Recently in a discussion thread here on this blog, commenter Cabbageroll said (and I'm paraphrasing roughly here) that she had noticed that many people she knew would defend almost any bad behavior, as though they felt compelled to play devil's advocate. I've noticed this tendency too, and I don't think it's limited to any particular social set or age group. Young people do it, and people in my age group and older do it too. Only a few stubborn people insist on being 'judgmental' or upholding any kinds of morals or standards except the knee-jerk liberal counterfeits.
I thought of that after watching a documentary about 'Deadly Females' on one of the Discovery channels. I am always fascinated, sometimes in an appalled way, by human nature, and reality is far more interesting to me than any fiction. This particular documentary was one of those 're-enacted' kinds, with actors playing scenes from the real-life story being depicted. I always find these things rather cheesy and overwrought. But punctuating the dramatized sequences were real-life 'experts' interpreting things for us lay people, who of course can't interpret things for ourselves. We have to have the official line handed down from on high.
On this particular program, the experts, with one exception, were ladies. One was a 'forensic psychologist', one a former FBI profiler who seemed to be a psychologist, and one was, I think, a lady journalist. As we heard these lurid stories of women who killed people, sometimes in quite gruesome ways (like the Australian woman who killed then butchered and cooked her boyfriend), we hear why they did it. The woman who poisoned several people was compelled to do so because her own father was 'a womanizer' who left her mother. The lady butcher had a thing about abandonment, driving her to kill her boyfriend, of whom she was very possessive. The group of Austrian nurses who killed (by mutual pact) a number of elderly patients, did so because they were overworked and pressured.
There was no concern for the murdered victims; it was all about the killers and their psychic scars and wounds. It seems to me that there is always a heightened tendency on the part of the bleeding hearts (and even some 'conservatives') to find some explanation when women go bad and harm people. Why? I think it's because of the popular perception that women are not, by nature, violent, and that when they become so, it's because they've been 'driven to it' by somebody else's bad behavior or by some external pressure or trauma. Certainly extreme situations can cause people to act out unpredictably, but what of all the people who've been abandoned by their fathers, or who suffered some kind of abuse as children, who never turned homicidal? There are certainly more people like that than there are people who commit horrific violence.
I can think of a number of high-profile murder cases in which a female killer got a relatively light sentence. One would be Mary Winkler,
the minister's wife who killed her husband by shooting him in the back, Clara Harris, the South American dentist who killed her husband by running him over several times, and of course Andrea Yates, everybody's favorite 'victim' (including yes, many conservatives who felt sorry for her) who killed all five of her children methodically.
I suppose it's natural in a way that people have more sympathy for women; we think of our own mothers or sisters, and the image of woman is that of nurturing and tenderness, of their being the bearers of life, not destroyers of it. But women are just as fallen as men are; women are not any less sinners; it's just that women tend to be somewhat less prone to open aggression than men -- on average. And again, lest somebody take issue with me, I am speaking in broad, general terms, and yes, there are always exceptions, obviously.
Someone -- and I can't track down the quote -- once said 'what we begin by explaining, we end by excusing.' We've gone so far in the direction of trying to 'explain' and understand the worst human behavior, and we have reached the stage of diminishing its badness, and excusing it far too often. In our desire to objectively explain and 'scientifically' understand human waywardness, we've lost focus on just how evil human beings can be. We've become too all-fired 'scientific' and clinical where bad human behavior is concerned, so that we no longer seem to have the collective outrage and horror at some of the worst human crimes. We seem to have become inured to it, and there is a distressingly large segment of society which really doesn't bat an eye at anything, no matter how horrific, and who cavalierly try to 'understand' it from the viewpoint of the criminal. He was an 'abused child'; he had a dysfunctional family; he was a victim of 'racism' and poverty; she was a 'battered wife'; she had a 'controlling husband'. Her daddy abandoned the family. Ergo, any crime is fully understandable, and the predictable result of some cause in the past -- as if human beings are mere automatons, or machines, and have no choice or moral responsibility.
And by the way: why does almost everyone automatically believe any tales of 'abuse' or 'bad childhoods' from criminals? News flash: criminals tend to be liars. Their tales of childhood traumas may be self-serving attempts to escape or mitigate punishment.
Remember the story I posted from the 1930s about the mob wanting to string up a man who had murdered a young girl? Where would we see that kind of outrage and anger now? As I said when I posted it, I am not recommending vigilantism but is our kind of moral agnosticism and indifference superior? Do we have a better and safer society for it?
Another area of life in which we have become too focused on 'understanding' the viewpoint of the criminal and in effect identifying with him (or her) is in the case of illegal immigrants. How many times have we heard some variation of the statement "well, I don't blame them. I would do the same if I were in their shoes. Wouldn't you?" Actually, no. I wonder about some of these people who are lightly saying they would break and enter, lie, defraud, cheat, steal, and deceive if they were 'poor'. And by the way, the poverty of the illegals is relative; I would say very few are starving or even 'hungry.' But we as a society are resigned to their taking advantage of us because we have started to 'understand' things from their viewpoint. Hence we have, many of us, no righteous indignation or sense of justice about it.
We've come to accept the plundering and destruction of our whole Western civilization and heritage because we have become too 'understanding' and too empathetic for our own good.
And in a sense this is in part, at least, a result of the loss of the masculine virtues in our society and the dominance of the feminine virtues -- which are virtues in their proper place and proportion -- of compassion, receptivity, understanding, and nurturing. When these latter are improperly emphasized, to the exclusion of the male virtues, we have a weak and declining society.
We need a balance of these two poles, male and female. In fact, I would say we need to perhaps 'overcorrect' a bit and strongly emphasize the masculine qualities in order to restore the gross imbalance in our society before it does us in.
I know there are few who will agree with me on this, but I think the ascendance of psychology in our society is part of the excessive feminization and liberalization. It has tended to make us too 'nonjudgmental' for our own good, and morally agnostic. It simply reduces human evil to 'sickness' (which naturally elicits sympathy, not condemnation) and 'pathology'.
We sometimes, I think, focus exclusively on politics and political parties as the arena in which the struggle for our civilization is taking place. We talk about leftism and liberalism which come from the pernicious ideas of the likes of Marx and his successors but we ignore the other belief systems which greatly influence some of the destructive trends in the West. In addition to Marx there is the influence of Freud and all those who followed in his footsteps, though he himself has been discredited, and of course Charles Darwin.
I think we might do well to look at some of the other factors other than politics. It's all part of the picture that we have to examine. Our liberal/'progressive' antagonists have a whole distinct worldview which is quite at odds with our European Christian heritage. We see the symptoms here and there but seldom look at the whole picture.