Underdog Syndrome: The Right’s Victimhood Complex
Unlike the Left, the Right expects to lose because they never planned to win.
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Many of us are familiar with the debilitating mental framework of victimhood and how it plays out in politics. We also see how selling victimhood can be used as a form of manipulation and control by those in power by appointing themselves as saviors to help usher the oppressed masses toward their own political goals. The dynamic between the victim and the savior is a relationship rooted in dependency; the victim needs someone to advocate for them while simultaneously resenting the need for advocacy, and the savior needs a cause to advocate for in order to gain social status or personal fulfillment.
The progressive Left has mastered this type of predatory relationship that strips people of their agency. Fortunately, more are now becoming aware of this toxic dynamic as its real-world consequences are now constantly being made public for all to see. But the popularity of these stories are obscuring another distressing form of victimhood glorification that exists on the political Right: underdog syndrome.
I am one of many who were pushed away from the Left as I witnessed them becoming increasingly radicalized over time and abandoning their basic liberal precepts. My political shift towards the Right exposed me to Right-leaning rhetoric and viewpoints that I had not previously encountered. But while I observed many similarities between the Left and Right factions, there was a behavioral trend on the Right that stood out to me that I couldn’t ignore.
I noticed a structure of consistent nihilism being reinforced by top Right-wing influencers where every problem is presented as a massive hurdle to overcome. The Right sees itself as the proverbial David to the Left’s Goliath. The Left controls the institutions, riggs our elections, and has taken over the universities, they argue, so those on the Right are encouraged to relish in a “why bother” attitude towards anything meaningful and worth fighting for.
Unlike the Left, the Right expects to lose because they never planned to win. Because they never planned to win, they avoid strategizing winning tactics like empathetic persuasion to pull people towards their side. Instead, they mope around aimlessly with plenty of good ideas but with zero motivation to convince others. They are the loyal consumers of chaos agent content, feverishly watching any piece of YouTube or Twitter dramatization that ridicules the Left while never addressing their losing mentality. Politically, they are like the stereotypical incel scoffing at the sight of a successful man with a beautiful woman in the passenger seat of his BMW while sitting on the porch of his parent’s house.
Where the Left has victims who know there are saviors to speak up for them, the Right has underdogs who are waiting to be adopted yet no one seems to come for them.
Much like dogs in a kennel, when someone walks past their cage and acknowledges their existence, they believe this one will finally take them home and love them. They are unable or unwilling to see how their desperation to be noticed becomes a vulnerability that makes them easy to manipulate. And if the passer-by happens to be a celebrity, their bark becomes even mightier with joy; they’re rare in these parts.
While my language may sound harsh, I only speak strongly about things that I care about and believe are fixable. You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge, and if the political Right wants to advance, they have to be aware of emotional tactics that keep them weak and pessimistic. The problem is that they often believe they are incapable of emotional manipulation, as that’s only a weakness of the “snowflake Left” who put feelings over facts.
The people who get scammed the most are the people who think they’re incapable of being scammed, and the underdog mindset has allowed for a variety of chaos agents to literally profit off of their nihilistic and dysfunctional perception of the world. They know you believe you can’t win and they will do everything possible to keep you hyper-aware of the near impossibility of defeating the “deep state” and becoming the aggressive mouthpiece of your grievances.
The political Right has a major grifter problem because they’re too quick to embrace Mr. Right-Now believing he’s Mr. Right. Too many see themselves as damsels in distress waiting for someone brave enough to shout the words they’ve been struggling to verbalize.
I contest that the Right has no reason to believe they’re the underdog. But even if they are, it does them no good to harness this mentality. If it’s damaging for someone to view themself as a perpetual victim, it is also damaging to dwell in the underdog mindset.
Winners don’t ask themselves “Why bother?”; they ask themselves “Why not?”
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There are plenty of reasons to see the right as the underdog, the capture of the federal bureaucracy and the colleges were mentioned in the article, but it's absolutely true that excessive fatalism exists on the right where hope and determination ought to be