Our Culture Of Victimhood
Victimhood is fast becoming a national pastime. We should be worried about this, particularly when it can more properly be called ‘victimhoodwink’.
Claiming victim status is attractive. You shed blame. You gain sympathy. You escape consequences.
Some of the most unpleasant people I have met - bullies, liars and the vengeful - have convinced others they are victims.
I want to help the socially disadvantaged purchase their own home – but not if they avoid work. I want to help the beggar on the street, but not when their smoking habit burns a million dollars. I want to help the pregnant 15-year-old, but more for the innocent child than for its parents.
Australian newspapers are reporting that 20,000 people are claiming Centrelink support but are refusing work. An Australian woman is claiming drugs in her luggage were there because she was tricked. A drunken joy-rider is blaming a drink problem. Most police aren’t retiring but are given a ‘mortgage buster’, index-linked disability pension. A footy coach is blaming a lop-sided penalty count, 5.5 million workers blame ageism for their unemployment, Trump is blaming the media … I could go on.
Just as one warms to this thesis, it is as well to remember that some people really ARE VICTIMS and deserve all the empathy, love and support we can give them. A few of those listed above may fall into this category. In the same newspapers is the headline, ‘Jihadi kids are victims’. I agree.
The, ‘I didn’t know’ defence is a victim statement. What it says is ‘I was the victim of poor teaching’. Naughty, naughty schools. Lift your game. ‘I was led astray’ is a good second option. Naughty, naughty friends. Lift your game. Another is, ‘I have a problem with drink’. Naughty, naughty drink. Lift your game!!!
Whatever excuse is used, be it the proverbial cat, spider in the lap, or grape on the supermarket floor, it is generally used to gain advantage.
It’s not my fault. I have a psycho social anxiety disorder caused by nurturing inadequacy and a concomitant self-actualisation problem that has done irreparable harm to my delicate psyche and traumatised my informed self to the extent I cannot take responsibility for my actions.
Or – as one unknown humourist said:
"Therapy has taught me that it’s all your fault."
Rather too many are using a:
"Get out of responsibility free" card.
Over my years as headmaster, I’ve had to expel a few students. It’s always unpleasant – but all the more so when lawyers are threatened and outrage expressed against the School rather than against the student whose behaviour has been so reprehensible. The parents rage. The studnet smirks. The School suffers.
And so does the student – who doesn’t learn and doesn’t reform.
Don’t blame it on the sunshine.
Don’t blame it on the moonlight.
Don’t blame it on the good times.
Blame it on the boogie.
With apologies to Mick Jackson and his immortal 1978 song, it is not the boogie that should be blamed, but the ‘booty’. Blaming someone can be very lucrative.
Let’s get back to the newspapers. They tell me that $332,000 was given to a support worker because a 190kg man ‘accidentally leant on her’ giving her a ‘painful shoulder injury’. Of course, the man wasn’t sued, the employer was. They are the insured. They have the money. They are the ones to pay.
Not knowing the full details, the payout may have been entirely appropriate, but the point remains, often the perpetrator of an offence, or the cause of some harm, suffers no consequence whatsoever. But, seldom does this favour get extended to an insured employer, even though they weigh considerably less than 190kg and didn’t lean on anyone.
Again I say, there are some victims who should, quite properly, be recompensed, supported and be given every sympathy. This is all the more so should the victim be innocent of anything that has contributed to their misfortune. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes they have contributed, but this has not prevented them gaining huge payouts.
Those with legal training can make better judgements than me on matters of justice, but what I can say as an educator, is that victimhood is on the rise, and with it, a growing reluctance to accept responsibility.
I close with reference to my newspapers once more. Evidently, there is ‘good debt’ and there is ‘bad debt’. I’m not sure about this. However, I am sure that there are ‘good victims’ and there are ‘bad victims’. We need wisdom to discern the one from the other.