America’s Psychological Civil War

Apparently, the victimization of America has become so widespread that it’s now too much even for the cultural elites who write for The New York Times.

In an article entitled, “The Real Victims of Victimhood,” Times columnist Arthur C. Brooks writes,

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).

As evidence of the victim culture, he cites the following:

On campuses, activists interpret ordinary interactions as “microaggressions” and set up “safe spaces” to protect students from certain forms of speech. And presidential candidates on both the left and the right routinely motivate supporters by declaring that they are under attack by immigrants or wealthy people.

However, the problem with thinking like a victim is not that it’s “selfish,” as Brooks claims.

The problem is that it destroys your sense of self-respect and self-confidence. By thinking of yourself primarily as a victim, you lose sight of your strengths, capabilities and capacity for resilience.

In his article, Brooks cites social psychological research which suggests thinking like a victim makes you less prone to simple acts of kindness. Brooks claims victim-think leads to “selfishness.”

Actually, just the opposite is true. Victim-think leads to the destruction of society’s most precious resource: the individual.

Acts of kindness and generosity emerge from people who have something to give. A nation of resentful, angry, parasitical and thin-skinned victims lack self-respect and self-reliance. How can you expect them to be generous towards others, when they do not even know how to take responsibility for themselves?

People who encourage you to think like a victim are often victimizers themselves. While they seem to offer sympathy and “support,” in truth, they make themselves feel better about their own unsatisfying lives by keeping you “down” with them.

People who are happy and who believe in themselves do not want you to think like a victim. Instead they ask you, “So what next? How can you make your comeback? What now?”

Government and society are falling apart at the seams. Very few will disagree. Yes, it could be worse; but American society started at such a strong and high place, and now it’s visibly in decline.

A big part of the reason for this is the “victim think” not just encouraged, but codified in law by our elected officials (both parties now) who indulge the weakest and worst of the human spirit for the sake of making themselves look “compassionate,” and also to acquire power.

So why should you care that we have become such a victim culture?

Because a happy, healthy and free society depends on a civilization populated with self-responsible individuals. People who think like victims have no respect for reason, independence, self-reliance; and, as a result, they no longer yearn for freedom.

The psychological civil warfare brewing in America is not between “haves” and “have nots”; nor is it among people of different races.

The real mental unrest afflicting America is between those who value self-reliance and independence and those who, for whatever reasons, have given up—and placed their fates and destinies in the hands of others (usually elected officials).

Once most people are this way, it logically follows that we’ll be in a dictatorship, because most of us will no longer care enough to want to be free.

The best thing that can be said about America, at present, is that there’s still a conflict and a struggle going on: Between those who will, and those who will not, stand up and live self-responsible lives.

The fate of America, thank goodness, does not lie with our politicians. It all depends on how most of us resolve this problem—if we do.

But this psychological warfare worries me. America is slowly cracking up. The cracks are deeper than politics. They’re between those who feel entitled, as victims, to live off the efforts of others; and those who simply want to be left free.

It can’t go on like this. Sooner or later something has to give, and it will not be pretty when it does.

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