Sheep, part II

My earlier post about the knifing atrocity in Japan, which seemed to happen without any citizen attempts to block the attack, garnered a lot of interesting comments. Danny Lemieux now sent me the perfect follow-up link to Bruce Bawer’s blog. (I can’t find any permalinks there, but just land on the June 9, 2008 post, which is currently the top post, of course.)

In this post, Bawer discusses a story which I’d heard through my email network, but that, rather significantly, never made the media — any media. Gay Patriot (who is the sole media outlet for this story) describes what happened:

At a fashion show to promote tolerance of gay people on April 30, a national holiday in Holland, celebrating the birthday of the late Queen Juliana, a group of ten Muslim youths dragged gay model Mike Du Pree down from the catwalk, beating him up and breaking his nose. A second model who tried to help out was also attacked.

Typically, given that its Bruce Bawer doing the writing, Bawer’s post goes beyond the obvious, which is that Islam is a profoundly intolerant religion, and that it is exporting that intolerance in violent fashion to the West. Instead, Bawer is horrified by the metaphorical sheep involved in this instance:

Another appalling fact here is this: according to one of the stories, Mike du Pree was defended by “another model.” There is no mention of anyone else rushing to defend him. I don’t get it. On no day of the year is Amsterdam more crowded with people than it is on Queen’s Day. This is especially true of Rembrandtplein and the streets leading into it. I suspect the side street on which this event took place was Halvemaansteeg, a little alley that is lined with gay bars and that connects Rembrandtplein to the river Amstel. For one thing, I can’t imagine why the cops couldn’t get there in time — on days like Queen’s Day there’s always cops staked out on Rembrandtplein to deal with rowdies and such.

But forget the cops. How come the story only mentions du Pree being defended by “another model”? How many gay guys were at that fashion show? How many dozens or hundreds of men, on this most crowded of all days in Amsterdam, were within shouting distance of this atrocity? Did any of them do anything? Dan links to du Pree’s web page, on which he describes himself as being between 170 and 175 cm (5’7″-5’9″) tall and as weighing between 50 and 55 kg (110-120 pounds). In a country where the average guy is over six feet tall, that’s a little guy. There were almost certainly gay guys at that show who were a foot or more taller than Du Pree. Did they actually stand there and watch him get his ass kicked without trying to do anything? Certainly they must have outnumbered the Muslim gangsters. Where’s the solidarity? Where’s the initiative? This is just plain chilling.

I hope it turns out there was some resistance. But there’s no indication in the Dutch articles that there was. And that’s the scariest part of all this, the sheer passivity. It’s like when Anna Lindh was murdered in Stockholm. People just stood there, waiting for somebody else to do something. Somebody whose job it was. Hayek was right: the capacity for resistance — the capacity of even conceiving of resistance — is bred out of people in social democracies. And it’s not as if gays in Amsterdam can say they were taken by surprise. In the last decade, conditions for gay people in that city have been heading steadily south. It was just about time for something like this to happen. Amsterdam gays should have been prepared.

A society that can’t defend itself should be prepared to die or be enslaved. It’s that simple, with the Jews of Europe serving as a depressing example.

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  • tomc

    What exactly did you expect to happen in a society that punishes victims of crimes ?

    Any kind of weapon that criminals have (including, apparently, kitchen knives) is outlawed. The police cannot have guns at the ready (they might fire !), nor can they even have ammunition in them …

    If you hurt someone in self-defense, that self-defense is an excuse that MIGHT get you out. You HAVE comitted a crime. Suppose someone pulls a knife on you and you manage to stick his own knife in him ? That’s 2 years prison. And if you’re white and the idiot is black, you’ll be doing the full 2 years, since it’s “racially aggravated”.

    No groups defends it’s own members. Muslims never did this in the first place, but now apparently everybody is forced to do the same.

  • Ymarsakar

    I mentioned before that democracies and majority rule is essentially rule by the few.

    And this is exactly why, Book. For if everyone is responsible, then no one is responsible. And if no is responsible, then nobody will take the initiative to do anything or to produce real leadership. This provides a vacuum for real totalitarian leaders or the select few elite, to take power and tell people what to do. And people will then do them.

    People think democracy is about individualism or civil liberties for each person, but they have never understood just exactly what those rights and responsibilities that entailed.

  • Ymarsakar

    Many people keep talking about how might doesn’t make right. In point of fact, a “right” only exists because of might. No might, no right. And if you have more might, then you can create rights for yourself or others or take them away, regardless of whether it is the ethical thing to do. People continue to ignore this basic fact of reality and human nature, because they want to believe in some kind of idealistic “civil liberty” clap trap about magical rights that just sprung up and were gifted to this generation permanently.

    Nothing is permanent, especially gifts by one’s ancestors.

    Real individualism and Republican forms of government will promote the strength of the individual. That means accepting initiative, allowing people to make choices about their life, and ensuring that people accept the consequences of their choices, good or bad.

    If you try to get government to offset this with a social safety net, the obvious cost is that individuals will no longer become self-sufficient. They may survive longer this way, but they will not be self-sufficient. Meaning, totalitarianism just got one more point in its favor.

  • Danny Lemieux

    “Many people keep talking about how might doesn’t make right. In point of fact, a “right” only exists because of might. No might, no right.”

    – very well said, YM. Definitely a keeper.

  • http://mkfreeberg.webloggin.com mkfreeberg

    very well said, YM. Definitely a keeper.

    Agreed. This is what happened in the Roman Empire when the Mafia was born. The law split in half; you had the luminous but empty administrative “law” in which consuls and magistrates handed down their decisions, and then you had the kind of “law” you saw in the opening scene from The Godfather, where Bonasera seeks justice.

    That’s why we’d be much better off embracing real bigotry, than making a show of embracing “tolerance” everywhere, going so far as to tolerate intolerance. It’s like integrating all the muck and slime and dark stuff from both tolerant & intolerant societies, and capturing nothing beneficial from either one. It will leave us with two justice systems. One with “real” rules and adjudications and enforcements, and another one with “muscle” that works by the language of horse heads left in beds at night.

  • Ymarsakar

    My analysis of why mobs and undergrounds use draconian or ruthless punishment methods is because they do not have the benefit of trust or stability which comes from a legitimate and lawfully recognized government or power balance.

    In such a world, power is easily grabbed and easily lost to a newcomer’s challenge. The original Italian mafia were nowhere as ruthless as the American Mafia and “made men” that eventually replaced the “Old Guard”.

    George Washington refused to conduct himself in a fashion that would disrupt the rule of law and thus make unstable the government and nation he fought for. This was, in the end, an action of foresight and prescience, for it is taking the extremely long road to a better world. Most people think long range thinking is 10 or 5 years. To such people as Washington, long range meant centuries and millenniums.

    People obey the rule of law because so long as the rule of law exists, they and their children’s children have a chance for fair treatment under the law. The other side of the coin is that they could usurp the law and the power illegally, thus rendering their children and children’s children vulnerable to the same act of chaos and coup de tat.

    The rule of law won’t save you in the short term. Just look at how the Athenian mob ordered the execution of Socrates, one of Athens’ greatest minds, for collaborating with Sparta. Course, they couldn’t prove this, so they went with the charge of “corrupting Athenian youth”. A philosopher corrupts the youth by making them think critically, of course. A skill that the Athenian jury-mob of several hundred obviously did not have.

    Socrates refused to sanction or allow Plato or his allies in breaking him out of jail; instead Socrates accepted his death sentence and drank the poison, in the belief that there is no rule of law if people can violate the law when it becomes convenient or personally beneficial.

    Of course, the flip side to this is that it is not beneficial to the rule of law in the long term to lose such a person as Socrates. So what you have is a paradox, which is not an uncommon thing when you are dealing with humanity.

    To get back to the mafia, they undertake drastic actions because they know that people don’t follow them because they trust them. There is not that kind of societal trust which exists in greater American society. Their kind of trust is based solely on strength and power. Whoever has the strength, has the power, and thus can create stability which inspires loyalty.

    The mafia makes examples out of people because they cannot count too much on “loyalty” (meaning greed) to cement people to the cause. And they cannot hold courts and conduct verdicts because that would make them weak and promote more instability. A republic can handle this instability by venting it off in various open ways. The mafia, being a criminal organization, cannot do so. So they make examples out of people hoping to use natural human fear and behavioral learning to control their society, much as civilizations use social indoctrination, rewards, punishments, and laws to control the behavior of their citizens.

    Making examples out of people is very effective and it is not a tool only underworlds use. Republics don’t use such tools often because they don’t need to. Complacency follows function or rather function follows complacency. If you don’t need to kill, you won’t kill and sooner or later you will forget how to kill, thus ensuring that you don’t need to kill because you no longer can.

    If you look at Kushan or Mongol or Parthian tribal warlords, you will see that their rule of authority and law depends solely on the strength of the warlord and the extent to which is feared.

    Republican notions of justice and law have the goal of replacing this “one man cult personality” with something of infinitely more lasting value. Relying upon the genius or ruthlessness of one person will always fail society in the end. There must be a correct and lasting succession, which is not the case with cults of personality.

    The correct response to such things is to excel in all fields of punishment and order. A civilization, just like the human mind and body, must exercise its powers to kill, destroy, punish, and make examples out of people through terror and justice or else the civilization will eventually become incapable of doing so against enemies that have practiced nothing but terror or justice.

    This applies the same to North Korea as it does to America. Any nation that forgoes justice and fairness, will always lose out in those fields to nations that have not gave up all hope and effort at justice, which is defined by me as treating people the way they deserve, nothing less and nothing more.

    This also applies to America’s anti-defense lobby and Western nations that have banned executions and the death penalty. A civilization that no longer recognizes the tools of strength, terror, and intimidation as being valid arsenals will be a civilization that will fall to strength, terror, and intimidation.

    The valid argument has never been “terror doesn’t work” or “we are better than the criminals and terrorists, thus we do not need to use their methods”. The real question is why you are better. Are you better because of the luck that gave you life within a civilized nation. Are you better because of your blood and genealogy. Are you better because you have wealth and are protected by a solid military.

    In the end, “better” can only ever mean “able to defeat one’s enemies”. If you are unable to counter and ensure the inefficacy of terrorism and crime, then you are not better than the criminals. You are just one more player trying to stake out your territory and power amongst others using different methods. Only victory in war and total annihilation efforts determine which side has the “right”, ethical and otherwise.

    Generals that failed to recognize the worth and ability of irregular and foreign military philosophies have often lost.

    The real reason why terror and crime should not be used is because they are counter-productive in the long term just by itself. That does not mean they don’t work in the short term nor does it mean that you have to exclude such tactics in your overall strategy.

    What it means is that the strong have the luxury of sacrificing the weak because the strong have no need to use brutal or ruthless tactics. The weak must use terror or audacious attacks because they are weak and can only ever grow stronger by attacking and using unorthodox tactics.

    Americans are fully justified in saying that they won’t use ruthless and terror tactics to save the lives of the victims of terror, because the victims of terror are mostly in Arabia and outside the United States. But that won’t stop the victims of terrorism from lashing out with more terrorsm of their own, for the victims of terrorism are even weaker compared to the terrorists than the terrorists are to the United States. If people believe terrorists are desperate enough to use suicide bombing on the US because of our strength, then to what extent have such people justified genocide and nuclear winter for those weaker than terrorists? The paradox, in the end, is that the United States will not grow stronger, but weaker, by sacrificing the victims of terror. And eventually the US will become so weak that ruthless actions such as making examples out of people on the street that looked funny will be the status quo.

  • Danny Lemieux

    To distill my own reaction to YM’s comment to its essentials, “no might, no rights” recognizes that all of our rights are premised upon an enforcement principle: criminal justice is upheld by the force of law, my right to life is upheld by my right to defend myself, the rights of nations are founded upon their abilities to defend those rights militarily.

    If one foregos the ultimate resort to violence, one loses the ability to defend their rights and will therefore lose those rights at the first provocation.

    Fundamentally, this is where the whole concept pacifism breaks down. Historically, pacifists have only survived by escaping to countries where others were willing to enforce their rights by force of arms. The alternative was subjugation.

  • Mike Devx

    11B40 raised a point in the Part I comments about diffusion of responsibility. I think that’s an important a part of the story that is getting less attention than it deserves.

    In cities people learn to leave each other alone, often walking swiftly and purposefully down the street and avoiding even eye contact with each other. In cities there is a massive diffusion of responsibility that can seem heartless. Most of these horrifying sheep stories occur in cities, don’t they?

    I’m reminded of a simple study I read about thirty years or so ago – or at least a sample test case – where a car with the windows rolled down was left on a business city street and another parked at the “city square” of a small rural town.

    The car left in the city sat there through the rain and other conditions. People in the rural town rolled the car under a tree and rolled up its windows. (Yes, I’m sure they cranked the window up with a handle – this did occur at least thirty years ago).

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    That’s a fascinating point about diffusion of responsibility. I’m a busy-body myself, if I think I can genuinely help people. I’ll tell people their flies are open or that they have spinach in their teeth. I also have a personal crusade about kids riding in the back of shopping carts, since one of mine fell out and got a concussion. I feel I am responsible for things.

  • Ymarsakar

    In cities people learn to leave each other alone, often walking swiftly and purposefully down the street and avoiding even eye contact with each other.

    Anybody I do that on the street with, is also somebody that 50% of the time I’m considering target points for or considering what I would do if they attacked me as they passed me by.

    It’s a basic thing of vigilance, which is never 100% in peace but should always be at least 50%.

    Statistically, women walking by you aren’t going to try to attack you or intimidate you. That’s just not going to happen on a street encounter. Things become different if the woman or girl is the leader of a wolf pack, meaning gang of friends. But usually you can tell when that is from half a mile away.

    The simplest way to maintain vigilance is to map out the targets on a fellow citizen as they walk past you, toward you, or along with you. Plan out your strategy of attack, considering all avenues of retreat but not all avenues of reaction, and then flow your mind through the motions.

    Sociopaths are predators that both plan and make the kill. Citizens in order to resist and kill predators must themselves train in half of the skills of the stalk and kill. Meaning learn to stalk, even if you aren’t going to go for the kill.

    That’s a fascinating point about diffusion of responsibility. I’m a busy-body myself, if I think I can genuinely help people. I’ll tell people their flies are open or that they have spinach in their teeth. I also have a personal crusade about kids riding in the back of shopping carts, since one of mine fell out and got a concussion. I feel I am responsible for things.

    One might say that the key element to any truly good combat leader is an overwhelming and overburdened sense of responsibility to others. Self-motivation partially comes from that sense of responsibility. Actually, it might be said that that is what self-motivation is entirely. The idea that you and only you are responsible for completing such an action, that it won’t be completed by God or by procrastination.

    Current modern society has degraded in terms of politeness and etiquette. Back in the beyond, many people had rote phrases to deal with strangers. Now a days, we do not have except “what’s up” and “hi”. The awkwardness otherwise taken care of by ritualized greetings is no longer around for people. In the cities, this is perhaps you pass TOO many people for you to greet them or tip your hat to all of them. Etiquette was lost in order to save time, and eventually it became totally obsolete.

    Form follows function, after all. And the form of etiquette must follow the function of work, productivity, and life.

    At Times Square, i doubt anybody has the time to greet everybody they meet on the street, so they greet Nobody.

    As for urban centers, it has already been proven that they are crime havens and not for just one or two reasons.

    PS.

    The reason why the justice system sucks and why irresponsible and evil behavior is not punished according to justice is because the justice system of America holds everybody accountable for a verdict of guilt or innocence. That means nobody is responsible. The prosecutors aren’t responsible for locking up an innocent man and the defense isn’t responsible for releasing a hard core criminal murderer and rapist. The judge ain’t responsible for releasing child molestors, either. The jury isn’t responsible for making a innocent or guilty verdict against a guilty and innocent person, respectively.

    This is a response to the vigilantism and lynch mob mentality of former times, but I tend to think we have gone a little bit too far into “spreading the responsibility” around.

  • Ymarsakar

    It’s one thing for a system of law to say “everybody must be part of the legal process in order to decrease vengeance and revenge motives”. It is quite another thing for the actual human cogs in the law to see themselves as being unaccountable. Que lawsuit lawyers and activist judges.