Contra Mozilla

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

On Victim-Blaming

I suppose this is not entirely unrelated to the insanity at Ferguson, but it is a sort of different topic: it is intellectually dishonest to dismiss precautions, warnings, and (after the fact) lesson-drawing from one's misfortunes as "blaming the victim." Here is Dr. Budziszewski breaking down the intellectual and moral silliness which pervades most cries of "blaming the victim":
Why is it so difficult to make a few simple distinctions? The perpetrator is entirely to blame for robbery and assault. But the victim in this case is to blame for foolhardiness and indiscretion. The victim’s foolishness does not mitigate the perpetrator’s guilt for his crime. But the perpetrator’s guilt does not mitigate the victim’s blame for his folly. The perpetrator deserves our reprobation, and should suffer the full penalty of law. But the victim, who has already suffered the penalty of natural consequences, deserves our pity -- and a stern talking-to.
In his postscript, the good professor addresses what might be called the opposite fallacy, which is when the victim blames himself for something which actually might not be his fault. Actually, his advice is good general advice to at least a substantial minority, if not an outright majority, of college students today: drop out of college, get a blue collar job for a few years, and then when you have learned what you can form the school of hard knocks, return to the academy ready to earn and education of the sort attainable there.

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