Thomas Bertonneau’s last posting mentioned that René Girard states that the West is becoming simultaneously more Christian and less Christian. The liberal West has become hyper-aware of the possibility of scapegoating; of picking en masse on an innocent victim. But at the same time the anti-scapegoating message of Christ’s death – making us aware of the ways victims are killed to stop intra-group violence – is missed by the liberal if the victim seems to fall within the class of “persecutor.”
Girard notes in Violence and the Sacred that there are two traditional classes of victim. What one might call the upper and the lower. The lower include all the dispossessed; the POW, the slave, the handicapped, the foreigner; preferably, someone with no family to retaliate when the person is killed. In this manner, the West is more Christian. But the other class of victim found in probably all cultures is the upper; the king or his equivalent social position. When things go wrong, it seems logical to blame the person in charge even if in fact he is innocent. The king is already socially isolated because of his position. The king is exposed and can easily become the minus one against the unity of the mob.
The Christianized West has become aware and solicitous of the lower victims. We pass laws protecting the handicapped and “the weaker sex.” But the West is blind to its tendency to scapegoat anyone belonging to the class of supposed persecutors. It scapegoats with a clear conscience as unaware as any primitive scapegoaters of what they are doing. At times the liberal West makes the same mistake as Nietzsche. It imagines that single victims, the 1%, is the strong, the persecutor, and side with the mob against the few.
As Dr. Bertonneau points out, the Occupy movement, with its social justice warriors, is the 99% against the 1%. This is classic scapegoating, unanimity minus one, but the scapegoaters remain convinced of their righteousness because they see the 1% as being the persecutors and remain oblivious of their own role as persecutors. One even gets the notion at times that, for instance, black people cannot be racist. Thus the class of persecuting scapegoaters grows larger as the SJWs look for more victims who they think are scapegoaters. The world becomes less Christian.
Driving the hatred of the 1% is mimetic rivalry and resentment. The SJW would like to be the 1%. The 99% want the money and power of the 1% to be taken away and given to them, which raises the question – do you love the 1% so much that you would like to be them or do you hate them? In the dynamic that Girard found uncovered in the nineteenth century novelists, our desire to possess the being of the resented person is frustrated; our love for their seeming superiority and their imagined god-like remove from the normal vicissitudes of life makes us hate them in our resentment at not being them. The Other appears to simultaneously open the door to paradise and shuts it in our face because their being appears desirable, but since they are already what we desire we cannot be them.
At this point in time, the West is ‘the strong’ economically and militarily. China is becoming its rival, but the West remains preeminent. In searching for its next victim the SJW, the liberal, finds itself to reside among the upper, the top, the class of supposed persecutors who are its favorite victim. Unaware that kings are among the traditional class of victims they look towards their own culture to persecute it as evil. Though the age of colonizing and empire is behind it, the self-hating liberal can find plenty of evidence of Western wrongdoing to justify its scapegoating attack and retain his clear conscience.
The designated victim class is the pharmakos.
“Even in fifth century Greece ─ the Athens of the great tragedians ─ human sacrifice had not, it seems, completely disappeared. The practice was perpetuated in the form of the pharmakos, maintained by the city at its own expense and slaughtered at the appointed festivals as well as at a moment of civic disaster.” (Girard, Violence and the Sacred, p. 9)
One is deemed a persecutor by the liberal through simple class membership, thus becoming part of the pharmakos.
The scapegoating SJW does not seem to realize that he is attempting to rid the world of people like himself. In a related fashion, feminism in the 1990s brought hatred of men, since men belong to the class of “the strong,” the non-victim and hence the persecutor, to such a fever pitch that men were slandered as pedophiles and rapists – if not actual pedophiles and rapists, potential pedophiles and rapists. Daycare centers were besieged by witch hunts and it took years to prove the charges groundless. Millions of children’s lives were damaged by pedophile paranoia because the children were no longer permitted to play unsupervised or even in many cases to walk to school. Many psychotherapists encouraged their patients suffering from depression and anxiety to attribute the cause to repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse by their fathers.
Feminism attacked men as the persecutors involved in patriarchal society, the very society of which the feminists were a product and participant. The attack necessarily is directed against their own husbands, fathers and male children. All things male are seen as evil. Women were to bond together in their shared hatred of men – the 51% versus the 49%.
On a ceiling of a civic building in Cincinnati, one of the virtues listed is “Manliness.” One can see how far the culture has moved when such a word is anachronistic and politically incorrect, at least as a virtue instead of a vice.
Feminists attacked men and maleness as patriarchal and the source of all evil; forgetting the male role of savior and expendable cannon fodder. But the goal of feminism was to requisition supposed male privilege for themselves. It was resentment of the imagined social and metaphysical privilege of the male; love/hate. I hate you. I want to be you. I want to go to work and stride around looking impressive; to be a leader and a high-powered executive. I want to be all the things I say I hate about you. I want your imagined power. I want to exchange my social, economic and metaphysical status; my being, for yours.
Why? The desire to want to be someone else, to possess their being, is rooted in self-hatred. Militant feminists tend to hate femininity – the passive, receptive, empathetic, nurturing, compassionate, soft, unresisting, emotional and intuitive. These tend to belong to the traditional role of the mother; the one many feminists want to replace with the working woman. Some feminists saw stay-at-home moms as class traitors, doing nothing to “further the cause.”
Especially in the 1980s one encountered the butch lesbian feminist, aping the most extreme mannerisms of the super-macho male, while writing plays having to do with castrating males and the like.
One ends up with the vilified class of supposed patriarchal persecutors, though women belong to the same social and economic classes as men, sharing the ill-gotten gains of the husbands and fathers, and the women trying to usurp the male role and economic position. Feminists invented the myth of pervasive misogyny when in fact they are misogynists who are vilifying all the traditionally feminine characteristics. THEY reject the feminine, despite the name “feminist,” and imagine that men share this rejection and their own self-hatred, when most men do not.
If one has ever lived in an all-male environment, such as boarding school, the presence of the feminine, the soft, the nurturing is likely to be sorely missed. A world of only male characteristics is a particularly harsh one. Perhaps ancient Sparta would be an example with even the women being encouraged to adopt the tough attitudes of the men, with the famous command of a mother to her son to come back victorious or on the back of his shield.
One gets modern fictional portrayals of men in the past behaving rudely and demeaningly towards women, for instance, at times on Mad Men. They tend to amount, again, to a kind of slander against all men. The notion that my own father or grandfather ever acted in this way towards women is ridiculous. If you had ever met them, you would know it to be entirely out of character.
What is hated in men is their masculinity and no one “does” masculinity quite as well as men do. But it is precisely these masculine qualities which are coveted by many types of feminist while they hate their own nature. They seek to destroy the patriarchy but reject any feminine alternative. Hence, one ends up with a total nihilism. Feminists seek to become what they resent and hate, which they can never do and certainly never as well as men do it, while rejecting their own feminine nature. This dual hatred of the feminine and the masculine seems incomprehensible unless one understands the dynamic of resentment.
Feminism shares the urge for self-hatred and self-destruction with the liberal SJW. Neither are left with any place to stand. They reject their own past and their own (patriarchal) culture as belonging to the persecutors and go ahead and persecute it, bonding together in shared hatred, trying to bond in unanimity minus one against their own cultural parent – except there is an umbilical cord still connecting them to this parent; and they have no other.