Virtuous Villains

Beyond a crimp on traditional good behavior and a brake on personal responsibility and positive determination, the surfeit of progressive virtue among the pseudoppressed creates even more havoc: it causes an increase in bad behavior.

Virtuous Villains:
Those pseudoppressed who justify their traditionally bad acts as caused by oppression, or even think of them as virtuous acts of liberation.

Virtuous Villains rationalize their wrongdoing as being created by oppression. It’s a license to be bad. The thinking is, “Why should I worry about doing wrong since I’m overflowing with virtue?” or even, “I am fighting for what is right.” If a tinge of conscience does become conscious, everything can be justified because bad behavior is perceived to be caused by victim-hood, not by free choice. In addition, in the mind of a Virtuous Villain, it’s not really bad behavior: it’s righteous payback. During the 1992 Rodney King riots in Los Angeles, one African-American rioter, who was taken into custody after using a car for batting practice with the European-American passengers inside, said repeatedly in the squad car, “This is right, this is right, this is right.”* It was right – but only by the code of political correctness. His act, while clearly not good under traditional morality, was filled with progressive virtue.

Virtuous Villains rationalize their wrongdoing as being created by oppression. It’s a license to be bad. The thinking is, “Why should I worry about doing wrong since I’m overflowing with virtue?” or even, “I am fighting for what is right.”

The Enlightened have a guilty conscience due to their perceived oppression of the assorted pseudoppressed groups. This “liberal guilt” filters through to the rest of society in various degrees and leads to a coddling and non-confrontational relationship with the pseudoppressed. The rest of society tends to treat the pseudoppressed with kid gloves. For example, because the poor are thought to be generally more virtuous than the wealthy, and because their condition is thought to be due to oppression, progressive society has a diffident attitude toward them, and little inclination to promote self-improvement and self-responsibility among them. Liberal guilt and the kid-gloves treatment it encourages solidify the dysfunctional relationship between the pseudoppressed and the rest of society.

* Lou Cannon, Official Negligence: How Rodney King and the riots changed Los Angeles and the LAPD, (Westview Press, 1999), p. 283.

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A Progressive Belief: The Oppressed Tend to Be Virtuous

Progressives believe that the oppressed tend to be virtuous.

The unconscious logic supporting this belief is as follows:

• Society is a Battlefield
• Social interaction is war between groups.
• Warring groups either dominate or are dominated.
• The dominant group ruthlessly oppresses and exploits the weaker group.
• The oppressed tend to be virtuous.

The unconscious logic branching out of this belief is:

• The intentions of the oppressed are generally virtuous.
• The actions of the oppressed are generally virtuous.
• The oppressed tend to be wise.
• The oppressed tend to be compassionate.
• The oppressed tend to be courageous.
• The oppressed tend to be fair.
• The oppressed are fashionable.
• We should try to fit in with the oppressed.

 

Progressive virtue accrues to those who live by the rules of progressive morality, otherwise known as political correctness. Politically correct behavior increases one’s progressive virtue. But all individuals do not start out with an equal balance in their progressive virtue bank account. Recall the Accounting metaphor which cognitive psychologists say structures our moral thinking in financial terms. Under newthink, the opening balance in one’s virtue account depends on whether one’s social group is oppressor or oppressed. Members of pseudoppressor groups begin with a big debit which they must always work to overcome if they wish to be progressively virtuous. Members of pseudoppressed groups begin with a big credit, which means they are able to do nothing at all if they choose and still maintain moral superiority over almost all pseudoppressors. This is one reason newthink pseudoppressors are often so devout in their political correctness. Progressive virtue is vital to the self-esteem and social power of progressives. Pseudoppressors have a big moral debit to overcome and must constantly work harder to be progressively virtuous.

Progressive virtue is vital to the self-esteem and social power of progressives. Pseudoppressors have a big moral debit to overcome and must constantly work harder to be progressively virtuous.

Acts of political correctness do help raise one’s PV bank account. But people in progressive societies are increasingly judged by their wealth, sex, citizenship, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and religion rather than their behavior. Newthink’s logic in this matter is simple to the point of monotony: the wealthy tend to be unvirtuous, the poor tend to be virtuous; males tend to be unvirtuous, females tend to be virtuous; Americans tend to be unvirtuous, non-Americans tend to be virtuous; European-Americans tend to be unvirtuous, non-European-Americans tend to be virtuous; heterosexuals tend to be unvirtuous, homosexuals tend to be virtuous; Christians tend to be unvirtuous, non-Christians tend to be virtuous. The less intelligent the assimilated newthinker, the more these guidelines will be used without nuances.

Traditional Americans, raised in a world where they were judged by their actions, are often bewildered by progressive society, which judges one largely on one’s pseudoppressor or pseudoppressed group affiliations. To further confuse them, when they are judged by their behavior it is increasingly by the foreign standards of political correctness rather than the familiar standards of traditional morality. (Unfortunately, the supposedly nonjudgmental inclination of progressives only applies to the progressively virtuous.)

If you’re oppressed, you don’t have to gain progressive virtue through actions: you are already virtuous because of your oppressed status. This surfeit of progressive virtue causes a decline in traditional good behavior. It is, for instance, one reason why the percentage of income given to charity by individuals declined from 2.26 percent in 1964 to 1.61 percent in 1998.* That’s 29% less charity in 34 years – years that saw great increases in real income and in the scope of progressive culture. In the early 20th century, through the booming 1920s and the depression years, Americans grew steadily more generous. But, as Robert D. Putnam documents in Bowling Alone, since 1960, American’s generosity has steadily shrunk.** The 1960s, that landmark decade of progressivism, coincidentally marked the point when American generosity abruptly began its decline. It’s perfectly logical: as progressives increase in number, more people gain virtue by identifying with an oppressed group rather than through traditional good works. Progressives don’t feel the need to engage in traditional good deeds because they already possess a great amount of virtue due to their oppressed-group status – and almost everyone can identify with at least one victim group.

Progressives don’t feel the need to engage in traditional good deeds because they already possess a great amount of virtue due to their oppressed-group status – and almost everyone can identify with at least one victim group.

The surfeit of progressive virtue among the pseudoppressed also leads to a decline in self-responsibility and positive determination. Self-responsibility, the belief that one is primarily responsible for one’s own situation, and positive determination, a can-do attitude dead set on success – the primary engine of production among any group of people – are attitudes which flourish under Americanism and wither for the pseudoppressed under newthink.

* Robert D. Putnam, Bowling Alone, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000), p. 123.

** Ibid, p. 123