Today the Left has completed its “long march through the institutions”.(1) In the early 20th century, Antonio Gramsci generalized Marxist economic three-class theory into “Cultural Hegemony” theory, meaning that the “Ruling Class” determines the type of culture that is forced upon the “Ruled Class”, for the benefit of the Ruled Class. The intellectuals, which include self-selected journalists, form into a class of activists against the culture imposed by the hegemonic ruling class.
Hence the three-class system according to Gramsci meant the “cultural hegemonic class”, the victims of the cultural hegemons, and the intellectual activist class working against the cultural hegemons.
When thinking about the ongoing culture war, it becomes useful to think in terms of a designated Victimhood Class, one which contains subclasses (women; blacks; homosexuals; miscellaneous sexual disordereds; Gaia; homeless; and others as it is advantageous). Because victims must be oppressed by someone, there is the Oppressor Class which is the status quo class, which is jealous of its hegemony and power. And there is the self-ordained, self-righteous Messiah Class consisting of those who wish to be known as the ultra-moral saviors of the Victimhood Class, although all their efforts produce is the status quo of the Victimhood Class, rather than their salvation.
Chait has reduced the work of two sociologist authors, Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning, regarding Microaggressions in the Victimhood Class War, into a condensed form. The essence is that the culture has moved from honor culture, through dignity culture, and into Victimhood.
”In brief: We’re beginning a second transition of moral cultures. The first major transition happened in the 18th and 19th centuries when most Western societies moved away from cultures of honor (where people must earn honor and must therefore avenge insults on their own) to cultures of dignity in which people are assumed to have dignity and don’t need to earn it. They foreswear violence, turn to courts or administrative bodies to respond to major transgressions, and for minor transgressions they either ignore them or attempt to resolve them by social means. There’s no more dueling.I think that the following point is key:
Campbell and Manning describe how this culture of dignity is now giving way to a new culture of victimhood in which people are encouraged to respond to even the slightest unintentional offense, as in an honor culture. But they must not obtain redress on their own; they must appeal for help to powerful others or administrative bodies, to whom they must make the case that they have been victimized. It is the very presence of such administrative bodies, within a culture that is highly egalitarian and diverse (i.e., many college campuses) that gives rise to intense efforts to identify oneself as a fragile and aggrieved victim. This is why we have seen the recent explosion of concerns about microaggressions, combined with demands for trigger warnings and safe spaces, that Greg Lukianoff and I wrote about in The Coddling of the American Mind.”
”When the victims publicize microaggressions they call attention to what they see as the deviant behavior of the offenders. In doing so they also call attention to their own victimization. Indeed, many ways of attracting the attention and sympathy of third parties emphasize or exacerbate the low status of the aggrieved. People portray themselves as oppressed by the powerful – as damaged, disadvantaged, and needy. [They describe such practices going back to ancient Rome and India] … But why emphasize one’s victimization? Certainly the distinction between offender and victim always has moral significance, lowering the offender’s moral status. In the settings such as those that generate microaggression catalogs, though, where offenders are oppressors and victims are the oppressed, it also raises the moral status of the victims. This only increases the incentive to publicize grievances, and it means aggrieved parties are especially likely to highlight their identity as victims, emphasizing their own suffering and innocence. Their adversaries are privileged and blameworthy, but they themselves are pitiable and blameless”
[Reminder: All text not in brackets is from Campbell, B., & Manning, J. (2014). Microaggression and moral cultures . Comparative sociology, 13, 692-726]
The two classes, Victimhood Class and Messiah Class, are absolutely drowning in self-righteousness. And in addition, the Victimhood Class is filled with moral cowards; they appeal to the Messiah Class to both affirm their Victimhood virtuousness, and to punish the Oppressor Class with restraints as well as very real punishment.
This leads naturally to creating the reverse Victimhood effect, where the Oppressor Class itself becomes the victim of the axis of Messiah/Victimhood Classes, and some attempt to claim their own Victimhood status and need for redress.
From the conclusion:
”What we are seeing in these controversies is the clash between dignity and victimhood, much as in earlier times there was a clash between honor and dignity…”
Hence, the dignity of ALL Lives is subsumed by the Victimhood dogma, “black lives (only) matter”, as Bernie Sanders discovered and was forced to capitulate to.
There is a very interesting point made by this commenter:
”Baldur Odensen on March 27, 2016 at 10:00 pm
For the long form you can see my reply below, but I suspect it has to do more with the increased number of females at university, where they are now the majority. Even in cultures of honor, females were expected to be hypersensitive to insults but were not expected to defend themselves – rather, they were expected to go get a guardian to do it for them – exactly as these students are doing.”
Observation: The government schooling system is dominated by females, with feminism and Title IX victimhood compensation by affirmative actions often mandated by the government. Modern students are preconditioned to the Victimhood disposition (as well as egalitarianism) well before entering the Leftist, Feminist universities.
Another observation: the tactics used by the Messiah Class to attack the Oppressor Class need further analysis, because they are frequently onerous and outside the realm of reason and compassion, much less human rights and free agency. The strategy of the Messiah Class is obvious: decimation or elimination of the Oppressor Class, and the perpetuation of the Victimhood Class dependency. In other words, the reversion to hegemonic rulership, but this time with the Leftist Messiah "Intellectual Class" in the Ruling seat of power.
This has been a serious truncation of Chait’s truncation of a sociological study. So obviously if you want more depth, go to the sources. I also recommend Thomas Sowell’s groundbreaking works, including the book, “Vision of the Anointed”. The self-anointed messiahs have to be in place and responsive in order to exploit the Victimhood Classes into a full-blown cultural revolution. I think that point should be emphasized. It is not so much that the Victimhood whiners exist; it is that the messianic class affirms them, affirms their virtue, and affirms the evilness of the Oppressor Class. Currently the Messiahs control schools and universities, journalism, much of social media, and the government. When they have full control of the FCC, they will control the internet. When they control Congress and the Supreme Court, they will produce thought crime laws to match those already in place in universities. And if tolerance of the Victimhood class, Islam, is mandated, then the risk of universal Sharia becomes realistic, and the Fourth Cultural Revolution will occur.
1. Quote attributed to Rudi Dutschke, a German student of Gramsci and “alternate forms of Marxism”.