Monday, 4 July 2022

The two narcissists: peas in a pod?

 Trump and Johnson are both narcissists, but in very different forms. It is true to say that neither cares for anything other than themselves. But their relationships to other people are very different. Trump cares deeply about other people – not “for” them, “about” them. In his world there have to be winners and losers. He has to be a winner and you can only be a winner if somebody else loses. (There is no such thing as win-win in Trump’s world.) So his activities are based very largely around making other people lose; he gets into intense relationships with people, many of whom he has never met, in order to make them lose so that he can be a winner.

Johnson does not see the world in this way. He doesn’t care about other people at all; he does not deliberately set out to destroy people, but he has no thought for any misery that his decisions might inflict. His calculations are only about what is good for him. If he had calculated that backing Remain would win him the premiership, then we might now be a corrupt and failing state within the EU instead of a corrupt and failing state outside the EU. It would make no difference to Johnson. That was very unlikely though – in order for Johnson to be as free as possible to behave the way he wants, he cannot be fettered by greater powers. He knows he can bend British institutions to his will – the bending has mostly been done for him already by his real boss (PM refers to Telegraph as his 'real boss', Dominic Cummings claims) and others; he knows he could not have bent European institutions the same way.

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