If we continue giving victimhood such power and currency, we will incentivize everyone to emphasize their weakness, rather than discover their strength.
A key aspect of the ‘woke’ era in which we now live has been the inversion of many values, including values that are fundamental to building a strong nation and civilization.
Key among those values was a reverence for achievement and the dignity of work.
There was an admiration for those who sought to become more self-sufficient and self-reliant, and rather than complaining about the past or complaining about circumstances, an emphasis was placed on overcoming difficulty and becoming stronger.
But now, much of that is twisted around.
Rather than status being conferred through achievement and overcoming difficulty, status is now seemingly conferred through how much victimhood someone can claim.
We see endless apologies from politicians for the past, a demonization of Canada’s history (with all the achievement and building of a great country ignored), and people seem almost desperate to find some link in their history to ‘oppression’ or ‘colonialism.’
Victimhood has become a currency, and many are trying to accumulate as much as they can.
Victimhood narrative requires an enemy
The idea of pushing the victimhood narrative society-wide is very much a Communist concept, and it’s presaged some of the most brutal moments in human history.
The Soviet Union used the narrative to demonize the ‘Kulaks,’ often ‘wealthier’ peasants, who were used as scapegoats by the Bolsheviks to blame for their horrendous agricultural policies.
Stalin wanted the Kulaks ‘liquidated,’ and used the resentment and hatred that Bolshevik propaganda had generated in order to unleash terror against them.
Indeed, the Communist narrative overall was all about a victim narrative, and it’s essential that we see the danger of similar narratives being pushed within our country.
The fact is, a victimhood narrative requires an enemy, and unlike an external enemy (which can at least unite people within a nation), the far-left victimhood narrative requires an internal enemy. Ironically, that ‘internal enemy’ is often the group that has achieved the most within the country and that played the largest role in founding the country.
It’s quite an irony that many on the far-left, including many who immigrated to Canada recently, have all of a sudden adopted the narrative that Canada’s founding was nothing but ‘evil colonialism,’ raising the question of why so many people would want to come live here.
Further, many ignore the absurdity that we are tearing down statues of our founders, while people put up parks (like in Winnipeg), honouring the founders of foreign nations – foreign nations with far worse human rights records than Canada.
But that makes a perverse sort of sense, since the goal of the victimhood narrative is to tear up the foundation of a country, and elevating foreign leaders while denigrating Canada’s founders is key to that dangerous strategy.
Victimhood narrative is about using the past to control the future
Some might read this and think I’m advocating for an avoidance of the past, or for pretending bad things didn’t happen in Canada’s history, but that is false.
What I am pointing out is that a simplistic victim/victimizer dichotomy misses out on the nuance that characterizes most of reality.
Certainly, many Indigenous people were victimized in Canada’s history. Many Indigenous communities also victimized other Indigenous communities, in cycles of violence and conquest that occurred long before Europeans arrived.
Many Europeans and Indigenous groups also victimized each other, while other Europeans and Indigenous people cooperated with each other.
Many people in Canada are indeed descended from both Europeans and Indigenous Canadians.
An honest acknowledgment of both the great achievements of our founders (building a prosperous nation), and their darker actions (such as residential schools), would be the way to make sure we are teaching people the whole picture.
But again, that’s not what the victimhood narrative is about.
Rather, it’s about putting some Canadians on the defensive, and using that defensive feeling to enact radical policy ideas.
Victimhood narrative weakens a country
The victimhood narrative – especially as it spreads – distorts the thinking of a country to the point where it is increasingly unable to defend its interests.
Consider the debate over the scientists removed from Canada’s National Microbiology Lab.
Any sane country would immediately recognize how dangerous it is and take decisive steps to stop foreign scientists (particularly foreign scientists from a nation that is often hostile to Canada).
Yet, Justin Trudeau’s big concern was ‘racism’.
And – speaking to the dangers of division I raised earlier – Trudeau used the debate to instead divide Canada internally, attacking the Conservatives for bringing it up, rather than seeking to defend Canada’s interests.
That victimhood narrative is also used to silence the voices of many Indigenous Canadians.
Far-left activists are glad to listen to Indigenous people who say left-wing, anti-development things, and are glad to use the ‘colonialism’ and ‘oppression’ rhetoric.
Yet, when Indigenous people speak in support of development and seek more financial independence for their communities, they are ignored or even attacked as ‘tools of corporations,’ as if Indigenous people could only think for themselves if they are agreeing with radical activists, which is a deeply false and insulting notion.
We need an “Achievement Era”
Canada is a nation with tremendous potential, even though we face tremendous challenges.
Our potential wealth is enormous, and we are still young as a country, meaning our future is unwritten.
Yet, if we continue down the path of embracing victimhood and promoting weakness, we will only further turn against each other, grow more and more divided, and court further economic and financial disaster, as victimhood leads into an increasingly angry division of a shrinking economy, rather than growth.
Instead, we must shift towards an Achievement Era, where we venerate and promote those who achieve, create, develop, and grow, while discouraging people from thinking that proclaiming their victim status will lead to power.
It’s a choice we must make as a country, but also within ourselves.
It can be easy to seek victimhood status, but the path to true prosperity and success is the path of taking responsibility for our future and achieving our full potential.