Unassailable?

“How dare you challenge this poor, oppressed (or victimized) person?”

Hear that a lot?  I do.  Whether it’s daring to contradict some member of a so-called “marginalized” group or challenge the statements of someone who was victimized in some way (or was just present when someone else was victimized), doing so will raise strident objections from certain groups of people.

Those people are wrong.

The late science fiction (and pretty much every other field) writer Isaac Asimov reported in one of his autobiographies (sorry, no link, I read them in “dead tree” years ago) a conversation in which he explained to someone that there is nothing about oppression that confers virtue on the oppressed.  Historically, people who have been oppressed are more than willing to oppress others when given the opportunity.

While the Good Doctor was speaking of tribes and nations, the same remains true on an individual level.  Being a victim does not make one good or noble or wise.  It does not confer expertise on any subject, not even the subject related to the victimization.  No more does my being in a traffic accident make me an expert on automotive design.

It’s possible that someone who is good and noble and wise can be a victim, certainly.  But the foolish and the vile can also be victims.  Having been a victim does not in and of itself change that.

So, no, someone or some group having been a victim does not make their positions unassailable.  It does not mean that no one could, or should, argue with them.  It does not make their motives unquestionable, their knowledge given, and their proposals the only acceptable ones.

And when victims lash out, especially when they lash out having been challenged, we might make allowances for their emotional response from what happened to them but, here’s the thing, sooner or later that excuse stops working.  It is not an unending license to attack everyone who disagrees with them while being shielded from any responses.

If a person is so emotionally damaged from the event that they cannot bear any contradiction, then that is all the more reason not to take them seriously.  Perhaps their time would be better spent seeking healing from their trauma than in trying to force public policy to fit their emotion-laden mold.

And if they are going to put themselves forward, or allow themselves to be put forward in an effort to drive that public policy, then they need to recognize and accept that it is right and proper for people to challenge both their positions, and their qualifications to put forward those positions.

And “something bad happened to me” is not a qualification for anything.

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9 thoughts on “Unassailable?”

  1. “How dare you challenge this poor, oppressed (or victimized) person?”

    An old saying involving “heat” and “kitchens” comes to mind…

  2. That is the beauty of The Liberal Trifecta debate tactic.. When asked a logical challenge to your position simply:
    Don’t answer the question,
    Change the subject, and
    Call people names.

    Because, Shut up.

    Debating with The Liberal Trifecta means reason, intelligence, facts and logic are irrelevant compared to emotion. Try it in a debate near you.

  3. Quote: Historically, people who have been oppressed are more than willing to oppress others when given the opportunity.

    Quite true. In fact those who want to oppress others often contrive or exaggerate their own oppression as justification. After WWI, for instance, the Germans whined about how oppressive the Treaty of Versailles was. In reality, it wasn’t as brutal as the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk that the Germans imposed on Russia as their terms for peace. Nor was it as bad and the one Germany planned to impose on France and Belgium had it won WWI.

    Here’s an illustration:
    —–
    By the terms of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, Russia recognized the independence of Ukraine, Georgia and Finland; gave up Poland and the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to Germany and Austria-Hungary; and ceded Kars, Ardahan and Batum to Turkey. The total losses constituted some 1 million square miles of Russia’s former territory; a third of its population or around 55 million people; a majority of its coal, oil and iron stores; and much of its industry. Lenin bitterly called the settlement “that abyss of defeat, dismemberment, enslavement and humiliation.”
    https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-i/treaties-of-brest-litovsk
    —-

    –Michael W. Perry, editor of Chesterton on War and Peace: Battling the Ideas and Movements that Led to Nazism and World War II

  4. I propose an expiry date of the “amen” of the funeral’s closing prayer. After that, no privileged/unassailable speech.

  5. I’ve always been inclined to point out flaws in a thought progress, regardless of who uttered the thought. Obviously, manners and etiquette would prevent that, in some situations, but as a rule, I’m not going to agree that something is right, if I do not believe it to be so.

    In the case of, say, David Hogg, well he’s a spoiled brat who needs his Daddys belt laid swift and firm upon his backside, a few times. I don’t care what he went through. He wants to jump into the Big Boy arena, well, that boy can just take his lumps. Welcome to the real world.

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