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The Big Answer


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The Abuse Excuse: And Other Cop-outs, Sob Stories, and Evasions of Responsibility

a book by Alan M. Dershowitz

(our site's book review)

The author has taken on the subjects of responsibility and the victim context in a head-on, no-nonsense way; good examples abound. The central premise is that the abuse excuse—the legal tactic in which defendants claim a history of abuse as an excuse for violent retaliation—is fast becoming a license to kill or maim. The abuse excuse is “. . . a symptom of a general abdication of responsibility by individuals, families groups, and even nations. Its widespread acceptance is dangerous to the very tenets of democracy, which presuppose personal accountability for choices and actions. It also endangers our collective safety by legitimating a sense of vigilantism that reflects our frustration over the apparent inability of law enforcement to reduce the rampant violence that engulfs us.”

The abuse excuse—the legal tactic in which defendants claim a personal history of abuse as an excuse
The abuse excuse—the legal tactic in which defendants claim a personal history of abuse as an excuse

This abdication of responsibility encourages not just vigilantism but also scapegoating, in which “they” are the ones who are to blame for our problems. And since scapegoating is often the result of psychological projection, then that too is being encouraged, and that, too, undermines responsibility. “The time has come,” says Dershowitz, “to declare a moratorium on the excesses of the abuse excuse and its correlates, and to insist on more personal accountability for our actions." He points out that the U.N., whose attitude seems to be that the worse the terrorism perpetrated by a group, the more just must be the cause that would bring people to such extremes of behavior, is a sucker for a special form of the abuse excuse.

Abdication of responsibility encourages scapegoating, in which “they” are the ones who are to blame
Abdication of responsibility encourages scapegoating, in which “they” are the ones who are to blame

Some of the most disgusting examples of politically correct victimhood are when hypersensitive feminists are screaming sexual harassment for every “sexist” look, word or turn of phrase, making colleges a perfect—and very vulnerable—target for the neuroses and attention seeking of less stable women, as well as scammers and women whose passes get rebuffed. Careers are being wrecked even when the charges are groundless. The same thing is occurring with regards to racism. Much of it is a circumvention of the Constitution’s First Amendment rights relating to freedom of expression and freedom from censorship.

Feminists are screaming victimization by sexual harassment for every 'sexist' look, word or turn of phrase
Feminists are screaming victimization by sexual harassment for every 'sexist' look, word or turn of phrase