Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I had Posted earlier here and here about the then-current (check one: emergency, outrage, revelation, stuff) about the Toyota Prius and its problems. I mentioned the California driver who led the Highway Patrol on a long rescue chase on the I-8 (hilly, almost mountainously so) where the CHP unit was hard-pressed to keep up with him (in, as aforementioned, a Prius).

I connected the Prius (out)rage to the Sex Offense Mania and how different ‘interests’ and not all of them above-board might come together to help fuel such a thing.

Now comes an article in the online edition of ‘Reason’ magazine and I have to add a bit.
In the article, entitled “The Wrong Kind of Toyotathon’, magazine columnist Ronald Bailey discusses the whole thing.

It all started back in the late 1970s and early 1980s when Audi started marketing its high-performance sedans (already big sellers in Europe, especially Germany) as rivals to Cadillacs and Lincolns in the I-have-arrived category. That high-performance sedan was, Bailey helpfully specifies, the Audi 5000.

Nicely, most experts even at the time “concluded that the drivers were mistakenly pushing the accelerator when they thought that they were applying the brakes”; the cars responded to the driver’s instruction with typical Teutonic efficiency.

BUT he notes (and I had forgotten), in November of 1986 CBS ran an episode of “60 Minutes” featuring a mother who had run over her child with her Audi. You can imagine how somebody in that position would feel a whole lot better if blame for such a terrible thing might be transferred … ummmm … elsewhere.

CBS – alas – was discovered to have rigged the show car with a canister of compressed air so that it would suddenly lurch out of control. And by 1989, almost a decade later, Audi was the plaintiff in 120 ‘sudden acceleration’ lawsuits. And in January of that same year the Canadian government issued a report “attributing sudden acceleration to ‘driver error’”. And just two months later the US National Highway and Safety Administration – again, a decade later – issued a report blaming “pedal misapplication”, which is a nice way of saying … you know.
CBS dismissed the report as “an opinion”.

By amazing coincidence, “reports of unintended acceleration declined shortly thereafter”.

Thus to the current Toyota craze.

The poster-guy for it was the California guy who “claimed he drove his Toyota [Prius] for 34 miles as it accelerated to 90mph” (who would have thought?). But then it turned out that neither Toyota nor Federal technicians could get the car to do what the guy said it did. And the onboard diagnostic system recorded that during his ‘crisis’ the brakes and the accelerator “had been pumped alternately 250 times during the alleged runaway event”.

My my my.

But then Bailey does the math – really does the math (which is completely beyond my onboard skills).

If you take the claims that 52 people have died in Toyota sudden-acceleration deaths over the past decade, then that would work out to a highway fatality rate 6,200 times greater than what it actually is.

Or: if you divide the number of cars on the road in this country by the number of sudden-acceleration fatalities, then “roughly 1 in ever 1.2 million Toyotas were involved in a fatal sudden-acceleration accident last year”.

Whereas, he notes, 20 people a day die in this country from overdosing on “non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs – such as aspirin – mostly to manage the symptoms of arthritis”. So you are 1,300 times more likely to die from taking aspirin (assuming you have arthritis) than from driving a Toyota (let alone the specific model called Prius).

He observes that in light of all this, “the costs of addressing the alleged problem have been hugely disproportionate”.

And THIS is the type of putting-the-brakes-on that has precisely not been engaged in the SO Mania.

He refers to the Toyota episode (and the Audi saga before it) as a “safety panic”.

You can see here how this type of thing works.

Of course, in the Toyota matter the government had no interest in prolonging or supporting – let alone institutionalizing – the “panic”. And that went a long way toward keeping things in perspective.

Such has not been the case in the SO Mania, which has simply engorged, extended and intensified as time has gone on. Because, I would say, the government has its thumb on the scales, continually amplifying the illusions and tamping down any actual evidence that might serve to put things in perspective and take actually efficacious action to such of the problem as really exists in a form that the Federal government can do anything about.

And the government is going to all that trouble because it figures it has found a handy way to both secure votes and distract folks from other, far more real, dangers that the country is facing – many of them stemming rather largely from the government’s own failures to perform its actual Constitutional duties.


(I prepared this Post for my other site. But it offers some background on where we are now in matters sex-offensual so I put it up here. At the end of the piece, I add an SO-specific commentary.)

Alice Miller is dead.

You may not know much about her, but she played her part in getting Us all to the point We’re at now.

She was a psychologist, German born, and in her 87 years she lived through the era of the Third Reich.

In 1981 she published a book, “The Drama of the Gifted Child” (it had originally been entitled “Prisoners of Childhood”). Among her other titles were “For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-rearing and the Roots of Violence” and “Thou Shalt Not Be Unaware: Society’s Betrayal of the Child”.

They came at a very interesting time. Nationally, the radical feminist agenda (which became the stream of feminism that organized itself along the lines of revolutionary cadres and ‘went to Washington’) was looking for ever-expanding ways to ‘deconstruct’ social and cultural mores and the institutions that supported them, in order to extend their zero-sum game of making room for ‘women’ (thereby conducting political hostilities not only against ‘men’ but against the culture and civilization that ‘dead white European males’ had – over the course of two and half millennia – managed to put together in the teeth of humanity’s dark and bloody foibles).

And standing smack dab in the revolution’s giddy but gimlet-eyed path was the Family – with its distribution of labor organized around the raising of children and the transmission of such culture as Western humanity and its American variant had managed to achieve. Oh, and to prepare them for adulthood by helping children to master their powers and achieve – the word was better known then – Maturity.

The Family was – even more than ‘religion’ – a target: it represented Cultural Authority and the responsibilities that it imposed cramped the style of ‘women’ who should be free to go out and have fun having a job and making guy-money. (Which dampdream, in the event, was undercut over the years as the ‘industrial base’ that provided the cash was undermined in another ‘success’ of the conflicting and incoherent radical feminist programme – but I digress.)

Since the 1960s and even before the increasing corps of ‘child experts’ and ‘child psychologists’ had been urging American parents to forego ‘authority’ and be more ‘therapists’ to their kids.*

Parents’ authority over their families was to be considered more in ‘contractual’ terms – with the kids as parties to the contract (if not actually ‘consumer’s of their parents’ services).

The objective for parents was no longer to make sure that – to the extent it is ever possible – kids could be raised to be ‘good’ and not ‘bad’, but rather that they be ‘happy’ and not ‘unhappy’.
Nor do I hold any brief for making kids genuinely unhappy. But the task of mastering one’s human impulses – given the stunningly wide moral range of human impulses, and some of them dark if not also bloody – means that you have to learn to say No to some of those impulses, and in the beginning that some older human with the authority to do so says No to you.

Otherwise, you wind up reaching the age of legal majority unable to say No to yourself in a lot of instances where you really should – for your own as well as everybody else’s good . And when THAT happens, then the government police-power has to step in and be a ‘parent’ – perhaps a Nanny – to you, and then you wind up with an unripe and immature Citizenry in need of a Parent – which is hell and gone from the Constitutional and Founding vision – although perhaps that is now becoming clear to Us.

Unless you are a financier and are making bets with other folks’ money and getting paid a sinfully huge salary to do so … but again, let me not digress.

Perhaps understandably, but also stunningly, her core assumptions were shaped by … the Holocaust.

This might not be as ground-breaking as it seems. In her seminal feminist tract of 1965, Betty Friedan had compared being a ‘housewife’ to being imprisoned at Dachau – a repugnantly ignorant (and insensitive as well as un-informed) piece of agitprop trumpeting that never received the opprobrium it so richly deserved.

Miller, speaking now on the basis of expertise comprised of the fact that she had been alive during the era and read some stuff, asserted in the accents of seasoned scholarship that “I have not been able to find a single [death-camp official at any level] who did not have a strict and rigid upbringing”.

The ‘logic’ of that assertion thus being that if you had a strict and rigid upbringing then you were automatically prepped to be an official of the death-camp regime. Which is a chunk of Swiss cheese from hell, rationally and logically speaking. Thus that the death-camp regime – if not also the Holocaust itself (she wasn’t really interested in pursuing the thought) - was the result of a strict familial upbringing. And therefore (if you want to keep up the polite pretense of her logicality) that strict familial upbringing guaranteed more Holocausts, as well as kept millions of children in the status of death-camp inmates. Indeed, Hitler himself had grown up in a 19th century, semi-rural Austrian family of strict up-bringing.**

It shouldn’t have taken a college student with more than an Intro course in Critical Thinking to see through the gaping holes in the whole thing.

But it was a revolution and anybody who struck the right ‘note’ was bound to be welcomed aboard and – as the media like to say – ‘hailed’.

Both Hitler and Rudolf Hoess (SS commandant of Auschwitz) had been “trained to be obedient so successfully and at such an early age that the training never lost its effectiveness”. So simply learning “obedience” was going to lead to Hitler and the death-camps (and the morally frakkulent adults such as the SS camp command staffs). You can see where Miller was offering nothing less than authoritative catnip to the cadres.

That the West – and surely the Church – had always taught that ‘loyalty’ and ‘obedience’ is only as good as the Cause to which you give your loyalty and obedience … this did not detain Miller or the cadres. Indeed, such facts would ‘obstruct’ the Right Order of the Revolution and were therefore un-Correct. And was even “backlash” (although how a teaching that pre-existed the revolutionary agenda by millennia could be labeled as nothing more than a “backlash” response … well, go figure).

And so training kids to be “obedient” was erased, and the parental authority necessary to achieve that along with it. Marvelous.

“The Holocaust would have been impossible without this sort of upbringing”, she said. Of course, the Holocaust would not have been possible if those future-death-camp staffers were not fed as children, so perhaps feeding kids is complicit in the Holocaust as well. But that would have been, in the 1980s in America, thinking too much. Perhaps it still is.

But not to mire herself in the past, she also asserted that “60% of German terrorists in recent years have been the children of Protestant ministers”. So ‘religion’ is also a cause of the Holocaust and of ‘terrorism’ [as it was defined in the 1970s and early 1980s in Europe]. The catnip is being mixed with industrial-grade alcohol and the cadres can party-hearty with a revolutionary abandon! Wheeeee!


So, as Hunter notes, in Miller’s view and in her phrasing, “the traditional middle-class family can be characterized as ‘the prototype of a totalitarian regime’”. You can see where a liberty-loving, red-blooded American Beltway literally leaped to the empowering assistance of ‘governance feminism’ in the late 1980s and the 1990s (especially once Bill and Hilary presided sensitively and responsively in the White House). It wasn’t for the votes, dear Citizens; it was for liberty and to prevent another Holocaust. ***

Good frakking grief.

Miller channeled Freud: the trouble was with ‘pedagogy’ – with child-rearing by authoritative adults itself. There is, she said, a power-struggle between children and adults, and given their powerlessness, the kids would always lose. This tied right in with Identity Politics and its demand that the previously ‘silenced’ be given a voice, while simultaneously undermining Family and any pesky concepts of Maturity. It was all political; the personal was political; the personal – I would add – was ONLY political.

That was the Flattening and lethal substrate of the whole revolution: it was anti-Family, anti-Constitutional, and – not to put too fine a point on it – crushingly anti-human. In 1984 We were heading toward “1984”, and not simply from the Right.

As with so many of these whackulous ideas of that day, they were denied a deserved spot in the corner of scholarly thought reserved for ideological and academic eccentricities because they were taken up by the media. And in this case the ‘elite’ media: PBS ran a documentary miniseries hosted by one John Bradshaw entitled “The Family”. Its core question: How could Hitler happen? And you know what the answer was.

The rules of ‘obedience’ and ‘submission’ to authority held sway, intoned Bradshaw, in “96 percent of American families” (appreciate here that ‘scientific’ statistical evidence) and so it wasn’t just a “German” problem. Any times parents exerted authority, they were yielding to being “authoritarian” . All I will say here is that the children of the mid-1980s are now walking around as fully-accredited adults.

Hunter notes – and not at all irrelevantly – that Bradshaw and others went on to set up a brisk cottage-industry in Self-Help and 12-Step type stuff for parents and for former children who now had to re-parent and self-parent themselves.


And that’s where We are now, isn’t it?

For the SO community, I think you can see a number of currently-active elements that had their beginning here in the early 1980s with Miller.

There is the emphasis on the ‘child’ and the idea – far more ‘professionally’ and ‘scholarly’ supported than in the Missing-Children milk-carton scares of the later 1970s and the stunningly regressive Satanic Ritual Day School Sex Abuse of Children outbreak of the early 1980s – that ‘the child’ is in great danger, and that the danger is systemic, that it is built into the very warp and woof of American culture and society.

Further, there is that inflammatory ‘Holocaust’ trope that by the 1980s in this country had become a trip-wire for acute public emotion.

And the ‘logic’ that is no logic at all, and is indeed not only illogical but irrational.

And along with that, both the thinness of any relevant factual support for the stunning assertions and the heavy reliance on the reader’s emotional response to ‘make up for’ the lack of logical and relevant facts.

And that veneer of ‘scientific’ and ‘professional’ competence.

And the use of ‘statistics’ in the media amplification (that “96% of American families”).

And – nor is this at all a small point – the quick leap by many enterprising types to create cottage-industries of ‘experts’ who would address the (highly dubious) ‘problem’ and ‘crisis’.

Further you can see what happened when Miller’s material is blended with the anti-male elements whose power was growing: the ‘man’ is the source of authority and he is the ‘domestic Hitler’.

And – so easy a leap – his ‘oppression’ is so clearly ‘sexual’.

And since the Family is such a hotbed of danger, then who could object to the government involving itself in the very core of family life? Thus far too much of the Domestic Violence agenda and SO Mania agenda of the 1990s. Because after all – and no doubt the pols consoled themselves with this – they had to prevent another Holocaust, didn’t they?

And since the male is a ‘sexual Hitler’ (if I may) then all these sex-Nazis (if I may) have to be dealt with severely: stop them by any means necessary and then tag them in Registries so that the public (51% of it anyway) will be ‘safe from them’.

I add that it has now turned out that the government has wound up doing the same sort of things here – involving itself aggressively in family life, registering and ‘tagging’ certain groups of citizens, using criminal law to supplant any other source of authority in the citizens’ lives – that Miller feared from her experience of the Third Reich.

Of course, as always happens when an ‘idea’ has to be turned into a comprehensive government policy, trade-offs tactical and strategic had to be made.

The SO laws couldn’t be directed against all males since the ‘conservative’ legislators were trying to be ‘family-friendly’, and so the stranger-sex-offender had to be made the focus of all fear (and facts be damned).

The original feminist focus on women as victims of male sexual violence had to be replaced since ‘conservative’ Americans might see the whole SO mania as ‘just another feminist thing’. So ‘the children’ were raised up as the focus of all fear, those victims who would be the front for the laws (while the laws themselves quietly continued going after any and all males that might fall into its broad net).

By the same token, ‘the children’ would front for the ideologically queasy reality of male-male or female-female sexual violence, since such a focus would upset other ‘interests’ as well as alienate ‘conservative’ supporters.

All of these sub-currents are operative in the otherwise inexplicable resistance – by legislators at all levels – to any research that seeks to get a clearer picture of the consequences of the SO mania laws or of any aspect of the SO reality; instead the government (as even Obama – alas – has demonstrated) confines itself to supporting the assorted ‘cottage industries’ that have sprung up, and that derive meaning, purpose, and a good chunk of cash – tax money, service-contracts, and donations – from the SO Mania.

So the government focuses for purposes of political expediency on ‘the children’ (who are not the largest group of victims) and on ‘strangers’ (who are not the largest group of perpetrators).

But the government (in all its Branches) has now set itself a difficult problem. It must distract the public from the fact that it has pretty much created an ‘emergency’ and an ‘enemy’ while also distracting from the dynamics of its ‘response’ to the ‘crisis’ that the government itself has invented: that response includes the afore-mentioned Nazi-like measures or tracking and tagging and rigging the justice system to provide the desired results that will ‘keep up the numbers’ and thus help keep things going.

How long this will go on before something snaps and Reality returns, is anybody’s guess.

How the pols can now bring things back from this path down a darkling road ... how they can muster the courage to do so - that's a fateful question, I believe.

But Truth is a force in life, I am firmly convinced. And it follows something of a tectonic dynamic: if its free movement is hindered (as when earth-plates grind against each other or magma is dammed up and cannot flow) then the pressure will build up and up until there is a sudden release of all the pent-up pressure.

But it doesn’t say much for a democracy – especially this Constitutional one – that it will take some such an extreme event in order to rectify the situation.

Yet the Beltway is now so far gone down the path that I wonder how, given the workings of day-to-day politics now, any step-back or dialing-down is possible.

In that sense, the problem of stopping the SO Mania is a microcosm of the larger national mess: the Beltway is now so indentured to soooooo many of the problem-causing elements that it cannot disengage itself.

(In a Post on my other site last week I characterized the government as a bear that got its head into a big metal milk can of cream, slurped it all up and thus expanded its neck so that now it can’t back out of the can’s narrow neck; the local fire department cut the real bear (in Vermont) out of the can, but what ‘fire department’ will have the authority or the tools to cut the Beltway free of the awful can into which it has gotten itself and dragged us all?).

Lots to think about.


*For an extended discussion of Miller and the era, see James Davison Hunter’s “The Death of Character” at pages 95-7, though the whole book is worth a read. Perhaps if you still have a job and it gives a paid vacation and you can afford to go to a beach and lie around for a week or two this summer. And can afford the book in the first place (my copy is a $17 paperback).

**I can’t resist: if strict family upbringing results in ‘Hitler’, and such an outrageous method of child-rearing is almost universal in Western culture and has been for some centuries, then shouldn’t we ‘logically’ have had innumerable Hitlers rather than just the one? Of course, the quick Correct response is that the West is indeed bethumped by many Hitlers, and they are called ‘men’ – after which the congregation may cheeribly retire to the buffet table for Chardonnay and salad. Ah, those were the days, my friend!

***I won’t go into it here, but kindly note the deployment of ‘the Holocaust card’ in all of this; that trope had migrated from foreign affairs and – doubtless because its success there made such an impression upon them – been taken up by the cadres of revolution in Our domestic politics. Oy.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I just came across this today and it strikes me as relevant to the SO community because it has to do with ‘memory’ (as in, for far too long, ‘repressed memory’, ‘recovered memory’, and so on).

Late Saturday night, in the fair city of Boston, a Jeep-ful of athletic-team college students (7, 4 of whom were underage) were heading back to Boston College along Commonwealth Avenue, a 19th century road with active trolley tracks still running down the middle.

There was vodka in the vehicle and perhaps some other similar stuff (see below).

Along comes a trolley, pursuing its lawful occasions, as they used to say in admiralty law.

Suddenly the Jeep – despite the 5-blast horn-sounding from the trolley driver – turns into the path of the trolley.

The trolley strikes the Jeep, although the trolley driver had applied the emergency-brake.

The Jeep is pushed back off the tracks. Several of the Jeep’s passengers abandon ship in full view of the trolley driver, some carrying what appear to be alcoholic beverage containers (although leaving behind an assortment of cell-phones and even a purse). Police will find both full and empty beer cans and an entire unopened container of vodka that apparently wound up overboard from the ship’s cargo, littering the ground near the impact site.

The Jeep’s driver – you can’t make this stuff up – proceeds to drive off (which shows how lucky they were; Jeeps are not famous for their stability, especially if T-boned by a train). But it only makes it 500 yards before it breaks down.

The driver of the Jeep, a 19 year-old female, reports that she had not been drinking that night because she was allergic to alcohol. (The police are going to ask for her medical records, so stay tuned on that one - although perhaps it was a sudden-onset, traumatic allergy.)

The Transit Authority says it is going to seek to recover its costs (repairing the trolley and providing substitute buses) from the Jeep driver.

This may or may not be exercising some influence over the veracity of the Jeep driver, suddenly confronted with the dreaded C-word (Consequences).

Another of the 19 year-olds, a big strong athletic player, says that he has clear memories of being at a restaurant, and then a house party, but no memory of a crash. The same story is reported by the driver – she of the allergy – who reports being at an Applebee’s and then being in an emergency room (sooooo – she has no memory of driving at all that night …).

Well, who knows? Do any of them remember who was President during the Civil War? Or what century it took place in? This is college, after all.

My point?

‘Memory’ has become a joke. Either people actually consider it such a jelly-like concept that it can be used (or forgotten, as it were) at any point in time for any reason, or else their lawyers now figure there is enough precedent (with ‘recovered memory’ cases and such) that you can raise the ‘memory’ or ‘traumatic amnesia’ defense just about any time and for any reason and have a pretty decent chance of getting out from under that dreaded C-word.

So now there’s a generation who don’t see anything ridiculous or embarrassing about coming up with such an excuse (which leaves ‘the dog ate my homework’ in the dust). But in the world they’ve grown up in think what they’ve seen ‘work’ when you’re willing to ‘come forth with a ‘memory’.

After all, We sat still with a straight face as Robert Strange McNamara – former Secretary of Defense – recounted with glowing self-satisfaction compliments paid to him at long-ago A-list dinner parties by long-ago busty and bedizened beauties, and could even recount the menu that long-ago evening, but couldn’t – though God knows he tried – remember what LBJ said to him that caused him to order the recall of the fighter jets enroute to defend the USS Liberty that fateful afternoon in June of 1967 ... when our Israeli ‘ally’ killed and tried to kill more US Navy sailors than anybody since Imperial Japan (the folks who brought you Pearl Harbor) had thrown in the towel.

And We sat still with a straight face as one after another of the best and brightest of George Bush’s administration (I know – you have to use the term with a certain suspension of irony), those who brayed and trumpeted about their influence and authority in Washington, suddenly unable to recall just what they had said or didn’t say in the matters of torture and illegal wiretapping and a host of other quite-possibly criminal activities.

(But no doubt like those myriad Italian government honchos in 1946, very much wanted to be paid for their previous years of service to the country, though they couldn’t quite recall the specifics of anything that they actually did while under the employ of the late Duce – whom, of course, they obeyed but never really supported, or really – after consultation with counsel –sorta respected but never actually obeyed).

But before the Iraq War ‘liberators’ had found salvation (only of a temporary sort – but let’s let them find that out on their own when their time comes) in forgetting the big stuff, and before McNamara got around to writing his carefully scrubbed memoirs, the country had been immersed in the ‘memory wars’: the alleged reality of traumatic repression of bad things, sudden recovery of documentary-quality memories, and all the associated erosions and corruptions of evidentiary rules developed long ago precisely to prevent the Sovereign from deploying its police power without solid evidence.

And perhaps since this is Massachusetts the attorneys (who no doubt have now taken over the helm) figure that they might just pull it off. After all, this is one of the few States whose highest court can still, with a straight face (though perhaps politicized intent), solemnly opine that ‘recovered memory’ is a generally accepted scientific phenomenon in good standing.

And what does truth matter anyway? In fact, if it gets in the way of Pain, then what rights does truth have? Or should it have? Pontius Pilate has been erected into a legal (and legislative) philosophy.

Ah brave new world!

Thursday, April 22, 2010


That ever-helpful Sex Offender Research site has yet another remarkable entry: dated 4-20-10, it is entitled “What To Do When The Police Come Calling”. It’s written by a defense attorney, Norm Pattis, who also has his own site, and there’s a link to it.

He has what he calls his Four Points (which sounds a little like one of Mao’s press releases, but so what?) and I’m going to riff on them.

But he has a couple of pre-notes, and the observations thicken an already meaty stew.

We all have “an urge to confess”, he says. He’s right. In a way I think that’s one of the most ‘human’ characteristics a person can possess (and ‘antisocial and ‘psychopathic’ personalities are recognizable precisely by their lack of it).

It’s so human because, well, humans all wind up sometimes exercising their freedoms in some way that damages others. It is called ‘sin’ – and with a capital letter (Sin) it denotes that inborn tendency that all humans seem to have; certainly, any observation of humanity’s and humans’ sustained performance over the course of recorded history strongly suggests it. The Catholic term is “Original Sin”, but that term tends to be perceived kind of statically as a ‘condition’ or a ‘state’ into which humans are born.

Sin – even the tendency toward it – is a dynamic concept; it is always in danger of getting into the Transmit position among all the frequencies that exist in any individual’s ‘radio’; once it is selected, it emits all sorts of bad stuff.

I always imagine that humans are like Masters and Commanders: responsible for everything that happens on their individual ‘ships’ and also for what those ships do with their various powers and potentials.

But in a way that’s not a sufficient image to convey the complex human reality. The sailing ships and warships of the Age of Sail, the starship ‘Enterprise’ in any of its incarnations (Kirk’s, Picard’s, Janeway’s) – these were all vessels that humans conceived, designed, and built.

Humans can know those ships in their very core because the ships are purely human products.

But that’s precisely where the image is insufficient. Because humans did not build humans. We seem to come from somewhere (or Someone) else, conceived, designed, and constructed according to specifications in some Shipyard and by some Ship-builder beyond (or Beyond) us.

In a way, each of us winds up in charge (it takes a lot of work to be ‘in command’) of an alien vessel, that perhaps was ‘captured’ and now placed into human service. But – as with so many used vehicles – the owner’s manual was no longer in the glove-box and we sort of have to figure how the thing works as we go along.

This is not a new insight.

From the very beginning, humans have developed civilizations and cultures in order to transmit from old to young the accumulated wisdom of generations as to how to operate these marvelous but volatile and sometimes darkly dangerous craft. Religion has been just one – although I would say a very comprehensive and powerful – civilizing element in that sense.

And it has the added benefit of being sufficiently comprehensive as to deal with the absolutely un-erasable human urges toward Meaning and Purpose, and toward some sensed but not fully grasped Beyond and the Presences that seem – somehow – to be there.

So when Attorney Pattis points out that everybody is sort of primed to ‘confess’ … he’s on to something profound and genuinely ‘big’.

And let’s not forget that every human being – nice people, normal people, police officers, ‘heroes’, even judges and politicians – has something to ‘confess’, in that regard. Although the sociopathic among them won’t realize it. And nobody, really, wants to admit it – except celebrities looking for a little publicity.

But that’s exactly the deep and dark spring that waters ‘scapegoat Mania’: rather than think of how Sin unites all human beings (which does not constitute my approving a vigorous program of ‘sinning’ as a social bonding experience), it’s psychologically easier (and sleazier) to simply imagine that a certain group is somehow Evil (therefore carrying the full awfulness of Sin within them) while everybody else is Good (thereby free of Sin – which, if you say it out loud, reveals itself as truly blasphemous).

This dark stream dynamically flows under every human settlement, threatening to break out, flood the place, and undermine solid ground – and all the foundations dug into it. Indeed, the Framers were very much aware of it – and constructed the Constitution precisely with an eye toward preventing such up-wellings from turning into floods.

But in an era of mass society, and a young and impatient mass society, and in an era where governments have often found it easier (if sleazier) to distract people from real and serious problems (often involving poor government performance) by starting ‘wars’ foreign and domestic (and what is the Sex Offense Mania if not a government-sponsored ‘distracting war’?), and with the fabled ‘press’ debauched by the easy (and sleazy) sales guaranteed by Good-vs-Evil, Innocence In Danger scripts (that used to be the preserve of Saturday matinee movies) … in that kind of an era, things can really get out of hand.

And a real Flood that can not only be released but sustained. (Think Katrina in New Orleans, except that the government actually helped seed the hurricane in the first place and continues now to seed it so it keeps coming back.)

Building on that insight, Pattis than observes – with refreshing and incisive candor – to the next (and really kind of unsurprisingly logical) point: “Police prey upon our tendency to trust them”.

Since we all have something to confess, and the police are always looking for confessions as the easiest way to ‘solve’ a case, then they will use that natural human tendency to whatever advantage they can make of it.

Which is indeed logical.

But dangerous for humans who, although they have a natural tendency to ‘confess’ since they have all to some extent sinned, may not necessarily be guilty of the crime in the particular case that the police are asking you about and for which they dearly would like a ‘perp’ and a ‘conviction’ with the expenditure of as few resources and as little time and effort as possible.

You see where things can go wrong verrrrry easily and verrrrry quickly.

In fact, the police – as Pattis logically observes – thereby become pretty much ‘predators’ themselves, feeding with not only premeditated deliberation but with training on the weakness of folks: those folks are trusting and vulnerable … sort of like the victims of sex offenses when faced by ‘sexual predators’, come to think of it.

The police are “trained in the art of deception”, they “know how to prey on fear and uncertainty”. In that weird and ominous symmetry, they resemble nothing so much as genuine habitual sex-predators, “grooming” their targets with tactical sweetness while manipulating their chosen target’s vulnerability.

Funny how the night moves.

In combating the predatory, and in the urge for Meaning through professional ‘success’, the agents of Good (as it were) wind up doing a lot of Evil (in fact). Which, in the Sex Offense ‘war’ yields exactly the same results that we see in the recent foreign ‘wars’, where troops (though not their bosses) now acknowledge torture, gratuitous killing, and cover-ups; you may have read recently of former troops admitting that after shooting persons they then realized were not ‘enemy combatants’ and couldn’t in any way be made to appear as if they were ‘enemy combatants’, they then used pliers and jackknives to pry their bullets out of the corpses of women and children in order to remove the evidence; they were told, they say, that their higher-ups would 'protect' them ... and that cannot be a good thing to instill.

Such are the awful frakkeries consequent upon unleashing violence in the cocky certainty that mere human competence can always and easily separate the Good Wheat from the Evil Tares in the field of this human life.

What will the Lord of the Harvest say, do you think?

So all this leads Pattis, rightly and logically, to advise average folks not to wind up providing an “improvident confession” – or even the possible grounds for one – to a lawman (or law-person … in the crusade against Evil gender isn’t proving to be much of a firewall).

What he is going to be saying in his Four Points is not aimed at criminal sociopaths: they already consider the police to be an enemy and they can’t see that what they do is evil, or at least they don’t believe that consequences should apply to them if they can at all avoid them.

What Pattis is going to say is directed at ‘average’ people: folks who, while under the veil of Sin (as are we all) still respect society and law and pretty much are ‘team-players’.

This is a classic characteristic of a ‘bourgeois’ society. Peasants – dealing with ‘lords’ and ‘war lords’ – instinctively don’t trust ‘authority’, consider it an enemy to the hard work of just keeping your own and your family’s life together, and generally pray that ‘the Lord bless and keep the Czar … far away from us”.

So Pattis is addressing his comments to folks who are basically ‘bourgeois’, see the civilizational enterprise as one in which they have a stake, and respect the right of government to perform its house-keeping and maintenance chores with some real cooperation from everybody.

But especially in a time of Mania this country is – as I have often said – regressing to a type of government activity that is less Constitutional and more like the old Medieval days (which weren’t anything like your local annual ‘Renaissance Faire’ or MGM’s idea of ‘Camelot’).

After all, as Pattis notes sagely, while “confession is good for the soul”, confession to the police (as opposed to your clergy) can land you in prison, which, he notes, “is not good for the soul”.

And he’s mostly right. Although, if you are of a spiritual bent, and to the point of heroic sainthood, then a journey through the hell that American prisons have now become can perhaps raise you a notch or two closer to a formidable spiritual development. But that’s not the usual course of things.

And if there’s one thing that the ‘crusaders of the Good’ recoil from like vampires from holy water is the idea that a person they have classified as Evil and gleefully consigned to prison might return more spiritually anchored in genuine Goodness than they themselves. That’s when you see some real wailing and gnashing of teeth among the self-proclaimed paragons of ‘Good’.

No wonder that ‘God’ really doesn’t enter into the Sex Offense Mania – His action is toooo unpredictable, and may wind up contradicting the most cherished delusions of the ‘Good’. Which shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, you’d think, since certain notable spiritual figures seemed to indicate a divine preference for sinners. And that “the last shall be first”. And that “the stone that the builders rejected shall become the cornerstone”.

Yes, no wonder the only thing the Mania can really do with religion is to try to pull it down into its own darkling world. Although whether that means that the Mania will have pulled God down into it … another of the questions that are too full of mystery and dense complexity for any Mania to spend time on.

He dispels some common myths; thoughts that occur to people either because they have seen police-procedurals on TV or in the movies (which, for the most part, are the work of police-glorifying producers who bend reality to their purposes); or, again, they just want to be polite and ‘good citizens’ or, perhaps are fearful and intimidated.

And nowadays, you don’t have to be guilty or paranoid to have cause for concern. Indeed, it may help, if you were born too late to see them on TV in the 1950s, to catch a few WW2 era films about Occupied countries in Europe, where the knock on the door or the black sedan pulling up on the street out front always put people on their guard – just to remind yourself how things have not changed … and how, especially in a time of Mania, they have.

Or perhaps Solzhenitsyn’s point that there were times when the Stalinist police (the Russians, with a peasant-like blunt cleverness, called them ‘the organs’ – from their commonly-accepted Soviet press designation as ‘the organs of State security’; the phrase worked on several levels) were looking merely to fill a certain quota of arrests assigned to them.

First, the police can’t order you down to the station to give a statement. Again, while this is no time for getting in anybody’s face, especially a face with a badge, and while a certain civility is almost always good form, the natural instinct to be polite and helpful can be exactly the wrong way to go.

Many people, too, are indeed fearful – and also hope that by ‘being nice’ they can ward off whatever might be in store.

But Pattis notes that if they say that if you don’t come down they’ll seek an arrest warrant, they aren’t being quite truthful – as if by coming down you can guarantee they won’t seek a warrant. When really, they might well be looking for a little something that would justify getting a warrant – and if you wind up giving them anything that could even distantly be construed as useful, they’ll then go and get the warrant anyway.

And that if you go down to the station voluntarily, and they tell you pleasantly you’re free to leave if you wish, and you still stay and talk, then a court will gladly construe that as a ‘voluntary’ statement. Courts, he notes, aren’t as picky as they should be (but who needs to tell the SO community that?).

Ditto if the police suddenly show up on your doorstep – you don’t have to talk to them. (And vampire movie buffs are a little better prepared here: don’t invite them in; even for a cup of tea and a pleasant chat.)

Because, as Pattis reminds anybody who hasn’t drawn conclusions from the news in the past 20 years, “it takes perishingly little to convict for certain crimes”, into which category sex-offenses most certainly fall.

And, he goes on, even a minor detail you give might be used “to corroborate a far-fetched story told about you by others”. And again, in matters sex-offensual, this is a verrry real possibility.

He uses the specific example of child-abuse cases, and with good reason. You don’t need to be a Catholic priest to realize that now somebody can tell the police that 20, 30, 40 or perhaps 50 years ago you ‘touched’ them, and in the current atmosphere – supported by grave weakening of Rule of Evidence, Statutes of Limitations, and Presumptions of Innocence – little more ‘evidence’ might be required.

Nor will you be able to defend yourself as Ronald Reagan so effectively did in the Iran-Contra matter: in response to a sharp question as to whether he met with someone on such and such a date at such and such a time in such and such a year and discussed A and B and C, he said he couldn’t really recall. When the questioner evinced suspicion of such a ‘dodge’, Reagan simply asked him: Can YOU remember what you were doing on such and such a date at such and such a time in such and such a year, and what you might have said?

And again, that if the police don’t read you your rights, then they can’t use anything you say. That only works if you’re already formally and clearly under arrest and in custody. Otherwise, you’re making a ‘voluntary’ statement and “courts are increasingly reluctant to meaningfully enforce the rights of the accused”.

And you see here where the National Security State and the National Nanny State wind up taking the country to exactly the same dark and awful police-state place. And especially in matters of the current Sex Offense Mania. People are as ready to accept that you must be a ‘sex offender’ now as they were once ready to believe that if Hoover’s FBI said you were a closet pinko Commie then you must be a closet pinko Commie.

Especially if – as is happening much more frequently these days – their accusations go back years or decades, where any evidence that might exonerate you has dissolved with Time.

So to Pattis’s Four Things.

There are actually four “discrete harms” to which you are potentially exposed in this sort of situation.

Imprisonment is only the first of them. Though it is the one that transfixes the target emotionally (and understandably so).

But beyond prison there is the simple brute fact of a Felony Conviction. This will effectively preclude or destroy any professional career most of the time.

But beyond the possibility of Prison and the Felony Conviction record, there is the entire Sex Offense registration (and notification) matter. In these matters, Pattis rightly and candidly notes, “the law is particularly savage”. [italics mine]

An excellent choice of words.

And folks would do well to realize just how this ‘sensitive’ Sex Offense Mania has resulted in such frakkulously savage laws (against all American tradition, and against the ethos of Constitutionality).

For anybody, I would say, who still thinks that ‘victimism’ is not dynamically a front for the increasing war of the government upon its own citizens in a continual decline into authoritarian control, they need only look at the brute reality that victimism has served not so much as a catalyst for increasing ‘sensitivity’ to genuine victims’ pain, but rather as a pretext for such savagely expanded punitive legislation (and to too far an extent, jurisprudence as well).

It’s as if ‘liberals’ sought both to prove their ‘sensitivity’ AND their ‘toughness’ by savagely dealing with a scapegoat class in the name of ‘sensitivity’. Rightist authoritarians, of course, need no pretext for their savagery: it is in the interests of ‘order’.

Marvelously – and he being a legal professional is well-placed to reveal it – Pattis observes that “judges acknowledge the cruelty of these laws in private conversations, but few will do anything about it when it counts”.

To which I can only add that ‘Judgment at Nuremberg” – the 1961 film about the postwar trials of former Nazis (including judges during the era of that monstrous regime) – should be shown once every semester in law schools and attendance taken.

Particularly the last scene, where the American chief judge (Spencer Tracy) – having sentenced a formerly highly-regarded German judge to a life-sentence – is told by that former judge (Burt Lancaster) that “it wasn’t supposed to turn out like that”, that the ‘good’ judges in the Nazi era hoped to transform the system from the inside, by going along a little with the craziness in order to maintain at least a little sanity in the system.

Says Tracy in quick but sober response (I’m quoting from memory here): “It was guaranteed to turn out like that the moment you first sentenced a man you knew to be innocent”. [italics to show the emphasis in Tracy’s delivery of the line]

To which there could be no reply. Nor was there.

And lastly, there is the danger of sex offender treatment. Anyone who winds up facing that ‘treatment’, Pattis says, “can expect demeaning treatment by scarcely trained and often poorly educated folks with the equivalent of undergraduate degrees”.

We may not realize how right he is.

It has been one of the consequences – hardly unforeseeable – of the Mania. Once the government knew that it was setting up for ‘rehabilitation’ a crime-type that had no specific diagnosis or treatment, then it needed and indeed created an opening for, hordes of ‘cottage-industry’ ‘therapists’ who would ‘surf’ this government-generated wave.

It was an under-trained (though perhaps well-intentioned) helper’s dream scenario: ‘therapy’ that could be anything, for a ‘disease’ that was at once hugely dangerous and impossible to clearly define, that was both all-things and no-thing at the same time.

And with all the government monies made available (up until recently), and with all the ‘status’ that went with being a ‘sex offense therapist and expert’ … it was a quick road to all sorts of happy outcomes (except for the sex offenders, but that was a small price to pay, and they were heinous convicts and hideous freaks anyway). *

And so then also all the individual practitioners and small companies that suddenly sprang up to serve the ‘need’ and garner the dollars, employing those under-trained (though perhaps well-intentioned) ‘providers’. And at the upper reaches, the ‘experts’, some with a modicum of academic standing, who embraced such frakkery as ‘recovered memory’ and all the rest. Or put together ‘measurement tools’ that turned out to have a predictive ability far below reliability.

And of course, once convicted, then the only way to ‘pass’ this ‘therapy’ was to admit to everything you were convicted of or else be classified as ‘in denial’ and therefore guaranteed to be at high risk of ‘re-offending’.

And if you were appealing your case – well, then you were still ‘refusing to admit’ for ‘therapy’ purposes, which was fine with the government because it simply meant that you wouldn’t start toward that distant release-date until your appeal was finished and you were ready to ‘admit’ since you had run out of legal hope.


All in all, this Mania has created a dangerous and dark terrain indeed.

And like a volcano that hasn’t finished yet, continues to spew its poison into the atmosphere. In case anybody is thinking that it’s ‘far away’ from them and not their problem.

This Mania is everybody’s problem; its effects have now seeped into all areas of national life, like poisonous gas or toxic, fine-grained ash.

If all the frak were to be repealed tomorrow, it would still take years to straighten out the deformities that have been created in the systems of legislation, law enforcement, jurisprudence, clinical therapy and research, law-school education, as well as in the media and the public at large.

So, I would say, the sooner repeal is started – shutting down this government made volcano from continuing to generate fresh spew day in and day out – then the sooner the clean-up and repair can be begin.

There will be an awful lot to do.


*Not to bring politics and economics into it, but you wonder just how much things like this figured in as elements of the ‘expanded service and knowledge economy’ and as contributing to the GDP, even as the actual productive industrial capacity of the country was – with government collusion or acquiescence – deconstructed, disassembled, outsourced, and dissolved.


It occurs to me that folks don’t really grasp the danger of simply accepting ‘ideas’, especially if they are cutely packaged.

Let me offer an example.

William Marshall published a novel in 1989: “New York Detective”, about a New York city police detective in the 1880s and his sidekick, a big Irish cop – Muldoon, of the Strong-Arm Squad, temporarily assigned to keep an eye on the dimunitive (and somewhat idealistic) detective. As you may well imagine, Muldoon is an upstanding fellow, full of sparkling and winsome Irish wit and with a mighty capacity for drink – but as equally dedicated to Justice as his detective boss.

But there is a difference between them.

Muldoon demonstrates it as he discusses a “pinch” he had recently made: the arrestee was a known ‘bad actor’ with a long record; Muldoon happened to have an unsolved case on his hands for which his superiors wanted an arrest forthwith; so he consulted his voluminous mental database of New York’s lowest, found a suitably available ‘suspect’, framed him, arrested him, and testified to all manner of things under oath in order to secure a conviction. Everybody was happy: his bosses, the papers, the judge, and the folks who had originally been held up.

Hearing the story, the detective objects that the man actually sentenced was not guilty of the crime in question.

Which objection Muldoon brushes off cheeribly: the man’s done many bad things in his life, for which we may rest assured he has not been caught or punished; by sending him up the river I’ve removed him and made the City safer for decent folks; and someday somewhere some other decent copper will find himself in need of a ‘collar’ and grab the man actually responsible for the crime I had to find a perp for; and that decent copper will frame him for that crime, and so will have done his duty, and the world will be a safer place, and in the end it all balances out.

There’s an indubitable charm to the equation. And not a small amount of sense.

BUT, if you were too busy feeling warm and cuddly to notice, it is hell-and-gone from the Constitutional ethos.

Because to the Framers several things were paramount: 1) all people are ‘sinners’ (or in the Enlightenment version ‘capable of acting irrationally’); and 2) the government police power is the most historically predatory ‘actor’ of all; and so 3) the best way to secure Justice is to make sure that the police power cannot be deployed against any Citizen unless there is solid evidence.

The government police power is the element most potentially dangerous to any true and politically legitimate Justice. And while the police power is a necessary component of government, it is never to be seen as anything better than ‘a necessary evil’.

Contrast this with the Rightist-jingoist idea that the police-power is ‘good’ because it ensures ‘order’ or because it is ‘the power of God working through the American government’. Or with the Leftist-victimist idea that in the script where ‘innocent victims’ are put into pain by ‘evil perpetrators’ then the government-police power is always the white-hatted ‘Hero’ who will save the victim and smite the perp (to which the congregation will respond together: AMEN!).

So before there was the seeming ‘progress’ of a Hero-police power that always saved the pained and (always) ‘innocent’ victim from the evil perp (who, conveniently, is no longer remembered as a Citizen) … before that there was the winsome pre-Constitutional idea that as long as it’s in the right hands, well-intentioned if a little rough, then police power doesn’t need to obstruct itself with such formalities as solid evidence.

Surely you can see the lethal danger to any genuine and actual Constitutionality here. To any genuine and efficacious awareness of just what the Constitutional vision consists of. And what it requires.

The victimist approach simply creates an emotional stampede in which the Script of Victim-Perp-Hero Government overrides the Constitutional vision. The ‘right hands’ approach simply insists that the police power be in the ‘right’ hands and then it can do ‘whatever it takes’.

No wonder the Bush-Cheney years created such an awesome catastrophe, building upon a ‘bipartisan’ (of Left and Right) consensus that as long as it has – or says it has – the ‘right intentions’, then government power –the police domestically or the military in foreign affairs – can do whatever it damn well pleases.

Those familiar with matters sex-offensual can see the path of crumbs that has led everybody now deep and deeper into a dark dark forest indeed.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


The Sunday edition of ‘The Boston Globe’ – substantially false reporter of the Shanley case, initiator of the January 2002 3rd Wave of the Catholic Priest Sex Abuse tornado (so conveniently timed to weaken any potential official Catholic opposition to the waging of illegal and thoroughly unjustified war against Iraq), and now the busy collaborator in its corporate parent’s (‘The New York Times’ ) sudden initiation of the 4th Wave of the Catholic Priest Sex Abuse tornado – publishes a long ‘report’ on a high-powered Boston attorney who played a great part in the 2nd Wave (1990) and 3rd Wave cases.

Naturally, it is always important in a time of Mania to look carefully at whatever is published, and this is especially so if the media involved have a track record that doesn’t inspire confidence.

This skepticism is, in my view, vitally important. Yes, so that you don’t wind up getting stampeded and become just another head among the herd being stampeded in – but of course – a good cause.

But also so that you develop a confidence in wading into the dark and murky swamps of manipulation in order to discover what is real ‘in there’, and what isn’t. Because there are no doubt – somewhere in there – genuine cases and genuine victims, and it’s necessary to maintain an awareness of that, even as you simultaneously realize that you as a reader are quite possibly the object of a premeditated effort at rather comprehensive and skillful manipulation.

This is essential for any mature Citizen in a time of such sustained (and government-abetted) Mania, and also for any mature supporter of the SO community. Because the goal, I firmly believe, is not to create a counter-stampede to the Mania stampede; that simply descends to the queasy level of those Mania-supporters who believe that in a ‘good’ cause, you can and must do ‘whatever it takes’.

Rather, the goal is to create a politically and analytically competent and mature collaborative of Citizens who, while accepting the reality of an issue, are able to maintain the vital perspective that will prevent a stampede that will destroy not only whatever is trampled but also much of ‘the herd’ itself.

In an eerie mirroring, remember, genuine sex-offenders manipulate for their own purposes, but so do the ‘advocates’ who seek to achieve a number of objectives , some benevolent and societal, some self-serving.

These conflicting currents are present in even a slow-moving stream in this complex life of ours, but they are whipped up to flood-force in a time of Mania. Which is why the Framers’ generation was so concerned to prevent such floods and stampedes from sweeping along the sovereign power and integrity of the government once they got started.

So to this ‘story’ – I can’t really call it a ‘report’.

As far as can be made out, this is the general factual nub: In 2004, a verrrry high-powered and noted Boston attorney, Eric MacLeish, a respected member of a prestigious firm, who played a great part in the 1990 and 2002 Waves by representing alleged victims with great success all around, suddenly quit the whole thing – including the profession of law – and teaches now in a small state college in New Hampshire. In the process he separated from his wife, had an affair with his (female) therapist – whom he has recently had thrown out of her profession - and while refusing psychiatrist-recommended institutionalization has been wrestling with his demons.

He is presently 57 years of age.

The gist of the article – expressly sub-headed so that you don’t miss the point or go off and pursue your own thoughts - is that this is a story of “the hole in the heart of a star”, who had a “hard fall and the long-buried pain he finally came to understand”. (Forgive me for dating myself, but in my mind I hear clear as a bell the solemn announcer intone – as he did every Saturday morning at 11 – “Fury: The story of a horse and the boy who loved him”.)

Specifically, the former attorney was – we are to accept – overwhelmed by the pain of the alleged (and I am not denying that some of them are genuine) victims he represented, and indeed – according to therapists (not the female with whom he carried on an affair) – was suffering PTSD by means of suffering “vicariously” the pain of the victims.

PTSD, you may recall, was a diagnosis that arose here in the wake of the Vietnam War, as a professional response to the large number of veterans who seemed unable to adapt to civilian life upon return from their tour or tours of duty, some of whom reported nightmares, ‘flashbacks’ (this is where the term gained wide popular currency), and other psychological and behavioral symptoms that ranged from emotional outbursts (tears and sadness or overt physical violence) to alcoholism, drug abuse, and so forth.

The clinical community – through the vetting process of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (the DSM, then in the phase of significant expansion) - formalized a century’s worth of observations about returning-soldiers’ difficulties in to the diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The truly awful experiences of combat – being shot at and subjected to the horrors of military assault by the other side, seeing your friends maimed and killed – had long been observed. These were codified in the DSM process.

Not largely emphasized, unsurprisingly, were the causative factors endemic to the type of non-traditional warfare experienced in Vietnam: where it was very hard to distinguish civilians from enemy combatants, and where US troops wound up – through policy or circumstance – accidentally or otherwise killing and maiming men, women, and children who wore no uniform and perhaps had not committed any act of aggression or posed any immediate threat. In other words, a PTSD experience based not purely or perhaps even largely on the soldier’s victimization, but rather on the guilt and self-revulsion at having victimized, perhaps atrociously so.

The climate in the country was getting to be such that ‘guilt’ and ‘victim’ could not be considered in the same conceptual frame; victims, by definition, were ‘innocent’.

That was the tortured complexity of the PTSD diagnosis – and such therapeutic efforts to relieve the symptoms – as things developed in the 1980s in this country.

With an almost classically tragic inevitability, the PTSD diagnosis – primarily developed to deal with the awesome stresses of military combat – was adopted by the larger civilian ‘victim’ movement as it developed here throughout the 1980s, and – even more inevitably – was co-opted by the sexual-abuse and sex-offense movement as it too developed.

So to the point now where it is considered conventional wisdom that unwanted sex – ranging from molestation, defined (to the extent that these things are ever formally defined) as unwanted sexual experience not rising to the level of assault and on up to rape and attempted rape – can create and most likely does create in any person a massive and monstrous psychic and emotional trauma, equaling that of overt military combat experience.

The attorney was diagnosed as suffering from PTSD, through the “vicarious” suffering of his clients.

But that was just the beginning.

In mid-life, having left his career and his profession, divorced, carried on an affair, traveled 700 miles in a single day on his BMW motorcycle, he came to the realization that the cause of all this was that – may I be permitted to say Wait for It … ? – he had been abused physically and sexually as a child.

He had been sent to a British boarding school at the age of 8 in England, and he still bears on his back the scars from the caning that was apparently still carried out over there at the time.

In September 2004 (and the article’s timeline is a little murky here on whether this discovery pre-dated his PTSD symptoms or post-dated them) he was cleaning out the closets in his parents’ home and discovered a packet of letters sent from him to his parents while he was at that English school in the early 1960s. There was also a letter that the wife of the school’s headmaster had written to his mother.

The letters indicate “pain and loneliness” – as prep school letters from youngsters often do. He had literally calculated the number of hours, minutes, and seconds til the end of the school term – as young prepsters sometimes do.

He asks his mother if she can “get Dad to come down next time because Mrs. Gilbert has something important to tell him” – although whether it is about his performance and adaptation to school or about something else is not clear. At any rate, he apologizes to his mother for being back in the infirmary but insists that he “really couldn’t help it”.

So far so murky and yet not so unfamiliar to anyone who’s been the prep school route – and in England!

But then he comes across a letter in the packet dated June 3, 1964, from the wife of the headmaster to his mother: there are some physical issues he had been having. And then the comment (again, it’s unclear whether this comment is only part of what was written in the letter or was the entire bit) that “We have had nearly 48 hours now without sight or sound of the man and we hope he’s gone for good”.

Was this the man who caned the students? A faculty member with an emotional or substance-abuse problem? Or some other man around the campus or who came somehow into this boy’s ken? It seems odd that a faculty member could simply be expected to disappear and never be heard from again.

The text of the ‘story’ then gets a bit odd itself and I have to quote it at length: “To MacLeish, the cryptic words were confirmation of his childhood memories. He thinks the letter offers veiled references to a sexually abusive scout-master in charge of a school-sponsored troop, a man he remembers being alone with on some Saturday and Sunday afternoons, in the woods”.

It’s a bit odd, in several ways.

MacLeish considers the letter a “confirmation” but then he only “thinks” that they offer references to a scout-master, whom the story does not clearly say MacLeish had not previously been able to remember. And who indeed he does remember as taking walks in the woods with.

But before you can get distracted by all that – and perhaps do too much thinking – the story immediately moves you along. The next paragraph breathlessly reports “the letter loosened other shattering recollections”. Which is still murky about whether these “recollections” were merely refreshed and brought to the fore or were actually – in the now-classic scenario – “recovered” after being “repressed” for 40 years. But it’s hard to imagine that a contemporary American paper – and especially one as Mania-nurturing as ‘The Boston Globe’ – would pass up the opportunity to come right out and sound the ‘repressed memory’ alert. *

Rather remarkably for this sort of thing, the article acknowledges that “he had long had the image of being molested by a teacher at [the English prep school] when he was about 10”. How long? And if the memory hadn’t been repressed, then what sort of causative force created all of his mid-life symptoms?

The story flows swiftly on. “He flashed back to the teacher’s study on the top floor”. A flash-back is not – in PTSD dynamics – something that you can control. And if the phrase is simply tossed out for dramatic effect, and to rhetorically link it to the conventional youth-sex-abuse scenario, then it seems somewhat manipulative. Perhaps it would be better to say that he “recalled”.

The story continues with MacLeish’s self-report: “My memory goes up to the point where he starts touching me under the blanket [he was lying down under the blanket with the teacher] and I fought. I remember I had to go back, and I don’t remember anything after that”. Which is a remarkably in-and-out sort of memory: it’s one thing to experience (although there is great professional doubt that even this can happen) something and totally forget it, and another thing altogether to recall everything up to a point.

Although, from a debating or lawyering point of view, such a tantalizing partial memory would work very effectively as a rhetorical device: a suitably receptive and prepared hearer can ‘fill in the rest’ without the teller actually having to perjure himself. You can never really tell in this sort of thing, which – from a certain point of view – is the beauty of it.

Innocently and without insight, the story notes that many of the major participants are now dead: the headmaster and his wife and MacLeish’s parents. The school ceased operations long ago and there are no records and no alumni directories; MacLeish doesn’t know if the teacher is still alive, the story says, although in a UK even more rigidly monitored than the US, it shouldn’t have been too hard to find out.

He apparently did try to do some digging, though. MacLeish says that the school’s lawyer contacted him – and no doubt not out of coincidence or serendipity – and reported that “the people he inquired about ‘were either dead, handicapped, or did not wish to see me’”.

I can’t blame them. At this point, the Mania being up and running for so long, anybody who ever worked at a school or other institution and gets a call from a former student (and now a lawyer, or former lawyer) making inquiries about things from decades ago, and having any sort of financial savings or assets at all, could hardly be blamed for declining the chance to talk over old times. Which is not to imply guilt – just prudence.

Shrewdly the story then injects a point dear to the heart – and next on the list – of advocacy interests: statutes of limitations. The police, MacLeish reports, were unwilling (even in this day and age and in the UK) to investigate “a 40-year old claim”. We can also take some heart that the word “claim” instead ‘crime’ is used; it’s a bit of circumspection – and quite legitimate – that you don’t often see nowadays.

After all, if it comes down – after 40 years – to he/said, he/said, and the victimist axioms that the victim must be believed and that lack of evidence should not be allowed to stand in the way of prosecuting a crime are in effect, then there is no defense against anything that might be ‘claimed’.

But the story keeps tossing logs onto the fire. Neatly inserting the memory of the Father Porter case**, in which MacLeish played a major role, MacLeish was asked by a reporter – in what must be an incisive and prescient question – whether his own personal history of any sexual abuse was at least partially motivating his impetus in this type of case. MacLeish emphatically denied it.

It was true, he admitted to the reporter, that he had been “assaulted by a much older friend when he was on a camping trip at the age of 15, when he was a copy-boy at a Washington radio station”.

So MacLeish certainly didn’t have a ‘repressed’ or ‘recovered’ memory of that incident at least; nor had he a genuinely (to the extent that the term applies) repressed memory in regard to his English prep school experiences.

And he certainly put himself in situations (the Washington incident was not one of custodial influence or coercion) where he was alone in remote places overnight at close quarters with males.

Be that as it may, MacLeish now “has a different opinion”.

Remarkably, he undermines any repressed or recovered memory implications by then stating that “I never forgot what happened to me as a younger child, but I didn’t place much significance on it, which was totally irrational”.

Well, yes but no.

If as a child – although closer to a teen than to an infant – he felt no significance, then it is at least perfectly plausible that he felt no significance because – well – he felt no significance. In other words, that at least at the non-assaultive level of ‘molesting’ the human psyche – at least at the level of teen – can handle such events. Surely, MacLeish’s own later history (that camping trip in D.C.) supports the possibility that he continued to have – perhaps even to seek out – opportunities for some level of relating to older males.

That is not at all to suggest that he sought sexual encounters – no matter how low a level (i.e. non-genital) – with older males, nor is it to imply that any adult who is in some way given the opportunity to develop a relationship with someone much younger (but not a child) has any right to be taking sexual advantage.

But there is surely more here than meets the eye of ‘The Boston Globe’.

Of course, if there wasn’t some sort of ‘sexual trauma’ then how else explain MacLeish’s remarkable and comprehensive melt-down in mid-life?

Which suggest to me that any explanatory alternative to the ‘sexual molestation’ script would take both Mr. MacLeish and the ‘Globe’ to places they’d rather not go.

Yet clearly there are such alternative explanations.

He says that his career “was built on suing the state, the Roman Catholic Church, and Harvard University”. Which may well indicate the type of personal temperament that is well-placed in a career in civil law. But you take a big leap if you then also assert that PTSD stemming from trauma-level emotional and psychic damage manifested itself in your motivation to sue ‘institutions’ (presumably, and the story doesn’t get into it, for matters about sexual-abuse).

And it goes without saying that a civil case, against a defendant organization with untold reachable assets, in a time of Mania where standard and traditional jurisprudential protections such as Rules of Evidence, Statutes of Limitation, and the Presumption of Innocence are greatly weakened, would be the opportunity of a lifetime for any hot-shot big-firm attorney (or any attorney with the price of a filing fee).

Thus when the story refers to “his demons” I’m not sure whether those demons were the result of sexual experiences or – and examples of this are legion, especially in America – the hardly rare consequences of hard-driving and ambitious persons who neglect their emotional lives in order to get ahead.

And, it can’t be ruled out, any guilt that might have accrued from doing things that – like more than a few of those Vietnam troops – you shouldn’t have done and that you then can’t easily live with or continue to repress.

Especially when you hit mid-life and realize that you are now closer to the far-end of the trail than to the beginning.

At this point, and despite his not insubstantial insights into himself and the possibility of therapy that could restore an efficacious balance in his life, MacLeish has no intention of going back to the practice of law.

Well, that’s his choice. The high-paced life takes a serious toll and an adult who decides to opt out of it is surely reasonable.

Whether there are other reasons why he isn’t going back – perhaps why he left in the first place – is a question to which there is presently no clear answer.

But one can only wish him well in trying to restructure his life.

But his deployment of that “totally irrational” trope is, once again, a now-classic nod to the conventional wisdom that Of course sexual abuse when you’re young (or at any age) is going to cause irreparable and unmanageable ‘trauma’.

And, as I said, his own experiences give the lie to that grossly un-established ‘wisdom’.

So what am I saying here?

About Catholic priests: There are certainly some seriously deformed persons among their ranks – although whether there are proportionally more than in other professions and among the clergy of other faiths or among adults generally is an interesting question that has yet to be addressed sufficiently. And how many of them have offended against children in grossly and egregiously assaultive ways and how many of them have offended at the level of the ever-elastic ‘molesting’ is another question. And, as in all trials in a time of Mania, how many were given fair and reasonable trials – among the verrrrrry few trials that have actually been held – is another question.

About the absolute insistence that any unwanted sexual experience – no matter how mild – causes permanent and unmanageable damage to any human being: That seems to be an assertion in great need of substantiation. The human species, young as it is in relative terms, has survived an awful lot of stuff, thereby proving its robustness and resilience, and all of that during a period when – if various advocacy historical assertions be credited – sexual liberties and even genuine crimes were far more rampant than in the current era. Which is not to ‘minimize’ or to ‘justify’ but merely to point out that ‘victimist’ (if I may) thought ignores and indeed disrespects the obvious strengths of the human psyche as demonstrated over the few millennia the species has been in business.

About the ‘Globe’ and its story-telling: Clearly, either not enough thought is going into the pre-publication assessment of these pieces or else there is a premeditated and sustained selectivity in them, designed – one can only conclude – to manipulate public opinion rather than to inform it. And at least in part for the paper’s pecuniary gain and reputational enhancement. The purpose of ‘the press’ is to inform the public as fully and accurately as possible, so that the public – in its role as The People – might judge how well government is handling matters of significant public import. The willful and premeditated creation of a vivid but inaccurate ‘story’, for the purposes of making the paper more attractive for purchasers, cannot in the larger perspective be any less a molestation and abuse (and perhaps assault) against The People than the majority of those accused of such ‘molesting’ against individuals.


*I know – you may ask why such a paper would really hesitate out of scruples and deprive itself of the opportunity; why wouldn’t it simply toss in the idea and figure that the force of the Mania would carry it along regardless of accuracy? That’s the type of mystery you get in this Mania.

**A 1990 Massachusetts case that heralded the 2nd Wave as well as coincided with the overall inception of the formal Sex Offense Mania in this country; that accused, Father James Porter, was – as best can be determined – a genuinely sex-obsessed man who actually petitioned successfully to be defrocked, got married, raised a family and then was convicted of molesting a baby-sitter. He died in 2005 of cancer, in his 70s, while confined to a hospital, having completed his sentence and awaiting a civil-commitment Hearing.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Another excellent little piece on the always-useful Sex Offender Research site prompts some thoughts.

The piece is entitled “Sex offender registry generates interest, not violence”; it’s listed under the date of Sunday, April 11, 2010.

The title of the piece is NOT intended as a statement of fact; rather it reflects what seems to be an interesting twist on Registry-supporters’ justification for the things.

The piece starts off with the admission by some gent, a Mr. Streveler, “who was deeply involved in the roll-out of [his state, Wisconsin’s] SO registry in June, 1997” that he had “sleepless nights” as they approached roll-out day.

Specifically, he was worried that releasing personal information about those accused of sex crimes “would lead to violent acts like some committed in other states”. The man, to this extent, is no fool.

Of course, as I noted as far back as my series of Posts on New Jersey’s Megan’s Law (affirmed in its Constitutionality by the New Jersey Supreme Court in 1995), “violence” was being far too narrowly defined by the Registry-SORNA supporters: while overt physical violence is the easiest and most obvious definition, you have to also factor in the myriad acts of non-physical violence.

Acts – even expressions – of revulsion, avoidance, opprobrium, against either the registrant or his family (including the children)or against his employer for giving him a job … all these were potential consequences of any form of public notification; and the wider the notification, the wider the potential negative consequences. And in the atmosphere of a full-blown societal Mania, were not only ‘possible’ but ‘probable’ – unless you presumed that the Citizens of your State were not humans, but angels.

It’s been a characteristic of many societal initiatives of the past decades that they assume a citizenry composed of utterly rational creatures, resembling not so much humans as Vulcans – a nation of Spocks, rather than Bones or Scotty or even Kirks. While not going that far – you may recall – the New Jersey Supreme Court piously bleated that it wouldn’t stoop to being so negative as to imagine that the citizens of that Great State would in any way misuse the Megan’s Law registry for “violent” purposes.

And in a doubling of the whammy, that Court also got itself off the hook by narrowly defining “violence” as merely the overt physical kind.

But humans are a young species as Time goes, and comprised of a certain volatile capacity (it goes with having emotions), and also of a certain capacity for darkness and violence. A violence that exists along a spectrum from major physical assault to an upturned eyebrow and a lot of stuff in between: for example, gossip and grass-roots neighborhood or community campaigns to get unattractive or undesirable people out of their midst, and to make them feel grossly uncomfortable and unwanted in the process.

Which can pretty much wreck the possibility of living a life among that bunch of folks. Which would suit those folks just fine – get out and go somewhere else; get in your car (when you’ve replaced the slashed tires) and drive out of our community. If your car isn’t repossessed because we’ve gotten you fired from your job.

But all this genuine – if not overtly physical – violence is conveniently ignored by legislators and judges who simply couldn’t see this happening on Planet Vulcan. Although they conveniently forget that they are operating on Planet Earth.

Back to Mr. Streveler who - we are expected to be happy to discover – has found great relief in deciding (he would probably prefer ‘realizing’) that such deadly violence hasn’t happened in his Great State of Wisconsin “like some committed in other States”. So this is Wisconsin-Vulcan, and not Wisconsin-Earth … make a note to spend some quality vacation time there, however that paradise may be reached by commercial transport.

The Sex Offender site helpfully adds links to reports of overt violence, in case you feel like Mr. Streveler is a much more observant citizen than you are.

But of course, he realizes that there have been “sporadic picketing, acts of vandalism, and name-calling directed at sex-offenders” in the past 13 years. But that’s not anything that will rob him of his sleep. Although of course these acts – if you follow the usual advocacy rule of thumb – are under-reported by a factor of 10; or that a steady-diet of under-reported raised eyebrows and anonymous letters to your employer or against your family can pretty much poison any civic participation whatsoever.

Or that a steady diet of inflicting such regimes upon an SO or – now that the Registries are soooo available – numerous SOs and their families simultaneously can pretty much poison the civic morality of an entire community. And its local government, police, and jurists. Oh, and its media.

On the bright side, and Mr. Streveler is nothing if not cheerible, there is now “an intense interest in the whereabouts” of SOs.

Well, the community that persecutes together stays together – and God knows modern American society needs as much bonding-experience as possible.

He points to the “incredible volume” of ‘hits’ on the SO Registry website. Although the motivations of such ‘hitters’ can range from absent-minded curiosity to a rather focused pretext for feeling some good old-fashioned darkness, and violence anywhere along that spectrum that reaches down to that type of ‘nice people’ can, like a slow-working corrosive acid, wreck any life.

Nor would I rule out ‘supporters’ simply getting on-line and punching up a site many times a day just to ‘keep the numbers up’. No, nowadays I wouldn’t rule that out at all. Such is our modern American reality.

The piece lists 2009 figures (it is unclear whether this is nation-wide or only Wisconsin-wide) of “77 million hits, 57 million page views, and 1.6 million visits”. I’m not sure what the difference is between a ‘hit’ and a ‘visit’ – but surely the population of Wisconsin is demonstrating some level of interest beyond-healthy if it has spent so much time trolling the Registry site. This is wayyyy more than ‘public interest’. Especially if you’re just checking up your own local community’s listings.

He consoles himself: “People are using [the Registry site] for their own purposes and it’s a good public service”. Well, I’d say that those “purposes” can extend along a rather long, wide, and disturbing spectrum.

And it strikes me that so numerous an amount of hits and visits (assuming that the ‘supporters’ aren’t just driving up the numbers) begins to suggest folks going to the Registry site the way some sports fans go to sports-stats sites.

Or, frankly, that the Mania has now spawned some weird version of Sex Offense Porn, where ‘normal’ and ‘nice’ folks go to read the entries – and maybe thereby cheaply reassure themselves that no matter how much they’ve frakked up their lives at least they’re didn’t do that. And maybe kids are going there for even more laffs (you wonder if these sites should be off-limits to kids or immature types … but this is Vulcan, so of course even the kids are mature as well as all the adults).

And since, the piece notes, about 100 SOs a month are being added to the (presumably State) list, then “public interest will only rise”.

Yes, I agree. But I question profoundly the nature and quality of that ‘interest’.

Says one police person assigned to the SO problem "I don't see anything wrong with it …the more people educate themselves to their surroundings, the better we all are." So all of this has been merely to “educate people into their surroundings”.

They weren’t aware of the possibility of sexual offenses before the era of the Registry?

This entire frakkulent Mania has been for the purpose of ‘consciousness-raising’?

Couldn’t the government simply have put up some posters – as in World War 2 – reminding folks about the possibility of sex offenses the same way it used to warn that “Loose lips sink ships” or advise folks to ask themselves frequently “Is this trip necessary?”?

No, there’s wayyyyy more behind this decades-long Mania – and all its crapulent laws – than simply ‘informing’ people.

And if States now want to vividly mark drivers licenses or even auto registration plates with some type of vivid this-is-a- sex-offender warning, then we are heading not simply toward the ‘scarlet letter’ (too tame and insufficient an image) but toward the Colored Star system of that German government of 1933-1945.

Recall that back in that time and place, that German government already had a registry (3x5 cards) of folks it wanted to keep an eye on. The Colored Star (the color depended on what type of undesirable you were) was not to help the police but rather to incite the public to – ummmm – follow its own emotions and ‘purposes’.

This is not progress; this is regress. And regression to a verrrry dark place indeed.

So when you say that the public is putting the Registries to use for its own purposes – well, you’re being too clever by half. Those purposes are not at all guaranteed to run something like this: There is a sex-offender with a conviction against an adult down at number 121, kids, so we’ve put our heads together and here’s the Family Plan with a whole bunch of things you kids have to do as a preventative, but remember that he’s a human being and deserves your respect.

No, it’s probably something like this: That guy down at 121 is a sex-offender and we have to get rid of him because they all have a high recidivism rate and who cares what he likes – kids, adults, males, females, or bunny rabbit – because they’re all the type of people you don’t want driving down your property values, so let’s get the neighbors together and get this guy outta here.

But far too much of officialdom is of the opinion that this is Wisconsin-Vulcan, and not Wisconsin-Earth.

It would help, I think, if they recalled that Sin is built into all human beings … but of course that wouldn’t concentrate the opprobrium on a nice, easily marginalized group (however dishonestly the government has achieved that illusion); it would, instead, remind everybody that they are sinners, and that’s just 'religion' so it's a private affair (and certainly wouldn’t further the pols’ re-election prospects).

That same police person is also apparently under the impression that she is protecting the Wisconsin of Planet Vulcan: Yes, “emotions do run high” when folks find out that an SO is living (or has been living for years) in their neighborhood, she says; but, she says, she always “cautions people against trying to make [the SOs’] lives miserable”.

In a time of Mania – and that extends to all the Great States – a simply “caution” by a police person really isn’t going to do too much. When local emotions “run high” in a time of Mania, you are thinking like Pollyanna or like a Vulcan if you think that a simple caution will prevent trouble.

“You need for them to have a normal life” she burbles, apparently untroubled by the fact that high and negative town-wide emotions are going to pretty much tend toward achieving the very opposite result.

And, of course, in best human fashion, the question may well be raised: If they’re not normal, why should we all let them have a normal life?

Which is the awesome, ominous, profoundly corrosive Question at the very heart of the political and societal dynamic of the SO Mania.

People like Mr. Streveler and this police person apparently salve their consciences by pooh-poohing the awful potentials of the enraged human (whose consciousness has been ‘alerted’ to what’s going on around them). This police person reports that she hasn’t seen any “major” problems with offenders being harassed by residents. No doubt her definition of “major” is restricted to death and maiming.

And has it not occurred to anybody among them that for decades the Feds have been making law after law specifically aimed at eliminating “harassment” – and for the purposes of those laws that ‘harassment’ is verrrrrry broadly defined. To violate the harassment laws against a favored Identity these days, you needn’t do more than make a facial expression or a single passing comment (and in ‘sexual harassment’ matters, you don’t even have to intend any sexual meaning … it’s up to the reporting harassee to ‘define’ what the harassment is).

But for SOs, ‘harassment’ has to rise to the level of death or maiming. Otherwise, it’s just the public putting the information to use for its own purposes.

You might wonder if all those Germans in the 1930s got up every morning and purposely and deliberately planned to disrespect the fundamental humanity (and rights) of others of their community. I’m thinking not; the human thing – alas – is to convince yourself that what you’re doing is in a good cause and perfectly ‘normal’. Ja. Yah.

Can anyone NOT see the whackness here?

“You can’t give these guys a hard time”, the officer continues, because “they’re in our community”.

Nice. Very nice.

Or at least: they’re in the community for only as long as it takes for folks to devise enough ways to finally get them out of the community.

Another officer has the unhappy habit of referring to SOs who are beyond the time of Registration requirements as “unsupervised sex offenders” – as if they were somehow out of compliance with the law and still ‘at large’. (And I have to wonder how many such folks have been bundled into John Walsh’s “100,000” number – to the extent that he and others like him try for any legitimacy in ‘the numbers’ at all.)

But of course, this reflects the grossly anti-Constitutional (and, I’ll say it, un-American) assumption that once a convict then always a convict; and thus the country now has a ‘convict-class’ of unworthy less-than-Citizens who must be permanently tagged and deprived of rights. (And the license and auto-tag markings would then be the ‘yellow internal passport’ imposed by the French Revolutionary government, and the Communists after them).

And you aren’t going to convince me that the for-the-moment failed National ID Card gambit wasn’t going to include a ‘sex offender’ (broadly defined, and no distinction as to present, former, or future) byte in the encoded ‘identity’ strip.

And the fact that this frakkulously regressive political development is clothed in the helpful and informed burblings of therapeutic experts and intended only to ‘help’ and to ‘inform’ will not be able to neutralize the awful consequences of this whole thing.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


As you may have noticed, the Catholic Priest Sex Abuse tornado has circled around and blows through town for – by my count – the fourth time now.

I have already Posted on that curious phenomenon on my other site and you can read that here if you wish. This phenomenon is a sub-variant of the general Sex Offense Mania and I look at it as the result of a synergy of all sorts of larger and deeper forces in American society.
My concern in this Post on this site is a bit more specific.

I came across an article today about a priest from India – now back in India – who, years later, is charged with “sexually assaulting” a “teenage parishioner”. Or, at least, the charges are just now being publicized.

As always, I hold no brief for anyone who takes liberties with another human being, especially when that anyone is in a position of trust or authority.

I also don’t like stampedes. And while they’re physically dangerous when you’re talking about Texas Longhorns, they’re politically and morally dangerous when you’re talking about people, especially Citizens responsible for a Constitutional Republic.

That being said, and meant, there are some other points.

First, of course, is that “sexual assault” – the trusty vague phrase that can mean anything from something approaching Attempted Rape to something like a pat on the behind (or, for that matter, on the head, since as I noted in my last Post it seems acceptable in Sex Offense jurisprudence now to infer a ‘sexual’ motivation even if it isn’t actually there).

The parishioner is a 16 year-old female, which while it certainly does not excuse improper behavior indicates that this is not the Lindbergh Baby case either.

Curiously, there isn’t too much of a timeline given. But what there is indicates that he came to this country in 2004, worked in a small parish in northern Minnesota, and then in 2005 returned to India – the article says – because his mother was ill.

Half a decade later and the case is part of the 4th Wave.

There is no reason given by the local prosecutor as to why it has taken half a decade to bring the case to light, or why the US government has not yet moved for his extradition.

An ecclesiastical official in India said that in light of the public criticism that has arisen, the priest “has a duty to establish his innocence”. I’d like to point out a couple of things about that comment.

In the first place, in the context of the Catholic Church, with the priest being an official representative and the matter receiving – as it now is – wide publicity, then the publicity itself now creates its own variable in the equation: there is the matter of “scandal”. In Catholic organizational and legal usage this term means that there is an event or action which might subject the faithful to unnecessary and unwarranted doubt as to the integrity of the Church.

When a matter which had been previously dealt with without such a publicized dimension is suddenly raised up by publicity, it is not so much a matter of the American popular usage of the word ‘scandal’ (something bad had been ‘hidden’ or ‘swept under the rug’ and has been finally brought to light); in theory – and in this case – official Church procedures were deployed and the priest in this case was sanctioned by his bishop –in this case, the priest is no longer working in parishes but rather in a special-ministry with alcoholics (where, presumably, he will be working with few if any children).

Rome – the Vatican – had apparently wanted the priest removed from all ministry, possibly ‘defrocked’ – although the article is not quite clear on this. Whether Rome did it because what the priest was determined to have actually done after ecclesiastical investigation and adjudication was serious enough to justify defrocking, or whether Rome made its recommendation to the priest’s ‘home’ bishop in India simply because the general atmosphere of Mania in the US would pretty much guarantee a situation of probable ‘scandal’ for the faithful … this is an interesting question, not dealt with in the article.

At any rate, in the Catholic system, the ultimate decision was in the hands of the local bishop. This is contrary to a popular impression that the Church functions much as the US military – where ‘Washington’ or ‘the Pentagon’ can issue a definitive order to any forces and local commanders anywhere in the world. In this sense, Catholic organizational practice is actually similar to the American State-rather-than-Federal arrangement, where the ultimate authority rests with the ‘local authority’ – the State – rather than with the Federal authority. (Although in the SO Mania over here we have seen a consistent effort by the Feds to horn in on the States’ Xth Amendment authority – as evidenced in the AWA and other legislation.)

The local bishop in India made his decision that the priest would no longer be allowed to work in parishes; but that he would be allowed to continue exercising his calling in other ministry settings where ‘children’ are not present, nor where the assorted ‘home’ or other ‘informal’ or ‘domestic’ settings organically arising from parish ministry would arise; the priest would work in a setting that by its nature was structured to preclude such informal interactions with the alcoholics.

In this way – in the Catholic view of things – the erring priest (to the extent – one must always say in matters of the SO Mania – that he had indeed erred) was removed from a setting that would place him in occasions of ‘temptation’, and the faithful and the Church would both be preserved from ‘scandal’ and not deprived of his actual services while the priest himself would be allowed to fulfill his calling.

This is – if you take a look at my Post on the other site – a pretty standard example of the Church’s overall ‘patience’ and ‘prudence’ in such matters of priestly weakness, seeking both to maintain the integrity of the ministry while allowing a priest with a demonstrated weakness (to the extent that applies here) to continue to carry on his life-calling.

It is, most certainly, an approach that is hell-and-gone from the more radically ‘impatient’ American approach – so similar to the general Fundamentalistic approach (see my Post on the other site) – whereby ‘evil’ must be immediately rooted out and destroyed vividly. This Fundamentalistic approach, the ‘impatient’ approach in my terminology, informs the SO Mania over here.

As does the ‘zero tolerance’ policy, which actually includes not only an absolute intolerance of ‘evil’ but also the vivid and utter erasure of the offender’s life possibilities.

While nobody can accuse the Church of not being interested in ‘evil’, it has always been rather interested in ‘good’ as well – and the Catholic (as opposed to Fundamentalistic) approach has always been to salvage whatever good is possible from a situation.

This is premised upon a rather common-sense awareness that ‘evil’ does not exist in the abstract, but rather manifests through the lives of individual human beings, and you want to try to avoid creating more damage with your solution than existed with the problem in the first place (and can you say Iraq War?).

Also, the Church has always realized that ‘sin’ is more relevant an operational concept than ‘evil’, since the concept of ‘sin’ includes the human life through which ‘evil’ manifests itself in the world. If you simply grab an edged-tool and start scything away in the field seeking to immediately inflict zero-tolerance on the tares, you are going to wind up cutting up a lot of still-growing wheat.

Which, also, does not mean to imply that some people are ‘tares’ (or weeds, and therefore totally evil) and other people are wheat (and therefore totally good). In the ‘field’ of each human individual, there is some amount of weed (evil) among the wheat (good) … that has always been the Catholic approach.*

And again, to the Fundamentalistic** mentality that has proven so crucially formative in the SO Mania, this can easily be spun into the more sensationalistic ‘script’ of ‘corruption finally uncovered’ that – nicely –also appeals to America’s increasingly sensationalistic media.

In the second place, I’d note that the comment of the ecclesiastical authority in India that it is the priest’s “duty to prove his innocence” must be taken as an expression of this Church requirement that the faithful not be scandalized. As an official representative of the Church, he must respond actively to such accusations – since not doing so (human nature being what it is) would lead the average person (in the American setting, anyway) to assume that the government charges are accurate and that the priest is therefore guilty as charged.

But I would not at all accept this comment as reflecting traditional Western legal theory, especially as it is woven deeply into the fabric of the Constitutional vision and ethos: one is innocent until proven guilty, and it is the government’s responsibility to prove guilt.

It is hugely regrettable, I think, that in 2002 the American bishops chose to ‘settle’ in civil courts (for sums in ‘damages’ that now total in the billions of dollars) rather than accept the route of defending priests in criminal trials.

Yes, sound legal advice from the Church’s organizational legal advisers might very practically have justified that approach: the sight of dozens or even hundreds of criminal trials involving priests as defendants might itself have provided ‘scandal’. And in a time of Mania Law – especially given the deformations introduced into such classic jurisprudential protections as Rule of Evidence and Statutes of Limitations, and the monstrously selective and hostile ‘reporting’ done by most of the media – a seasoned legal professional might have decided that it would be impossible to guarantee the possibility of an uncontaminated trial-process.

But the result of choosing the ‘civil settlement’ route has been equally disastrous. Such a surrender merely engorged and further inflamed the appetite for financial gain. And many accused priests were deprived of a chance to defend themselves. And many of the faithful, confronted with the jaw-dropping sight of the American Church truckling so quickly and shelling out billions without – as it were – a fight, led many to believe that the nightmare scenarios limned by the accusers and their representatives were largely accurate (which has not been established).

Only a little less so, I am going to imagine, have been any plea-bargains made. Yes, seasoned defense counsel now take it as given that a defendant in the current climate and in light of the assorted deformities that have now been formally introduced into the American legal system has a poor chance of establishing innocence in a rational and traditionally Constitutional way. But most Americans still operate on the assumption – now utterly outdated by events – that only ‘guilty’ people make plea-bargains; whereas many defendants now accept plea-bargains imposed by prosecutors who know that the defendant’s only other option is to face a trial on a greatly skewed field.

And that further reinforces the ‘scandal’ of many of the faithful presuming that priest-defendants are indeed almost always ‘guilty as charged’. Which may well not be the case at all.

Most interestingly, of course, the idea of guilty-until-you-prove-yourself-innocent is precisely the anti-Constitutional presumption woven into the very core of the SO Mania legal approach.

And that stems from the very fundaments of so-called ‘feminist’ law or – to use my term – its further enshrinement in ‘victimist’ law. Which is demonstrated clearly in a comment in the article made by the (female) prosecutor up in Minnesota: “We want justice for the victim here and we want to do whatever we can to protect potential future victims everywhere”.

This is an almost pitch-perfect encapsulation of the frakkery of this ‘new’ type of legal thinking.

In the first place, nobody is formally a ‘victim’ until they are proven so in a court. It has been a great conceptual trick – ‘rhetorical’ in the classic sense – of feminist/victimist law that anyone who makes the claim to be a ‘victim’ must surely indeed be a victim.

And from that flows the further frakkulent assumption that to ‘question’ the victim further or to ‘doubt’ the victim’s allegations or ‘story’ constitutes a further ‘re-victimizing’ of the ‘victim’. Recently one Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor and now second-tier law school ‘victim’ maven, opined that she’s glad victims no longer are ‘denied justice’ just because there’s no evidence. (Yes, she’s a lawyer – and a law professor.)

Instantly, the entire process of formally establishing guilt or innocence is utterly undermined. Because then if there is a ‘victim’, and that ‘victim’ must be assumed to be truthful (and ‘good’), then whomever the victim has accused must indeed be cast as a ‘perp’ (and therefore utterly ‘evil’). At which point the necessary elements for a melodramatic, soap-opera type ‘script’ are in place. And let the games begin.

The legitimate insight underlying this dynamic of feminist/victimist law is that many crimes can thus remain hidden because there is insufficient evidence to prove that they actually took place.

This however is hardly a new observation. You may recall that in the film version of ‘Camelot’ – now almost half a century ago – one of the old-school barons approaches King Arthur, who had just established the fundaments of evidentiary law against the old Medieval concept of ‘intuition of guilt is enough to justify the presumption of guilt’. The baron reproaches Arthur for such a new-fangled approach: “So, no evidence no crime, then?”

But the position Arthur takes in the film is actually the (pre-feminist/victimist) Constitutional approach enshrined in Western and American jurisprudence: you cannot permit the police power of the government (or the ‘sovereign’) to impose its awesome capacities against any individual unless you make the government/sovereign authority clearly prove that such a deployment is justified. And you can only establish that by making the government demonstrate that its evidence is beyond any reasonable doubt.

So – alas – what feminist/victimist law has done (and continues to do) since its espousal by the government (no surprise there) in the 1970s is to re-introduce the old Medieval concept that ‘intuition of guilt is proof of guilt’. Or to put it less formally: if it feels like he’s guilty, then he is guilty. This is not progress and it is not ‘progressive’. It is regress and it is frakkulously ‘regressive’. (And again, you can see what has happened not only in the SO Mania but also in the ‘justifications’ put forth for the invasion of Iraq after 9/11.)

It’s not hard to understand the frustration built into the classic post-Medieval Western legal system: a crime can indeed be ‘hidden’ in the sense that there is not sufficient evidence to clearly justify the deployment of the government police power against the alleged perpetrator.

But the only alternative is to have the government police power deployed merely on the basis of ‘feelings’ and ‘intuitions’ – and that is death to the post-Medieval Western political concept of limited government. And this is not essentially resolved by the government raising up the ‘victim’ to ‘front for’ the engorgement and un-limiting of its police power. (And again, you can see the lethal effects of this ‘new’ development in other areas of government activity, including the invasion of other sovereign nations, whether on neocon or neoliberal grounds.)

Further, this prosecutor’s comment touches the ominous but oh-so-Correct base of ‘preventing’ further harms to “potential victims”. Which boils down to the government deploying its police power against non-existent criminal actions. And this constitutes a core dynamic motivating and sustaining the Regulatory-Preventive State, whereby the police power can now be deployed even where no crime has yet been committed.

Because, built into the post-Medieval Western concept of limited-government is the assumption that there is only so much a limited-government can do. Beyond which boundary a government escapes its ‘limits’ and you are hell-and-gone from the classic Western genius and into some other, far more ominous, form of government.

I add that such a development – as I have said before – is virtually guaranteed if you take Carol Gilligan’s 1982 mommy-at-the-breakfast-table vision (Mommy knows best and must provide whatever she feels is best to calm her squalling, immature children) and try to erect it into a philosophy of government.

But with the hugely-dangerous adoption of the Gilligan insight by the vote-addled Beltway, the most indispensable basis of Constitutional vision and ethos is thoroughly undermined. The government will deploy its police power a) on the basis of feelings and intuitions about b) what may happen and c) its intentions are so ‘good’ or the ‘emergency’ created by ‘pain’ is sooo great that it may not be effectively questioned.

If it is not clear just where this must lead, then folks have really and truly lost touch with the fundamental genius of Western and American government.

And if that is so, and it is not widely considered worthwhile to reverse this trend, then this country is indeed no longer in touch with its Founding genius and it is truly ‘decadent’ in the most basic (and ominous) sense of that term.


* And – I say again – you can imagine how Iraq might have turned out had the Catholic rather than the Fundamentalistic approach had been taken; in a sense the Catholic view would support the ‘diplomacy’ approach and the Fundamentalistic approach demands the ‘military’ approach.

Thus also, you can see why the Fundamentalistic Ascendancy in American politics (and most surely in the military chaplaincies and senior leadership) was so dead-set against the Catholic vision and the Catholic approach. Neither the neocon militarization approach nor the neoliberal ‘humanitarian intervention’ approach (equally militarized) are looking for the obstructions to the imposition of their will and the fulfillment of their ‘visions’ that a Catholic ‘patience’ and diplomacy would present.

**I also point out here that the Fundamentalistic 'impatience' and impetus toward the 'radical rooting out and punishing' of 'evil' is itself very similar to the Leninist and Maoist 'revolutionary' impatience with in-Correct thinking. This is not so surprising, for two reasons.

First, the late-19th and early-20th century 'revolutionary' approach was a secularized version of the Fundamentalistic approach always latent, and often not-so-latent in Reformation-era Protestant thought.

Second, the radical 'revolutionary' approach very greatly informed early, radical feminist thought and praxis as it came to then be espoused by the political 'elites' over here starting in the early 1970s.


The article adds a second report of a priest who was accused of “fondling” a 12 year-old altar server (female) at her apartment in 2003, for which a New York court sentenced him to four months “in prison”. The priest served the time, returned to his native India, and is now working with alcoholics and is not in parish work. Which the article seems to consider more or less outrageous.

It’s odd that in 2003, a full year after the 3rd Wave began on Jan. 2, 2002 with the ‘Boston Globe’, an American court – and in New York, no less – would give such a short sentence for a substantive sex offense charge against a minor. And so short a sentence usually means ‘jail time’ in a county lock-up, not full-scale ‘prison time’ – which usually indicates a sentence of at least a year.


As if by inadvertence, the 'Boston Globe' - whose 'reporting' enabled the 3rd phase of the Mania in 2002 (it also supported the invasion of Iraq) and now fuels the 4th - today 'reports' on its own stunning marvelousness in a front-page, above-the-fold story.