Ressentiment is first and foremost the psychology of blame. It surveys the social landscape and blames the failures and hardships of the alleged have-nots on the successes of the haves. It is more than envy, which is a timeless human emotion — and one of the seven deadly sins. It is a theory of morality that says the success of the successful is proof of their wickedness.
Such is the allure of ressentiment today that it produces creatures like Rachel Dolezal, the blue-eyed white woman who had to invent an entire narrative around her stolen fictional identity as an oppressed black woman.
Such is the political power of ressentiment that Hillary Clinton, who earns in a one-hour speech five times what the average American makes in a year, feels compelled to campaign as a “champion” for all those who feel micro- (or macro-) aggressed by a system rigged by the very same institutions she is happy to shake down for donations. (When asked to explain the contradiction on Fox News Sunday, a Clinton spokeswoman pointed to the fact that Clinton’s mother had been downtrodden in her youth.)
When Nietzsche said “God is dead,” he meant that there was no longer an ideal outside of ourselves to which we’re all answerable.