Every Man a Victim

"Mankind is tired of liberty."
—Benito Mussolini

An acquaintance of mine, who is not particularly conservative, once heard a television newsman quack about how bad the 1950's were. Disgusted, he burst out, "What was wrong with the 1950's?

People were norma/then!" People certainly seem a lot less "normal" nowadays. Charles J. Sykes has written a worthy successor to his Profscam and The Hollow Men, which helps explain much of the deterioration in American life over the last 30 years. The charm of his work lies in the way it ties together many of the seemingly quite different signs of social disintegration that are such a marked feature of life in the late 20th century: political correctness; people who believe saying "hi" to a woman over the telephone is "sexist"; the jury that awarded $650,000 in damages to a man who deliberately jumped in front of a subway train; the judge who let Jeffrey Dahmer out on probation for offenses that, even under our crazy laws, should have kept him in jail for 20 years. These phenomena, at first sight, have little to do with each other, although all are familiar instances of the insanity of our age. But what they have in common is this: they are all an expression of victimology—the idea that individuals and, even more, groups are victims, and nothing but...

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