You are a victim. Didn’t you know? Those loans you have aren’t your fault. You didn’t ask for them. Evil capitalists foisted them on you. They knew you wouldn’t be able to pay them back but they gave you that money just so they could take back the stuff you bought and keep the balance you’ve already paid. Then they’ll sell the stuff and loan the money to someone else who won’t be able to pay. So they keep getting the stuff back, plus the amount you paid, then sell the stuff and end up with more money. It’s not your fault. They tricked you. You are a victim of capitalist greed.
You are a victim. Didn’t you know? You’re a minority, a word which means you are less than others. The establishment takes advantage of you, as it has taken advantage of your ancestors down the years. Oh, they say they abolished slavery two hundred years ago, but look at you. You have nothing. It’s not your fault. Evil capitalists built an empire and ransacked your lands, and now they don’t like it when you come here and expect payback. Because payback is what it is. They owe you for what they did to those ancestors, hundreds of years ago. It’s not scrounging. It’s your due. You are not to blame. You are a victim of empire.
You are a victim. Didn’t you know? Being unemployed is not your fault. Those bosses only employ their friends. It’s all to do with going to the right schools, knowing the right people, the right handshake. They are never going to let you get a job. You came from the wrong side of the tracks. Now they want you to feel guilty about taking benefits but it’s their fault you have to ask for them, isn’t it? If they didn’t keep you down, you could better yourself but there’s no chance of that in this world. No, you weren’t born into money so you’ll never have any. They won’t let you. Take the benefits. They are your due. They owe you that money because they won’t let you join their rich club. They cry out about their taxes, but you are the one with nothing. They should be grateful they have enough to pay taxes. You are the victim, not them.
You are a victim. Didn’t you know? They put you down because you’re different. They call you insulting terms like ‘cripple’, ‘disabled’, and more. You need help to live but they complain when it’s paid for from their taxes. Those rich people will never let you get a proper job. You’ll end up as slave labour in some basket-weaving sweatshop if they have their way. Take the benefits. Relax and let us take care of you. There’s no need to force yourself to fit in, because they won’t let you fit in anyway. They will always regard you as less than whole. It’s not true. You can do anything an able-bodied person can do. Anything. The only thing stopping you is the evil system that marks you as different. You are not different. You are a victim.
Put yourself in one or more of those positions for a moment. Imagine you are penniless and sleeping on the streets. Imagine you are crippled or an immigrant. Imagine, also, that you are not one of the ambitious, nor one of the brightest. Whichever position you choose, if you imagine it hard enough, those arguments sound persuasive. Even if you are ambitious and/or bright, if you find one of those situations thrust upon you it can be disorienting. The Righteous know this and they are ready to take full advantage.
The basis of Righteous control is victimhood. The detail of the argument varies but the principle is always the same. The subject must believe that their problems are someone else’s fault. That there is an Establishment set up solely to keep them in their place. The rich people who run it are evil fascists and none of these victims will ever be allowed to join the ranks of the wealthy. So it is their duty to take what they can, when they can, from the pockets of the evil rich and to do their utmost to destroy the capitalist system that keeps them oppressed. The Righteous are the only ones who can help.
Fortunately this does not involve risk or effort on the part of the victim. Simply vote the Righteous into power and they will ensure equality for all. All the victim needs do is let the Righteous take responsibility for their lives, and all will be easy. All will be well.
I first heard these arguments in a soup kitchen run by, on the whole, very nice and very kind people. They were volunteers. They weren’t paid at all. Those people gave up their time and helped out those of us who were on the streets. They were not, however, in charge.
(That soup kitchen is gone now. There’s a shopping centre on it. I hope it still exists somewhere else because although the food was hardly four-star, it was hot and it was filling and it was free.)
The Righteous should have been easy to spot. They looked extremely busy, all the time, but never actually did anything. They didn’t touch the old clothes or the soup ladle. They never washed dishes or mopped the floor. They were far too busy organising everyone else. They were the Important Ones, they did not work for free and they always had time to talk to new faces. It wasn’t until later I found that they lost interest once those new faces became old faces. Once they were ‘settled in’.
I heard the arguments and, even though this new situation was a shock, I found them wanting. Those loans were my fault. Nobody forced me to take them and spend them. I had never needed help ‘just to live’. I had held a decently-paid job. I downgraded my income when I couldn’t afford to, because I was bored and didn’t think of the consequences. There was no old boy network stopping me working, there were simply no jobs available at that time. I wasn’t in a position to work on building sites or lorry-loading bays so I just had to wait it out. Having to wait in a state of destitution was entirely my own fault. Something felt wrong and yet something struck a familiar chord.
So I nodded, agreed, listened, and did not mention that I had qualifications. I kept silent about that PhD. I spoke of the council estate where I grew up but left later details unmentioned. I did not regard rich people as evil, I regarded them as lucky and I wanted to be one myself. A memory of those university Righteous made me keep that very quiet. I thought I might learn something useful.