Leading on from my last post. Something that I find underpins the mentality of many on the left end of the political spectrum at present is perceived/actual victim hood. What do I mean? it has become propitious to be able to demonstrate that you are oppressed in the political arena. To signify effectively that you are a victim has the effect of shutting down your opposition, stigmatising them and giving you a wide berth to demand reparations for your cause.

Whether you have a case or not can be unimportant, what matters is not the truth, only that you can manipulate popular opinion to kowtow to you. The simple question I ask is who isn’t a victim? I could make the case to you that I grew up in a town that used to hold a thriving mill industry in its heyday. It has since fallen to disrepair over the changing tides of commerce. As a result my hometown is on the less wealthy end of the spectrum in comparison to the most affluent in Britain and this has resulted in a sub-standard education comparatively. Consequently, my prospects are diminished. Had I happened to have been born in say Islington in London I would likely have received a better, more challenging education.

Of course, this entire mentality serves to take away from the accountability of the individual. In that scenario, I have taken no responsibility for how I can act to better my circumstances, I’ve simply pointed to an inequality in the system, blamed my problems on that and then allowed it to feed into the idea that the system is against me and I cannot rise above my station. It’s a vicious, myopic cycle. How true is my scenario? I received a good education, that I squandered by playing video games, had I spent just a third of the time reading rather than playing games I would likely have gone to a top UK university and would now be in the position to offer a skill set to society that is in limited supply. What happens when someone else can point to greater victimhood? I’m sure there would be people in India who point to my scenario and take the view that my own town became enriched through the colonial exploitation of India by the British and they are in fact the victims, I am merely a beneficiary of their ancestor’s sorrow.

My question to those that are allegedly oppressed in the west is the following… The West in general is more affluent than most regions of the world, it is imperfect and yet more balanced than probably any place in the world and you want us to believe that Western society specifically keeps you down and that you honestly have not had the tools, the freedom to be able to excel if you so much as had the will or put in the effort to do so?

There are people born with severe disabilities who rise above their awful circumstances and make a life that stands out ahead of many people more fortunate. They presumably realised that wallowing in self-pity and telling yourself that life is stacked against you leads nowhere other than to misery and a lack of fulfilment. Tell me if you went away now from this moment and made sure that every day you spent just 3 hours engaging in an activity that you know could benefit you, help you to grow or develop your career. That if you did that every day for a year, you wouldn’t reap the rewards further down the line? How much of your circumstances are really unchangeable? How much of it is down to external factors? What can you do to help yourself rise above it?

So much about life is mentality and victimhood is the safe one. It allows you to choose to put in no effort to better yourself because you can point the finger of blame on society.

In politics, we see people that are the top 1 percent, who are studying in top American Universities, who are decrying their perceived oppression on University campuses in the form of a lack of safe spaces away from differing opinions. If you can demonstrate that you are a victim, you gain power by being able to exert manipulation over policy makers to make up for the injustice. This results in free speech being curtailed and an atmosphere upon which different ideas are restricted. The result is you are worse off intellectually, because your mind isn’t forced to stand its’ arguments up to scrutiny. In its political variant faux victimhood represents a unique challenge for the intellectual future of western universities and in my opinion signals a civilisation in decline.

The anti capitalists

What is at the root of the anti-capitalist mindset? If we reduce complex arguments down to their basic origin what do we get? I was at one stage, when I was a young buck with what I thought was an anti-authoritarian attitude, a raging communist. Hard to believe isn’t it? Not uncommon though, I know Peter and Christopher Hitchens early on in their lives were very left wing and gradually made the move rightwards. Not to attempt to put myself in the same ball park as those two intellectually, that wasn’t the intention.

What is it though that underpins the communist mindset. Speaking for myself, I think it was looking at the world, seeing the gigantic inequality between the wealthiest and the poorest and rejecting it. It came, out of a desire to do good. I blamed the capitalist system, decided that the only way to solve it was to take from the wealthy and spread the wealth and to do so I required the state to step in on the individual and forcibly re-adjust wealth. Additionally, I think it came from a victim mentality mixed in with jealousy. I would see wealthy people who I deemed not to be worthy of the wealth, who had either inherited it or had no discernible skills greater than my own and I’d ask why that wasn’t me.

When I lay it all out there like this, it speaks for itself in terms of its moral and theoretical shortcomings. I wanted to rip the system apart, I was anti-authoritarian, until you consider that my solution in the aftermath was to rebuild the system in my own image. To do that it would require totalitarianism. This is point one of my issue with the anti-capitalists, you are dictators in waiting, with no regard or respect for the individuality of different people, or the value of plurality of opinion. Communism degrades individual value, it places the collective in the ascendancy, because in order to achieve a utopian future we all must be the same. There is no room for anyone who thinks or acts differently.

This is the worst part of the communist mindset for me, the utopian ideal and what it seeks. To build a utopia in which everyone lives equally and happily, it follows on that the requirement is the re-adjustment of humanity. Hatred, that emotion that makes us human, is undesirable and needs to be overcome. Any speech relating to hatred is then banned. It is a mindset that derives from negativity. When communists look at humanity they see a problem that needs to be fixed so that everyone can coexist in happiness. The end goal is to remove all negatives, negatives as judged solely by the enforcers, and create hordes of people that think, feel and act the same. Communism is anti-diversity and anti-humanity.

When it comes to everybody as equal, the average office worker like me and Lionel Messi are equal, because we are both human and therefore entitled to be on an equal footing. Except Lionel Messi has skill as a footballer rivalled by one other person in the world in a sea of 7 billion. At the game of football, he is superior to me, to you and to the overwhelming majority of people that inhabit the world. He has a skill that separates him from the rest of humanity and so he is rewarded through wealth, because he is able to offer that skill to the highest bidder. In all walks of life there are people who are better or worse than we are at any given task. No individual is ever the same and yet we have an ideology that seeks to confine, to box all individuality and coerce it to serve the group. The effect of this is to remove the motive which drives individuals to better themselves and produce something of value. If I was to sit and labour for hours and hours on a piece of land to create wheat and then the state decided to requisition all my surplus wheat to give to workers in the city at no benefit to me, what would motivate me to produce anything more than what is enough for myself and my family? Hence starvation and famine in the Soviet Union.

When you sit and ponder on what competition means in life, however big or small, it pervades humanity and it wasn’t imposed on us by some spectral elite class of people pulling the masses by a string. It is intrinsic.