drgrainnemcmahon

feminist, researcher, lecturer

“Affluenza” and the children of the other 99%

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On feimineach.com: “Affluenza” and the children of the other 99%

In case any of you, like me, couldn’t believe their eyes when they first read this, it is actually all true. Affluenza (the notion that the rich can be forgiven for being feckless and irresponsible because they’re so, well, rich) is A Thing now. I don’t know if that’s the correct definition of the term, by the way, but it might as well be. (And I’m more sure that it’s a not a condition from which most of us are going to suffer any time soon.)

Now, I’m not one for a punitive or disproportionate system of justice but even I must draw the line at this sort of reasoning. I say “reasoning” but there’s very little of that apparent here. Afflenza in the case above is the idea that the filthy rich and young can’t be held responsible for their destructive (even life-ending) actions because they’ve never been before and can’t, therefore, be expected to know what’s right and what’s wrong. It’s all the parents’ fault, apparently, for not holding them to account for anything thus far. That argument may work well for a toddler who’s never before been reprimanded for poking her baby brother in the eye but it works less well for a drunk 16-year-old brat who mowed down five other people when he was off his head. Yeah, I’m judging. I assume he’s been to school, made some friends, read a book, or at some point in his 16 years had a conversation with another sentient being? If so, I’m also assuming that he’s developed some sort of critical faculties which can help to guide his actions. (Rest.)

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