Monday, December 23, 2013

"It's the Noo USAye" III

 "Affluenza," the affliction cited by a psychologist to argue that a North Texas teenager from a wealthy family should not be sent to prison for killing four pedestrians while driving drunk, is not a recognized diagnosis and should not be used to justify bad behavior, experts said Thursday.

A judge's decision to give 16-year-old Ethan Couch 10 years of probation for the fatal accident sparked outrage from relatives of those killed and has led to questions about the defense strategy. A psychologist testified in Couch's trial in a Fort Worth juvenile court that as a result of "affluenza," the boy should not receive the maximum 20-year prison sentence prosecutors were seeking.

The term "affluenza" was popularized in the late 1990s by Jessie O'Neill, the granddaughter of a past president of General Motors, when she wrote the book "The Golden Ghetto: The Psychology of Affluence." It has since been used to describe a condition in which children — generally from richer families — have a sense of entitlement, are irresponsible, make excuses for poor behavior, and sometimes dabble in drugs and alcohol, explained Dr. Gary Buffone, a Jacksonville, Fla., psychologist who does family wealth advising.

But Buffone said in a telephone interview Thursday that the term wasn't meant to be used as a defense in a criminal trial or to justify such behavior.

"The simple term would be spoiled brat," he said.

"Essentially what he (the judge) has done is slapped this child on the wrist for what is obviously a very serious offense which he would be responsible for in any other situation," Buffone said. "The defense is laughable, the disposition is horrifying … not only haven't the parents set any consequences, but it's being reinforced by the judge's actions" . . . :

Affluenza: the latest excuse for the wealthy to do whatever they want

"I was raised in a wealthy family that never taught me to take responsibility for my actions, so I therefore should not be held liable for anything I do."

It's funny how that doesn't fly for poor or working-class families, isn't it?

But as Plutarch said, "it is only worthless men who seek to excuse that deterioration of their character by pleading neglect in their early years."

And it is only worthless courts that excuse the wealthy for their misdeeds on account of their wealth.

And it's not Ethan Couch, or the Couch family, or the Waltons, or the Kochs, that have "affluenza":

It's America.

(See also:

Ye Olde American Plutocracy

Ye Olde American Plutocracy Part II

"It's the Noo USAye"

"It's the Noo USAye" II

Beyond Plutocracy and Its Two-Plutocratic-Party System



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