“Ableism,” announced our 17-year-old daughter one afternoon, ticking off her fingers. “Chauvinism. Sizeism. Sexism. Classism. Racism. Genderism. Ageism. … Why does everything have to be an ‘ism’? Why does everyone have to be a victim?”

In this brave new world our young adult daughters are entering, one of the most pernicious human failings they will face is the victimhood mentality, sometimes called “the doctrine of hurt feelings.”

These days, everyone wants to be a victim. If you’re not truly a victim of something, American society will now help by creating an “ism” tailor-made for you out of thin air. Nothing is your fault. It’s our fault for having a bias against your (pick one) age / gender / orientation / weight / skin tone / religion / nation of origin / employment / income / opinions / um, handedness, um … did I miss anything?

One reader even accused me of “bullying” him – I kid you not – because I didn’t respond to his highly offensive emails insulting my husband and children. So now he’s a “victim” of bullying. See how this works?

And, of course, when someone has the cajones to call out someone’s “victimhood” status, they’re promptly labeled racist, judgmental, sexist, hater, intolerant and other colorful epithets.

What’s behind this tendency to divide people into finer and finer sub-groups? Doesn’t anyone remember the motto on America’s Great Seal – E pluribus unum (“Out of many, one”)?

Let’s face it, these days people are wielding victimhood as a weapon, a tool. It’s profitable. It’s so much easier to be a victim and whine that things are too hard, after all, than to get a backbone, work hard and achieve success through your own merits.

These groups have discovered something very important: There are rewards for being offended. Read that last line again because it’s important. There are rewards for being offended.

“People in this country are becoming so ridiculous it’s pathetic,” noted one commenter in response to an article entitled “Feminists upset over statue of man and woman talking” (apparently the charming sculpture just “screamed mansplaining”). “The simplemindedness of many people today is astonishing. Everything is either racist, discriminatory, sexist, offensive, or causes them emotional turmoil. Everything, no matter how slight, offends many people to a point where they act like someone who is suffering from mental disorders. We’ve become a society of fools and nitpicking morons.”

What is the result of this doctrine of hurt feelings? Well, at the moment – and I stress it’s temporary – people are walking around on eggshells, and for very good reason. Charges of being “ist” (racist, sexist, whatever) are irrefutable, along the lines of “Have you stopped beating your wife yet, yes or no?” Since no one wants to be metaphorically accused of beating his wife, our language is becoming sanitized, and our behavior is becoming wary.

People are being sued out of existence, losing jobs and homes and reputations, and otherwise being (ahem) victimized by the (cough) “victims” of these “isms.”

The result is the “victims” are walking all over us, stomping, grinding, rejoicing. Their hurt feeeeelings have trumped all … for the moment. Remember, there are rewards for being offended.

But why do I claim this is temporary? It’s because no one, but no one will put up with false accusations forever.

What do I mean? Well, let’s take just one example of this doctrine of hurt feelings: my favorite “ism,” feminism.

In a provocative comment reposted on Vox Popoli, someone called Cadders wrote the following:

For the truth is that men don’t want to fight women, it goes against the core of what it means to be a man. But feminism thrust men into a fight that they neither started nor wanted, to the point that feminists are reduced to crowing about “winning” battles that men never turned up for.

And even now, as feminism pushes and pushes and pushes to ever more absurd levels, as ever more restrictions are placed on normal masculine behavior, ever more insane definitions of “rape,” “assault” and “aggression” are drafted into law in increasingly desperate attempts to somehow, anyhow, cast women as perpetual victims – even now – men are still refusing to be drawn into a real battle.

That’s how deeply men do not want to fight women. … And men are deploying the most devastating weapon of all – indifference. In this final battle, who cares least wins.

This person hit upon a core truth: Most “oppression” is solely in the mind of the “victims.” Most “oppressors” aren’t oppressing anyone – at best they’re just going about their business, and at worst they’re merely disagreeing with the so-called “victim.” But in today’s hyper-PC world, a differing opinion is tantamount to rape, murder and other atrocious behaviors.

Eventually, after being continually accused of being haters, people will grow callous, numb and, yes, uncaring. In fact, one of the most effective tools against frothing-at-the-mouth “victims” is indifference.

This kind of victimhood would just be dismissed as silly except for one dangerous tendency: when opportunistic bureaucrats pass legislation to keep peoples’ feeeeelings from being hurt. So-called “victims” are being rewarded by a government eager to punish “offenders.”

To base laws on a doctrine of hurt feelings is a horrifically slippery slope which threatens every liberty on which America was built. It goes far, far beyond trying not to offend. Instead, it threatens the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth and 10th Amendments of the Bill of Rights – all so some loud-mouth feminist twit can scream “ASSAULT!” and sue when a man makes a snarky remark. It makes no difference how indifferent someone is when the “victim” has an idiot feel-good judge backing their feeeeeelings.

Sheesh people, grow up. The vast, vast majority of you aren’t victims of anything except your own failings. When you see the world through the lens of your own “ism,” you can never see the good you’re missing or the opportunities you’re turning down.

I asked earlier why America is splintering into finer and finer sub-groups. The best answer is to examine who profits from it. Remember the old adage, follow the money.

It’s clear the government profits from sowing hatred and dissent. When we’re busy fighting each other, we are incapable of unifying to stop the government from morphing into an out-of-control tyrannical monster, the very thing our Founding Fathers warned us against. Remember, hurt feelings aren’t part of the Constitution – for a very good reason.

If we continue fighting amongst ourselves and ignore the cancerous growth in Washington, D.C., we may all become honest-to-goodness victims in the near future, of very real “isms” like despotism, fascism and totalitarianism – just like endless other people in endless other nations have faced from their own government.

Learn how to achieve a simple lifestyle without “going green” or joining a monastery. Read Patrice Lewis’ helpful book, “The Simplicity Primer: 365 Ideas for Making Life more Livable”

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