Tag Archives: Narcissism

Books Through the Garden Window

Socialcide: How America is Loving Itself to Death
By Leo J. Battenhausen

The author asked permission to send me the book for review. When I was about three-quarters of the way through reading it, I emailed him that I would be writing the longest review I had ever written. He was gracious enough to send me three more copies of the book, to share with loved ones. By that time I had made 21 notes to myself about things I wanted to be sure to get in.

I shall begin with an extended, truthful, metaphor showing a situation in which Mr. Battenhausen’s definition does not apply.

Narcissism is love of oneself to the virtual exclusion of anyone else. As I write this, my daughters will be here to visit in just under two weeks. I have not seen them in more than three years. Some months ago I met a woman who instantly became my closest friend. I had not had a best friend since Elizabeth Linington died more than 20 years ago. Now I have Shalana, and I love her more than I ever loved my birth sister. She and I are giving a reception to introduce my daughters, and Shalana and Dan’s daughters, to our neighborhood friends. After the reception and the cleanup—Shalana, Faith and Liz, and the teenagers do the cleanup while I go and rest, because I am long-term ill—the women and girls are going out for dinner. None of us could have afforded this, but a relative gave Faith and Liz a princely gift to cover all the costs of their trip. My husband, Thomas, Shalana’s husband, Dan, and her son, Veshon, if he is up to it—he has two stress fractures in one foot—will serve as ushers, to take the guests to sign the guest book. Homemade bread (my work) and homemade cookies (Dan and Shalana’s work) will be spread on a table, and Shalana’s daughter, Naija, and Dan’s daughter, Katie, will be presiding over the guest book and the punch bowl. If Shalana were narcissistic she would resent cleaning my kitchen while I lay in bed. But as it is, if I did not go to bed she and Thomas would send me there. Thomas, 5’11” and white, will also rest, while Dan, also about 5’11” and white, takes his stepson Veshon, 6’6” and black, home so he can put his injured foot up. Dan thinks of Veshon as his son. Thomas calls Veshon “honorable nephew.” Naija and Katie are everybody’s daughter, or niece, or cousin.

This is not narcissism. It is a love fest. It is two families that have begun to think of themselves as one family, introducing loved ones to good friends. A narcissistic person loves himself or herself to the exclusion of everybody else. He or she—I will use the pronoun “he” through most of this review, to avoid repetition—thinks he is the most important person in the world. What he wants goes, and what he doesn’t want goes out. He would not think of spending many hours cooking for strangers to enjoy the work of his hands. His wife would not dream of loving his daughter; only her daughter would count, but she herself would be far more important than even her own daughter. We have become a me—me—me generation.

But in the situation just described, there is no me, me, me. Martin Luther King’s dream has been realized. America’s check is good. The members of these two families judge one another by the contents of their characters, not by the color of their skin. Veshon, 16, is regarded as a young gentleman, not as a n–. Katie and Naija are not the same color, but if someone tried to tell them they were not sisters he would find himself with two thirteen-year-olds trained in the martial arts all over him. Shalana and I refer to each other as Sis or as elect sisters, from the end of the third epistle of James. We do not have the same skin color, but we are sisters. Thomas asked for, and got, permission also to call Shalana Sis.

Over two hundred years ago a founding father of our country quipped, “Gentlemen, we must all hang together, or we will all hang separately.” Now too many of our citizens are unwilling to die, or even be inconvenienced, for their country, and they are incapable of understanding the very concept of hanging together. They are, ultimately, a loose collection of individuals, each of whom regards himself as the most important. That way lies the destruction of the individual and the destruction of our country. Dan is in his fifties and Thomas is in his sixties, but both of them are prepared at all times to give their lives for their country. They both miss, and mourn, a man who would be there had he not died recently. He was a general in Special Forces. Nobody in either Dan’s or Thomas’s family has risen higher in rank than master sergeant. But that didn’t matter to Carl. He spent his entire adult life ready to die for his country. He never understood the concept of me—me—me—. He resisted being promoted to general, because he wanted to be with his men. Thomas, Dan, and Carl were together in Thomas’s living room executing a legal document the morning before the afternoon Carl died. They were friends. More important, all three were ready to live or die for their country. That is not narcissism. Narcissism asks only, “What’s in it for me?”

Battenhausen points out that “[n]arcissism is actually in a category by itself. When people who cannot love, empathize, feel compassion, feel guilt, have a conscience, or contribute to anything good in society grow in number and become accepted and normalized by society. Society will not much longer exist. Those who are not of a narcissistic mind must always be on guard. . . .” Among the things about which they must be on guard are violent television shows and video games. It is easy to say, “If you don’t like them, don’t watch or play them.” But what does it do to those who do watch it—and to their victims? “Before the inception of these brain-washing devices there were no reports of children going on murderous rampage.” [I am an ex-police sergeant. I am sorry to say that in this sentence Mr. Battenhausen was not correct. But there were far fewer than there are now.] ”It is far more than just a cause-and-effect problem though. Addiction to video games is an essential component of Socialcide’s goal to manipulate youngsters into becoming self-absorbed monsters.” Speaking of the murder of “a grandmother by her eight-year-old grandson following his extended playing” of a violent video game, “the judge said he was ‘too young to understand the law and what he had done.’ Why in the world then was he allowed to play a game that has an M (Mature) rating in which players kill policemen and prostitutes in order to get what the players wanted? Besides being extremely heinous and violent the objective of the game sounds very narcissistic to me.” If the child had not been allowed to spend hours playing a me—me—me game, would his grandmother still be alive?

Battenhausen goes on to say that when we were teenagers, “we watched Wile E. Coyotes constant attempts to blow up the Road Runner . . . we watched Heckle and Jeckle, Tom and Jery, and Popeye and Bluto . . . But at the end of the cartoons all was back in place. We were not doing the killing, the characters did not look human, and we were not rewarded with extra points or privileges other than a laugh or two at the end of the show. . . .[N]arcissists are true charmers . . . This charming rouse [sic] is standard operating procedure . . . but is especially creepy among the . . . sexual predators. . . . I believe . . . that mass killings would at least be reduced if media ceased the advertising of such evil behavior. If potential killers knew they would not become instant celebrities . . . part of the allure of committing the crime would be gone and maybe—just maybe—the crime would not be committed.”

I could go on quoting for pages, but I would rather you bought and read the book. One thing that is important is that the author is not afraid to say that he believes in God and in the existence of Satan, and Satan is going to and fro in the earth and walking up and down in it. At the moment he thinks he is winning, and for this moment he is. We must take a stand against him. To do so, we must not believe in me—me—me—and we must not permit our children to do so.

We have a neighbor who has a Ph.D. in medical engineering. His wife has an M.A. in helicopter engineering. They have six children, and when they are with their children they are doing and thinking nothing else. By the time the children were two years old, they had little snow shovels, and when their father went out to shovel neighbors’ walks, the children were out there valiantly shoveling too. Those children will not grow up to be me—me—me people. Instead, they will grow up to do whatever they can to help others. Their mother does not feel she is wasting her education by homeschooling six children; she feels she is using her education in the best possible way. They chose homeschooling when their third child was ready to enter first grade, and already reading on a third-grade level. Their father said to me, “Why should he waste two years learning what he already knows?” The mother is greatly enjoying teaching. One day I called and asked if the two oldest boys could come help me with something when they had finished their school work. She told me they would be here in about an hour. When I asked them how they liked homeschool, two pair of eyes lit up. They loved it. They were learning. They were not using half their time doing nothing while the teacher did government-required busy work.

If more families were like that family, this nation would be back to what it was intended to be. Socialcide would be defeated. Satan would be very angry. But who cares about his anger? I’ve tangled with him before and undoubtedly will again. But God is stronger. And that’s part of what this book is all about.

For the sake of yourself, your family, your nation, and your world, read this book.