When Mark Bennett wrote Victimocracy is for Sociopaths, its broader message seemed abundantly clear:
The hallmark of a sociopath, says [Martha] Stout [in her 2006 book, The Sociopath Next Door], is feigned victimhood. “The most reliable sign, the most universal behavior of unscrupulous people is not directed, as one might imagine, at our fearfulness. It is, perversely, an appeal to our sympathy.”
I have noted before the ascendancy of victimocracy, in which victimhood is esteemed even above merit and victims are given special authority to determine the course of the state.
In the world of those who subscribe to empathy uber alles, everybody’s a victim.
Those who had been criticized went into victim mode: they had been “attacked,” “insulted,” “disrespected.” They inaccurately described things that others had said to make them seem like attacks. Both described the criticism as “bullying.” One had “never been so insulted” as by the criticism.
There is, of course, a different view.
If you don’t want someone to call you stupid, don’t be stupid. If you want to speak out publicly, whether in the courtroom, the boardroom or the internet, accept the premise that not everyone is going to think you brilliant and fabulous. Someone will think you wrong. Someone will say so, speech meeting speech head on.
None of this is, or at least should be, controversial. So naturally, it is, because . . . reasons.
In a post called “Victimocracy is for Sociopaths,” Mark Bennett, a criminal defense attorney and blogger in Texas, growls at the “ascendancy of victimocracy, in which victimhood is esteemed above merit, and victims are given special authority to determine the course of the state.” He accuses many victims of “feigning” it. He flaccidly stabs at some blurry claim that self-identifying victims comprise much of the purported four percent of sociopaths, revealing himself to be the one person in America gullible enough to drink Martha Stout’s pop psychology Kool-Aid. “The more power we give victims, the more power we give sociopaths,” he says.
Goldberg is a well-intended sycophant of the revenge porn, Cyber Civil Rights, crowd. She’s curiously snarky in her writing, though hasn’t quite got the chops to makes the arguments to justify it. In her twitter bio, she writes of herself “NY lawyer murdering revenge porn.” Aside from whether she’s ever hurt anything, I seriously doubt her use of “murdering” serves her well.
But in defense of the ideology — that no one may question the victimhood of a woman — she not only undermines her budding efforts at credibility, and conclusively provides that sophomoric snark isn’t a substitute for sound reasoning, but her willful ignorance and denial of victimocracy serves no good purpose. No matter which victims one prays to, they have to actually be victims.
Mark’s purpose was to distinguish between true victims and those who wear the clothing of victims, the sociopaths, to prey on blind adoration of people with the “dizzying intellect” of Goldberg. Her effort in return, to call Stout’s work “pop Kool-Aid” and Mark’s effort “flaccid,” her snarky feminist attempt to attack his manhood, fails for two basic reasons: First, Goldberg lacks both the intellect and credibility to demean the ideas of people who are vastly better respected than she.
But second, and more importantly, Goldberg’s contention that anyone who claims to be a victim must, by definition, be a victim, is intellectually unsound. No amount of snark changes reality. Sure, her fellow travelers of the Cyber Civil Rights crowd play the mindless choir, giving her the false impression that she’s not nearly as foolish a baby lawyer as the rest of us see, but it doesn’t pass the laugh test.
It’s understandable that adherents like Goldberg attack anyone, like Mark, whose writing seems to detract from their talking points of how all women who claim to be victims are, indeed, victims. It’s understandable that Goldberg and her ilk fear the reality that not all people who don the mantle of victimhood to gain the empathy, sympathy and protection of the sisterhood are really victims. It makes their agenda messy, and subject to question. Or, as they call it, attack.
And so what do they do? They engage in ad hominem attacks to discredit the victim: she was complicit in it, is lying, doing it for the attention, is a sociopath. It’s as if some defense attorneys, perhaps as a group the most vocal about they would call “victomania,” can’t zealously represent their clients while respecting the “victim” concept.
At first blush, it may seem as if Goldberg is just terribly disingenuous, but that may overestimate her grasp. Rather, I think she is sincere in her belief that there is no such thing as the falsely accused, facts notwithstanding. I think she believes so strongly in victimocracy that she is fully prepared to see the innocent harmed rather than a victim challenged.
The reason is that they fear that if they admit to what everyone else realized, that some people, some women, are being less than truthful, then all women will be subject to attack for their veracity. Should that happen, given that the only thing distinguishing a victim from a phony is their word, their agenda of rearranging the world to protect the delicate sensibilities of women falls apart.
That some victims are lying, falsely accusing, is beyond question. Not all. Not most. The status of victimocracy isn’t good enough to make most sane people want to wrap themselves up in it. And that’s Mark’s point, that sociopaths mix into the victimhood because they can. Because people like Goldberg will protect the nutjob along with the real victim, no matter what.
If Goldberg wants to be taken seriously by anyone outside the falsetto choir, then she will have to come to grips with the reality that false accusations happen, rather than waste her time attacking the obvious at the expense of credibility.
To the extent that she finds criminal defense lawyers the enemy, because we just won’t limit our defense of the wrongfully accused so as not to hurt any victim’s feelings, it’s never going to happen. While Goldberg may feel comfortable living in her feminist fantasy, criminal defense lawyers live in the real world where victims sometimes aren’t victims, and where zealous representation of the accused comes before feminist dogma.