The Power of Weakness

Modern liberals have distilled the true essence of Marxism, which is the idea that every human relationship is exploitative. Lenin summed it up as “who/whom”–who is doing what to whom?

Of course this idea is ridiculous. Most human relationships, whether personal or economic, are not exploitative. But Marx’s idea has a perennial appeal to the discontented, and is endlessly malleable to suit the neuroses of the day. Thus, modern Marxists have no interest in the purported oppression of the “proletariat.” Far from it! But the Marxist model can easily be made to fit other preoccupations.

That is the background to Elon Musk’s tweets of yesterday, which are getting a lot of attention:

Modern liberalism is all about who is oppressed, and weakness (or alleged weakness) is equated with oppression. Thus, women are oppressed because…hard to say why, these days. Blacks are oppressed because they go to jail more often than any other race and make less money, on average, than Asians, whites and Hispanics. Of course, whites are not oppressed because they make, on average, less money than Asians and less money than, for example, Nigerian-Americans and Ghanian-Americans. Which suggests that there is a political filter through which “oppression” is viewed.

To continue: “trans” people are oppressed, I guess because they are sad. And in foreign policy, “Palestinians”–I don’t think there is any consistent usage there–are oppressed because they are weak and generally pathetic. Since weakness of any sort, real or imagined, is equated with oppression, right-thinking liberals are on the side of women, blacks, “trans” people, “Palestinians,” or whoever, regardless of what the question is, and regardless of what the relevant facts might be. If you are a Marxist, everything is simple.

Elon’s point is correct: it is ridiculous to take the side of the “weak” regardless of the facts. As he says, through human history the more common assumption has been that one should take the side of the strong. I think that is still true in some (maybe most) cultures. Thus, we had Osama bin Laden, who will soon be a hero to liberals if he is not already, saying that people instinctively side with the “strong horse,” which he thought was al Qaeda rather than America. He was right as to his own culture, and probably as to others.

Elon made a mistake in his first tweet when he questioned whether “the oppressed are always the good guys.” That implicitly accepted the Left’s false assumption that the weak are always oppressed. It opened him up to responses like this one (this is from NotTheBee, by the way.)

No one deserves to be oppressed, but weak people and groups may deserve to be weak. In fact, they likely do deserve to be weak.

Thus, to take the instance that is most relevant at the moment, the Arabs who live in Gaza and the West Bank are weak despite being the beneficiaries of countless billions of dollars in aid from the West. They are weak because, despite that largesse, and despite the almost absurdly generous treatment they have been accorded by Israel–not Egypt or Jordan–they have the worst culture of any group of people in the world. Not only that, they have deliberately used weakness as a business plan, raking in billions in foreign aid by keeping people penned up for generations in “refugee camps,” while diverting as much money as possible to tunnels and weapons for terrorist attacks.

The same is true of some other “oppressed” groups. For example, American blacks are indeed arrested, prosecuted, and convicted of crimes in disproportionate numbers. That is entirely because they commit serious crimes in disproportionate numbers. So failure in life is not necessarily due to oppression or exploitation. In fact, it is rarely due to oppression or exploitation.

The truly oppressed these days are, for example, Nigerian Christians who are murdered, kidnapped and raped by Muslims; Uighers who are condemned to slavery by the Communist Party; Israelis who are murdered by “Palestinian” terrorists or forced to flee their homes by Hezbollah’s rockets; and, on a vastly smaller scale, conservative faculty members and Jewish students who are forced into literal or figurative hiding by campus liberals.

Marx was a bad man and a terrible scholar. What he was, was an irrational and hate-filled political activist. His 21st century adherents, whether they know it or not, are following in his footsteps.

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