I have broached the topic of self-victimization in a few previous entries, especially in reference to “but what about teh menz” rhetoric, but I don’t think I’ve ever written about it in detail.
Self-victimization is defined as creating a state of victimhood without proper justification. It does not designate actual victims of harmful actions who complain about the harm done to them. Rather, it designates individuals or groups who manufacture victimhood in order to gain the moral high ground.
That conclusion being drawn, one may then ask, why are they even doing this? What’s the point? Why do neo-nazis even bother to deny the Holocaust and promote a zionist conspiracy, even though the Holocaust is one of their greatest “successes”? Why do MRAs push bizarre conspiracy theories about feminism? Why do statists accuse minority groups and unpopular opinions of all the evils in society, instead of the real culprits? Why do Christians attack science and humanism as the enemies of mankind, when in fact it is capitalism and democracy that are the worse enemies of religion?
Consider again the manichean worldview, on which our loyalties are based. In this worldview, we (the in-group) are the “good guys” and cannot do anything wrong, and they (the out-group) are the “bad guys” and cannot do anything right. Therefore, logically, any harm we inflict on them must necessarily be ethically justifiable, since it cannot be wrong. This is a wonderful example of linear logic, as obvious and natural to the believer’s mind as two plus two make four.
Add to this the positive aspect of victimhood; we naturally sympathize with victims because we empathize with their plight and are outraged at what happened to them. Because of this, it is hard for anyone who sees themselves as good to think that their actions have in some way created victims. It also looks very bad from a simple public relations standpoint.
The two main ways in which one can justify harm that one’s in-group has inflicted are (1) to deny the harm actually happened or (2) to claim that the harm was justified by the fact that they (the in-group) were the “real” victims in that situation. The former is generally unsustainable, therefore the latter is usually more successful.
Therefore we get the idea that, you know, rape is really not that big of a deal because women are just “asking for it” and men can’t help it if women are “overstimulating” them. So men are the actual victims here, and women have the power because they use men’s instincts against them. You see, sex workers are dominating their customers by forcing them to pay to see them naked.
From any sort of objective view, this reasoning is simply laughable. But it is psychologically much easier for a genderist to believe that men are the real victims of rape than to believe that their beliefs are evil.
The only alternatives to defenders of manhood and gender in general are either to (1) admit that their beliefs cause harm and that they are actively lobbying for that harm, (2) that rape doesn’t really happen, or (3) that men are the real victims. Claiming that men are hapless animals entrapped by wily women is an example of (3). The constant attempts to define rape and specific instances of rape (“she didn’t scream!,” “he was her husband!,” and somesuch nonsense) out of existence are examples of (1). Pushing manufactured “false rape allegations” statistics is an example of (2) (and I do intend to discuss this topic in a future entry, because their lies are so astonishing that it’s hard to believe they’re getting away with it).
The more developed the us v them complex, the more developed a view of the enemy one has. There are a few genderist crackpots who claim a feminist conspiracy, although these are not widely accepted beliefs amongst genderists. But other in-groups have accepted conspiracy theories. The nazis had the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (although said document was produced decades before the Nazis came to exist), the Christians have the “homosexual agenda” and the Satanist conspiracy, conservatives have the liberal media conspiracy, and so on. Most pseudo-science quacks believe in some Establishment conspiracy that actively suppresses the TRVTH, although the specific culprits vary. Statists nowadays use terrorism to shape the enemy.
Like most arguments by true believers, these are projections. When we look at actual conspiracies throughout history, we find that by far it is the evildoers, the destroyers, who conspire and commit terroristic acts. Nazis had a made-up Protocol justify a real Holocaust. Christians had a non-existent Satanic conspiracy justify a real Inquisition, and now they use a fantasy “homosexual agenda” to push the death penalty for homosexuals in Uganda. During the Cold War, the Red Scare was used as a pretext to slaughter union leaders and activists around the world.
This is the result of a complex, constantly evolving framing of what the enemy is, but with or without this framing we still get to the same result: persecutors must be praised and victims must be blamed, and the manichean framework must not change. The truth must not be confronted at all costs, no matter how absurd the mechanism to evade it might be.
This seems to me very similar to the process by which Alice Miller says we cannot confront our childhood trauma and, because of this inability, become aberrated adults who will gladly cheat, lie and kill in the name of a higher power.
People who were treated with respect as children, who weren’t drilled to become robots with the aid of mistreatment, will never want to die out of “faithfulness to the Führer” or send thousands of human beings to Stalingrad against all reason just because some madman planned it… In the Fürher’s headquarters, and all counter-arguments dissolved into fear and mental paralysis or, on the other hand, into enthusiasm when they heard him (the father) speak. This disastrous political blindness that cost millions of people their lives proves conclusively what our grandparents so hotly denied: that in every case, physical as well as psychological abuse of the child is not only harmful but highly dangerous. Not only for the individual but under certain circumstances for whole nations.
To evade any accusation of Godwin’s Law, my point here is not that all people who refuse to confront the truth and instead justify themselves through convoluted pseudo-reasoning are just as bad as the Nazis; rather, I’m arguing that they all flow from the same source and proceed in the same fashion. There is no substantial difference between neo-Nazis rationalizing the Holocaust and Americans rationalizing the genocide of the natives or Hiroshima. The acts are different, but the self-victimization process is the same and returns the same result.