Has any state…heck, has any 10-year-old’s tree house club…had as many terrible ideas as California? No wonder its presidential vote single-handedly gave the popular vote to Hillary. And the United States is supposed to allow itself to be the dog wagged by this Bizarro World ethics culture?
The latest: Under a bill now heading through the California State Legislature, millions of criminal Californians who have misdemeanor or lower-level felony records would have their criminal records officially sealed from public view once they completed prison or jail sentences. I’m shocked to read that the legislation would not apply to people convicted of committing murder or rape. Well, give the Golden State time.
We are told with a sniff and a tear that in the United States, a record showing a criminal conviction or even an arrest that does not lead to a conviction can make it difficult for someone to find a jobs, rent an apartment or obtain professional license. Well, that’s because conduct has consequences, and in particular breaking trust has consequences. Society is based on mutual trust. Committing criminal acts raises reasonable doubts in society as to whether an individual can be trusted to–let’s see, handle money for an employer, follow rules, meet financial obligations or serve in a professional capacity, the primary requirement of which is trustworthiness.
Simply because someone has been in jail doesn’t mean they have become more trustworthy. Why would it? So under California’s brilliant scheme, a bank could hire a convicted embezzler as a bank teller. A law school could hire a convicted bank-robber as a law pro—oops. Sorry. My alma mater already did that. But at least it had the opportunity to know what it was doing.
This is kindergarten easy: if I am going to trust someone with my business or my property, I have a right to know who that person is, and if he or she has a record of warranting trust. The fact that convicted criminals have a tough time doesn’t mean I should be put at risk. They committed the crime, why are the citizens who haven’t broken any laws being forced to take risks they don’t want to take?
That would be a good book topic: what makes lawmakers reason like this? I don’t want to say it’s just those from the Left, but it’s just those from the Left. What IS that short circuit, that logical glitch, that missed neural connection that produces the fallacious ethical theory that life problems people cause for themselves must be solved by forcing innocent bystanders to pay for them? Where does that wacky theory arise that a reasonable way to deal with unpleasant reality is to declare that it doesn’t exist? The kind description for this is “magical thinking.” A better description is “lying.”
I don’t know why I’ve had Jimmy Durante on the brain lately, but everything is reminding me of “Jumbo,” when he tried to solve a looming law enforcement dilemma by pretending that the largest elephant in the world wasn’t behind him, when it was. This is what the progressive side of the ideological spectrum has somehow adopted as its approach to so many things: ignoring reality, and making it difficult for others to acknowledge it. Jimmy’s line was “Elephant? What elephant?” Democrats, with the Super-Democrats in California, have developed so many adaptations:
- Illegal immigration? What illegal immigration?
- Lost jobs because of minimum wage increases? I have no idea what you’re talking about.
- Impossible costs of speculative climate change fixes? What costs?
- Anti-Semitism? What anti-Semitism?
- We’re shocked, shocked to learn that Hollywood producers are pressuring actresses into sex!
- Deep state? What Deep State?
- Socialism? Who’s talking about Socialism?
- Not accepting the results of elections? We’re not refusing to accept the results of the election: Hillary won, and it was stolen from her.
- Killing unborn babies? What unborn babies?
- Hate? What hate? We don’t hate anybody.
- Of course, the ethics Alarms favorite…”Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias.”
I like the Jumbo analogy, but maybe another one is better, I can’t decide. Rationalization #10 on the Ethics Alarms list is “The Unethical Tree in the Forest, or “What they don’t know won’t hurt them,” which I describe as one of the dumber rationalizations. “Just as a tree that falls in the forest with nobody around both makes noise and causes damage, so undetected, well-disguised or covered-up wrongs are exactly as wrong as those that end up on the front pages. They also cause the same amount of harm much of the time.” This delusion certainly fits the proposed law: the former criminal whose crimes we don’t know about wasn’t a criminal at all.