At the end of Animal Farm, the revolution ended in tyranny when "All Animals are Equal" was rewritten with the addendum "But Some Animals are More Equal than Others." A revolution that began with the promise of equality reverted to inequality in the name of the equality revolution.
America's civil rights revolution began with, "All Americans are Equal" and ended up with, "All Americans are Equal... But Some Americans are More Equal than Others."
The elite in America were the administrators of special privileges overseeing the mass ranks of privileged victims demanding special college admissions, workplace quotas, community funding, special payments, immunity from the law and immunity from ever being offended by another human being.
It was clear that any official victim was more equal than a white heterosexual male that wasn't suffering from delusions that he was a woman and wasn't survivor of anything. But that still left a growing army of victims from groups that got along poorly with each other. How were the new rulers to determine which of the unequal groups had more unequal privileges?
It's not a new question.
Black men got the vote before women did which led to a heated debate over universal suffrage in the Fourteenth Amendment, which was written to include black men, but exclude women. Suffragists were told in Fredrick Douglass' words, "This is the Negro's hour."
To explain why that was the hour on the clock, Douglass brought out the Victim Value Index.
"When women because they are women are dragged from their houses and hung upon lamp-posts... then they will have the urgency to obtain the ballot equal to our own," Douglass sneered. Women had been dragged out of their homes and subjected to horrors because they were women for far longer than the brief few centuries of African slavery in America, but his real point was, "My suffering beats your suffering, so my rights beat your rights."
I'm more unequal than you are therefore I should have more privileges than you do.
Suffering is the central component of the rhetoric in competitive victimization. "He Who Suffers Most Wins." But suffering, as in the Douglass debate, is relative. Ego means that people feel their own pain first. Their personal pain and those of their group. And even when they feel an outsider's pain more than that of their own group, this is a calculated rejection their own group for egotistical reasons. (It's somewhat mistakenly known as self-hatred when it's actually self-love.)
In our wonderful multi-everything society, there are so many groups with so many claims to pain. Everyone agrees that the Heteronormative Caucasian Patriarchy of Doom is to blame, but that still leaves the matter of dividing up the spoils of the system and all the privileges to be gained from denouncing privilege. A caste system doesn't work without priority, and calculating the priority of privilege claims by the perpetually underprivileged is complicated.
Without the Victim Value Index, understanding how these priorities work can be confusing. It's particularly confusing for conservatives and libertarians who don't understand the system and dismiss it as insanity. It is insane, the way all cultural taboos are, but there is a method to the madness.
The dirty little secret of the Victim Value Index is that while loud assertions of suffering are very important, the substance of such suffering is unimportant. History is myth. Outrage counts for more than fact. The angrier you are (unless you're a while male) the more you must have suffered.
Anger always trumps fact in the Victim Value Index. The VVI isn't really about the past. Or even the present. It's about how forceful your activism is in the present. The VVI isn't really about equality. It's a series of tryouts for leftist activism. It doesn't matter if your people are enslaved dwarves living in a coal mine run by capitalist cannibals. If they can't show up at rallies and vote three times on election day, they're not much good to the left. They'll get their own PBS documentary and that's it.
If historical justice were the barometer, American Indians would be at the head of the line. While conceptually they are, in practice they are somewhere near the back end of the middle. The group currently at the head of the line, Muslims, have the least claim on historical justice, but are at the center of modern civil rights activism.
The Victim Value Index is calculated based on one overriding factor: Disruptiveness. Those who are most disruptive go to the head of the line. This can be mistaken for a "Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease" phenomenon, and occasionally in the micro it is, but in the macro it goes to the question of why progressives value minorities and for what purpose.
To be a progressive is to be committed to perpetual reform in the name of perpetual grievance for perpetual power. Grievance is to their government feudalism what the Divine Right of Kings was to feudal rulers. It justifies their right to agitate and undermine, to seize power by any means necessary and to implement their programs legally or extra-legally.
Reformers need their bleeding sores, their cries of outrage and their muck to rake. Those who give them that go to the head of the line acting as their secular clergy, blessing their rule and anointing them as the protectors of their faith in hope and change.
Having little in the way of religion, the left derives its spiritual power from the suffering of others. Its activists are victimization vampires feeding off the pain of others for an outrage high. They get drunk on the stories of suffering like winos guzzling Night Train. Their obsession with the spiritual power of black clergy conflates religion with suffering. Their spirituality is the martyrdom of others.
But there's a practical side to this emotional vampirism.
The progressive movement is a revolution in slow motion, and revolutions need revolutionaries. Disruption is more than just grievance, it's violence. Those who are willing to ruthlessly attack the status quo are the ones who go to the head of the line. A little murder and mayhem, and progressives will trot out "moderate" versions of the murderers and mayhemists, usually linked to them, and offer to represent them and tamp down the violence in exchange for meeting their demands.
Anyone who is shocked that the left would make common cause with Islamists has forgotten the Black Panthers. From the left's point of view they are doing the same thing by bringing on board a group with some revolutionary energy and a willingness to overthrow the system. Associating with them gives the left some revolutionary cred and the supposed ability to turn the violence on and off.
If you think that's farfetched, what do you think happened in 2008 when a completely inept hack blew through Hillary Clinton and John McCain on a pledge to end the wars and repair our relations with the Muslim world? Why exactly do you think the Democrats chose a man with no experience except a few books about growing up in a Muslim country and Hussein as his middle name? Why was that man then awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for no discernible accomplishment?
September 11 and its aftermath is why Muslims have gone to the top of the Victim Value Index. The left may swear up and down that they are interested in Muslim civil rights, but if the Muslims were Sikhs, they would merit a place somewhere in the back.
Before Muslims began prominently blowing things up in the United States, the left paid no attention to them. Afterward they suddenly outweighed every minority group in the country because killing 3,000 people is the gold standard of revolutionary mayhem.
The Victim Value Index places the most disruptive groups at the front, the somewhat disruptive groups in the middle and the least disruptive groups at the back.
The status of groups within the Index can change with their behavior. Muslims used to be shelved in the back with Asians and Indians as semi-successful immigrant entrepreneurs. 9/11 upgraded their status. The other groups are stuck there because they are aren't rioting or blowing things up.
African-Americans are still near the head of the Victim Value Index even if they're now only second in line. Latinos are growing in number, but they don't have much political status except when they are being used to push amnesty. Homosexuals are somewhere near the front, but behind African-Americans. Their status tends to drift wildly depending on current events, but they cannot overtake African-Americans or fall behind Latinos. Not unless some drastic events take place that change their status. Women are, and have always been, in the back. Trannies have become the persecuted group of the moment, but once they shove their way into every women's bathroom, their novelty will wear off.
Unless 19 men in dresses blow up the Freedom Tower in the name of a Tranny Caliphate, they'll end up having to sit somewhere in the back of the LGBT caucus no matter how many Die Cis Scum (normal people) hashtags they come up with. Tranny activists know this so they'll piling on the manufactured anger and grievance while they have their 15 minutes of liberal media attention.
The practical value of the Victim Value Index is that it mediates internal conflicts. For example, a bias attack by a member of a high-value group on a member of a low-value group is much less likely to be treated as a hate crime. However, an ordinary attack by a member of a low-value group on a member of a high-value group is more likely to be treated as a bias attack even when it isn't.
High VVI status carries with it the caste privilege of assumed persecution. A high-status VVI can blame a great many things on persecution. This is more difficult to do for a lower-status VVI. A claim of discrimination by a low-status VVI is more likely to be mocked than a similar claim by a high-status VVI, and is less likely to lead to politically correct reprisals. Jokes relying on bias and stereotypes can be made with greater freedom about low-status VVI's than about high-status VVI's.
White men have the lowest VVI status imaginable, and are fair game for racist jokes and bias attacks, but Asians, who have a fairly low VVI status, are also fair game. VVI status is group based but can be forfeited by an individual who engages in counterrevolutionary behavior, thereby forfeiting a status awarded to his group for its revolutionary disruptiveness. Any minority group member who aligns with conservatives is immediately assigned the same VVI status as a white male. A low-status VVI who offends a high-status VVI group may be treated the same way.
Jokes and politically incorrect remarks about lower-status VVI's such as Asians, Jews or women are permitted within liberal circles. Making those same remarks about middle-status VVI's is dangerous and generally frowned on. High-status VVI's are completely off limits to anyone who is not a member of that same group.
This is more than just a guide on how to safely be politically incorrect, it's a map of the caste system under which we live. The caste system determines what jobs we get, what things we can say and what is expected of us in everything from job performance to conspicuous displays of social justice. It is how we live now, and it is vitally important to understand that it really is this way in every place that falls under the shadow of government mandates and the progressive Kulturkampf against equality.
In the grip of the left, we have become a culture that rewards destruction and disruption, that feeds the worst behaviors and then blames them on society's failings.
We can be a country where all Americans are equal or we can be a VVI country where all Americans are equal... but some Americans are more equal than others.
cool, very coolReplyDelete
Another fantastic column Mr Greenfield.ReplyDelete
Exciting to read...and re-read some paragraphs slowly to absorb the full impact of your thoughts and words. Thank you for sharing your gift.ReplyDelete
Thank you for this fine essay that opened my eyes to another facet of the mechanisms and subtleties of the culture wars.ReplyDelete
This reminds me of when I first noticed something similar.ReplyDelete
The Left "protects" (controls) those they disdain. It's like an automatic reflex and is quite telling.
In a casual office convo about nothing more significant than the weather, I said something in French and a little later, something in Spanish. The Leftist I was speaking to chastised me for speaking Spanish (not what I said in Spanish, but that I was speaking "their" language) which to her was synonymous with "making fun" of Mexicans. Funny, my speaking French didn't bother her at all.
Other than general disappointments, snubs, being the butt of bad jokes, and just ordinary outrages such as one encounters at the DMV, my life has been fairly victim-free. However, may I claim victimhood for my ancestors who were tyrannized, chased, imprisoned and either starved or beaten whatever circumstance seemed appropriate by their abusers?ReplyDelete
It only seems fair and equal as the Af-Ams of today are still claiming victimhood for events of long ago, and as a result get to go to the head of the line.
I'd like to go to the "head of the line" at least once, too. If only at the DMV for instance.
Where do I apply for this "equal opportunity victimhood" anyway?
Clever and insightful with the most damaging trait of all ---humor. Nice job. I bet you get some angry mail at times.ReplyDelete
One is tempted to stand back and let the revolutionaries consume themselves...but that tends to end badly. Thanks for the brilliant essay.ReplyDelete
If your ancestors were killed or persecuted by Muslims (Armenian), does it work like Stratego, where you can be the Spy unit that is useless against anything else but is effective against the General?ReplyDelete
An institutionalized "Queen for a Day" --a nationalized pity party given the label of "nobility."ReplyDelete
Okay, I'm white, female, Italian/Irish/French Canadian heritage American. Any reparations for any of those?ReplyDelete
Get game face on, shout loud, move bad, move big, in your face, always amp it up and most will cower in your midst because you are the biggest, baddest VICTIM in the valley! Of course, always with lots of your friends to back you. he he
See it, learn it, do not fear it.
As am Armenian I can feel fairly free about speaking of the disaster of Islam, the barbaric wrecking machine of the world.ReplyDelete
When an educated, successful Black man purchases music filled with lyrics of hatred towards women and praising violence, is he part of the solution or part of the problem ?ReplyDelete
Same goes for a 'moderate' Muslim who remains silent when his brothers blow up a church or temple in his city.
As long as what passes for 'culture' trumps compassion or decency, even people of good will are part of the problem.
One problem I see here is a failure of the left to recognize the fact that feigned anger is largely useless against righteous anger. There will come a day in this Nation where the left will be forced to cower in fear due to the fact that they finally pissed us off.ReplyDelete
I'm a conservative, white, Christian, male, gun owner, veteran, who doesn't believe that anyone out there is special unless they are dedicated to helping those less fortunate... oh yeah, they friggin HATE me. I don't really care though. I'll do what I do.
I do agree with Sophie on the culture trumping compassion thing, and I have to believe that this is the case solely because there are those in this world who are arrogant enough to believe that there is a more effective way to gain power than to show compassion, improve the lives of others, and inspire others to do the same. Manipulation is not power. It is the display of weakness, and fear. The trouble is that fear is currently the most prolific motivator in this Nation. I prefer inspiration, but can use fear as well, in a pinch.
Awesome analysis. Pointless exercise.ReplyDelete
As with much of the pervading, accurate assessment of the ongoing decline engineered by "progressive" ideology, the last two paragraphs in the piece pretty much make the preceding insights moot.
"In the grip of the left..." is the key factor here. As long as that's the "reason" blamed for the decline, it'll never be reversed, IMHO.
Civilization is not in the grip of the "left". There is no such identifiable, accountable entity as the "left" - it's a term so widely manipulated and abused that it has no more meaning than "right" or "liberal" or "conservative", etc., which folks sling around as if they're identifying something or someone tangible. All of these terms pretend to identify various factions competing for control over civilization's future, but none of them get to the crux of the problem, which - if the recurring rise-and-fall of civilization is any indication - is a question of human psychology, not political ideology. As such, significant degree of outside-the-box thinking - e.g., rejection of the terms that confound the discussion, and which prevent any (real) social progress toward reversing the decline - is required to recognize whose grip is really strangling society (again... historically speaking).
Currently, the various institutions that drive culture, law, education and governance - those primary components of civilization - are in the grip of Moral Adolescents, not "the left". The key to understanding what, if anything, is to be done to reverse the decline requires actually identifying the human psychological development aspect of what's happening. Simply put: first-world societies have become unsustainable because the predominant force controlling their function is comprised of individuals who have yet to mature, morally, beyond the stage of adolescence. This is a huge part of why the VVI "works" - at least inasmuch as it's leveraged by wannabe Omnipotent Statists who use it as a basis for the divide-and-conquer strategy that works so well to impose tyranny.
Why is someone drawn to a particular ideology? Answer: their current level of psychological development makes that determination. So-called "leftists" don't behave like spoiled children because their ideology makes them that way; rather, adults - i.e., intellectually mature individuals - who have yet to mature, morally, beyond the level of a spoiled child will be attracted to an ideology that reinforces their adolescence.
Realizing this inversion in the way we tend to think about political ideology is, itself, the very height of politically incorrect thinking. Why? Because it reveals what most people think of as "the left" to be a bunch of whining, spoiled babies. They, obviously, resent it. But more destructive is the fact that morally mature adults - those who value individual liberty, individual accountability, classical liberalism, property, etc. - don't or can't seem to recognize this. They insist on treating the Moral Adolescent as a fully realized adult who will "grow up" if only they can be sufficiently shamed into doing so. News flash: this shaming strategy isn't working. Moral Adolescents revel in their shamelessness. Until morally mature adults recognize this, and change their strategy to one of educating and disciplining the adolescents currently running civilization, the decline will continue unabated.
I'm really glad I read this one. The truth is often funny, the slap your head "funny" when you get the obvious. Thanks.ReplyDelete
I am old enough to remember when Israel was on that list. It gradually moved to the very back and on to the enemy list. There has to be an "enemy list" to focus the anger of the high-end victims. It occurred to me that David Horowitz might consider "reaching out" with a little vio-lence to regain some lost victim statute for Israel. Maybe an angry attack on a D.C. statute, to start getting attention. Later, a move on just about any Agency building with lots of signs, bullhorns, and obvious victim-costumes. Can't beat 'em, join 'em.
In order to take away freedom, you have to have a good excuse, so those on the Left ardently follows Lenin's dictum to 'tell any lie to gain power' by making up excuses as they go along.ReplyDelete
Those excuses include ranting about 'victims of.....oppression.' Fill in the blank with 'capitalist', 'racist', 'Islamo-phobic', or whatever the lie of the moment is.
Compassion for those less fortunate is an important value to many people. The Left perverts that value on behalf of their socio-political agenda.
In order to achieve their goal of establishing a Left wing dictatorship in this country, a la Castro's Cuba or Chavez's Venezuela, the Left lies chronically about the plight of these 'victims'.
In fact, in America, the only abused minority is people who actually work for a living.
A Goy and his Blog,ReplyDelete
what you're saying is not a contradiction, you're discussing the reasons for the existence of the left.
I've discussed these issues before...
By my lights this is the most spot on article you have written. I take issue only with a collateral point. The left consists of the ultimate narcissists. They believe they should come to power because they should come to power, and need no rational. They have no need of a god to worship, or science to study, or argument to win. They are simply self justified in their pursuit of power. As a result, any reason they give for why they should gain power is never more than a rationalization to be sold to the masses. For themselves they need no reason. They are self justified.ReplyDelete
If they were religious, they would see themselves as God’s anointed. As a result, their natural enemy is anybody who stands in their way. Thus, if they are not in charge of a society, their natural enemy is whoever is. And that in turn makes them the friend of anybody who happens to have a grievance, and the ardent friend of anybody who can carry that grievance into a disruptive force.
Mr Mayfield is right. The Left may accord status on a decibel scale but it's one tuned to traditional discord. Those that are the loudest, or most corrosive, are the most useful to those chipping away at the foundation of traditional values.ReplyDelete
White anglo-saxons are most hated as they are the most likely to "cling to their guns and Bibles" and it's the gun, symbol and tool of individuality, and the Bible, symbol and substance of the Judeo- Christian society that the Left hates.
As you have stated before (I think) the Left loved labor till it was no longer a force and then they cast labor aside in favor of the bigger mallet. The point is not the aggrieved victim group and their struggle; instead the latest victim group is the highest test corrosive to that which they hate.
It isn't that they have no god; in their world they are god. And like God, they demand our sole allegiance.
Your article caused a light to go off in my head. There is a current phrase going around liberal circles; "Check your privledge." It didn't make sense to me until this article. Liberals are all about where you fit within their heirarchy.
Thank you for making everything clear.
Great article, but I do think your characterization of Frederick Douglass is a bit unfair. He was an ex-slave fighting for freedom in a time completely different from our own. I think you can cut him some slack for not tackling women's rights at the same time as black rights. Indeed, later in his life, he did fight for female equality.ReplyDelete