The Intoxicating Power Of Victimhood

“If this is feminism, it’s feminism hijacked by melodrama,” she writes. “The melodramatic imagination’s obsession with helpless victims and powerful predators is what’s shaping the conversation of the moment, to the detriment of those whose interests are supposedly being protected, namely students. The result? Students’ sense of vulnerability is skyrocketing.”

Including, apparently, their vulnerability to articles in The Chronicle of Higher Education. As the protesters wrote on a Facebook page for their event, they wanted the administration to do something about “the violence expressed by Kipnis’ message.” Their petition called for “swift, official condemnation of the sentiments expressed by Professor Kipnis in her inflammatory article,” and demanded “that in the future, this sort of response comes automatically.” (University President Morton Schapiro told The Daily Northwestern, a student newspaper, that he would consider it, and the students will soon be meeting with the school’s Vice President for Student Affairs to further press their case.) Jazz Stephens, one of the march’s organizers, described Kipnis’s ideas as “terrifying.” Another student told The Daily Northwestern that she was considering bringing a formal complaint because she believes that Kipnis was mocking her concerns about being triggered in a film class, concerns she’d confided privately. “I would like to see some sort of repercussions just so she understands the effect something like this has on her students and her class,” said the student, who Kipnis hadn’t named.

—Michelle Goldberg, “The Laura Kipnis Melodrama

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  1. The possessor of the “melodramatic imagination” is almost always the person who absolutizes their irrational feelings, hence they are the ones who “know” merely by looking at someone that he is a rapist, homophobe or bigot, for example. If asked how they know, they’ll say something like, “I just have a feeling,” it’s my “intuition,” or even it’s my “sixth sense.”

  2. Chilling. As parents, we are deeply troubled by these “developments” in campus feminist ideology. Having watched a close friend’s divorce unfold, led with totally unaccountable false allegations of “abuse”, recanted when they had served their tactical purpose, we are sickened that the melodrama has already become the rule in civil court. Of course the “offenses” and accusations don’t yet pass muster in criminal cases, so the professional victims will simply change the rules of evidence and procedure. At risk of inciting a debate on Theonomy, perhaps this is inevitable in a system of law that can be lobbied and changed for the benefit of an organized group of malcontents, or at least against their foes. Such is the seeming contradiction of oaths to mutable confessions/constitutions/statutes. I hate to say it, but historically, the Federal and State courts and legislatures learned it from our Presbyterian polity. As such, the descent into relativistic chaos and illicit authoritarianism mirrors the mainline denominational slide toward the same. Mutable standards invite any and all groups with either “democratic” outrage or “republican” cronyism to use the legislature as a proxy against enemies or to subsidize themselves through the distribution of “public” funds taken by threat of force for the “common good.” A doctrine of law for “common good” rather than simply real restitution for proven harm is at the philosophical root. It’s a tempting ideology, if you stand to gain or sell power.
    To be clear, I have no stake in theonomic dominionism or the imposition of any fixed and superfluous confession or law. As stated in the posting rules for this page, the moral law ought to be normative. I happen to think the Civil Law of Moses (excluding ceremonial holiness codes and rites) is as good a commentary as any will ever be known for its broader social application.

  3. An anarchy of selfishness, lust for power, hatred, contempt, greed and envy disguised behind linguistic sophistry as legal and personal opinion, progress, special rights, common good, sustainability, global warming/cooling/change, and politics of liberation (i.e., maximal sexual freedom; ‘gay’ rights) is rapidly gaining a more complete leverage over our society. What follows in its wake are stupidity, brutality, hatred, murder, chaos and tyranny.

  4. Why not bring back the ceremonial law?

    I’m not sure why you ask. I assume you and I would give similar answers.

    For starters, obviously I presuppose Christ’s fulfillment of the anticipatory type and shadow of both generational separation of seed/line (in all its ethnic and political bounds) and atoning reunification of God to man estranged by sin through shed blood of the Covenant. The latter applies now, as it always has, to the Redeemed by faith.

    More universally, however, the normative moral and, I would posit, civil codes as social applications are the basis of each Prophetic riv against pagan nations (e.g. Amos, Isaiah,etc.). In Amos 9, there is even a similitude made to the exodus of Assyrian slaves from Kir and of the Philistines from captivity (held by their more powerful brother) in Caphtor. Jonah’s mission to Nineveh gives another example of common grace, in that moral and civil violations are met with both the threat and restorative provision similar to a contingent “covenant of works” “republished”. Archaeology has revealed that as a consequence of Nineveh’s repentance, captives at Kir were released and the Pax Assyriana took on a decidedly more just character. Pul campaigned, or propogandized, that the repentant administration was weak and seized power by military coup. He then took the royal name of Tigleth-pilassar III, after the first Assyrian king to expand Nineveh into an empire. Consequently, 36-40 years of repentant rule was replaced by a blood-thirsty empire worse than before. Nahum prosecutes the violation and Nineveh is destroyed by a vassal rebelion led by Nabopolasser.

    None of these nations is prosecuted, temporally, under ceremonial violations like Nadab, Abihu, Uzzah, or King Saul. Israel corporately is sentenced to Babylonian captivity and the absence of the Mercy Seat on which to make atonement for violating the Jubilee, not for perverting the temple cult. How would I presume to hold the U.S. or any other contemporary nation to a “higher” standard of ceremonial or ancestral purity? I cannot help noticing that from the antedeluvian imperial will-to-power of Cain’s decendents to Nineveh and Rome to crony “capitalism” subsidized by political influence and military aggression in our own time that things haven’t changed. Neither, I think, has the standard on which societies will be judged. This brand of feminism, masking its narcissistic sense of superior entitlement in the legal and psychological fiction of victimization and restitution against male “privilege”, perhaps bears a resemblance to the politically incorrect Amos’ “fat kine of Bashan.”

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