Cultural Marxism
Political Correctness and the Victim Mentality
by Bill Lind

If you visit a modern American city, you are likely to find the streets crawling with beggars and bums. Of course, if you call them that, you will quickly be denounced as "insensitive" by the Politically Correct. The term they will command you to use is "the homeless." The lie they are telling is that these people are bums because they have no homes. The reality, in most cases, is that they have no homes because they are bums.

In the ideology of Political Correctness, which is cultural Marxism, the most exalted rank is that of "victim." This is - not accidentally - parallel to classical, economic Marxism, which saw workers and peasants as victims of the capitalist system and the bourgeoisie.

In American cultural Marxism, the sainted "victim" groups include blacks, Hispanics, Indians, Feminist women, homosexuals, and, as we noted , bums.

If you are officially a "victim," you can do no wrong. If you are, say, a Hispanic murderer, it was really the fault of white males, whose "racist" society made you do it. However, should you be, for example, a black who is also conservative, you cease being a "victim" because you cease being "really black." This is obviously absurd, but that's how ideologies work.

The notion that virtue resides primarily in being a "victim" is dangerous on several counts. First, it is dangerous to the people who receive "victim" status, because it relieves them of personal responsibility. If their behavior is the fault of white males who have "oppressed" them, then they have neither the duty nor the power to amend it. They have no responsibility to get off drugs, stop committing crimes, stop drinking, or get a bath, a haircut and a job. All those things become someone else's responsibility, which the Politically Correct translate into government's responsibility. If government doesn't do it, then it is perfectly fine for the "victim" to continue to wallow in his vices; after all, it isn't his fault.

As anyone who has worked with drug addicts or drunks will tell you, unless the person himself wants to change, he can't be changed. Unless he takes responsibility for his own behavior, he will stay what he is. So Political Correctness effectively condemns its "victims" to remain what they are, which turns them from phony "victims" into real victims - of Political Correctness itself.

Defining virtue as "victimization" has consequences for society as well. Any society that finds its heroes among its failures will produce more failures. And Political Correctness goes on to say that most successful people are "oppressors." That neatly completes the circle of discouraging achievement and ennobling failure.

When America was a successful nation, we found our heroes among our successes. Remember Horatio Alger? Tom Swift? They were not singled out for emulation because they were "victims," but because they produced and achieved. Rightly, Victorian America looked to achievers for its models - and by doing so it generated more achievement.

The worship of weakness and incapacity and the derogation of strength and ability, which is so central to cultural Marxism, carries in it another danger: fascism. Fascism arose between the wars as a response to an earlier worship of weakness, that contained in classical Marxism. Classical Marxism held up for admiration the poor, the downtrodden, the wage-slave: the economic failure. Fascism responded by saying that the highest virtue is power or will, and built its base among the achievers of the middle class.

Could the same thing happen here? Americans are getting more than slightly tired of hearing that they must worship our society's cultural failures, bums, unhappy women and the like. At some point, an ideology that dismissed the scum and exalted people who have their acts together might sound pretty good. The problem is, that would still be an ideology, and it would lead us down another blind alley, as fascism did.

What America needs is a politics that acknowledges certain duties to the blind, the botched and the bewildered, without making their conditions into virtues. Virtues are what our Western culture has always said they were: strength, ability and achievement, directed toward a good cause. We need a new political party that will recognize real virtue, reward it, and make it again our model - and get the bums off the streets.

17 July 1996

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