Looking carefully at that which is unseen.

Daily Archives: August 15, 2011

Thinking about: Overthinking the obvious

Conservatives frequently complain that Liberals do nothing more than make excuses for bad behavior, completely disregarding any potential for individual responsibility for actions. They’ll also go so far as to equate any explanation with an excuse.

Liberals often deserve the accusation, as they’ll get so lost in navel-gazing looking for reasons when sometimes the reasons are obvious and right in front of them.

Take for example this bit by the New York Times. The writer actually nails it, when he points out that the looting was caused by a “culture of greed and impunity.” A “culture of greed” may have been the reason behind the interest in looting, but it was the perceived lack of any possible punishment for doing so that made it happen. I can guaran-effin’-tee you that no person with a police officer standing right behind him, gun drawn, has ever, ever, in the history of the world, looted so much as a used toenail clipping.

Unless, of course, he knew that he couldn’t be punished for it.

Does this mean that I think looters should be shot? Don’t be silly – hanging is much more economical, as you can reuse the rope.

Compare and contrast the rioting and looting during the last brouhaha in LA, between the undefended sectors (in both cities) and the shops guarded by armed Korean merchants. Even the potential for punishment was sufficient to induce the barbarians to pillage elsewhere. Or check out the orderly and guarded homes in New Orleans, vis a vis the ones where people took the advice of the impotent authorities (but not so impotent that they couldn’t injure the law-abiding) and left.

When a behavior is rewarded – or not punished – it should come as no surprise to anyone that you get more of it. And as the world continues to head down into the abyss, let us not be surprised to see that thieving does anything but increase.

Got rope?