My latest Substack newsletter is out, and discusses the popularity and increasing effectiveness of DARVO: the technique of denying, attacking, and reversing the victim and offender. It’s a technique that seems to be working on extremists on both sides of the aisle. I explore some examples and discuss why it seems to be working so well. The piece is about 7,500 words: about 3,700 words for free, and 3,800 words for the paid subscribers. I’ll give you an excerpt from the free section in a moment–but first, some context. One of the examples of DARVO I cite in the piece is the example of people ripping down posters of Jewish hostages kidnapped by Hamas. Who are the victims? Under the principles of DARVO, the victims are not the innocent hostages, but rather the anti-Semitic cretins ripping down the posters. Starting to see how DARVO works?
The New York Times, of course, managed to find a couple of Jewish guys in New York who oppose Zionism and see ripping down the posters as some kind of noble act. One of them, one Miles Grant, complains that the posters don’t provide “context” in the form of a long history of the conflict. Given his point of view, I observe, he obviously wants this history to be quite one-sided:
Somehow, I don’t think this fellow would be satisfied with a history discussing Israel as the ancestral Jewish homeland, from which they were forcibly removed by the Romans. He doesn’t want a history that points out that after the Ottoman Empire lost control of the area after being on the losing side of a world war (pro tip: if you’re going to fight in a world war, try to be on the winning side), the victors in the war declared an intention to provide a homeland for Jews who had been oppressed and without a homeland for thousands of years. Then, after a second world war in which a European country tried to exterminate every last Jew on earth—and was surprisingly successful, killing six million of them—the victor in both world wars turned the matter over to the countries of the world at large, which offered a home to both the Jews who had just been the target of a genocide, and to the Arabs. The Jews accepted the deal. The Arabs rejected it, and have waged war on Israel ever since, starting from the day Israel declared independence.
Is that the history you want included on the posters, Miles Grant? Didn’t think so.
Ultimately, this cretin Miles Grant wants to devalue any attention paid to innocent kidnapping victims, because it does not include his own idiosyncratic view of the behavior of other members of their group. It’s like ripping down a poster of a missing dog, because the poster does not also tell the world how other dogs generally suck, what with their ripping up flower beds and barking at all hours of the night. WHERE IS THE BALANCE?!?!11!!?!
And from the section for paid subscribers, I discuss DARVO from the right, as employed by Donald Trump (natch) and Russia. I also discuss why it seems to be so effective. Excerpt:
Reverse victim and offender: We have already discussed at length how Trump plays the victim when he is the actual wrongdoer. But how does he do this so effectively?
If you examine the examples in this piece of reversing victims and offenders, the common thread is an unreasoning fanaticism on the part of people who easily view an evildoer as the One Who Has Been Wronged. How do people reach that state of fanaticism? I have discussed the phenomenon before, in a Substack newsletter titled Audience Capture and Group Polarization: A Toxic Mix. Group polarization in particular explains how people of like minds, once they have connected with one another and begun to discuss politically charged topics, tend to gravitate towards a consensus view that is even more radical than the most extreme views previously held by any one individual in the group: