Published April 6, 2022
Without a doubt, of all the areas of moral discourse in the present age, the vocabulary of victimhood has been subject to the most dramatic grade inflation. To be a victim now covers everything from those herded into the gas chambers at Auschwitz to the person upset by a cruel comment on Twitter. And it is a sign of our times that the current cult of victimhood is increasingly incapable of distinguishing any difference between the two. The language used to claim the status of victim is always strident but also increasingly flat in its register. That speaks to a world whose moral vision is increasingly detached from any means by which to distinguish trivial First World suffering of the thin-skinned Twitterati from the real agonies faced, for example, by the displaced Ukrainian refugees flocking to the Polish border.
Take, for instance, the recent story of a lesbian couple who had been seeking a female child by in vitro fertilization and then discovered that the implanted embryo was that of a boy, not a girl. As reported in the New York Post, the woman carrying the baby was understandably shocked when she found out. In her own words, “He was put there against my will, just like rape.”
Carl R. Trueman taught on the faculties of the Universities of Nottingham and Aberdeen before moving to the United States in 2001 to teach at Westminster Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania. In 2017-18 he was the William E. Simon Visiting Fellow in Religion and Public Life in the James Madison Program at Princeton University. Since 2018, he has served as a professor at Grove City College. He is also a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a contributing editor at First Things. Trueman’s latest book is the bestselling The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self. He is married with two adult children and is ordained in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.