape to the beginning on the sly, as if they were doing it at some Caribbean TV station just for him.
Narcissists are forever trying to find tangible measures of the fact that they are smarter than other people. Would you not have done all of this? Then you aren’t insecure about the fact your friends might be smarter than you. That insecurity, and the amygdala angst it entails, is a core feature of the Narcissistic Personality Disorder. If you want to say Buckley wasn’t afflicted, you have to say you could see yourself doing all of this, exactly as Buckley did. Of course if you do, you will be revealing something very interesting about yourself.
Many say Buckley reinvigorated the Conservative movement. I say that cannot be done. Conservatism is merely an expression of the K-selected psychology. It is invigorated by the disasters produced by liberalism, as the horrors liberals cultivate have their effects on the minds of the populace. Nobody can create it through positivity, any more than you can create a high tide with a water pump. You can massage things at the edges, humiliate a liberal here and there, even hold the line on one issue or another with subtle threats of force in places, as with guns, but in the grander scheme, r and K are like the tides. When they come, they come. Buckley merely rode the wave, until Carter’s destruction was enough to raise Reagan. Had he not, somebody else would have.
People like Buckley only slow the ascent of conservatism, by trying to demonize the leading edge of the movement on behalf of their mentally damaged fellow travelers on the left. Driven by the urge to assuage their own fears of not being in control of the flow of events, they are seeking one thing. If they are not in control, someone else must be, and that someone else must be the smart person.
Notice the analogies between the narcissist’s behavior, and that of the modern Cuckservative right. People are happy in America. Things are good. What do the Cucks innocently support? Importing floods of 69 IQ foreigners into the nation, who have no hope of ever assimilating. Importing people who cannot create even a semblance of freedom in their home countries, let alone protect it from leftists here. People who come from cultures where nepotism and corruption are so endemic to their culture that even if the US artificially imposes democracy and freedom in their home nation, they have no ability to maintain it themselves. People who come to the US in search of free resources, provided by government. People who vote by margins of 70 or 80% for the liberal’s promises of free resources provided through theft from the productive. People who kill innocent Americans and destroy the nation’s unity through divisions of language, and culture, and moral philosophy.
You know this will end badly. It is too obvious. They should know this as well. They should see the angst they are producing among their compatriots and demure. They should leave America alone to be happy and successful. And yet, just as America is about to see it’s success revealed on the jumbotron monitor, they click the channel to Los Imigrantes Locos, and then revel in our upset. The only thing which can throw them up in arms is the Donald seizing the remote, smacking them across the face, and telling them that now we are watching a single fucking channel that climaxes in American greatness, and that is that. Their response? Exactly as Buckley would. Pouting, whining, rage, and an angry search for covert ways to thwart everyone and screw everything up, while maintaining their own plausible deniability about their real motives.
As they pull off these feats of treason, and seek to marginalize anyone who objects, they try to close the Overton window to the benefit of the leftists in the nation. Had John Birch been allowed to remain mainstream, their rhetoric would have molded minds in the country to view moderate conservatism as just that – the moderate position. Instead they attack the most right leaning ideologues to appease the left, and in so doing move the Overton window, and the nation, leftward.
The same is true of the alt-right today. Whether you agree or disagree with the alt-right, their presence redefines the boundaries of the debate to the benefit of the broader movement, by moving the entire debate rightward, and making the far left even father left by comparison in people’s minds. Those who try to thwart this, are either too stupid to understand it, or are working with ulterior motives. Either way, they are destined to defeat as K-selection approaches.
In Jonah’s example of how things should happen, Buckley, a mentally damaged CIA “Company Man” whose motives would always have to be questioned, took the reins of the movement, leaving it led by an individual who at the very least appeared to possess a gross personality disorder, and who, if these accounts were true, was among the most grievously afflicted you would ever encounter.
That benefits nobody, but the Elites who are presently using the system to their benefit, and destroying the nation’s future in the process. Either that is incompetence or stupidity.
Or more likely a combination of both.
Bring the Apocalypse, and welcome the wails of the Cuckservative right.