I’ve been thinking about oppressed minorities. And it occurred to me that as soon as anyone belongs to any minority, they’ll automatically find themselves being oppressed. Belonging to any minority always entails being oppressed. Because minorities are always being outvoted, all the time, everywhere.
Smokers are a good example of an oppressed minority. They used to be a huge majority 60 or 70 years ago. 96% of the patients in the 1950 London Hospitals study were smokers. And 87% of the doctors in the 1954 British Doctors study were smokers. Pretty much everyone smoked back then, and they smoked pretty much everywhere, because smokers outvoted non-smokers. So there was an oppressed minority of non-smokers back in 1950.
But gradually, after an unrelenting antismoking campaign, the prevalence of smoking in the UK began to fall. By about 1975, I think, smoking prevalence had fallen to about 45%. Now it’s 20% or less. Smokers have become a minority. And so they have quite naturally become an oppressed minority who are always being ignored and outvoted.
But when minorities are being oppressed, ignored, and outvoted, sooner or later they always start to fight back. And so oppressed minorities of despised blacks, gays, women, Jews, etc, have each in their turn fought back. So much so that when anyone thinks of “oppressed minorities”, they’ll think of blacks, gays, women, Jews, etc.
And when the oppressed minorities fight back, they start winning. And so the result has been that blacks, gays, women, Jews, have ceased to be oppressed – or at least ceased to be oppressed quite so much as they used to be. Women have got the vote, and equal pay, and more. The first US black president is about to leave office. Jews have their own country in the form of Israel. Being gay is no longer something shameful.
But then, as their status rises, the once-oppressed minorities all too often themselves become oppressors. Political Correctness grows out of a sort of coalition of formerly-oppressed minorities, who have become noisier and noisier, more and more powerful, and thus more and more oppressive. Hillary Clinton ran her recent campaign almost entirely on being a woman (and therefore part of the oppressed minority of women, even if they’re nowhere near as oppressed as they once were) who was trying to shatter the “glass ceiling” that had prevented any woman becoming president. She was also a friend of oppressed blacks and gays. Hillary Clinton was the spokesperson for all oppressed minorities everywhere. Democratic politics has become a matter of creating “rainbow coalitions” of oppressed (or formerly-oppressed) minorities. But at the same time Hillary Clinton had become a famous antismoker, who got husband Bill to ban smoking in the White House: she had herself become an oppressor.
For as one oppressed minority fights its way out of oppression, it will always be replaced by a new oppressed minority. As one once-excluded social group climbs on top, somebody else will get pushed to the bottom.
So as blacks, gays, women, and Jews have managed to climb on top, who has been pushed to the bottom? Who are the new oppressed minorities? There are plenty of candidates. Smokers, drinkers and fat people are among the first to come to mind. But I also think that Christians have also become a minority (and therefore an oppressed minority) in much of Western society. And here in Britain in recent decades, fox-hunters have become a new oppressed minority. There are probably lots of new oppressed minorities.
And if Democratic politics in the USA is all about putting together coalitions of recognised oppressed minorities, then Donald Trump is someone who has built a coalition of the emerging new oppressed minorities. He’s the champion of working class whites (Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables”). He’s the champion of all the people who have never got a hearing in the era of Political Correctness. And he’s wonderfully politically incorrect. He’s not really much of a Christian, but oppressed Christians went out to vote for him. He doesn’t smoke or drink, but I’m sure smokers and drinkers and fat people went out to vote for him (they weren’t going to vote for Hillary, were they). And so did reviled American patriots, in opposition to fashionable, politically-correct globalism. Donald Trump put together a coalition of the New Oppressed, and won. In Donald Trump, the New Oppressed found a champion.
It’s a watershed event. And it most likely signals the moment when the Old Oppressed (blacks, gays, women, Jews) were superseded by the New Oppressed. And it will be the voices of the New Oppressed which will get louder and louder. We’ll be hearing more and more from smokers and drinkers and fat people, and Christians, and patriots, and fox-hunters. And any number of other forgotten, buried minorities.
And in the process, they’ll steal the banners of the Old Oppressed, and write Smokers’ Lives Matter in place of Black Lives Matter.