Friday, November 8, 2013

Not Enough

Excuse me, Gentle Reader? You've voted, and voted, and voted some more, and even when your preferred, seemingly noble-hearted candidates carry the day, things never seem to least, not in a positive direction? Doesn't that suggest something about voting and the limits of its powers?

Excuse me, Tea Partier? You've protested, and protested, and protested until your throat was raw, your bank balance depleted, and your tolerance for bus rides down to zero, but it's had no perceptible effect on the course of government or the quality of its emissions? Doesn't that suggest something about protests and the most one can expect from them?

Excuse me, Good Citizen appalled at the explosion of well-documented cases of police brutality against honest, law-abiding citizens? Your Outrage Meter has pinned so many times that the right-hand stop is about to come loose, yet the blue-suited thugs continue to oppress us, all the way to repeated anal rape of a peaceable citizen under color of law? Doesn't that suggest something about the effectiveness of citizen outrage confined to words and print?

Yes, yes, I know it's early in the morning and you have other things on your mind...or the middle of the day and you have to concentrate on your paperwork...or late in the evening and you're tired and just want to decompress from the rigors of your working day. I know all that full well. I also know that none of that matters a damn to those who have you in their sights.

It hasn't mattered to them yet, has it?

It might not occur to a good person, taught from the cradle to do unto others as you would have them do unto you, that there are those among us who derive intense positive pleasure from oppressing and brutalizing others. It seems impossible: if you wouldn't, how on Earth could there be anyone who would? Yet the evidence us all around us. It's repeated countless times each day, reported by innumerable sources, and documented beyond the possibility of refutation:

A non-negligible fraction of Mankind consists of pure,

It has always been so. It will never, ever change. Yet there have been times and places -- mostly the United States of America in its first century or so -- when the Good People kept the Thugs sufficiently in check that the existence and inclinations of the latter were of no great consequence. How does the America of today differ from the America of that seemingly blessed time?

Separating the significant differences from the insignificant ones can be a daunting task. Allow me a parable, and we'll see if it helps to clarify the matter.

You've bought a used motorcycle. The seller has demonstrated its soundness to you by starting it, letting it idle, and riding it around as you watch. You hand him the cash and accept the transfer of title, fire up the bike, mount up and proceed to ride off...when the engine sputters and dies.

What's this? You check the gas tank; it appears full. You check the visible wiring; there are no signs of damage. You shrug, restart the bike, mount up again...and the same thing happens a second time.

When the pattern repeats a third time, you start the bike and stand next to it watching and listening, without mounting it. It will run as long as you stand there...but a few seconds after you mount it, it reliably sputters and dies.

Clearly, there's something wrong. But the seller demonstrated the bike while you watched -- and for no trivial amount of time or mileage. Where should you look for the fault?

Think, man! It functioned beautifully for the seller but refuses to work for you. Don't stare at the bike; compare the seller and yourself. What difference between you seems likely to be responsible? In particular, do the two of you differ in a way the bike can "sense?" Perhaps you weigh appreciably different amounts?

Follow it through.

Thuggery -- i.e., the oppressive, brutal behavior of the thug -- has three enabling conditions:

  • Inclination;
  • Opportunity;
  • Immunity.

As the "natural selection" dynamic applies to thugs just as to any other identifiable species, those that survive and prosper will only act out when all three conditions are verifiably in effect. As the inclination is innate though sporadic, and there are trades in which the opportunity is frequent, the condition that's most conditional is immunity from penalty or reprisal. Inasmuch as penalties of a formal sort have become mere tokens -- after all, the thug's chosen trade will be dominated throughout its hierarchy and pseudo-regulatory mechanisms by highly advanced thugs well disposed toward their "lower" kindred -- the thug likely to survive and prosper will be one good at sensing when his thuggery is unlikely to elicit reprisal.

Reprisal must conform to the requirements imposed by the environment. One can eject an officeholder from office by electoral theory. One can get the courts to strike down this or that law or theory. And one can get a policeman or other agent of the State disciplined for his theory. But the enveloping environment has made all such penalties ever harder to exact. That this is largely due to the successes of earlier thugs should require no explanation.

But when penalties are unattainable, reprisal may still be possible.

A comparison of the Good Man to the Thug in our day reveals many a contrast, but none larger nor of greater import than this: the Thug is ready, willing, and able to use violence. He chose his trade because it provides him with the color of authority and de facto protection from any penalty. He's learned how to use his occupation and your presumptions about it to make his grounds for oppressing or brutalizing you plausible, superficially at least.

What remains is vigilantism: the Good Man's willingness to act on his own, or with other, like-minded Good Men determined that thuggery shall not be permitted to pass unchallenged, to exact vengeance.

Though vigilantism has been savaged by those attached to the notion of "impartial justice," there is no credible argument, whether based in theory or in history, that "official" mechanisms result in just outcomes any more often than "unofficial" ones. This is most especially the case when the thug in question shelters beneath a cloak of authority, trusting to that cloak and those who bestowed it upon him to shield him from the just penalty for his excesses.

"You may cover whole skins of parchment with limitations," wrote John Randolph of Roanoke, "but power alone can limit power." The principle was incorporated structurally into our Constitution. It applies with equal force to relations between individuals, or between private citizens and the myrmidons of the State.

The clamor over infringements of our right to keep and bear arms has never been greater...yet the infringements proliferate and deepen despite all our cries. Treatises and stories delineating the critical importance of a citizenry ready to resist the State by force of arms have never been more plentiful...yet atrocities such as those visited upon David Eckert occur with ever greater frequency.

Why sit we here idle? Where are the avengers? Why has no one stepped forward to reply with force to the rape of David Eckert? Why, after Lon Horiuchi killed a peaceable woman and her son over a trumped-up firearms violation, did no one track him down and visit justice upon him? Why, after Janet Reno escaped prosecution for the mass murder in Waco, did no one take it upon himself to deal with her as is demanded by every law of God and Man?

Voting is not enough.
Protests are not enough.
Outrage is not enough.

How much longer will we wait?


Anonymous said...

Strong work Francis. You are now on THE LIST (if you weren't before now). Surely THEY are watching you. How long indeed?

WANTED: Surgeons to excise Tyrannical THUG Cancers. Market is large and expanding in local and national markets. A large number of positions available. WARNING: These are High Risk positions and work environment is dangerous. Pay is satisfaction of a job well done. Possible long term room, board and medical available.


Horatio said...

Last few times my preferred candidates carried the day, there was an improvement in just about everything that office was responsible for.

This has not happened at the higher levels of government for a few years.

Your mileage may vary.

daniel_day said...

That's "funny", the first article I found a link to after reading your post was a story of murder by the police because a driver refused to turn off his engine. H/T Matt Bracken.

Oh dear, now I'm on the list too.

KG said...

Francis, I've been saying what you said in this post (albeit less elegantly) for some years now.
It's time. But where are the men for the times?

Joseph said...

This is one reason the election of de Blasio might not be a complete disaster. OTOH, he might replace "stop and frisk" with drone strikes...

Yank lll said...

Amen ..but for one difference.

The use of the term Thug.

That word still allows these bastards a slight claim of innocence for a bad childhood or mistreated upbringing and implies an air of amateurism in the perpetration of their crimes against us.

Theirs is a mission.. an assignment by intentional refusal to correct their anti-social behavior, to create and disseminate fear of unchecked power from an untouchable authority.

Untouchable.. ?

Yank lll

Ed Gage said...

Uh, let me get this straight. We acknowledge that we are all angry about po-po thuggery, but you want me to go commit extra-judicial murder?


Ed Gage said...

I mean, I really like your writings, Francis, and read them avidly.

And I acknowledge I share your anger and disgust.

But for cryin' in the basement, when it comes to killing some knucklehead for being a sociopath, apres vous, Alphonse.

I'll be right behind you and Ann Barnhardt.

Francis W. Porretto said...

You say you really like my writing, Mr. Gage? You might like it even better if you would just learn how to read.

The only person here to mention "extra-judicially killing" anyone is you, Bubba.

Look up the history of "vigilance committees." Read Bruce Benson's book "The Enterprise of Law." Then come back here and beg my pardon for being an ignorant, illiterate asshole.