Iron Mike – Gruntworks Contributing Blogger
Our society these days seems to alternate between two radically different, but not-unrelated opposites after every national tragedy. The first is a class of people who wish to be victims, and the second (and thank god far less numerous) is a class of people who wish to create victims for their own selfish reasons. These opposite forces both feed off of one another in a political fashion. One side wishes for there to be many victims in order to advance its agenda, while the other will selfishly create victims in order to advance their own personal notoriety. To understand what I mean, I have to first provide a little context. Here’s a short history lesson.
Around the 4th Century BC (356 BC to be exact) there stood an architectural masterpiece in the ancient Greek city of Ephesus (Today this city is known as Selçuk, Turkey). This building was known as the Temple of Artemis, and it was considered one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World. Magnificent carvings of scenes from Greek Mythology, gilded trimmings, and 40-foot marble pillars that took 10 years to build adorned its halls. A temple had stood at this location since the Bronze Age and this temple was constructed after the first one had been destroyed in a flood. It had been commissioned to be rebuilt by the King Croesus of the Greek city of Lydia to be one of the grandest temples in the entire world. It was filled with expensive incense, priceless works of art, and immense tapestries depicting Artemis (the Greek Goddess of the Moon and Hunting).
One night, a low-born man, a nobody – named Herostratus burned the temple to the ground and destroyed everything. What was most unusual was, he did not try to flee or to hide his crime. He laughed as the king’s guards captured him and he confessed to everything (they tortured him on the rack anyway).
The reason this lowly man had committed this horrible act was because he wanted the world to remember his name – that was it.
He wanted to be remembered, and if the only way to do that was to commit a horrible crime, then he was willing to do so. He was summarily executed, buried in an unmarked grave, and all record of his life was to be stricken from memory. In response to his desire for notoriety, the King had decided he was to be condemned to ‘Damnatio Memoria’ (The Damned Memory) where every reference of his life was to be expunged from the records and even speaking his name became a crime punishable by death. It bears noting that despite all this effort to remove him from history… We still know the name ‘Herostratus’ 2400 years later.
Another important name we know from history also comes to us from the ancient Greek world: Peisistratus. Peisistratus was the son of an early Athenian politician name Hippocrates and had visions of his own political dynasty. While campaigning for his position as Tyrant (back then Tyrant was a word for a ruler – not a bad word for a despot) Peisistratus deliberately wounded himself while on the road between the small communities that made up the City-State of Athens where he gave speeches before the election. Now there are several variations to the story of what happened; some say he killed a farm animal and covered himself in its blood; some versions state that he stabbed himself and his mules; still other versions claim he hired ‘assassins’ to stage a mock attack on himself. Whatever the truth is one part of the story is consistent: when he arrived at his destination covered in blood, the people were so moved by his tales of victimhood that he was elected to the position he sought. Peisistratus had successfully used victimhood to his advantage to push his political agenda.
In today’s modern America there are those who are Herostratic – seeking to commit acts of seemingly irrational horror in order to advance some personal goal. Sometimes this goal is vengeance, or a desire for notoriety, or just pure hatred and a need to act out violent fantasies. Whatever their motivations, the Herostratic are out there and willing to put into action their plans for horrific violence (whether for vengeance or notoriety) to achieve their goals.
Opposite the Herostratic are the Peisistratic, those who relish victimhood for their own selfish ends. These people are almost always leftist and you hear from them near daily. They come out in force after every tragedy committed by the Herostratic – especially mass shootings. They come out to push their political ideals while the bodies of the victims are still warm. They use emotion and grandiloquence while metaphorically posing with the corpses of the deceased to proclaim the righteousness of their agenda; which for the political left usually means gun-control (Let’s be real, they mean Gun Confiscation and the abolition of the right to bear arms). From victims they derive power because they demand action while people’s judgement is clouded by emotion. Through what’s called the Action-bias (the bias that action is always better than inaction after an event) they hope to make sweeping and lasting changes before anyone turns around and starts asking questions about the morality and efficacy of those changes. Should Americans surrender their right to bear arms – one of the fundamental and unique freedoms afforded them – a right critical to the American Republic, because of a single horrific act? Or even 20 horrific acts? In the hours after a tragedy a lot of people are likely to say “yes” emphatically… but days later when data reveals that mass shootings account for only a tiny fraction of firearm homicides – and that firearm homicides are at historically low rates and declining, people are much less likely to support abolishing a critical component of the social contract between the US Citizenry and their government that is the 2nd Amendment.
The Peisistratic show up other places too. It seems as though being a victim has become a sort of political currency. Women eagerly march down the National Mall dressed like vaginas proclaiming how they are the “victims” of evil Republicans who won’t pay for their birth control and abortions with taxpayer money. The LGBT push the narrative that they are “victims” of evil Christians who don’t want to cater their gay wedding – and use this to leverage the state against bakeries, florists, and restaurants who will not surrender their freedom of religion, for LGBT financial gain under the guise of “anti-discrimination”. It seems like every day there is a new accusation of ‘Racism’ from an aggrieved ethnic minority activist over something, be it the trivial (white people wearing dreadlocks for example) or the significant (white cops shooting a multiple-felon with an illegal gun in his pocket). Victimhood is beneficial for the Peisistratic because it uses emotion to push their narrative. You cannot fight emotion with logic and reason, just ask any married man.
The ‘victimized’ masses are easily controlled because of their unwillingness or inability to think. They do not consider the consequences of their actions before acting. When activists demanded less police presence in Baltimore’s worst neighborhoods after the death of Freddy Grey, what followed was neighborhoods with obscene rates of violence and murder as street gangs filled the power void. Then the same “activists” who rioted over the death of a drug dealer got on TV again to demand the police come back. Both times, these afro-centric left-wing political activists charged the Baltimore police with the label of “racism”, first for being in their high-crime neighborhoods and then for leaving them alone (BPD is over 55% black and had a Black Chief, Mayor, and City Council at the time by the way). Other “activists” use emotional appeal to push for other changes that inevitably lead to more victims. Feminists oppose women’s self-defense classes because it “reinforces the narrative that women are responsible for their own rape” (They really believe that, I’m not joking). Gay rights activists complain about hate crimes, but are also vehemently anti-gun which makes them far more likely to be a victim of a hate crime or assault since they don’t carry and everyone knows it. In the wake of shootings in schools or theaters, we get more restrictive gun laws based on the emotional rhetoric of the Peisistratic left. It leads to more “gun-free zones”, less concealed carry permit holders, but most of all – it leads to more potential victims. Victims are the true goal of the Peisistratic politician, it’s why claims of racism are becoming ever more absurd – so more ethnic minorities support the politician or activist claiming they are victims. It is why Feminists go on crusades against a non-existent rape crisis on colleges – so that more women will perceive themselves as potential rape victims and support feminist causes. Peisistratic politics exists in order to claim to champion for victims, while also creating more victims. Victims which will be exploited in the next tragedy. Tragedies we cannot prevent because we cannot prevent evil people from existing in a free society.
So long as the Peisistratic politican is there to scream and hyperbolize the actions of the Herostratic as a call to action, the Herostratic will be emboldened to commit ever more heinous acts exploiting the weak and vulnerable; the weak and vulnerable who were created by the emotional policies of the Peisistratic. Emotional politics inevitably end in horrific failure and make future tragedies worse. Remember this after the next tragedy, and don’t ever let yourself be a victim.
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