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The Tyranny of Victimhood Culture
Crimes Against Humanity
Author’s note: I first published this essay three years ago in the wake of the Abraham Accord negotiations. It remains relevant today in light of recent events in the Middle East, not for how it might help anyone make sense of the barbaric attacks of Hamas against innocent Jews in Israel, or for how it might otherwise elucidate the things of war that follow, but for how it explains what must happen before we can move forward once the smoke clears.
We can only pray that Israel and Hamas will negotiate a truce to end the current war sooner rather than later. But to the extent that it may be at all possible afterwards to resolve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, neither Hamas in Gaza nor the Palestinian Authority on the West Bank can be party to any subsequent negotiations for peace. At this point, the generationally toxic victimhood culture promoted by both organizations simply precludes their participation in any negotiated solution, or any solution that falls short of utter damnation for Israel and the Jews.
For what we all know now is precisely what the Hamas butchers have known all along: the only way to rid the world of the Jewish state is to rid the Jewish state of the Jews.
Just as Netanyahu’s government will justifiably fall after the war, the Palestinians will need to find courageous new leaders more intent on building a nation for the Palestinian people than righting past wrongs and plotting the destruction of Israel and the Jews. Before any of that can happen, however...
Whatever one might think about its merits or lack thereof, the recent Abraham Accord signed by Israel, Bahrain, the UAE and the U.S. was momentous for manifold reasons, not least among them the rejection of a Palestinian victimhood culture narrative that has entrapped and imprisoned not only the Palestinians themselves, but the Middle East, the United Nations, and the entire world body politic for the better part of seven decades.
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The decision not to let a chronic victimhood culture narrative hold the rest of the world hostage during negotiations of normalization and peace accords was an inspired, courageous, and long-overdue concession to common sense. It allowed all participants to set historical enmities aside long enough to focus instead on their own enlightened self interests first — however laudable or loathsome. The result forged a model that championed the hope and faith of dialogue over the despair and nihilism of Sisyphean blood feuds at a time when all of humankind is in desperate need of good news. By embracing it, Bahrain, the UAE, Israel and the U.S. all rose for the moment in heroic unity to reject the failures of the past and embrace at least a different, if not better, future.
The above notwithstanding, this article is less about the Abraham Accord per se, and more about an examination and wholesale rejection of victimhood culture as anything except a toxic and destructive phenomenon. But what is victimhood culture? According to sociologists Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning in The Rise of Victimhood Culture...
A culture of victimhood is one characterized by concern with status and sensitivity to slight combined with a heavy reliance on third parties. People are intolerant of insults, even if unintentional, and react by bringing them to the attention of authorities or to the public at large. Domination is the main form of deviance, and victimization a way of attracting sympathy, so rather than emphasize either their strength or inner worth, the aggrieved emphasize their oppression and social marginalization.
And in her wonderful essay, Victimhood Culture Will Tear Us Apart, writer Jenny McCartney asks the essential question…
How do you run a successful society on the constant amplification of aggrieved difference between groups?
The answer is increasingly apparent: you don’t. The woke victimhood culture of today offers a dangerous and spiritually hollow surrogate for individual dignity and self worth, conferred and controlled by outside agents with no actual regard for either. Declaring yourself first and foremost as a victim does two things right away: it surrenders your agency and any capacity to change or improve your circumstance to someone or something else (usually well beyond your control), and instead shifts the blame for your circumstance from you onto a perceived oppressor — regardless of your behavior or theirs.
Declaring victimhood as the defining feature of your individual identity is bad enough. Elevating victimhood as the defining feature of an entire culture is a crime against humanity. Those who do so steal the futures of entire generations. Those who do so are charlatans who — in the end — always glorify, enrich, and empower themselves at the expense of those they claim to care most about. Those who do so commit grand larceny and cultural genocide without blinking an eye.
Victimhood culture is the cornerstone feature of broader woke culture. Both trace their roots to elite academia, dating back to black and feminist studies in the 1960s and 70s, before morphing over subsequent decades into the postmodern narcissism that produced societal cancers like critical race theory and gender studies. Today, of course, woke victimhood cultures dominate popular culture via entrenched academic, entertainment, and corporate media proxies, and wield McCarthy-like power to suppress free speech and destroy individual lives across all major institutions, private and public alike.
The primary function of woke culture is to manufacture and recruit a perennial supply of profitable new victims from what the woke faithful claim — against all evidence to the contrary — is an ever-expanding, racist, sexist, and socially atavistic gene pool of immutable characteristics. The list of new victims grows as new victim groups are identified and assigned hierarchical value in an evermore complex victimhood matrix.
Perhaps not surprisingly, however, the list of oppressors remains despairingly short, and seems to be populated almost exclusively by white heterosexual males, especially Jews and Christians. No accident there: the institutional emasculation of men is a critical prerequisite to the eradication of Western civilization and the individual liberties it confers as the sworn enemies of woke culture.
As charter members of the global victimhood pantheon, the Black, Palestinian, female, gay and lesbian victimhood cultures share the following characteristics with their more recently identified counterparts, those that emerged from the postmodern abomination of gender studies. Victimhood cultures...
stem from legitimate grievances and long-standing oppression.
are typically protected classes under local and Federal law.
identify their constituents as victims, first and foremost.
blindly reject any narrative that doesn’t support victimhood.
impose a pervasive sense of hopelessness and nihilism.
impose unrealistic demands designed less to alleviate or address actual grievances and more to reinforce the victimhood narrative.
Specific to Palestinians and American Blacks are two more victimhood characteristics that deserve special mention. In addition to the above list, the Palestinians and Blacks...
are historically oppressed by their own corrupt, entrenched, entitled, and shamelessly self-interested leadership.
glorify the criminal elements of their own cultures for profit.
In the woke world, intersectionality among victimhood cultures is invoked in the name of unity. In the intersectional woke world, people of color, women, non-cisnormatives, indigenous peoples, and all other victimhood cultures unite in the name of social justice. But the woke world is a Potemkin facade where intersectionality — like everything else in woke culture — is only skin deep.
In the real world, victimhood cultures are forced by the reality of finite external resources to compete with each other to protect or enhance individual group status within the victimhood hierarchy. In the real world, victimhood cultures can never rise above their own circumstance to defeat their oppressors. Doing so would invalidate their victimhood credentials, so they are consigned by definitional fiat to battle each other instead for hegemonic control of the victimhood matrix. Like warring inner-city gangs, they can only battle over neighborhoods where no one really wants to live. And like warring inner-city gangs, woke victimhood cultures are compelled to eat their own young; instead of gang initiations, they conduct ideological purity tests and struggle sessions to ensure fidelity.
The inconvenient truth for social justice warriors is that woke victimhood culture cannot exist as both self-anointed resistance and institutional status quo at the same time. No resistance movement can claim legitimacy with the explicit endorsements of academia, the mainstream media, Amazon, Facebook, Uber, Netflix, Google, Apple, Comcast, AT&T, Hollywood, Nike, the NFL, the NBA, Major League Baseball, one of the two major political parties, and most government agencies — all of whom, in aggregate, are the institutional status quo. To assume they will endorse their own demise and resist themselves to death is — in the end — sheer folly. What they can and will do, however, is co-opt meaningful resistance and sell it back to us as mindless narcotic spectacle — at obscene profits.
Heavily financed, empowered, and otherwise unabated, victimhood cultures evolve into metastatic cancers run riot in the bloodstream of society: soulless, joyless, and hopeless messengers of death and despair wherever they take root. In the world of woke victimhood culture, only victims and oppressors need apply, and many of the biggest oppressors are also — conveniently — charter victims. Contrary to the insufferable virtue signals of entitled elites, the woke world is defined not by a passion for tolerance and justice, but by brute power and profit motive masquerading as pavers of good intent on the road to hell.
As individuals we need to stand up against the tyranny of victimhood culture. As a society we need to follow in the footsteps of those who negotiated and signed the Abraham Accord. We need to ignore and reject victimhood culture wherever and whenever we encounter it. We need to...
reject BLM, DEI, and critical race theory however and wherever they manifest.
reject the slumlords of the Congressional Black Caucus and all other race baiters who stand on the right side of the issue but exploit their moral high ground to sell nihilistic snake oil to the neediest for immense personal and institutional profit.
reject the inner-city gangsta narrative that preys on its young and consumes entire inner-city neighborhoods at the enrichment of drug lords and entertainment czars.
reject corrupt Palestinian and Arab leadership that promotes the death cult of martyrdom and victimhood only to enrich themselves while their people suffer from generations of criminal neglect.
reject the toxic theories of postmodern feminism and gender studies that justify the removal of fathers from families and celebrates the abortions of more than twenty million Black babies since the 1970s.
reject the cynical and soulless primacy of woke academic institutions that sell worthless degrees in victimhood for trillions of dollars.
reject all victimhood cultures before they destroy us.
Conversely, we need to embrace and applaud the apostates, the women, Blacks, gays, lesbians, trans individuals, and Palestinians with real skin in the game: those who reject their respective victimhood cultures at considerable personal and professional risk. Theirs are the true, patriotic, and sober voices of freedom from state-sponsored mob intimidation. Theirs are the voices for reason and common sense. Seek out, listen to, and support the apostates because in them resides the future of liberty and our democracy.
Peace be with you.