A Nation of Victims: The Decay of the American Character


by: Sykes, Charles J.
Format: Hardcover

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Product Description Charles Sykes's ProfScam sparked a furious debate over the mission and the failure of our universities. Now he turns his attention to an even more controversial subject. A Nation of Victims is the first book on the startling decay of the American backbone and the disease that is causing it. The spread of victimism has been widely noted in the media; indeed, its symptoms have produced best-selling books, fueled television ratings, spawned hundreds of support groups, and enriched tens of thousands of lawyers across the country. The plaint of the victim - Its not my fault - has become the loudest and most influential voice in America, an instrument of personal and lasting political change. In this incisive, pugnacious, frequently hilarious book, Charles Sykes reveals a society that is tribalizing, where individuals and groups define themselves not by shared culture, but by their status as victims. Victims of parents, of families, of men, of women, of the workplace, of sex, of stress, of drugs, of food, of college reading lists, of personal physical characteristics - these and a host of other groups are engaged in an ever-escalating fight for attention, sympathy, money, and legal or governmental protection. What's going on and how did we get to this point? Sykes traces the inexorable rise of the therapeutic culture and the decline of American self-reliance. With example after example, he shows how victimism has co-opted the genuine victories of the civil-rights movement for less worthy goals. And he offers hope: the prospect of a culture of renewed character, where society lends compassion to those who truly need it. Like Shelby Steele, Charles Murray, and Dinesh D'Souza, Charles Sykes defines the ground of what will be a significant national debate. From Publishers Weekly In a trenchant and tonic analysis of America's loss of backbone, the author of The Hollow Men alleges that we have become a nation of self-proclaimed victims. "I am not responsible; it's not my fault" is the common refrain linking compulsive gamblers, co-dependents in dysfunctional relationships, obese people "oppressed" by narrow restaurant seats and others who claim victim status, Sykes charges. He excoriates the psychiatric profession for continually inventing new disease categories and lashes our "therapeutic culture," which turns everyday difficulties into certified psychological problems. He stretches his argument too thin, however, when he attacks '60s activism, and "victimist explanations" of inner-city poverty and youth crime that, in his view, have distorted our criminal justice system, schools and urban policy. Even here, though, he scores points, calling upon Americans to dismantle the culture of victimization by recognizing personal responsibility and refusing to reflexively blame others. His sometimes shrill critique of sensitivity workshops, Afrocentric scholars and minorities "embracing their victim status" will make this book controversial. Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. From Library Journal Here is yet another manifestation of the intellectual backlash against the diagnosing of every bad personal habit as an illness and the myriad self-help groups modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) that have arisen from this phenomenon. (See Wendy Kaminer's I'm Dysfunctional, You're Dysfunctional , LJ 6/1/92.) Sykes ( ProfScam , Regnery Gateway, 1988) argues, in a journalistic, rambling, and superficial style, that we have allowed psychotherapy to run amok and now routinely accept the illness excuse in cases of public misconduct or personal sloth. Murder, for example, is variously attributed to fetal alcohol syndrome or junk food diets. This perception of ourselves as a nation of victims represents nothing less than the decay of the American character. Sykes calls for a "moratorium on blame" and a return to the acceptance of personal responsibility for one's actions along with stiff penalties for criminal behav


Product Code: 9780312082970
ISBN: 0312082975
Publisher: St Martins Pr
Publication Date: 1992-09-01
Number of Pages: 289 pages
Languages: english
Edition: 1st
Dimension: 6.61 x 1.18 x 9.61 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.25 pounds