The Politics of Victimhood (Wannabe Wax Wix Mix)

Rick Santorum speaks during the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Let us start with Steve Benen, and note that there really is nothing unfamiliar about the situation he describes.

First up from the God Machine this week is an aggressive push from likely Republican presidential candidates to characterize social conservatives as a “victims” of a secular American government.msnbc

If this seems like a cyclical problem, it’s not your imagination. Four years ago, Newt Gingrich delivered one of my favorite quotes of all time, warning that if conservatives “do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America,” his grandchildren might one day live “in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists.” The contradiction was apparently lost on him.

Four years later, it’s Rick Santorum reading from a similar script ....

No, really, this is nothing new. But it is worth noting, because in truth it seems somewhat strange that the point doesn’t come up more.

Whether insurrectionist paranoia or craven, misguided, and exploited self-indictment, we should not be surprised; this is no different than pop arguments about how men are the real victims of rape and sexism, or whites the real victims of racism, this is hardly new. It seems like a perverse Munchausen envy, as if societal majorities become jealous at the attention and care shown their victims.

To the other, what about this isn’t self-evident? Benen makes a good point about contradiction; one needs not even make sense in order to gain support among the evangelical crowd, unless, of course, we accept the supremacist notion that they all look the same. After all, if “atheist” means “non-Christian”, then Gingrich’s complaint about a secular atheist society dominated by radical Islamists suddenly makes sense.

And this is sufficient―or, at least, it should be―to make the point about what it is these would-be victims actually fear.

As to the latest? Benen simply notes Rick Santorum lamenting that, “We have now the secular church that is being imposed on this country and anybody that defects is subject to persecution and prosecution.” We might suggest the spattering sputter from the Pennsylvania Republican is complete excrement and he knows it, but that latter is unclear. While it is observable that these elements are pitching tantrums on behalf of supremacism and bigotry, it is not entirely clear that they remain so possessed of their faculties as to be capable of recognizing the problem.

Remember, any bully losing his privilege will lament lost rights.

Evangelical Christian faith is not inherent victimhood, but these people seem to really, really want to suffer. But here’s the thing about human sympathy toward victims of injustice: That sympathy diminishes when you do it to yourseslf.

____________________

Benen, Steve. “This Week in God, 4.25.15”. msnbc. 25 April 2015.

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