There are many defining moments in history that have had major influence, for good or for ill, on society. Three world leaders of the 1930s and 1940s gave us quite different defining moments of their times.

Adolph Hitler suggested the Germans of his day were supermen, not because they had earned that title, but simply because they were Aryan. He defined a great lie still affecting the world today.Winston Churchill defined courage and determined will when he said the British would fight on the beaches, on the landing fields and never surrender.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt defined a nation's conscience when he told us the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

I saw another defining moment a few days ago which has sobered and saddened me. I, along with millions of other television viewers, watched a troubling example of how some people believe they are not responsible for their own actions because they are victims of somebody else's bad behavior. If this moment of defining "victimization" continues to grow, it will have serious consequences for all of us.

I saw a talented, charismatic woman on TV look me straight in the eye, ignore the problems surrounding her husband, and say he is simply the victim of a vast, right-wing conspiracy.

I am talking, of course, of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Are there some right-wing conspirators in the world today? Yes. Are there some left-wing conspirators? Yes. But these facts are not the central issue of Mrs. Clinton's television address. She went on television ostensibly to convince us that her husband was innocent of any wrong doing with Monica Lewinsky. Instead of giving any evidence to prove her point, she put her husband in the naive, untenable position of being a victim of somebody else's bad behavior. You can't blame him, she says, it's just that other people are out to get him. Is that a childish approach to problem solving or a cancer eating at the core of our society?

Heber G. Wolsey