Mimetic Warfare

Rene Girard saw mimetic rivalry as the constant theme of man's downfall throughout history. A devout Catholic, though not necessarily a biblical literalist, he would have equated it, perhaps metaphorically, with the work of Satan. Men mirror the desires of other men and take what they have away from them to have it for themselves.

     This theme is so pervasive throughout mythology that it becomes a running motif behind every major legend. Eventually, men do one another so much violence that they start to retract their attentions back inward, eliminating causes until they can arrive at a sole scapegoat on whom they can cast all the blame in one fell swoop.

     In the Judiac, Vedic and Christian narratives, something changes. One begins to see characters emerge who are recognized to be innocent victims by the very people writing and telling these legends. For Girard, Christ offers an interpretive key to unlock the mysteries which have been hidden since the beginning of man. The formula goes, once the scapegoat is eliminated there is societal peace but only for a time. The fact that Jesus accepts his fate as a scapegoat in order to create balance is unprecedented in the realm of mythical narrative. This unprecedented event is, for Girard, the root of western ethics as its core function is to teach people, through the example of Christ's divinity, not to victimize one another.

     However, there is a dark side of this unprecedented historical phenomenon which gets very little attention in Girard's work. Thousands of groups in the western world have claimed entitlement to the mercy which belongs to the innocent victim; in other words, the Christian ethic which affirms the innocence of the victim as a means to deter people from victimizing others is flipped on its head. People now want to look like bigger victims than their peers because, deep down inside, they know what the final conclusion is for this recognition: divinity. Divinity, for a human being, is impossible, so they settle for special favors, money and a license to do whatever they want, since they can always blame some phantom aggressor for their inability to coexist with others. Since this is ultimately an inversion of Christian ethics, projected outward onto society, one could just as soon continue using Christian vocabulary and call this 'the spirit of the antichrist,' as mentioned in the bible.

     But, in a nutshell, this is what the politics of grievance is; Christianity minus Jesus and divinity transferred to humans with their day of judgement projected onto those who disagree with them. This has always been a feature of the Left, from the French Revolution to Marxism, but the Left taught it to the Right, which largely, in what people refer to disparagingly as its 'populist' form, uses the same tactics; by wasting time trying to show that they are bigger victims than Leftists, rather than trying to show that their views make sense.

     But in mimetic warfare, no one makes sense. No one is listening. You hear only the noise in the battle of all against all.