When the Oppressed Side With Their Oppressors

You know that line from the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes about how there’s nothing new under the sun? Students of history get that feeling all the time. It’s because people refuse to learn anything from history, so they keep falling into the same deadly traps. As the “alternate history” novelist Harry Turtledove observed recently, whatever learning from the past people do manage to acquire, seems to be limited to things that happened in their own lifetimes. That certainly helps explain why we are locked into this path of farce/fascism a scant eighty years after the world’s last near-death experience with it—just long enough for the last survivors of the World War II era to be dying out.

As before, so again now. And that applies to the crazy-making phenomenon of a few members of the very groups targeted by the farce/fascists offering their loud support to those who wish them nothing but harm. What on earth goes through the mind of Trump advisor Stephen Miller and French politician Eric Zemmour, Jews who stand for vicious crackdowns on immigrants in the U.S. and France, respectively? Do they imagine that the sort of people who cheer on their demonization of Latinos and Muslims want a lot of Jews in their neighborhoods–and that they don’t wish America and France had been kept Jew-free altogether?

At least as puzzling is Clarence Thomas, the U.S. Supreme Court associate justice who just voted to allow Alabama to gerrymander its Congressional districts to minimize Black representation. Or take Winsome Sears, the gun-toting new lieutenant governor of Virginia, whose enthusiastic embrace of the gun cult means death to a hugely disproportionately high number of Black people, and who serves as deputy to Glenn Youngkin, fierce opponent of teaching the history of anti-Black racism in Virginia public schools. Dispiriting examples can be multiplied endlessly. What gives?

There is no way into the twisted mentality of such people but speculation. My hunch is that it’s a combination of two pitiable and primitive impulses: By making themselves useful to those who are against their very existence, they hope to be spared; and they have come to identify with the enemy’s perspective so thoroughly that they look with contempt on their own, victimized subgroup. Yes, Herr Oberstgruppenführer Trump, I agree, all those OTHER disloyal Jews are plotting to replace the glorious Aryan Christian race with dark-skinned Spanish speakers. But not ME! I will use my famous Jewish cleverness to help you round ‘em all up and deport ‘em! Yes, Massa, those other Black people are just as bad and dangerous as you always thought. But not ME! I’ll help you keep them for voting so you can Make America Great Again, and nobody will dare call ME a racist for doing it!

Unhappily, this affront to human dignity will exist as long as there is hatred and oppression. It comes in all sorts of grotesque forms: Noam Chomsky, the brilliant academic, now well into his nineties, who is an icon to segments of the Left for his endless unbalanced tirades against America, but who also seems to have a special animus against the Jewish state, even though his parents were Zionists and his father William Chomsky was a leading scholar of the Hebrew language. Or how about Dinigeer Yilamujiang, the Uyghur woman who lit the Olympic torch for the Chinese regime, even as it commits genocide against her own people? Learn to know the type, know pity along with justified anger, and weep for humanity.

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