Make me, make me your victim,
Resistance is only a symptom. . .
You are so guilty, so
Make me your victim.
Make me, make me your victim,
My ‘guilt’ is just a crude fiction. . .
You’ve treated me poor
I will even the score
Can’t you see I’m a victim?”
Parody of Barbara Lewis, “Make Me your Baby,” 1965
Extortion, by definition: the practice of obtaining something valuable, such as money, from a person by the use of threats.
Let’s begin with extortion in its crudest, most elemental form: a physical threat to get something you want, like cash or other objects of material value. “Give me your wallet or I’ll knock your teeth out” — direct, easy to understand, transactional. I get your wallet with your bills and credit cards, you keep only part of what you started out with, your teeth. Obviously, a better deal for me.
Now, let’s move up a slight notch in criminal sophistication to what I would call a “reputational” threat against someone. “Give me five thousand dollars or I’ll show your wife and daughter the photos I have of you in the sack with your secretary last year.” No physical threat, but in exchange for the five grand I didn’t have to work very hard for, you hang on (at least for a while) to what you already had: your good reputation and the affection of your wife and daughter.
These examples are of individuals at work, but “give me or else” also works well as a group exercise — protection rackets, for example. You make regular monthly payments to some churlish local gangster who in exchange does not let any of his associates burn down your family store. Again, a nice, easy deal for him and his partners; for you, one more business expense, one you cannot even write off.
Some political regimes are extortion machines. The Castro brothers were a splendid example. In 1959, they chased Fulgencio Batista out of the Presidential palace in Havana and off the island. Then they proceeded to murder, imprison and exile anyone whose Leninist bona fides were suspect, some of whom had fought with them, helped to bring Batista down.They were naïve enough to believe Fidel’s deceitful promise of democracy and free elections. Firmly in power, here’s what Fidel and Raúl offered the Cuban people:
“Pretend you love the Maximum Lider and the socialist paradise he is building for you. Don’t even think about criticizing the regime or mounting political opposition or openly practice your religious beliefs and ideals, and be ready to squeal on your friends and neighbors if they seem less than enthusiastic. In exchange: for you, no firing squad, forced labor camps, re-education centers, or social ostracism. You may get to keep your crappy, low-paying job with no future, can go to the local clinic for free when you get sick, oh, and eat rice and beans every day, sold to you cheap by the Party that loves you. Viva la Revolución! y Por siempre Che.”
Let’s, however, continue with an astonishingly brazen extortionist system right here in the land of the free and home of the brave that goes by the euphemism “identity politics.” The extortionists who run this system tend to be perched high up in our governing and cultural institutions — they appear to own the universities; they scribble their “opinions” for the propaganda organs like the New York Times and the Washington Post. The ruling class, you would not be far off to say, has turned into a criminal class.
Identity politics, no matter what the latest and greatest version you confront, moves reductively to a fundamental premise. In its crudest form: “the members of your tribe have been mean to the members of my tribe. All the disparities in social positioning, economic achievement, and individual success that mark my tribe are the doing of your tribe. Therefore, your tribe owes my tribe!” This is guilt-leveraging moral extortion completely divorced from historical, empirical reality, one turbo-charged with stratospheric levels of high dudgeon.
Karl Marx is the father of moral extortion, a system that endowed the extortionists with what Bertrand Russell called “the superior virtue of the oppressed,” and thus, exemption from the rules that bind the marks, rules that proscribe lying, cheating, and the use of violence. Marx’s reductivist theorizing was stated in its most turgid form at the beginning of the Communist Manifesto, written in 1848. “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.”
One can see why it caught on so quickly. For the romantics at heart, there is something wildly exciting and extremely appealing with this original formulation. It is simple, rich with drama and the promise of violence and the potential for sweeping change, for the “moral solution” we know as “Revolution.” Just like Fidel and Che, you grow a beard, pick up a gun, and take on the old, corrupt power structure. It is particularly appealing to young people perpetually out of sorts because the world does not seem to be the perfectly fair, peaceful, and harmonious place they think it should be.
Not surprising, then, that Marx’s theoretical ghost continues to haunt us all in ways now that even he could never have imagined.
For today’s Marxists, “class struggle” (the workers versus the capitalists) has long since failed to capture the multiplicity of domination and oppression that is the real picture of a predatory world populated by the have/have-nots. The “oppressor” tribe is now a race, not a class, and its meanness must now be measured in “micro” units, “micro-aggressions” as we have come to know them, and imagined affronts of insensitivity. On behalf of the historically exploited have-nots, professionally trained “diversity” specialists are employed to demonstrate that “the haves” are utterly undeserving of what they have. Remember our “Diversity Commander and Chief,” Obama? “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
Think of it as an adult version of small children screaming “it’s not fair” at each other.
The have-nots rally themselves and dominate the “it’s not fair” game with the use of — what cultural anthropologists of the future will decipher as — a primitive dialect of mumbo-jumbo used to cast a spell over the haves that induces spasms of self-flagellation and cringing submission. This ritualistic argot is composed of vague abstractions, “isms” and “phobias”. “Racism” — “vicious whites, noble blacks” — remains the Ur-incantation, the model for the derivatives “sexism,” “homophobia,” Islamophobia,” etc. Every victim group acquires and refines its vocabulary of grievances, learns how to do the chanting — “Mau-mauing,” as Tom Wolfe called it — then goes about demanding redress: moral extortion on steroids.
And so “the history of all hitherto society,” yes, Karl, is still all about “struggle,” but it is far more complicated, persistent, and extensive than you ever imagined. Your followers, though, have risen to meet the challenge. They have given us “diversity training,” “struggle sessions” as experienced by white people. You should be proud.
The world of “identity politics” is made up exclusively of victims and victimizers, and in this world, the victims call the shots. Critical race theory “expert,” Ibram Xolani Kendi (born Ibram Henry Rogers) puts it this way: “There’s no such thing as a ‘not racist’ or ‘race neutral’ policy,” which translates into the ultimate “gotcha” for white people: To say “I am not a racist” means “I am a racist.” To put it crudely: “No matter what you say, Whitey, you’re a racist.”
Now that we know where we stand, the next step in the “struggle” is one that completes the “moral” nature of the narrative — the “good guys” are finally in charge. As Marx put it technically, “The expropriators are expropriated.”
We are now armpit deep in the “expropriation” phase of identity politics which is where the professional expropriators (extortionists) step in and turn up the heat. They have sold the scam, the bogus, collectivist fable that everyone belongs to a victim community or an oppressor group. Convincing the victims of their victimhood is, comparatively, the easy part. It pays to be a victim. Reparations anyone? The challenge is to make the “oppressor” submit to the blackmail. Shaming is how it currently works.
“White privilege” is the shaming ritual of choice, a recent invention of racial-extortion agitprop that is now making its way into the schools, universities, and workplaces.
White skin privilege is not something that white people necessarily do, create or enjoy on purpose. [We just can’t help it, which means that even good-whites are bad-whites.] Unlike the more overt individual and institutional manifestations of racism described above, white skin privilege is a transparent preference for whiteness that saturates our society [the way “phlogiston” saturated all flammable materials]. White skin privilege serves several functions. First, it provides white people with “perks” that we [self-shaming alert!] do not earn and that people of color do not enjoy [Except for “Native American” Elizabeth Warren who gets to be a Harvard law professor]. Second, it creates real advantages for us [like being an unemployed coal miner in West Virginia or a white cop gunned down by a BLM thug]. White people are immune to a lot of challenges [except for how to apologize convincingly to black people]. Finally, white privilege shapes the world in which we live [making the exoneration of black shortcomings] — the way that we navigate and interact with one another and with the world. [My italics]
Convinced? Ready to relinquish those “perks” and “advantages” you don’t deserve and didn’t earn and once mistakenly believed had nothing to do with that “whiteness” you’ve been flaunting around since Mom pushed you out into the hands of the nurses? The point is, once I believe that all the folks in my tribe have been permanently injured, and you are convinced that your tribe has done it, then the “squeeze” is set up, and the “marks” are primed for the plucking. Into the room strolls some “diversity” apparatchik waving a copy of Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility — it’s payback time, muchachos! It is time to extract (extort) the goods from white America with the leverage of that mumbo-jumbo guilt word, “racism.”
It is a powerful word intended to reduce the accused to fecal incontinence. “Please, really, I am not a racist. I swear to God! What can I do to convince you?” Something tells me that this is not a strong bargaining position. Here then is the deal they offer: “do what we want and someday you may be forgiven for the sin of racism.” It sounds like extortion to me. Please understand that “someday” is a very long way away and only they get to say when. What do they want? Here is how it works:
There is an old saying that the victors of war get to write the history of the world. White privilege works this way, too. Since white folks have been in control for so long, we have determined what is valuable or interesting or useful in terms of education. Greek and Roman mythology, Chaucer, and other canonized works have been selected and revered through the ages as critical components of any “solid liberal arts education.”
Nothing subtle here. It’s all about power — “white folks have been in control for so long. . .” There is no win-win, only winners and losers.
This, obviously, was written by a lobotomized white person who has surrendered himself to the extortionists. In his pathetic world, there are only victims and victimizers. Chocking on his guilt as a victimizer, he must now become a victim. “I plead guilty: as the oppressor, my mind and heart and my power of whiteness now belong to you, you who have been my victims. Please . . . make me your victim!”
Slavery has been dead for 160 years. Jim Crow and forced segregation are sixty years past. But for extortion theorists like Ibram Xolani Kendi, they are timeless, permanent levers of guilt. Here is how President Obama, Mr. Eloquence, himself, formulated this feature of permanence:
What is also true is that the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, discrimination is in almost every institution of our lives — you know, that casts a long shadow. And that’s still part of our DNA that’s passed on. We’re not cured of it.
Not much eloquence in this. Yes, “you [we] know,” the “cure” will be someday, but not for a very long time. “We shall overcome,” but let’s not rush it because the payoffs will stop, and there will be, you know, higher expectations.
Obama was not talking about “discrimination” and “slavery” when he was running for President. Remember this gem from the speech that launched his national career at the Democratic Convention in 2004? “There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America — there’s the United States of America.” I guess he didn’t learn about DNA until later.
What happened? The community organizer was plotting to be President. He needed white votes. Many, if not most, white voters would not be thrilled with a President preoccupied with racial grievances, a President who wanted to keep them on the hook for what some or even none of their ancestors had done one hundred and fifty years ago, a President who talked like every white police officer woke up every morning hoping for the chance to kill a black kid. Openly extortionist campaigners don’t make good Presidential candidates.
Once in office, the fake “make nice” routine dropped away, and his “we’re all in it together” shtick turned into the racism “that’s still part of our DNA that’s passed on.” This “racial healer” began to look more and more like Robert Mugabe. The candidate who was going to help us “transcend” the racial divide became the President who was close to and consulted regularly with Al Sharpton, one of the most scurrilous, lying, bottom-feeding, shakedown artists to be found anywhere under a rock. Obama’s legacy: George Floyd and the legal lynching of white cops; BLM thugs unleashed by corrupt white politicians to riot, loot, assault, and murder.
Identity politics and its extortionist methods work because the ideological snake oil of collective victimhood and guilt has been ceaselessly peddled for so long by the cultural Marxists and has now so penetrated deeply into American meta-politics that resistance to it is a very steep climb. The hysterical, mass-slander carried out by the mainstream media against Trump and, now, Biden’s Checkist agents hunting down White Nationalists signals the coming endgame for traditional American politics.
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