NOTE: Given recent events since I originally wrote this blog post, I am updating and sharing it again because I am deeply disturbed by what I am seeing on social media in reaction to the police malfeasance and racial strife. Much of what we are witnessing is the result of centuries of petty divisiveness.
We can tear down statues and monuments and change the branding of syrups, pancake mixes, and rice (that one can argue should have never been branded that way), but none of that will change what is in people’s hearts. If you have hate in your heart and/or see yourself as a victim, you are part of the problem.
In keeping with my promise to myself to not write about the coronavirus pandemic anymore, this post will not directly address the subject. However, the pandemic provides a backdrop for the subject I am writing about in this post…
Victimology in America.
It seems that many people in American society like to view themselves as victims. I find it amazing that in a society as free as our society in this country that people view the inconvenience the COVID-19 protective measures as oppression or tyranny.
While I expressed my concerns about governmental overreach on this blog regarding the protective measures, I wouldn’t characterize these measures as oppressive or tyrannical. It says a lot about how truly free our society is here in the United States that such a mindset from the citizenry is possible, much less tolerated.
Of course, it didn’t take a global pandemic to bring out the victim mentality in people. As former head of Health, Education, and Welfare under former President Lyndon Johnson, John W. Gardner opined, “Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the nonpharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.”.
When I used to argue politics in online forums, I observed almost every permutation of victimology:
Black Americans lamenting being victims of a government that doesn’t appear to care about “black issues”
White Americans “wanting their country back” and also railing against a government that doesn’t appear to care about their issues.
Women (mostly self-identified feminists) who think they are being oppressed by a patriarchy that goes back to this country’s founding.
Men (mostly self-identified men’s rights activists and “men going their own way” or MGTOW) who think they are being oppressed by an emerging matriarchy brought about by “fourth wave feminism” (a phrase coined by feminists themselves).
LGBTs who are still “fighting for equality”.
I could go on with just about every distinct group of people in this country.
Human beings are fundamentally social creatures, so it is not surprising that we easily and readily subscribe to collectivism and identity politics. Getting individual people to see themselves as victims through the prism of collectivist thinking is the primary tactic of the divide and conquer strategy utilized by political charlatans and rabble rousers.
Unfortunately, most people are of the mindset that they have little to no control over their own lives. Modern society with all of its technological advances, resources, and conveniences only exacerbates this way of thinking.
Just as there is strength in numbers, there is comfort in victimology. Attention and validation are what make victimology, especially along collectivist lines, so attractive to the masses. Victimology appears to offer people absolution from taking responsibility for their own actions and choices in life.
Playing the victim makes one feel righteous and that is the most pernicious appeal of victimology. There is a difference between feeling righteous and actually being right. Of course, it isn’t about being right, but doing right.
The reason I am a “small-L” libertarian is because a key tenet is that the most oppressed minority in the world is the individual. Protecting individual freedom is how collective freedoms are preserved. A point lost upon those who choose the comforts victimology over the joy and pain of taking ownership over their own lives.
Be a warrior, not a victim.
-The Rational Ram