The Authoritarian Victim Complex

The Authoritarian Victim Complex

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Samuel Valk, Politics Contributor

This week, Ann Coulter, a noted right-wing journalist, cancelled her speech at University of California-Berkeley after protests and riots caused by so-called “Antifa,” or anti-fascists. This is not the first time this has happened at Berkeley this year. In January, Breitbart news journalist Milo Yiannopoulos had to cancel his speech at Berkeley’s campus due to the high levels of threats, terror, and riots caused by “Antifa” and other groups associated with “Antifa.” Why are these groups doing this? At their protests and riots, they actively do what they can to shut down free speech as the speech does not agree with their point of view. They claim it is because of the “fascists” like Donald Trump and other Republicans who they feel have taken over, however, they do not respect the rights of anybody who speaks and does not agree with them. This is the textbook definition of authoritarianism, and it seems to run through any such movement like this. Authoritarianism, in order to gain power, requires collectivities of victims and oppressors. “Antifa” is just another in the long line of authoritarians to come down the pipe, and they will stop at nothing to gain the power they so desire, lest they feel like victims due to their lack of control of the situation.

Authoritarianism has come up everywhere across the world. The ideas have gained enough traction in many places to have gained power based solely on the idea of being victims to some extent or another. The first, best example of this is of course Adolf Hitler and his rise to power in Nazi Germany. We must remember that Hitler’s rise was not in a vacuum. He rose to power after the Germans were essentially stripped of everything they had as a people by the Treaty of Versailles. The people of Germany, in electing Hitler to power, saw him as a force to bring Germany back to power in Europe as they were the victims of an unfair treaty. Not only were they the victims of this unfair treaty, but also of a great “Jewish conspiracy” in Germany, at least for many of the people supporting Hitler. The average German, Hitler and many others felt, felt victimized by the Jews living in Germany as they were doing better in the depression than the average German was. This sense of being a victim collectivized and culminated into the rise of Adolf Hitler to power in Germany, thus beginning his authoritarian rule. Hitler limited press and speech, as well as other such freedoms, for the so called “greater good” as anything dissenting against him would have been a threat to the regime. Had he allowed dissent, he, in his mind, would have allowed for him to be infiltrated by the enemy, the former oppressor, individual rights be damned as this was the “greater good.”

The other greatest example of authoritarianism in the 20th century was that of Apartheid South Africa. I studied a term at the University of Stellenbosch in Stellenbosch, South Africa, which is famous for its wineries, mountains, and proximity to Cape Town. However, Stellenbosch University is also where the ideas to legally implement Apartheid were born. Hendrik Verwoerd, the so-called “architect of Apartheid” taught psychology at the University and was a noted white supremacist before gaining power as an MP in the National Party. When the National Party took power in 1948, they did what all authoritarian regimes did. They based their rise to power on the idea of the Afrikaner identity being chipped away at by the “moderate” government at the time.  The Afrikaners, mostly poor farmers, felt victimized by the government due to a perceived favouring of English and wealthier South Africans. As well, these people saw the rise of the African and Coloured people, nearly 80% of the population at the time, as an immediate threat to their survival as a race. They felt threatened and victimized, so they voted in the National Party. The party, under the guidance of Verwoerd, implemented hundreds of laws to absolutely separate the people based solely on race. Apartheid before had been informal, however, now it was enshrined into law. It was enshrined to such an extent in the Cape Province, where non-whites still had the right to vote, that their rights to vote were taken from them unless they were white.  

This, like all authoritarian regimes of the century, was key to the Afrikaner consolidating power. They had to consolidate power and the best way to do that was by legally enforcing segregation and suppressing forms of speech that did not align with the government’s. This suppression of speech was so widespread that television was not allowed in South Africa until 1975; the biggest complaint of South Africans was that they had missed Neil Armstrong walking on the moon while the rest of the world got to witness it. Political opposition was suppressed as it did not agree with the narrative of victimhood the government was pushing. This victimhood, of course, did not usually match the facts on the ground in South Africa as is still seen today, almost a quarter-century after the death of Apartheid. This authoritarianism was born right out of a victim complex.

“Antifa” is a problem. They have no regard for individual rights, as stopping their “victimhood” is best achieved by consolidating power. We saw this in both Germany and South Africa during the 20th century, not to mention recent events in Turkey, Russia, North Korea, and Zimbabwe, which all are based on the idea of "victimhood” and feeling the need to be protected AT ALL COSTS because of this “victimhood.” The only way to be protected, of course, is to gain power. This is what “Antifa” and the regressive left as a whole wants. They have to consolidate power if their way is going to win, by any means necessary. This is seen in the consolidation of power by other, successful authoritarian regimes. It must be stopped, and people must be allowed to speak. The ability to speak one’s mind is a fundamental human right and any objective to control that is an authoritarian objective, probably based on the “victimhood” of one class of people because the “oppression” of another.



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