Victim Mentality (Was: Re: Free-Markets: Extro-Nazi's or Extro-Saints?)

Mark Crosby (
Thu, 11 Sep 1997 08:05:57 -0700 (PDT)

QueeneMuse wrote:
< There are always some people who equate free market libertarian
politics with a "I got mine" mentality, and there are a few of those
rampant types about. Hey, listen most of us are much more intersted in
finding a new paradigm that solves the problem, not ignores it.
Sanctioning victim mentality is not going to solve a thing. It hasn't
in the past and it isn't likely to in the future. >

"VICTIM MENTALITY" seems to be a dominant theme in today’s memetics.
The following is from the Wednesday, September 10, Wall Street Journal
editorial page in a commentary by Frank Furedi called "Princess Diana
And the New Cult Of Victimhood"

< It all seems so terribly un-British. The British character was
traditionally supposed to be about having a "stiff upper lip" and
"remaining silent in the face of adversity." The unprecedented public
display of grief after Princess Diana's death seemed to reveal a sea
change in Britain's culture. What we witnessed last week was more than
an outburst of public emotion. It is the emergence of a new secular
religion, with a distinct set of values and attitudes. The new
religion celebrates emotion, deplores reason and above all reveres the

As a self-styled victim, Diana is the perfect deity for the new
religion. She was popular not just because she was beautiful and
committed to good causes, but most of all because she suffered, and
she did so publicly. [SNIP]

In contemporary Britain as in the U.S., victimhood and suffering
represent a claim to moral authority. Lost is an important
distinction: While suffering can be character forming, it does not by
itself endow an individual with any special knowledge or virtue.

The British political community has adopted "unity through suffering"
as one of its unspoken slogans. [Snip] At a time when collective
reactions are rare, these expressions of solidarity are just about the
only manifestations of national unity offered, and the politicians and
media have milked them for all they are worth. [Snip]

This culture of vulnerability has also become institutionalized.
Public figures are expected to cry and acknowledge their weakness and
frailty. Emotion, once foreign and unfitting in the public realm, has
become commonplace in British political life over the past decade.
Politicians hug, kiss and weep at the slightest opportunity; the art
of displaying just how much you "feel" and "care" is more important
than governing. Those who refuse to humble themselves in public are
stigmatized as uncaring, inhuman and aloof.

As Diana's funeral brought the country to a standstill, the message
was clear: It has become sacrilegious to suggest that suffering has no
intrinsic meaning, or to state that the experience of being a victim
does not automatically confer on the individual any special qualities.
An enlightened society would treat its victims with compassion and
respect, but not with the kind of adulation that should be reserved
for heroes. And that's just the point: Yesterday's public adored and
revered heroes, today's celebrates frailty and weakness.

Britain has not only lost Diana. If the experience of the past week is
any indication, it may also have lost something more important: the
belief that what matters is what you do, not how much you say you
suffer. >

Mark Crosby

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