I’ve discussed many times how Progressives use guilt and Weaponized Empathy to shame people into supporting their agendas. How does this find purchase in the minds of normies, however? The answer to that is found in one of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals:
4. “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules.
Buried in this rule is an implicit assumption: every rule must be obeyed perfectly and completely. If a person fails to live up to the rule, he is shamed and made to feel guilty for his failure. As Alinsky tells us, no rule can be obeyed to this level.
Growing up, I had an evil stepmother who shall serve as a good example of how this behavior works. Yes, yes, cliche, but I learned a lot from the experience. She was fond of pronouncing rules like “if you see a mess, clean it up!” That rule sounds reasonable enough, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it contains no upper bound, no condition, upon which, I may consider my duty satisfied. This gave her carte blanche to find fault in everything I did. If I walked past an errant dog hair on the carpet, I technically violated the rule. I saw a mess, I failed to clean up. Therefore, she was justified in punishing me. If I did not see the supposed mess, I was still guilty, because my failure could only be due to either negligence or dishonesty. If I cleaned up a room, invariably I would miss a spot, or fail to eliminate a streak, or some other such thing, and that was deemed evidence of laziness.
The end result of the “if you see a mess, clean it up” rule was that I had two options: be cleaning at all waking hours of the day or accept constant punishment and abuse. The purpose of the rule and the strict interpretation thereof, of course, was merely to provide an excuse for the abuse, an excuse for her to have additional power over me. However, if challenged by my father, she could always escape by saying that I violated the rule.
Progressives use this tactic on a much larger scale. In America, we have largely eliminated the sort of poverty you find in a Charles Dickens book, or in the Third World. Exceptions exist, of course. They do not change the rule. The major mess, so to speak, has been thoroughly cleaned up. Yet some people have much less than others. There are still spots in the room, hairs in the carpet in places. It’s not perfect. This is deemed evidence of racism, sexism, x-phobia, bigotry, hatred, or a just plain greed. That absolute equality is, like absolute cleanliness, an impossibility actually serves the Progressives.
In a debate, the Progressive can always escape by saying that we violated the rule. The implicit rule, of course, is that “if you see poverty, make it go away.” Or, put more generally, “if you see x-ism, clean it up!” Again, it can be made to sound perfectly reasonable to those not attuned to what it really means, and yet it results in a choice of either serving the Progressive agenda at all times, or being punished and abused by the long arm of Progressive media and social justice mobs.
Over the years, many have been converted into the service of social justice and Leftism by such guilt and shaming tactics. This includes many on the nominal Right who, even if they still proclaim the virtues of limited government, military service, and self-reliance, have implicitly accepted the Left’s rules for how the game is played. Watch a debate on social media, and you will see the Rightist claiming that Capitalism serves to elevate more poor than Socialism. Completely true, but like telling my stepmother the bathroom was cleaned, the Progressive will invariably find a spot, and declare the whole thing to be a failure. You didn’t eliminate poverty, you see. Therefore you failed. Therefore you need to be punished (usually by social shaming, but sometimes mobbing, threats to your job, etc…). Unless, of course, you accept Progressivism as your Lord and Savior, and work to advance its agenda at all times.
Always be cleaning. Always be practicing activism. The parallels between a wicked stepmother and Leftist thought is utterly disturbing, at times.
If there is anything I regret from my childhood, it was not punching the manipulative little tart in the face. If anyone I’ve ever known deserved it, it was her. But there again, she would hide behind her gender. Sure, she could chase me around the house with a knife and threaten to stick me with it, but if I even raised my voice at her… I was an evil woman-beater in training.
Even in this, Progressivism is similar. They will justify violence, assault, property destruction – even violent, murderous revolution. They are fond of catchphrases like ‘speech is violence’ to justify themselves. If you have the temerity to even publicly dispute this – with words, no more – you, naturally, are Hitler-incarnate. The purpose behind all of this is just power. Nothing more. They want it, using guilt as a political pry bar has worked for them for many years (Trump’s election was a sign that the tactic may be weakening from overuse, however), and so they will continue to do it until someone pops them in the mouth.
They’ve set the rules and standards for long enough. They set them maliciously, to entrap their political opponents in an endless guilt-shame cycle. This gains them some converts, and weakens the resolve of those who continue to fight through a constant wearing down process of media and social bombardment. This is what must change if are to free ourselves of them.
That, and like my stepmother, if anyone in history deserves a metaphorical (or perhaps literal) punch to the face, it is these cretinous, manipulative asswipes.