Near the end of his talk about American communists’ long-term plan (now coming to fruition) to flood America with a permanent Democrat majority through Hispanic amnesty, Trevor Loudon tossed in an interesting throwaway. When someone asked him why Leftists would want to reduce the US to the status of a Latin American banana Republic, he said that, in a conversation with Tammy Bruce (a former hard Leftist herself), she told him “They’re all damaged individuals.” That is, we have a powerful political movement made up of damaged people out for revenge.
That notion popped into my mind again today when I read on my Facebook stream the newest attack against the Tom Cotton letter. (You’ll recall that the first attack was to call Cotton and the other signatories “traitors” and “Logan Act violators,” followed by efforts to claim that reserve officers violated various military codes.) The newest claim that’s come to my attention is that Cotton and Co. are AIPAC’s puppets:
The U.S. media have been sadly incurious about the origins of yesterday’s unprecedented Open Letter of 47 Republicans to the Iranian leadership seeking to block the president’s likely deal with Iran. The press has portrayed the letter as the work of Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, a 37-year-old freshman senator so new to the limelight that the New York Times got his name wrong on first impression. But as a Times commenter writes, “Does anyone really believe the ‘freshman senator from Arkansas’ wrote the letter? No.”
I don’t know who wrote the letter, but I can tell you whose fingerprints are on it: the only folks who are supporting it publicly, the hard-right Israel lobby. Even as Cotton himself splutters on national television, rightwing lobby groups are the main voices out there defending the letter.
(As was the case with Daily Kos, I’m not going to dignify the source of that claim with a hyperlink, but here’s the URL if you want to go to it on your own: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/03/israel-fingerprints-republican.)
As I said yesterday, the Tom Cotton letter, aside from educating Iran and large sections of the world (and possibly both our President and Secretary of State) about the Constitution, acts like fly paper, attracting into the open and permanently displaying all of the most ignorant, hypocritical, and nasty members of the Left. It’s therefore not at all surprising that the Lefts’ antisemites (and remember — the Nazis were socialists) would eventually crawl out of the woodwork too. It turns out that, when you lift the big sparkly rock of American Progressivism, the one polished to a shine by the media and Hollywood, there are a whole bunch of gross specimens under that rock just waiting to emerge.
In this post, rather than discussing the rank stupidity of blaming the Israel lobby for the Cotton letter, I want to talk about the gross specimens or, as Tammy Bruce more politely said, the “damaged individuals.” The genesis for this is the Facebook friends whose posts first alerted me to the vicious, antisemitic silliness underlying the attacks on Cotton and Co.
I have two different classes of Left-leaning Facebook friends. The first class consists of the people who are just an ordinary part of my world considering that I’ve lived my entire life in liberal enclaves. Politics isn’t paramount to them. They vote Democrat and parrot slogans (“Bush is an idiot” “Obama is the smartest man ever”) without any bone-deep commitment. To them, it’s just something that “our type” of people do. “Our type” of people have lots of college degrees, know their wine, live in all-white neighborhoods, don’t blow their nose into their fingers, and ally with the Democrats. These are not ideological Leftists; they just class-bound trend following sheeple.
My other Leftist friends on Facebook are the hardcore ideologues, many of whom I’ve known since my San Francisco childhood, with a few more added along the way. I’m periodically tempted to un-friend them, because I find them offensive. What stops me, though, is that these people are my window into the distillation of Leftist thought. What ferments in their world eventually works its way in milder form over to the sheeple followers who dutifully parrot it all back — and reliably vote Democrat in every election.
What’s fascinating about these hard-core Lefties — all of whom I know personally so I know their life stories — is that they are indeed all very “damaged individuals.” The antisemite is someone who descended into almost bestial alcoholism before clawing his way back to sobriety. Hardcore Leftism is his newer, healthier addiction.
The ones who attacked the Cotton letter on the grounds that it disrespected the military are, respectively, a man who was orphaned as a child, who was morbidly obese, and who now defines himself entirely by his homosexuality; and a woman who was raised by remarkably inattentive hippies and suffered a near-death accident when she was a teenager. Another hardcore Lefty, who simultaneously talks about “loving everyone” and wishing he could have killed George Bush, lost his father when he was young, and is also defined by his being gay.
There are a few exceptions to the stories of woe that seem to define my hard-Left Facebook friends, but the vast majority are people who have lost their parents, suffered traumatic injuries, had substance abuse issues, or were badly bullied as children. They did not have carefree childhoods. For purposes of this post, I want to focus on the bullying narrative that underlies the lives of many of these hardcore Leftists.
I have personal knowledge of the “badly bullied” part, since I was there when the gay kids were indeed badly bullied in middle school and high school. Of course, a lot of us were badly bullied back in middle school and high school. I certainly was (being an eccentric bookworm is not a passport to adolescent social success) and, to my eternal regret, I gave as good as I got. It turns out that, Dan Savage to the contrary, gays are not the only victims.
Children are horrifically cruel and, back in my day, few of us got messages at home, or in the classroom, to temper that cruelty. We picked on each other’s race, ethnicity, athletic prowess or lack thereof, sexual orientation, hair styles, pimples, glasses, clothes, etc. Only the people at the very top of the pecking order were immune to this cruelty — and they kept their immunity by making sure that the bullying always flowed from them to others, and not the other way around.
Interestingly, when I was a kid, bullying was a childhood and adolescent reality, so it wasn’t much of a muchness. I certainly don’t recall a single one of my peers committing suicide because of it. Of course, my memories, no matter how accurate, are a meaningless “N” of one, lacking any statistical validity. However, when I search my mental database, I also can’t remember any newspaper headlines from my youth about teens at other schools committing suicide. If my memory is correct, there are two possible conclusions I can draw: Either kids 40 or so years ago did not commit suicide because of bullying or, if they did, the cause of death was kept secret.
The thing about bullying back in the day was that we were all in it together. It was a social scrimmage, with everyone piling on, and most people eventually pulling out with some injuries, although none were fatal. We didn’t think of ourselves as victims. We were just participants in a periodically painful game that involved endlessly trying to scrabble up the social ladder.
What Leftism has done since around the 1990s is to have given the “victim” cult-like status. Suddenly, everyone wants to be a victim. The most stupid recent example I can think of is gay soul/pop singer Sam Smith, who tearfully confessed to having been bullied and even punched in the neck when he was a child. Having come of age in a tougher time, when everyone suffered insults and when school yard fights, with lots of punches thrown, were common among boys, I discovered a startling lack of empathy in myself.
Defining yourself as a victim isn’t just a cute trend. It’s tremendously damaging.
When I was a young lawyer, an interesting study came out about the different recovery trajectories of people in mass accidents (such as bus or plane crashes). Those who settled quickly, rather than taking the matter to court, ended up with substantially lower financial recoveries. That fact standing alone makes it sound as those who settled quickly were fools. Or were they?
The other thing the study revealed was that those who insisted on taking the case to trial really never recovered. Their inability to recover had nothing to do with the severity of the injury. Sometimes those who settled quickly had much more serious injuries. Instead, it had to do with two factors: First, the injured person understood, either implicitly or explicitly, that going into court in blooming health would not be an asset to the case. It was therefore in the person’s best economic interest not to recover. Second, it turned out that having to live with the accident day in and day out, through the discovery process and the trial, was mentally very damaging, something that also impaired the person’s recovery.
The Left’s victim class is composed of people who suffered traumas and made a conscious decision to wallow endlessly in their own suffering. That is, rather than putting their physical and/or psychic injuries aside and moving forward with their lives, those who have accepted the Leftist cloak of perpetual victim-hood, cling ferociously to the wrongs done to them, building them in their minds to ever greater heights.
The great thing about this backwards looking self-identification is that it doesn’t matter if you’re Sam Smith, one of the most popular singers in the world, or Oprah, one of the world’s most powerful women — all that matters is that, because you’re black or gay, or black and gay, or a former substance abuser, you can label yourself in perpetuity as a “victim” and people had damn well better kowtow to your demands . . . or else they are bullies.
If being called a bully were the worst thing to happen to those who don’t kowtow to the new affluent, educated, media savvy, politically powerful victim class, well, so what? Most of us adults can handle a little name calling (unless, of course, we’re victim people). The problem is that these damaged individuals have used the victim card to leverage themselves into positions of power from which they can . . . you know, bully people.
In the old days, if you refused to bake a cake for a wedding (“I think the bride is a skank” or “I don’t do Jewish weddings”), you’d become the subject of local talk. Your business might get better or might get worse, depending on what the local consumers thought of your business decisions.
Perhaps community members agreed that Christian bakers should only cook for Christian weddings; or maybe they thought that no baker in his right mind should ever provide a cake when the bride is a skank; or maybe they disagreed entirely with both the “skank” principle and the “Jewish wedding” principle, but thought that, in a free market, people should be able to make whatever decisions they want to, even if it means turning away business for good reasons or bad.
Also in the old days, the customer who disagreed with you would take his business elsewhere. If he were really outraged, he might march over to the competitor and say “I know you don’t like baking cakes for Jewish weddings or skanks, but your competitor just turned away $2,000 in business that could all be yours if you change your policies.” That pitch might work, or it might not.
One hundred years ago, when Jews weren’t allowed to work in old line law firms or banks, they started better law firms and banks, beating the old money at its game — building that better mass trap, and encouraging the world to beat a path to their door.
The fact is that, when bad behavior occurs in the marketplace, the marketplace has the mechanisms to correct that bad behavior. The problems begin when the bad behavior becomes institutionalized. (And I do like to remind people that Jim Crow wasn’t just custom, it was the law.) As I’ve pointed out in connection with guns, businesses, no matter how big, can never cause the type of damage government can cause.
In the situation we’re seeing today, there are two types of bad behavior at issue. If you’re a member of the alphabet soup crowd (LGBTQ etc.), the bad behavior is a Christian businessman (in a competitive market) who generally has no problems selling goods to non-heteronormative customers, but balks at gay wedding cakes or photographs or flower arrangements, because the businessman views heterosexual marriage as a sacrament, making participation in a non-heterosexual wedding a sacrilegious action that can imperil the businessperson’s immortal soul.
The other type of bad behavior is bullying, which is something that, in theory, both the Left and the Right decry.
It turns out, of course, that the Left decries bullying only when it’s the victim. It has no problem being the perpetrator. And the Left, being the Left, doesn’t trust mere bullying in the marketplace to sort this one out, either, so it goes for the biggest weapon it can: Government. That government cudgel is how the official “victim class of the Left” has created a situation in which ordinary business people, making decisions in the marketplace, suddenly find themselves arrested or fined, and (most un-American of all) sent to government re-education camps so that their “wrong-thinking” can be coercively “corrected.”
Ultimately, what distinguishes the really damaged from the resilient is that the really damaged people, when allied with the Left, get revenged. Healthy people, even those who have been horribly traumatized, get on with their lives.
In a healthy, non-narcissistic society, that’s true for the majority of people. That’s why concentration camp survivors emerged from those hell holes and, for the most part, got married, started families, held jobs, etc. They were certainly scarred by their experiences, but they moved forward, rather than plopping themselves down and insisting that they be measured by and aggregate power through those past experiences.
The same is true for most veterans. Sure, they bear their physical and mental scars, and they certainly like to get together and tell war stories, but the veterans of D-Day, and the Bulge, and Midway, and Iwo Jima, and Pork Chop Hill, and Chosin Reservoir, and Fallujah, didn’t come home and demand to be accorded special victim status. They came home and married their sweethearts and had children and got jobs and generally got on with life.
A professional victim class is invariably narcissistic. Society isn’t defined by individual freedom, it’s defined by the victim’s needs. Moreover, since victimhood has been elevated to a sacrament, the victim’s needs aren’t to move on. Instead, the need is to force all people to bow down before the professional victim’s altar of psychic pain. And woe betide those who won’t bend their knees. The priestly class, wrapped in the misleading mantel of ordinary American politics, will wreak its vengeance on the nonbelievers, heretics, and apostates. The Leftist imams are just as vicious as any found across the Middle East.
The question at this very precise juncture in history is whether Americans will become slaves to this new priestly class or whether they will assert their right to control their own thoughts without inquisition and reeducation. So if you’re planning on staying home in 2016, don’t. Even if Jeb Bush is the Republican candidate (a thought that even today, more than a year from the election, makes me vomit a little in my mouth), your local elections still count. Remember, for the time being, the professional bullies of the Left’s victim priesthood are doing their most damaging work at the local level.