A Nation of Victims Is Apt to Become a Nation in Decline. It Can Also Become a Nation of Victimizers

Writing before the entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy declared his presidential candidacy, Theodore Kupfer considers the diagnosis of America’s social ills that Ramaswamy sets forth in his book Nation of Victims: Identity Politics, the Death of Merit, and the Path Back to Excellence. Kupfer writes:

Whereas Americans once took pride in their ability to overcome long odds, now they tell and believe stories about “what they can’t do,” from racial minorities living in immiserated towns to southerners lamenting the lost Confederacy to aspiring college students eagerly workshopping sob stories with admissions counselors. Declaring oneself a victim might seem disempowering, but people keep doing it, perhaps because victim status confers advantages on those who can gain official recognition.

Ramaswamy argues that a victimhood complex is contributing to national decline in America, but not all such complexes are enervating. Nazis rose to power blaming “Jewish Bolshevism” for the German people’s interwar misfortune, while Communists sparked revolutions across the world by blaming capitalist exploitation for human misery. Ramaswamy fears that the U.S. has fallen behind China in educational excellence and military preparedness, and yet the Chinese government and its hardline nationalist supporters often refer to their nation’s “century of humiliation” at the hands of an imperial West. Past alleged wrongs can be a powerful motivator.

A more precise statement of the problem is that Americans regard themselves not just as victims but as victims of one another.

Read more at National Review

More about: American politics, American society, United States

Israel Just Sent Iran a Clear Message

Early Friday morning, Israel attacked military installations near the Iranian cities of Isfahan and nearby Natanz, the latter being one of the hubs of the country’s nuclear program. Jerusalem is not taking credit for the attack, and none of the details are too certain, but it seems that the attack involved multiple drones, likely launched from within Iran, as well as one or more missiles fired from Syrian or Iraqi airspace. Strikes on Syrian radar systems shortly beforehand probably helped make the attack possible, and there were reportedly strikes on Iraq as well.

Iran itself is downplaying the attack, but the S-300 air-defense batteries in Isfahan appear to have been destroyed or damaged. This is a sophisticated Russian-made system positioned to protect the Natanz nuclear installation. In other words, Israel has demonstrated that Iran’s best technology can’t protect the country’s skies from the IDF. As Yossi Kuperwasser puts it, the attack, combined with the response to the assault on April 13,

clarified to the Iranians that whereas we [Israelis] are not as vulnerable as they thought, they are more vulnerable than they thought. They have difficulty hitting us, but we have no difficulty hitting them.

Nobody knows exactly how the operation was carried out. . . . It is good that a question mark hovers over . . . what exactly Israel did. Let’s keep them wondering. It is good for deniability and good for keeping the enemy uncertain.

The fact that we chose targets that were in the vicinity of a major nuclear facility but were linked to the Iranian missile and air forces was a good message. It communicated that we can reach other targets as well but, as we don’t want escalation, we chose targets nearby that were involved in the attack against Israel. I think it sends the message that if we want to, we can send a stronger message. Israel is not seeking escalation at the moment.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Iran, Israeli Security