Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Blaming the Victim

I'm sure you have noticed, as have I, that frequently when we hear of a murder, rape, or other crime of violence, people say "if he hadn't been in the wrong part of town..." (whatever that means), or "if only she hadn't been dressed like that", or "you shouldn't flash money around that way", or some other drivel.

This is just blaming the victim.

It is a psychological defense mechanism that allows us to delude ourselves that if only we behave a certain way, bad things will never happen to us, personally.

I see a similar phenomenon in libertarian thought on occasion. Instead of blaming the heartless cop who is "only enforcing the law", or the soulless reavers of the IRS who steal the livelihood from our friends and neighbors, or the mindless bureaucrats who take up valuable space, some will blame their victims.

They insist that others fight back as "they" believe they ought to, instead of seeing that they may have too much at stake to make a scene at this time. Or they may simply have other priorities.

If you refuse to submit to a "driver's license", or ignore income taxes, or reject a "Social Security Number"; if you build without a permit, or carry a gun without government permission, or any of the other nice ways we can fight back, then that is wonderful. I support your defiance 100%. Just do not despise your neighbor whose family would not survive if she went to jail or got murdered for refusing to cooperate with the government thugs. She is not the problem; she is the victim. Blaming the victim is a mental problem that hides reality from your conscious mind.

(From the archives. Originally posted on September 6, 2006. Updated.)



  1. Hi Kent,

    Good point. I see a lot of this, calling people "cowards" because they won't "rise up" and start a rebellion. To those people, I say, "You first."


  2. I am not sure that it's blaming the victim to note in passing that acting stupidly or unwisely is stupid or unwise Kent. Just sayin'.

  3. Sure, people do stupid things every day. However, even though a person does something stupid the ultimate fault for the theft or aggression lies with the thief or aggressor. You can't say "It's not my fault I robbed him. It's his fault that he came near me."

    When you can, avoid putting yourself into situations where bad things are more likely to happen.