A Nation of Victims: The Decay of the American Character

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Macmillan, 1992 - Political Science - 289 pages
2 Reviews
Charles Sykes's ProfScam sparked a furious debate over the mission and the failure of our universities. Now he turns his attention to an even more controversial subject. A Nation of Victims is the first book on the startling decay of the American backbone and the disease that is causing it. The spread of victimism has been widely noted in the media; indeed, its symptoms have produced best-selling books, fueled television ratings, spawned hundreds of support groups, and enriched tens of thousands of lawyers across the country. The plaint of the victim - Its not my fault - has become the loudest and most influential voice in America, an instrument of personal and lasting political change. In this incisive, pugnacious, frequently hilarious book, Charles Sykes reveals a society that is tribalizing, where individuals and groups define themselves not by shared culture, but by their status as victims. Victims of parents, of families, of men, of women, of the workplace, of sex, of stress, of drugs, of food, of college reading lists, of personal physical characteristics - these and a host of other groups are engaged in an ever-escalating fight for attention, sympathy, money, and legal or governmental protection. What's going on and how did we get to this point? Sykes traces the inexorable rise of the therapeutic culture and the decline of American self-reliance. With example after example, he shows how victimism has co-opted the genuine victories of the civil-rights movement for less worthy goals. And he offers hope: the prospect of a culture of renewed character, where society lends compassion to those who truly need it. Like Shelby Steele, Charles Murray, and Dinesh D'Souza, Charles Sykes defines the ground of what will be a significant national debate.

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A NATION OF VICTIMS: The Decay of the American Character

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

In an alternately provocative and cranky jeremiad on the decline of individual responsibility, Sykes (The Hollow Men, 1990) sounds like a latter-day Walt Whitman—except that he hears America whining ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - kkirkhoff - LibraryThing

It's not my fault! This is the cry of today's society. Our lawsuits reflect it. Our psychological therapies reflect it. Our talk shows reflect it. What has changed in our society, in our legal system ... Read full review


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About the author (1992)

Charles J. Sykes is senior fellow at the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute and a talk show host at WTMJ radio in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today and is the author of A Nation of Victims, Dumbing Down Our Kids, Profscam, The Hollow Men, The End of Privacy, and 50 Rules Kids Won't Learn in School.

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