Guilty Minds

One of the bedrock ideas of our justice system has been that a person needs to know that what he is doing is against the law. If you cannot reasonable know you should not do something, how can you avoid doing it? This reasonable assumption was not universal. Tyrants and despots often imprisoned or killed people for “breaking laws” they had no Idea existed. That is one of the hallmarks of tyrants and despots. Good legal systems create laws that people can respect and understand. Good and reasonable systems make it possible for good and honest people to do what they think is right w/o feeling constant risk from capricious authorities. This is less true than it was a generation ago.

It is possible for you to be convicted of a felony for a crime you didn't know you committed. In fact, it is easier for you to be convicted of some sorts of "unknown" crimes than it is to convict a criminal who assaults or rapes people on the street.

Consider the case of the janitor who diverted overflowing toilets into a sewer. He violated the clean water act. The fact that he erroneously thought that the sewers were connected to the sanitary system, the fact that it had been done before and the truth that he acted completely in good faith did not save him from a felony conviction. All the government needed to do was prove that the incident happened and that he was there.It reminds you a bit of the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland, sentence first, trial later.

Conversely, six thugs who attacked my son merely for being white and walking down the street alone avoided felony convictions because the authorities couldn't prove which ones among them had actually stomped on our son's head. This is another story, about which I have written and I won't repeat details except to give it as a true life example. The guy with the plugged up toilet is a felon; the punks who sent my son to the hospital are just "misguided."

Why do we have laws? Laws are designed to change behaviors. We enact laws to prevent people from doing things we don't want them to do. Law needs to be supported by societal norms in order to be respected and the best laws are those that coincide with generally held morality. Most people would not murder another human being, whether or not it was against the law. On the other hand, almost everybody would drive faster than most posted speed limits if they thought they could get away with it.

If you want people to obey a law, it is required that people are aware of the rule, understand it and are able to comply. If any of these things is not present, you have no moral right to enforce the rule. Unfortunately, government increasingly is enforcing it legal right to do that.

We have let go of common sense in too many cases. The virtue of the Common Law was that it could be understood by almost everybody and could change in response to circumstances. Of course, we also need codes of laws for more complicated systems. And we need specific administrative laws for specific circumstances.

We can expect that ordinary people will know that murder or assault are wrong and should be against the law. We should not regret that someone is punished for a "first-time-offense" of murder or aggravated assault. On the other hand, it is possible to break administrative laws w/o doing anything morally wrong. In fact, you may be doing what you think is right. In the example above (linked below) the "criminal" was diverting sewage away from an old-folks' home. According to court documents, blockages were caused by elderly residents flushing adult diapers down toilets. The prosecutor stipulated that the guy didn't know about the law, didn't know he was breaking a law and thought he was doing the right thing.

One of the most important tenets of our justice system has been the need to show that a person accused of a crime had a "guilty mind". Lawyers use the Latin term "mens rea". It just means that you have to have decided to do something you know or should know is against the law. It seems a reasonable requirement to me, but we have been drifting away from reasonableness for a while now.

Think of this as the test of a good system can be found in the answers to these two questions.

1. You have done something you think is wrong. You learn the authorities are investigating you. How afraid are you that you will be punished? If you answer "a lot" the system is okay.
2. You have done nothing you think is wrong. You learn the authorities are investigating you. How afraid are you that you will be punished? If you answer "a lot" the system is broken.

If you answer "not much" to question #1 and "a lot" to question #2, things are really FUBAR.

Posted by Christine & John at December 12, 2011 6:42 PM
Comment #333000

I related your options to the following:

Federal law re immigration is being ignored by federal officials sworn to uphold the law.

The DOJ was operating a gun running operation but C/Holder says knew nothing about it.

The Ex-CEO of MFHolding certified the accounting monthly but claims he doesn’t know where $1.2B went.

In each case the so-called perpetrators are thumbing their nose at the system, certain they want be impeded by the ‘long arm of the law’

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at December 12, 2011 8:14 PM
Comment #333002

Here is a working link to the article referenced:

The facts of this case argue for strict liability not against. I agree that the criminal penalty may too extreme in this case, but how else are you going to get some knuckleheads to think twice before engaging in obviously risky and dangerous behavior threatening the health and safety of others?

In this case, the “janitor”, whose actual title was chief engineer of a 16 acre military retirement community housing over 300 retirees, their spouses and dependents, decided to hook up a fire hose and pump the sewage from the entire facility into a local storm drain rather than have a blockage properly fixed. This wasn’t a small diversion. Brilliant!

I am not an engineer but it seems rather clear to me to that this was a highly inappropriate practice with obvious health risks to the rest of the community. It wasn’t as though the blockage was a difficult problem to fix. The facility only had to cut a new manhole and clean out a build up of grease and sludge. The fact that the engineer and his boss had done this in the past and they “thought” that the storm drain connected to waste treatment should relieve them of liability?

Is there any wonder why there has been an increase of “strict liability” laws and convictions? In my opinion, if people, like in this case, won’t use common sense and take reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of others when engaged in practices with obvious safety and health consequences, then society has no choice but to put the entire class of such persons on notice that they will be liable for violations regardless of their intent. Perhaps, in the future, this type of “engineer” will be more likely to consult with the waste treatment authorities and review regulations before dumping waste into public waterways.

Posted by: Rich at December 12, 2011 9:03 PM
Comment #333003

Recently in the news about a small Tenn community where a fire truck responded to a fire outside the city limits, didn’t fight the fire but just stood by to make sure there was no chance of physical injury.

The city provided the fire service and each residence paid $40/yr for the service. The residence with the fire had not paid their dues so the fire crew watched with them while their house burned down.

Some complained that was being to hard. The Mayor stuck up for the city and their rules.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at December 12, 2011 9:27 PM
Comment #333011


The law was on the side of the government. Justice was not. Strict liability can and sometimes should apply to civil law. It being applied to felonies in the way it was is the problem.

It seems to me that for an act to be criminal felony, you have to know you are breaking a law.

Posted by: C&J at December 13, 2011 4:36 AM
Comment #333017

Absurd. If you allow ignorance of the law to be a defense, a person gets off scot free if they cultivate a state of ignorance. Oh, I’m just not going to read a word of the regulations that apply to my company, and then I can claim that I didn’t know I was breaking the law!

Demonstrable ignorance should be cause for a reduced or suspended sentence, not for getting off scot-free.

Likewise, whether you like it or not, a person is considered innocent until proven guilty. This may not have been fair, or just in your son’s case, but looked at from another position, there is danger in having anything less than proof beyond a reasonable doubt be the standard of conviction. We cannot merely consider the individual when we consider our laws and how we enforce them, we must consider what the general and emergent effects of certain legal practices are.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 13, 2011 8:54 AM
Comment #333018


As the referenced article pointed out, the particular issue in this case, pollution of waterways, has been a strict liability crime going back to 1899 when the original Rivers and Harbors Act was passed. I suspect that this may have been a case of excessive prosecutorial discretion. However, on its face, it does seem like a particularly stupid and egregious offense.

Posted by: Rich at December 13, 2011 11:34 AM
Comment #333024

C&J By any chance were you one of those get tough on crime conservatives of the ‘80’s that took most sentencing options away from the judges because you deemed some judges to liberal? Perhaps you thought it would just be those Jamaican drug gangs of the time that would get the s**t end of the stick?

The real problem here is the corporate entity didn’t suffer the same justice for allowing it’s employees to do things like this. After all the man was just doing as was always done at the facility. Why spend the money to do it right when you can just dump raw sewage into the sewers or the employee takes the hit for you.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 13, 2011 1:07 PM
Comment #333027

C&J, how would you determine if a person is truly ignorant of the law or lying?

Is this even a case for ignorance or an assumption for convenience? If the person assumed the drains were connected, he wasn’t doing his job properly.

Since cleaning storm drains and sewers has been one of my many job descriptions, I can assure you that many people use them to get rid of things, knowing full well the law. Like one dead end street where several of the residents changed their oil while parked over the storm drain grating. The designated oil change center.

Question 1) How worried should you be? Very little, if at all, if you are a person named British Petroleum. If so, you can commit felony after felony, even kill people. A little fine and a few lawsuits makes it all worthwhile.

Question 2) Perhaps the insurance industry can lobby Congress for the right to sell policies to protect one from the consequences of his own ignorance.

Posted by: jlw at December 13, 2011 3:17 PM
Comment #333031

Stephen Daugherty said:

“Absurd. If you allow ignorance of the law to be a defense, a person gets off scot free if they cultivate a state of ignorance.”

So Stephen, is it illegal for aliens to sneak across the border of the US without proper documentation, or are the 12-14 million illegal aliens in America breakng the law?

Is the Obama DOJ breaking the law by not dealing with the illegal situation? Or is your defense of them another example of double standards?

Posted by: Mike at December 13, 2011 4:58 PM
Comment #333033


I am not saying that the person needs to know the details of the law. We know it is wrong to steal. We don’t need to know the exact citations of the penal code to be guilty.

I am worried about laws that might not really make sense. In that case, if you want to enforce the law, you would have an ordinary problem of evidence. If the person knew or should have known, you have a case.

The insurance industry already sells policies to protect people from their own ignorance and that of others.

I will give you a true example of legal advice I got.I own some forest land and it is very well managed, according to modern forestry standards. A local organization wanted to bring school groups and scout groups to learn about nature. I said yes and wanted to give blanket permission. The lawyer told me not to. It was not the liability problem you might suspect. If I made my land available - free - for general public use, I could fall under provision of the American with Disabilities act and have to build handicap accessible trails. Since I was no longer ignorant of this silly rule, I had to be less generous.

My question to you is the following. Would you assume that if you let people use your land for educational purposes and YOU spend money to make it possible for them to have a better experience for free, that you could be in trouble with a Federal law for NOT spending more money to give people something free that you don’t have to give?


Re the law - that law was amended to include even big mud puddles. It once covered only navigable waters.


I think I understand the liberal mind. You want the guy who breaks a law he doesn’t know about to get thrown in jail, while the actual violent thugs go free. It has to do with equality. You randomize the world enough and we are all equal.

RE my son’s attackers. We know that 3-4 of them stomped him and 3-4 of them cheered the others on and covered for them. We just don’t know which ones did what and since they were experienced thugs, they formed a stone wall of silence.

Let me put this in a liberal way and see if it changes your perception.

What is six white thugs went to a mostly black neighborhood, picked a black kid at random and beat him with the intention of maiming and maybe crippling or killing him? They didn’t know the kid; they didn’t try to rob him or speak to him in any way except to call him the n-word. They cops caught the whole group, but they couldn’t determine which had actually stomped the black kid and which had just cheered and called him racist things.

Now assume that all these white kids just got off. Actually they plead no contest and agreed to pay medical costs, which WERE around $20,000, but ended up being only a couple hundred because the black kid’s parents and their insurance paid.

Do you still think this is just?

I bet that liberals like you now are outraged by the injustice.

Posted by: C&J at December 13, 2011 5:09 PM
Comment #333036

The Obama Administration has been deporting people at a rate higher than the Bush Administration, even though it’s not a well received policy among a critical demographic. Problem is, you can only deport people so fast, given the resources.

So, no, the DOJ is not breaking the law, since it IS dealing with that situation, more emphatically than the previous administration. You can fantasize about enforcing the law to an even greater extent, but the money, manpower and resources only go so far, and the problem is so much bigger in a logistical sense, and in terms of the social disruption, than you are actually estimating here.

Note, also, that I’ve never maintained that entering and staying in this country as a resident alien without the proper documents and processes is anything but illegal.

Nor is it any secret that coming into this country that way is illegal, so what relevance your point has to this discussion, besides being a prime example of xenophobic partisan bluster is beyond me.

You have tried and failed to ambush me in an inconsistency. So why don’t you concede the point, and then tell me what is wrong with my assertion that ignorance should not be a defense when it comes to breaking the law.

Or are you the one who wants us to be comfortable with a double standard?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 13, 2011 5:29 PM
Comment #333038

Tell me Stephen, do you support Obama’s DOJ law suit against AZ and other states who decided to do something about the illegal aliens, since Obama won’t?

I guess it will be settle in the SC next year and will be all over the news; again, informing the American people of Obama’s lack of securing our borders. When this case is won by AZ, there will be a snowball effect with other states.

But we needn’t expect the status quo to change until Obama is booted out of the WH in 2012.

Stephen, if I wanted to ambush you on your inconsistency, I could do it with any of your comments in any posts.

Posted by: Mike at December 13, 2011 5:38 PM
Comment #333040

Did you have to be less generous? No. You could have built the handicapped accessible trails, if that was necessary, and you still wanted to employ it for that purpose. You made a decision, entirely your prerogative, to not open up your woodlands as you were planning to, but you chose an alternative. You weren’t lacking a choice.

As for the way the clean water act was amended, you’re failing to consider the problem of runoff. If I dump a whole bunch of hog waste in the back of some factory farm I run, even if that’s not a navigable waterway, when it rains, the contaminants from that rather crappy puddle can still wash into that waterway.

Same thing with the storm drain, only with an express ticket. storm sewers are designed to carry off run-off to nearby waterways, in order to prevent street flooding and the like. Trust me, as a resident of the Houston area, I can tell you what happens when they’re not enough.

The thing is, though, whatever’s in that storm sewer, whether that’s motor oil some idiot dumped there, or the raw sewage coming out of a nursing home, is going to end up in the waterway it’s connected to.

Waterways that end up contaminating whatever’s downstream. Ours goes into Galveston Bay, eventually, but in the meantime goes through a number of reservoirs. Meditate for a few moments, my friend, on the beauty of raw sewage regularly taking a trip into those waters.

As for the Liberal crack?

I find it very dismaying that you chose to race-bait with this response of yours, but not because I gave a crap about what their skin looked like. Find fault with a prosecutor who was too timid or too lazy perhaps to build a case despite the silence of the defendants. Find fault with investigators who failed to nail down the events sufficiently enough to discern actual culprits from bystanders. They’re the ones who are supposed to make sure that people like your son see justice.

Don’t pull this crap saying that if your son didn’t get justice that means we should ignore the law when somebody fails to realize that chucking raw sewage down a storm sewer is a felony. If that was the law, then that was the law, and if the prosecutors can make the case, and the investigators can prepare their case, carry out the law, for crying out loud.

I wish your son got better justice, and I hope the next time the folks who beat him up slip up in some way, and get sent down the river for it. That doesn’t mean I’m going to accept an argument that implies that one failure to live up to a standard of justice means that somebody who obviously committed a crime that it can be proven they committed should get off for it.

Or put another way, you don’t understand the liberal mind. You’re working off of a theory based on adversarial rhetoric that is hardly useful in discerning our real attitudes, and it’s insulting to us to have somebody argue that we actually think in such ridiculous ways.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 13, 2011 5:53 PM
Comment #333041

“Re the law - that law was amended to include even big mud puddles. It once covered only navigable waters.”


Yes, it was amended to include tributaries to major waterways and harbors. Hardly puddles. Hardly unreasonable.

What is clear, is that going as far back as to the turn of the last century, discharges into rivers and harbors has been considered such a serious matter that any such act has been considered one of strict liability regardless of intent. This is not a new issue.

I have no sympathy for the facility engineer nor his superior. Any idiot should have recognized that discharging a large facilities’ human waste into a storm drain with a fire hose might be unlawful and dangerous.

Posted by: Rich at December 13, 2011 5:57 PM
Comment #333042

He’s deporting more people than Bush is, despite protests from the Hispanic community. His main reason for challenging those state laws is that the regulation of immigration is explicitly the national government’s power. Just like states don’t have the power to coin money, however crappy the national monetary policy might be, neither do states have the right to decide what immigration policy is.

If you want to call me on an inconsistency, it helps to find one first.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 13, 2011 5:59 PM
Comment #333043

Mike If you can use the google you will find that Obama Has sent more illegal aliens back then the shrub I mean Bush. And It’s federal laws the control immigration laws not state. Please brush up on your civics.

Posted by: Jeff at December 13, 2011 6:03 PM
Comment #333044

Government authority over state authority???

What happens when the SC sides with AZ next year???

“Or put another way, you don’t understand the liberal mind. You’re working off of a theory based on adversarial rhetoric that is hardly useful in discerning our real attitudes, and it’s insulting to us to have somebody argue that we actually think in such ridiculous ways.”

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 13, 2011 5:53 PM

Tell me Stephen, can we say the same thing about a liberal’s understanding of the Conservative, TP, or Christian mind?

Posted by: Mike at December 13, 2011 6:34 PM
Comment #333045


You might try to actually look at enforcement numbers rather than making an ideological presumption. The facts are that the Obama administration has racked up record numbers of deportations, has vastly expanded the “Secure Communities” program, and audited more employers than the entire eight years of the Bush administration.

Posted by: Rich at December 13, 2011 6:38 PM
Comment #333047


Take up a collection and send me $10,000, plus maybe a couple thousand more each year; otherwise don’t talk to me about generosity. Making trails up to these specifications is really a lot more expensive. It is also damaging to the environment. The trails need to be much wider, better paved with all sorts of bridges AND you have to build make a road more for cars and vans accessible. Working forests tend not to have such things. Widening a road even a few feet will take out thousands of trees.

It is really typical of liberal thought. Demand to spend other people’s money. Take a person who is giving you lots of his own time and money and demand more. All with absolutely no understanding of the conditions on the ground.

My choice was to NOT give as much to the community as I wanted to and would have given. Government rules made generosity more expensive than I could afford. You know how much money I made on my forestry last year? Around $5000. I spent more than that on stream bed protection and quail habitat restoration. I know “greedy” conservatives
just think about profit, but sometimes we don’t make any.

One of the things “you people” need to understand is that “we people” need to create wealth before you can give it away.

Re the attack on my son - don’t be disingenuous. If the colors were reversed it would be international news and you would be outraged. I admit that I am emotionally involved with this. My son is a very good man. He felt sorry for his attackers and asked the DA not to push too hard. He is a better man than I am in many ways. I respect his decision, but I am not sure it was right. If these guys do it again, the quality of mercy or the mistakes of justice will have consequences.

Re a new subject of Hispanic immigration - that is yesterday’s news. Neither side seems to appreciate that. The Mexican birthrate is dropping. It is now at replacement level and is expected to drop below the U.S. rate.

A hundred years ago, Americans worried about the great numbers of Germans in America. Germans are still America’s largest ethnic group. Around 25% of American DNA is German, but it is all mixed up and assimilated, so nobody notices. The same will be true of Hispanics. They will become Americans not different from others. And then they will complain about the next wave from somewhere else.

My experience with Hispanic immigrants is that they are a lot like “my people” the Poles, hard working and mostly good people. They will enrich our country.

Posted by: C&J at December 13, 2011 7:01 PM
Comment #333051

“My experience with Hispanic immigrants is that they are a lot like “my people” the Poles, hard working and mostly good people. They will enrich our country.”

Kudos to you, C&J. That is also my experience with Hispanic immigrants.

Mass immigration has always presented short term problems. But, does anyone seriously dispute that, in the long term, immigrants have made an invaluable contribution to the vitality of the U.S.? Why would that be different for Hispanic immigrants?

Posted by: Rich at December 13, 2011 7:51 PM
Comment #333055

I don’t know, can we? We don’t need to do much nowadays to parody Republican Policy. Just showing Ron Paul’s latest Ford Truck style commercial is enough to reduce some of us to hysterical laughter.

I can explain how the budget deficit is mostly from the Republican’s policies of the last decade. I can show the actual effect of your tax cuts in terms of job growth. I can show how little good the Reagan tax cuts did for the economy, when unemployment got 0.7% worse under Reagan than it ever got on Obama. I can show you the stark contrast the drop in GDP during each recession throws the different policies into.

What I can’t do is drill past the misplaced senses of certainty that too many followers of the GOP and the conservative movement have about their most cherished notions of history and policy. But most of the time, my intent is to speak to those who haven’t made up their mind, so there is that.

The idea seems to be, among modern Republicans, that this certainty is an armor of victory, that so long as great faith is put in the ideals of the party, the GOP will win more than it loses. I would say, though, that as the Republicans have become less and less tolerant of divergent thought and dissent, their party has been under greater and greater strain. I understand what they’re going through, to a certain point, but I also understand this: some kind of vulnerabilities keep you honest, keep your ideas more grounded in humanity and morality. If nobody can punish you for a mistake, if your fortunes never suffere when you’re wrong, you won’t stop being wrong, and you won’t stop inflicting political damage on yourself, or policy damage on your country, until you admit to your imperfection. It’s not always pleasant or painless, but hey, that’s life.

As much as I can sympathize with the fears of the Conservatives in this country, in terms of what they’ve been told about Liberals like me and Democrats like Obama (I’d be scared, too, if I took all that BS at face value), I can’t sympathize with letting them get their way. Lacking the hyped-up sense of Republican policy, I can only look at those increasingly radical and out of touch policies, at the big failures of the last few decades with fear of my own, which motivates me to fight back.

I don’t think of your average conservative as somebody with a mental disorder, or a redneck or whatever. I think of them as people who have been pushed towards desperate fear by political organizations that desperately fear that their movement is on the decline, thanks to a decade that did huge damage to the permanence and endurance of their political power. Now your people have to fight for things. Democrats are no longer content to defer. Americans are no longer tolerant of the gridlock. They no longer see it as beneficial. They have found themselves in the midst of a mess of crisises, and they want the situation redeemed.

It may take some sort of psychological shock for Republicans to realize that their party’s gone off the rails, not merely got knocked on the ropes.

But you know what? I remember Republicans and conservatives from earlier times. I was a centrist who shared a number of their views, as a matter of fact. The trouble was, I was also a pragmatist who never had much affection for going along with political BS while the things that needed to be taken care of didn’t get taken care of. There are problems that I feel the GOP’s going to have to recognize as problems before I can feel comfortable pushing for Democrats to concede things more than they do now. I’m not waiting for conservatives to go away, or quit believing conservative things. I’m waiting for them to realize that they can’t tell the rest of us to go away, or not believe what we do. I’m waiting for them to realize that divided government means actually having to come to deals, not just putting compromise out of the question in the name of the triumph of conservatism over liberalism.

Look, I said you had a choice. I didn’t say you had a cheap choice, or an easy one.

As for spending other people’s money?

Tell me, how do you think you financed the Iraq war, since you put this country in debt to do it? Servicing our debt means those who pay taxes pay for it, which means that many in the middle class not only end up paying for your wars, but also your tax cuts, in the end.

To govern is to decide what to do with other people’s money. The fact we’re a Democracy is supposed to be what mediates this: You and I have an equal say, in most terms, regarding what is done with the money. We’re both spending each other’s money.

We can fantasize about not doing this, but that’s no more likely than our nation suddenly becoming a paradise where everything is handed to you for free.

I accept that my government isn’t always going to decide as I would want it to. That doesn’t discourage me from pushing my agenda. I see it as a natural part of what we do, and why we have Congress, like we do. If the government is going to do to folks things not everybody wants to be done, there ought to be, and is, a mechanism for making sure that when the outrages become enough of a problem for the general citizenry, the displeasure becomes apparent in the votes.

No government can please everybody, even a government which, like you suggest, stays out of things. People are going to find it bad that is doesn’t intervene in this and that. You think that my liberalism is merely a mirror reflection of the conservative’s anti-big government rhetoric, but really, I don’t think of government in terms defined by what’s opposite the other side.

As for the color issue? I don’t set my attitudes on such a social basis. I really couldn’t care either way. I was ganged up on by white kids myself, and I didn’t appreciate it. I once was followed around by black inner city youths when I took the wrong shortcut through town. Either way, it doesn’t appeal to me.

I’m really a law and order sort, but my line of thinking is that keeping law and order is about more than just arbitrarily handing people more power. The police can fail to do the right police work even if you hand them all the power you can.

When I look at your son’s situation, I’m saying this: there was a basic truth out there, as to who beat your son, and who didn’t, and who could be prosecuted for it, if the truth were known, and proven to a reasonable doubt. Somebody could have figured out something, and remained within the law, respecting the civil liberties that bear on the situation.

I believe it’s important we don’t long for a system that unfetters law enforcement of the need to respect rights, and avoid troubling the innocent. I believe it’s important that we adapt to the kind of system we have, and make it worke the best we can.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 14, 2011 12:45 AM
Comment #333080


Yes, I made a choice not to go into debt to create useless changes on my land that would cost me money and kill hundreds of my trees.

Congratulations to the law that managed to make it so expensive for citizens to help their neighbors that few can afford to do it. We are all poorer for it.

You like to preach to others and like many liberals seem to believe that others should be forced to give more to people … like you.

This is the sign of a parasite, not of a good man. Those of us who produce wealth and share it with others are the ones that make the country run. While I understand the need for some people like you who consume our wealth and demand we give more, I don’t think you have any right to preach.

When you give thousands of your own money to others, pay high taxes, allow your property to be used to the benefit of strangers, volunteer to serve in dangerous war zones etc, then you can talk to me in the way you have. Otherwise, you should be grateful that “people like me” are around to help “people like you”.

We perhaps are both spending each others money, but you are spending more of mine than I am spending of yours.

Posted by: C&J at December 14, 2011 5:25 PM
Comment #333081


You just don’t get it. In a good society, we would want to encourage people to help others and to do things that benefit society.

I agree to some extent with your robust interpretation of choice, asking me to spend money that I really cannot afford to do in order to help people I don’t really know. Apply that robust choice to other things.

You choose not to help the poor to the extent that you could. The poor choose to be poor, since they do not choose the paths to make them better off. You have become more of a rugged guy than I ever was.

Re the Iraq war - that is an unrelated subject, unless you want to talk about all government expenditure. “I” didn’t finance the Iraq war. I was trying to finance some nature education. Your response is to ask me to go personally into debt to pay for things that I do not need and probably will never be used AND will be destructive to the nature on my land. Typical.

Re spending your money - face it Stephen - you don’t really give much money or time to anybody, do you? I mention our foundation, which we give thousands of dollars; we got our conservation program that is a big deal in the local community. We volunteer for lots of things. I never hear much from you except paeans of about the virtue of taxing other people and spending their money.

You keep on bringing up Iraq. You wrote about Iraq. I volunteered and spent a year in an active war zone, living in the Western Desert, so when we talked about risking lives, mine was one of them. What do you do?

Not to mention that we pay out piles of money in taxes. You talk about “we” what does that mean? How much of “you” is part of that “we” or do you mostly consume the contributions of others?

Let me ask the real question. What if you were volunteering lots of your time and money (a new concept to many liberals) and you were asked to kick up your contribution by another $10,000 for administrative rules you didn’t think made sense. Do you do it? Don’t tell me about what society SHOULD do. DO YOU do it? Have you any examples?

Re your experience of being “ganged up”. Did they send you to the hospital with permanent scars. We they really trying to maim or maybe kill you?

All your experiences are trivial as is the analysis. Yours is the “experience” of sheltered theory. When I talk about real choices, you have no basis of comparison, do you?

“Followed around” by black youth. How scary. Did anybody ever beat you hard enough to break bones? Did anybody ever try to kill you? Some people have experienced more than “being followed” or called names.

Re the thugs that attack my son, you are very legalistic about that. Yes the law was followed. Good. Re not being able to do conservation education at a price I can afford, also very legalistic.

So according to you, if we follow the letter of the law, justice is done.

I long for a system where justice is done and where the law and justice coincide.

Re giving money - I expect you will plead poverty, so the simple question, what % of your income do you give away? How many hours do you volunteer in an average week? Do you give blood?

If you are up to that 10% of your income, if you volunteer several hours a week and do all those other things, then you can talk “we” and complain about others. But if you are just a recipient of the generosity of others, maybe just be grateful.

Posted by: C&J at December 14, 2011 7:01 PM
Comment #333935

If the poor would only choose not to be poor, C&J’s dream of equity equality, and equality of results could be achieved.

Posted by: jlw at December 31, 2011 4:54 PM
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