Less than a month ago, I wrote this post, explaining why, despite the near complete ethical bankruptcy of and rejection of democratic values by the Democratic Party and its allies, I would nonetheless refuse to vote for President Donald J. Trump in November. I wrote,
Absent my professional and public assessments as a professional ethicist, I would have no difficulty at all in officially concluding that Donald Trump is the preferable, indeed essential, choice to lead the country in the next four years when the alternative is a party that has revealed the corruption and antagonism toward American ideals as has the Democratic Party. But President Trump, as I pointed out repeatedly in 2015 and 2016, is the antithesis of the kind of leader my knowledge and expertise indicates should ever be placed in a leadership position of any kind, or in a position of power and trust.
For me to vote for such an individual would render my credibility in my profession, and what is more important, my personal and professional integrity, void.
An ethicist cannot, in my view, support or vote for Donald Trump as President, nor can an ethicist, at least this ethicist, have any position but the rejection of the current iteration of the Democratic party as antithetical to American values.
I have not reached the point of reversing myself on this crucial decision for me personally, professionally, and as an American. Not yet. I feel, however, that the time may be approaching where my case of ethics zugswang cannot be honestly addressed by refusing to take a side. This week, in particular, has forced me to consider that a tipping point may be at hand.
As I have written before, whatever cosmic script-writer came up with the harebrained idea that someone as personally repellent and ethically inert as Donald Trump should be thrust into the position of being this great nation’s crucial last defense against the rising totalitarianism and fascism of the left is a sadist with a sick sense of humor. It is increasingly difficult to deny, however, that this is the ethical conflict that America finds itself in. At the point, fast approaching, when I have to confront the conclusion that defeating the Democrat/”resistance”/ mainstream media collective is the only way to ensure that the United States and its values remain viable and intact, refraining from making a noxious choice will no longer be an option.
Three stories today accelerated the likelihood of my having to face that tipping point:
I. Writing at the Washington Post, staff cultural reporter Alyssa Rosenberg argued that the networks should cancel all the cop shows on television. You can read the thing here; if I have to explain what is frightening about her argument, then you are already too far gone to be cured. This, it is increasingly clear to me, is the agreed-upon modus operandi of the American Left. Since they cannot advance their agenda by logic, arguments, civic debate and persuasion, they will accomplish it by intimidation, mind control, indoctrination, and censorship. We must like what they like, hate whom the hate, and believe what they believe, and every aspect of the culture, including entertainment, must advance that objective.
This is, of course, how Orwellian cultures operate, and we have witnessed a steady and barely opposed drift toward this as the preferred path to power by the Democratic Party. Rosenberg believes that citizens should not be allowed to see TV programs that don’t comport with the Left’s now mandatory view that police must be regarded as racist villains and law enforcement be seen as a malign force. The Post op-ed follows on the heels of the New York Times capitulating to its “woke” staff’s demand that non-conforming (to the Times’ world view) opinion pieces be rejected for publication. The news media’s activist agenda is out of the shadows and indisputable.
2. Employees at a Columbus, Ohio, Condado Tacos restaurant walked off the job this week, refusing to fill a catering order for police. In response the chain closed all of its 20 stores “out of an abundance of caution,” whatever that’s supposed to mean. No employees were fired, and the employees were not made to prepare the order. “Because we understand that emotions and tensions are raw right now, we offered those employees the option to sit out making that order, without repercussion, while other team members handled it,” Condado said in a statement. “We want to make it clear that they are welcome to return to work, if that is their choice, but they must understand that Condado Tacos is an inclusive business and that we will continue to serve everyone, including law enforcement.”
The dual symptoms of cultural rot here are 1) the continued deterioration of basic public intelligence after the relentless bombardment of hysterical “woke” narratives. What possible logic is there to defend refusing to fill an order from the Columbus, Ohio police department because of an incident of police abuse in Minneapolis, and 2) the unwillingness of employers, businesses and institutions to oppose unconscionable conduct that is widely encouraged and supported by the Left.
Employees said they were “uncomfortable” serving police while protests against police brutality were going on. Ethically, this is indistinguishable from being “uncomfortable” serving Republicans, Jews, or blacks. The Democratic/”resistance”/ media narratives and propaganda are encouraging this socially destructive behavior, and employers, institutions and other authorities lack the fortitude and principle to end it. It is axiomatic that what will allow evil ends to be achieved is for “good” people to stand by and do nothing, but what we are seeing is the cowardice, intellectual weakness and apathy, not of the good, but of the complacently mediocre.
German-American philosopher Hannah Arendt was the virtuoso of observations on the subject of how totalitarianism gains its death grip:
- “The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”
- “The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (i.e., the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (i.e., the standards of thought) no longer exist.”
- “The aim of totalitarian education has never been to instill convictions but to destroy the capacity to form any.”
- “One of the greatest advantages of the totalitarian elites of the twenties and thirties was to turn any statement of fact into a question of motive.”
The process Arendt studied and described is no longer a threat. It is well underway.
Part 2, and the third story, is here.
20 thoughts on “Ethics Alarms 2020 Election Update: Nearing A Tipping Point, Part 1”
Jack, what troubles me is that a different tipping point may be in the near future.
BLM operatives are defacing everyday persons tombstones spraying Black Lives Matter on them. This type of behavior is absolutely unacceptable and will cause even tempered people who could support positive change for blacks to say “screw it we need to advocate for our race”.
When the majority decide to embrace the protections of the Proud Boys because no one else will we will have a serious problem on our hands.
I am heartened by the fact that a Brown University professor took the correct stand. The only question is will anyone listen to and reflect on his words.
My only question is when will the Jacobins force his resignation for not possessing enough pure revolutionary fervor?
I think there has been a pattern of God choosing unlikely heroes as a way of demonstrating the failures of the likely ones. The bishops, politicians, scholars, businessmen, soldiers, fathers and mothers, policemen, and everyday men and women have all abdicated their responsibilities. The point of circumstances things like this is to demonstrate the role of providence. David, St. Joan of Arc, and Countess Mathilda of Tuscany were the unlikely heroes of their day, making them the emblems of the failures of their leaders and the role of the Divine Will in ordering all things regardless.
The sign of worldly power in our time is presidentiality. The orange man, by that metric, shouldn’t have won an election. He probably shouldn’t have made it through the fires of the entire justice system’s laser-focused scrutiny. He’s probably as irreligious a boor as he seems, so that makes my interpretation a bit tenuous. Maybe the white-knuckle suspense is part of that sign…
Perhaps “Your hopes rest on that, so don’t push Me.”
It’s a truly cosmic upheaval. Who could want for excitement! The penultimate battle approaches!
The “cosmic script writer” was CNN, MSNBC and their ilk in the media, along with the Clinton Campaign who worked hard to ensure that no other Republican could beat Trump in 2016. Instead of nominating a compelling candidate and trying to win fairly, they used their domination of the media to prop up an unqualified and facially-unfit Republican so they could present the voters with an offer they couldn’t refuse. It backfired to the extent that they lost the 2016 election, but it is the exact same tactic for 2020, and equating Republicans with Trump has helped other objectives, such as indoctrinating kids, fund raising, etc.
Exactly. Trump is CNN’s Frankenstein.
It couldn’t have been scripted better (worse?)
Barack Obama was an articulate, intelligent, and thoughtful leader with the kind of demeanor we should want from a president, and who by all accounts has been a good family man.
Trump is none of those things. But Obama was a socialist and radical at heart, and Trump isn’t. Which seems to matter more when it comes to results. It makes for a difficult choice…or does it?
It was the perfect laboratory, bringing to life what would have been an interesting thought experiment: If you have an idiot off the street and a brilliant scholar, and the brilliant scholar consistently, regularly gets it catastrophically wrong while the idiot consistently gets the same problems right…at what point does it become wise, even necessary, to give the idiot that scholar’s job? Even if he’s an uncouth jerk?
Trump has practically governed by the “What Wouldn’t Obama Do?” principle and he’s gotten historically better results on North Korea, Iran, protecting embassies, taxes, regulations, the environment, racial equality, social reforms, job creation, the Middle East, and education. Just looking at the COVID-19 crisis alone, Trump was right about the travel bans, respirator distribution to states, not trusting the WHO or China, AND reopening the economy at the right time, while the politicians likely to mirror Obama’s policy moves (Cuomo, Biden) consistently blew it or made the situation worse.
I don’t think Trump is a secret genius; I just think that progressivism has poisoned the intelligentsia with unworkable ideas so completely that plunking down a random loudmouth salesman from the world outside the university/Washington bubble is going to lead to better outcomes at this point. Just look at the complete exploding dumpster fire that is golden child Jacob Frey’s stint as mayor of Minneapolis.
I agree with most of this comment. Trump mag not be a philosopher-king but he had good instincts, especially on the country’s cultural pulse. He defiant walk to St. John’s shows the divide better than anything. The Left had a meltdown where other presidents have been given deference.
Nice, concise comment that covers a lot of ground, Isaac.
I think Trump is the closest thing we’ve ever had to a citizen president. Maybe Eisenhower.
I am still thinking about Viganò’s letter to Donald Trump and the strange and interesting fact that people, in general, and on a wide scale, have begun to *see* and *interpret* the events of the day in those larger, ‘cosmic’ terms.
It is 100% and absolutely false — and a grave error of perception — to imagine and to state that *evil* can be located solely within a Democrat Party and exclusively place that label on those actors which now wear those masks, who have the center stage. If one is going to open the conversation — a conversation that becomes, instantly, theological, moral, political, existential and both completely abstract and thoroughly personal — one is going to have to be ready and willing to face some difficult facts. And the first fact is that *evil* has penetrated our very selves. We cannot talk about *evil* as being ‘over there’ and separate. Nor do I think can we specifically identify *it*. The nature of this world is that it involves all of us in this *cosmic struggle*.
There is a substantial error made by many who write on this blog and it has to be pointed out. Evil in the sense that Viganò has referred to, and which Jack also refers to but without reference to metaphysical principles or to theological concepts, in interwoven into the fabric of American life. We cannot only speak of ‘personal relationship’ with either ‘the good’ or with ‘evil’ but have to confront the fact that Systems are created in which what is *evil* houses itself. Therefore, it is not only partially incorrect but it is heretically incorrect to fail to understand this aspect of a dynamic of evil. If you are going to talk about *evil* and if you are going to frame a conversation in such terms, then you are going to have to take the theological implications of such grand assertions to their final points.
If you or anyone else genuinely thinks that some part of America — some sector, some agency of government, some players within the media-systems, and any specific sector or any specific grouping — is outside of the problem of evil, then you are totally and dangerously mistaken. And it is absolutely impossible, and profoundly erroneous, to imagine and assert that one political party — the Republican Party — is not intimately and concretely involved in building and maintaining and benefitting from those Systems through which *evil* is communicated and conveyed.
If you are going to talk about *evil*, and this is a theological term which in the Occident is intimately bound up in Christian concepts, with moral concepts, with moral and ethical principles, with a specific metaphysical definition (and not the absense of that, and not a plurality), which have influenced every aspect of our Occidental civilization, then you are going to have to open the conversation into the examination of many many different things that will make you very uncomfortable.
Because that is what it means to engage at that level, and that is what is required: a full investment of moral attention.
I do not want to be misunderstood. Like everyone (mostly) who contributes to this blog I am aware of what the American Left and the Progressives are up to. But what they are up to connect to other dimensions of American life, and what is taking place is taking place because within the American body-politic many many different *evils* have been allowed to take root and to grow and prosper. And it is through established systems that these *evils* are purveyed. The person, the individual, is always the target for *evil*, and evil is a power that seduces, and how seduction takes place is therefore the central question — that is, if you are going to approach these problems and issues through Christian categories. You can avoid that altogether, at least intellectually, but you will never, not ever, be able to excise from out of Occidental consciousness those patterns of understanding, of seeing, that are part-and-parcel of 1000 or 1500 years of inculcation. These ways of seeing are part-and-parcel of our consciousness. What it is and how it functions.
If there is something that is *evil* it is, quite literally, that power (whatever it is) that dumbs down the individual so that he and she is unconcerned to think about the essential categories of *good & evil*. I think this is what Hannah Arendt is trying to get at: that it requires a moral actor, fully in possession of his or her self, to act responsibly in this world. But there are huge problems just in that. Arendt was a disciple for many years of Heidegger. And Heidegger was a committed national socialist. What I mean to present here is not what you might think. But let us put Arendt and Heidegger aside. What I mean to say is that we are in very uncertain times — moral and metaphysical confusion abounds — and we do not know how rigorous and demanding we should be towards our own selfs, or how libertine and indulgent we can be or should be. So, if you reeaaallllyyyy followed through on the metaphysical demands that Viganò posits, that is to say all that he stands for, you will have to face the fact that this means that you will have to completely remodel your life, your understanding, your sense of rules and limits. And by *you* I mean a great plurality of man.
So, the meaning of the time is that *evil* in this sense has people in its grip: firmly in its grip. It insinuates itself through *systems* and then becomes part-and-parcel of our very self. And those lines of connection, those lines of complicity and connection, stem out from our own self just as those lines reach nto us from *out there*.
The essential meaning? We either renovate our selfs through identifying what renews, and what gives life in the most exalted sense, which is nothing else but a profound spiritual work in essence, or we surrender to those forces that slide along and slip more deeply into the grip of all that we resent and detest, all that debases and destroys — because that is what *evil* is and what it does.
It is very interesting to consider the phrase Solve et Coagula. It comes from alchemy. I do not think the idea itself — I take it to mean that some *base* thing must be dissolved first before it can be reconstituted into something ‘higher & noble’ (alchemical gold of course) — is in itself an ‘evil’ notion.
But I think that what Viganò is getting at is that a *tool* is in operation: the breaking apart of hierarchical structures by activists who seek to better the condition of man. I mean, that is what they say. I think that in the end that is what ‘progressivism’ means.
When Viganò refers to *deep state* forces within the Church (and I understand that only Catholics will show much concern or understanding of what he means and this is not a Catholic blog though numerous members are Catholics) what is he referring to? He means essentially *activists* who seek to undermine existing structures and hierarchies. But he means, of course, much more. Because those categories are grounded in metaphysical concepts and those concepts are non-material. That is to say that for us, today, they do not *really exist*.
So, the activism to undermine those notions and *ideas* that do not really exist is really a substantial part of our world today. That is, we cannot see in these terms. Or it becomes increasingly hard to see in these terms. Because these metaphysical notions have been undermined! They are part of *folly*. They are *imagined* but non-real.
We have to face a strange fact — and I do not know how to carry it out — that our revolutionary praxes and what we call in the largest scope our ‘progressivism’ has arisen out of those dissolving and acidic movements which undermine these hierarchies. However — and here is the problem — we all of us recognize that certain *values* and *benefits* have come to us from this progressivism. But today, as we look out on the effects of general progressivism, what I see (though I respect that others do not see it this way) is that the dissolving influence has taken control. You cannot elevate chaos to a status it does not have. Chaos by its nature is not constructive. Something has to enter the picture and act against chaos to transform it into something higher and noble.
And this is where the battle is taking place in essence.
This is just something I came across describing the alchemical idea behind solve et coagula from some alchemical site, which Viganò referred to in his letter to Trump.
It’s during these turbulent political times that we find ourselves in, that I find myself repeatedly going back to a quote from Frank Herbert’s ‘God Emperor of Dune’-
“Scratch a conservative and you find someone who prefers the past over any future. Scratch a liberal and find a closet aristocrat. It’s true! Liberal governments always develop into aristocracies. The bureaucracies betray the true intent of people who form such governments. Right from the first, the little people who formed the governments which promised to equalize the social burdens found themselves suddenly in the hands of bureaucratic aristocracies. Of course, all bureaucracies follow this pattern, but what a hypocrisy to find this even under a communized banner. Ahhh, well, if patterns teach me anything it’s that patterns are repeated.”
Except that saying that a conservative favors the past over the future is a profound misconception. Collect all of the various and many definitions of conservatism and distill them: you get the belief that the lessons of the past are crucial to building a better future, and that one of the lessons is that power is abused more often than not, so the individual’s autonomy must be respected to the greatest extent possible. Preferring the past over the future is demonstrably ridiculous—it’s called ignorance, not conservatism.
Edmund Burke expresses what you have said:
Burke’s view of history is an aspect of his thought that has been largely neglected by scholars, despite the wide recognition of its importance. In Burke’s view, history, led by providence and by a human nature designed by God, is necessarily progressive. It is, nevertheless, human beings who are largely responsible for building their nations. A variety of civilisations could be generated if people governed a nation in harmony with its peculiar manners and circumstances. Nations can, however, be unstable, because their fortunes fluctuate. Although Burke was very familiar with—and influenced by—several different traditions of historiography, his ideas on history should also be seen as the product of his own reflections.
I have been researching those who support and also define *Antifa*. I came across this very odd specimen (*Olly* is his name). It is very worthwhile listening to his entire presentation (if one has the time) as one can very well glimpse how those that get involved in these ideas think. It is not without coherency. Also, it places the issues of our present within the context that *they* (radical progressives) define and substantially control: the self-assumed role of defining who and what is an *evil fascist* and the establishment of it as an *evil*.
Agreed about the concept of conservatism-emphasis of the quote was on how governments that try to solve for all the ills that plague society and try to achieve a sort of equality of outcome for all people ( some would refer to such governments as ‘liberal’). The lesson being that those who typically favor more government as a solution to all problems ( i.e. progressives/Democrats), fail to realize that more government leads to more bureaucracy, and the rules of bureaucracy are typically enforced more harshly on the general public, then say as opposed to the political and social elite, thus leading to formation of a type of aristocracy-even in so called ‘communist’ governments.
Check this out. Apparently these idiots and bullies went to Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey’s home and demanded he come out and meet with them – you can see the result. I have never seen a mayor or other executive look so weak, so small, and so powerless. It’s not necessarily about physical size – Fiorello LaGuardia was only 5’2″ – or about physical prowess – Frank Hague and Anton Cermak were just ordinary-looking guys. It IS about strength of personality and showing leadership. If Frey had any of either he would have told them to back off his home and that he would meet with them at an appropriate time and place. As it was, he let himself be bullied into sheepfacedly saying he would not commit to defunding the Minneapolis Police Department, and was told “then get the fuck out of here.” He retreated like a whipped dog, and now he looks like just that. He got bitch-slapped by the mob, and now the whole world saw it happen.
Abolition of the police completely is a ridiculous idea. I practiced labor law for 4 years. I’ve also seen police departments disbanded, folded into other departments, and so on. I’m also aware of one department that was rebuilt top to bottom, a very long time ago. I’m also aware of communities that do not maintain their own police force. What I have never heard of is a major city firing its entire police force and not replacing it with another policing agency.
Calvin Coolidge was governor of Massachusetts before he became vice president and a model peacetime president. In 1919 the Boston Police Department went on strike seeking improvements to work conditions. As you might guess the city quickly descended into lawlessness. Coolidge quickly brought in the militia (forerunners of the National Guard), restored order, and proceeded to hire a completely new force, saying tersely “there is no right to strike against the public safety by anyone, anywhere, at any time.” The militia patrolled until there were enough policemen for the BPD to resume its duties. That was a different time, before public sector unions and before civil service becoming the system it is now.
Hudson County, NJ (Jersey City and environs), underwent some drastic changes in the mid-to-late 1990s) as it did away with the Hudson County Police and merged several fire departments to create the North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue service. The former was done for reasons of cost. The original concept of a county police force dates back to when NJ was much more rural, and there was a need for an agency to patrol county property and keep an eye on the unincorporated areas (which were not within any towns and not controlled by the State) within the county. This was different from the various county sheriffs, whose primary missions were to serve court papers, enforce court orders, provide court security, run the county jail, and only secondarily patrol, etc. Eventually the sheriffs started to also provide SWAT/ERT services to municipalities too small to do it themselves, and the detectives attached to the various county prosecutors’ offices starting providing crime scene investigation, etc. As NJ became more and more built up, the unincorporated areas of the various counties greatly decreased or even disappeared.
By the 1990s, the Hudson County Police’s duties had dwindled to patrolling a handful of county roads and two or three county parks, and running the 911 center for the county. All of those places fell within the concurrent jurisdiction of some city, town, or other municipality. The agency had outlived its usefulness. Its efforts were duplicative, and, when costs had to be cut, it had to go. Some of its 82 officers retired if they were close to the end of their time anyway. Others, mostly those who had a lot of time to go but were already trained, were absorbed into the Sheriff’s Department – it was cheaper and easier than trying to train brand new recruits. Unfortunately, not all of them were offered new jobs, and some of the guys who fell in the middle found themselves out of luck, trying to find jobs with other police departments or begin a second career. I believe there was some litigation, but it went nowhere, the Civil Service Commission was on board with it. However, policing of all the county continued, as the municipal departments already had it covered. No place went unpoliced.
North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue was a streamlining of five small fire departments in an area that was really one big city except for the names into one large one, to trim costs and refocus resources. It took 15 years and endless legal wrangling, to make certain no one would lose rank or lose his position completely. It included buying out up to five years of pension time for firefighters who had 20 years or more in to slim the numbers down. As a result the regional department was able to slim down numbers, particularly in management, and direct resources to upgrading equipment, facilities, and training.
The Bergen County (NE corner of NJ, Hackensack and environs) police, who found themselves essentially in the same place as the Hudson County Police, were folded whole cloth into the Sheriff’s Department 15 years ago, and they still haven’t trimmed the numbers down by attrition to where they want them to be. However, the powers that be decided that would be cheaper than outright firings and layoffs, which might result in litigation, even if they would probably prevail in litigation.
The nearest thing to an outright abolition of a city police department in NJ was the city of Camden (across the Delaware River from Philadelphia) disbanding its police department in 2012. It’s a long story, but the short version is that decades of overtaxing the various businesses led most major employers (Campbell’s Soup and RCA were two of the big ones) to leave the city. As a result, the city’s tax revenue had fallen to such a level that it could no longer afford a police department. From 2005 to 2012 the State operated the police, but it was then decided to hand off to the county for cost reasons. Some officers were rehired into the new department, others went to other departments (there were SEVERE cutbacks in benefits). However, the city of Camden did not go unpoliced for even a single day.
Most small communities I am aware of in rural PA contract with either the county or state policing authorities for policing services. There is no such thing as a totally unpoliced municipality, though some may be far from the reach of those agencies (hence a lot of rural Pennsylvanians being armed, but that’s a whole separate discussion).
I cannot fathom doing away with a whole department of 800 officers, as in Minneapolis, without there being some major legal issues. What happens to the officers, especially those with clean records? Do they spend already scarce public funds on buyouts of those near the end of their tenure? Are all officers just dumped out on the street, whether they have 25 months or 25 years in? What about pensions? What about accumulated vacation and sick time, which probably has to be paid for under union contracts? Do they think litigation won’t result? It will, and I think the City will be in a tough spot. Judges will take one look at a proposal like that vis-a-vis existing contracts and say “are you kidding?”
More importantly, What happens to law and order in the city? Will Minneapolis become a city of close to half a million with NO ONE to keep order? It’s absolutely clear from the video above that the activists don’t want this department merged with another, and they don’t want the state to take over. They want a completely police-less city, where no one can enforce the law, only try to persuade everyone to behave.
If that happens, what recourse do shopkeepers and business owners have if they get robbed? What’s a wife to do if her husband gets drunk and decides to knock her or their children around? If a woman’s date decides the date is going better than she thinks it is and refuses to take no for an answer, who can she turn to? If an argument turns into a street fight, what then? What about traffic control? Who’s going to make sure no one plants a bomb at a bus or rail station or disarm one if they do? If someone decides the quickest way to a big payday is to kidnap a child or hold a few office workers at gunpoint, who steps in? (hint: the deliberate weakening of law enforcement capabilities to look peaceful is a big part of what led to the disaster at the Munich Olympics in 1972 and led to the establishment of the GSG 9 German police special forces unit [believe it or not, the Bundeswehr didn’t follow suit until after 9/11]) What about the Minneapolis international airport? Will the city just step aside and leave that to Homeland Security, or do they want FPS, ICE, etc., all to pack up and leave too? What about the other emergency services? What firefighters or medics in their right minds will enter an unsecure scene (hint: no firefighter wants a repeat of the ambush of firemen that happened in West Webster Christmas eve 2012)? What insurance company is going to write business or homeowner or auto policies in a city where no one will respond to losses and no one will follow up to try to retrieve anything stolen? Has anyone thought ANY of this through?
What is more, now the same people who’ve been cheering on the mobs now want the various networks to not only do away with police shows but to start shows that show “alternatives to policing,” in order to start filling people’s minds with the idea that “yes, we can find another, better way.” Honestly, I can only think of two television shows that even came close to that idea. One was “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” the Jane Seymour period piece vehicle that ran from 1993 to 1998. The good doctor, who thought and talked like she’d been picked up from Clinton-era San Francisco and transported back in time 120 years, was, of course, shown to be always right. The rough-and-ready townspeople just needed her to show them the way, as she introduced gun control, encouraged members of the military to desert, and treated the local Indians like saints. Eventually even that show backtracked on unarmed policing, as her adoptive son Matthew Cooper (Chad Allen), who tried to be the town sheriff without a gun, was nearly shot dead and shown the error of his ways by “legendary” Marshal Elias Rinn (Willie Nelson). The other was “Touched by an Angel,” the 1995-2005 Roma Downey faith fantasy where three angels (occasionally assisted by others) roamed the US convincing people to find kinder, gentler ways out of problems – sometimes doing diametrically opposed things, like giving one person a tongue-lashing for an affair in one episode, convincing another unhappy wife not to leave her husband in another, but convincing another husband to an unhappy wife it was time to let her go in a third. Somehow love and kindness always won out in the end, and a planned occasional fourth angel, who would step in to punish the irredeemable or defiant was cut because the producers wanted to keep things pleasant and nice (of course the show aired on Sunday nights). Pure fantasy and wish fulfillment.
I’m a fantasy writer myself, and fantasy is a great thing. We all need to escape this dreary world now and then. Whether you like light fantasy where the kindly lady with the I’ve-got-a-secret smile down the block who befriends the unhappy boy during the summer he’s grappling with his mother’s illness might be just a nice person or she might be…something else, or full-on fantasy where knights with glowing weapons battle dragons, wizards throw fire and lightning, and that unopened door or crumbling stairway leads to Things Better Left Forgotten, there’s no harm in reading it. Some of it is wish fulfillment, like being the hero who gets the hottie or taking revenge on the jerk… or people who act badly in life acting better, or those who ignore you in life being persuaded by your great ideas. It’s that last part where it gets dangerous for adults. None of us are so dumb that we’ll put on a red cape and try to fly out a window, or buckle on a sword and go looking for a pyrokinetic reptile to fight. However, it is very easy to believe that the ideas we have are so good that if only others would listen to us, we could make this world into the perfect place, and they should listen or will listen because they are just that good. Sometimes they DO sound good – good enough that we don’t think, and others don’t think, whether these fantastic ideas will really work in this real world.
Karl Marx said “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” We all know how that worked. He also said the state would wither away. In the Communist nations the state was maintained by force. Lenin promised “peace, bread, and land.” He delivered none of the above. Hitler peddled the myth of a “master race.” The less said about what happened there the better. The Berrigan brothers sought a world where violence would never be used because it would never be needed. Well, they’ve come and gone, and most of their disciples are sporting gray ponytails and beards themselves now, but the military and police are still around. If the world has calmed down a little it’s because of a lot of brave men doing their jobs, not some radical priest with a big mouth. Ira Einhorn and his ilk promised a world in harmony with the earth. If we got better about the environment it was because of a lot of people doing their jobs, not some bearded idiot who stank like a hoagie with onions and murdered his gf. These were all dangerous adult fantasies.
So now we get this latest crop of idiots with big ideas, bigger egos, and big foul mouths telling us that they want law enforcement to just disappear, the community’s got it covered. The facts show otherwise, but they don’t give a damn about facts. They’re just “sick and tired of being sick and tired” and they “won’t be quiet anymore.” Anger, certitude, loudness, and fantasy. Some fantasies you experiment with to see if they work. We’ve already seen this one doesn’t work. It needs to end, and it needs to end now. These leaders need to find their spines and say “Enough. This has gone on for days, it’s disruptive, and it’s not what the constitution envisioned. Get back to work, let those who need to clean up this mess get to work, and then let’s discuss a real solution when you’re back from Crazytown.”
Hi Jack, I think I have a post in escrow due to a link. Can you help me out?
It’s up—not in moderation, but spammed, for some reason. Sorry. That was a lot of work.
Regarding the police show op-ed; I recall as a child my father speaking on the phone regarding the cancelation of one of his clients shows by the network. The show was called ‘Cade’s County.’ My father, always circumspect, mentioned the real reason the network had canceled the show (despite decent ratings), was because of the recent uproar over television violence which had been in the news of late. This is of course a different circumstance that ‘right thinking,’ intrinsic in the op-ed, but is still an example of non financial considerations intruding on artistic business decisions.
Maybe they found out what Glenn Ford was really like.
I remember that show, and liked it. It also has a cool theme by Henry Mancini.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkWECedSzio
The leadership does not really believe this.
When some lowlife gangbanger kills some kids at school, they will swiftly change their tune to only the police (whom they called racist villains) should get to have assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
I am certain of this because this has happened before.
The whole Black Lives matter movement started around the time Michael Brown was killed. Colin Kaepernick then refused to stand for the National Anthem.
There were complaints about systemic racism in law enforcement and criminal justice.
And then some lowlife gangbangwer killed a bunch of kids in a ghetto school in Florida. Suddennly, it was #MarchForOurLives and #GunControlNow.
Whenever someone argues thnat certain weapons should be restricted to law enforcement, or if a news article mentions that a parrticular law on guns exempts law enbcforcement, I always ask this question.
“Why is law enforcement exempt?
Because they habitually gun down unarmed black men?
If so, that means the Crips should be exempt as well.”
It is such an armor-piercing retort.
That explains how so many of the people supporting Kaepernick suddenly turned and supported march For Our Lives, with no clue about any systemic racism in law enforcement.