Quote of the week

Step right up, ladies and gents, and see this week’s winners in the Victimhood Sweepstakes! You know you want to:

The blame-shifting, guilt-tripping, grievance-mongering Victimhood Sweepstakes mentality, which paralyzes individual initiative and invites us to rationalize our problems as resulting from indomitable historic trends over which we have no control — that’s the problem.

Pointing the finger at demonized scapegoats — “Corporate America” or whatever — as the all-powerful villains in a horror story, where we are like teenagers fleeing the bloody slasher, is neither accurate nor helpful. Honest hard-working people succeed every day in America, yet the liberal gloom-and-doom vision rewards failure with the consolation of self-pity: “It’s not your fault. You’re a victim.”

Pity is a poor substitute for success.

Honest and resourceful people who encounter disadvantage or misfortune do not surrender to feelings of helplessness, nor do they let their resentment of others’ advantages fester into an excuse. Where there is life, there is hope, and with hope there should be a determination to work harder, to ignore the advantage denied and seek the opportunity offered. Excuses are for losers, and self-pity is a trap.

Been there, whined about that. About a quarter-century ago, I was about as washed up as it’s possible to get without actually getting clean. It did not occur to me at the time that if all you can see is your duodenum, it’s no wonder the whole world looks like crap. Extricating my head from that position was a task both tedious and painful, but it had to be done.

It helped that in those days, there were far fewer Professional Victims, gamers of the system, their ambition adulterated with avarice, their industriousness supplanted by indolence, their self-respect the spiritual equivalent of high-fructose corn syrup. I saw them coming:

[W]e live in an era where nothing is more important than How People Feel, where victims are routinely assigned the maximum level of moral authority, and it’s justified because, well, they feel bad.

And nothing makes a TV audience feel good quite so effectively as people on TV saying that they feel bad. TV itself, of course, doesn’t care, so long as they buy this laundry detergent or that auto insurance.



  1. McGehee »

    21 July 2013 · 7:36 pm

    Off-topic: I can’t believe nobody predicted Sharks in a Tornado.

  2. CGHill »

    21 July 2013 · 8:35 pm

    If they had, there’d be a law requiring insurance coverage of such events.

  3. fillyjonk »

    22 July 2013 · 7:09 am

    Driving home the other day, there was some news story (I forget which one, the questions are all more or less interchangeable) and the reporter asked the person involved with the event, “How did this make you feel?”

    And I thought: when civilization collapses under its own weight, that will probably be the last question gasped out. (And part of the cause).

    I’ve dealt through the years with a few students who have been taught that they are victims and therefore nothing that happens is their fault. They are some of the most aggravating people I have had to work with.

  4. McGehee »

    22 July 2013 · 6:27 pm

    “How did this make you feel?”

    “Like clobbering the schist out of the first idiot TV reporter who asked me about my feelings.”

  5. fillyjonk »

    22 July 2013 · 9:20 pm

    Yeah, I think my reaction to being asked that question in the wake of some tragedy would probably be a version of, “Come at me, bro”

  6. FMJRA 2.0: Atomic : The Other McCain »

    27 July 2013 · 5:19 pm

    [...] Dustbury [...]

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