A Nation of Victims
The Decline of the American Character(amazon)
Charles J. Sykes (View Bio)
Hardcover: St. Martin's Press, 1992; Paperback: St. Martin's Press/Griffin, 1993.
"Mr. Sykes see the root of the problem ...in this witty, wise book." — The Wall Street Journal
"Mr. Sykes is eloquent and often convincing, displaying in these pages a healthy dose of common sense." — The New York Times
"It's hard to disagree with Sykes.... Sykes makes his case quite well." — Los Angeles Times
"In an alternately provocative and cranky jeremiad on the decline of individual responsibility, Sykes sounds like a latter-day Walt Whitman — except that he hears America whining, not singing.... Sykes is after bigger game, though, discussing how the squalling howl of grievance now also resounds in the courtroom, on the psychiatrist's couch, and on TV panels. He traces the rise of 'victimism' to several sources, including psychiatry, whose 'therapeutic culture,' he says, has stigmatized bourgeois family values and encouraged fruitless searches for personal happiness, and the civil-rights movement, which, he contends, switched its agenda from equal opportunity to equal results and spawned a host of other aggrieved interest groups that did the same. Sykes particularly scores in criticizing Theodor Adorno's The Authoritarian Personality for labeling traditional conservative beliefs as psychologically diseased, and he discovers hilarious lawsuits that reveal claimants' astonishing chutzpah (e.g., a worker fired for sexual harassment sued his former employer on the ground that his aberrational conduct qualified him as a handicapped person).... Lively." — Kirkus Reviews