In an earlier post this week, I outlined (somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but only somewhat) a practical guide to obtaining and keeping victimhood. There is no question that our culture has entered into a "golden age" of victimhood, and I think it is important to understand how this has come about, because unless we know and appreciate the origins of this psychological insanity, it will be almost impossible to eradicate it from American culture.
One of the most insidious doctrines of the political left which has entered the mainstream in the last 25 years has been that of "multiculturalism". You cannot be anywhere near a K-12 school or a university campus without being delusged by the platitudes and slogans about "diversity". In fact, diversity has become so omnipresent in almost all areas of our cultural consciousness, it is impossible to escape its gooey self-righteousness and sanctified aura.
America has led the world in unparalleled prosperity and economic health; and with this success it has been made by the do-gooders of the left to feel more and more guilty about this success.
Generating this guilt dovetails nicely into the leftist agenda, which has always been to undermine and destroy the capitalistic underpinnings of this country and replace it with various assorted totalitarian/utopian socialist and communist policies--all in the name of "social justice", of course.
Multiculturalism posits that all cultures are of equal merit--a plausibly ridiculous assertion to begin with, but one which disguises the real intent, which is the corollary assertion:
All cultures are of equal merit, except for western culture which is uniquely evil and oppressive.
Western culture it is asserted, is responsible for colonialism, racism, imperialism, oppressive religion (i.e., Christianity) and of course the oppression of women and gays. Western culture has embraced objective reality and reason, thus reality and reason are not to be trusted and must not be used to judge those that are different from us. Anyone who is poorer, darker, non-male, non-Christian, non-American is thus by definition a "victim".
Terrorists have been reinvented by the doctrine of multiculturalism as underpriveliged victims of Western oppression; Islam is merely a religion besieged--not by the extremist elements in its midst, but by Islamophobia on the part of the West. As victims, they are given extensive moral latitude; indeed, it is almost impossible for them to do any wrong.
Thus systematic and institutionally approved beheadings and the brutal and deliberate murders of women, children and other innocents pales in comparison to the humiliations that were inflicted (with no deaths) by a small minority of American soldiers at Abu Ghraib; and the Israelis attempts to spare innocents are dismissed while the deliberate use of human shields by Hezbollah is ignored. Rampant moral relativism and moral equivalence are essential in order to give credence to the essence of multiculturalism--a sort of moral handicapping based on goodness. The more virtue you possess, the more you must be handicapped so that the pathetic cultures that should be roundly condemned and censured by any civilized person can be elevated to a sort of cultural sainthood.
Who are we to judges, we are admonished repeatedly.
What the left has created is a "Golden Age of Victimhood" (a phrase I believe was first used by Victor Davis Hanson), where every other culture --other than American, that is--is conceptualized as the victims of American colonialism, imperialism, and capitalism. They are even willing to repackage the Islamofascist enemy to be the poor, helpless victim of America.
Multiculturalism--which perhaps started out as a sincere attempt to open everyone's eyes and celebrate the beautiful diversity (and I hesitate to even use that word because of its distortion by the ideologues) in our own country and in the world-- has become a virulent dogma that does not allow the exercise of critical judgement or rational thought. Everyone must bow before its graven image and obey its priests.
Anyone challenging the omnipotent power of this cult is automatically labeled as "racist", "sexist", "homophobic", "Islamophobic" and any number of other multipurpose derogatory terms bandied around liberally by the left.
And so we come to the present day, where instead of celebrating diversity, we are actually forced into the rigid egalitarian template of the left.
the Danish Muhammed cartoon controversy that has inflamed the Muslim world, the multicultural /politically correct mindset has now been fully exposed as a fraud. The shocking consequences and deadly potential of that fraud are suddenly becoming all too clear.
It is not, as Wretchard once commented, "... the universal chorus of harmony" that the multiculturalists have propagandized, "but religious conflict at its most primitive level." His comment about the the hysteria related to the Mohammed cartoons is actually applicable to all aspects of multicultural dogma--in other words, multiculturalism as a doctrine brings out the basist, most uncivilized and evil aspects of human nature.
Don't consider what the multiculturalist say in their high-minded rhetoric. WATCH WHAT THEY DO. It is in their behavior that you begin to see the toxicity of this ideology; the essentially oppressive nature of the politically correct behavior that multiculturalism demands of us.
One wonders how anyone could have expectd a different result?
Having given up any objective standard by which to mediate such vastly different perspectives and feelings; having abandoned reason altogether in favor of expressing one's feelings no matter what the cost; and, finally, having endlessly touted the critical importance and essential need to "belong" to one's race, tribe, religion or group first and foremost; the outcome is what Stephen Hicks refers to as "group balkinization" --with all its inevitable and inescapable conflict.
Why, in other words, would peaceful coexistence result from a movement that has done everything in its power to eradicate universalism and instead glorify the cultural differences (no matter how insane or irrational those cultural practices might be) into the public consciousness?
Multiculturalism teaches that what is truly important above all else, is not belonging to the family of humanity, but only belonging to one's sexual, racial, ethnic, or religious identity.
Like many of the left's dogmatic pronouncements, it should now be apparent to anyone with a brain, that the exact opposite of what is promised, is what ends up being delivered.
Just as the false promises of socialism and communism were found to lead to misery instead of happiness; poverty instead of wealth; enslavement instead of freedom--so too, has multiculturalism and political correctness encouraged hate and resentment between groups and brought lethal discord, instead of harmony into our society.
Where once we celebrated individuality and each of us were encouraged to pursue our own life, liberty and happiness; now our children are inculcated with the idea that "diversity" is more important than competence; that allegience to one's ethnic identity is more important than allegience to American values; and that achieving victimhood confers ultimate moral authority; while taking responsibility for one's life; becoming successful, and doing well is the hallmark of the race or gender "traitor", who has willfully joined the ranks of the oppressors. You are excoriated and ridiculed beyond belief if you are a successful woman, black, or gay person in this country and don't adhere to the victimhood template of the politically correct left.
And so the golden age of victimhood is upon us. In order to reclaim our values-- values which show compassion for the true victims of the world, but do not turn their tragedies into celebratory circuses to highlight the supposed superiority of socialist ideology; values which emphasize and celebrate our individuality and the personal responsibilies that go with that individuality; and do not chain us solely to the limitations of our particular ethnic or gender or cultural expectations--we must censure and completely abandon the cult of multiculturalism and expose it for the fraud it is; eliminate it from the curricula of our educational institutions; and replace it with an emphasis on celebrating intellectual diversity and the open, free discussion of ideas, critical thinking, and a renewal of our allegiance to reality, reason and truth.
Let us stop apologizing for being the best, the most free, and the most productive country and people in the history of the world. We will gladly and willingly continue to carry the rest of the world's economy on our shoulders (and we do), but let us no longer participate in our own subjugation by those whose goal is to destroy the fountainhead of our freedoms.
Let us stop supporting this culture of victimhood and cease glorifying the mediocre and celebrating those who champion tyranny. Then, perhaps, we will witness the birth of a neo-rationalism--a new golden age of reason.