Perfect Justice

So, Jeb Bush — Jeb Open Mouth Remove All Doubt Bush — was running his mouth.  First of all he says his son gets teased for his skin color (in Florida?  Well, paint me purple and call me Edna, but are they living in another planet?) Then he said he explained to his son that our nation is not one of “perfect justice YET.”

Am I the only one who shuddered at that sentence?  The pursuit of “perfect justice” be it racial, economic or whatever has filled millions of graves.  Now, would Jeb Bush do that?  I doubt it.  Or at least I don’t think so.  He’s a soft-Euro-socialist not a Stalinist (which means yeah, in certain circumstances the lesser of two evils) but the phrase is still worrying for a demonstration of brain-rot and how lazy thinking gets into people’s minds and ejects reason and sense, and can cause horrible evil.

I confess I never promised either of my sons perfect justice.  And when people remarked on their “beautiful” olive skin, I said “thank you.”  (Though honestly, how does one take credit for skin tone.  “Yes, ma’am.  My family worked on that tan for GENERATIONS.”)

I also confess not only don’t I understand American attitudes to race, I don’t “read” race the way Americans do.  That is one thing in which I’m very foreign (or perhaps from another planet.)

Look, I’m not saying Portuguese aren’t racist, okay?  Like most Europeans not only are they more openly racist (they make jokes all the time) but “race” often means nationality.  My mom classified not just my kids as mixed race (arguably Dan almost for sure has Amerindian ancestry, though you can’t tell it by HIM as such) but also the children of my friend who married a Frenchman.  Oh, and “mixed” is bad.

I’m saying that unless it comes up (such as in a joke) or it’s rather obvious (like the friend who married a man from Africa and half her family didn’t show up at the wedding) they don’t mention it.  And various degrees of tan/African features mean nothing because… well… Portugal.  (I once made a cover for a friend’s romance and she told me she couldn’t use it because people would think it was about POC.  The girl she was talking about is a dead-ringer to my older son’s Godmother, and my 5th cousin or so, who never considered herself anything but Portuguese and white.)

Add to that that even in Portugal I felt like someone from outer space on that, as many other things.  Unless you had an accent and had arrived from Africa last week you were just “a little dark” as far as I was concerned.  Mostly because I can’t be bothered.

But people born and raised in America?  Ah.  That gets… fascinating.  When what’s his face said we needed to talk about race my reaction was “talk about?  Can we get them shut up about it ALREADY?

There is a delicate dance of race and racial stereotypes and implications in this country that I not only don’t get, but have no interest in learning.  And there is — as admittedly elsewhere — considering “race” what is in fact “culture” like Hispanic or Arab, even if all of us fall under various tan-lines.

So… part of this goes back to that perfect justice thing.

I tend to forget race exists. And I certainly don’t look at strangers’ faces and analyze them for racial characteristics.  I was mildly amused when older son was drawing me and drew me a shade darker and said “Wow, you look black.”

At which point I said “Oh, yeah when I was young and spent a month a year at the beach, and wore an affro” (Shut up, it was the seventies.  Also, no, you’ll never get to see pictures.  I think. I wore it tastefully pulled back with a thin blue ribbon, Roman style.) “people IN PORTUGAL referred to me as “the young lady of color” which in that time and place was the same as saying ‘that chick just arrived from Africa.'”

But it didn’t bug me one way or the other.

As for older son, well, he’s older son.  We have had indications before that people read him as racially mixed with a good dose of Africa, particularly since the teacher known to mess with kids with that ancestry made his life miserable in first grade.  But I mean… he’s a little darker than I and it’s a ruddy sort of dark, somewhere between Dan and I for tone.  (Unlike younger son who gets darker every year and is Mediterranean looking.)

So, while we were looking for an apartment for him imagine my confusion at getting delicate probing as to my husband’s race, and also clear indications that people of various levels of tanitude, including the extreme, assumed Robert was one of them.

And this brings me back to that perfect justice thing, again.  While looking at the cheapest and possibly nicest of all the apartments, it became clear to me I couldn’t let my son live there.  You see, unlike a certain SF/F writer who thinks it’s open season on her, I didn’t think my son was going to get killed because at first glance he might be identified as mulatto (the fact he helped me fix a balcony and a fence doesn’t help this perception.  I mean, in a day he looked like me after a month at the beach.)

I am, however, not a total moron.

Police in that area has been off the leash longer than the militarization of police.  Arguably they are now MUCH better than they were in the seventies.

And the areas are sketchy and often on the verge of outright warfare.  Which meant that putting my kid there, when he’s likely to come home at all hours, possibly wearing all black (scrubs) when he’s big and hulking and therefore looks like he’s menacing while standing still and smiling is NOT a good idea.

So, I told him we’d have to spring for the extra $300 to go to the next area up.  (I noted, btw, that all the students in that complex were thin, blond people.)

Perfect justice?  Oh, h*ll no.

However it is the neighborhood’s character, not its skin tone that lead the police to be trigger happy.  That the character is covalent with the skin tone is what might cause my kid to be misjudged.

And the character is admittedly not the police’s fault, even if they do get a little trigger happy.

It is the fault of a culture that tells kids of a certain tan that they are “made fun of because of their skin tone” (do you remember being in school?  You could get made fun of for standing still.  My cousins managed to tease my best friend because her name was Isabel which rhymed with papel.  So the taunt went something like “Isabel, she’s made of paper.”  Yeah.  Not much sense, but it hurt, anyway, because we were all kids.)  It is the fault of a culture that tells kids we’ll work to get them “perfect justice.”

What is perfect justice, short of paradise?  Who is like G-d, that he might stand above us and judge what justice is perfect for whom?  Who even can judge races in this increasingly mixed land of ours?

I mean, my kid is technically Latin, as am I, and I was prepared to have people react to him as Latin.  (He looks Cuban to me!) But people are reacting to him as mulatto, which he certainly isn’t and we never thought of.

How do you even judge racism in those circumstances?  (And I’ll point out we experienced none, since most of the people assuming Robert was mulatto were black.) How do you JUDGE?

But when you look at every little kid who is darker than average and treat them differently, you’re going to create a completely messed up culture.

And weirdly the people like Robert’s first grade teacher who are outright racists and thing the worst thing possible is to be mixed race, and who try to put mixed race kids in remedial classes and convince their parents the kids are slow, are NOT the ones doing the worst harm.

No, those are people like Jeb Bush, who think that stopping kids teasing other kids is “perfect justice” because what the kids are teased about is skin tone.  They are people who tell kids with a tan or African features or whatever that “the man is keeping you down.”  They are the people who tell minority (ah, whatever) kids that they are being “microaggressed” because someone looked at them funny.

We all experience (trust me) frustration and failure in life.  To give these kids the impression that not only is nothing their fault (and a lot of it won’t be.  That happens to everyone too) but that they can’t do anything about it until someone delivers “perfect justice” and that the world has it in for them is a way to create a community of crazy, aggressive, dysfunctional people.

This is how we end up with a woman who attended NYU and whose parents networth is more than ours for three generations COMBINED thinking she’s a victim and everyone is out to get her.

No matter if they endure more of the teasing and glaring than others, telling these kids “yeah, some people are *ssholes, ignore them” is ultimately the best course (and the one we followed, except with that teacher, where we had to get the kid IQ tests in order to ignore her because the school was backing her.)

Because going after everyone who in their heart judges my kids as a stereotype and treats them differently wouldn’t create perfect justice.  It would create… how do you say?  Oh, yeah, mass graves.

My husband who presents as very white (good thing he didn’t grow up with us.  His name is Daniel which also rhymes with papel, and I can see my cousins singing “Daniel, Daniel, white like paper.” :-P) also gets treated differently oftentimes because he’s short, or because he forgot to shave, or because he’s slightly overweight.  Does that fall under perfect justice, too?  Man, those mass graves are going to need bulldozers to fill them.

THERE IS NO PERFECT JUSTICE.  Unless you clone humans to all look perfectly alike, we’re all going to judge each other on color, height, size, expressions, features, etc.

Provided we revise those opinions on an individual basis, it’s okay.  It’s being human and coming from tribal social apes.  Identifying “my band” was rather critical to our ancestors, after all.  Other bands could eat you or worse.

Now, particularly in a multi-ethnic (not just multi-racial) nation like ours it’s important to consider “tribe” something different, like say “believes in the constitution.”

BUT people will still revert to default modes, because people are people.  And you can’t cure people of being people and those who tried are known as… oh, yeah, “History’s greatest butchers.”

Perfect justice is an illusion.  I’d love to pay $300 less per month, and admittedly, if my kid were skinny and blond I could.  But then if my kid’s size and coloration weren’t linked to “danger” in the cop’s heads, that neighborhood would be much more expensive.

So, “in a perfect world” is irrelevant, because there was never and there never will be one.

And if do-gooders like Jeb Bush stop trying to help us achieve “perfect justice” we’ll rub along as best we can in this one, ignoring the *ssholes and doing the best we can.  Provided we stop lying to children and excusing their failures and their occasional grievances, and teaching them that what matters in the end is to work hard and be the best you can, and that if you do that you’ll succeed despite your skin color or features.  Yeah, you might not achieve the moon on a platter, because luck comes in there, too, but you’ll do much better than if you never try.

Teach your children well.  Regardless of their tan-status.

ALL lives matter.

148 responses to “Perfect Justice

  1. Don’t give me ‘justice’ based on what you might want, or what you think I might want.

    Give me a nation of clearly understood and transparently enforced laws. Give me a nation where I’m free to make my own opportunities. Give me a nation without a Byzantine bureaucracy that makes doing anything innovative darn near impossible, and taxes me half to death to support it.

    And get the folks who scream for ‘social justice’, ‘economic justice’, or ‘racial justice’ out of the way. When you start putting modifiers in front of ‘Justice’ – what you get out of the other end isn’t anything remotely resembling justice.

    • The time to get marxist justice out of the way was three generations ago. Dunno how we’re going to salvage the victims of LBJ’s racism.

      • It might end as shock therapy, and I hope not.

        • Bernie Sanders’ popularity indicates that there is still a sizable fraction of the population who thinks that there is a magic never-emptying pot of money labelled “the rich.” I don’t see that belief being questioned until they reach into the pot and come bag empty-handed. Shock therapy is the best-case scenario.

          • As soon as the media figure out Bernie is not the approved flavor of international socialist, look out…

            • I keeps seeing he’s nationalist, not internationalist, and socialist, and I have this vague sense of hearing of a national socialist party over in Europe with weird flags and the whole thing not turning out well.

          • William O. B'Livion

            Sanders says a lot of shituff that when you remove the hard core socialist bits and just give little sound bites sound good to your CNN watcher.

            “Open borders? No, that’s a Koch brothers proposal, … That’s a right-wing proposal, which says essentially there is no United States. … It would make everybody in America poorer — you’re doing away with the concept of a nation state, and I don’t think there’s any country in the world that believes in that … If you believe in a nation state or in a country called the United States or (the United Kingdom) or Denmark or any other country, you have an obligation in my view to do everything we can to help poor people.”

            Sounds reasonable, right?

            What right-wing people in this country would love is an open-border policy,

            Yeah, the non-political class is all over that shiznit.

            Of course the REST of his policies are *horrible* for this country, but when they lead with that…

            • What right-wing people in this country would love is an open-border policy,

              Today somebody on Facebook was talking about a weird job “application” that said (not very loosely paraphrased) “I need a job where I can get fast, easy money because I’m trying to turn my life around!” and someone else replied, “Must be a Republican.”

              Somehow, I can understand the deliberate lies more easily than the apparent unawareness of their own party’s policies.

              • Randy Wilde

                Must be a Republican because a Democrat wouldn’t WANT to turn his life around and be better?

                • I was pretty tempted to snark, “Must be — a Democrat would have demanded fast, easy money without the job.”

                • Democrats love fast, easy money — look at their links to Solyndra, WorldCom, Enron, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, Bernie Madoff, Herb And Marion Sandler (Golden West Financial) — all Democrat run companies, all relying on crony capitalism.

            • If you replace “1%” with “Jews” Sanders might as well be reading Mein Kampf.

      • Paraphrasing a SCOTUS judge: “Three generations of political imbecility are enough”.

        • Enough? No, too much. LBJ created an idle underclass, and their grandchildren are growing up to be about as useless as the fifth son of a European noble. Except there are millions, rather than a few hundred.

    • Can I get an AMEN!?

    • wanderingmuses

      And that sums it all up quite nicely!

    • *wildly applauding* Bravo! Bravo!

    • Apropos, a classic read: “The quest for cosmic justice” by Thomas Sowell
      Any lurkers wondering whether Sowell is “authentically black”: he grew up in such a thoroughly black environment that he jokes it wasn’t (IIRC) until adolescence he realized blond hair and blue eyes could exist in actual humans 🙂

    • Patrick Chester

      When you start putting modifiers in front of ‘Justice’ – what you get out of the other end isn’t anything remotely resembling justice.

      Likely they aren’t actually after justice at all, just trying to make their theft or whatever look all neat and shiny by adding the word “justice” to it.

  2. As a Floridian I can assure you the only skin color that is ‘teased’ are the pasty white ones.

  3. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    My skin color *had* nothing to do with why school was hell for me and those bastards want me to feel guilty for being white?

    For that matter, I remember reading about a “white” student who attended a majority “black” school where the “black” students were *allowed* by the “black” teachers to make that “white” student’s school time hell.

    While I agree about “perfect justice”, I hate the sort of people who talk about “perfect justice” because they’re more likely to treat so-called “whites” worse than so-called “blacks”.

    Hey! Where did this soapbox come from? [Very Big Grin]

    • oh, yeah. The years that were living hell for me were because I read and spoke ‘funny’ and… So nerd, not race.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      It’s quite apparent that when the SJW crowd talks about “justice”, they really mean “revenge”.

      • Nah, just “power.” They don’t need to have suffered any injuries, even imaginary ones to their bloated egos.

    • It often seems to be the case that when a traditionally oppressed minority starts calling for justice and equality what they really want is to have the tables turned and become the oppressors.

    • I believe it was you who told me soap boxes sneak up on people and ambush them ’round here. it just got you from behind. It happens. 😉

      • Ambush soap boxes, a dragon named Fluffy, non-Euclidean architecture (particularly in the corridors), the minion pool has some pirate gold and a sea serpent that’s taken it as its treasure. . . .

        One just has to get used to the quirks.

        The aardvark has bon-bons, BTW.

  4. Cloudbuster

    First of all he says his son gets teased for his skin color (in Florida? Well, paint me purple and call me Edna, but are they living in another planet?)

    Yes, the poor boy looks too white, doncha know.

  5. Christopher M. Chupik

    All lives matter?

    But — but, that’s racist! How dare you insinuate that all human life has value? Outrageous!

  6. The sad thing is that where you expect people to accept differences in complexion, their hidden prejudices emerge.

  7. In one of the Hard Boiled Templar priest short stories, the McGuffin is a sword that dispenses justice. The protagonist explains that in the hands of Solomon or Arthur it might be OK, maybe, sometimes, but otherwise it should be locked up far away from anyone.

    Perfect justice scares the heck out of me. I want mercy. And that’s from Someone who knows far, far better than any mortal.

    As for what Jeb and others talk about? Oh heck no! I agree with what Jlawson said.

  8. The soft socialist opens the door for the Stalinist. Then the Stalinist has him liquidated in the Lyubyanka.

  9. I’m going out on a limb here, but perhaps Jeb, who is a convert to Catholicism, is speaking in terms of The Second Coming? (Jesus – The Return! This time He’s taking names and He’s kicking butts!)

    “Yet” is a poor way of conveying that we will never see perfect justice in this world absent the return of the king (Hey! Good title for a book!), but I’ve yet to hear anyone argue that eloquent, clear communication is a Bush family trait.

    Undoubtedly I am working overtime to be charitable toward what was a badly phrased, poorly though out and ill conceived attempt at making an unnecessary point, but Charity is one of the Cardinal virtues …

    • if do-gooders like Jeb Bush stop trying to help us achieve “perfect justice” …

      Again, pushing the charitable border, I think the problem is a political culture in which candidate like Bush feel the imperative to placate the justice mongers. I doubt he believes a society can achieve “perfect justice” but thinks the answer to such demands is the public piety of making obeisance to such notions rather than denouncing them as the tommyrot they represent.

      It is the political equivalent of saying “Nice doggie” rather than telling the person on the other end of that leash that “If you don’t settle your beast down I am going to kill both of you.” The first allows you to avoid distracting arguments in the short term, the second trades short term kerfuffle for amiable long-term coexistence. Politicians tend to think in the short-term.

    • At best I aspire to Bishopy virtues. (Runs.)

    • A Cardinal value, RES, but what about the Archbishop?

    • Jeb scares me because I suspect he has all sorts of family (daddy, upstart younger brother) issues he plans to work out in the Whitehouse.

      • NO ONE can have as many issues as Obama…

      • Everybody has issues, often disturbing ones. One problem I had with G. H. W. Bush was this: what kind of man has to become president before he feels comfortable telling his wife not to serve him broccoli?

        • Depends on how scary his wife is.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          Well, Mom was surprised to learn what foods Dad disliked years after us kids were adults.

          He didn’t want to give us kids “excuses” for not eating the food Mom served us.

          Oh, my sister inherited Dad’s “food dislikes” even though he always ate what Mom serviced us.

          Mind you, with Dad it was often a matter of “is this worth fighting/arguing with the woman he married”. [Smile]

          • Good point. I was a much pickier eater as a child, to the point that my mother cut the onions larger when making meatloaf, so she wouldn’t have to hang around the table as long while I picked them out.

            These days, of course, I quite enjoy onions, but I’m only just starting to get past agreeing with Calvin (of Calvin & Hobbes) that mayo is correctly referred to as “white death.”

  10. Heh I vividly remember being 13 and riding the the bus in Miami. An older woman with pale-ish skin whose mode of dress marked her as first generation Cuban sat down next to me and starting talking to me in Cuban-Spanish. I, not speaking any form of Spanish politely stopped her and said “I’m sorry mam, but I don’t speak Spanish” At which point she began to loudly castigate me in broken English for “betraying my culture”. I eventually realized she was under the impression that I was Cuban. To be fair, it was summer, during which I spent most days riding my bike, lounging on the beach, or otherwise outside in the hot southern Florida sun from when I woke up till just after sundown. When I laughed, she took it as an offense, until I explained to her that I was “white as wonder bread”, at which point she just looked confused. Now I wasn’t being entirely honest as my lineage includes western European, eastern European, and native American, not too mention gods knows what else I aint even aware of but in the context of the time and place and the culture i grew up in I was certainly wonder bread and mayonnaise white. Im sure it didn’t help that my hair was, (and still is) raven black, thick as hell, and just wavy enough that I can’t grow it long without growing my own motorcycle helmet. At various times in my life I’ve been mistaken for Cuban, Romanian, central American, Skandanavian, Germanic, etc. It all just depends on how much I’ve been in the sun lately, whether or not I’m growing facial hair and in what style, and the beholders preconceived notions of what certain people look like. Damn if folks aint the dumbest animals on earth, excpet for all the others of course.

    • We get that speech at Russian, Greek, Arab, Portuguese, Italian AND other Hispanic stores/restaurants, because the kids don’t speak whatever.
      However my favorite bar none (as I said, to me husband looks WHITE expect his eyes are uh… asian) was the guy from a reservation in CO who stopped us when Robert was in a pram (and until 3 he was blond and blue eyed) and yelled at Dan for marrying outside the race. “Blue eyed kids. That’s what comes of it.” It was… interesting.

  11. When what’s his face said we needed to talk about race …

    C’mon now, you know that when Eric Holder said that what he meant was that he and his “friends” needed to talk about race and the rest of us need to listen and keep our yaps shut.

    That is one of those family-type discussions that are intended from the outset to be about your behaviour and how much it annoys displeases grieves me. In such conversations the opening phrase “Honey, we need to talk …” always means “Buster, you better listen up.”

    • The outré act described in Tool’s “Track #1” (I cannot write the actual song title on a PG-13 blog) is the perfect metaphor for what Holder et al., at the instance of VJ and her puppet, did to society.

    • Likewise the “Serious Conversation About Guns”.

      • I my experience (such as it is, at only 40), any time someone says there needs to be a Conversation(tm) or Discussion(tm), what they really mean is “I want to harangue and lecture you, and you aren’t allowed to disagree or even get in a single word edgewise”.

        • Short form: “Shut up & Listen Up.”

          And we wonder why they just admit that’s what they want instead of pretending our input is allowed, much less welcomed.

          n. A fair to the display of the minor mental commodities, each exhibitor being too intent upon the arrangement of his own wares to observe those of his neighbor.
          Ambrose bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

  12. Being white in those kinds of neighborhoods (probably similar to the one I live in) means you’re mostly left alone by the adults when they’re sober, are fair game for the local kids to harass and the first person to get yelled at when the cops are called for a noise complaint. However, the cops tend to show up faster when I call than when my neighbors call because I have a very white sounding name and way of speaking.

    Being mixed means, well, could be dangerous and not just from the cops. If the neighbors think you’re getting above yourself, you’ll be called out on it, even if they don’t know you from Adam and have no idea who or what you are. And if it gets out that you’re training to be a doctor, well, you’ll be tripping over girls whose momma’s are hoping to get some child support to add to their benefits. All in all, it’s probably better to pay the extra.

  13. Sounds like Jeb, in a desperate bid to gain tractions, is making a play for the Democrat wing of the GOP. This makes me happy, since Jeb is the only candidate running who I think could actually lose to Hillary!.

    • Christie, if he runs.

    • It’s pretty clear that Jeb’s long delayed decision to run was preceded by such extended begging and pleading from the country club wing that he’s subsequently been surprised he’s not getting the red-carpet-to-the-convention treatment that his brother got back in ’99.

    • Rubio could, Cruz could, Walker could…honestly, all of them could.
      But Bush and Trump are the two who would certainly lose.

    • Why not, it’s why we have Senator Cochran from MS. Invite the Democrats over to your open primary by more or less telling them they’ll get 90% of what they want even if the Democrat loses the general.

      • We’ll know we’re close to winning when we can get enough control of the GOP to cause all states with open primaries to lose half their delegates.

  14. Now, as to Florida. Well it depends, are we talking south Florida, central Florida,or North Florida? In South Florida are we talking east coast or west coast? Even in S.E. Florida, which cities are we talking? Miami-Dade? Fort Lauderdale? Boca? Maybe you wanna stick to south Florida counties? OK then. Dade County, are we talking Kendall, south Miami, north Miami, north Miami beach, south beach, Hallandale, palmetto, or liberty city? If Broward are we talking Hollywood, Weston, Davie, Sunrise or Pompano? I went to all black schools where i got shit for being white, up to and including fights on “cracker day” (which day it was varied from school to school), all white schools where kids living in 400,000 dollar a year households and wearing 500 dollar boots accused me of not being redneck enough, cuban majority schools where I got called whitey despite being darker than many pure blood Cubans, and schools with no clear majority where everyone fucked with everyone over everything.
    Thats why I think the whole “anti-bullying” trend is so pernicious. People are assholes, better kids learn how to deal with bullies in school, where everyone is more less equal (for a given value of equal) than in the real world where their first bully is likely to be their boss, neighbor, significant other, or local cop.

    • Yeah, I’m getting pretty tired of all this “anti-bullying” stuff myself – as I suspect that the loudest-talking “anti-bullies” likely are the worst bullies of all.

      • That’s exactly why they’re pushing the anti-bully stuff. They don’t want people to develop defenses against them.

        • Most bullies come out of Anti-bullying courses having learned new innovative bullying techniques.

  15. As long as we are talking about race, we are never going to get anything accomplished about race, because race will be the most important subject.
    It’s only when we are talking about something that TRANSCENDS race that race problems get solved.

  16. In a slightly different context, the invaluable Camille Paglia puts her finger on the problem of Americans who use our nation’s racial past as a pry bar to steal current and future benefit, as reported on by Washington Examiner reporter Ashe Schow:

    On feminism, Paglia excoriated the modern-day practice of believing “men are at fault for everything and women are utterly blameless.” She specifically called out Emma Sulkowicz – the woman who carried around a mattress at Columbia University for wallowing in victimhood.

    “I call it ‘mattress feminism.’ Perpetually lugging around your bad memories–never evolving or moving on!” Paglia said. “It’s like a parody of the worst aspects of that kind of grievance-oriented feminism.”

    She described her brand of feminism as “amazon” or “street-smart feminism,” the idea that you learn to defend yourself and take responsibility for your choices.

    In addition, Paglia said she would have given Sulkowicz a “D” for her mattress project.

    Substitute race for gender in that and you’ve got it about right. The eggs cannot be unbroken, so we need to decide how the omelet will be.

  17. wanderingmuses

    “Well, paint me purple and call me Edna!” I have got to work that phrase into my daily vocabulary!

  18. check out Sowell’s “Quest for Cosmic Justice”.

  19. That is why my boys have been forced to learn to tolerate wearing ties, buttoned shirts pressed and tucked in, suits, jackets and the like. No one says it’s fair, but what it is, is social signalling, and at least in the USA, wearing the ‘Upper-Middle Class’ uniform, even if you bought it at St. Vincent de Paul, says ‘I am not a thug.’

    It seems to me that if you are on a jury, perfect justice is appropriate to strive for, but even so you frequently won’t get it. But then, my concept of justice has a lot more to do with criminals getting convicted and non-criminals getting exonerated than any silliness about perfect fairness.

  20. And I certainly don’t look at strangers’ faces and analyze them for racial characteristics.

    When I’m in areas outside the area where I grew up, I do look at people for “commonality” of facial characteristics. It’s pretty amazing how similar people in a lot of areas look, just based on the more basic features – shape of face (oval, round, triangular), tilt of facial profile, tilt of head atop spine, etc). But judging people based on that is pretty foolish.

  21. My first wife was Mexican, and one summer, we lived a few months in Millington TN. She didn’t have anything better to do but lay around in the sun, all day, every day (we weren’t going to be there long enough for her to bother getting a job). One day, in a convenience store, I was cornered by some… shall we say “less tolerant gentlemen” who started calling me “N-lover”. They couldn’t figure out why I wouldn’t stop laughing.

  22. BobtheRegisterredFool

    I get the impression that Jeb is mainly a Republican because enough Democrats hate his blood too much for the alternative.

    • His brother called himself a ‘compassionate conservative.’ I think that is code for a slightly more competent Democrat who goes to church.

  23. In related news, engineers announced today that they have finally invented a white-light laser. The DOJ is investigating. #BlackLightMatters

    • Light up those old velvet Elvis posters! Black light rules!

        • MadRocketSci

          That thing looks like it is only trichromatic (three sharp color peaks instead of one sharp color peak), not lasing “across the visible spectrum”. (ie, they stacked three lasers together, each one lasing at a different wavelength, and called the resulting light “white”.)

          I dunno how well this would work for illumination. Things that look similar to our eyes could have wildly different spectral content underneath: It might not be healthy to have some extreme brightness monochromatic thing instead of an incoherent broad spectrum source for illumination: could lead to eye damage over time.

          • MadRocketSci

            On the other hand, I could think of some fun optical tricks you could play with a light source like that. You could put a narrow-band notch filter in a window, for example, so that a room looks dark (or differently illuminated) when viewed from outside, but looks white-light illuminated when viewed inside.

            I wonder what pets, having different arrangements and different types of color cones would think of this pseudo-white light source?

          • Probably so. I think “laser”, due to the fact that each wavelength is in phase and with the same polarity, would be hard on your eyes. I know that looking at the dot produced by those cheap laser pointers you can buy in the grocery store hurts my eyes.

          • You mean the ‘white’ laser is just passin’, and selling out its own colors?

  24. When I was 20, I could pass for “Black,” quite easily. I still tan almost Black, if I spend enough time in the sun.

    • My brother JP inherited the looks of my mother’s family, who tended to be brown-eyed with very dark hair, and tanned very readily and to very dark. I’ve always sworn that Ben Jealous, the current head of the NAACP looks just like my brother!
      Amusingly, since we were all carefully-raised Lutherans and sent to catechism class, we also displayed the taste for theological disputation which catechism class encouraged … and very often, my brother was also assumed to be Jewish… Make of that what you will.

  25. Randy Wilde

    telling these kids “yeah, some people are *ssholes, ignore them” is ultimately the best course

    Well, ignore them and be successful.

    That’s if you don’t want to go the “crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women” route. And remember… revenge is a dish best served cold, especially now that we’re in summer and some evenings it’s just too hot to cook.

  26. In my experience, the biggest proponents for and champions of “justice” are usually also the biggest hypocrites.

    If you’ll permit me another story from my not-very-distant youth:

    I attended a small Christian college that was very big into “Social Justice,” which for them was really just a fancy way of saying “Comunism.” Pretty much all of the students bought into it to some degree, though there were some exceptions (myself included, of course).

    There was this one guy, who I was actually friends with at the time believe it or not, who was such a fervent and outspoken True Believer in the Cause that even Marx, Lenin, and Guevera would’ve stepped back and said “woah, dude, chill out.” He’d go on and on to anyone who would listen about how it was “Our Moral Duty as Christians To” do whatever Social Justice idea or campaign had grabbed his attention that particular week. I’ll never forget one particularly memorable conversation I had with him.

    So one day I was in the Dining Commons and happened to sit down directly across from him while he was in mid-rant. He was going on and on about something to do with unemployment and the homeless and charity, and I admit that I struggled to follow him, mostly because what he was saying sounded so bat-sh*t insane I couldn’t believe he was actually saying it. So when he finally paused for breath, I cut in.

    “I’m sorry,” I said, “but I think I’m having trouble following you.”

    “What are you not understanding?” he asked.

    “I’m not sure. I think what you’re getting at is that we are morally and ethically mandated to give half of our money to the unemployed and the homeless.”

    “Yes!” he exclaimed, “that’s exactly it! As Christians, we are morally obligated to give up half our paychecks to the unemployed in the name of equality.”

    “So basically if I ran into some guy on the street who didn’t have a job, I should give him half of my paycheck each week because it’s the right thing to do.”


    “Okay, so since you have a job, and I don’t have a job, you are therefore morally obligated to give me half of your paycheck if I ask you for it, right?”

    “Yes! That’s exactly what I’m saying!”

    “Okay.” At which point I held out my hand, palm up. He looked at me like I’d just grown a second head.

    “What are you doing?”

    “Asking for half your paycheck.”

    You could hear the proverbial record player scratch.


    “You have a job, I don’t, therefore you’re obligated to give me half of your paycheck.”

    “No, that, uh, that’s not what… uh…”

    “You just said that, right?”

    “Well, yeah, but, uh, I didn’t mean you.”

    “Then who did you mean?”

    Naturally, rather than answer my question, he changed the subject. And of course nobody else at the table called him on it. We’re still friends, believe it or not, though I’m really not sure why since he seems to get crazier every day.

  27. Raptor,

    You just don’t understand Communism/extreme socialism.

    The “true believers” are part of the party. They “do their part” by spreading the word. It’s the nonbelievers/others who should give up half their paycheck to the unemployed, because it’s the others that aren’t “doing their part”.

    Communism/extreme socialism is all about giving OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY to the poor in order to make everything fair, not about giving their OWN money (look up Romney’s charitable donations vs Obama’s, you’ll get the idea).

    Notice how Obama and others of his ilk who cry about the rich “Not paying their fair share” certainly aren’t pointing at themselves.

  28. Latter-day Saints have this interesting idea that Justice and Mercy are at odds with each other. Perfect Justice would demand that we receive the Punishment no matter what. Perfect Mercy would demand that we forgive everyone for everything. Since G-d is Perfectly Just, we needed a mediator to pay the price for everything; this mediator (Jesus Christ) would then exercise judgement as to who should be forgiven, and who should be punished.

    Now, I don’t want to get into a religious discussion about this, but I provide it because it illustrates the need for Mercy as well as for Justice. We seem to be caught up on this notion of “Justice for All”, but whenever we forgive one another for some wrong (however big or small that wrong may be), we are putting aside our claim for Justice, perhaps even for something more important–such as choosing to forgo punishing an almost certain criminal, so that we don’t accidentally punish someone who is innocent, or because we want to preserve a friendship, or even simply because we don’t want to bear the burden of holding a grudge for the rest of our lives.

    Indeed, this is one of the big reasons why I am bothered by “microagressions”. If it’s truly so small, then it almost certainly deserves to be forgiven on the spot, especially if the person doing the “microagressing” may have no idea that it is being done!

    Offense, of necessity, will come; it is necessary for peaceful society to learn to forgive these offenses, and move on.

    And, incidentally, Perfect Mercy will be just as bad as Perfect Justice. Could you imagine society where we not only actively released everyone from prison, and refuse to convict people for evil acts, and even forbade punishment? Besides being impossible to enforce (which is a factor of why so-called “anarcho-capitalism” isn’t really “anarchy”*), Perfect Mercy wouldn’t produce a society we would like to live in, any more than Perfect Justice would.

    * Oh, great: in addition to injecting religion, I had to throw in politics as well! (And no, I don’t want to get into a political discussion about this, either. 😉

    • Incidentally, while I don’t want to discuss religion or politics at the moment, I don’t think it’s an accident that themes of justice and mercy are addressed so much in both.

      I also remember J.R.R. Tolkien observing that children in particular appreciate justice in fairy tales–they tend to see stark contrasts between right and wrong, and like to see bad guys get their just desserts–while adults tend to appreciate mercy–adults typically have lived long enough to make a mistake or two, and appreciate opportunities to make things right.

      • Sadly, our society is being ever more becoming by the children, for the children and of the children. Which explains the popularity of social policies which make their advocates feel good about themselves (Fifty Dollar An Hour Minimum Wage!) but accrue disastrous long-term social policies by people too naive to grasp the underlying principle of Public Choice Theory and who imagine that “servants” providing public political benefits are motivated by the good feelings engendered.

        All too often such trust fund babes discover that their servants have transferred the rights and benefits to themselves, leaving the heirs disenfranchised. (Proving Esau the model for our modern age? What a mess!)

        • Now, that’s for the child-like adults. An important distinction, because real, live, actual children often get trampled underfoot in this process.

          • Trampled, abandoned, hacked to bits. There is limited room for children in this world and the ratio of adults to children needs to be kept within a certain range lest things fall apart.

            • In a related vein:
              The Dark Side: Citizens Choosing Perpetual Psychological Adolescence
              A significant number of young people now conclude, ‘The government will pay for and take care of all the big things in life – health care, college education, retirement income, day care. This will require higher taxes, but all of those taxes cover all the important things. I’ll get to keep what’s left over. That’s my allowance.’

              Does that make you want to punch someone in the face?

              First, even if you think that’s a good idea and better than the liberty-minded free market we’ve had for most of our history… what makes you think the federal government is good at taking care of people? The VA scandal? How about the federal government’s program for the disabled?

              The nation’s premier federal program that provides work for people who are severely disabled is mired in widespread corruption, financial fraud and violations of the law, numerous sources tell CNN. And instead of helping the severely disabled find work, the taxpayer-funded agency is at times allowing jobs to be taken away from the disabled, the sources say.

              The government will legally require you to purchase health insurance, and then send you to a site that doesn’t work to buy it.

              More importantly, government is not our father and not our mother. To view the government as the grownups, in charge and handling all of the really important decisions, is to choose to live in a state of perpetual psychological adolescence.

  29. “ALL lives matter.”
    ^^ Yes!

    I just tossed that line to a soft liberal yesterday. (as opposed to a hard liberal. She is willing to think sometimes, you just have to logically point out the flaws a couple of times.)

    Well said by the way.