From Anxiety Culture:
A branch of psychology called Transactional Analysis (TA) has a diagram called The Drama Triangle which is used for analysing psychological games.
Interestingly, this triangle seems equally applicable to political games. The Persecutor/Rescuer polarity appears to reflect the conservative/liberal dichotomy in politics. In the TA psychological model, both persecutors and rescuers need victims in order to play their psychological power games. The same seems true in traditional politics: the conservative game requires victims to criticise, castigate, scapegoat and punish; the liberal game requires victims to “help”, patronise, pity and redeem. The liberal game appears more altruistic, but, like the conservative game, it’s about power – it’s about the monkey urge to be higher up in the tree. This can be seen from the fact that many liberal schemes for “helping” people are compulsory, ie “you must accept our help” (meaning: “you must play the role of victim”).
The survival of traditional politics depends on the existence of a large pool of “victims” – ie poor people – to rescue or persecute. Hence the continuing (in fact increasing) gap between rich and poor, even under relatively liberal governments (latest government reports show that a third of UK children live in poverty).
A fairer distribution of wealth would drastically shrink the pool of “victims”, thereby threatening the survival of traditional politics. When people say “with the political will, poverty could easily be abolished” they perhaps don’t appreciate the irony. The will to abolish a power game never arises from within the power game itself.
Read more here.