Nation of Narcissists

Written by Dr. Everett Piper

When your source of truth
goes no further than what you see in the mirror.

“The problem with you conservatives is that you’re arrogant. You think you’re always right.” This is a challenge I recently received from a millennial who fancies himself my intellectual superior as well as that of all other orthodox believers. How should we respond?

Well, first, we need to remember the obvious. The difference between conservatives and progressives is not that conservatives think they’re right and progressives don’t. Every disagreement involves arguing one proposition against another. Both sides think they have the correct answer. Both believe the other person’s ideas are mistaken. Wouldn’t it be a silly waste of breath to assume otherwise? When someone, regardless of their political leanings, says that your problem is that you think you’re always right, the first thing out of your mouth should be, “So, do you think you’re right in criticizing me for thinking I’m right?” Then just be quiet as they frantically saw away at the branch upon which they sit.

Second, assuming the common sense of my first point, it’s clear that it isn’t the degree of confidence that distinguishes one “believer” from another but rather the source of that confidence. The progressive claims there is no final answer. People are the source of their own truth. The conservative disagrees and says truth is bigger than this. It is an objective fact beyond our ability to create it. It is out there. It is real. It is given from above and revealed through history, experience, reason and Scripture. The real difference here is that one man claims to be the source of truth while the other claims to be its recipient, One claims there is no truth, and that’s the truth, while the other acknowledges that truth exists and that it’s his job to find it rather than make it up.

So, this all raises the question: Why is it arrogant to say, “I don’t have all the answers, but I believe there is one,” yet humble for my young challenger to proclaim with narcissistic confidence: “There is no final answer. Truth is what I decide it is. I am the final judge. I am the ultimate arbiter of what is true and false”?

Is it possible that this smarter-than-thou generation would do well to set aside their chronological snobbery for a second or two and consider the story of Narcissus? As they stand on the edge of today’s political pool, staring lovingly at their own image, opinions, preferences and desires, progressives might want to take a step back and ask themselves if what they see is really the model of humility they believe it to be. Maybe these 20- and 30-somethings would benefit from looking in the mirror and remembering that falling in love with something bigger than yourself isn’t arrogant.

Truth has to come from somewhere beyond the individual. It is more than just a collection of opinions. This is why Lady Justice is blind. She knows the case cannot be judged based on her feelings and desires. Correct decisions can be administered only when she blinds herself to the emotions of the case and lets the facts speak for themselves. The Declaration of Independence suggests something similar. Truth is endowed by our Creator, not made up by elite oligarchs in black robes. Truth is neither the construct of a king nor the product of the courts. Truth is revealed from above, not made up from within.

Since the founding of America, the self-evident truths and unalienable rights that form the bedrock of our society have found their source in God and the Bible. The rejection of this foundation goes hand in glove with the rejection of objective truth and the consequent loss of humility we see in the next generation of American leaders.

We all need to find an explanation for the reality in which we live, and that explanation must come from somewhere other than ourselves. In comparison with my young friend, my source of truth is not myself but something bigger, better and wiser than I. My friend’s source goes no further than what he sees in the mirror. He knows more than all who have gone before him. He is the one he’s been waiting for, and he is the change he seeks. He can stem the ocean’s tide, calm the nation’s storms, and control the world’s climate. He can redefine biology and ignore genetics. He can declare that men are women and that it’s true that nothing is true. He knows more than even God himself.

Can you spell narcissistic?

Dr. Everett Piper (, @dreverettpiper), is a former university president and radio host. He is the author of “Not a Daycare: The Devastating Consequences of Abandoning Truth” and Grow Up! Life Isn’t Safe But It’s Good, both published by Regnery. This article was originally published by The Washington Times.

Dr. Piper has been a featured speaker in dozens of venues including the Values Voter Summit, the Council for National Policy, the Young American Foundation, the National Congress for Families, and the inaugural ceremony for the United States Department of Health and Human Service’s and Office of Civil Rights creation of a new division for religious freedom. Go here to listen and watch these and/or for more info.