The failed jihadi attack in Texas stays on my mind. I, in particular, find amazing the outpouring of liberal and populist (e.g., Bill O' Reilly) willingness to blame the victims of the attack: Don't provoke Islam and you'll be OK! The Great Toronto-born Mark Steyn has a fabulous piece (here) and it's nigh impossible to improve on the Great One when he writes a really Great One. Let me, however, add a few minor observations.
Victimhood in progressive world is a plastic concept. It is hard to keep up with the definitions proffered by our progressive overlords. It seems, however, that we should side with the "victim" when such "victim" belongs to a prog-approved class of persons eligible for the label. That class of eligible "victims," however, changes with time and with the needs of the progressive agenda, so you really must study hard to keep up. We see, therefore, that yesterday's class of "victim" is not necessarily today's.
An example of the above phenomenon: Back in the dark ages when I grew up, a black man accused of raping a white woman was the "victim." So also were the brave Northern white boys and girls who went into the benighted South to "work for civil rights." Some of those progressive folks got killed by the armed wing of the Democratic Party in the South, the KKK, which was quite happy to keep black citizens in their second-class status. The progressives shared the Klan's authoritarian and racist bent, but it was exercised in a different way; see for example the justification that LBJ had for the "War on Poverty" and the "Civil Rights Act" to wit, "I'll have those nxxxxxs voting Democrat for the next two hundred years."
The calm, noble, articulate, and white Atticus Finch of To Kill a Mockingbird fame, was, of course, the fictional prototype of the hero who stood up for black men accused of the rape of white women. The white (Communist Party USA) attorneys who defended the Scottsboro boys against trumped up rape charges in 1930s Alabama, and brave Judge Horton who resisted community pressure, were real life counterparts to Atticus Finch. Back then it was OK, in fact, it was more than OK, to question claims of rape--it was a badge of honor, a rite of passage to question such claims.
As we have seen in the recent Rolling Stone fiasco and the earlier Duke lacrosse travesty, progressivism now demands that we believe stories of rape and sexual assault of various types--with a couple of exceptions, as will be noted. We have seen sexual assault charges hurled, quite interestingly, at prominent black men who did not toe the progressive line laid out for black Americans by their would-be progressive overlords. The progressives, you see, have replaced the KKK as the keeper of blacks in servitude but have borrowed some Klan tactics. Note the weapon progressives used against black Americans such as Clarence Thomas, Herman Cain and Bill Cosby, all of whom strayed off the path laid down for black men by progressivism. Yes, they are accused of sexual assault, mostly against white women. Men, black and white, however, who abuse women but hew to the progressive line, e.g., Ted Kennedy, Bill Clinton, David Letterman, Jesse Jackson, well, they get a pass for the greater good, and the women involved do not get the exalted title of "victim." Keep up, folks, gotta keep up with the definition.
For progressivism, black Americans are a handy putative "victim." America, of course, has a guilty conscience for its treatment of black Americans and this can be used for decades and decades after that shoddy treatment ended. Well, that is until another more useful "victim" comes along. Again, an example from my own experience: the affirmative action program at the State Department was PUTATIVELY (that word) about increasing minority enrollment in the largely white Foreign Service. That was its origins until, of course, white middle and upper class women, got themselves listed as "victims." From then on, black men got shoved aside and white women got the jobs. Yep. I had the indelicacy of pointing this out in a couple of cables and letters to the Director General, and got hell for it. The Foreign Service still remains quite white, but with lots of white women replacing white men. Black men remain scarce.
Blacks also have served as progressives' canon fodder for fights against "voter suppression." The progressives told us told that there were thousands, if not millions, of black Americans too poor, too stupid, to sign up to vote. They just didn't know how to get ID cards. Well, it turned out, of course, that the issue was not really about black Americans, at all. It was about enrolling millions of illegal aliens on the voter rolls. Illegal aliens, of course, are needed because blacks are slipping in importance as voters and as mainstays of classic progressive vote machines. The progressives need, therefore, a whole new class of poor wards of the progressive-controlled state and of the progressive election machine. Voila! Millions of Mexicans and Central Americans. But, again, put the blame on black Americans. A pattern is developing here.
I will write more about all this in a longer piece that I hope to finish some time before I die, but for now, let's just say that the progressives are always in search of new victims. At times these victims can come into conflict. Progressives, for example, view Islam as a legitimate reaction by the Third World to the transgressions, real and imagined, of white Western civilization. I wrote that,
Radical Islam is an ideology for the aggrieved, better said, for the losers of the world. It is no coincidence that it is the fastest growing cult among prisoners in the West. Islam is about mindless grievance and revenge for slights real and imagined, regardless of when and where they might have occurred. This is why progressives have such difficulty criticizing Islam and taking a tough stance against its barbarities. Islam is seen as part of the "Third World" reaction to the "offenses" of the "white" West, be those the Crusades, the great European empires, or the West's technological and economic dominance. Islam is the friend of progressivism in its hatred for Western culture.
There is a Molotov-Ribbentrop type understanding between progressives and radical Islam.What will be the progressive reaction when Muslim clerics in the USA, for example, refuse to perform gay weddings? Hard to predict with certainty, but then, of course, progressivism is about generating uncertainty, about keeping society off balance. It is about disrupting long established institutions and practices; it is about tearing down that which is with no real formula for what will follow except to put progressives in positions of power to dictate to us all as the whim comes and goes.
Progressivism is motivated by a deep hatred for Western civilization.
That realization brings us back to the wisdom of the great sage, Groucho Marx, who summed up progressivism's attitude towards Western civilization better than anybody else, "I wouldn't want to belong to any club that would have me as a member."