Patterico's Pontifications

11/27/2023

Constitutional Vanguard: DARVO: The “Real Victims” and the Suckers Who Fall for Their Con

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:37 am



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:

Read the piece here. Subscribe here.

30 Responses to “Constitutional Vanguard: DARVO: The “Real Victims” and the Suckers Who Fall for Their Con”

  1. Good morning.

    Patterico (3dd3be)

  2. You bring up a pet peeve: the widespread misunderstanding of the concept of entrapment. Putting up posters — even if you intend to film people tearing them down — is not entrapment. It would also require going to susceptible individuals, pointing out the posters, and encouraging them to tear them down for it to be “entrapment.”

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  3. Also featured prominently in the New York Times both-sidesing-the-posters story is an interview with another Jewish opponent of Zionism, who says he rips the posters down because they don’t include a lengthy disquisition on the history of Israel from the Palestinian point of view

    Maybe this is why leftist bumper-stickers have 6 lines of text.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  4. What Trump does is worse than you suggest. He has followers (particularly white, non-coastal, non-college working class) whose jobs disappeared over the last 20 years and have a claim to being victims. But Trump himself profited from this process, and he certainly cannot claim to be part of their class in the first place.

    Instead, he pretends to being a victim while fighting for them. He says “They came for you, and I stood up for you, so now they come for me! If they get me, there will be no one left to defend you!”

    Victim bonding.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  5. It is a great essay, Patterico, and appreciate comments like Kevin has made. But I fight depression daily, and this insanity does not help. I fear for a Balkanized future, and I mean that quite directly. Reminds me of the US in Heinlein’s “Friday.”

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  6. The Entente powers didn’t promise a homeland out of pro-zionist sympathy. They did it out of simple gratitude, that the Jews exceeded recruiting expectations for the WW I “Jewish Legion” by 500%. This is the same principle that led to the Arabs getting their own territories instead of having the former Ottoman territories all added to Western empires.

    Arabs liked that gratitude principle when it benefited them and hated it when it meant that they were going to have to share with Jews.

    TMLutas (1727ae)

  7. I agree with Simon. Excellent piece, Patterico.

    nk (bb1548)

  8. Kevin’s comments here were useful as well.

    AJ_Liberty (5f05c3)

  9. Great piece, agree with it and the commenters praising it.

    Would only add that ridicule is also a good weapon. When I see some of these people claiming victimhood am reminded of what my late mother-in-law used to say when someone would go too far with their the world is so unfair, I am a victim attitude: “come down from the cross, we need the wood.” They often shut up, at least for a while.

    RL formerly in Glendale (7a2d64)

  10. I’ll say this, Trump and Hamas can DARVO as easily as they breathe, they’re so well practiced at it. Both of them slap down the victim card all the time, after attacking.

    Paul Montagu (d52d7d)

  11. This is also known as mirror imaging. The purpose is to prevent short explanations aimed at people not familiar with the matter in question,

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  12. The shooting of 3 palestinian-american student puts a crimp in the narrative that it is only anti-semetic attacks that are occurring.

    asset (caf5f9)

  13. The essential achievement of Chaim Weitzman is that he gave the holy land a different fate than that of the surrounding territory. Palestine is a word that had meaning only for Christians.

    From the Islamic point of view, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and Iraq was one country. And so it was considered by ISIS.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  14. asset (caf5f9) — 11/27/2023 @ 12:35 pm

    The shooting of 3 palestinian-american student puts a crimp in the narrative that it is only anti-semetic attacks that are occurring.

    The guy who shot them was 48 and he lived near there. Probably a “patriot”

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  15. @14 Patriot for shooting palestinian-american citizens who had nothing to do with hamas attack on Israel? We all oppose anti-semetic attacks. How does this help?

    asset (caf5f9)

  16. I largely agree but think some nuance is needed. Sometimes victims are also offenders and sometimes offenders are also victims.

    Obviously the Hamas attacks on Israel are indefensible and the people who perpetrated it are monsters. Clear victim; clear offender.

    But also there is a strong argument to be made that the people of Palestine have been victims for years and a perhaps weaker argument that Israel has been an offender for years. Also, many Palestinians have been offenders in the years prior and Israelis have been victims.

    And lots of people of Palestine who were unconnected to attacks on Israel are about to be victims. It’s not crazy to worry about them.

    The situation is complicated and it’s fairly normal for different people to identify with different victims of a horrible situation.

    Nate (200ff4)

  17. Reminds me of the US in Heinlein’s “Friday.”

    If Trump is indeed re-elected, I expect that the West Coast states will attempt to secede before Biden leaves office. I’m not sure whether Biden will move to stop it, either. So, Chief Newsom is not out of the question.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  18. Nate (200ff4) — 11/27/2023 @ 12:58 pm

    But also there is a strong argument to be made that the people of Palestine have been victims

    Everything they have suffered – like being treated with suspicion – is a result, not a cause, of the conflict. That includes being killed. It cannot be resolved except by them acknowledging that fact, and saying they do not want to be enemies, and saying the Jews are more righteous than they are.

    This cannot e swept under the rug.

    It will not take care of itself.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  19. The shooter in VT was not Jewish, and had a long history of problems. He was also anti-Fauci, anti-capitalist and anti-government and an advocate of “brain crystal.” In short, a loon.

    Compare that to the Politically-Palestinian graduate students attacking Jews at Harvard, Yale and other centers of “higher learning.”

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  20. But also there is a strong argument to be made that the people of Palestine have been victims

    Question: Who has victimized them more, their own leadership, other Arabs, or Israel? Show your work.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  21. Sammy, to clarify the sentence you quoted, I meant before the attack.

    Nate (200ff4)

  22. @19 Were the jews at Harvard shot? Are we doing tit for tat now?

    asset (caf5f9)

  23. Sure Kevin. The situation is complex and I’ll not argue that Israel has victimized the Palestinian people more than other actors. I’m not sure that changes my point.

    Nate (200ff4)

  24. Let’s say there’s a messy divorce, and the couple each get a house in the neighborhood and all the other property is split by court order. There is shared custody of the kids.

    One side pretty much follows the decree, the other side is continuously in violation. They also claim to be a victim, and make continuous threats against the other.

    There is constant mediation, and the constant violator, claiming to be an aggrieved victim, generally gets the benefit of any mediated change. After all, they are the one with all the complaints.

    One day they go so far as to kidnap the children and burn the other party’s house down. Some, who have followed the train of complaints, say it’s all justified. They are the victim after all.

    One of the problems we have as a country here, is that those who follow the rules and obey the law constantly find they are sucking hind tit to those who lie, cheat, steal and generally carry on. And realizing this, they stop following the rules, and lie, cheat and steal themselves. Repeat as needed.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  25. I have noticed two things that contribute to DARVO, and they both seem to stem from Western liberal thought. Sympathy for the underdog and an unwillingness to judge.

    1. Sympathy for the underdog, I first noticeably encountered, I think, in the movie Hombre. There is a reason that “Apache” means “enemy” in the language of the Pueblo peoples. The Apaches sustained themselves by raiding their more peaceful neighbors, killing, stealing, raping, and torturing. But by the time General Crook got through with them, they were a pitiful bunch starving on San Carlos, preyed upon by corrupt white men, as Hombre portrayed them.

    2. And not to stir up some kind of ruckus or anything, the unwillingness to judge here, not all that long ago. George Floyd, may he rest in peace, was a vagrant, petty criminal, and generally a public nuisance. What led to his killing was his passing a ridiculously counterfeit $20 bill. Yet to some commenters here, nice people all of them, “he [only] made bad choices in his life”.

    Anyway. FWIW

    nk (bb1548)

  26. Perhaps we should start talking about systemic antisemitism.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  27. According to hank sheinkoph the most fiendish anti-semetic plot to destroy the jews which is causing 2/3 of jews to be destroyed on the east coast and 3/4 of jews in the midwest and west coast and soon their will hardly be any left in this new holocaust. The solution stop marrying or at least having kids with non-jews! Sammy you married to a goy?

    asset (ef3831)

  28. @25: Probably the biggest DARVO thing ever was the whole War of Northern Aggression BS. As if white southerners were victimized by freeing the black man.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  29. 2. And not to stir up some kind of ruckus or anything, the unwillingness to judge here, not all that long ago. George Floyd, may he rest in peace, was a vagrant, petty criminal, and generally a public nuisance. What led to his killing was his passing a ridiculously counterfeit $20 bill. Yet to some commenters here, nice people all of them, “he [only] made bad choices in his life”.

    Another thing that “led to” his killing, which I believe to be a murder, was his fighting the cops. As I say, I agree he was murdered, but I can’t sign on to a version of events that implies he was murdered for passing counterfeit money.

    Patterico (3dd3be)

  30. One of the problems we have as a country here, is that those who follow the rules and obey the law constantly find they are sucking hind tit to those who lie, cheat, steal and generally carry on. And realizing this, they stop following the rules, and lie, cheat and steal themselves. Repeat as needed.

    Kevin M (ed969f) — 11/27/2023 @ 2:20 pm

    Kevin, I love how you can make a good point and cause me to laugh at the same time. You are one of my favorite posters, because you put yourself “out there”, and shoot from the hip. You’re usually right, but at the same time you’re not afraid to risk making a mistake.

    I’m guilty of being too careful. I think I would learn a lot more if I adopted your style.

    norcal (73ebcf)


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