As you know if you’ve read this blog before, I believe there are two basic meta-political — psychological, sociological, biologically-determined — stances people take.
Either they know themselves, and then discipline themselves to adapt to the world and to achieve what they inwardly desire;
They become narcissists, refuse to pay attention to reality, and indulge in themselves instead of pursuing what they inwardly desire, because in pursuing something you can fail and thus endanger your fragile sense of self-esteem.
The first group builds its self-esteem by being able to comfortably predict reality; the second group assumes it has self-esteem through “love” of itself.
So now translating this to politics:
All over the news on Tuesday were clips of 18-year-old new mother Bristol Palin stuttering awkwardly in an interview with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren and saying what many Americans already know all too well: that the idea of teenage abstinence is unrealistic.
Bristol, sitting down with the Palin-friendly Van Susteren, did not come across as any more eloquent or incisive on matters of sex, pregnancy and new motherhood than anyone would expect of an utterly average teenager, but she did offer up an inarticulate, bumbling and nakedly honest interview about how her life has changed since the birth of her son, Tripp, two months ago. Wittingly or not, she touched on issues close to the heart of reproductive rights activists and feminists who fiercely opposed her mother’s candidacy: how her life is no longer her own, how she wishes she had waited 10 years, how the choice to have the child was hers and not her mother’s and how abstinence was not a realistic answer.
It’s unrealistic to ask people not to indulge in giant mountains of cocaine.
It’s unrealistic to ask people not to steal, rape, rob, etc.
It’s unrealistic to ask them to pay attention to reality.
Who’s defining “realistic” here?
Oh… someone who failed at reality and so had to get a media job that underpays here to have “bold, poignant, ironic” opinions.
So we’re supposed to let her program our minds with what is realistic or not.
The answer is that you’re either self-disciplined, or you’re narcissistic.
It’s unrealistic to expect people not to be narcissistic, but it’s realistic to say that if they are realistic, they’ll adapt instead — through self-discipline.