Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Persecution complex

One of the most pathetic things that has always struck me when listening to white supremacists speak is their sense of being persecuted by an oppressive minority and/or the forces of liberalism. It is difficult to make sense of the assertion that white males in the USA are disadvantaged unless you consider that supremacists are 1)scapegoating an Other they are prejudiced against for perceived societal failings and 2)that their definition of being persecuted amounts to not being allowed to persecute others.

Another group that shares the same persecution complex is that of the religious right. More specifically, the dominionist or Christian nationalist elements of the religious right which similarly consider the failures of society to stem from an oppressive minority and also feels that not being allowed to enforce religious orthodoxy on others amounts to being persecuted. I suspect, however, that it is easier to see the bigotry underlying the persecution complex of the white supremacists than it is from the Christian supremacists, for the obvious reason that we've as a nation already rejected the ideology of white supremacism.

For example, if one were to hear someone say the following, it would be fairly obvious that the person making the statement is a bigot:

You can be any race you want and PROUD of it... except white. I watch tv and flip around and you've got networks for gays, for women, for Spanish speakers ... There's even BET a network just for blacks. Obviously, the owners of the network are black and are proud of it, but if the owners were white and tried to create a White Entertainment Television channel all Hell would break loose.
Is that really that different than this comment agreeing with Ron Paul's view that Christmas is under siege?

You can be ANY faith you want and PROUD of it... except Christian. I walk around one of the largest malls in California, during the holidays, festive colors everywhere, and what is directly in the center of the mall? A massive menorah. Obviously, the owners are Jewish and expressing their faith. Were the owners Christian and tried to do the same with a crucifix, Hell would've broken loose.
Again, we see the same absurd sense of persecution. I suspect that virtually every single mall in this country right now is featuring both a Christmas tree and an on-duty Santa ... the idea that a furor would ensue were a mall to feature some Christmas symbol in it is ridiculous.

I responded to the above saying that it appeared to be a case of casual anti-semitism. I expect that some will object that is unfair of me to make that speculation, but if you have listened long enough to the sort of things that persecution complex bigots say you get a feel for it when you see it. I could be wrong about the commenter, but the above is exactly the sort of thing you can expect to hear such a person say (and his belief that Democrats are anti-Christian communists is another indicator that we're hearing from someone who travels in the intellectual circles of the "far right.")

As a case in point, Dave Neiwert posted something today about a Christian Identity church (which is both white and Christian supremacist) today which contained the following quote from a leader of the church:

"It's become apparent in today's society that you can be proud of any other nationality other than European heritage and be applauded for standing up for your flag or your nation or your race."

Now compare that to our commenter:

"You can be ANY faith you want and PROUD of it... except Christian."

I mentioned not too long ago that a sense of victimhood is a part of a fascist aesthetic. If we take a look at Robert Paxton's list of nine mobilizing passions of fascism it should become apparent why I said that:

A sense of overwhelming crisis beyond the reach of any traditional solutions;

The primacy of the group, toward which one has duties superior to every right, whether universal or individual, and the subordination of the individual to it;

The belief that one's group is a victim, a sentiment which justifies any action, without legal or moral limits, against the group's enemies, both internal and external;

Dread of the group's decline under the corrosive effect of individualistic liberalism, class conflict, and alien influences;

The need for closer integration of a purer community, by consent if possible, or by exclusionary violence if necessary;

The need for authority by natural leaders (always male), culminating in a national chief who alone is capable of incarnating the group's destiny;

The superiority of the leader's instincts over abstract and universal reason;

The beauty of violence and the efficacy of will, when they are devoted to the group's success;

The right of the chosen people to dominate others without restraint from any kind of human or divine law, right being decided by the sole criterion of the group's prowess in a Darwinian struggle.
This is why I respond harshly to Bill O'Reilly or Ron Paul when they speak of a war on Christians (vis-a-vis Christams). It helps to covertly push the agenda of extremists (whether they mean for it to do so or not) while simultaneously whipping up the kind of passion that may lead to dangerous anti-democratic sentiment.

1 comment:

steeplebob said...

Great post. "Christian Supremacists" reflects these holy soldiers so very well it deserves wide adoption.