Month: December 2016

“Political Correctness: how the left invented phantom victimization.”

George S Ledyard“Political Correctness: how the left invented phantom victimization.”

Phantom victimization? Seriously? It’s impossible to understand how any citizen of this Republic could POSSIBLY think that anyone needed to invent the concept of “victimization”, to pretend that there are no groups who have been systematically “victimized”.

Let’s try to sum up where we are at with the left and the right.┬áIn a nutshell, the left has decided to represent the victims, the marginalized, the minority members of our society. They have fought for civil rights, they have opposed exploitation and discrimination. Historically, they have stood on the side of Labor, fighting for better wages,. conditions, etc.
Our nation has historically been and continues to be dominated by the tensions between our white, Anglo Saxon, Protestant, majority and our various minorities. Since the great social upheaval of the 1960s we have seen an almost continuous movement forward in political organizing, and a successfully fight for equal rights.
What we have now with the political right is the backlash. In fact, the Republican Party is virtually the party of backlash. One of the ways that the right resists is by rewriting history. This is easily done in a country in which few study history. The focus of this effort is to create a view of the country in which there are no victims. There might have been at some point in the past, but that was all long ago and now it’s all ok.

slavery and economic growthThere has been a concerted effort to white wash slavery. It really wasn’t so bad. Most slave owners treated their slaves well, and blah, blah, blah. There has been complete silence on the subject of our record rate of incarceration, which dis-proportionally effects minorities. And any mention of multi generational poverty in our minority populations is made to appear as lack of ability, lack of drive, dependence on welfare and so on. Black Lives Matters, a group fighting a multi generational problem of law enforcement violence against minority communities is depicted as a anti-law enforcement terrorist organization. It’s simply one big stream of denial that there is an issue to be addressed.

Income Inequality - class warAt the same time, on the right you will have absolutely no mention of multi generational wealth and power. It is a fact that the upper middle class and upper class perpetuate themselves. They have the means to weather economic downturns, they can afford to have their children receive the finest education money can buy. While it is true that most people work hard to get by, people from these upper classes, who are, by the way, mostly white, do not start at the same starting point that the rest of the citizenry do. But you will NEVER hear a word about that from the right. Any mention of the lack of an even playing filed or the notion that wealth and power do perpetuate themselves engenders screams of class warfare and those doing this mentioning are attacked as pursuing the politics of division… a big no, no.
Sweatshops
The new narrative has worked to discredit Labor Unions. We no longer need them, they cost jobs, etc. The movement of jobs to the non-Union South has led to an economic boom for corporations in the Sun belt while these same states require more Federal payments via the safety net to keep the working poor from starving. They get less pay, worse conditions, less protections. Essentially, the destruction of the Unions has moved the burden of supporting the work force from the employer to the tax payer. The employees of a company like WalMart require billions of dollars of public assistance in order to maintain even a minimal standard of living.

Oligarchs - wealth inequalityYet the narrative of the right has been to say that focusing on the worker, his rights, his conditions, his wages, hurts business and costs jobs. The new narrative is a variation of the trickle down theory. What is good for the corporation, what benefits management and the stock holders is what creates jobs and prosperity for the worker.

This is a fiction. What is happening is that the worker is receiving proportionally less of the total income from our businesses. Non-Union wages are down yet top ,management salaries and benefits are at record levels. They are at record levels when compared to businesses world wide. A CEO of an American corporation can be making 400 times the wage relieved by the worker in the factory. This divide is greater than in any country in the world by magnitudes.
But the focus in the right is devoted entirely to distracting the working man from understanding this. Unionization is resisted at all costs because Labor organizers will be the first to demonstrate to the workers where the inequities lie.
The tried and true strategy of playing the different parties off against each other continues unabated. The right has the working man focused on all those immigrants and illegals, all those foreigners taking their jobs. All to distract them from the fact that the most wealthy are getting steadily wealthier. That isn’t something the right wishes the worker to focus on.
So, when the left talks about marginalized groups, it is pursuing the bugaboo of identity politics. But when the right talks about the problem with Muslims, the undocumented workers, the war against Christmas, even the war against men, or the war against white people… that isn’t identity politicos, that’s fighting for traditional values.

Steve Bannon - Alt RightAnd in the non-economic arenas like women’s rights, LGBT rights, special needs, etc the right wing strategy is once again to deny that there even is a problem. No new legislation is needed to protect women against sexual assault, no new laws are required to prevent hate crimes against gays. All of this is already covered by our existing legal structures. Of course this ignores the fact that if the existing structures were working, we wouldn’t have endemic rates of sexual assault, we wouldn’t behaving a stream of hate crimes against LGBTQ people.

All of this is about a concerted propaganda effort to deny the experience of our marginalized communities. When people describe the many ways they are made to feel excluded, undervalued, discriminated against, and even assaulted, the narrative of the right is to deny the validity of their experience. Complaining about being victimized is just an excuse not to knuckle down and work as hard as the rest of us (is being the folks who are already doing just fine than you).

Attempts to afford legal protection to our marginalized groups are attacked. The new code word which the right uses to oppose equal rights for our various minorities is to describe them not as “equal rights” but as “special rights”. These people are just asking to not be discriminated against, to receive the same treatment that everyone else gets. They are asking for “special” treatment. They are asking for something the rest of us don’t get. It is an insidious form of double speak, a cynical attempt to invalidate the daily experience of marginalized populations within our country.
alt right and white victimizationThe Liberal Left may have been guilty of focusing more on applying band aids to the results of our economic inequality rather than finding solutions, but they at least deal in the reality zone with our problems. The right consistently denies that the issues are even issues and then turns around and portrays the very people who are the most entitled in our society as the true victims. That is what backlash is all about and that is what the right currently represents.