Saturday, January 03, 2009

WHAT THEN?

Karl Vick at 'The Washington Post' has reported that draconian sex-offender residency laws have resulted in large numbers of newly-released ‘sex offenders’ (for the purposes of a rectification of names, remember: this definition goes all the way from the worst child rape-murderers to guys seen taking a whizz in the woods, with the actual ‘numbers’ predominantly at the lower end of the scale, and with the whole bunch racking up just about the lowest recidivism rate among all convicted classifications) not being able to live in the very jurisdictions where they are – also by law –required to go after release. And these are the folks who have escaped the ‘civil commitment’ net as described in the immediately prior Post).

Again, not to harp on this whole matter, but I see profound similarities between the modus operandi of the sex-offense laws and the ‘mentality’ that spawns them and the habits of mind – so to speak – that have resulted in Our monstrous overseas adventures of late.

It’s gotten so bad that the article quotes even the heads of State sex-offender boards as saying that it’s impossible to find housing, and thus to keep track of the targeted offenders. Even if they have to wear a GPS anklet for life, if there’s no residence listed, then there’s no base-point.

And this is above and beyond the increasing court challenges, which, increasingly, are agreeing with the non-constitutionality of the requirements.

Doing her best to be honest without getting herself in deep doodoo for being ‘soft’ on the very ‘outrages’ and ‘dangers’ she is responsible for monitoring, the head of the California Board notes that their Report, issued this month, adverts to the “unintended consequences” of the thing.

Among other points, the ‘homelessness’ of the offenders means that the police agencies cannot monitor compliance. It also means that municipalities – San Francisco notable among them – are buying up lots of vacant land through their redevelopment authorities and declaring the lots a sort of mini-park, which means that an offender cannot live within a distance of them. The result is that a municipality – San Francisco has already achieved this – is ‘legally’ completely off-limits to any offenders; there is no plot of ground in the city limits that isn’t within x-thousand feet of a ‘park’ or other designated no-go site. Charming.

Thoughts of Jean Valjean’s ‘yellow passport’ and Soviet residency restrictions may come immediately to mind. And perhaps one solution is offered by the old Soviet system: create a Gorki, a city completely inhabited by designated classes of convict, access to and from which is strictly controlled by Interior Ministry troops (a job for the Army’s new Northcom?). The opportunities for ‘creative reforms’ and ‘solutions’ are numerous, if totalitarian praxis is placed on the table. Nothing as obvious as Hitler’s camps, but surely a Gulag of some sort … what’s not to like?

And to think that the Soviet Union collapsed under the weight of its own evils just 20 years ago. Ah, History. And those condemned to repeat it. Or choose to. For the best of intentions, of course.

The head of the LAPD unit responsible for monitoring sex-offenders candidly observes that “the public has this false sense of security that this is somehow protecting them when it’s not”. ‘This’ is Jessica’s Law, a popularly-passed Initiative that authorized the residency requirements, which municipalities may extend or increase as they see fit. In the current American variant of Hitlerian legislation-naming which was titled ‘Volks’-this and ‘Volks’-that so as to drape the legitimacy of ‘the people’s’ need over whatever new imposition the Reich had decided to lay down, the sex-offender laws – and even their subsets – are named after children who have been most brutally murdered by strangers, a media-genic but rather rare occurrence. So if you ‘doubt’ the law, then you yourself might wind up tarred as being ‘for’ the rape-murder of Johnny or Elspeth (and upon the actual dead be much peace). Clever.

But We are not only in danger of a false sense of security (the laws now actually inhibit monitoring), We are also in danger of cooperating in the ongoing gutting of the Constitutional protections erected precisely to prevent ‘vengeance’ laws and – worse – the state’s wide immersion in the passage and implementation of such lethal assaults to the protections the Constitution affords.

Worse, We are becoming used to the presumption that there are ‘classes’ of criminal who deserve no protections. And given the rather accordion-like nature of expanding definitions, just about anybody could wind up so ‘classified’. That’s been done before, and within recent memory.

Worse, We are creating entire ‘classes’ of outcasts among Us. And that is going to result in even more intense (and whacky) efforts to suppress or eliminate them, as increasing numbers of now-second-class citizens start feeling that they have no stake in the American polity. That is civic madness.

And such madness is based on the moral lunacy that some people are ‘more evil’ than others, permanently so, and thus predictably so. When the government starts wielding classification of that sort, then We are well on the way backwards to totalitarianism and the stereotypical medieval papacy with its Inquisitions and – by curious coincidence – tortures.

As so often, I am not feeling the civilizational progress here.

With an eye to the fragility of any public servant’s tenure nowadays, the officials state that “the public was definitely sold a bill of goods on this one”. Yah. And General Myers, when Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was ‘duped’ when he signed off on the torture policies; a full General and the highest military officer in the land, and he was ‘duped’ about something that any buck private would intuitively feel was not-right. I’m not feeling the awe and respect for the rank and uniform here. (And Myers is only an affidavit away from having to resort to the last defense: Eye vass a zimple Field Marshal – vahhhht kood eye dooo?)

The pols, as the officials go on to gingerly observe, find the whole ‘sex offender’ wave a great opportunity for surfing public approval (especially in the absence of any real solutions to the actual monstrous problems besetting their States and their citizens). But there’s no surprise there – the quality of State pols has never been particularly high, and the national legislature has certainly demonstrated its full-spectrum imbecility (or worse) so clearly as to hog all the Klieg lights. And with the legislators now making a virtue of filthy necessity, they have dispensed with the ‘legislator’ model of conducting public affairs (get the best information, deliberate, and do what’s best for the common weal) and adopted the ‘attorney’ gambit: just make the case and the argument, no matter how whacky, and if the judge and jury accept it, then you’ve done your job.


So it’s anybody’s guess who among the Branches is actually functioning as an ‘adult’ now (although ‘adult’ smacks – I admit – of ‘ageism’ and ‘judgmentalism’).

But it has to be said that We The People cannot escape responsibility here. Some might recall German townsfolk dwelling near the death-camps as blithely saying – after the war – that they had heard, from time to time, screams and wails coming from beyond the trees out there, but they figured it was just the ‘moaning of the wind’ and went back to their own affairs. Ja. Yah. In a less Flattened age, one might suggest that the ‘moaning’ was not ‘the wind’ as much as it was the souls of the brutalized and murdered crying out to God from the earth, and perhaps the very voice of God, simultaneously sharing the pain and preparing a condign justice. But that would be a theological ‘fiction’, and only revolutionary or government-sponsored fictions are to be considered ‘real’ nowadays. Yah.

“Unintended consequences”? Perhaps, although the behavior of numerous municipal governments and the busy-bee creativity of State and national legislators in whomping up even more ‘restrictions’ gives the lie to the ‘unintended’ part.

More importantly, the question is: were the consequences ‘unforeseen’? I mean, did anybody actually sit down and ask the great strategic Question: ‘And what then’? You don’t just go, say, and launch your best wetdream attack and figure that once that’s done you can take a victory lap and enjoy the fruits of ‘victory’. That’s what the Imperial Japanese Navy did after Pearl Harbor: all the smoke from the battered Pacific Fleet ships went to their head, and they figured they’d ‘won’. How does one say ‘Mission accomplished’ in Imperial Japanese?

But the biggest question had not been asked, as Yamamoto well knew: what then? What will the Americans do when we’ve sunk their fleet? The wetdream-addled Imperial command staff simply presumed that their own best expectations would take place ‘automatically’: the Americans would sue for peace, give the Empire free rein in the Far East and the Pacific, and it would be all sushi-and-sake from there.

The ‘Americans’ came up with a different response.

You can’t say that all of the Japanese strategists were idiots. I’ll bet that there were some, Yamamoto among them, who knew damned well that the show could well have a second and third act, and the Pearl-Harbor plan only covered a first-act; it was a one-act play. Thoughtful folks even then, even in Tojo’s Tokyo, could see what might well happen, but they were ignored.

Did nobody in any state or national legislature ‘foresee’ the possible negative consequences of these sex-offender laws? Of the whole mania?

But of course, since the advent of the National Security State, and perhaps the Progressive ‘expert’ State before that, the citizenry, The People, were presumed to be ignorant sheep that needed a shepherd. Nor did the vanguard-elite revolutionaries of the Identities and their National Nanny State change any of that: the citizenry were an ignorant, often brutal, dull-witted, racist and paternalistic mob that ‘just didn’t get it’ and many of whom probably never would ‘get it’.

And far too many of Us stopped even trying to think things through. After all, who wanted to stand up against the tidal-wave of ‘change’, that almost immediately had the full weight of the Democratic Party behind it? Who wanted to ask of this or that great-plan: And what then? No, no, no: implement it and it would ‘work’ (or at least, it could be kept going until all the ones who remembered the time-before-the-thing were dead or thoroughly cowed).

The Great Strategic Question was pre-empted and prevented. Only Lumpenschweine would think to question the rightness of (fill in the blank).

And thus to 9-11 and the American ‘Barbarossa’, the invasion of the Middle East. Well, invasions plural. And perhaps ‘several’ – it’s not over yet. It’s not ever till the Person of Size sings, as opera doth say.

And what then? The Constitution riddled, the legislators debauched, the police overwhelmed, the citizenry dividing itself into fractions of good and evil and no longer concerned for largest responsibilities as The People. And a class of medievally-designated outcasts, many of whom might be crying out from the earth – and perhaps with the right to be heard by That Which Hears All.

Such progress.

If not sackcloth and ashes, serious thought, deliberate and courageous in its comprehensiveness, must be the order of the day. Both the sackcloth and the thought, of course, would be best. Humility and Intelligence are not mutually exclusive. Indeed they are mutually supportive and reinforce each other.

Das alte Rummy wasn’t wrong when he catalogued the ‘known knowns’, the ‘unknown knowns’, the ‘known unknowns’, and the ‘unknown unknowns’. He just failed to carry through as a human being: realizing the humbling paucity of human knowledge and rededicating himself to discovering the actual state of affairs with a steadfast willingness to entertain the darker as well as the brighter bits, and be guided accordingly. Any good general officer could have told him, but We seem not to be turning out too many of those types of generals these days (it’s dubious whether striped pants and sensible shoes will make much of a difference in filling this crucial lack).

Darth Cheney, for all his willingness to embrace the Dark Side, was unwilling to imagine any possibilities darker than his own preferred ‘outcome’. Darkness, I think, shall be his portion now.

So, as I say, this sex-offender mania seems to have something crucially in common with the profound and yet profoundly simple mistakes and omissions that have led Us to Our present unhappy state of affairs.

But this is not all bad news. It provides a concrete and immediate opportunity to reconsider what has been done and what might need to be changed.

And with some luck or blessing, We will avoid domestically what We have managed to enmesh Ourselves in overseas: a bad idea, poorly conceived and executed, pridefully continued for lack of the courage to self-correct, to the great detriment of Ourselves and so many of the world’s peoples … and children.

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