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An excerpt from Gary Lawrence’s forthcoming book “The Magnificent Gift of Agency; To Act and Not Be Acted Upon.”
Contrary to conventional reasoning, victimhood actually begins when someone is rescued from the consequences of an action. Robbed of a learning experience and its consequent weight of responsibility, the person becomes irresponsible. Accustomed to being rescued, he becomes a pampered snowflake.
A good example of an “it’s-no-fair” whiner in the scriptures is Alma’s son Corianton who had slipped away from his missionary duties to chase harlots in the land of Siron (succumbing to the original Siron song, perhaps?). He argued that being punished for sin is unfair – a basic misunderstanding of the actions-have-consequences principle. Alma references his whine –
“… concerning the justice of God in the punishment of the sinner; for ye do try to suppose that it is injustice that the sinner should be consigned to a state of misery…“
– and then lays out what I believe to be the most powerful exposition of sin, justice, atonement, repentance, and mercy found in the scriptures, Alma 42. Fortunately for Corianton, Alma’s words turned him to repentance and he remained true.
Who are today’s self-appointed victims? They’re easy to spot. They …
- Identify others as the cause of undesired situations.
- Deny personal responsibility for their own life or circumstances.
- Look for reasons to feel offended.
- Believe others are more fortunate.
- Gain relief from receiving attention and empathy.
- Feel others are obligated to help them.
That last point reminds me of the movie in which the village milkman gives the town beggar a kopeck. The beggar says, “One kopeck? Last week you gave me two kopeks.” He replies that he had a bad week to which the beggar retorts, “So, if you had a bad week, why should I suffer?”
That’s pure victimhood and in ever-increasing numbers, the touchy and easily offended form the Victimhood Culture:
“I’m not responsible for what happened. It’s not fair. It’s somebody else’s fault. I’m suffering. The world owes me. I deserve to be taken care of.”
American colleges lead the charge. Many have established teams to investigate comments of students and professors – free speech, no less – that make others feel offended or even mildly uncomfortable. Reports of offensive speech include a roommate who was watching a video of a conservative commentator, a student who jokingly described herself being schizophrenic at times, a food-service worker saying hello in Japanese to an Asian-American student, and a student who complained about a professor who assigned too many classic works on economics written by men.
Snowflakes on steroids banging spoons on their high chairs.
Criminals have the script down pat. A prison supervisor told me that over half of the violent inmates in his jurisdiction continue to claim they didn’t do it, their conviction in a court of law notwithstanding. And most of those who do own up to the act point the finger at others – he called me a name, my marriage was going bad, I have a medical condition, they made me mad, he hit me first, it was self-defense, I was set up, I had bad parents, even “the coffee was cold.”
I wish victim hoods would realize the more we follow Christ, the more willing we are to repent of mistakes instead of blaming others for misfortunes. Further, the more we follow Christ, the more we realize that opposition in all things is necessary for progress. Unfortunately, the whiner does not have such attitudes.
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Gary Lawrence is a public opinion pollster and author in Orange County, California.