(Originally posted here)
In a comment on a friend’s post, something that’s been bugging me finally came together in my head.
In various recent events (Peter Watts’ Squidgate, the g20 mess, etc.), there has been a bunch of commenters (live and on the net, natch) who seem to cheer louder the more it looks like the police have abused their power. These are the folks who say things like “if a cop tells you to do something, you do it *immediately* or you deserve what happens to you”, “if you haven’t worn a uniform, you don’t get to complain”, etc.
The general idea of Authoritarian Apologism is that anyone that gets beaten up by the police, or the border guards, or anyone with a bade or a uniform, deserves what they get. That those forces are always justified in whatever they do to their citizens.
I’ve been trying to figure out what it is that drives me so nuts about this position, besides the obvious. It finally clicked today – it’s the same logical fallacy that drives Rape Culture victim-blaming and shunning of people who are ill. It’s the idea that Bad things don’t happen to Good people. So when bad things happen to someone previously presumed to be Good, the Apologist makes the inference that the person must be Bad. Because the alternative is that Bad things *do* happen to Good people. And that’s terrifying – the Apologist naturally sees zirself as a Good person. If something bad can happen to some random writer, to some random jogger or random tourist, then it means that something bad can happen to *me*!
And a lot of people can’t face that. So they go to great lengths to come up with reasons why people deserve to be beaten by cops, to be raped by their “friend”, to get cancer or AIDS. I mean, of course that guy deserved to be arrested and held in a pen in the rain overnight with no drinking water – did you *see* what he was wearing? He was *asking* for it! Good thing I’d never do something like that, so I’m safe.
It’s all about Othering victims so that the Apologist can feel safe knowing that bad things only happen to bad people. It’s about fear, and letting that fear make your world ever smaller.