Posts tagged ‘Victim in Chief’

Victim Culture

BACK in 1993, the misanthropic art critic Robert Hughes published a grumpy, entertaining book called “Culture of Complaint,” in which he predicted that America was doomed to become increasingly an “infantilized culture” of victimhood. It was a rant against what he saw as a grievance industry appearing all across the political spectrum.

I enjoyed the book, but as a lifelong optimist about America, was unpersuaded by Mr. Hughes’s argument. I dismissed it as just another apocalyptic prediction about our culture.

Unfortunately, the intervening two decades have made Mr. Hughes look prophetic and me look naïve.
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So who cares if we are becoming a culture of victimhood? We all should. To begin with, victimhood makes it more and more difficult for us to resolve political and social conflicts. The culture feeds a mentality that crowds out a necessary give and take — the very concept of good-faith disagreement — turning every policy difference into a pitched battle between good (us) and evil (them).

The Real Victims of Victimhood, by Arthur C. Brooks

A Nation of Victims: The Decay of the American Character, by Charles J. Sykes

So let me get this straight. You were unanimous in saying that you want your school to be a place where people feel free to speak up, even if you strongly dislike their views. But you don’t have such a school. In fact, you have exactly the sort of “tolerance” that Herbert Marcuse advocated [which I had discussed in my lecture, and which you can read about here]. You have a school in which only people in the preferred groups get to speak, and everyone else is afraid. What are you going to do about this? Let’s talk.
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Their high schools have thoroughly socialized them into what sociologists call victimhood culture, which weakens students by turning them into “moral dependents” who cannot deal with problems on their own. They must get adult authorities to validate their victim status.
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The only hope for Centerville High — and for Yale — is to disrupt their repressively uniform moral matrices to make room for dissenting views. High schools and colleges that lack viewpoint diversity should make it their top priority. Race and gender diversity matter too, but if those goals are pursued in the ways that student activists are currently demanding, then political orthodoxy is likely to intensify. Schools that value freedom of thought should therefore actively seek out non-leftist faculty, and they should explicitly include viewpoint diversity and political diversity in all statements about diversity and discrimination. Parents and students who value freedom of thought should take viewpoint diversity into account when applying to colleges. Alumni should take it into account before writing any more checks.

The Yale problem refers to an unfortunate feedback loop: Once you allow victimhood culture to spread on your campus, you can expect ever more anger from students representing victim groups, coupled with demands for a deeper institutional commitment to victimhood culture, which leads inexorably to more anger, more demands, and more commitment. But the Yale problem didn’t start at Yale. It started in high school.

Campus Turmoil Begins in High School, by Jonathan Haidt

At the bottom of so many people’s unhappiness is a big reservoir of self-pity. Much of the depression, anxiety, and anger that so many suffer stems from deeply ingrained habits of self-pity and its concomitant narcissism.

There are exceptions of course. Not everyone who is depressed is full of self-pity. But, everyone who is full of self-pity is depressed. Depression grows on self-pity like apples grow on the apple tree. The only way to rid yourself of the poisoned fruit is to tear up the roots that produce it.

How do we do that?

Let me suggest three things.

First, have reasonable expectations.
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Second, understand that to decenter self-pitying thoughts, you must replace them with something else. That something else is gratitude.
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Third, focus on your duties, your goals, your plans and not on what troubles you.

Self-Pity and How to Overcome It


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The Neo Brownshirts, Thought Police, and the Oppressed

This is what fascism looks like in 2013:

The crowd who managed to silence a speaker yesterday accomplished something, to be sure. But it wasn’t a blow against racism, fascism or police oppression. It was a step towards a closed campus where mob rule determines who can speak and who will be shouted down. It was a shameful day. And it deprived every member of our community of the chance to hear Kelly and decide for themselves whether his policing methods are indeed the first steps of a Rockwell-like campaign against minorities and the poor in America’s greatest city. To those individuals, let me put it plainly. Yours was an act of cowardice and fear, unworthy of any of the causes you claim to hold dear.

Miller ’70 P’02: Fascism and the open campus

These modern thought police are fascists.

Thought Police
Thanks to American Digest for the image

The wish to be oppressed turns into the wish to be morally superior, which turns into the pleasure of silencing alleged oppressors, which turns into its own sort of hatred and oppression.

The Wannabe Oppressed: Today’s college students, climate change, and the cult of victimization

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Stop Watching Us!

Stop Watching Us!

Thousands rallied against NSA’s domestic and international surveillance on Saturday by marching to the Capitol and calling for closer scrutiny of the agency as more details of its spying are leaked.

Holding signs that said “Stop mass surveillance,” “Thank you, Edward Snowden” and “No NSA mass spying,” and chanting slogans like “no secret courts,” the protesters gathered under a blue sky to hear various speakers.

Craig Aaron, head of the group Free Press, said “this isn’t about right and left — it’s about right and wrong.”

Anti-NSA rally attracts thousands to march in Washington

Demonstrators came from across the United States. Some wore tape across their mouths and masks, and dressed up as cameras. Others carried signs plastered with images of Snowden, and a giant blue and white parachute that read “constitutional rights not NSA mass spying.” Groups of protesters chanted slogans like, “They say wiretap, we say fight back,” and “Hey hey, ho ho, the NSA has got to go.” One person dressed up as Obama, held an “Obamacam” and posed in front of a model drone.

NSA ‘Stop Watching Us’ Protest Draws Thousands In Washington

Obamacare, Benghazi, IRS, NSA, race baiting, Solyndra, moral preening, Fast and Furious, Pigford, etc., ad nauseum. President Transparency, Moral Preener in Chief, Victim in Chief, President Asterisk, etc., ad nasueum.

America is going through a transformation, on a scale that few people now realize. The last such fundamental change was from the rural and agrarian society of the Founding era (America 1.0) to the urban and industrial society which is now coming to an end (America 2.0).

That transition was disruptive and painful, but ultimately led to a better America.

We are now making a similar transition to a post-industrial, networked, decentralized, immensely productive America, with a more individualistic, voluntarist, anti-bureaucratic culture (America 3.0).

Today’s political regime is like legacy software, built for an earlier world.

Institutions of the 20th Century welfare state that once looked permanent are crumbling. The old operating system has been kludged so many times it won’t work much longer. It has to be replaced.

The time-worn liberal-progressive wisdom is simple: See a problem, create a government program to fix it.

ObamaCare proves this approach no longer works.

The transformation of the USA — here comes America 3.0

Average is Over

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Rubes, you did build that.

Obamacare, Benghazi, IRS, NSA, race baiting, Solyndra, moral preening, Fast and Furious, Pigford, etc., ad nauseum. President Transparency, Moral Preener in Chief, Victim in Chief, President Asterisk, etc., ad nasueum.

The U.S. individual health insurance market currently totals about 19 million people. Because the Obama administration’s regulations on grandfathering existing plans were so stringent about 85% of those, 16 million, are not grandfathered and must comply with Obamacare at their next renewal. The rules are very complex. For example, if you had an individual plan in March of 2010 when the law was passed and you only increased the deductible from $1,000 to $1,500 in the years since, your plan has lost its grandfather status and it will no longer be available to you when it would have renewed in 2014.

These 16 million people are now receiving letters from their carriers saying they are losing their current coverage and must re-enroll in order to avoid a break in coverage and comply with the new health law’s benefit mandates––the vast majority by January 1. Most of these will be seeing some pretty big rate increases.

Week Two of the Obamacare Federal Health Insurance Exchange Rollout––No Improvement

Rubes who idolize the state. Statolatry.

President Obama claims that Republicans are busy probing “phony scandals.” But the sheer number of scandals suggests that misbehavior, abuse of power, and possibly corruption are not something being dreamed up by the GOP, but a defining characteristic of the Obama administration.

Obama is at Two Dozen Scandals and Counting

President Obama (in)famously said, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan” under the Affordable Care Act. As it turns out, not so much. Hundreds of thousands of Americans, it turns out, are receiving letters telling them that their existing coverage just isn’t good enough to satisfy the strict rquirements of the Obamacare law, and that they’ll have to sign up for new policies. Those new policies come with new stipulations, and new price tags. Which is to say, it doesn’t matter if you like your health care plan, since you probably can’t keep it.

You Can Keep Your Health Insurance Under Obamacare? Not So Much.

Obviously, those people losing their health insurance must not have liked what they had. It’s the only explanation.

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President Transparency, Moral Preener in Chief, Victim in Chief

Markets are conducive to evolutionary improvement. Government empowers those who want to resist change.

Arnold Kling

ObamaCare has become big business for an elite network of Washington lobbyists and consultants who helped shape the law from the inside.

More than 30 former administration officials, lawmakers and congressional staffers who worked on the healthcare law have set up shop on K Street since 2010.

ObamaCare’s architects reap windfall as Washington lobbyists

President Obama has failed to deliver on few promises as miserably as his vow to create a more transparent and open government. Shortly after being sworn into office, he sent a memo to federal agencies promising, “We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration.”

Where the Sun Don’t Shine: President Obama promised transparency and open government. He failed miserably. So why do Washington watchdog groups look the other way?

Has any previous president devalued his words quite so much, in quite so many ways? Perhaps, but I rather doubt it.

In order to support my claim, it’s worth taking a stroll down memory lane, to compare what Mr. Obama has said with what he has done. The sheer bandwidth of his broken promises and empty claims is quite extraordinary.

For example, there was his promise not to allow lobbyists to work in his administration. (They have.) His commitment to slash earmarks. (He didn’t.) To be the most transparent presidency in history. (It’s not.) To put an end to “phony accounting.” (It started almost on day one and continues.) And to restore trust in government. (Trust in government is at near-historic lows.) Think, too, about his pledge to seek public financing in the general election. (He didn’t.) And to treat super-PACs as a “threat to democracy.” (He embraced them.)
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And let’s not forget Mr. Obama’s promise to bring us together. (He is the most polarizing president in the history of Gallup polling.) Or his assurance to us that he would put an end to the type of politics that “breeds division and conflict and cynicism.” (All three have increased during the Obama presidency.) And his counsel to us to “resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.” (Remind me again whose campaign allies accused Mitt Romney of being responsible for the cancer death of a steelworker’s wife.)

I’m sure people could add to this list, but there’s enough here to establish a pattern. Even if you stipulate that politicians often make claims they can’t keep–that some are the product of cynical deception and others the product of unforeseen circumstances–Mr. Obama is in a category all his own.

Obama’s Long List of Broken Promises

Forward! (What a bunch of rubes.)

Barack Obama helped lead the way when he identified himself with the parents of Trayvon Martin, shot by George Zimmerman in the neighborhood-watch catastrophe with which all are familiar. Stepping out from his usual duties of drawing meaningless red lines in the Syrian sand, the president splashed red paint across the American landscape:

“If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”

In so saying, he essentially gave permission for all to identify themselves by race with the victim or the accused. How sad, as we approach the 50th anniversary of the march Martin Luther King Jr. led on Washington, that even the president resorts to judging not by the content of one’s character but by the color of his skin — the antithesis of the great dream King articulated.
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Victim in chief is no role for a president.

Obama’s race remarks exacerbate tensions

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