The First Stone

Some of you might be wondering why I get so worked up over relatively unpopular or strange cases and why I invariably take the position of defending incredibly flawed individuals.

I was thinking about it myself yesterday.

I can’t remember, and I’m too lazy to look it up, whether I defended the guy who made the movie “The Innocence of Muslims” — I can’t remember his name now — you know the guy that our entire government decided, apropos nothing to blame for the Benghazi attacks, arrest, drag to jail.

I might not have written about him, since that was kind of close to when I came out of the political closet, so it might have been in the “in the closet time.”

However, I remember being horrified and anguished over his arrest, even in the middle of the horrors perpetrated on our people in Benghazi, with our government’s supine lack of action if not cooperation.

Days later Dan was talking to his sister about whom to vote for.  His sister, for reasons I won’t go into, is inclined to the left.  Dan pointed out the atrocious injustice of blaming this man for an attack that OBJECTIVELY couldn’t be his fault, the injustice of arresting him in the middle of the night.

My SIL’s answer was breathtaking (not in a good way.)  “Ah, well, he’s a bad man, and had been forbidden from being on the computer and making movies anyway.”

All this ignoring the fact that if the government hadn’t needed a scapegoat, no one would have dreamed of picking him up.

In that moment I realized this impulse to say “Oh, yeah, he got hit with something that was completely unfair and concocted for someone else’s purposes, but it it was totally his fault because he’s done this or that that is just objectively wrong” is both a mechanism of self-protection — we need to convince ourselves that this would never happen to us because we’d never do “whatever percipitating incident or excuse was” AND we can then feel safe again.

It is also the primary seed of tyranny, and the primary aid and abettor of it.  Otherwise decent people, scared by things that happen to people in circumstances in which they might find themselves, grasp at straws of excuses for why it happened to that person, and not them.  Because if they admit it could happen to them or their loved ones, then they lose faith in the institutions, and they HAVE to do something about it.  It disrupts their cozy ordained life.

It is this mental mechanism that allowed people downwind from the camps to say “well, but it’s only Jews and other degenerates, and you know they’ve done something to deserve it.  It would never happen to us, Helga.”  It is what allowed people under Stalin, hearing the secret police kick down their neighbors’ door in the middle of the night, to roll over in bed and go “Well, but they’re enemies of the regime; saboteurs and spies.  The police would never be after them if they weren’t.  We’re perfectly safe, Ivan.”  It is even what allowed people in the terror to denounce other people for saying words that they might or might not have misheard (like the woman who swore that she’d said spindle, not king which apparently sounded the same in local patois, and she said they needed one.) and watch them guillotined with perfect calm because “it could never happen to us, Marie.  Vive la revolution!”

Sure.  We’re not there yet.  Though it could be argued when authority figures beat the crap out of someone for the crime of wanting to sit on the airplane seat he legally purchased and not doing what the “authorities” told him to, and people try to justify the authorities’ actions with “Well, he was breaking the rules by not obeying the order to leave, so they were allowed to remove him” the mentality is already here.  And where the mentality is, the de-facto abuse will follow.

I even had a cartoon character on my facebook page tell me “He said they’d have to drag him, so they dragged him.  It’s his fault if he got injured.”
Okay, there is no proof he said ANY such thing, but let’s suppose he did.  If he’d said “Just shoot me” would that mean they weren’t guilty of murder?  People making these excuses for blatant abuse of power are just grasping at straws as to why he deserved it and THEY never would.

Which means they are severely delusional.  Once authorities — and yes, airline employees, reinforced with the power of government to “keep us safe from terrorists” are in a way government agents right now — get license to do this it will happen again and again.  It will happen randomly.  In fact, in this case it happened randomly, despite attempts to smear the doctor’s character all over the media.  He was picked because they wanted his seat.  And possibly because he was a small, older man with glasses and not, say, a hulking six foot some football player.  (Only a crazy person would randomly pick, say, Larry Correia, to forcibly remove from an airplane. )  It had zero to do with his moral character or well… anything else, really.

It brought to mind the Milo Yannopoulus kerfuffle, when even conservatives lined up to take a hit at the successful speaker the left wanted to remove.  Not all of them were motivated by fear that if they didn’t distance fast enough they’d be accused of thinking pedophilia was fine.  No.  Quite a few of them were motivated by this crappy weasel idea that if you justify in your head why someone deserves the bad, biased treatment and you don’t, you’ll be safe from it.

Hence, the person who, HERE argued that Milo deserved everything coming to him because he’d been mean to people on twitter.  Or the person I didn’t approve who said he deserved it all because he WAS a “cuckservative”.  Or the people who, on a respected news site I have sometimes worked for, thought he “deserved” it for being a transvestite.  (Which he isn’t.  Heaven deliver us from crazy conservatives.)

None of these people, note, was saying that Milo was a pedophile, which was, ostensibly, what the left was trying to crucify him for (on contrived evidence) or even that he approved in any way of pedophilia (even if he’d made jokes about a circumstance in which he, himself, was the child being abused.)  No.  They were saying he deserved this completely crazy and unfair hit, contrived by splicing bits of recorded image and sound together, because “he was a bad person, and he had it coming.”

Our constitution protects not the rights of angels, but the rights of normal human beings, who are supposed to be secure in their possessions and in their persons, safe from random attacks, safe from libel, safe from theft.

Angels don’t need to be defended from anything.  They’re angels.  looking at their wonderful purity, everyone would realize it would be wrong to attack them.

The problem is there are no angels in our workaday world.  We’re all human.  Yes, even you, sitting on that chair, thinking your sins are of a much lower degree than any of the three people mentioned in this article.  Surely, if you were treated like the three of them were people would defend you.  Even better, no one would ever treat you that way, because they’d find no excuse.

Would you care to place a small bet?

First, as a wise rabbi once said, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”  If people will shrug and accept your being financially injured because you were very rude to someone once, in this age of the internet, which of us, particularly those of us who are hotheaded, has never been unwarrantedly mean, insulting or unforgivably rude to someone who didn’t deserve it?  And fine, we might not be on probation for something related to fraud and films, but which of us hasn’t penned or filmed or said something that the government might decide to blame a terrorist attack on?  And which of us, flying home, with appointments the next day, has NOT felt like saying “no, just no.  I want to go HOME.”  If that’s enough to justify beating someone and putting him in the hospital with severe injuries, which of us will escape a beating?

No.  People with authority must be restrained, and the side of the individual taken, even though every individual is flawed and even though all of us can find excuses for the abuses of the authorities.  Why?  Because if authority isn’t restrained it will become tyranny and then no one will be safe.  And because no one will be pure (ever) authority will continue being abused.

It is justly said that free speech must protect unpopular speech, because no one ever tries to restrain popular speech.

In the same way, it is the shady, the loopy, the Odd among us who must be kept safe in their dignity, in their persons, in their possessions and in their reputations.  Because if they are safe, then all of us will be safe.

And if they aren’t, soon enough, no one will be.

213 responses to “The First Stone

  1. Great piece, Sarah. Very well said.

    I don’t remember how many times I’ve said “no” when the overbooked announcement has come out. I am deeply troubled by this display of authoritarian actions by a private business and backed by government authority. I do worry about the increasingly authoritarian bent in people. I see more and more people growing accustomed to and accepting of such actions in every day, smaller situations. I’m not sure how to go about reminding people that they do not, in fact, have to oblige unreasonable requests even when/if those requests come from authority figures or ordinary employees. To those arguing that the flight crew has final authority over aircraft, yes….when it’s moving. A plane at the gate with the door open is not a ship at sea or in the air. That employees are acting this way and that such actions are deemed acceptable and normal displays a disturbing acceptance of authoritarianism that most people would not openly admit to.

    We all need to pay attention to our reactions to such situations and I for one, will be speaking up more in defense of individuals and for myself.

  2. Well said.
    An infuriating habit explained. Instinct over intellect? Seems it all is.

  3. Reblogged this on The zombie apocalypse survival homestead and commented:
    An infuriating habit explained. Instinct over intellect? Seems it all is.

  4. c4c

  5. The one time I was on a jury, we were deciding a case of criminal trespass. Somebody had chained himself to a concrete-filled garbage can to sit-in block an eviction. The facts were not in dispute, and even the guy who’d been jailed in Selma agreed he should go to jail (he thought that was *part* of peaceful protest by civil disobedience).

    The jury was hung. Because one lady decided the owners of the property didn’t deserve it–she’d read things in the paper about what an Evil Corporation they were.

    • And if pd had injured while removing it would be completely the company’s fault to her, not the jbt’s that did the injuring. This is why I tend to just call to a pox on all in these cases. If I had a smidgen of trust that the government basis for most of these problems would be even addressed it would be worth. But the solutions will merely be increased government control, not any sort of liberty based ideas. For instance, the nullification you note means that contracts will be only enforced at the will of the government if the contract holder is socially virtuous. Admittedly I make the assumption that this was a case of legal eviction with a lopsided contract that was signed, but the exact same contract and actions taken by a private owner against tenant would have altered her opinion I’m going to guess. Justice has taken off her blindfold.

      See the same thing with medical (“Government has to say what is fair and force compliance”) and the fact that speech is only worthy based on how it supports a specific worldview.

  6. That’s a similar set of reasoning to why I said on my blog I have sympathy for Black Lives Matter.

    “The police have pulled him over. He must have done something wrong. He deserves it. ”

    Even if the reason he’s been pulled over is that he’s late for his job and speeding. Or he’s trying to make a living by engaging in some trade – from hairdressing to busking to selling garden produce – without the appropriate permission and required piece of paper.

    • If that was the central claim of Black Lives Matter, I’d have no objection to that underlying purpose.
      But it isn’t.
      Their purpose is to actively protect criminals, and to attack civil authority. Witness their martyrs. Two of the three were shot in self-defense.

      Want to limit the aggressive user of force by police? I’m there with you, in nearly all cases except actual riots (in which case I feel the police ought to be much more aggressively violent).
      But if you want to put Michael Brown on the same moral plane as either of the two ranchers the police gunned down last year (that I know of, there may have been more), I’m going to vehemently disagree.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Yep, Black Lives Matter doesn’t care about blacks who have been killed/robbed by black criminals nor do they care about black cops killed by black criminals. 😦

      • As long as they want to tilt against the police windmill, I don’t care, other than a general distaste for making the JBTs even more paranoid and trigger-happy than they are already.

        However, when the police stood off and let them block traffic, that meant they had at least the passive support of the police and the city, county, and state governments, considering it was happening on interstate highways.

        Not no, but hell no. I don’t carry enough ammunition to clear my way through that sort of thing, but 4500 pounds of Dodge truck is going to make short work of any idiot who thinks I’m going to let him block my path.

        Note their handlers haven’t had them try that after the first few times. I think a whole lot of people watched coverage of that and planned what their reactions would be. I bet few of them included “stop and get mugged, raped, or killed.”

        • Being able to assert awareness of the experience of Reginald Denny, caught in the ’92 LA Riots would certainly support any such action.

          • I seem to recall Glenn Reynolds tweeting “Run them down” as the appropriate response to being surrounded by rioting thugs on the freeway. He was hated for a day or two, and then it died down, probably as more and more people thought about what they’d do in the same situation.

            I know damn well it’s what I’d do. I’m not going to risk my life and my passengers/family’s lives simply because I have the wrong skin color.

      • Who were the two ranchers? I remember LaVoy Finicum, because he hailed from my mother-in-law’s home town — and while the shooting itself was likely self-defense, the set-up that led to the shooting was highly questionable. (One example: the roadblock was put at the point of a bend, which means one can speed up to it and potentially crash into it, because it can’t be seen in time.)

        But I can’t think of who the other rancher might be, although I might almost remember it…

        • I watched the video, sorry, but that was a bad shoot. He had his hands out, and slipped (like you do when wearing cowboy boots in the snow). There was no movement towards a weapon, just an attempt to regain balance. That the hidden officers with him in their crosshairs reacted as if it were a threat is understandable, but it was murder all the same.

          The second didn’t get much coverage. It happened in Adams county, Idaho. A rancher’s bull had gotten hit by a car. The deputies notified him, and told him to take care of it. (After they’d shot it and pissed it off. .223 and 9mm aren’t good choices for animals that weigh a ton.) He let the deputies know he was going to have to put the animal down. He fetched his rifle to do so, the deputies freaked… There​ were witnesses. The deputies had extensive disciplinary records. No charges were filed.

          • I heard of the second one as well, then, although I had to hear the details to be sure.

            When I did a quick Google search to recall Finicum’s name, I saw a video from inside the van, showing a window getting shot out shortly after he got out of the truck.

            I’ve generally been on the fence as to whether or not to consider it a defensive shooting. Having seen that video I hadn’t seen before, however, has pushed me more onto the side of the shooting being murder.

    • Sadly Black Lives Matter isn’t protesting any of that. Instead they are celebrating criminals and declaring that they are the victims of targeted police/government murder.

      Not that they are the target of aggressive policing. If that was BLM’s complaint I would agree with them. I might not agree with all of their logic but I would agree that they are likely more targeted for policing.

      But the argument that they are especially targeted by police? No. Worse when their complaint is subjected to objective research it turns out that whites are killed at a higher rate than black individuals. Not what is claimed is it?

      • Err, aren’t criminals supposed to be targeted by the police? As best they can? Ideally they would deal only with criminals.

        • The problems occur, of course, when people who are not good at logic (a deplorably large percentage of the populace) invert that to assume that anybody targeted by police, anybody having any dealings with police, must perforce be a criminal.

        • Yes, they are.

          But you have to remember that to the police, everyone without a badge is a criminal. They just haven’t caught them at anything yet.

          • Not all. Not even close.
            But entirely too many.

          • That’s not necessarily true or fair to the police. One summer I was stopped by dozens, (because I was behaving oddly) but once they determined I wasn’t wanted, most of them were courteous and friendly.

            • People tend to not recognize that for the police, every stop might be the last for them. Do not doubt the average police officer is well aware f how often and how easily a situation can turn bad.

              That is why you initiate your interaction with an officer — such as being pulled over on the highway — in ways intended to reassure the officer and alleviate the effects of adrenaline — such as keeping both hands in plain sight, making no sudden movements, speaking calmly and so on.

              Is this the ideal way such interactions should go? No. But it is the practical reality of how they do go. When you hire people to engage in activities which carry a high potential of their pallbearers being named it behooves you to practice empathy.

              And it behooves them to constantly keep in mind that resort to force in a situation means they lost control of the situation.

              • “People tend to not recognize that for the police, every stop might be the last for them. Do not doubt the average police officer is well aware of how often and how easily a situation can turn bad.”

                “Those who say the job is wrong
                And shouldn’t be at all
                Must then take up the gun themselves
                To guard each door and wall.
                Must spend their nights in sentry rounds,
                Their days in packing heat.
                It’s easier to pay the man full time to guard your street.

                And who will be the Guardian
                to take your dangers on?
                Who will guard your streets at night
                When Dirty Harry’s gone?
                Run like deer, or die like sheep, or take your dangers on,
                For you must guard your sleep yourselves
                Now Dirty Harry’s gone.”
                “Guardian / Dirty Harry’s Gone” — Leslie Fish

                Better have a good answer to these questions:
                1. Do you have the time, physical ability, equipment, and training to do your own policing?
                2. Do you think you’re going to not make mistakes in a high-stress situation?
                3. Do you think you’re going to keep having the OPTION of paying the man full time to guard your street if you make his job impossible to do without risking his or her life and freedom? We’re already seeing it: cops are getting harder to recruit, and the ones who are left are simply going fireman: if they get a call, they’ll do something. For now. I’m seeing more and more reports that in bigger cities, cops are simply not bothering with thefts that don’t involve at least $500.

                Oh, and forget about your neighbors. In the aftermath of Zimmerman, a huge percentage of the gun blogs are openly saying that no one should worry about defending anyone who isn’t immediate family. Can we say clan loyalty society?

                I am a firm believer in Algy Herries’ motto in “To Serve Them All My Days”: Few rules, but unbendables.

                • I am a firm believer in Algy Herries’ motto in “To Serve Them All My Days”: Few rules, but unbendables.

                  !?! Another fan of To Serve Them All My Days? Yay!

                  “Few rules, but unbendables.” If only there were a political party advocating that vision!

                • Sorry, but the difference in ‘hot’ burglaries between the US and merry old England exposes your point for the falsehood that it is. An armed citizen is statistically much more of a threat to a criminal than an armed police officer and criminals have figured that one out. Not to mention the probability of death as a cop is not particularly high and doesn’t even crack the top 10. Truck driver is a more dangerous job.

                  • Like I said, you can be contemptuous of cops all you want. Just hope you can always handle it. Including the legal consequences.

                • Oh, did she get the copyright to that song back? (I know it from the album “Fever Season” that goes with the Merovign Nights books.) I really hope so, because then a lot of other things may soon be available again.

                  The Fever Season lyrics are ” When Old Black Cal is gone.”

                  • Yes, I have both the Fever Season and original versions.

                    I’m not sure what the status is on that particular item; I know back in 2001 she had gotten a lot of the Firebird stuff back.

              • Oh exactly. Sadly BLM activists generally will throw a hissy fit at the advice I’m going to offer. Yet this is exactly the advice I a white dude follow when stopped by police.

                First if in a car sit still with my hands on the wheel.

                When the officer reaches you above all be polite and if possible smile. Do not get angry with the officer and to not argue with her. If you absolutely must contest things politely ask if they will call their supervising officer to come.

                Unless the officer asks you for something keep your hands clear of objects.

                This is pretty much what I don when stopped and generally I have had good results from it. Even back in the late 70s at 16 driving my first car and the highway patrol officer spooked me. Basically at a turn onto hwy 70 I wasn’t certain of the speed and distance of the on coming vehicle in the dark. First lesson I should have waited for it to go past before pulling out. So I pulled out as fast as possible onto 70. The other vehicle raced up behind me and I kept accelerating. Up to around 90 miles per hour. It was as I started to slow down that the red lights popped on. Oops.

                Anyway I mortified and very polite to the officer. It didn’t get me out of the ticket but he did reduce it from felony speeding to misdemeanor speeding and only wrote me up for doing 80.

                It is a solid lesson in that if your polite to the officer you can get a much better result. My brother is an excellent lesson in that. When younger he often got aggressive into the officers space and generally God hit with higher cost tickets. Once he just relaxed and generally took a whatever attitude then his ticketing experience went much better.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  When I first started driving, I was always polite to the police.

                  For a town of 40,000, it was astounding how many people knew one or both of my parents. 😀

                  After I moved out of Danville IL, I was still polite to the police with very good results.

                • Unfortunately that’s ticket farming. Police do that to get you to speed so they can ticket you. Works great on newbies. One tried it on Dan and I recently. We pegged at the speed limit and dared him to hit us (both of us had been bit while young and stupid.) After tailgating us for a while he gave up and went around.

                  • I figured it was something like that. I’ve only fallen for it the once.

                    • And this is a view of how cops aren’t saints, btw. Yeah, I understand the risk, and I support cops against most of the BLM crap. But a lot of them also abuse the position. And make it easier for crap like BLM to flourish.

                    • Sarah I’m hardly one to declare that cops are universally saints. That said they are human and make human errors. For the vast majority of cops I believe they are trying to do the right thing. Not always succeeding but trying.

                    • Oh, I agree with you. I once got kicked out of a jury for being too pro-cop. BUT keeping the good cops good means coming down like a ton of bricks on the bad apples. Particularly chicago airport/mall cops.

                    • When we entrust the authority to enforce the law we extend a grant of presumption — but any who use that authority to abuse their power merit double punishment. A bad cop not only harms his victim, he harms his brothers in blue and he harms all those who licensed him.

                      So yeah, it is both blessing and curse.

                • One of my generalized principles is “Never antagonize someone who can spit in your food.”

                  When you are stopped in traffic by the police, the metaphorical “spitting in your food” can become very expensive. Thus it behooves to be polite. Not a doormat, but you ain’t getting anything except some satisfaction for your reptile brain being antagonistic.

                  • I wonder what we would find if we sorted opinions on this according to birth order. I find that I correlate to the tendencies typically asserted to the middle child; I know Sarah qualifies as a first/only child by virtue of having a brother as much older as hers is.

                    OTOH, I think most pop psychological analysis on birth order is twaddle and no more reliable that horoscopes using only the subject’s sun sign. Being a Gemini I confess to having two minds about the whole subject and my interest is piqued by the implications of G-D being external to Time, thus able to pop our souls into this world whenever He finds the portents apropos.

    • Would that they would address effective solutions to their own title. Things like, oh, the rate of black-on-black crime (and the social good it would do the community to put criminals behind bars and *keep them there* until they reform), the racist in effect quota system (e.g. Affirmative Action), and suchlike.

      The best thing of all for black people, minorities, and all? Treat them like American citizens should be treated, and no less. Neither favoritism nor discrimination, simply to complete the whole Crayola set.

      Were BLM to address *that,* well, it would be like feminists addressing the evils of sharia law towards women. Extremely unlikely, but oh the good that could come of it. Alas.

  7. “No. People with authority must be restrained, and the side of the individual taken, even though every individual is flawed and even though all of us can find excuses for the abuses of the authorities. Why? Because if authority isn’t restrained it will become tyranny and then no one will be safe. And because no one will be pure (ever) authority will continue being abused.”

    Amen. Our founders built a limited government for just this reason. I don’t know that we can entirely go back to that, but a severe cutting/restraining of federal power would be a good start.

  8. It is not the purity of the angels that would protect them, but the simple fact that angels have been known to smite entire armies and cities.
    The purity alone, would just make them a target.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      That’s for sure. 😀

    • My Southern Baptist grandmother used to say “There was only one perfect person. And we all know what happened to him.”

      • He did have an uncomfortable habit challenging those of the local established authority and was stirring up possible trouble with the regional authorities as well.

      • Heard the same from mine.

        We see it even today, often enough. The more honest, the more moral, the more *good* a person appears, the more some will obsessively search for *any* flaw. And that flaw, no matter how tiny, will be magnified a thousand fold, all to make the accuser feel better about himself, in the end.

        It is not the penitent who receives adulation these days, unless they have begun to acknowledge the sins of their hetero-ness/masculinity/femininity/conservatism/Christianity/whiteness/etc anything except the One True Narrative. In the upside down world, bad behavior, psychosis and mental disorders, “transgressive” behavior, and childishness are Good. Traditional morals are bad.

        • Saintly people get opposed by some very bad men; but also by some very self-righteous people who suddenly feel not good enough, and can’t accept it. They face their demons and project them on the saint. It’s a real test.

          Then again, some really bad hats are haunted by the saintly, to the point that they do something good about it.

    • There are reasons the first words out of an obvious angel’s mouth tends to be ‘fear not’.

  9. Those in authority are only human too. Which is precisely why the oversight, ability to be removed from their job, and punishment, if necessary, ought to greatly exceed what the rest of us are subjected to. Their very position of authority means they are able to cause at least a magnitude more damage than the rest of us. Instead, what we get are “enhanced sentencing” for killing a cop (regardless of the reason for doing so), but just ordinary sentencing for killing a mother of 4.

    Life’s not fair. I don’t live in a world that I think is fair; but that doesn’t mean I can’t work at trying to make it more fair than it really is. The founders of the U.S. at least tried to set up a system that gave everyone a fair starting point with the least government interference. What we have today is a bit short of 250 years of local, state, and federal workers, bureaucrats and politicians trying to undo it.

  10. In regards to the very first paragraph:

    The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one’s time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all. — H. L. Mencken

    • H. L. Mencken was more than a bit of a scoundrel himself, racist, sexist, anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi. Which makes this a sort of special pleading.

      He’s right, of course, but it is nonetheless a special pleading.

      • So, prior to 1941-ish, he would have been sharing the same opinions as the majority of the US population.

        Look up Time’s Man of the Year for 1938, 1939, and for that matter, 1942.

        • In fairness to Time, they do state that PotY is a function of who is influential that year and not necessarily an endorsement. It is correct that until Barbarossa there was at best ambivalence toward Germany with Italy held up by government as the future (how right they were), but the idea of once again letting Europe right it out like the last few dozen wars over there was definitely common as was the America first idea since still in depression. But Hitler was definitely in the pool of influential persons during that period.

      • So, skip Menken and go straight to More:

        :Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

        • The Thomas More quoted is a fictional character in a play by an author with an axe to grind. The real More opposed the Reformation, Martin Luther and William Tyndale. Author Brian Moynahan has argued that More was influential in the burning of Tyndale. Rather than take an pen stand on the matter of supremacy of Church or King More resorted to legalistic pettifoggery and ignored the threat to the Crown of the lack of a credible heir.

          The agnostic Robert Bolt’s presentation of More is no more historically accurate than is the portrait provided in Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall of More as an unsympathetic persecutor of Protestants, and an ally of the Habsburg empire. In Bolt’s polemic all people in positions of power are depicted as being either corrupt, evil, or at best expedient and power-hungry.

          Thus, while I endorse the sentiment I also acknowledge its flawed derivation in a work of propaganda.

  11. Hear hear!

  12. Blaming the victim is a classic technique of abuse. Those who beat children and spouses routinely claim that those that they abuse “had it coming”. This is why we have judges and juries; because so few of us can be trusted to be impartial about our own actions, or admit our own guilt.
    Airlines don’t sell tickets based on the moral virtue of their passengers, and something like “You, you, you, and you: get off. We need the space for these other passengers” wasn’t a moral judgement. It was a rank assertion of privilege, arguably a privilege United didn’t actually have according to their own contract. The character assassination of the victim is entirely out of order.

  13. More news on David Dao, the man dragged off the United plane. Concussion, two front teeth knocked out, and nose smashed in so bad he’ll need reconstructive surgery. And why did he “overreact” to three pseudo cops who didn’t look like cops coming on the plane and saying “we need to take YOU off this plane.?” He’s a Vietnamese boat person. Fled Communist Vietnam by boat. Best estimate is 200k to 400k boat people died at sea. And the pseudo cops coming aboard and zeroing in on him? Instant PTSD, explains how he acted perfectly. He panicked and froze.

    • More recent report: Mr. Dao has suffered damage to his sinuses. I need to ask elder son medical student… good lord, how hard do you have to hit someone or ram his face into the armrest to damage the sinuses?

      • Neither the extent and severity of Mr. Dao’s injuries nor their being a consequence of actions by the police should be accepted at face value.

        It is likely the case, but keep that other foot in the door in case you need to abandon the position quickly. Lawyers, particularly plaintiff’s lawyers, are sometimes known to exaggerate.

        • Having said that in front of the whole world in a televised news conference would probably qualify him for severe sanctions from the Bar if it weren’t true.

          • Yes. What he said can be confirmed or denied quickly by a professional examination, it’s not like they claimed whiplash. And the video can confirm that he had two front teeth before the attack and a space there afterward.

        • Per the United Pilot’s union statement yesterday, the goons were not even airport police; they were some form of Chicago Department of Aviation folks who, as RES notes, didn’t even look like police.

          This is a classic chain-of-events occurrence: If any one individual at any step along the way had decided to do one thing differently regarding United Express Flight 3411, from the Republic Airlines schedule management folks who decided the four Republic/United Express crew who were supposed to be in Louisville the next day had to deadhead on this particular fully booked (but not overbooked or oversold) flight “within minutes of the scheduled departure”, to the gate and cabin folks who decided to not bother to bid up to their limit to get a fourth person to give up their ticketed seat, but instead decided to call the police to help them with their self-generated customer service problem, to the airport goons who decided that sitting in an airline seat while ticketed for that seat was a sufficient threat to the safety of air travel that had to be met with assault and battery, the result would have been completely different, and UAL would still be worth almost a billion dollars more than it is today.

          I also note with interest that while the name of the victim in this came out right away so he could be slandered in the media, I have not seen the names of the gate or cabin crew, nor the airport goon squad members.

          • Hmm, don’t forget not even bother to offer cash but instead free miles. They almost certainly would have gotten people off the plane had they offered $800 cash, overnight accommodation, and the next day’s flight.

    • More news today I read that really may/may not change some people’s views. Apparently he accepted the financial incentive to leave, discovered the next flight was the next day, changed his mind and reboarded.

      If that’s the case- HE changed the terms of the contract, not United.

  14. This is somewhat of a side idea to the main point but:

    “People try to justify the authorities’ actions with ‘Well, he was breaking the rules by not obeying the order to leave, so they were allowed to remove him.’”

    What those people fail to grasp is that yes, that’s precisely the problem. That’s where the outrage comes in. If the people in charge weren’t allowed to do what they did, then this would be the equivalent of a local crime story–shocking and horrifying but not necessarily something that generates a lot of buzz; they’d be punished and this would all die down and go away. But they were allowed: after you pay for your ticket, the airline is allowed to decide they aren’t going to honor it, and you’re just supposed to suck it up and say, “Thank you, Sir, may I have another?” (more or less literally, given that the “compensation” that the airline offers you is another flight on one of their planes). And people don’t think that ought to be allowed.

    I think the reason that this has taken off to such an extent is that people DO in fact see themselves in this guy, whatever moral failings that he may have. No, I would never be in the position where I had to be dragged off the plane, because I would obey the order, but I could see myself in the position where I was kicked off the plane and be so furious that I want to do something, no matter how counterproductive.

  15. One thing the recent American Experience documentary about the US in WWI pointed out was how fast people turned on each other at the government’s urging, even going beyond the official statutes (at first. The statutes caught up with the mob within a few months). The Four Minute Men, the “protective” organizations, the people being attacked for not being hyper-patriotic in public… The US went from being “neutral in thought, word and deed,” (Wilson’s term) to “kill the Hun! Beat up anyone who sounds German” in months. To me, that’s one of the scariest episodes in US history.

    • Indeed. For most of the previous century, German immigrants and their descendants were viewed as a positive gain for the US … and then, suddenly “otherized”, on account of a last name or having held on to a distinctive culture.

      • It wasn’t just in the USA. Britain’s monarchy suddenly decided to change its name to something more British-sounding when the mobs started getting fractious.

        • Yes, the William II of Germany is one of my least favorite leaders of the 20th century, but he did have line when he heard the royal had decided to change their name. “I can wait to see that english play the mary wives of Saxe, Coberg and Gotha.”

    • The power of the mob to persuade and change opinion is disturbingly high. Get one going and it’s influencers have huge power to change things. Logical appeals or thoughts have no bearing on them. But the power of social media and mass media means that it is easier than ever to create real or imagined mobs. Whether it is spamming help or Amazon with fake reviews, DDoS, Picketing or tossing around molatovs it has gotten hyper easy to start.

    • One of the reasons Team Hillary was much scarier to me than Team Trump, though in terms of personal appeal I found them equally icky (I.e. slutty Democrats)

  16. Just because a gal is a whore doesn’t mean it’s okay for a man to rape her. The status caste of the accused does not mean it is okay to ignore the rights of the accused. It is not acceptable to deny rights because the target is just a Jew, just a woman, just a n …

    Rule of Law means all stand equal before the law, and when that equality is not present, Rule of Law is not present.

    As for the guy on the United flight … I was not there, I am not privy to the facts and circumstances of the dispute, I was already loathe to fly and, while I find the facts presented to be deplorable, I have yet to find many situations in which my speaking up in ignorance contributed anything useful to a discussion.

  17. “Oh, yeah, he got hit with something that was completely unfair and concocted for someone else’s purposes, but it it was totally his fault because he’s done this or that that is just objectively wrong”

    For some it isn’t very far to the next step of, “They wouldn’t have pulled him in for questioning if there wasn’t a good reason.” and, “Where there is smoke there must be fire.”

    Frankly the whole thing stinks. We talk about the principle of innocence until proven guilty, but too often fall very short of the mark when it comes to living it.

    Anyone remember the late Richard Jewell?

  18. First they came for the Jews
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a Jew.
    Then they came for the Communists
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a Communist.
    Then they came for the trade unionists
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a trade unionist.
    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left
    to speak out for me.

    by Martin Niemoller

  19. “Only a crazy person would randomly pick, say, Larry Correia, to forcibly remove from an airplane. ”

    I would pay good money to see this.

    • At lot of crazies will go straight to the largest/ugliest/meanest potential opponent to establish their dominance.

      Ask anyone taller than 6’3 or so about their experiences with that.

    • I expect Larry would have engaged a recording device and then politely go along with them making quite commentary as he does so. Then he would turn around and sue their asses off. Remember he was a combat accountant. Yes he can be an absolute bad ass but he is smart enough to know when to do so and when not to.

  20. I’m still on the fence as to the wearing of a tin foil hat.

    I mean, I really do believe that public schools systems have become indoctrination facilities to teach the next generation to “stay in line and do what you are told”.

    I also believe that the steady increase in the invasive-ness of TSA examinations is as much to get the public used to the idea of invasive government searches (sans-warrant) as it is to increase security. Throughout the Obama administration, the TSA was constantly pushing it’s boundaries to see what it could get away with (like setting up screening in Greyhound buss terminals and train stations). We’ll see if that continues, but I’m certainly not going to hold my breath that Trump is going to even notice, let alone put a stop to it.

    So, tin foil hat? I mean, if you had suggested ideas to me 30 years ago, I would have made a tin foil hat for you and gifted it to you as a joke you paranoid goofball. Now… maybe I need to make one for myself?

    • Tin-foil-hat check:

      Ask yourself, would the cops have beat and dragged this guy off an airplane in the 2000s? 1990s? 1980s? 1970s? 1960s? Not some violent drunken a-hole, -this- guy. Old Chinese guy with a legit ticket who isn’t fighting.

      You go back only a little way, the answer is no. They would not -dare- to pull this crap. No way.

      Somebody tell me about the slippery slope argument again.

      • Somebody tell me about the slippery slope argument again

        Okay. Such arguments remain logically invalid.

        Also Known as: The Camel’s Nose.

        The Slippery Slope is a fallacy in which a person asserts that some event must inevitably follow from another without any argument for the inevitability of the event in question. In most cases, there are a series of steps or gradations between one event and the one in question and no reason is given as to why the intervening steps or gradations will simply be bypassed. This “argument” has the following form:

        1. Event X has occurred (or will or might occur).
        2. Therefore event Y will inevitably happen.

        This sort of “reasoning” is fallacious because there is no reason to believe that one event must inevitably follow from another without an argument for such a claim. This is especially clear in cases in which there is a significant number of steps or gradations between one event and another.

        It may appear valid in the rear view mirror, but that does not grant the predictive ability asserted.

        You might also want to eschew arguments which combine the phrase “slippery slope” and persons of Asian ancestry, if only to avoid the distraction or audience attention.

        • This does not mean that an action such as rent-a-cops beating the s*** out of an old man is valid just because someone uses the phrase “slippery slope”: where it does not apply.

          • Agreed – the facts as known are damning enough as is, there is no need to postulate the second coming of the Third Reich.

            “If once a man indulges himself in murder, very soon he comes to think little of robbing; and from robbing he next comes to drinking and Sabbath-breaking, and from that to incivility and procrastination.”
            by Thomas De Quincey

        • In fact, ‘slippery slope’ arguments are not always fallacious and are frequently valid. The particular validity of such an argument takes the form:

          1. A is held to be permissible by definition.
          2. Nothing in the definition of A excludes B, C, D…
          3. The same definition can be used to hold B, C, D… permissible.
          4. Human nature is such that significant numbers of people will do permissible things even if they are morally wrong or unjust.
          5. It is reasonably to be expected that significant numbers of people will do B, C, D… and consider themselves justified in so doing.

          In such a form, the argument is not about the inevitability but the permissibility of the actions further down the alleged slope.

          Example: The Catholic Church long ago pointed out that every argument used to defend abortion on demand could also be used to defend infanticide and euthanasia. ‘Slippery slope fallacy!’ cried people of the RES type, thinking they had disposed of the argument. And look where we are now, and where we are visibly headed. (One in eight deaths in the Netherlands, so I have read, is the result of euthanasia performed by a physician without the patient’s explicit consent.)

          The only thing fallacious, in many instances, is to assume that there is a slope at all.

          • Where the upvote button when I need it?

          • Thank you, Mr. Simon. That needed to be said.

            In fairness to RES, his definition of the fallacy included “…, there are a series of steps or gradations between one event and the one in question and no reason is given as to why the intervening steps or gradations will simply be bypassed”

            By that definition, your “camel’s nose” is not a slippery slope, because you put in the steps, e.g the nose is necessarily attached to a whole camel, which is a notoriously pushy beast.

            But I am a mere yellow-belt philosopher, so I will defer to those who know if the distinction between “slippery slope” (fallacy) and “camel’s nose” (realistic) is reasonable.

          • You are engaging in a misunderstanding of fallacy and validity. That a slippery slope argument may be fallacious does not mean it is not factually valid, just as an argument may valid reasoning but factually wrong (e.g., Miles is a cat; all cats have two tails, therefore Miles has two tails is logically valid but factually incorrect because of its false major premise — but the logic is still valid.) Thus to declare an argument is a fallacy of the slippery slope or camel’s nose variety is not to say its conclusion is false, merely that it does not necessarily follow.

            A slippery slope argument is a fallacy not because the causal chain could not happen, but because it might not happen. That things may be permissible does not invariably mean they will become practice. At some point a significant majority of people may declare themselves to have had enough of it and demand the permissiveness be rolled back (see: Great Awakening.)

            Thus to state that permitting police to beat up one aged doctor of Vietnamese origin does not lead invariably to storm-troopers, concentration camps and gas chambers. While it may increase the probability of such ending it does not prove such conclusion. The fundamental flaw in an “If this goes on …” argument is that it is by no means certain that “this” will go on. Quite the opposite, in fact, else there would be no point denouncing the trend.

            It does remain a popular tool of demagogues seeking to generate heat rather than light. (N.B. – it does not logically follow that all employing such rhetoric are demagogues.)

            • You are engaging in a misunderstanding of fallacy and validity. That a slippery slope argument may be fallacious does not mean it is not factually valid, just as an argument may valid reasoning but factually wrong (e.g., Miles is a cat; all cats have two tails, therefore Miles has two tails is logically valid but factually incorrect because of its false major premise — but the logic is still valid.)

              No, I am not. You are mistaken.

              First off, validity in an argument is not a function of the factual correctness of the conclusion. It is a formal property consisting in the presence of correct reasoning and the absence of fallacies. The type of argument I cited is sound – that is to say, factually correct and formally valid. The argument about two-tailed cats is valid but not sound. The Church’s argument about the equivalence of arguments for abortion and euthanasia is valid and sound. An argument in which the premises are false is unsound even if formally valid, and even if the conclusion is true.

              Thus to declare an argument is a fallacy of the slippery slope or camel’s nose variety is not to say its conclusion is false, merely that it does not necessarily follow.

              You are not addressing the argument actually being made. The argument is not that UAL’s present behaviour will inevitably lead to an abuse of police power. The argument is that it constitutes an abuse of police power, and it can only be defended on grounds which would make many other and more serious abuses of police power equally licit. This says nothing about what ‘inevitably’ must happen. It addresses the nature of what is actually happening right now. It is a further and separate argument to say:

              1. Parties X, Y, and Z have a vested interest which would be advanced if they were able to pursue it by abusing police power. (Observation of fact.)
              2. Parties X, Y, and Z have exhibited a tendency to advance their interests by any legal means, without consideration for an independent standard of morality. (Observation of fact.)
              3. Therefore, Parties X, Y, and Z would tend to advance their interests by abusing police power if it were legal. (Follows from 1 and 2.)
              4. The defence of UAL’s recent actions is a defence of a particular abuse of police power, based upon premises which can equally be used to defend abuse of police power in general. (Outcome of the actual argument about UAL, which you sneer at as ‘slippery slope’.)
              5. If UAL’s abuse of police power is legal, then other abuses of police power are also legal. (Follows from 4.)
              6. Suppose UAL’s police power to be legal. (Postulate correlative to the position used to defend UAL.)
              7. Parties X, Y, and Z will tend to advance their interests by abusing police power, because it is legal. (Follows from 5 and 7.)

              It is further concluded from this that UAL’s actions ought not to be defended, because it is undesirable that abuses of police power should be considered legal. This is not a slippery slope argument; this is a reductio, which is valid.

              Now I suggest you stop pretending to be both an expert logician and a mind-reader. You are neither.

              • N.B. Point 6 should read:

                6. Suppose UAL’s abuse of police power to be legal.

              • Sorry, Tom, but it is you presenting as an expert logician and a mind-reader.

                You have assumed my argument was about the United flight kerfuffle, which it was not. It was purely and simply about the reasons why Slippery Slope arguments are recognized as fallacious. If you review the discussion you might even notice that phantom182 had not made a slippery slope argument, except by implication, as there was no logic (in the sense of a logical construction, rather than the colloquial sense the word is typically used in stead of rationality) in his assertion that things are getting worse.

                An argument in which the premises are false is unsound even if formally valid, and even if the conclusion is true.

                I believe I explicitly made that point. An argument being fallacious has nothing to do with it reaching a factually correct or incorrect conclusion. Communication is generally enhanced when you read and respond to what is actually written.

                You are not addressing the argument actually being made.

                An interesting conundrum, that. As noted, what I was addressing was what was actually said by phantom182: “Somebody tell me about the slippery slope argument again.

                I told him about the slippery slope argument.

                Any comment made about the UAL issue was to (perhaps too subtly for you) observe that “slope” being a racial slur for folks with epicanthic folds he might wish to avoid the wrath of the kinds of people inclined to go ballistic over such terms as “niggardly” or “snigger” when he is discussing treatment of (what he termed) a “Chinese” guy.

                As for your argument about the UAL behaviour leading to a police state, that is irrelevant.

                It might be noted that even you deny it is a slippery slope:
                This is not a slippery slope argument; this is a reductio, which is valid.

                It should be noted that Merriam Webster defines reductio thusly:
                “an act or process of reducing —used as the first term in phrases relating to disproof of a proposition by arguing it to an obviously false conclusion.”

                Emphasis added.

                I confess myself at a loss as to why you invested so much time and effort constructing so thorough (and thoroughly off point) rebuttal of my statement. It couldn’t be personal, as you don’t know me. While it is possible you are simply devoid of a sense of humour, I do not know you and thus am loathe to reach for that conclusion. Were you perhaps simply having a slow day and were looking for a way to pass the excess time?

                • Sorry, Tom, but it is you presenting as an expert logician and a mind-reader.

                  ‘Duh, I know you are, but what am I?’ is not a convincing response.

                  You have assumed my argument was about the United flight kerfuffle, which it was not.

                  This entire discussion is about the United flight kerfuffle.

                  It was purely and simply about the reasons why Slippery Slope arguments are recognized as fallacious.

                  No, it’s about your claim that any argument can be proved fallacious merely by applying the label ‘slippery slope’ to it. Which it doesn’t, in this instance.

                  If you review the discussion you might even notice that phantom182 had not made a slippery slope argument, except by implication, as there was no logic (in the sense of a logical construction, rather than the colloquial sense the word is typically used in stead of rationality) in his assertion that things are getting worse.

                  In which case, what was your point in discussing slippery slope arguments? None whatever.

                  I believe I explicitly made that point. An argument being fallacious has nothing to do with it reaching a factually correct or incorrect conclusion. Communication is generally enhanced when you read and respond to what is actually written.

                  An argument being valid also has nothing to do with its reaching a factually correct conclusion. Communication is generally enhanced when you use technical terms correctly in a technical discussion.

                  Any comment made about the UAL issue was to (perhaps too subtly for you) observe that “slope” being a racial slur for folks with epicanthic folds he might wish to avoid the wrath of the kinds of people inclined to go ballistic over such terms as “niggardly” or “snigger” when he is discussing treatment of (what he termed) a “Chinese” guy.

                  Yes. You made a poor joke. I did not comment upon the quality of the joke until now. If I had thought that the principal point of your remarks was to make that joke, I should not have dignified them with a response.

                  It should be noted that Merriam Webster defines reductio thusly:
                  “an act or process of reducing —used as the first term in phrases relating to disproof of a proposition by arguing it to an obviously false conclusion.”

                  It should be noted that Merriam Webster is not a dictionary of philosophy. It isn’t even a particularly good dictionary, period.

                  The obvious falsehood in this reductio is not that a police state will ensue from the acceptance that police acts of the kind performed by UAL are legal. That is merely a step on the way to the obviously false conclusion, which is that such acts are, in fact, defensible. You do your case no service when (a) you fail to recognize the form of a reductio, (b) you fail to identify the conclusion of the reductio even when it is explicitly spelled out to you.

                  I confess myself at a loss as to why you invested so much time and effort constructing so thorough (and thoroughly off point) rebuttal of my statement. It couldn’t be personal, as you don’t know me. While it is possible you are simply devoid of a sense of humour, I do not know you and thus am loathe to reach for that conclusion. Were you perhaps simply having a slow day and were looking for a way to pass the excess time?

                  I rebutted your conclusion because you are speaking in defence of UAL’s actions, which are indefensible. I care strongly about the preservation of liberty against the arbitrary abuse of police power. That is what, in general, this post and this discussion are about. If you can’t grasp why someone would discuss such matters here, you are truly too stupid for words.

                  • Tsk, Tom; tiresome, tendentious, tedious trolling takes no prizes here. Your attempted rebuttal of my comments is so blatantly wrong-headed in every particular, from misrepresentations of that which I have said to multiple assertions contrary to fact that there is scant reason for response.

                    Suffice to say that your primary argument is invalid on (at least) two critical points. Primus, United Airlines’ actions are defensible, as others here have demonstrated and your begging the question does not make those actions otherwise. Secondus, I was not defending United Airlines’ actions, your claim to the contrary notwithstanding.

                    Your ad hominem attacks are duly noted and merit no rebuttal. They are merely one additional means used to achieve rhetorically what has not been demonstrated logically.

                    • I am not trolling. I am not making ad hominem attacks. And I am not wrong in any particular. You try to set yourself up to teach logic, and you don’t even know the distinction between validity and soundness.

                      Your problem is that you are absolutely pigheaded and closed-minded, and any disagreement throws you into a state in which you determine to die on the ground where you are standing, conceding no point, yielding not an iota of your views. I am heartily sorry that I wasted time on an ass like you. But I did not want your idiotic misrepresentation of a point of logic to go unchallenged, lest some poor sap be fooled by your air of bumptious certainty into thinking you actually had any idea what you were gassing on about.

                      I’m done here. Mrs. Hoyt, throw me off. If you want your blog to have a reputation as a place frequented by sane human beings, you might want to consider throwing RES off too; but I know that isn’t going to happen.

                    • No, no ad hominem arguments from you. I leave it to others who might have the interest (few as they may be) to review the discussion and determine who engaged in insults and personal attacks.

                      Sheesh – some people seem to have trouble with the concept of civil disagreement. I have not insulted you nor called for Sarah to bar you in this hall. I allow I was remiss in expressing my appreciation for your reminding me of the work of Duncan Black and George Stigler in establishing Public Choice Theory, although I think Black might ought have shared credit with Ayn Rand.

        • Slippery slope is, technically, a logical fallacy*, but it’s only so if there’s no clear bridge from point A to point B to … to point Z. Since slippery slopes are possible, though, I would propose that the alternative — that there’s no slippery slope at all — is also a fallacy of sorts, and that the best way to stop a Slippery Slope concern is to point out why the slope MUST stop at Q — and such a proof must also show why stopping at Q is an acceptable condition, rather than, say, stopping at V, or staying at A in the first place.

          (As an aside, I would propose that anti-gun laws ARE a good example of a Slippery Slope, but mostly because (1) regardless of the restriction on gun rights proposed, gun banners like to call it a “good first step”, and (2) we know their end-game is to ban all guns.)

          As for abuses like this, it’s not clear to me that these series of abuses is going to stop at a certain point, and it’s mighty suspicious that things have been getting steadily worse — that while the TSA isn’t stating out loud that they are out to control everything, the fact that they are constantly trying to expand their horizons and push the boundaries well beyond airports ought to qualify as evidence that we are, indeed, facing a Slippery Slope of some sort. That is, we are facing “a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object [that] evinces a design to reduce [us] under absolute Despotism.” Thus we should be greatly concerned by what we see.

          (As another aside, mathematics has a special way of proving things — called mathematical induction — that is essentially a Slippery Slope argument. You first show that something is true for the first of a sequential list of things, and that if you assume it’s true for some random M, it must also be true for M+1, then it follows that it’s true for *everything*. It’s one of my most favorite forms of proof.)
          —–
          *From typing out my second aside, it has just occurred to me that stating something has occurred to me: stating that something is a Slippery Slope in and of itself is not a logical fallacy, so much as it’s merely a statement of proposed fact, much like claiming “I can trisect any angle with only using a straightedge and ruler.” Granted, the latter is false, but it requires *proof* that it’s false (and if it’s true, that too requires proof).

          • In fairness, it was not I who brought up the question of the slippery slope; that was thephantom182. I merely complied with his demand to be told about it.

            The point often overlooked about logical fallacies is that they do not prove what they appear to prove, even when all elements are factually correct. Claiming that Judge Posner is a moron is true but it says nothing about his legal reasoning in a given instance. Even a moron can reach a correct Constitutional conclusion.

            Saying something is a fallacy does not mean its conclusion is false — it merely means that the conclusion is not supported by the logic.

            • Nevertheless, an argument which takes the rhetorical form of ‘slippery slope’ is not necessarily invalid – as I believe I have shown. To see whether it is valid in a particular instance requires formal analysis of the logic involved, and you therefore have no grounds to dismiss an argument merely because thephantom182 or anyone else has applied that label to it.

  21. You wrote “It is this mental mechanism that allowed people downwind from the CAMPS to say “well, but it’s only Jews and other degenerates, and you know they’ve done something to deserve it….”

    …and I read “…downwind from the CAMPUS to say…”

    and then I realized that it didn’t change the meaning one iota. Bummer.

  22. Because if authority isn’t restrained it will become tyranny and then no one will be safe. And because no one will be pure (ever) authority will continue being abused.

    We also have a problem when the authorities deliberately look the other way and fail to enforce the laws they have passed because the person in question is one of their own … that, too, is tyranny.

  23. “People making these excuses for blatant abuse of power are just grasping at straws as to why he deserved it and THEY never would.”

    As usual, Sarah, you are saying it a lot better than I did yesterday when the thread went off into some sort of discussion about class, and how some animals are more equal than others.

    Ladies and gentlemen, absent a Real and Immanent Danger such as structural failure, crashing, loss of atmosphere or medical crisis, there is NO EXCUSE for beating and dragging an unarmed man, no matter who he is or where he is.

    Authorities previously would beat and drag -selected- victims they felt safe abusing. People they knew everyone would say “deserved” it. Winos, criminals, scumbags, perverts, those kinds of people. “They were asking for it.”

    Now, thanks to the authoritarian impulse and massive tax funding, it is not the formerly vulnerable population that has been raised to the same level as the Respectable Bourgeois, even though the Left swore that is what they were doing. They swore that the wino should be treated like a doctor would be, and that’s what it was all about. Quite a few people took me to task over that choice of example yesterday.

    That is not what happened. What happened was “Equality” all right, but now EVERYBODY gets treated like a wino/criminal/scumbag/pervert. There is no Respectable Bourgeois anymore, everybody is equally likely to get beat and dragged.

    Up above, imnohbody quoted H.L. Mencken regarding the defense of scoundrels. He was right. The first ones up against the wall are people who were “asking for it.” The annoying, the stupid, the weirdos (hi Mom!),

    Hello America, you f-ing well missed the boat on that one. Too late to defend scoundrels, winos and scumbags from abuse of power. Now you have to defend -yourself- from it, because you didn’t stick up for the likes of Milo the Annoying Gay Dude because he wasn’t pure enough.

    And you better hurry the hell up, because what’s going on at the airport now is going to be in place on Main Street very shortly. Stop and frisk, sound familiar? They are going to ‘stop and frisk’ YOU.

    • Ladies and gentlemen, absent a Real and Immanent Danger such as structural failure, crashing, loss of atmosphere or medical crisis, there is NO EXCUSE for beating and dragging an unarmed man, no matter who he is or where he is.

      “Unarmed” is moot. Unarmed people kill more people annually than assault rifles do. A trifling aspect, so on to the meat of it:

      The flaw with the principle here is that it necessarily entails the trespasser’s having the right to remain merely by refusing to move whenever and wherever he goes. It needs more subtlety than that. Otherwise — remember the man who went to harass Ivanka Trump for being on the same plane as him? He was loudly and deeply indignant that they threw him off. Suppose he had flatly refused and had just stood there screaming at her? It’s not a Real and Imminent Danger in the sense you offer here.

      For that matter, take a passenger who refuses to leave the plane after landing and doesn’t even say anything except perhaps, “I’m not moving.”

      • Trespass is a red herring in this case.

        • Your comment is a non-sequitur. That this case inspired the comment doesn’t mean that the rule is not propounded generally.

      • Of course the laws written to stop this in future will take that into account. Not like it won’t result in something like the TSA or CFPB (both functions of the same government must do something mindset). Government never takes advantage of crises.

        I’ll admit to bias in this case. United has screwed up the least for me and the one to which everyone compares, SW, has been the one to invol me and then nearly not accept voucher for flight. But for every voice I have heard calling to restrict the cops, I have heard a dozen calling to restrict airlines. And of course govt would love to reregulate air travel.

        Don’t wanna fly, go for it. Wanna use another airline? There’s two others that actually fly out of most places and half dozen more that fly select. But from most of the calls I see outcome will be more govt control and fewer options.

      • You are conflating the reasonable and restrained use of force with unreasonable and unrestrained, and treating them both the same.

        I know a little about the use of force. It is not difficult to remove a recalcitrant person from a situation when you have three people who are all younger, bigger and stronger, have handcuffs, and are trained properly.

        Fracturing the person’s frontal sinuses and giving them a concussion are not usually taught as acceptable techniques for such a situation, nor is dragging the person on the floor like a sack of dung. (Then losing tack of him, and letting him wander back to his seat in a delirium, that was the cherry on top.)

        The peaceable removal of recalcitrant drunks from bars happens all the time. Two guys, one on each arm, out the door. No fractures, no bleeding on the carpet. Or one guy, hammer lock, wrist come-along, out the door, no fractures, torn ligaments, head injuries etc.

        To sum up, BEAT AND DRAGGED is different than forcibly removed in the correct and accepted manner. Sometimes, you have to make people leave. You never -have- to beat and drag them.

        Second, unarmed. You said: ” Unarmed people kill more people annually than assault rifles do.”

        That is true. Five gallon pails kill more people annually than assault rifles. Assault rifles are very expensive and finicky, they are -very- rarely used in crime. Once upon a time the chief of the New Jersey State Police opined that his men were more likely to face a tiger in the line of duty than a criminal with an assault rifle. They’d had to capture an escaped tiger once.

        However I assure you, armed people kill a lot more than unarmed ones do. The level and type of force required to safely restrain an armed man is entirely different than an unarmed one. Particularly some old guy who is sitting in a chair, not moving.

        • “They’d had to capture an escaped tiger once.”

          I remember that. It was in Edison, NJ, and I was sitting in a hotel room less than a mile away, watching the tiger on night vision on the TV and recognizing the area when it pulled back for a wide angle shot.

          Hotel room doors aren’t nearly thick enough.

        • “You are conflating the reasonable and restrained use of force with unreasonable and unrestrained, and treating them both the same.”

          That is the exact opposite of the truth. I was objecting to a rule that conflated them.

          ” It is not difficult to remove a recalcitrant person from a situation when you have three people who are all younger, bigger and stronger, have handcuffs, and are trained properly.”

          Moot point. The rule didn’t specify these circumstance.

        • Second, unarmed. You said: ” Unarmed people kill more people annually than assault rifles do.”

          That is true

          And that is all the is important. An unarmed person can kill, therefore being unarmed is not proof of harmlessness.

          • We need to -prove- we are harmless now? When did that happen?

            • Guilty until proven innocent! Kneel, peasant!

              • If you (or Dan or one of your sons) were a cop walking up to the blacked-out driver’s side window of a vehicle matching the description of one involved in a drive-by gang-banger shooting, how itchy might your trigger finger be?

                The officer can cut you considerable slack once the situation is clearly not life-threatening, when the decision matrix is not “judged by twelve or carried by six.”

                The time to reason with a cop is after the officer is assured that reason, not bullets, will be the basis the exchange.

                It ought not be this way, and I ought not be schlepping one-third excess body weight, but the world is as it is.

                • Look, yes, fine. BUT not all cops are saints, and the idea that they were justified in calling security and calling for maximum force for an UNARMED man who didn’t leave his seat is nuts.

                  • The issue is not whether all cops are saints (I have my doubts about all saints being saints — that Assisi guy strikes me as more of a nutter) but whether anybody wins an argument with a cop by escalating the initial confrontation.

                    I’ve no doubt United made poor decisions. Not even United disputes that. On the specifics of the dispute I eschew reaching conclusions, having only media reports to go on, and we all know how reliable those aren’t. The interesting matter (to me) is what processes led to the poverty of those decisions — processes which I think you’ve competently identified.

                    As I’ve paraphrased elsewhere this topic, United’s actions were worse than a crime, they were a blunder. It is entirely possible for parties to engage in lawful activity which is simultaneously stupid and destructive of their reputations.

                    As noted by Philip K. Howard* (author of The Death of Common Sense: How Law Is Suffocating America), all law is supported by the threat of use of force. Thus anyone challenging lawful authority is entering a bidding war in which they must be very careful, and it behooves those writing laws to exercise restraint in how they attempt to legislate human actions.

                    Alas, if only America had a political faction or party dedicated to promoting such a principle.

                    *I believe I erroneously attributed this stance to professor Stephen Carter, a different author who came to prominence my attention at about the same time and making similar arguments. My regrets to both authors for the inadvertent misattribution.

              • They use this on the peasants, too. Every time they hyperventilate about “unarmed” in an obvious case of self-defense.

            • Nice moving of the goalposts. Notice that the claim I was attacking was exactly that being unarmed regardless of circumstances was proof of innocence.

              That, in fact, Trayvon Martin was the innocent party. He was unarmed, and therefore, by the logic I was attacked, George Zimmerman was in the wrong.

              • Moving the goalposts? No. Questioning your reasoning? Yes.

                What you are doing is pretending that one old guy sitting in a chair, verbally refusing to cooperate with three, young, large, armed men is -the same- as one young man in the process of beating somebody’s brains out on the sidewalk in the dark.

                The distinguishing factor in these two situations is not the man’s unarmed or armed status.

                Furthermore, guilt or innocence is a -legal- issue decided and decreed by a court. Police do not decide guilt or innocence. They decide threat level.

                Unarmed and alone is a different threat level than armed and has armed friends with him. Old and sitting still is a different threat level than young and swinging at your head. Older Chinese man properly dressed is a DIFFERENT THREAT LEVEL than twenty two year old skinhead in a crappy leather jacket with a swastica tattoo on his forehead.

                So, one more time with feeling, the police have decided that -everyone- shall be treated with the level of force appropriate to a skinhead on crack with a knife in his hand.

                Meaning, they are cool with breaking your 80 year old mother’s face on the armrest if she gets uppity.

                That is the issue at hand.

                • Questioning my reasoning? No. Moving the goalposts? Yes.

                  You are writing a great deal about threat levels as if my entire point were not that the threat levels and appropriate responses were not correctly drawn in the comment I was responding too.

    • There is an established sub-genre of reality TV based on doing things to the wino/criminal/scumbag/pervert. COPS and its spin-offs and imitators was still around last time I checked. The main point of these shows is to reinforce the idea that the police need to control these admittedly unsympathetic characters. That is the foundation on which to build the perception that anyone who has an interaction with the “authorities” must be in the wrong.

  24. I saw Mel Gibson’s The Patriot with my Mom. As we were leaving the theater, I commented to her, “Well, it’s a good thing *our* government doesn’t kill children for standing up for their family members. Oh, wait, there was Sammy Weaver at out in Idaho. Well, it’s a good thing that *our* government doesn’t burn people to death in their churches. Oh, wait, there was that thing in Waco. Uh, never mind.” If looks could kill, I’d have been a crispy critter in a millisecond according to the glares I was receiving from several of my fellow patrons of the film.

    But the residents of Ruby Ridge and Mount Carmel were kooks and weirdos, and so deserved whatever they got. I mean, Take Vicky Weaver murderedshot in the head by an FBI Hostage EliminationRescue Team sniper* for being armed with an infant. Just check the popular press of the time.

    *May Lon Horiuchi burn in hell.

    • I was living in Idaho at the time, and it was truly shocking that all the malfeasance uncovered and reported by our local press were almost never reported in the national news. Even the retrospectives published decades after were largely whitewashed.

      (Also, there were black helicopters in the region during the early-mid 90s. I’m not quite sure how something seen so often by so many became a joke about conspiratorial thought. Our Representative echoed the concerns of her constituents and asked what the heck was up with all the black helicopters. Next thing we knew, it was stupid hicks this, and one world government that.)

      • I was a kid in Idaho then, and I can remember what Luke’s talking about.

        Speaking of Idaho, four aspiring rocket scientists at UI, my alma matar, blew up their rocket fuel on accident, apparently, and are hospitalized. They are expected to survive.

        • Was the rocket fuel radioactive and are they expected to receive superpowers?

          Sorry, I just had an interesting though on the nature of industrial accidents in worlds where superpowers a la DC and Marvel comics were actually rea and had to put that out there.

        • This is wildly off topic, but the matter chafes me daily and I cannot forbear:—

          There is seldom a time when the solecism ‘on accident’ is less appropriate. People do things on purpose, as an arrow or a bullet arrives on target, because that is the point aimed at. People do things by accident, because the accident is the means by which the outcome occurred. I very much doubt that the four guys at UI aimed at having an accident that caused them to be hospitalized from a rocket-fuel explosion.

  25. I agree completely. I think this is a fairly universal human thing, the desire to distance ourselves from suffering by blaming the victim. Anyone with a chronic illness is probably tired of hearing about all the “lifestyle changes” that can prevent or heal said illness. I know our family was struck down through no one’s fault, just bad luck, and I am sick to my back teeth of being asked “too fatty of a diet?”

    One has to be trained out of this kind of thinking. Unless you have a ruthless parent or a really bad patch in your own life, you’ll probably stay in it.

    • Well, I saw that when I collapsed apparently through dehydration after prednisone and someone here, who knows nothing about my lifestyle, lectured me about not following medical advice and not losing weight, etc, apparently in the belief this was a cardiac episode (it was, but caused by dehydration and shedding potassium. I don’t have a heart condition.) It’s… interesting.

      • Yes.

        And even if you point out the nefarity or simple lack of charity in their judgments, they don’t get it. I still find myself reflexively mentally blaming lung cancer victims for smoking … until I think “wait, he’s not a smoker” and then I realize what I’m doing. You’d think I’d know better, having a relative who never smoke or drank or had any risk factors, but died from primary lung cancer … it’s wired in there pretty firmly … sigh …

      • Don’t feel bad. I’ve encountered doctors who started lecturing me about various health issues I don’t have, obviously never having even skimmed the papers I’d just filled out…

        And since I’ve been getting copies of my patient records, it has become clear their staff has their patients have the records hopelessly jumbled, or they just babble whatever comes to mind to their transcription service.

        I thought the time I was wheeled into the wrong operating room for the wrong procedure was a fluke; later I came to understand why people write their name and procedure on their body with a big felt tip marker.

        • My wife went to a clinic once, and the doctor spent an hour or so trying to get her to admit she was a victim of domestic violence. I was in a truck on the other side of the country at the time.

          Fortunately, a more senior doctor intervened before she finished claiming the friend who’d brought her was abusing her. If she’d actually accused Robin of adultery so she could accuse the friend of domestic violence, she might have experienced some violence herself.

          • Late one Saturday night about 15 years ago my wife experienced a huge amount of vaginal bleeding that we later learned was due to an undiagnosed uterine cancer. She wouldn’t let me call an ambulance but did let me drive her to the emergency room. Once they found that she was bleeding and I was her husband the temperature dropped precipitously. I was going out of my mind, and they were treating me like some sort of monster. When I was finally allowed into the curtained alcove it was in the company of a senior nurse and a security guy. The nurse already there was saying to my wife “Are you sure? You don’t have to let him in here, you know. He can’t hurt you here.”
            That’s when the penny dropped. I was so busy being astonished, hurt, angry, and half a dozen other things that I missed the details of one of the most magnificent rants my wife ever did.

            • They ask you about domestic abuse when you’re having a baby. The nurse on the last one said she used to joke to the father, asking if the woman beat him, but she stopped after one guy said “She beats me all the time” and the woman in labor gave him the kind of glare that indicated he was telling the truth.

              Not all medical personnel have been exposed to the fact that women can be abusers, too. I was kind of surprised to hear that.

      • “not following medical advice and not losing weight”

        Personal annoyance here: Most often, unhealthy weight gain follows the health issue instead of leading it. Yes, excessive weight is often a sign of a whole passel of health issues. But the weight is a symptom rather than the cause.

        “Your broken ankle would heal faster if you’d just walk on it normally” is not a useful piece of advice.

        • My weight is mostly the result of over a decade of hypothyroidism. Because it was so long, it might never go away. Eh.

          • Yes, that. People who get on their high horses about people being able to control their weight (and who have no idea how to control theirs) always like to talk about how thyroid issues and other chronic conditions account for only a fraction of the overweight folk they see, but if that’s the case, why do I know so many? (And this is not just hyperbole—someone who has to take thyroid pills for the rest of their life is not shamming.)

            • people who care perfectly mobile and can exercise but are a little pudgy have learned NOT to tell my can’t-do-long-grocery-store-trips very overweight butt how i need to lose weight….

              “I can barely WALK or STAND for more than thirty minutes, what is your excuse?”

    • Them and those holier-than-thou religious assholes who blame your problems on a lack of faith. My grandmother has Alzheimer’s, and back when I was in college she was living with us and my mom (her daughter) was taking care of her. One day at lunch in the dining commons, I was venting about the situation, and this guy who had up until that second been a good friend, declared with a smug, snooty tone (and it’s always a smug, snooty tone, isn’t it?) that if only I’d prayed harder and my faith in the Lord had been stronger, my Grandmother would never have been struck with this affliction.

      I confess that my first instinct was to want to leap over the table and smash his face in, and probably the main reason I didn’t was the knowledge that had she still possessed her full faculties, Mom-Mom would’ve been furious at me for getting thrown out of college. And (with apologies to our Beloved Hostess) nobody, and I mean *nobody* is scarier when their pissed off than a full-blooded Italian grandmother. As it was, I didn’t speak to the asshole for pretty much the entire remainder of the semester, and then he had the gall to be offended at me when a mutual acquaintance told him why I was mad at him.

      • The thing to remember about such people is that they are assholes; the religious component is just one of the toppings on their pizza of assholery.

        In the given instance, it takes being an asshole to presume to divine the Almighty’s intentions and to believe our definition of “good” is identical to God’s definition.

        In a similar circumstance, a friend once attempted to reassure me during a phase of unemployment that it was likely God had a better job planned for me. I doubt my response was what was expected: that perhaps God found me unduly arrogant and considered a period of homelessness the appropriate therapy.

        • “perhaps God found me unduly arrogant and considered a period of homelessness the appropriate therapy.”

          Heh.

        • FWIW, and I probably should’ve clarified this to begin with: I am a Christian, though not particularly devout (and one who has an increasing number of issues with the church). Religion doesn’t bother me. People who use their religion as an excuse/justification for treating other people like sh*t, OTOH, I have a very big problem with.

  26. You know what really scares me about this whole UA incident? Somebody might decide this is the straw that broke the camel’s back and start targeting UA planes for retaliation.
    Of course sociopathic CEO’s never consider that it was their policies that might lead to the creation of criminals attacking their company.

    • See above with Waco and Ruby Ridge. Any retaliation will be shrugged off as a nutter with no moral right to what was done, thereby negating the issue.

    • Is “sociopathic CEO’s” a redundant phrase?

      • No, but to ask whether or not it is redundant is incredibly bigoted and black hearted.

        • Calling somebody “black-hearted” and bigoted in the same insult is remarkably insensitive.

          I am “African-American hearted,” please.

        • I disagree, BikerDad, but for a slightly different reason (I suspect). Being a sociopath doesn’t automatically make one especially cruel, evil, mean, inhumane, or whatever. Several of my good friends would be considered sociopaths, they know it, and as one says “I choose to use my powers for good.” I’m probably closer to the dictionary definition than many people are, and I try not to be particularly mean, nasty, what have you. In fact, wasn’t there an article in some business publication a few years ago about how really successful businessmen tended to have a higher-than-average number of sociopathic traits? My net connection is balking this AM or I’d try to hunt the reference down.

          • There was an excellent article by a neurological expert who had discovered, in the pursuit of studying sociopathy, that he was a fully-blown sociopath. As in, he didn’t really have the emotional connection to other people at all, but managed to fake it through observation to the point where he had a wife and kids. He said that the revelation helped him to make better choices when dealing with his family, since he had a better template to follow. So a sociopath can still have a sense of conscience, but it’s essentially willpower and self-image.

  27. Professor Badness

    “We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”
    Is it too late, America?
    I don’t think so, but it is time to fight back, speak out and make our position known.
    As has been observed before, we can’t just “Go along to get along.” This has allowed to the crazies and power hungry to take over, and it must stop.

    • Unfortunately, my tendency is to use the sledgehammer to swat flies.
      Which is fine when I joined the military and they actually rewarded us for breaking designated enemies and their toys.
      Not so good when it comes to civil political reform though.

  28. I’ve never understood why people can’t see the link between “There ought to be a law” and police brutality. Because at the end of every one of those countless petty rules, regulations and laws that have been inflicted upon us is somebody with a badge and a gun. And often as not a SWAT team.

    And there’s enough laws and such on the books right now that if the .gov wants to put anybody in jail, they’ll be able to find something to charge him with. Or even an excuse to justify the months of investigation, legal persecution and pressecution resulting from any accusation.

    If you want to do something about overzealous law enforcement, IMO, take a chainsaw to the legal code and do away with qualified immunity.

    • In this day and age, doing away with qualified immunity is probably a bad idea.
      Significantly restricting it, however, is an excellent idea.

    • Because once the mobs start agitating the only response you will get from politicos is to make another law against some faction of their subjects. Between those with a chip on shoulder against any private org, those enjoying the rush of tearing something down and those with a dog in the fight the vast majority will be for just breaking the private actor. The actions of those in government will be waved away as only bad because of the private actor.

      Find a sympathetic Patsy and victim and they will go after your Patsy every time, giving govt more power.

    • If only there were a political faction or party dedicated to communicating that pro-liberty message! Instead we’ve four parties, one dedicated to promoting order and prosperity, one committed to redressing injustice and redistributing wealth, one calling for a return to nature before we destroy the environment and one pushing hard for the right to smoke pot.

  29. As a general observation that excuses nothing:
    The subsidiary contract airlines, like United Express and American Eagle, are operated by other companies under contract to the major airlines. The folks working for these contracted affiliated carriers are paid the worst and have the worst working conditions in an entire industry known for low pay and crappy conditions. With very few exceptions, in the feeder airlines the members of the flight crew up front are only there until they can land a job with the majors and start their number moving up a real seniority list. I’m not as familiar with the cabin crew world, but I imagine it’s the same there.

    • Since this was at least in part the gate agent, let me give you a story. One of my 5 undergrad roommates was in school for ATC. He decided to lose it and make threats against school and get expelled. Gate agent at O’Hare. Not cream of crop regardless.

  30. c4c

  31. Of course, rational self selecting is not natural law, really.
    Idiot savant stuff is probably some kind of initial constants.

    Probably supposed to be a party time, and not so much war.
    I do not understand so much. To be kicked in the head that much and live to tell is more geometry.

    Just do not get angels involved. Those ones get cranky when called out of retirement. Maps shift, territories do not.

  32. Agreed- United could have acted far, far better.
    Agreed- the actual beating of the Dr. was illegal, and either police brutality or just plain assault and battery which should result in criminal charges.

    However, what’s the ripple effect on the rights of private enterprise? Outrages tend to lead to “there needs to be a law” which leads to regulation.
    Hopefully, the free market will be allowed to fix this, and from the looks of things, it is. United’s stock has dropped like a rock, and a lot of other airlines will be taking a good, close look as their own policies.

    But, if history is any guide, when the inevitable court case hits, one of the ripples will be on the regulations for how airlines handle things like overbooking, crew positioning, delays, cancellations and the rest. Likewise, you have a whole lot of gutless politicos who can make some cheap political capital by lumping more and more regs on the airlines. None of the above is likely to make your flying experience any quicker, easier, cheaper, or more pleasant. Our friendly TSA was a result of the outrage over private airport security, after all.

    My concern is that the result of this outrage will be bad news for the free market.

  33. O/T for today, but it has been the topic a number of times in the past:
    https://stuartschneiderman.blogspot.com/2017/04/real-boys-dont-cry.html
    which starts, “Book publishers cannot figure out why boys don’t read.”
    Be sure to read the comments.

    • Guys Read, a clearinghouse for great books for boys has pro-actively addressed the question. Pass it on, to anyone who wants to get behind the “push” titles to ones that are generally enjoyable.

  34. To TRX – discussing the United “incident” with my spouse (6’4″) he mentioned that sometime ago he had been asked/told to give up his seat, and he merely said, “I think you need to find someone more accomodating than me.” and that was the end of it. As usual, things have changed and not for the better. (I wonder what would have happened if everyone in the plane had stood up and said, “h*ll no, we’re not giving up our seats”?) Need more Sarah readers out there!

    • “More Sarah readers out there” or as we call them around here “Sons of Liberty, those notorious hotheads.”

      • Things were easier when all you had to do was round up a bunch of guys, put on leathers and feathers, and smear lipstick and charcoal on your face to go toss barrels of tea overboard in the harbor (no EPA!), and rough up a couple of Hessian guards (TSA equivalents) who wouldn’t get out of the way.

  35. Kudos Sarah, one of your best, and succinct, articles to date.

    Chris

  36. Stephen Green at Insty has linked to an INC piece that illustrates why I’ve been noting that the flight was not overbooked: https://www.inc.com/cynthia-than/the-controversial-united-airlines-flight-was-not-overbooked-and-why-that-matters.html

  37. “Oh, yeah, he got hit with something that was completely unfair and concocted for someone else’s purposes, but it it was totally his fault because he’s done this or that that is just objectively wrong”

    Okay Sarah, I fear I have to rain on your parade of righteously pure justice here. You are, of course, picking an example that perfectly illustrates YOUR case, without bothering to look at a bizallion OTHER instances that aren’t quite so pure and bright.

    Let’s take, just as an example, the most recent Syrian chemical kerfluffle. I, for one, am not convinced that Assad’s regime deliberately carried out a chemical attack, and based on that, the Tomahawk strike was wrong. Yet, can you say that Assad does NOT deserve to be pasted with a M.O.A.B? I know that I can’t. (Whether or not WE should be the agent of such a pasting is a separate question.)

    “Karmic justice” is what we usually call it. When someone gets what’s coming to them, and to HELL with whether or not the comeuppance is justly derived from the claimed causal factor. If someone were to gut Charles Manson like a flounder because Manson wouldn’t share his orange-cranberry muffin, would you cry because the gutting is so out of proportion? I know I wouldn’t.

    I’m not arguing that your argument has no merit, because it certainly does.
    Just know that the thinking you’re faulting has appeal for very real and very VALID reasons. IF it didn’t, then the rogue deliverer of justice wouldn’t be a staple of fiction.

    • I believe Assad used it. But that’s beside the point. When you’re talking nation and head of state it’s a different thing.
      Now, Assad the individual. He might be a mass murderer. Does that mean that if he were reduced to just a person with no power, it would be okay for a total stranger who didn’t know who he was to beat him to death?
      It might be “right” in some Karmic sense, but it’s still morally wrong.
      If you don’t see that, I can’t help you.

  38. PSSSSST. You can pre-order the hard-back edition of the Monster Hunter anthology with Sarah’s story in it. https://www.amazon.com/Monster-Hunter-Files-Larry-Correia/dp/1481482750/ref=la_B002D68HL8_1_9?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1492216013&sr=1-9

  39. From A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS;

    Roper: So now you’d give the Devil benefit of law!
    More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
    Roper: I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
    More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country’s planted thick with laws from coast to coast– man’s laws, not God’s– and if you cut them down—and you’re just the man to do it—do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law for my own safety’s sake.

    • Cutting down every tree would be foolish.
      What we really want is a controlled, sustainable tree harvest that leaves us enough open field to increase our grazing flocks while leaving windbreaks to keep the sheep from blowing away.

      • And denying cover to the wolves and feral sheepdogs.

        • I forget the guy’s name, as well as the branch of economics he established, but didn’t somebody win a Nobel a few years back for his work refuting the idea that “civil service bureaucrats” were selfless altruists dedicated to serving* their nation?

          *Or rather, that they were dedicated to serving their nation … in the sense employed in the book title To Serve Mankind.

          • More along the lines of a stud farm….

          • It is probably a mistake to attribute to malice what is adequately explained by ambition and greed. Bureaucracies, as a rule, obey the Peter Principle and Parkinson’s Laws. They want raises and promotions, and they way to get them is to grow their authority and scope. A few True Believer, salted in that, can give the whole a political/religious overtone but the core are more interested in the next salary bump or that corner office with the view.

          • I forget the guy’s name, as well as the branch of economics he established,

            Duncan Black, probably, and public choice theory, certainly.

            • That is, Duncan Black did not win the Nobel, but he did found the discipline of public choice theory. It was George Stigler who won the Nobel for applying public choice theory to the specific problem of regulatory capture.

  40. Time for more Usain tales. Maybe a little daily devotional type thing that we can all start leaving in public places like, I dunno, airports. Might get people to think about where things like this UA incident lead to instead of trying to distance themselves with the blame shifting.

  41. News Flash: Reported on Fox this AM. It seems that United lost the luggage of the passenger dragged from the plane.
    P.S. I hope the loss of my icon is due to facebook finally doing something about the duplication of accounts by spammers.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      That’s ok. United will lose their company at this rate.

    • Why am I not surprised…

      I wouldn’t put it past United to have taken it themselves and dug through it to see if there was anything in there they could have used to smear Dao.

  42. Reblogged this on Allene R. Lowrey and commented:
    So much more eloquently put than I could. This is the rationale behind why I stick with that old saw – “I may not agree with what you say, but I’ll defend too the death your right to say it”

  43. I think that should actually read, “I may not agree with what you say, but I’ll defend to your opponents death your right to say it.”

    Those who go into a fight expecting to die usually find that a self-fulfilling prophecy. If someone has to die, make sure it’s the OTHER guy.

    • Null objection.

      Those who go into a fight and are not willing to risk dying will desert the fight as soon as the opponent proves to be dangerous. ‘I’ll defend to your opponent’s death’ merely means that you are willing to murder people. ‘If anybody tries to stop you from speaking, I will quietly and anonymously put arsenic in their tea’ is not the declaration of a hero.

  44. So United did it again.

    http://www.wcnc.com/news/local/bride-and-groom-booted-off-united-flight-in-houston/431663960

    They kicked a couple making a transfer off the plane who where on their way to their custom wedding in the Caribbean. The excuse given by United is that the people they kicked off where really bad people and thus deserved it. Oh and the other claw following the whole dragging the doctor off of a United Flight just a few day ago you would thing people would have recorded and posted video of this pair being disruptive if it actually happened.

    I can’t imagine why I might suspect United Airlines is lying. Oh wait they are speaking that might be why I think they are lying.

  45. “All this ignoring the fact that if the government hadn’t needed a scapegoat, no one would have dreamed of picking him up.”

    Ken White at Popehat disagrees. He is no apologist for Federal prosecutors, having been one, and now being a defense attorney. His appraisal was that Nakoula flagrantly violated his supervised-release conditions about six different ways, and was going back inside as soon as anyone noticed. Which was almost certain, once he became a subject of public attention. Which he was asking for, with that video.

    Which is not to deny that Obama and Clinton pounced on him as a scapegoat, to support their lies about Benghazi.

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