The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Sunday, March 03, 2024

An Alliance Driven by "Victim Envy"

The blogger Neo helps us to understand the fascinating—nah, wrong word, maybe disgusting or repugnant or bizarre might be better adjectives—alliance between Islamist anti-Israel activists and leftist university students and faculty at elite colleges and universities across the West. That alliance has resulted—just this past week—in violent anti-Semitic episodes at UC Berkeley, threatening walkouts at UC Santa Barbara, along with less violent but no less repulsive anti-Semitic demonstrations at many other elite bastions of progressive enlightenment. Using an idea originally proposed by Jillian Becker, Neo suggests that the alliance has formed because leftist elites suffer from "victim envy."

Artwork AI Generated

Young anti-Israel neo-Marxists who live privileged lives on tree covered campuses tell us they care deeply about groups who are suffering, but they actually envy groups that they perceive to be "victims." Victims can do no wrong. That means that the Hamas atrocities of October 7th—the rape, murder, mutilation, and kidnapped—were all justified by their victim status. The Israeli "oppressors" had it coming.

The young neo-Marxists' victim envy is amplified by the the fact that they themselves are not victims. They have access to all the latest amenities, a wide variety of vegan dishes served by chefs in gleaming cafeterias and nearby restaurants, clothing that would make anyone in the third word envious, and the moral assurance that only profound historical ignorance can foster. Egged on by Islamist activists who are happy to psychologically project on Israel their desire for another Jewish genocide, the allied students and faculty have vacated their "safe spaces" and "words are violence" memes to endorse actual mob violence and spittle-laced, anti-Semitic rhetoric. To call them despicable is being overly kind.

I know, I know, 'tell us how you really feel.'

But let's get back to the underlying cause of the alliance between these two entities—purportedly pro-palestinian activists and young neo-Marxists. The blogger Neo quotes Jillian Becker who writes about an earlier generation of leftist activists:

"None of them [young German leftists in the early 1970s] really wanted to be poor, or oppressed, or hurt, or deprived of liberty, or killed, or compelled to do manual labor. What they wanted, what they envied, was not what victims had to endure, but the supposed esteem in which victims are held, their freedom from culpability, their high moral status. To be a victim—they seemed to believe—was to be innocent. And to be innocent was almost the same as being heroic."

Neo suspects that the same is true of the neo-Marxists of today:

It is quite obvious that this applies to the current sympathy of Western leftists for Palestinians and Hamas and for other jihadi terrorists as well. As I indicated in my essays about terrorists and romanticism, the intensity of the horror terrorists perpetrate only makes their Western sympathizers regard them as all the more dedicated and long-suffering; why else but from justified rage at oppressors would people labeled as “oppressed” be so cruel? So identifying with the perpetrators who are defined as victims – and who seek to increase the number of their casualties at the hands of their more well-to-do oppressors, the Israelis/Jews, the better to become more numerous victims – seems a good way of shedding one’s own detested privilege.

In other words, the Palestinians envy the Jews the Holocaust and seek to appropriate it and convince the world that the Jews are the real Nazis vis a vis the Palestinians who are today’s Jews. Then the Western leftists buy the Palestinians’ reframing and in turn envy Palestinian victimhood and sympathize with it. It’s victim envy all the way down.

But it's also lies all the way down. Every aspect of their belief system, every accusation, every misstatement of fact, every historical misrepresentation is a baldfaced lie. But in the through-the-looking-glass world of the neo-Marxists, none of that matters. It's "their truth" driven by a warped sense of envy.