Tuesday, May 29, 2012


I want to spend a couple of Posts looking at this recent book*.

The author is a professor of Anthropology and Cultural Studies at George Mason University.

One evening he discovered on the news that a friend had been arrested for an alleged sex crime. And as things turned out, that got him looking carefully at what he came to see – as neatly put in his book’s title – as Sex Panic and its relationship to an emerging Punitive State in this country.

I want to trace some of his major points in this and a subsequent Post. This won’t be a comprehensive or formal ‘review’, but rather I will follow his thought and comment as I go.

But I will say this at the outset: if you read this book, and follow up on the book and article references he makes in the text, you are going to have a solid grounding in basic SO Mania matters.  And don’t skip the Notes, since there is informative commentary and discussion there as well as in the text itself.

Lancaster’s (henceforth: “RL”) concern is that this country has developed a politics and government based on panic and fear. And while he notes one strain of thought that says this development only began with 9/11, RL has come to realize that there were things going on long before 9/11. And by that he means what I would call the SO Mania and its Regime of laws, tactics, presumptions, objectives, targets, and all the pandemonium of ‘allies and alliances’ that have come to provide the matrix from with this Mania draws its strength.

I would add that the Question that was never asked, of course, several decades ago was: What sort of government will it take to operate a politics and governance based on panic and fear?  

And, more specifically: how will the American government have to change in order to become a government based on panic and fear? What will such a change do to the government established by the Framers and to their Vision which the Constitution was intended to sustain?

And – even more ominously: What will have to be done to the American public – to The People – in order to get them to accept such a change in governance?

Of course part of the scam all along has been to sidestep those Questions – and the Consequences implicit in the ‘changes’ (neatly spun as ‘liberating reforms’) by stoking as much ‘outrage’ as possible, as well as the panic and the fear. There’s no easier way to break down fences that are in your way than to get the herd to stampede; anybody who’s ever watched an old Western movie knows that.

That much of that fencing was put up by the Framers and contained in classical Western principles of reason and law was yet another vital reality that was sidestepped or overrun by the Stampede and by the Mania.

The result being that now this government is a punitive government: it sees itself as acting as an agent of vengeance (or – if you want to put it in nicer, therapeutic terms – ‘closure’) for all manner of self-declared or presumed ‘victims’ who are in this scripting the only real Citizens. Other Citizens – the ones who are claimed to be their oppressors or the perpetrators of their pains – have quietly but surely become not Citizens but ‘perps’, ‘offenders’, and other types of a life-form that enjoys no Constitutional status, but rather exist – in the script – as the Necessary Evil Bad Guy (so often a ‘guy’) whose only role in the nation’s life is to be eradicated by the Good Guys wielding the Sovereign police and coercive authority.

Worse, this government is now a carceral government: all that punitive convicting has resulted in the fact that this country incarcerates a larger proportion of its Citizens than any other nation since Stalin ran the Gulag.

If you think about that for a moment, you may well be struck by what appears to be a vicious irony: after several decades of ‘responsive’ government seeking to ‘liberate’ so many of its Citizens from this or that ‘oppression’, the country is now the largest imprisoner of its Citizens on the planet.

Of course, there are all sorts of tactical ‘bennies’ to this plan. Large numbers of males are – by virtue of now being felons – removed from the voter rolls. Large numbers of jobs are created in the burgeoning prison-industry and the fresh ‘business’ created in the localities where these prisons are built (by local contractors, of course). And all of those prisoners are also removed from the unemployment figures. Something for everyone! And this doesn’t even include the 700-plus thousand on the SO registries (and who knows how many others who were automatically ‘created’ as registerable SO’s by the workings of AWA when Bush signed it into law).

But RL is going for the point – and I support it fully – that this is no unintended and tragic ‘irony’. This was built into the program from the get-go, from the moment when the Beltway decided (with the help of Radical Feminist ‘philosophy’ lifted whole-hog from Marxist-Leninist theory as adapted for use against Western democratic polities by Antonio Gramsci and assorted ‘Eurocommunists’ of the 1960s and 1970s) to treat the Constitution as merely a ‘text’ that is ‘living’.

‘Living’ in the sense that it is plastic, malleable, and probably outmoded and inadequate to modern ‘needs’ as well. A ‘text’ in the sense that whatever the ‘reader’ wants to draw from it is equally as important as, if not more important than, whatever the author(s) intended.

RL raises the incisive point made by Gayle Rubin years ago: at what point do all these ‘reforms’ reach such a quantitative tipping point that they result in profound qualitative changes? Because, as well, these changes – one after another after another – are cumulative: each change builds on and intensifies the effects of the previous change(s).

At what point does such a momentum become irreversible? At what point is such momentum no longer stoppable by normal political processes (such as they have become)? This is not a book for the faint of heart. And it is not a book for folks content to simply watch the playing-out of the melodrama of Good vs. Evil, Innocence Rescued by Brute Force.  And – I would say – for folks who think that you can have a government living out this old film script and still sustain and maintain and keep the democracy and the Constitutional Republic of the Framing Vision.

Even worse, RL notes that according to a Gallup poll in 2005 (just a year before AWA was passed by a small Beltway cabal in an unrecorded vote) two-thirds of Americans don’t worry about the threat to civil liberties posed by the robust ‘war’ against SO’s, whether accused or convicted. So the Citizenry’s own grasp on the fundaments of the Framing Vision and the Constitution has also been weakened, and lethally so.

But this was also part of the game-plan laid out in that Gramscian playbook borrowed by Radical Feminism and bought and paid for with public monies and authority by the Beltway. Potential opponents (male voters) had to be neutralized or eliminated, and the general Citizenry’s very faith in the democratic government had to be somehow subverted or at least corrupted such that the Citizenry would accept the ‘reforms’ as good or at least harmless and wouldn’t oppose the scheme and the agenda.

RL is a little stumped by the fact that ‘liberalism’ could have led to all this. But I think here he – a good ‘liberal’ himself, I would say – is tripped up by the huge gravitational pull that few ‘liberals’ have ever wanted to acknowledge in the past 40 years or so here: post-1972 American ‘liberalism’ is not  so much grounded in traditional American reformist and progressive roots. Rather, it is lethally and toxically contaminated by that importation of early 20th-century Marxist-Leninist theory and praxis.

He is right to note that ‘victim-friendly’ ‘reforms’ were first embraced by the law-and-order Right in the early 1980s – under Reagan – in order to combat what the Right saw as the overly indulgent, accused-friendly thrust of Supreme Court rulings in the 1950s and 1960s; it was a way to ‘get tough’ on crime (“take a bite outta crime”, as MacGruff the crime-fighting pooch put it – if you recall the cartoon figure).

But he spends less time – although he does eventually get around to acknowledging it directly – on Radical-Feminism’s embrace of ‘victimist’ dynamics from the get-go. (More on this when I get to Part 2 of his book.)

And, of course, the Radical Feminism that embraced ‘victimist’ approaches to criminal law was already bloody-minded in its commitment  to the Gramscian assault on the ‘oppressive, hegemonic, marginalizing’ (and ‘patriarchal’ – which the Radical Feminists added to the Gramscian mix) political and cultural status-quo.

And while it took until the Clinton 90’s for Radical Feminist Victimism to truly explode into the Beltway with ‘governance feminism’ (and the Domestic Violence and SO Mania Regimes), its effects were being felt as early as Reagan’s first administration (not coincidentally, also the era of the truly weird and disturbing phenomenon of the Satanic Ritual Child Sex-Abuse Day Care cases of the early 1980s).

And the Beltway had been funding a lot of this dynamic as early as the mid-1970s. And making the first tentative stabs at creating legislation that would embody ‘victim-friendly’ jurispraxis (to counter the ‘soft on criminals’ momentum of the 1950s and 1960s, but also – unwittingly or deliberately – serving the agenda of the Gramscian, Marxist-Leninist assault on ‘patriarchal democracy’ that the Radical Feminists had been working on since the late 1960s and very early 1970s). And all under the banner of a ‘liberalism’ that was hell-and-gone from the classical Liberalism of the 19th century and was – indeed – fundamentally opposed to that Liberalism and to the political embodiment of it in the American political system and the American cultural, political, and legal Universe.

RL offers some very interesting insights into moral panic. There is a great danger in mass societies (using the sociological and anthropological term for highly complex modern societies): they can be set off like – to use my image – tuning forks all crammed into the same room. And if a bad vibration gets started, then it can set all the others off. Stability and balance and ‘good vibes’ are very very fragile achievements in any human society, and especially so in modern mass societies.

The development of cultural traditions and structures help support the genius (in the Latin) of the society; that is to say, the enlivening fundamental wisdom and insight(s) on which the culture and the society are founded and built.

Naturally, in the Gramscian plan of assault on the status-quo, that genius is attacked and every effort is made to undermine it (since it is ‘oppressive, hegemonic, marginalizing’ and – as we’ve seen – ‘patriarchal’). And when the government itself aids and widely abets and deeply embraces this assaultive Stance against its own culture … well, you can imagine where something like that is likely to go.

RL also looks at Baudrillard’s thought that human societies are particularly susceptible to a certain seductive mix of fear and ecstasy. There is something in humans that renders them open to the excitements and the frisson (in the French) of the heady cocktail that results from that combination of emotions. Perhaps humans are always somewhat bored with stability and order, and often with the seemingly humdrum quality of day-to-day life.

If you mix that in with a natural primitiveness that always remains with our species – residing especially in the limbic-emotional system of that part of the brain that existed before the specifically human prefrontal cortex developed, with its capacity for abstraction, self-examination, postponement of immediate gratification and reaction, and thought – then perhaps there is indeed the ‘animal’ in us all, lurking in deep in the more primitive or primal parts of the brain.

Witch-hunts and burnings, and wars and all manner of violent but exciting outbursts, fortified by the exhilarating consolations of being part of a group (or a stampeding herd) … these remain perennial potentials of the species, and most often dangerously so. Such potentials are not easily toyed-with, either in individuals or the societies they form – or in the governments they create. The Framers knew that.

Civilization is a fragile thing.

Yes, crime is a form of violence. But the legal system was created precisely to deal with that in such a way – especially in the Western tradition – that the Sovereign power acted rationally and carefully, first making careful determination as to guilt and only then exercising formally its coercive violence in punishment. Otherwise you wind up with witch-hunts and lynch mobs. Or the even more frightening prospect of the Sovereign power itself acting with non-rational violence – think of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.

In the Framing Vision the Sovereign government power is accurately and complexly envisioned as being both potentially dangerous and as being a necessary brake upon individual or even public violence and non-rationality. It’s a difficult balancing act, but the machinery of the Constitution and the judicial system as the Framers set it up was specifically (and I would say ingeniously) designed to handle those pressures and conflicting dynamics.

But the late 19th and early 20th centuries saw the development of mass societies. And of the ability to manipulate the ‘public opinion’ of those mass societies, through advertising (to sell the products of the Industrial Revolution) and through revolutionary agitprop (think of Lenin and the revolutionaries) and then through government propaganda (think of the Soviet and Fascist and Nazi governments, especially as channeled through the dark genius of Goebbels).

And the ‘free press’ of the Framers’ Vision became a mass media as well as a media for the ‘masses’  – first in print, and then later in the far more potentially inflammatory forms of radio and television (to say nothing of the Web and the internet).

The means came into existence by which governments could govern not necessarily by appealing to reason but simply by manipulating the primal (and primitive) limbic emotional reactions of their citizens. And before long that slippery slope could lead to governments’ not governing by reason at all, but simply imposing their will, surfing the waves of public emotion they purposely churned up to help float the boat of whatever policy the government decided to pursue.

All of this served to amplify two particularly darkish potentials in the human psyche of the citizenry: displacement and reaction-formation. Displacement is the psychic gambit by which unpleasant emotions are simply loaded upon some target that is not necessarily the cause of the unpleasant emotions. Reaction-formation is the psychic gambit by which the revulsion at one’s own psychic darknesses is projected upon some other – or Other – human being or group of humans; you may not be able to beat yourself up without unhappy consequence but you can sure as hell beat somebody else up and get rid of your revulsions that way (although, alas, so very often it becomes a habit and then an addiction).

Humans have been doing this sort of thing since the beginning of recorded history and probably long before. But in mass-societies, with everything amplified by government pressure and the media, things can really get out of hand. And yet seem so very very ‘normal’ and ‘right’.

RL looks at the history of ‘panics’ in this country in the 20th century, with especial attention to ‘sex panics’: following Fritz Lang’s 1931 film “M” – in which a young Peter Lorre played a murderous but self-tortured child-molester – there was a sex-panic that led in a few years to the first concern for ‘sex offenders’ (abetted, with savage irony, by J. Edgar Hoover’s organizationally self-serving amplification of such ‘pervert’ crimes as worthy of the attentions of his nascent FBI); California and other jurisdictions began to look at the first police-registries (think: 3x5 file cards) of ‘perverts’.

The postwar 1940s saw the anti-Communist hunts, which blended with concerns over the sexual looseness induced by the massive dislocations of the war experience (especially on generations that had been young during the Roaring Twenties when ‘morality’ was first considered ‘Victorian’ and outmoded).

The 1950s and early 1960s saw both an effort by psychology to rehabilitate criminals and a corresponding judicial effort to ensure the rights of the accused (after the shocking examples of Jim Crow Southern law deployed against civil-rights demonstrators). But the later 1960s saw a shocking uptick in violent crime and sexual looseness as both the flower-child free-love-and-drugs Boomers and the inner-city populations began to flout all established law and ignited the concerns of the law-and-order Right. Congress got into the act against the federal courts’ lenience with the Omnibus Crime Control Act of 1968 and kept on along those lines.

The 1970s saw the continued efforts to control violent street crime and drugs now blending with a growing feminist concern over rape and domestic violence and ‘victimization’. The Carter Administration began to pump even more funds into the feminist agenda. ‘Children’ began to appear as the archetypal victim of violence, with Ethan Patz (upon whom be peace) the first missing child whose photo appeared on milk cartons in 1977.

But – as mentioned earlier in this Post – the first Reagan administration really saw the ‘victim’ movement move into the big-time with the valorization of victimhood through overt federal recognition, in the form of both funding and government pressure to enact the victimist agenda, as well as the erection of special bureaucratic authorities and Offices specifically designed to ‘assist’ victims.

The image of the archetypal ‘criminal’ shifted from the violent ‘inner city’ type (now politically inconvenient) to the most-often white male ‘pervert’ (now politically convenient).

‘Sex’ now replaced street-violence as the most odious of crimes.

The Satanic Ritual Day Care Child Sex Abuse mini-mania of the early 1980s demonstrated the developing ‘bipartisan’ alliance of anti-male Radical Feminism and law-and-order (and fundamentalist ‘Christian’) concerns.

Ominously, the mantra of eager prosecutors and ‘therapists’ was that the Citizenry should “suspend disbelief” at some of the fantastical stories the children had been helped to tell; “believe the children” became the slogan. To be skeptical of the stories (of dragons and other mythical creatures and sex and vast networks of underground tunnels and sex-rooms beneath the schools) was to be ‘insensitive’ and to ‘re-victimize’ the children; concern for evidence was considered proof of “legal fetishism” – being far too concerned for the law and not concerned enough about the outrage and the pain.

And then came the 1990s, when under the Clintons Radical Feminism, now deeply enmeshed with Victimism, became a major influence in the Beltway. And we all know what resulted from that. The Monster Stranger Predator, incorrigibly recidivist, simultaneously an out-of-control monster and a preternaturally shrewd seducer, was nowhere and everywhere.

What sort of a government it would take to deal with these imagined Monsters … well, as we now know 20 years and more down the road, it would take a police state. But that seemed the thing to do at the time. And still does, to far too many.

The Radical Feminists – as even RL admits – quickly provided a voluminous ‘philosophy’ to justify it all. Although – and RL doesn’t reach this reality – that hefty corpus of ‘thought’ was not the result of some marvelous Radical Feminist and Victimist renaissance or enlightenment burst of creativity; it was the result of scarfing the ready-made tomes of old Marxist-Leninist thought and Gramsci’s playbook, making the appropriate substitutions in terms (‘women’ for ‘proletariat’; sex for labor, patriarchy for capitalism) and waving the ‘numbers’ they got from ‘surveys’ and ‘extrapolations’ that indicated astronomical numbers of offenses and offenders and victims.

Though, as one advocate unintentionally revealed, some outrageous victimization was yet so subtle that it was invisible even to its victims – and victims would have to be educated into realizing they had indeed been victimized.

But then if a police state is going to go after allegedly felonious victimizations this subtle and invisible … well, that was going to take even more intrusion and government coercion than the Soviets took on when they went after ‘counter-revolutionary’ activity with the Cheka, the OGPU, the NKVD and the KGB.

But Americans are a can-do kind of people, so why not try?

The propagandistic narrative – reflecting the film scripts of a medium that pretty much grew alongside the development of mass societies – called for a Pure and Innocent Victim, a leering and utterly debased Villain, and a Heroic Rescuer who would do ‘whatever it takes’ to see the Good rescued and the Evil eliminated. The ancient Manichean either/or set-up: you’re either totally Good or you’re totally Evil (more recently phrased as being “you’re either with us or for the terrorists” so let’s invade Iraq).

The Beltway would be the Guardian and the Rescuer and the Avenger – all rolled into one. And it would do whatever it took to do all that, and if the Constitution got in the way … well, real men don’t fuss over legal niceties and – marvelously – real Radical Feminists don’t believe in Western and Constitutional ‘patriarchal’ law anyway. Bipartisan agreement! (Or, as the French would put it: folie a deux.)

The more Players you can field then the better your chances of taking the trophy. And in the SO Mania game, there is quite a roster.

There are ‘advocates’. But – as I have noted in prior Posts – these are not Level 1 or Level 2 advocates, who are simply Citizens with an idea who get together to persuade their fellow/sister Citizens. Rather, these are Level 3 advocates who sidestep Citizens and move to pressure legislators directly (and secretly) and Level 4 advocates who function pretty much as any other Beltway lobbyists and don’t care whether their cause is good or bad, true or imagined, so long as they can continue to rake in public funding and status.

There is a mainstream media that began its long slide by abandoning ‘objective reporting’ for telling stories and helping ‘shape’ public opinion, and then – in order to keep up circulation and viewership – began to go for the gut-wrenching and the sensational (“if it bleeds, it leads”) regardless of any other considerations (such as asking the utterly vital question: is this a rare and atypical event or is it a major ongoing matter of public significance?).

There are what Gramsci called “organic intellectuals”: those thinkers who will commit to ‘the revolution’ and ‘the cause’ and will make sure that all of their ‘thought’ marvelously results in support for the cause.

There are ‘scientists’ who will do the same, if for no other reason than to keep their eligibility for public funding for their ‘research’.

There are “moral entrepreneurs” who will surf the waves of public excitement to play up the outrage and the ‘moral’ need to do what has to be done with no regard for consequences.

There is an entire pandemonium of semi-and-para-professional ‘therapists’ and ‘experts’ who will come up with all sorts of ‘therapy’ and ‘research’ to show that the whole thing is vitally necessary and very very real and that just about everybody is a victim of it (except, of course, for the perps who by definition cannot be victims).

One thinks here – and RL will mention it – of ‘repressed memory’: I have written about it at length on this site, so I will only add here that it is still an under-appreciated fact that in no other area of experience do humans apparently experience ‘repressed memory’ except sexual experience. Nobody has yet appeared before a court to claim that they were in a lethal auto accident umpty years ago and they just now ‘remembered’ it or that they were held up at gunpoint and ditto. Or that they were in a series of auto accidents as a passenger of the same bad driver, and each time they had forgotten the previous accident and gone along for the ride again, and then on top of that had forgotten the whole series of accidents from years ago until just yesterday.

And there is the new ‘heroic’ role and status of the now iconic American figure of the Victim. But I will leave that for the next Post, where RL shares a 1997 statement by Janet Reno (herself an underappreciated icon – or warning flag – of the whole shebang) that deserves more attention than it will get at the bottom of an already-longish Post.

In my next Post I will consider Part 2 of RL’s book, entitled “The Punitive State”.


*Lancaster, Roger. Sex Panic and the Punitive State. Berkeley: U/Cal Press (2011). ISBN: 978-0-520-26206-5 (pb). 246pp plus Appendices, Notes, and Index.

Monday, May 21, 2012


A recent mention of the ‘survey’ method of ‘research’ is worth a brief look here.

The ‘New York Times’ published an article * a few days ago, on Page One.

The piece talks about noted psychiatrist Robert Spitzer, prime mover behind the now-indispensable (if highly-debated) ‘Diagnostic and Statistical Manual’ (“DSM”) now in its 4th-Revised Edition and soon to be replaced by a 5th.

The particular point of the piece is to discuss Spitzer’s now-public and formal apology for embracing – some years ago – ‘reparative therapy’ for gay persons.

It is not my purpose here to get into the complexities of ‘reparative therapy’.

But as so often happens in conceptual matters, an amazing bit was revealed almost inadvertently, that bears far more widely and yet also directly on matters of SO concern (and should also be of concern to the entire Citizenry, to the public).

Spitzer had, some years ago, gotten somehow involved with some pro-‘reparative therapy’ professionals and decided to join in.

He did some ‘research’.

He did this ‘research’ by conducting a ‘study’.

He conducted this ‘study’ by doing a ‘survey’.

His research Question was: Did this ‘reparative therapy’ approach really work on people?

And he ‘surveyed’ them. That is to say (p.A3) he collected a list of 200 people who had had the therapy (comprised of folks who had gone through this therapy and were in the database of the pro-therapy organizations). He then called each of them on the phone. And he asked them a list of questions he had devised, about their sexual urges and thoughts and experiences before and after they had participated in the therapy (the article says he “interviewed them in depth”).

And they answered his questions.

Spitzer then took his collection of answers and compared the before and after descriptions he had been given. “The majority” of them “gave reports” indicating that they had gone from a predominantly or exclusively homosexual orientation to a predominantly or exclusively heterosexual orientation in the past year.

On the basis of this ‘study’, he delivered a paper to a major psychiatric conference in 2001, reflecting his conclusion that ‘reparative therapy’ worked.

Yes, there was a political uproar from the gay community immediately. But that’s not my point or subject here.

Spitzer was quickly taken to task by scientific and professional colleagues for the grossly flawed methodology of his ‘study’; many of the criticisms were “merciless”. People had been asked about their memory / of feelings / that they had had years before. Some of the people were ‘activists’ (who might presumably be perhaps motivated to give answers that served the purposes of their cause). Some had undergone professionally-provided therapy but many had simply undergone ‘counseling’ or discussion with some paraprofessional provider or had simply done some “independent Bible study”.

There were many non-professionals who objected simply because of how his study might be ‘interpreted’ by politically unfriendly (in this case ‘conservative’) elements; in other words, they merely objected to the possible consequences of this particular study, especially in light of their political agendas.

But the key problem – as many of the professional researchers pointed out ‘mercilessly’ – was the integrity of the study itself: you can’t simply ask people questions over the phone – especially if they can assume that their answers won’t ever be checked or independently evaluated and corroborated – and expect thereby to get ‘facts’. At best, you get opinions or vague memories or – far more ominously – ‘motivated’ responses specifically tailored by the respondent to support some ulterior motive or agenda.

(And all of this presumes that you as the ‘researcher’ haven’t already figured all that out, and specifically construct your questions or your call-list or both precisely to tap into all of this in order to make sure you get the biggest ‘numbers’ you possibly can.)

But in any case, you can’t consider your ‘results’ to be scientifically definitive or reliable on their face; you have to then go and corroborate independently each and all of the responses. Otherwise, you have nothing more than an ‘opinion survey’ and what you most certainly do not have is a scientifically credibly and legitimately characterized ‘study’ or ‘research’ or ‘scholarship’.

As the article puts it: “Simply asking people whether they have changed is no evidence at all of real change”.  And then, the article continues: “People lie, to themselves and others. They continually change their stories, to suit their needs and moods.” To say nothing of any more specific ulterior motives and objectives and agendas they might quietly have embraced.

Just so.

You can’t simply take respondents’ word for it when you ask them your questions.

But now, moving on from this article, I point out that such ‘survey science’ is precisely what has fuelled so many elements of the ‘facts’ that drive the SO Mania Regime.

How much of the ‘scholarship’ and ‘science’ that advocates have pushed toward the media and the legislators has been the result of nothing more than ‘surveys’? Surveys whose ‘answers’ not only create ‘numbers’ but also – if the survey-derived ‘numbers’ are far greater than the actual numbers of reported cases – create the ‘justification’ for claims that for every single reported case there are 10 (or 100 or 1000 or 10,000) ‘unreported’ cases.

Further – and this also demonstrates a certain political bias in the media and among legislators – what happens when you apply this to a phenomenon such as ‘sex offenses’ or ‘rape ’or ‘sexual abuse’ (however your questionnaire might define those elastic terms)? Suddenly there are untold hundreds of thousands or millions of ‘unreported’ cases.

And does not the same reality hold for respondents of sex-abuse surveys as holds true for the respondents of the reparative-therapy survey: you can’t trust the answers you get because you can’t simply ‘trust’ and ‘believe’ the persons making those answers … ?

But, of course, in the SO Mania Regime, Correct victimist dogma insists that you precisely can’t question the answers you get – and so you can neatly accept as gospel truth the astronomical ‘numbers’ you wind up with.

So scientific integrity is all well and good if you are going to be stopping something you don’t want to see (e.g., the acceptance of ‘reparative therapy’, which is anathema to a politically powerful advocacy). But scientific integrity is absolutely an obstruction and some form of evil collusion if it gets in the way of ‘believing victims’, which is the primary goal of a politically powerful advocacy or – more accurately – a combination of assorted allied advocacies and lobbies.

This is a gross and reprehensible double-standard that has derailed and deranged the integrity of scholarship and research and ‘science’, of legislative and jurisprudential praxis, of media assessment and coverage, and – worst of all by far – the integrity of the public’s competence to make informed judgments based on accurate information.

‘Surveys’ are not scientific nor are they science nor scholarship nor research. Uncorroborated, they are nothing more than a focused form of hear-say.

I have seen it asserted that sometimes you simply can’t do the field-research and so you “have to” rely on surveys – as if somehow the fact that you can’t (or won’t, or don’t want to) do scientific work means that whatever you do manage to do is thereby legitimately characterizable as ‘science’ and ‘research’ and ‘scholarship’ and your results are ‘facts’. As if ‘surveys’ can become justifiable as science ‘by default’: I can’t or don’t want to risk doing actual research and evaluation, but I think I can get what I want with a ‘survey’ and so the survey I conduct is ‘science’.

Imagine a fire department that somehow runs out of water at a fire, commandeers a nearby gas tanker truck, and starts pumping gasoline on the fire: yes, all the usual actions are being taken (firemen spraying hoses, fire engines pumping out streams of liquid into hoses) but in reality you most certainly are only mimicking fire-fighting operations and you most certainly are not putting out the fire. Just the opposite, in fact.

But this is a scam that has served the purposes of many ulterior interests and continues to do so.

And thus, the SO Mania continues its curious life as a fire that just doesn’t seem to go out – and indeed seems to only get worse, no matter how much money and ‘science’ the government sprays onto it.


*The story is entitled ‘Psychiatry Giant Sorry for Backing Gay ‘Cure’’; in the print edition it appeared on Saturday, May 19, 2012, on page A1 and continued on page A3.


As an example of research skewed for the purpose of reaching a particular desired conclusion (and no other), you can examine this new 14-page formal critique of a recent Army effort to wish away the lethal difficulties of stress among troops.

Monday, May 14, 2012


A while back I Posted on an initiative (now implemented) to have all sexual-assaults redefined as ‘rape’ for reporting purposes in the FBI crime statistics. Slyly, this would not (at least in civilian law; the military justice system if becoming far more thoroughly deranged) affect the actual elements of the crime for the purposes of trial-process and Charges, but it would – I said – serve the purpose of ‘keeping the numbers up’ and ‘keeping the ball rolling’ for the assorted sex-offense advocacies that now constitute a ‘base’ for both ‘liberal’ liberationist and ‘conservative’ law-and-order politicians, especially now that it appears that genuine ‘rapes’ are declining (of course, one can always claim the ever-invisible ‘unreported rapes’ are 10 or 100 or 1000 times the number of actual reported rapes).

Just recently the Washington Post reported that the feds are now going after the Missoula, Montana police department, the local prosecutors, and the local University officials for apparent or alleged or possible improprieties in how those authorities handled complaints of “sexual assault and harassment”.

Having perhaps learned a thing or two from the hard-won example of Soviet ‘readers’ of their available media back in the day, the SO community might quickly note that there is no actual mention of ‘rape’, but rather the two hugely elastic terms “sexual assault” and (sexual) “harassment”.

It’s hard to imagine that in the Year of Grace Two Thousand and Twelve – after at least two decades of the full-court press in the service of sex-offense legislation, jurisprudence, and law enforcement praxis – there are still officials holding police, prosecution, or university authority who haven’t swung into the Correct line.

But it is, after all, an election year and from the looks of it the pols are going to need every bit of oomph they can entice out of their bases.

The DOJ’s civil-rights division is going to be handling the “probe”. Apparently, despite all the handy vagueness and overbroad definitions now erected into SO Mania laws and jurisprudence, whatever has allegedly been going on in Missoula is actually going to be further subjected to the even more elastic requirements of the even more elastic ‘civil rights’ approach.

But it does sort of give the hasty and unreflective reader a sense that the great Civil Rights Movement of Dr. King is alive and well and now operating in the SO arena. You wouldn’t want to vote against Martin Luther King, would you?

The conceptual hook is that perhaps the Missoula authorities engaged in "gender discrimination" by not doing whatever it was they were desired to do in their investigations. That might include giving up too easily simply because there wasn’t enough evidence to bring a formal Charge – as if evidence should be allowed to stand in the way. Nowadays you are supposed to focus on 'the story', not the evidence. Such progress.

Clearly, if there were enough credible evidence and the authorities willfully engaged in collective non-feasance by refusing to enforce the law, then you have grounds for a criminal prosecution of the non-feasant authorities. But for some reason – one can only wonder – the whole matter is not being taken down the criminal-Charge route, but rather down the civil-rights route.

Apparently, the DOJ suspects that the Missoula authorities “don’t have a system in place” to handle rape charges and such. Does that mean they have no law enforcement, no criminal legal system, and no judicial authority in Missoula or in that great State? Or does it imply perhaps that the hardy Montana authorities refuse to be stampeded into spending what resources they still have on the Correct (but so very iffy) panoply of SO Mania process?

This will not be a “pleasant experience, but it will be a necessary experience” said the DOJ honcho at the inevitable press-conference. He didn’t say necessary for whom – and thereby, I bet, hangs a tale. I suspect that in the absence of a sufficient number of Correct show-trials, the government will now conduct a ‘show-probe’ to demonstrate to every police official, prosecutor, and university administrator in the viewing audience that they’d better not let still-kicking but oh-so- obstructionist concerns for genuine legal investigation and first principles get in the way of keeping the ball rolling and the numbers up.

The allegedly guilty public officials – all dragooned into standing behind the DOJ honcho (no doubt there was a flag or two in the background for the desired wallpaper effect) – all pledged their undying support. Viewers of a certain age will recall local officialdom dragooned in front of the official cameras during Mao’s Cultural Revolution, that (alas) unhappy world-class historical experiment that – who knew? – wound up going so very badly wrong.

Is it because Montana is somehow a vital state politically?* Or because it is somehow a marginal place that the feds can afford to use as a chewtoy? Or is it because Montana is one of those places where officials who have sworn an oath to the Constitution still seem to think that the first principles underlying that sore-bethump’t document deserve their loyalty and unflagging exertions?

Perhaps the latter. The County Attorney – one Fred Van Valkenburg – refused to wear the Maoist dunce-hat (remember those?) and candidly said that he didn’t know and hasn’t been told just what it was that his Office was supposed to have been doing wrongly, and that he considered the whole thing an “overreach of the federal government”. The man is setting himself up for trip to a re-education camp (although perhaps the SO Maniacs haven’t actually gotten around to getting a couple-three dozen of those set up yet).  Or possibly Homeland Security has something set up for ‘terrorists’ that might fit the bill: I know I’ve seen this and that advocate and cutting-edge thinker claim that patriarchy and sexual-assault (broadly defined) is a species of terrorism and – neatly – such monstrous types of perps don’t deserve any rights at all, civil or constitutional or whaevvvvverrrrrrrr.

Apparently, the County Attorney has had the temerity to opine that if there is insufficient evidence then he can’t very well proceed to prosecution. This is grossly not-Correct in SO Mania Regime theology and the man is clearly a heretic, and perhaps a patriarchal jihadist heretic to boot, slyly hiding behind the Constitution (which, as Catharine MacKinnon – herself a law professor and radical feminist thinker – insists is nothing more than a ‘pact with patriarchy’ anyway).

In what is perhaps the most revealing evidence of the type of dynamics that drive these types of things, the accused officials can’t figure out what they’ve done wrong (and they do have more than a nodding acquaintance with applicable law and praxis). But then, as the DOJ honcho agrees, he doesn’t really know either. You can’t make this stuff up. But it all does bring you into that Looking-Glass world so eerily reminiscent of Marxism (whence – through radical feminism – so much of today’s American stance to law and Constitution derives): Preservation is Destruction, Destruction is Creative.
But there is some question of at least a few sexual assaults (however defined) not having been properly investigated – whatever that might be code for – or having been “improperly reported” (and whatever that may mean and by whom: did the allegant not report it properly or did the police not file it in their database as a ‘rape’ according to the new (and possibly voluntary) guidelines?).

As always in matter SO-Maniacal, you are confronted by more questions than answers.

Apparently one Saudi Arabian student had been notified by police that he was under investigation (although not Charged) and he left the country (as Saudi Arabians have a tendency to do: one thinks of that oh-so-speshull airline flight out of the US the day after 9/11, and one imagines that the gentleman figured that American ‘justice’ in these matters was pretty much akin to the type of ‘justice’ established in non-Constitutionally shaped legal systems prevalent in his original part of the world).

But what then were the Montana authorities supposed to do? Send a secret Montana state sex-offense hit squad to get him back like the Israelis did when they spirited Eichmann out of South America?

A couple of matters involved football players (but no coaches): one was allowed to continue playing football after court-process issued an Order, and the other was allowed to continue playing after pleading Not Guilty and is now awaiting a September trial date. This somehow is indicative of either gender-discrimination or a civil-rights violation – go figure.

Behind all of this, I bet, lies the infamous ‘Dear Colleague’ Letter sent a year or so ago by a bureaucrat in the Department of Education to all college administrative heads, in which she asks them to voluntarily embrace a lower thresh-hold of evidence in collegiate sex-offense cases (despite the fact that the accused might, through the college-run ‘trial process’, be expelled and – one never knows – considered ‘guilty’ enough to be put on a Registry.

But such legal ‘technicalities’ are merely the dodges used by patriarchal officials to hide from the righteous sword of the SO Mania Regime. (As is, of course, the aforementioned and utterly tainted Constitution).

Can anybody really be surprised at how thoroughly the Constitutional foundational first principles are becoming so ruinously debased in this country nowadays?


*A day after putting up this Post I can report that Montana is indeed the scene of a hotly contested US Senate race and that since the State is so sparsely populated (comparatively speaking) any money or resources expended there to woo voters will be tremendously well spent. So you can see how the SO Mania can be useful for political strategy, even if there really isn’t anything substantial to justify its use.

In the matter of the Philadelphia clerical abuse trial, matters have moved into live testimony and cross-examination (after almost two months of trial) and – as one might have expected – there is now a great deal of complication in light of evidence given as to whether the defendants are guilty of the Charges brought against them.

You can follow the trial at the link immediately above, but I will publish here the text of the Comment I put up summarizing my thoughts on the week’s process:

“I have been reading along for the past week as the live testimony proceeds.

First, I want to congratulate Mr. Cipriano for his reporting and I like his vivid imagery, which yet doesn’t become disconnected from the flow of actual events unfolding in the courtroom.

Several points strike me.

From the technical point of view, it is not clear from the report of the trial session (and this perhaps reflects accurately the situation as it unfolded under the aegis of the prosecutors and defense counsel) how the evidentiary-grade factuality of the nun-witness’s rape was established.  

This point may seem irrelevant or worse to those used to dealing with the therapeutic forum, but it remains a vitally necessary point that has to be covered, a ‘base’ that has to be covered – if you wish – in  the juridical or jurisprudential forum.

That being said, it certainly seems that this Cudemo was grossly unsuited for priesthood and if even one of the allegations against him is factual then he committed criminal acts and his conduct was reprehensible from any point of view.

I would add also however, that in light of some of the commentary some incarcerated prisoners – through the curious but very lethally real workings of ‘prison psychology’ – certainly do consider themselves ‘justified’ in taking lethal – and in at least one case that is publicly known  – fatally direct action against inmates bearing a child-sex-offense conviction. Which is precisely one of the reasons why I am very very concerned that convictions in cases such as these be sound: a death sentence, however informally it may be carried out, is indeed hovering over all such cases.

And while I am becoming increasingly accustomed to the reality that some folks comment out of their heart, rather than their head (if I may put it that way and respectfully so), yet the literally death-dealing possibilities that can be set in train by the outcome of this type of trial must never be lost sight of, especially from a professional legal point of view. But also from the point of view of any Citizen concerned for the integrity of the justicial process.

It is rather easy to slide into the more limbic processing of support-group or advocacy-group discussion, but neither attorneys (defense and prosecution) nor Citizens can lose sight of the fact that in every trial – and especially criminal trials – we approach the cage of Leviathan (as indeed, given the crooked timber of humanity, we sometimes must).  

This is first semester of Law 101 stuff, but it remains a vital reality. As I have mentioned in prior comments on this site, the tendency in American jurisprudence (and its shaping legislation) in the past few decades has been to envision the Sovereign authority (and its potential toward behaving as Leviathan) as a more ‘friendly’ and ‘efficient’ bringer of closure and satisfaction, dispensing along the way with the vital protections the Framers very wisely put into the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. But the tiger, once loosed from its cage, will be no respecter of persons or facts, and it can turn on anybody once it has been released to run (and hunt) freely.   

In that regard, and in light of the Nuremberg references that have surfaced in some commentary, I would submit that the most relevant lesson to be drawn from those trials is that the entire Nazi regime established itself precisely by undermining the vital foundational concepts and first principles of Western law that had been in place in both the Wilhelmine and Weimar governments’ legal systems. It was precisely by making the anti-legal legal that the Nazi regime smoothed its path toward the monstrous history that it then ‘legally’ created.

I would also point out that from the point of view of legal positivism – very much in vogue now in this country – there would be no substantive way of objecting to that development: the regime was properly brought into power (Hitler was formally invited to be Chancellor and duly appointed by the elected President, Hindenburg) and hence – from the positivist perspective – its legislation was inarguably the law of the land. From the positivist perspective there is no Higher Law to judge what that government enacted.

I also note that in the Nuremberg trials the monstrous doings of various honchos of the Third Reich were inarguably demonstrated simply from the history of the prior decade or more, including what was discovered upon the liberation of the camps in 1945. But as even this trial in Philadelphia indicates, such easily-established inarguable demonstration of sustained and premeditated monstrousness rising to a justification of the Charges brought by the prosecution is not so easily available; hence the need for careful and full examination of all evidence relevant to the Charges brought.

Such complications may seem merely obstructionist outside the legal and jurisprudential forum, but I would remind one and all that these ‘complications’ are vital and very real.

For those same reasons, both Nuremberg and Stalin’s trials of the mid-late 1930s were ‘show trials’, although in the former there was more than a sufficiency of relevant and credible evidence, whereas in the latter ‘evidence’ was not even considered a necessary formality.  To the extent that the case at bar is a ‘show trial’ – meaning that it is intended to ‘send a message’ to those who see it or hear about it – it remains to be seen whether the case at bar resembles more the former or the latter type of show-trial.

The criminal justice system or even the civil legal system is not easily or harmlessly envisioned as merely the administrative agent for ‘striking’ (to use Dzherzinsky’s brutally vivid image) those persons who are accused and charged by the Sovereign authority. That is the difference between ‘revolutionary’ law and Western, constitutional law – nor are these two legal universes and systems easily blended.”   

Sunday, May 6, 2012


I continue with my look at the Philadelphia clerical abuse trial currently underway in that city.

As I had mentioned, there is a special site set up by a local law firm with a reporter Posting on each day’s session (no sessions on Fridays). That site is here. You can follow the daily reports yourself, and also follow the comments by myself and various other commenters.

There is another site with useful background here.

And my previous Post on the trial is here.

The value of this trial from the overall SO point of view is – in my opinion – that we can see in both the trial and also in the commenting on the law-firm’s site some dynamics that I consider to be characteristic of and revelatory of the dynamics that have driven so much of what I term generally as the SO Mania or Stampede.

It’s been a more or less slow week: the prosecution is still presenting ‘evidence’ in the form of statements made by one of the Defendants (Msgr. Lynn) that were presented to the Philadelphia Grand Jury. Those statements are about how he handled cases of priests accused of material stretching back almost two decades (thus the curiously ‘historical’ nature of this case), and just about all of Lynn’s statements refer to how he handled the cases in the era prior to 2002, which saw the initiation of the most recent Phase of this sustained focus on the Catholic Church.

Rather than call Lynn to read his own statements into this trial’s record, the prosecution has one of its own read the statements from the Grand Jury transcript as if he were Lynn. This is a curious mechanism, and even the reporter who files the daily assessments acknowledges because of this tactic there is in some actual sense a ‘show-trial’ aspect to the presentation.

During the past week I put up an Addendum to my prior Post, but since many readers might have read that Post before the Addendum went up, the first thing I want to do is discuss the point I made in that Addendum.

There exists a phenomenon known in the legal trade as “law office history”: an attorney (for the Defendant or the Plaintiff in a civil case, for defense or prosecution in a criminal case) decides on the theory of the case; s/he then directs the office-elves to hit the books and come up with all useful statutes, case law, and facts which will support that specific theory of the case.

Thus this type of ‘history’ is specifically and selectively designed precisely to support a pre-determined outcome, to wit: the theory of the case that the directing attorney is ‘advocating’, the ‘framing’ of the case which the attorney wants the court (and the jury, and often the media) to accept as being the governing theory for the trial. In this sense, such ‘law office history’ is very literally ‘advocacy history’ since it is not a free-wheeling, independent and candid look at all the relevant factors in the case, but rather is a careful enumeration and narrative comprised of all the factors relevant to the specific and already-determined theory of the case.

This is – as you can see – hell and gone from the actual process of genuine historical investigation, conducted (ideally) by a disinterested and objective and detached and professionally-trained researcher who is trying to get the largest and widest and deepest factual picture of the matter and of all the factors that bear upon the matter, and see where that takes the investigation; and then on that basis and after all that research and careful consideration is done, the historian will formulate some judgments as to the matter.

Further, given that lawyers have played so great a role in advocating for ‘advocacies’ who wish to influence legislators toward making desired laws according to their advocacy’s particular agenda and interests, you also see a great deal of this ‘law office history’ presented to legislators as if it were genuine history. And often such ‘history’ is then included by the legislators as ‘Findings’ that they enumerate in the opening sections of a new piece of legislation, to justify the legislation that they have chosen to erect into law.

Thus so many of the SO laws contain such Findings. But the ‘facts’ in those Findings were not the fruit of genuine history, but of a species of ‘law office history’ – and so we remain bethump’t by a lethal welter of inaccurate Findings: the alleged extremely high recidivism rates of ‘sex offenders’; the assumption that all types of sex-offenses along a broad spectrum yet indicate that any person convicted of even the least of those crimes still poses a major recidivist threat to the public; the assumption that even if a given individual is only convicted of a low-grade offense, yet there exists every possibility that he (so very often a ‘he’) will ‘graduate’ to higher levels of offense at some point in the future (thus justifying registration for decades into the future); the assumption that every person convicted had probably committed far more offenses than the one(s) he was Charged with. And so forth and so on.

Worse, of course, was that the ‘advocacy history’ of the law office also relied upon ‘advocacy science’ which undertook to ‘prove’ the pre-determined presumption that all sex-offenses and all sex-offenders were lethally and forever so dangerous and that all sex-offenses and all sex-offenders were so reliably morally and psychologically deranged by their ‘addiction’ that all manner of first principles of American law and jurisprudence could be overridden: because the sex-offender has been ‘proven’ (by that advocacy science carefully collated into that advocacy/law office history) to be a species of beast that is a) un-reformable that sex offenses cannot be treated according to the traditional first principles of American law and jurisprudence.

And b) that the sex offender is a species of criminal so utterly heinous that he doesn’t deserve to be treated according to the traditional first principles of American law.

The presumptions underlying both (a) and (b) thus work to create an ‘emergency’ for which ‘emergency law’ is justified, even though the demonstrated results of such ‘emergency laws’ in recent world history have been lethal and fatal to the Western rule of law.

But it gets worse.

Because many persons not widely educated into the distinction between genuine history and ‘law office/advocacy history’, and who are susceptible (and even decently so) to giving their energies to a Cause, read this law office/advocacy history and draw the (grossly inaccurate) conclusion that ‘History’ so clearly ‘proves’ – as if in a perfectly comprehensive symmetry of conclusive and irrefutable logic – that their Cause is utterly Good and that ‘History proves that it is’. And – in the obverse – that the Evil against which their Cause is struggling is ‘proven by History’ to be so utterly and clearly Evil that i) the perpetrators of it should be seen as some almost metaphysically (or ‘ontologically’, if you want to use formal philosophical terms) a different being from human beings (who are presumed to be Good). Thus such monstrous beings are not to be considered as accused Citizens but rather as ‘discovered monsters’ in regard to whom the task of the legal system is simply to tag them and get rid of them.

This was precisely the line of reasoning that led Soviet secret police chief Felix Dzherzinsky to assert with a chilling forthrightness that in the matter of ‘enemies of the revolution and of the Russian people’ “the Cheka does not investigate – it strikes!”. (An approach thoroughly congenial to Fascist and Nazi jurisprudence as well.)

There is in this Soviet approach to law and law enforcement and justice in general no presumption of innocence. Indeed, once a person has been declared or presumed to be engaged in ‘counter-revolutionary’ activity, then s/he is by definition no longer a deserving member of the Russian people and the Soviet polity, but rather is and always has been a treacherous and traitorous enemy of that people and that polity, against whom anything is legally permissible – indeed is legally required – to erase so vile and treacherous a threat and a traitor.

These are not principles and dynamics that can be ‘baptized’ into the American legal system. Not even on behalf of alleged or even genuine victims. There, I’ve said it.

And thus ‘reforms’ along these lines and based on these principles and dynamics are not ‘progressive reforms’ but rather are genuinely regressive deformations stemming from – and leading back toward – a far more primitive and truly anti-American legal and political and cultural universe.

So I think that what happens when such eager (and often decently motivated) persons embrace a Cause so grounded and so dedicated is that they themselves become dedicated to their Cause in a manner so very similar to ‘true believers’ in the Soviet Cause: we already know the truth, facts don’t matter, and there is no downside to our Cause. Give us no contrary facts, speak of no ill consequences, point out no complexities or complications. It’s all very simply and mehr als dies braucht Ihr nicht zu wissen! (Goebbels’s perky one-liner that also contained the strong whiff of a threat: “More than this you do not need to know” (and if you know what’s good for you, you’d best not try to find out).

Thus so many believers in the Cause come to behave like ‘secular fundamentalists’. And that’s just the sincere ones. The cagey ones know full well what they’re doing and deploy all the usual and time-honored ploys to defeat any efforts to ‘know more’: they avoid addressing inconvenient facts; they seek to squelch any discussion of ‘ideas’; they seek to maintain a rigid focus on the outrage that the Party (the advocacy) and the Party-line has chosen as the emotional touch-point that serves not to engage public deliberation but rather is rigidly focused on merely repeating the emotionally-arousing anger of the public.

Thus if you saw the purported newsreel films Goebbels put out showing how the Poles were horrendously treating Germans in early 1939, you were supposed to simply get really really mad and insist that the government ‘do something’. If you were to ask the person next to you if all this is known for certain and is really the whole truth (or is any form of actual truth at all) then you could count on a visit from the Gestapo. ‘Good Germans’ simply took what they were fed and reacted accordingly, conforming to what the propagandists wanted them to do – and nothing else.

And if anybody does raise any questions, then s/he is clearly proving that s/he is not a ‘Good German’ and thus whatever s/he has to say is not only factually wrong but is clearly a treacherous traitor, somehow trying to distract ‘Good Germans’ from the very necessary outrage and the actions that are ‘demanded’ by the ‘outrage’.

These are the same dynamics you see when you go over the law firm’s site and read the comments.

Anybody familiar with the history of propaganda and popular reactions to it in the Soviet and Fascist eras can see today a very ominous game-plan – with all its ‘principles’ and all its dynamics – being  followed yet again.

Even more curiously, in this matter of the comments on the Philadelphia site this week, is that after I put up a comment pointing some of this out, and advised the readership to watch the comments that would roll in as they had been doing for the prior weeks, something very odd happened: all of the negative, one-liner, nasty and primitive comments stopped instantly (we’ll see how long that can be kept up).

Now given the fact that some commenters have demonstrated clearly over the course of the past weeks that they most surely are functioning – and honestly, for the most part, I think – in such a ‘fundamentalistic’ mode of thought, then it’s hard to accept the possibility that such a hefty group of folks who are putatively just individuals who just happen to be putting their comments up would suddenly, in concert and immediately, stop doing that (one particularly avid one-liner put up two comments but then deleted them him/herself – an option available through the posting machinery on the law firm’s site, although the machinery then notes for all to see that a commenter had deleted a comment).

It seems to me that a bunch of commenters are coordinating off-site (though emails or however they are in communication with each other). Nothing wrong with that, but you see what may well be happening: there is some concerted and coordinated effort to squelch, if not completely control, the commentary on the site – especially when it comes to making any non-Party-line comments look bad.

Again, it’s the Web and this sort of thing is not illegimate. But by the same token it is what is, and it’s not just a bunch of individual commenters ‘innocently’ putting up their input. I believe there is, rather, a concerted off-site (and out-of-sight) effort to control the commentary by a) creating a chorus of shock and outrage on cue and b) working in whatever way can be done to make any ‘complicating’ commentary look non-credible (e.g., I have a site for ‘sex offenders’ so I am a ‘defender of pedophiles’ and must be a ‘sex offender’ so why listen to me? – that sort of thing).

Unlovely, but in the Webverse things like this happen.

Especially when one is dealing with a trial like this.

I brought up the point in commentary this week that going back to a ‘historical’ case, one that took place before the tremendous watershed era initiated in 2002 when the Church began to tighten up its handling of abuse-allegations, seemed odd for a busy and cash-strapped DA’s Office to do.

I brought up the example of drunk-driving (DUI, although some states call it OUI). Up until the 1980s and the Mothers-Against-Drunk-Driving (MADD) campaign, the country took a rather laid-back approach to DUI, even when fatalities were involved (and not just the death of the drunk-driver, but of persons s/he had hit or had died in the accident s/he caused).

Hardly surprisingly, police chiefs and DA’s also did not take a strenuous approach to accused drunk-drivers. I think a part of that was the culture of the times: the Soviets were said to be ready to wipe out everybody in the blink of an eye with nuclear weapons, and thus concern for individual victimization (50,000-plus deaths a year in motor-vehicle mishaps) did not count for as much as it did following the huge easing of tensions that began with the clear weakening of the Soviet state starting in the early 1980s and culminating in the Reagan-Gorbachev meetings, the withdrawal of the Soviet military from the Iron Curtain satellites,  and – in 1991 – the quiet and peaceful dissolution of the USSR itself.

Since that time, DUI has become much more of a focus of law enforcement and jurisprudence. Far fewer defendants are given a slap on the wrist with the wink of an official eye. MADD as an advocacy succeeded well.

But in this Catholic sub-variant of the sex-offense Mania the advocacies concerned have not operated like MADD. Hence at this point we are confronted with the spectacle of – equivalently – many of those still-living police chiefs and DA’s being hauled before the courts themselves, accused of ‘covering up’ and conspiring-with offenders back in the day.

But to what purpose?

And, on top of that, the advocacies today are not simply seeking such ‘show trials’ but also want the public to believe that the whole legal-system of those police chiefs and DA’s (meaning today in these Catholic cases, the priesthood and episcopacy and the entire reality of the Catholic Church itself) must be abolished for all practical purposes. The assumption being – you are meant to accept – that the entire organization has never been anything more than a ‘pedophile ring’ much like the old Mob was nothing more than an organized on-going conspiracy to promote crime and keep itself going on the fat profits and bennies of a life of organized crime.

That’s an awful lot of presumptions. Especially when the public is being pressured to accept it all in one big gulp, swallow it without tasting it, and expect that the results will be totally good.

But it’s been that way with the SO Mania Regime all along. Just believe the outrage, get good and mad, and let the government do whatever it thinks best in passing laws and creating registries and demonizing a particular class of indubitably guilty accused Citizens as un-reformable monsters who deserve nothing but to be locked away and tagged like animals in electronic – and highly public – registries (the computer has enabled what the Gestapo with its endless file cabinets of 3x5 cards and constantly updated ‘be –on-the-look-out’ books of ‘suspect persons’ could only dream about).

So too, we now encounter a new ‘defense’ of the advocacies which have been behind this Catholic abuse matter for decades: if it weren’t for them, none of this reform would have happened.

But that is specious. The reform has taken place (in 2011 in the entire country there were only seven credible current allegations of any priest-abuse of minors at all). Allegations of long-past actions have actually increased, but as I noted in a prior Post some time ago, given the economic situation and the comparative ease of collecting monies from the Church for an abuse-allegation, it would not be surprising if ‘historical’ allegations going back decades (often involving an accused now deceased) were to uptick.

At this point in the career of MADD, with much more robust law enforcement concern for DUI cases, the advocacy considered itself to have largely succeeded (although even one DUI on the road is one too many, ideally).

But not so in these Catholic abuse matters, which – again – are a sub-variant of the SO Mania mindset.

There is more driving the activity of the advocacies in this Catholic matter, and there is more driving the adherents of those advocacies.

The SO Mania mindset that underlies advocacy and – to whatever actual extent – public support for the Mania Regime is not going to go gently into that good night, even if it appears by all extant measures to have ‘succeeded’. Be advised.  

Anyhoo, at some point the Defense will present its case in Philadelphia and that should prove more interesting than the present recitations (which, really, are merely recitations of what the prosecution presented to the Grand Jury – which is not a trial process).

So much remains to be done.


I have just finished reading a 2011 book: “Sex Panic and the Punitive State”, by Roger N. Lancaster,a Professor of Anthropology and Cultural Studies at George Mason University. I will be Posting on it shortly.

I have found it very informative and useful, and recommend it as very valuable. I don’t completely agree with everything he says, but the book is hugely useful and informative and he brings up numerous interesting points.

From his professional background, he does what I have always felt has had to be done in matters SO: he has stepped back and looked at the SO Mania (he calls it a “Panic”) as a cultural, social, legal and political phenomenon. This is precisely the type of wide-angle and in-depth look that advocacies so often try to avoid or squelch. But it is vital. And sobering and thought-provoking. If you come across it, the book is well worth your time.