The Moral Struggle

If you listen to the rhetoric of the Left, one thing you will hear consistently is the language of victimhood. For people who, as individuals and as a movement, have lost any sense of moral clarity, the only model that remains is the oppressor/victim paradigm. If guilt conistst in the fact of being the "oppressor", then innocence - by this model - consists wholly and entirely in the role of the victim. That is, to be weak and powerless is to be the victim, and to be the victim is to be innocent.

This is not even an inversion of the "might makes right" mentality, but simply a corrollary to it. By drawing moral legitimacy from the role of victim, the victim becomes complicit in his/her own oppression, validating the oppressor's legitimacy as well. By this system, if I am a victim, I have no motive to try to change the system, or even to change my own place in it.

Judaism is a religion of study and of action. Action without study - that is, study of the moral laws of the Torah - even when well-intentioned, may be misguided and even harmful. Study without action is a waste of time and a perversion of the Torah's intent. Neither study nor action may be regarded as optional. "Great is study, for it leads to action." (Kiddushin 40b)

The spiritual genius of Judaism is that it lifts the moral struggle above and beyond the oppressor/victim paradigm. It demands instead that we learn from our own experience of oppression in order not to repeat it. It insists on the maturity necessary to understand that being the victim of another's injustice does not absolve us of anything; instead, it creates the obligation to correct the injustice rather than perpetuating it.

Oppression gives us the opportunity to learn; power gives us the chance to do.