By Daniel Greenfield
Toward the end of Animal Farm when the formerly revolutionary seven commandments have been rewritten to “All Animals are Equal… But Some Animals are More Equal than Others”, what began with the promise of equality has reverted to an authoritarian caste system. America’s civil rights revolution similarly began with, “All Americans are Equal” and ended up with, “All Americans are Equal… But Some Americans are More Equal than Others.”
Liberals have seized the commanding heights of the moral high ground by presenting themselves as the protectors of minorities and vowing to replace one racist system with an equally racist, anti-racist system. But caste systems aren’t just black and white and the rainbow coalition has internal conflicts. What do liberals do when different groups within the rainbow coalition conflict and how do they make that determination?
It’s not a new question. Black men got the vote before white women did, and that very issue led to a heated debate over universal suffrage in the Fourteenth Amendment, which was written to include black men, but exclude women. Suffragists were told in Fredrick Douglass’ words, “This is the Negro’s hour.” To explain why that was the hour on the clock, Douglass brought out what would become the Victim Value Index.
“When women because they are women are dragged from their houses and hung upon lamp-posts… then they will have the urgency to obtain the ballot equal to our own,” Douglass sneered. Women had been dragged out of their homes and subjected to horrors because they were women for far longer than the brief few centuries of African slavery in America, but Douglass’ real point was, “My suffering beats your suffering, so my rights beat your rights.” In contemporary progressivism this is expressed in the sneering “White Women’s Tears” meme.
Suffering is the central ideological component of the Victim Value Index. “He Who Suffers Most Wins.” But suffering, as in the Douglass debate, is relative. Ego means that people feel their own pain first. And even when they feel someone else’s pain more than that of their own group, this is a personal egotistical identification, a selective empathy that derives from their own background and psychological makeup.
Historical suffering transmuted into guilt is the gold standard of liberalism, but suffering is relative. In our wonderful multi-everything society, there are so many groups with so many claims to pain. Everyone agrees that the Heteronormative Caucasian Patriarchy of Doom is to blame for all of it, but that still leaves the question of dividing up the spoils of the system and all the privileges to be gained from denouncing privilege. A caste system doesn’t work without priority, and calculating the priority of privilege claims by the perpetually underprivileged is complicated.