Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A Nation of Victims

From The Times.

Does this sound like any other country we know about?
I’m oppressed, you’re oppressed, we are all oppressed: the victim culture

THE vast majority of people in Britain are officially oppressed, according to a report that claims we have become a “nation of victims”.

The study calculates that 73 per cent of Britons are members of officially recognised “victim groups”, including the disabled, women, ethnic minorities and homosexuals. Each group is given government support, including protective legislation.

The report, We’re (Nearly) All Victims Now, by the socially conservative think- tank Civitas, gives warning that the rise of a “victimocracy” undermines democracy because people are no longer considered equal under law.

“We have become a nation of victims,” it says. “Victimhood today is a political status that is sought after because of the advantages it brings, including preferential treatment in the workplace, the possibility of using police power to silence unwelcome critics, and financial compensation. To be classified as a victim is to be given a special political status, which has no necessary connection with real hardship or oppression.”

In October next year the Government is setting up the Commission for Equality and Human Rights, which merges the disability, race and equal opportunities commissions.

Many people, such as black women, are victims of so-called multiple discrimination. The report uses official figures to strip out the overlapping groups to calculate that nearly three quarters of people belong to one category or other. The biggest oppressed group is women, who constitute 51 per cent of the population and are protected by a range of legislation covering discrimination, equal pay and domestic violence. Ethnic minority men amount to 4 per cent; white disabled men 11 per cent; white male pensioners 5 per cent; and white, gay, able-bodied men, 2 per cent.

The report attacks the increasing tendency to judge crimes as more serious if they are committed against official victims — so-called hate crimes. Police have been encouraged to give priority to such cases, which the Civitas report says is undermining equality under the law.

It cites the trial this year of the killers of Jody Dobrowski, a barman murdered on Clapham Common, South London, in October last year. Jailing the two men for 28 years, the judge said that the sentence would have been halved if they had not voiced any opposition to the victim’s sexuality. “Is animosity to gays a worse motive than, for example, a calculated killing to silence a witness?” it asks.

It also states that claiming official victim status enables groups to silence critics, often using taking offence as a political tactic. The benefits of taking offence are so great in any debate, that it has encouraged the growth of “increasing touchiness” in Britain.

However, the report gives warning that seeking victim status can harm the victims, denying them personal responsibility by always blaming others and undermining their self-respect.


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