(Policies based on a therapeutic model have) “give rise to a cult of the victim in which entitlements are based on the display of accumulated injuries inflicted by an uncaring society. The politics of ‘compassion’ degrades both the victims, by reducing them to objects of pity, and their would be benefactors, who find it easier to pity their fellow citizens than to hold them up to impersonal standards, the attainment of which would make them respected. Compassion has become the human face of contempt.”
Article — For Shame
The consequence of this reality that Lasch describes
1.) Is not the relief of the victim but rather the empowerment of those who draw attention to the victim. For example, race pimps could not hold the power that they hold were it not for their ability to be the official spokesmen and representatives for victims.
2.) Is a political culture whereby power is gained by manipulating guilt by promising to relieve the victims of their situation thus relieving the putative oppressors of their guilt. This explains, at least in part, the phenomenon of Barack Obama’s popularity among white guilt ridden voters. Voting for Obama is a twofer. It not only relieves them of their guilt but it also provides direct relief for one of those who have ‘suffered’ at the hands of their putative oppression.
Political campaigns are thus characterized as a prolonged series of stump speeches that identify both victims and victimizers and looks for votes from both groups so that those who are victims are promised relief from their oppression and those who are victimizers are promised that their vote will provide atoning relief from their alleged oppressive behavior.
The really odd thing is that many people who are not guilty of being victimizers own the guilt and grasp the solution to their guilt that the politician promises. This may happen because pagans know they really are guilty and so live with an ongoing sense of guilt but since they won’t turn to Christ, who alone can provide atonement for their objective guilt, they grasp at other means that are offered, by which atonement can be by self-achieved by the atoning action of casting a vote that will temporarily relieve their conscience. R. J. Rushdoony called this ‘The Politics of Guilt and Pity.’
That which I really love about this quote is how it draws a direct line between compassion (so-called) and contempt. The human heart being the source of all that is foul takes one of the noblest virtues that it can find and twists it to such a degree that compassion is really contempt in disguise with the result that we lose the capacity to be able to know and distinguish what both compassion and contempt really look like.