The Greeks gave us tragedy -- the idea that life is never fair. Terrible stuff for no reason tragically falls on good people. Life's choices are sometimes only between the bad and the far worse.
In the plays of the ancient dramatists Aeschylus and Sophocles, heroism and nobility only arise out of tragedies.
The tragic hero refuses to blame the gods for his terrible fate. Instead, a Prometheus, Ajax or Oedipus prefers to fight against the odds. He thereby establishes a code of honor, even as defeat looms.
In contrast, modern Americans gave the world therapy.
Life must always be fair. If not, something or someone must be blamed. All good people deserve only a good life -- or else.
A nation of victims soon becomes collectively paralyzed in fear of offending someone. Pay down the
Nope. Victims would allege that such belt-tightening is unfair and impossible -- and hurtful to boot. So we do nothing as the rendezvous with financial collapse gets ever closer.
Does anyone think a culture of whiners can really build high-speed rail in
Even animals get in on the new victimhood. To build a reservoir in drought-stricken
America's impoverished ancestors at 15 years of age may have rounded
Not today's therapeutic college youth. They have been so victimized by racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia and other -isms and -phobias that colleges often provide them "safe spaces," outlaw "microaggressions" and demand "trigger warnings" to avoid the un-nice.
What would our grandfathers think?
As teenagers on D-Day, they found no safe spaces on Omaha Beach. A storm of steel from thousands of SS killers proved more than a "microaggression" at the Battle of the Bulge. Generals did not give their freezing GIs mere "trigger warnings" about a half-million Chinese Red Army soldiers crossing the Yalu River during the Korean War.
American victimhood is the luxury of an affluent, secure and leisured postmodern society that can afford such silly indulgences.
But victimhood is a good career move. Kaepernick went from being a washed-up quarterback to being a much-publicized social justice warrior -- a veritable Noam Chomsky in cleats opining on over two centuries of American criminal justice. He was once fined for reportedly smearing a fellow
During the first presidential debate,
America may be broke and plagued by riots and terrorism. No matter: It apparently can afford to fret over Machado's 20 years of post-traumatic stress.
Once victimhood is established, we lose our identities and, as part of an offended collective, claim blanket exemption for all our imperfections.
In Machado's case, what does it matter if such a victim allegedly threatened a Venezuelan judge, or was reportedly involved with a drug cartel leader, or became a campaign shill for the Clinton campaign?
All of that is nothing compared with the trauma of being called fat for not being able to fit back into the bikini that won her the Miss Universe crown and fame.
Sometimes the art of victimhood gets confusing. If we are all victims of some sort, who are left to be the victimizers?
Can victims victimize? Can gays be Islamophobic, Muslims homophobic, blacks racist, women sexist or Latinos xenophobic? If so, who is to sort out their relative rock/paper/scissors zero-sum grievances?
Unfortunately, Russian President
Nor do foreign buyers of U.S. Treasury bonds to finance the debt defer to America's legions of victims. A nuclear bomb from
To appreciate American heroism, we might read Sophocles' "Antigone" or