February 26, 2012

When you ‘leave it up to the government to make good decisions for Americans’ … [Darleen Click]

… it’s no surprise that Americans refuse to help each other

DETROIT (WJBK) — “Lord have mercy, all I knew was I was on the ground,” said Aaron Brantley.
It was around 10:30 Wednesday morning. Brantley stopped at the BP on West McNichols at Fairfield after Bible study. He was just finishing pumping gas into his new Chrysler 200 when a guy snuck up from behind, hit him and stole his car.

“I had my keys in my hand and I [pressed] the button to open the door and I opened the door to get in and that was it. He grabbed my keys and jumped in the car after he had hit me … and took off.”

The unspeakable ordeal didn’t end there. It was broad daylight, others were around, yet no one stopped to help the injured 86-year-old man, who crawled his way across the parking lot and into the store.

“I’m crawling and trying to get in the filing station. [People] just walking right by me and going on in the filling station there … If I saw somebody crawling like that on the ground, I would have stopped myself.”

The bigger the government, the smaller the people.

Posted by Darleen @ 8:49am
135 comments | Trackback

Comments (135)

  1. I saw in an earlier thread someone said that Obama seeks to remake America in his own image.

    This is the image.

  2. This kind of stuff happens all of the time. About a year, maybe two ago, a man got hit by a speeding car on a residential urban street in Connecticut. There were loads of people on the street, either walking or driving, people on their stoops and leaning out of windows and it took ages for anyone to help the man. Several people did call 911, but it wasn’t like the guy was rushed by Good Samaritans.

    Also, didn’t Kitty Genovese get beaten to death on her own street in the the 1960′s? Screaming for help and no one even called the cops. It’s called Bystander Effect. Everyone assumes that someone else already called the cops or went to help.

  3. American government in the clutches of Barack Obama now behaves in much the same way with regard to other peoples around the globe. Observe his reaction to the murders of Iranians in revolt against their oppressive overlords in 2009. Observe again today Obama’s disdain for the plight of the Syrians being slaughtered in their thousands by their tyrant’s armed forces, who uses artillery and main battle tanks to destroy city neighborhoods. Barack Obama is filth.

  4. Helping someone that’s hurt carries a big risk of getting sued these days. Rush over to help that 86 year old guy, and next thing you know you’re on the hook for aggravating and multiplying his injuries to the tune of five figures. If hurt worse than you thought, and he dies while you’re trying to help, you might get hit with serious criminal charges.

    I don’t blame anyone for just calling an ambulance and leaving it to someone with a badge.

    Blame the ridiculous lawyer to citizen ratio of about 1:2, not the people that keep to their own business.

  5. I don’t blame anyone either, Lee. Except the lawyers.

  6. Lee

    Michigan does have a Good Samaritan law on the books that protects against liability in the case of all sorts of first responders and professionals. It seems to only cover civilians who render CPR and use defibrillators. I can’t find anything else on my quick search.

    This guy was crawling across the gas station! There is NO excuse for people stepping around him and going about their business. What liability would have it been for someone to kneel next to him to keep him still, while calling 911 on their cell, and staying with him to make sure he was alright until EMS arrives?

    Sorry, the callousness of people who think someone else will take care of it is unacceptable.

  7. I don’t blame anyone either, Lee.

    I do. Everyone that stepped around him should be publicly shamed.

  8. Then shame away, Darleen. Most people don’t carry a million dollar umbrella insurance policy. Let’s hope the guy who owns the gas station is insured to the maximum. He’s probably going to need it.

  9. I see this as more of an urban/rural breakdown, although I guess the political spectrum sort of falls along those same lines. I have lived in the country or small towns for the most part, and have never seen or heard of anything like this locally.

    Most small town folks will run over one another trying to help someone injured or in need.

  10. leigh

    Again, where is the liability in sitting down next to the guy to keep him still and waiting with him until medical assistance arrives?

    Those people who walked by him acted immorally.

    And I betcha not one of them was thinking of being sued. They just couldn’t be bothered, because, hey, “let someone else do it.”

  11. I betcha not one of them was thinking of being sued

    Oh, c’mon. You know this how? Even I don’t claim to be a mind reader. Headshrinker, yeah. Seer, not so much.

    And I would say that they acted unethically not immorally.

  12. I’m gonna agree with BMoe

    People suck

    Country people suck less

  13. You know this how?

    Speculation based on past experience. I’ve seen tons of witness reports from police officers and the “Why should I get involved” line is too often trotted out.

  14. So you don’t know.

  15. It’s hard to imagine someone thinking “gee, I’d like to help, but I’m not sure I’m carrying enough insurance.”

    On the other hand “not my responsibility” isn’t that hard to imagine.

    Which is to say that Bystander Effect is the symptom rather than the disease.

  16. Leigh, I think Darleen’s basis is more convincing than yours. When I, to my everlasting shame, have suppressed the curiosity about a situation that might have been one where I should have intervened, it wasn’t because I didn’t want to be sued — it was because I just didn’t want to know that I should intervene.

  17. Seems immoral to me. Frankly, I don’t even see the other side of this issue.

  18. Bystander Effect is a completely different animal, Ernst. It is the presumtion that someone else has already called or is on the way to render aid. Not a matter of indifference. It also isn’t anything new. The larger the number of people to witness an event, the larger the number to presume that someone else has acted.

    McGehee, my dad gave me hell when I was a new driver and stopped to help some people in a rollover accident. He told me to call the cops from a callbox or stop by the station or the hospital whichever was closer because of the liability. Maybe my experience is unique, maybe not . I’ve known plenty of other people who have had similar experiences to mine.

  19. People regularly get involved when there is personal risk to themselves. Not just getting sued. The risk of physical harm.

    We call these people good. And we hope that we have them as neighbors.

  20. Leigh, what your dad told you sounds like something someone would say to self-justify the just-not-wanting-to-get-involved.

    Again, I’m telling what I actually thought and felt, firsthand. That’s more reliable, I think, than what somebody else tells you to justify their decision.

  21. You’re missing the forest for the tree leigh.

  22. Bystander Effect is a completely different animal, Ernst. It is the presumtion that someone else has already called or is on the way to render aid.

    Which in the case I mentioned above for myself, I might have at least indulged some curiosity to confirm or refute before moving on.

  23. And I think bh’s point is more relevant here: whether it’s liability Bystander Effect or something else, letting this old man crawl across the parking lot without trying to help, was wrong.

  24. I don’t think anyone is disputing that the old man should have been helped. I was just trying to explain why people do not.

    It’s easier to slap on labels and scorn and proclaim that one would never act that way in the same situation.

  25. Reminds me of the time in Milledgeville where some cowboy was smacking his girl around in the parking lot of the local stop and shop.

    I said something he said something, i said something back. Then she smacked me.

    I learned then that foreplay comes in many styles.

    I’d probably do it again.

  26. It’s easier to slap on labels and scorn and proclaim that one would never act that way in the same situation.

    True. But it’s worth reiterating that I was admitting the opposite.

  27. Yes, and I appreciate your honesty.

  28. It’s easier to slap on labels and scorn and proclaim that one would never act that way in the same situation.

    As easy as it is to slap labels that purport to explain, but instead explain away?

    After all, This kind of stuff happens all of the time.

    Why, there’s even a name for it when it does!

  29. Ernst, what do you do for a living? Tell us so we can mock your job.

  30. What I’m trying to get at in my inartful way is this:

    We taken an example of the concrete and abstracted it into something else.

    This is the social imagination supplanting the moral imagination, and it’s a problem with consequences.

  31. That Michael Knox Beran piece (third link) is a great read. Thanks.

  32. So’s his book.

  33. Being a Detroit, I’d guess (yes guess) that it was less a worry about insurance, and more a cause of “don’t get involved” – they guy could be a drunk; this could be a set-up scam, etc.

    That has always been my first thought when faced with unusual situations in Detroit.

  34. I agree Darleen, some one should have sat down next to the guy to keep him still and waited with him until medical assistance arrived.

    Would have been nice if someone had put a couple of hollow points in the car-jackers ass, too.

  35. Great. Add gunfire to an already horrific situation.

  36. The more gunfire directed at car-jackers, the less horrific car jackings there will be.

  37. Is why crime in Right To Carry states is less than in Detroit.

  38. There’s a guarantee that you (hypothetically) won’t kill a child, unseen in the backseat or an innocent buying cigarettes across the street? I live in a Can Carry state. Tulsa and OKC are as bad as Detroit.

  39. Detroit is in Michigan which is a Right to Carry state. Detroit’s problems are due to more things than right to carry but the murder rate has declined since the carry law was passed. IIRC

  40. It’s easier to slap on labels and scorn and proclaim that one would never act that way in the same situation.

    I’ve been in that situation, leigh, where just moseying along would have been first choice for many and no one would have known any better …

    Hubby & I were coming home late at night, stopped at red light when I saw headlights in the sideview mirror coming up fast. I said “oh oh, this guy [in a SUV] is not going to stop”. Sure enough he blew right through the red light, just as another car was making a left turn on the greenarrow. The guy hits the back quarterpanel, full on, spinning the car like a top and keeps on going. I shout “he’s getting away!” my husband says “The hell he is” and guns through the intersection. We give chase for about 3 miles, I’m on the phone talking with 911 dispatch (we were in Chino jurisdiction and chased the SUV into Ontario) giving them all the description we could and the dispatcher told us to break off the chase. We then circled back to the accident and gave our witness statement to the cops.

    There was a family in that car and luckily the kids in the back were more scared then hurt. The dad couldn’t thank us enough for all the help we gave.

    Both my hubby and I reacted immediately based on our morality. And we’d do it again.

    I don’t hold anyone to any standard I’m not willing to do myself.

  41. I wouldn’t have chased the hit ‘n’run driver. I would have gotten the tag number and a description for the PD. I would have stayed with the family who was hit. I’m glad nothing bad happened to you and your husband.

    I’ve been the victim of violent crime at gunpoint and I’m not going there again if I have anything to say about it.

  42. . I would have gotten the tag number and a description for the PD

    we had to chase the guy to get the tag and description and I was being passed from one PD to another. The dispatcher sent EMS and other cops to the scene immediately because we didn’t say to ourselves “we’d better not get involved” and just drove away.

  43. I’ve been the victim of violent crime at gunpoint and I’m not going there again if I have anything to say about it.

    I’m sorry you were victimized. I just want to do what I can that minimizes further victimization. All it takes for evil to succeed is for good to refuse to get involved.

  44. Thanks.

    I understand your impulse to chase the guy, it is just in my personal book of “Dangerous Ideas” so I would not.

  45. “There’s a guarantee that you (hypothetically) won’t kill a child, unseen in the backseat or an innocent buying cigarettes across the street? “

    Well, I said it would be nice for the carjacker to take a few, indicating a certain amount of discretion and skill, preferably from the aged dude who’s Chrysler was being jacked. No, I wasn’t talking about any obligation for you to pull a pistol and start spraying bullets you know not where.

    “Tulsa and OKC are as bad as Detroit.”

    I’ve never been been to those places, but yet I find that an incredible statement.

  46. I guess I hope I am around more bh, McGehee, Ernst and Darleen type folks than “don’t do anything, you might get sued” or “just call it in” types.

    I help because “in so much as you have done this for the least among you, you have done this for me”. And I could not live with myself if I did not. Protestant Guilt personified, I suppose.

  47. “Tulsa and OKC are as bad as Detroit.”

    Huh?

    Nothing, except (maybe) certain parts of Baltimore, is as bad as Detroit. I felt safer in Baghdad and Kabul.

  48. LTC John, I feel comfortable saying there’s thousands of instances like the one here, only where the victim was assisted. But the normal reaction isn’t news. Take heart this is news because it’s remarkable in that it’s unusual.

  49. This happened to my 77 yr old mom a few months ago. She was mugged while entering a mall – rammed from behind and them dragged as she clung to her purse. As she lay bleeding (face cut) she asked a young well-dressed woman who passed her while exiting the mall “Help me!”. The woman looked at her briefly and then continued walking. When the next woman passed her she said “Go get help!” instead and it worked. The woman got store security and they helped her up and contacted the police. The worst part was my son as with her and he kept pleading “Get up, Nana!” because he was so scared.

    Sorry, but anyone who passes an injured person (in daylight in a populated area) asking for help is a jerk.

  50. I guess for me it just come down to being more afraid of never getting a good nights sleep or being able to look at myself in a mirror than getting sued.

  51. Crime statistics in Oklahoma .

    Pretty high compared to national averages.

  52. Look. It’s as simple as this:

    Either we collectively believe people are capable of exercising judgement and discretion, and thus capable of acting appropriately, or we don’t. What we believe in part determines how we act (and react) to and what we expect from each other. And that in turn shapes the kind of society we’ll have

    which will be the kind of society that we deserve.

    Kind of like our elected leadership.

  53. If only it were that simple.

  54. It’s only as complicated as we make it.

  55. By which I mean, the more complicated it is, the more we’re in need of philosopher kings to tell us how we ought to live our lives.

    And gendarmes to make sure we live that way.

  56. How’s it more complicated than that?

  57. This is the opposite of rocket surgery.

  58. Let’s fill in some blanks there. How’s it [this issue] more complicated than that [Ernst's comment at 5:17]?

  59. we collectively believe people are capable of exercising judgement and discretion, and thus capable of acting appropriately…

    This presumes that everyone is of sound mind. This is not the case and never has been.

  60. Not at all.

    We collectively believe all people everywhere… on the other hand.

  61. This presumes that everyone is of sound mind. This is not the case and never has been.

    So, it’s best to create create moral expectations based on the outliers? Sorry, that’s a terrible idea. Let’s extend that to other issues to see how it would work. Dating presumes that there are no rapists? Gun rights presume that no one has schizophrenia?

    No, it doesn’t presume such a thing. It treats oddities and outliers for what they are. Oddities and outliers.

  62. On the other hand, because some people some of the time are incapable of judgement, discretion and appropriate action, the social masterminds amongst us readily assume all people all of the time….

    All people not of the Elect, that is.

  63. So, it’s best to create create moral expectations based on the outliers? Sorry, that’s a terrible idea.

    Not according to the people who see radical egalitariansim as the surest path to their preeminence.

  64. So you mean people of sound mind?

  65. I’m saying we’re all of us either citizens, subjects, or wards, and that we set our expectations accordingly.

    I’ll leave the nitpicking to others.

  66. When I had the criminal episode referred to upthread, I received a traumatic closed head injury.

    I’m just trying to follow where you are going with this. You are tossing out a lot of “Them” style statements. The Elect. Philosopher Kings. Egalitarians.

  67. The argument is twofold.
    The first part is that a society that encourages its people, regardless of the rationale to leave an 86 year old crime victim crawling in the dirt is a sick society.
    The second part is that it would be better for society’s recovery if we the people decided to resolve the problem ourselves, from the bottom up as it were, rather than to wait for the more minding my neighbors business is my business minded amongst us to decide to fix the problem from the top down.

    There’s a C.S. Lewis quote that belongs here.

    But everyone here already knows it.

  68. I wonder if anyone else feels a distinction here between conscious thought and simple action. Perhaps there’s a sex difference here. (Please don’t take that past what I mean. I’m talking simply about testosterone and its effects on males. Women regularly act courageously but I’ve never been a woman so I have no idea how much thinking is taking place.)

    I agree with what many people here have said in an intellectual way but that’s never been the subjective experience when it happened. It’s more like this: observe aggressive male acting violently followed by overwhelming need to take action. Sometimes, after the fact, you think about the (possibly intellectually questionable) risk you took and how maybe you could have gotten seriously hurt. But, in the moment, you just saw the thing, your brain shot you full of chemicals, you acted.

  69. It could very well be sex related. I don’t know of many women who are willing to throw themselves into a dangerous situation unless they are protecting loved ones, particularly their children.

    In my own experience, I have come to the aid of a person who suffered a seizure at a fast food restaurant and another time to that of a woman who I knew was a diabetic who was slipping into insulin shock. The last one required that I call upon the aid of others while I called an ambulance and tried to get the woman to drink from a can of soda.

  70. When I was younger, when a guy did nothing and instead looked for excuses, you wouldn’t refer to them as immoral, you’d call them a pussy. I can’t be alone with that.

    In a primal way, that’s why you couldn’t look yourself in the mirror or go to sleep that night if you didn’t act. It’d be the painful realization that you’re not much of a man. That you’re a beta. A punk.

    (Sorry, this actually is how I think at the most basic level.)

  71. Honestly, I’m more interested in drawing out the implications for civil society here than I am in understanding why any one person acted the way he or she acted.

  72. Nothing wrong with that, bh. My husband is the same way and I don’t feel fearful when I am out with him because I know he won’t let anything bad happen to me if he’s able to stop it.

    Since I am unfamiliar with Detroit, other than its bad reputation, I’ll make a leap that this incident with the old man happened in a shitty neighborhood, likely crimeridden and poorly policed. Maybe people were fearful that the carjacker had confederates lurking around the gas station? Maybe the people at the gas station were just uncaring asshats. Both are likely.

  73. “Tulsa and OKC are as bad as Detroit.”

    The city violent crime rate for Detroit in 2009 was higher than the national violent crime rate average by 358.02% and the city property crime rate in Detroit was higher than the national property crime rate average by 85.64%.

    - – - – - – - – - -

    The city violent crime rate for Oklahoma City in 2009 was higher than the national violent crime rate average by 116.62% and the city property crime rate in Oklahoma City was higher than the national property crime rate average by 101.58%.

    - – - – - – - – - –

    The city violent crime rate for Tulsa in 2009 was higher than the national violent crime rate average by 159.88% and the city property crime rate in Tulsa was higher than the national property crime rate average by 100.46%.

  74. Yes, my little detour there is a tangent to our purposes, Ernst.

    (Just felt like relating it because there’s been a decent bit of discussion on the thought processes involved and, personally, I don’t think all that much sometimes.)

  75. Sometimes you’re a bystander, sometimes you’re bleeding on the pavement. If you wouldn’t offer help while you’re upright, you’ve got no business wanting it when you’re leaking on the ground. I can’t imagine having so much as a second thought, let alone having one involving lawyers. But then, I wasn’t raised in a sewer like Detroit. I grew up on all that “Love Thy Neighbor” and “Whatsoever you do to the least of My brothers, that you do unto Me” stuff.

  76. I wonder if anyone else feels a distinction here between conscious thought and simple action. Perhaps there’s a sex difference here.

    Though he isn’t here exactly, I’d say Harvey does (have many thoughts on the subject).

  77. So, it’s best to create create moral expectations based on the outliers?

    Or perhaps it’s better to assume that a substantial portion of us are out of our fucking minds, and go ahead and resign ourselves to “Brazil”.

    That might not be a bad plan.

  78. Hmmm. Both Lee and I hail from the San Joaquin/Central Valley in California. He brought up lawyers first and I volunteered my dad’s perspective.

    Maybe it’s our litigious California upbringings?

  79. Or perhaps it’s better to assume that a substantial portion of us are out of our fucking minds

    I bet no one will chastize you for that, Pablo.

  80. That’s probably because I didn’t try to rationalize it, Leigh. It made me sad to write that.

  81. It makes me sad, too. It’s a sad fact of modern life.

  82. Am I the only one who finds this post to be extremely contrived?

  83. chop chop

  84. Old dude has brand new Chrysler carjacked in broad daylight on the way home from bible study? It has the Quentin Tarantino all over it.

  85. I meant combining the two stories into one, not that I was doubting grandpa in any way. It seems more forced than a turducken.

  86. I brought up lawsuits as a possible explanation for why people didn’t help, but I don’t know. Hell, maybe the other people on the scene were buddies with the car-jacker.

    Twice in my life I’ve come across people that needed help, the first I was barely a teenager, and walking home from school by myself, found a guy on his back in the snow violently thrashing around. I ran like hell for the nearest house to get help, it turned out to be an epileptic fit. Never even heard of that, and I was pretty shook up about it.

    The second time was on the job, painting lines on the edge of a highway we were going to build an over crossing at. A speeding van took out the cones five feet in front of me, turned over, and came to a rest a hundred feet away in a cloud of dust. We ran over there, and helped a woman trying to climb out, and I used my shirt to stop the bleeding from a bad gash on her arm. The paramedics showed up, loaded her up, and took off , my shirt and all.

    I don’t know why these people did what they did, I can only guess.

  87. That was one of my thoughts, too, that they were friends of the carjacker.

    Just a few months ago I helped an old lady who, literally, had fallen and couldn’t get up in Walgreen’s parking lot. She hopped in her car and took off, so at least she wasn’t a decoy. Just more embarassed than anything.

  88. Okay, I’m thinking of Pablo’s comment and I find the thrust sad but true in descriptive sense. Like, “shit’s about to go sideways as in ‘Brazil’”. But, based on every other comment you’ve made, Pablo, I doubt you mean that in a proscriptive sort of way.

    That’d go farther than a reproach to the normative. It’d be, I don’t know, actively denormative. (Sorry, I need words to crystallize my thoughts, so I’ll use that as a placeholder.)

    Or, alternately, perhaps you’re seeing this ship sinking so it’d be best to put every terrible thing onboard beforehand. Let the whole, dying thing be a sort of universal sin eater as it goes down.

    Otherwise, I think I’m against this notion. General customs, normative morality are ill-served when they make change the rule to fit the exception.

  89. Sorta worked for me, Abe. Ernst makes an explicit bridge at 5:17 and 6:02.

  90. From newrouter’s link:

    Obama has positioned himself against Congress as he runs for reelection, arguing lawmakers are failing to solve the country’s problems. “Where Congress won’t act, I will,” he said in October when rolling out a series of executive orders aimed at creating jobs.

    Two or more can play that game:

    The People have positioned themselves against the tyrant as he runs for reelection, arguing lawmakers are failing to solve the country’s problems. “Where Congress won’t act, we will,” they said in the springtime, when detailing a series of threats of action aimed at ridding themselves of a monster.

  91. [This comment fixes my previous comment errors.]

  92. You’re right, bh, that is a bridge. But merely an abstract one. It kind of rubs me the same way that nearly all progressive thinking does.

  93. Both Lee and I hail from the San Joaquin/Central Valley in California.

    I’ve undoubtedly forgotten where Lee’s from. I grew up in Sacramento.

    If I produce any significant typos between now and Monday morning, I blame the Clan MacGregor Scotch.

    Also, I’ve been playing with a thing called GoodSync which allows me to backup my hard drive to Microsoft SkyDrive. One or the other would make anybody fumble-fingered.

  94. Perhaps we’re focusing on different aspects of the second story, Abe. I’m not seeing birth control as the second story. I’m seeing this:

    “I leave it up to the government to make good decisions for Americans.”

    From there, I see the connection.

  95. You’re right, bh, that is a bridge. But merely an abstract one. It kind of rubs me the same way that nearly all progressive thinking does.

    Better luck to me tomorrow then.

  96. Abe

    I was struck by the comment “I leave it up to the government to make good decisions for Americans.” and how much that kind of sentiment leads to things like people ignoring an 86 y/o man crawling across the gas station cement.

    Personal responsibility (a virtue that has to be both taught and voluntarily accepted) has always been the lodestone of Judea-Christian charity, and hence a foundational virtue of the American community. From natural disasters to not-so-natural ones, American private charity per capita has always outstripped any other nationality.

    But “forced” charity (Big Government) strips people of their morality. There is no moral good when there is no free choice. And it’s like when our coinage stopped being silver and quarters were sandwiches of lesser metals. The Government told us they were worth the same 25 cents as the silver quarters, but the silver ones quickly disappeared from circulation.

    If Government makes good decisions for all, private good decisions will disappear from circulation.

  97. No, I’m reacting to the same thing as you are, bh. But, to put it simply, I’d sure as shit prefer getting mugged near a gaggle of nanny state Scandis than I would anywhere in lawless Afghanistan.

  98. Quoth Danica: “What was he fucking thinking? Why the fuck did he do that?”

  99. Note that silver disappeared from circulation mostly because the government specifically pulled it from circulation. I don’t know how much was kept by people, but most of it was removed and replaced by the junk coins we enjoy today.

  100. I’d rather not be mugged period. But if I’m going to be mugged and beat to the ground, I’d like to think somebody’d at least ask me if I needed help getting back up.

  101. One can almost hear an echo of the questions concerning whether it truly matters that Hobbes (and Locke after him) ground their rights theory in the lowest common denominator of human passion (fear of violent death), like: does this matter with regard to human virtue? Will it result in a lofting of the merest of mediocrities to prominence?

    Almost.

  102. I used the wrong thread it seems.

    “Whenever Congress refuses to act, Joe and I we’re going to act,” Obama said at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, with Vice President Joe Biden off to the side. “In the months to come, wherever we have an opportunity, we’re going to take steps on our own to keep this economy moving.”

    He added later: “With or without Congress, I’m going to be continuing to fight with them. I do hope Congress joins me instead of spending the coming months in a lot of phony political debates focusing on the next election.”

  103. I’d sure as shit prefer getting mugged near a gaggle of nanny state Scandis than I would anywhere in lawless Afghanistan.

    The Scandis won’t help you because their society is no longer civil (in the sense of civic-minded)—somebody else’s job. The Afghanis will simply kill you because there is no civil society, period. I’m trying, however inadequately, to argue for the importance of what Orwell referred to as “decency” to civil society. If we want society to remain civil, that is.

    Hopefully that wasn’t too abstract

    (and by that, I’m poking fun at myself)

  104. Rousseau upended Hobbes. If the state of nature was so damn brutal, why was man afraid to die?

  105. Okay, I think I hear what you’re saying, Abe. To my way of thinking, the predominant line of reasoning in the thread (Ernst’s was used as an example) isn’t progressive though. It’s simply at a different level. The abstraction isn’t to obfuscate, it’s to make sense of the question at the group level.

    I think. It’s entirely possible I’m missing what you’re saying and the comment section of blogs are pretty shitty when it comes to understanding our fellow man.

  106. I find it very hard to believe that a bunch of Scandis wouldn’t help a beaten old man who was crawling across the street. Haven’t been there, but I’ve been watching Lillyhammer: Season One and they pretty much strike me as Minnesotans who sound even sillier.

  107. One can almost hear an echo of the questions concerning whether it truly matters that Hobbes (and Locke after him) ground their rights theory in the lowest common denominator of human passion (fear of violent death), like: does this matter with regard to human virtue?

    I occasionally repeat things. This is one of those times.

    This matters. It does.

  108. Hobbes upended what, though? To my understanding, Aristotle’s scheme, or St. Thomas’: pic ‘em. (A complicated scheme consisting of self-preservation, civic need [the social animal by nature -- man -- which Hobbes was determined to deny], and contemplation. Messy, yes, but high and lofty in its way.)

    What is the enlightenment’s intended effect? To end the fear of consequences in an afterlife (*What afterlife!?*, says Hobbes. *There is no afterlife.*), to be replaced by a focus on the consequences of self-preservation in this life, or the overarching preeminence of the fear of violent death here and now. Lose you religion, chillen, say the enlighteners (scientists, all), fix your gaze on these things here. Property! And the peaceableness of commerce!

  109. I couldn’t finish the first episode of Lillyhammer, Abe. The Scandis I could take. Van Zandt though?

    Why not put a knit cap on a very personable monkey?

  110. You probably have a point about the Scandis Abe. At least for a while longer. Mark Steyn and David Goldman will tell you that the Scandis are busily creating their own versions of social decay and discord —just like Paris and London.

    Anyways, it seems to me that the nanny state ultimately devolves into something approximating Afghanistan.

    Or in this case, Detroit.

  111. I don’t know. Are you being serious?

    Towards Hobbes and all that I’d say the lesson is that this world can be played according to its own inherent rules. That’s natural law in a nutshell. Does that imply “lose your religion”? (Seriously can’t tell if your kidding or not.) I’d guess not. This line of thought culminates in Nature’s God. It allows natural law and it allows the Creator. Which is the great fudge.

    To me, the Enlightenment said that Kings and Popes are no longer blessed.

  112. Obama is aiming to punch so many holes in the private sector that even if he loses the election his side will win because he will have pushed the private economy past a tipping point.

    The pending collapse of the European Union’s financial structure and the looming Middle East crisis which will push energy costs much higher are other factors I’m sure he counts on to aid what he can do through executive orders alone.

  113. It also said we can reason our way to redemption in the here and now —no more need for original sin or salvation or accepting your place (I’m thinking here of Paul’s advice that slaves serve their masters faithfully) in the Great Chain of Being in accordance with some Divine Plan.

  114. Yes, no, I’m not kidding (at least not with regard to Hobbes and, I believe, Locke, who was cleverer, I think, in disguising the radical nugget at the center of his thought). The creator is a fudge, if not mere lip-service to a phantom there (in these two Englishmen).

    What counts is stuff, material stuff in the phenomenal world and likewise, material stuff in the inner motions of human beings (science, again, the great wonders of Galilean and Newtonian physics). There’s nothing transcendent about it. It is a fundamentally mercenary politics, utilitarian, and this is Rousseau’s complaint. (And we see how economics enters in, to become the center of politics where it had been outside and immaterial, if thought of at all in that context.)

    This is something dead (and dead-endian), Rousseau thinks, something not very human at all. Let us have ART! And, lo and behold, art worship thereafter began.

  115. I think that makes sense Geoff. He’s going to do to us all what he did to the Wall Street bankers.

    He’s all that’s standing between us and the deluge (so you’d better vote for him if you know what’s good for you).

  116. So we see who is the creator now! Turns out, it’s man the creator of all the things man can relate to. So, along comes Immanuel Kant to explain this to us. There is no thing in itself for us. All we have is what we make.

  117. Also, Let us have HEDONISM! Which took somewhat longer to arrive.

  118. I’ve met him, and he is in fact a very personable monkey, bh..

    But back to the topic, I think it’s too easy to conflate an urban anomie which long predates the welfare state with peoples’ attitude about their relationship to their government. I mean, yes, German sidewalks are riddled with dog shit because everyone knows it’s someone’s job to pick it up, but I don’t think that depravity and human decency (everywhere) necessarily move on an axis which is determined by how provided for they are. European cities grow increasingly violent, but is this a function of their reverence for the nanny state? Or is it a combination of a legal system/law enforcement regime which presumes a culture that no longer exists due to immigration?

  119. Why can’t it be both Abe?

  120. I think Theodore Dalrymple (among others) would argue that immigration compounds the problems nanny statism creates. Also, that a vicious cycle (circle?) begins to operate: gov’t identifies a problem, enacts a solution, a solution which then either fails to solve the problem or creates a new problem, requiring further gov’t intervention, and so on.

  121. It can be both. I just think it’s important for right wingers to not lapse into the kind of intellectual shortcut-taking that characterizes the left.

  122. I Agree with that.

    Though it would seem I cut a corner somewhere in your estimation.

  123. You didn’t, Ernst. Threads take on a life of their own, and I was just saying to bh that your comment that he directed to didn’t satisfy the problem I had with the post. That’s not to say I disagreed with what you wrote, though my comment did come across that way.

  124. Damn Abe. You should have agreed with me. Because zinging me for succumbing to abstraction after I zinged leigh for the same was a coup of a quip!

  125. Turns out, it’s man the creator of all the things man can relate to. So, along comes Immanuel Kant to explain this to us. There is no thing in itself for us. All we have is what we make.

    I was just reading somewhere that Kant paves the way for Nietzsche, but damned if I can find it again now.

  126. Only the revolution of Descartes in epistemology and the revolution of Nietzsche in ethics might be thought to rival that of Kant in being radical. Yet Descartes’ epistemological revolution was radical mainly in method rather than content, and it only paved the way for Kant’s much more radical, “Copernican” one; and Kant’s revolution in ethics was the necessary foundation to (unwittingly) pave the way for Nietzsche’s extreme reaction against it.

  127. “. . .Kant paves the way for Nietzsche. . .”

    Kant, I was reading somewhere too, was the last of the European philosophers (grossly generalizing) to put his hope in God and the afterlife, realizing, as he did, that there is no hope to be had (for justice, or happiness) in this one. The heirs to his perplexities, more than less, had no such faith as his. Hence: abysmal dread. There’s not hope t0 be had, not here — and since for them there is no “there” — not there either. It’s a shitty ol’ world they find themselves in. So Nietzsche: we have no choice but to remake it, revaluing all values, because we can’t be like that.

    Oh, jolly.

  128. This is why Spinoza captures our imagination in our late teens.

  129. can’t imagine having so much as a second thought, let alone having one involving lawyers. But then, I wasn’t raised in a sewer like Detroit. I grew up on all that “Love Thy Neighbor” and “Whatsoever you do to the least of My brothers, that you do unto Me” stuff.

    Yes, well this was my point way up there. Being in Detroit – you HAVE to be skeptical. I’m sorry, but that’s the fucking way it is. Because criminals will use your human empathy to rob and/or hurt you.

    I’ve seen some weird shit in Detroit. A guy crawling on the ground not an outlier. I’m not defending what happened, I’m trying to explain it. How could this happen? Because Detroit is dangerous.

    When you’ve got a complete break-down of morality, THIS is what happens. Safety first. Caution. Skepticism over everyone who asks for anything.

    I mean, cripes, it’s a city where they shoot a 9 month old over insufficient chairs at a baby shower.

    And, please don’t think this means I wouldn’t help a person in need. I would and have. But comparing this to helping at a car accident isn’t the same thing. Those who saw the man attacked have no excuse, of course.

  130. Also – the note that he crawled the store and no one helped him – how horrible – not a single good hearted person anywhere, but this-

    Once he got inside, employees called 911, but it took police and the ambulance so long to arrive that Brantley asked one of the customers to take him home. A man picked him up, put him in his car, took him home and wouldn’t take any money for his trouble.

    I’m telling you, those who didn’t see the event – probably thought he was a drunk.

  131. I do. Everyone that stepped around him should be publicly shamed.

    If for no other reason than karma. Someday it might be you on the pavement.
    Hell. The way things are going, someday it’s gonna be you on the pavement.

  132. I’m pretty sure I could put many folks at a gas station in detroit and the last thing you’d be thinking about is the safety of others.

    But go ahead an condemn me for trying to explain it.

  133. 6 y/o shot last night, a few blocks from my mom’s house:

    The boy was shot at about 9:30 p.m. as their car stopped at a stop sign on Balfour at Waveney, Stephens said. As the driver pulled away, an armed gunmen and another man approached the car, firing shots into the vehicle, grazing the driver and wounding the boy, Stephens said.

    You can get SHOT STOPPING AT A STOP SIGN. This is in a neighborhood.

  134. According to TSA, those old people might be terrorists. Who wants to be accused of helping a terrorist?

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