Toward the end of Animal Farm when the formerly revolutionary seven commandments have been rewritten to "All Animals are Equal... But Some Animals are More Equal than Others", what began with the promise of equality has reverted to an authoritarian caste system. America's civil rights revolution similarly began with, "All Americans are Equal" and ended up with, "All Americans are Equal... But Some Americans are More Equal than Others."
It's not a new question. Black men got the vote before white women did, and that very issue led to a heated debate over universal suffrage in the Fourteenth Amendment, which was written to include black men, but exclude women. Suffragists were told in Fredrick Douglass' words, "This is the Negro's hour." To explain why that was the hour on the clock, Douglass brought out what would become the Victim Value Index.
"When women because they are women are dragged from their houses and hung upon lamp-posts... then they will have the urgency to obtain the ballot equal to our own," Douglass sneered. Women had been dragged out of their homes and subjected to horrors because they were women for far longer than the brief few centuries of African slavery in America, but Douglass' real point was, "My suffering beats your suffering, so my rights beat your rights." In contemporary progressivism this is expressed in the sneering "White Women's Tears" meme.
Suffering is the central ideological component of the Victim Value Index. "He Who Suffers Most Wins." But suffering, as in the Douglass debate, is relative. Ego means that people feel their own pain first. And even when they feel someone else's pain more than that of their own group, this is a personal egotistical identification, a selective empathy that derives from their own background and psychological makeup.
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.
Without the Victim Value Index, understanding how these priorities work can be confusing, even for liberals. It's particularly confusing for conservatives and libertarians who don't understand the system and dismiss it as liberal insanity. It is insane, the way all cultural taboos are, but there is a method to the madness.
The first thing to understand is the dirty little secret of the Victim Value Index. While loud vocal assertions of suffering are very important, the substance of such suffering is unimportant when moving up the ladder of the Victim Value Index.
If historical justice for suffering were the barometer, American Indians would be at the head of the line. While conceptually they are, progressives respond to praises of America by bringing them up, in practice they are somewhere near the back end of the middle. The group currently at the head of the line, Muslims, have the least claim on historical justice, but are at the center of civil rights activism.
The Victim Value Index is calculated based on one overriding factor: Disruptiveness. Those who are most disruptive go to the head of the line. This can be mistaken for a "Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease" phenomenon, and occasionally in the micro it is, but in the macro it goes to the question of why progressives value minorities and for what purpose.
To be a progressive is to be committed to perpetual reform in the name of perpetual grievance for perpetual power. Grievance is to their government feudalism what the Divine Right of Kings was to feudal rulers. It justifies their right to agitate and undermine, to seize power by any means necessary and to implement their programs legally or extra-legally.
Reformers need their bleeding sores, their cries of outrage and their muck to rake. Those who give them that often go to the head of the line acting as their secular clergy, blessing their rule and anointing them as the protectors of their faith in hope and change. But that's just part of it.
Progressivism is a revolution in slow motion, and revolutions need revolutionaries. Disruption is more than just grievance, it's violence. Those who are willing to ruthlessly attack the status quo clearing the ground for revolution are the ones who go to the head of the line and the dais of honor on top. A little murder and mayhem, and progressives will trot out "moderate" versions of the murderers and mayhemists, usually linked to them, and offer to represent them and tamp down the violence in exchange for meeting their demands.
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.
If you think that's farfetched, what do you think happened in 2008 when a completely inept hack blew through Hillary Clinton and John McCain on a pledge to end the wars and repair our relations with the Muslim world? Why exactly do you think the Democrats chose a man with no experience except a few books about growing up in a Muslim country and Hussein as his middle name? Why was that man then awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for no discernible accomplishment?
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.
The Victim Value Index places the most disruptive groups at the front, the somewhat disruptive groups in the middle and the least disruptive groups at the back. The status of groups within the Index can change with their behavior. Muslims used to be shelved in the back with Asians, Indians and Jews. The War on Terror dramatically upgraded their status. The other groups are stuck there because they are relatively successful and aren't rioting or blowing things up.
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.
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.
High VVI status carries with it the caste privilege of assumed persecution. A high-status VVI can blame a great many things on persecution. This is more difficult to do for a lower-status VVI. A claim of discrimination by a low-status VVI is more likely to be mocked than a similar claim by a high-status VVI, and is less likely to lead to politically correct reprisals. Jokes relying on bias and stereotypes can be made with greater freedom about low-status VVI's than about high-status VVI's.
White men have the lowest VVI status imaginable, and are fair game for racist jokes and bias attacks, but Asians, who have a fairly low VVI status, are also fair game. VVI status is group based but can be forfeited by an individual who engages in counterrevolutionary behavior, thereby forfeiting a status awarded to his group for its revolutionary disruptiveness. Any minority group member who aligns with conservatives is immediately assigned the same VVI status as a white male. A low-status VVI who offends a high-status VVI group may be treated the same way.
This is more than just a guide on how to safely be politically incorrect, it's a map of the caste system under which we live. The caste system determines what jobs we get, what things we can say and what is expected of us in everything from job performance to conspicuous displays of social justice. It is how we live now, and it is vitally important to understand that it really is this way in every place that falls under the shadow of government mandates and the progressive Kulturkampf against equality.
In the grip of the left, we have become a culture that rewards destruction and disruption, that feeds the worst behaviors and then blames their repetition on society's failings, rather than their own calculated tactical assault on the country. We can be a country where all Americans are equal or we can be a country where all Americans are equal... but some Americans are more equal than others in the name of remedying inequality.