Friday, August 10, 2012

Dan Greenfield and the Victim Value Index

Mike L.

{Cross-posted at Geoffff's Joint, Bar and Grill and Pro-Israel Bay Bloggers.}

Among the top pro-Israel bloggers, there is no one quite like Daniel Greenfield. The guy is a balls-to-the-wall pro-Israel, pro-Jewish, pro-America opinionator who most would consider to be hard-line and right-wing. His blog, for those of you who may be unaware, is called Sultan Knish, but the guy is now published all over the place. The reason for this is because he's a brilliant analyst and a terrific writer.

He's got a piece up as of a few days ago entitled, "The Minority Victim Value Index," which represents a general criticism of the western progressive-left, if not a criticism of prevailing mainstream media assumptions, more generally.

He writes:

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.

Heteronormative Caucasian Patriarchy of Doom.

I'm sorry, but you just have to love that!

His thesis is that victim status, i.e., one's place on the Victim Value Index (VVI) is the "gold standard" of western progressivism and that there is a distinct hierarchy of privilege based around that status with Arab-Muslims at the front of the line. First come Arabs, then come black people, then come others. Jews are toward the very end of the line and white males bring up the rear.

Where a group is placed on the VVI, however, has precious little to do with historical injustice. By all rights native Americans should be at the top of the list, at least in the United States, but they are not. Anyone who follows western progressivism understands that there is, today, virtually no concern for the decimation (economic, social, or literal) of the native population. It's just not discussed very much, although, as Greenfield mentions, it is often used as a club against any creeping pride that Americans might take in our own country.

It is the Victim Value Index (VVI) that explains the progressive acceptance of Islamist violence against Jews and other dhimmis.

Anyone who is shocked that the left would make common cause with Islamists has forgotten the Black Panthers. From the left's point of view they are doing the same thing by bringing on board a group with some revolutionary energy and a willingness to overthrow the system. Associating with them gives the left some revolutionary cred and the supposed ability to turn the violence on and off.

This is absolutely correct. Anyone who knows anything about 1960s revolutionary activities in the United States knows that the political left championed Huey and the Panthers, not because the Black Panther Party represented liberal values, but because the Panthers were considered the vanguard of "the Movement" to overthrow the prevailing political-economic system.

On the left, today, that role is filled by radical Islam which is precisely why we saw western progressives join with Jihadis on the Mavi Marmara in an effort to confront Jews on the high seas.

September 11 and its aftermath is why Muslims have gone to the top of the Victim Value Index. The left may swear up and down that they are interested in Muslim civil rights, but if the Muslims were Sikhs, they would merit a place somewhere in the back. Before Muslims began prominently blowing things up in the United States, the left barely paid any attention to them. Once they did, they began outweighing every other group in the country because killing 3,000 people is the gold standard of revolutionary mayhem.

One of the differences that I have with Greenfield is that I do not believe that it was "Muslims" who "began prominently blowing things up," but radical Jihadis who did so. I still believe that it is important to highlight the distinction. Most Muslims are not particularly in the Jew Killing Business. We need to reserve that category for groups like Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Nonetheless, Greenfield is absolutely correct when he points to 9/11 as the reason why Muslims go to the front of the line on the Victim Value Index. After 9/11 there was a much ballyhooed, but non-existent, backlash against Muslims in the United States. The feeling on the left was that Muslims were being unustly persecuted because of 9/11. I, myself, stood up in front of students and told them not to blame Muslims for what happened on that day. The fact of the matter, however, according to crime statistics, is that Jews are something like ten times more likely to be victims of racially motivated crimes and that Muslims, themselves, tend to be the biggest perpetrators of hate crimes against Jews, both here and in Europe.

Latinos are still somewhere in the middle. Native Americans are in the back along with most unclassified minorities. Homosexuals are somewhere near the front, but behind African-Americans. Their status tends to drift wildly depending on current events, but they cannot overtake African-Americans or fall behind Latinos. Not unless some drastic events take place that change their status. Women are, and have always been, in the back.

Women are toward the rear.

I have to say, it's a shame about feminism. Women's issues are almost never at the forefront of progressive-left concerns these days. There was a brief moment in the early-mid 1970s when feminism seemed to be making some headway, and then an even briefer moment in the middle of the 1980s, but once the feminists, themselves, sought to reconcile feminism with radical Islam the movement just died. This is because Sharia and feminism are entirely irreconcilable. Once I started hearing western progressive women telling me that the burka was "liberating," I knew it was all over.

The practical value of the Victim Value Index is that it mediates internal conflicts. For example, a bias attack by a member of a high-value group on a member of a low-value group is much less likely to be treated as a hate crime. However, an ordinary attack by a member of a low-value group on a member of a high-value group is more likely to be treated as a bias attack even when it isn't.

For Jewish people this gets directly to the point.

If on Greenfield's Victim Value Index (VVI) Muslims are at the head of the line and white men bring up the rear, Jews are barely in front of white men. Women are toward the rear and Jews are behind women in this progressive hierarchy of who counts and who doesn't.

If you want to understand just why it is that progressives tend not to care about radical Jihadi genocidal intention toward Jews, Greenfield's Index is a helpful model for analysis. On the arbitrary progressive-left hierarchy of victim status, we simply don't count. We are viewed as privileged white people and, therefore, victimizers.

If you wish to participate in the progressive movement as a Jew then you must accept your role as the enemy. That is, unless you are willing to lay blame at the feet of your Jewish brothers and sisters in Israel for the Arab persecution of Jews, then you are not considered a "good" Jew among progressives.

And this is why "good" Jews like Peter Beinart blames his fellow Jews for their own persecution. He honestly believes that Israeli Jews are the victimizers of the poor, innocent Palestinians, when the opposite is the truth.

It's not historically accurate, but it is the way that we were raised. It's embedded in the political culture that western Jews tended to grow up in. What I think is that it is long past time to rethink these assumptions, particularly given the fact that the Jews of the Middle East are only now emerging from 14 centuries of persecution under the boot of Islamic imperialism.

We do not need to be at the front of the line of anyone's hierarchy of victim status, but we definitely need to stop blaming ourselves for Islamic or Palestinian or Arab hatred toward us. The problem, once again, is not the fact that Jews live and build housing for themselves in Judea and Samaria, but that racist western progressives, like Barack Obama, believe it is.


  1. For a certain brand of 'progressives,' however, they are actually the #1 victims first and foremost. If you'd like to see an example of this, watch (or find online) an argument between those who advocate for Democrats and those who dare say out loud they might consider not voting for same in any given election.

    Watch how quickly a certain brand of very comfortable white male 'progressive' turns himself into the greatest victim in the history of the world. I once witnessed such an 'argument,' not long ago, where Random Very Comfortable White Male Progressive (who loves to call others racist, despite the fact that he himself refuses to live anywhere even in the vicinity of a non-white person) even, literally, accused the other person of threatening his children.

    Now I'm not weighing in one way or the other on that particular argument, myself, but I do find it quite interesting how viciously intolerant certain progressives can be of even their very own friends, when those friends are considered to even slightly threaten their privilege.

    I guess this was all just a round-about way to say hypocrisy plays a giant role in their psyche, too.

    1. Jay,

      I see that you dropped in to the argument at DivestThis.

      How anyone can deny that BDS is a movement with a home on the western left is fairly astonishing.

      How could it possibly not be more obvious?

      Fizziks is one of those highly intelligent individuals who, yet, can't see past his nose.

    2. Of course I stopped in there! I was gone all weekend, up in North Jersey with my daughter and family, otherwise I would have been in there from Friday...

      Just got back home a couple hours ago.

      Watching my shows right now (Breaking Bad and Political Animals), so I'll be back with more in about an hour. But for now, I'll just note that fizziks has more integrity in just one of his fingernails than a certain other 'friend' of ours has in his entire body, so let's keep that in mind.


      More in a bit....

    3. Well damn, now it's getting really nasty there.

      I hate that shit, although I suppose I can share some of the blame for blog nastiness, like for instance when I note how amusing it is when volleyballboy, the guy who refuses to live near non-white people, and his little eunuch sidekick, have 'conversations' like this -

      "When certain folks accuse ANYONE of being a racist . . . well . . . I just gotta laugh."

      Indeed. Certain folks project so much, they can singlehandedly revive the drive-in movie theater business in America. But that's neither here nor there. Nobody takes either of those two stooges seriously.

      Ah, but anyway. I digress.

      Points -

      1. There is no question BDS comes out of the left these days. Regardless of whether or not those of us on the left consider them a part of us, the fact is that they claim the mantle of the Left, and they're unfortunately our problem to deal with. So that we must.

      2. BDS is not a Democratic (as in the political party) political movement. Fortunately. As useless as most of the party can be these days, at least they're not providing cover for those assholes.

  2. I agree that BDS is not fundamental to the Democratic Party. It is, however, found on the grassroots / netroots of that political party.

    1. I won't dispute that in general, although I will also note that fizziks is correct when he states that a considerable number of BDSers at places like Daily Kos aren't necessarily Democrats, either. People like BigAlinWashingtonState, or whatever his name there is, and david mizner, just to name two of the more prominent BDS-loving antisemitic 'anti-Zionists,' are out and out Ron Paul supporters. Many others, like Sandra Tamari and unspeakable and sortalikenathan, have expressed their admiration for genocidal terrorist organizations numerous times, but have not spent much, if any, time actually advocating for the election of Democrats.

      They're undoubtedly of the Left, but I don't think they're *all* necessarily the Democratic grassroots.

    2. I agree, but it must be noted that they are using what is, essentially, a Democratic party venue to get their message out.

      Fizziks is just refusing to honestly face what is an uncomfortable political truth for him.

      I don't think that he's a bad guy. I just think that he's used to thinking on the topic in a manner provided for him by progressive-left ideologues who tend to blame the Jewish minority in the Middle East for their own persecution.

      This is why they tend to focus on the settlers as the core of the problem, rather the actual core which is Arab-Muslim intransigence and which is why they can never really bring themselves to discuss the fact that anti-Semitic anti-Zionism is growing out of their own political movement.

      It's because they are partisan ideologues.

    3. Just a brief point to follow up - I'll also note that to claim BDSers, who call themselves progressives, 'are not progressives' is just wrong.

      It's like those who claim that Fred Phelps isn't a Christian. Yes, he is. It's possible to be part of a movement, a group or an ideology, and also to be an asshole. Just like it's possible to be a plumber and an asshole, or to be a Philadelphia Eagle and an asshole, or to be a poet and an asshole, or to be a Buddhist and an asshole, or to be a farmer and an asshole, etc etc.

      Every group of people in the world contains assholes amongst it. That's just an obvious fact of the human condition. The progressive left is certainly not immune to this, either. It's not a negative reflection upon all those in any given group or organization for someone to point out that "hey, youze guys have some assholes in your group." I realize that, and I take no offense at those who point out that the BDSers are, unfortunately, a part of my political movement. I'm not pissed at you, I'm pissed at them!

    4. The way that I sometimes used to describe it is that the Democratic Party house has many rooms. One room says "feminism" on the door. One room has "economic justice" on the door and so forth. But one room has "Arab-Israel Conflict" on the door and within that room are various types, including anti-Semitic anti-Zionists.

      That they reside in the Democratic Party house, however, should not be in question, because it is obviously the case.

      To deny that is to deny what is before your very eyes.

    5. I'd like to prop a chair up in front of that door, and lock it from the hallway... ;)

    6. Oh, after all the non antisemitic anti-Zionists make it back out into the hallway, of course. Heh.

    7. Well, yeah. Sorry if I was unclear. I meant the words to be taken together as one phrase - "antisemitic anti-Zionists."

    8. The "non" referring to those who are not... antisemitic anti-Zionists. Okay, I may need to stop typing now. It's Monday and my head is a little foggy. Clearly...

    9. JayinPhiladelphia,

      Oh, okay. :) I think that I understand what you meant. And I understand that you are expressing that you understand that "Anti-Zionism" is anti-Jewish racism / anti-Jewish bigotry.

      And, when I wrote what I wrote in my reply comment to your comment, I was thinking about the phrase "antisemitic anti-Zionists" in its having been used by Mike, and I thought that you probably meant to express the fact that "Anti-Zionism" is anti-Jewish racism / anti-Jewish bigotry. I was just trying to clarify the fact that "Anti-Zionism" is anti-Jewish racism / anti-Jewish bigotry.

  3. Replies
    1. Hi. I do not know who you are, or what it is that you do not understand, but thank you for reminding me of this piece. August 2012, huh? How did you dig this one up? Please let us know if your cognitive functioning improves because then you might have something more interesting to say then "Huh?"