Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Response to "Victimology bites"

This started out as a comment on Eric Raymond's "Victimology bites" blog post, but got long enough that I figured I'd turn it into its own blog post.

I think his attacks on liberals and colleges are probably a little overstated, but are are certainly not inaccurate. There have been plenty of self-proclaimed conservatives who have played the victim card: think of things like the complaints about the "war on Christmas/Christianity" or the "Real American, Main Street people" suffering at the hands of "Predator Lenders," or the "War on Marriage." While the second example especially might have some merit, Liberals and Liberal Democrats are not the only ones who do this.

Now, it is entirely reasonable to say that the current Republican party and some of those who call themselves "conservative" do not actually subscribe to a truly Conservative philosophy, in the traditional sense of the term, and are actually Liberals in their view of the role of how involved government should be in people's daily lives. I can certainly buy that.

While I don't doubt that there are those (particularly the powerful, who have something to gain) who are consciously pushing Victimology as a stealth power grab, he seems to implicitly suggest a level of malice that I believe is untrue. My take is that many people would say that forcing businesses to provide handicapped parking spaces at least comes from a place of compassion. I agree that it is possible (and easy) to take this too far, but I doubt the majority of people do it out of some kind of desire for a tyrannical takeover.

My (uninformed) opinion is that the current state of Victimology arose from an overreaction to the very real problems of discrimination, disadvantage, and structural barriers to success. There definitely has been a subversion of some of the structures designed to help those who help themselves; the problem is that it is often hard to tell who is interested in helping themself.