Feel My Pain, Do As I Say

Villainy by Default

In an essay on victimhood, self-loathing and pretentious guilt, I wrote:

The free-thinking capitalist societies referred to as “the West” are widely regarded as... the quintessential oppressor… It’s therefore all but unimaginable that Western societies, or representatives thereof, could ever be the good guys in any situation. Should the West need to defend itself and its interests against hostile action, consternation is obligatory and almost any Western response to aggression can be denounced as “disproportionate” on the basis that military advantage should, at best, count for nothing. According to some devotees of this outlook, the inferior (non-Western) force should prevail because of its military disadvantage, as this would be “fair”. This ideological preference is based on a belief that power is intrinsically very, very bad, except when others have it, in which case it suddenly becomes good, regardless of how it may be used. This remarkable sequence of ideas may help explain Iran’s nuclear armament efforts being defended by Kate Hudson of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. 

The director of Indoctrinate U, Evan Coyne Maloney, explores a similar theme, along with the finer points of victimhood’s hierarchy.

Once you understand… the Multicultural Pyramid of Oppression, you can begin to understand how to turn to your advantage certain circumstances that are beyond your control: such as where you were born, the type of genitalia you were born with, into what race you were born, and the religion of your parents. You see, the fewer things you have in common with The Oppressors, the more you can cast yourself as The Victim. And as The Victim, you are virtuous, so there are certain things you can get away with that others can’t: like actually oppressing people.

According to the rules of Multicultural Hierarchy, oppression can be excused if the oppressor comes from a more exotic group — to Western eyes — than the oppressed. If a documentary filmmaker were slaughtered in broad daylight for making a film about domestic violence among, say, Christian evangelists in the American south, an outcry would rightfully ring out from Hollywood denouncing the violence that’s intended to silence legitimate social commentary. But a documentary filmmaker killed for making a film about violence against women perpetrated in the name of Islam isn’t worth any comment at all… Identical crimes would have to be interpreted two different ways, because the only variable that matters is the corpse’s placement on the Multicultural Hierarchy relative to that of the murderer.

Consider what happens when you apply this thinking on a societal level: if we convince ourselves that all of the blame for the current state of the world should be placed at the feet of Western civilisation, then why would any Westerner think that our civilization is worth fighting for? Or even worth saving? The rules of Multicultural Hierarchy require us to pre-emptively surrender, because any crime committed against us by a more worthy Victim is somehow deserved. And if we deserve it, then fighting against what we deserve amounts to fighting the administration of justice.

Maloney’s point is, alas, not entirely flippant. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been told - with remarkable certainty and enthusiasm - that the West “had it coming” (and presumably still does), or that “we” invented slavery, ethnic cleansing, genocide and almost any sufficiently monstrous activity. Attempts to highlight the numerous non-Western precedents for such things, or to suggest that, say, the Crusades didn’t happen in the ahistorical vacuum so often imagined, are unlikely to have much effect. Nor are lengthy expositions on the costly (and apparently unprecedented) efforts by “Westerners” to abolish slavery throughout the British Empire and beyond. The imagining of one’s own society – to which so many souls wish to relocate – as uniquely, irredeemably malign has, for some, become a cultural reflex. And, in the strict sense of the word, a decadent one.

Related: Victimhood Poker.