March 21, 2019 - The History of New Zealand through a Libertarian Anarchist lens. Please enjoy the ideas and let me know what you think.

Parasitism by Victimhood

March 3, 2019


When it comes to Victimhood Culture (VC) I’m still on a journey of discovery. A great deal of it in theory and in our history I do understand, much more than I’ve yet set down. That’s why I made a brief effort to jot down the rudimentary fabric of VC within the larger framework of Moral Cultures.

After all, I have been throwing around terms like Victimhood Culture for years. How else can we understand a politicians like Walter Mantell, Hori Taiaroa (pictured here,) Mat Rata, or Sir Tipene O’Regan?

Reader interest spurs me on to say more. Please do ask if this topic is of interest to you. Fellow Anarkiwi Anarchist Vinny McLeod had just today published an exploration of Victimhood Culture here: Why Victimhood Is Aggression. Here are some of my reactions to what he has said…

Why Victimhood Is Not Aggression

First up, it’s not aggression to feign victimhood on your own part or others’. Rather, it’s a form of parasitism toward those who have the virtue of caring and wanting to offer help. It may take the form of pleading or tantrums or guilt-tripping such as white-feathering a man into enlisting for war but these are not acts of aggression properly speaking. If the mark has a strong ego and good self-esteem then they will reply with contempt to the Victimhood Culture exponent and send them packing. Our mainstream culture has lacked such healthy personal boundaries almost continually since the early 1990s. Victimhood Culture arises as a shadow cast by lack of healthy self-esteem.

Honour Culture to Dignity Culture Transition

Blood-feuding led to rulers and magistrates enforcing a code of laws – a codified, written set of laws and punishments for anyone who breaks those laws.

Here VJM hits the nail on the head in describing the transition from an Honour Culture to a Dignity Culture. The British passed through this as a Great Revolution¹ between 1580 and 1620, Americans in the 1860s, the Russians only in the 1870s. New Zealand Colonial Honour Culture gave way to Dignity Culture about the same time as the USA and Russia. New Zealand Maori Honour Culture was filled with blood-feuding and utu to rival any of the above nations and made the great leap into DC during Missionary times and another from the turn of the C20th.

Left: Sir Martin Frobisher, 1577. English HC pirate. Has himself depicted with sword and pistol. Right: Tamehana, 1891. Maori HC warrior. Has himself depicted with weapons (and crutch.) “Check out my weapons! I’m HC as, bro.” Now think about a contemporary person having their portrait taken- would we feel the need to bring our favourite weapons to the studio too?

VCs are Snowflakes

A person, or group of people, with a deeply entrenched sense of victimhood can force the society around them to adapt to their wishes. This society does out of a fear of the implied threat of blood-feuding if those grievances are not settled.

That’s not my take on it. Victimhood Culturalists are not advocates for blood-feuding types and nor would such HC folk put up with being nannied that way. The VC’s means of production is not converting threats of violent outburst into resources. Besides, they run from a physical challenge or fight and need someone else to protect them while they consume some soy-based comfort food or frothy kid’s drinks from their favourite Starbucks or equivalent Safe Space with their Friends. They wield no aggression, no threat. The VC can do nothing to others beyond guilt-tripping us or exploiting our good hearts and empathy toward the downtrodden. This implies, of course, that they are paracitical upon the DC because the HC has no empathy to exploit!

The Victimhood Culture: A Way of Life

Giles points out that, no matter how many concessions are given to people in victim mode, it’s never enough. This is because victimhood is an entire culture, a mindset into which people fall and into which they are often raised.

This cannot be emphasised enough. The VC has found his or her (or zir) place in life and they are euphoric about it. Their philosophy, their psychology, their schema, their ecological niche. Perhaps genetically, certainly memetically, they are descended from Workhouse Union delegates and the middle-men of chiefs and lords such as tax collectors and sheriffs and viziers. Human societies have depended on a class of person like this for thousands of years. When in ecological balance having people of this culture around is arguably not even a bad thing; When the world becomes top-heavy with them we’re in for a dramatic correction.

There are genuine victims, but the proportion of them are ever fewer, and the proportion of grifters and chancers ever higher.

And the thing is that the signals for what or who is a victim these days are completely obscured and inflated by the VC. That’s when they’re not simply making up offences and opressions entirely! Not only that, the VC population competes with one another to do so in a sort of Olympic contest.

The purpose is to intimidate good-natured people into giving up their wealth or freedom in order to compensate you for the supposed injustice.

For good-natured read the technical term: Dignity Cultured people. Also note, it is usually a third party the VC wants compensated not themselves. The phenomena of self-driving VC is a strange and rare phenomena of the unprecedented hyper-competition between VC within the Oppression Olympic Games currently showing.

Because most people have trouble believing that anyone could be as shameless as to pretend to be a victim, most assertions of victimhood are taken at face value.

Only by DC, actually. HC and SC are quite immunised to such propaganda and another VC being preached to will simply want to join in to help the show or else feel jealous and try to out-compete this con with one of their own. They’re very territorial about this sort of thing.

VC Means of Production

…it isn’t obvious for individual Maoris to know how much of a sense of victimhood they ought to feel. Inevitably, what ends up happening is that people feel a sense of victimhood that is proportionate to their own level..

The first con is to convince the Maori not to feel his feelings but instead to will himself to feel how he “ought to feel.” The second con is that he should not take personal responsibility for his life, that someone else is to blame either for doing him wrong or for wronging his ancestors. A talented VC can fan little sparks of resentment in anyone and turn these Pain Points into a sale; What they’re selling is Slave Culture. Once they have gathered up and organised an electorate or mass of ‘aggrieved’ to preside over they leverage their woes for resources of which they take a generous percentage cut. All the while, the VC thinks of himself as doing good.

This has happened cyclically in the Maori world over and over again. That is why Hori Taiaroa is the title picture for this post but in turn we’ll visit other VC artists from the other time periods.

A person claiming to represent a group of victims can easily siphon wealth into their own pockets. This makes it immensely tempting to stoke victimhood and to aggravate grievances.

This is exactly what’s happening in our Virtue Signalling and Victimhood Culture mainstream today. On social media we’re encouraged to tag ourselves and change our profile pictures and to “give a little” to some charity or other based on sentiment rather than thought-out targeted relief. Twenty years ago this cycle cropped up as Red Nose Days, Red Socks days, and other ribbon days of various colours until inflation set in and it burned out. Twenty years before that the same thing happened with marathon television campaigns called Telethons.

Almost inevitably, this group will have managed to justify aggression against those who they see as oppressors.

Most certainly. But especially toward the end of the VC cycle when they’re becoming most desperate.

For this reason, a sense of victimhood, and perpetuating a sense of victimhood, can rightly be seen as a sign of aggression.

They whisper aggression like poison into the ears of their hosts who, if they are not immunised by philosophy, will by action or neglect be tricked into aggression. The primitive root of a VC is probably a mother’s cry that her baby is under attack which triggers her protective male’s amygdala drive to attack perceived threats now and ask questions later or never. The evolution of this basic form simply adds sophistication and institutions; Such is the state of humanity for now.

1. I say Great Revolution because it was a real watershed turning moment but only yet another instance of HC going to DC. These cultures did not remain DC but rotated out of them again only to go full circle back to HC and then to DC once again, multiple times.

image ref. Mr. Bumble, Workhouse Boss; Oliver! (Twist) (1968)

image ref. Tamehana;  Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections

image ref. Frobisher; Ketel; University of Oxford collection

image ref. Hori Taiaroa; Auckland Art Gallery – Toi o Tāmaki. Oil on canvas painting by Gottfried Lindauer, 1901.

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