The Left's eternal search for victim status
There's money, status and righteous indigination on offer, if only you can get "victim status". The Left is at it non-stop, but this latest attempt to have atheists effectively defined as a persecuted minority is preposterous
Ever since the late 1960s when the ideological Left realised the game was up for traditional Marxism, the move towards what we now sometimes call "cultural Marxism" effected a dramatic shift in the way even moderate Leftists prosecute their case for societal change.
As capitalism acquired the status of the patient that refused to die, the proletariat -- always a bit too rough round the edges for the pampered champagne socialists of London's Hampstead or Manhattan's modern-day East Village -- needed a replacement as a vehicle of protest.
Cultural Marxism offered a way out with ethnic and religious minorities at home, and with "anti-imperialist" movements across the world. Sometimes, the groups in question really were victims, sometimes their victimhood was imagined, invented or exaggerated to suit a particular cause.
But it was often a clever, if cynical, ploy because if the Left said it was acting -- usually by calling for something to be banned or demanding state funding for a new government programme -- in the name of anti-racism, for example, you could hardly deny that racism was real or that there were real groups of people out there who had suffered because of it.
The trouble is that partly because societies move on, and partly because people just get bored of hearing the same old thing over and over again, you have to keep bringing new victims, real or imagined, onto the scene to keep the momentum going.
Enter Zoe Williams over at the Guardian, with a passionate plea today on behalf of the West's "oppressed" atheists, made in the following terms:
"This systematic civic exclusion, I think, has rather shallow roots – not in a prejudice against the faithless, but in the loam of human politeness, where groups are accorded attention, respect and sensitivity in proportion to how much they will complain if they don't get it. Something to think about, heathens: maybe we are simply not complaining enough."
Oh, for goodness sake. No-one's excluding atheists from anything, not in the West at least. The worst that's going to happen to them is that they might hear the odd church bell ringing -- though less and less frequently -- or they might be invited to a wedding at a Church, a Synagogue or a Mosque.
Heavens, if you'll pardon the expression, if they're in the UK they might switch on their TV set late on a Sunday afternoon only to be confronted with Songs of Praise on the BBC. That's not everybody's brand of vodka, of course. But it's not exactly like being interrogated by the Gestapo is it?
Perhaps Ms Williams was just bored, and couldn't think of anything else to write. Or maybe this is the beginning of the next big thing: hundreds of thousands thronging the streets in protest; Molotov cocktails readied for the attack; student sit-ins across the West. "A spectre is haunting Europe..."
Or maybe it's just as preposterous as it looks.
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