Fortify America by Abandoning 'Victimhood Narratives' and Embracing Excellence: Vivek Ramaswamy

Fortify America by Abandoning 'Victimhood Narratives' and Embracing Excellence: Vivek Ramaswamy
Vivek Ramaswamy, author of "Woke Inc.," speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas on Aug. 5, 2022. (Bobby Sanchez for The Epoch Times)
Tom Ozimek
Jan Jekielek

Bestselling author and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy made the case in an interview with EpochTV's American Thought Leaders program that at the heart of true American identity is the dogged pursuit of excellence and simultaneous rejection of the perilous-yet-alluring siren song of victim culture.

There's a tug of war taking place in the American soul between the archetype of the underdog, who seeks to prevail against the odds, and that of the victim, who's defeated by hardship and sees life's obstacles as too difficult to overcome, he said.

America's national psyche has been battered by messages that encourage the adoption of victimhood narratives, said Ramaswamy, whose newest book is called "Nation of Victims."

Corporate America is partly to blame, he said, as it exploits various narratives of victimhood and postmodern ideology to push more products to consumers. But it takes two to tango, he points out.

"What is it about our national psyche, the general population, that causes us to gobble up these victimhood narratives, to eat it up? And that's a deeper question. It goes to the heart of the national identity crisis that we're in, where today where everyone in America—black, white, left, center, right, doesn't matter—views themselves as a victim," he said.

In trying to answer that question, Ramaswamy said he discovered that an incentive structure had been created in America—one that rewards victimhood over victory.

"Victimhood is a new currency that is trading at an all-time high, it's in a bubble," he said. "And that's what everyone's trying to do, is to cash in the chips of victimhood before the victimhood bubble bursts."

The pin that pricks that bubble could come in the form of a period of economic hardship, he argued, describing it as a catalyst that would force Americans into self-reflection, help them dispense with the culture of entitlement, and become more productive.

"Part of increasing real productivity is letting go of this culture of laziness, where people assume that they're going to have a job and that they're entitled to have a job even if they're actually 'quiet quitting,' as the new expression goes," he said.

The economic shock that he believes is coming could be the dose of bitter medicine that helps dispel the disease of victimhood afflicting the American spirit and fortifies our national identity, he argued.

Once people set aside the grievances they hold dear and abandon the "victimhood wars," the way back to a common national identity will come by way of an "unapologetic pursuit of excellence," he said.

"Let's just put our grievance weapons down, ask ourselves what actually binds us together as one people. And I think that our shared pursuit of excellence ranks pretty high on the list," he said.

Tom Ozimek is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times. He has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education.