Thursday, April 19, 2007
The disease is in ever present danger, but is being driven underground, as it were, by the incessant call to arms to eliminate a minuscule source of the disease, certainly not its cause. I am talking about Imus. To eliminate Imus' job and banish him from the airwaves might make some of us feel good for awhile, kind of like putting a band aid on a skinned knee or blowing on a burned finger. To create the object lesson of banning one person from the use of politically incorrect racist language misses the point entirely. It is a feel good reactive response which, by all measures, will have no lasting impact on the underlying disease from which it springs. It diverts people from what really needs to be done. That disease is what I call victimology. People of all classes, ethnic groups and sizes love to be victims. It may just be a human trait, but it tends to be a force that allows the continuation of patterns of behavior, individually or as a group, that prevents progress and reinforces destructive behavior. The best examples are in the field of the addictions; e.g., the treatment of alcoholism now universally acknowledges that the drunk never gets better until, as a minimum, he takes personal responsibility for his own behavior. Only when the pattern of denial (I don't have a problem, the fault lies outside me) is broken can true progress take place. Currently we are dealing with the tragedy in Virginia of the deaths caused by a "troubled" young man. The New York Times (April 19, 2007) states: "Responsibility shifts outward from the individual to wider forces. People interviewed on TV tend to direct their anger at the gun, the university administration, society and so on. If they talk about the young killer at all, the socially acceptable word seems to be 'troubled.' He’s more acted upon than acting." Such a heinous crime, but yet we are preoccupied with understanding the "victim" himself who has caused such great harm. In a society hell bent on victimology, one that truly deserves the moniker 'evil' is given a partial free pass because he too is a victim.