"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Monday, September 26, 2016

"The System Worked"

Consider a few stories, ranging various subjects of ideological interest, in which members of one ideology forgo debate and simply file lawsuits against their ideological adversaries. Notice how the aggressors in these contests always win -- even when they merely settle, and even when they "lose."


"A few years ago, for example, under pressure by an atheist group, the U.S. Air Force suspended a course in just-war theory that had been taught for twenty years to officers at Vandenberg Air Force Base, in California—the only place in the United States from which intercontinental ballistic missiles and certain space satellites can be launched.24 Like much else in the Judeo-Christian scholastic tradition, just-war theory has been around far longer than the United States itself. It is a body of philosophical thought dedicated to the conditions of justifiable conflict, developed in scholastic detail from Augustine of Hippo to Thomas Aquinas’s systematic exegesis in the 1200s, and running through centuries of other commentary up to the present day.25 In banning the course, the Air Force promised to look into non-religious “alternatives.” Yet there is no secular equivalent of just-war theory—any more than there is a secular equivalent of Palestrina; or Renaissance biblical paintings; or iconography; or Gothic cathedral design; or other philosophical and artistic creations left behind by believers across Western history."
But lawsuit avoided, accepting ignorance in its stead. "The system worked."

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Another via Eberstadt (also here):
"As part of a community service project, children in these schools [SkyView Academy in Colorado and East Point Academy in South Carolina] helped to collect donations and assemble shoe boxes stuffed with hygiene items and gifts to be donated to Operation Christmas Child, an evangelical relief effort that gives impoverished children gifts during the holiday season. And because of that, both schools came to be targeted by the [American Humanist Association]. Now, reasonable people might just assume that giving hygiene products and toys to people who have none might trump ideological spite against Christians; but some people do not understand the depth of secularist animosity. The atheists argued that the toys were “essentially a bribe, expressly used to pressure desperately poor children living in developing countries to convert to Christianity.”24 And so, faced with the threat of being forced to spend prodigious sums on lawyers, both schools ceased participating in the program."
Tough break for the tots, but lawsuit avoided. "The system worked."

______


"After I saw off the Islamic enforcers in my own country, their frontman crowed to The Canadian Arab News that, even though the Canadian Islamic Congress had struck out in three different jurisdictions in their attempt to criminalize my writing about Islam, the lawsuits had cost my magazine (he boasted) two million bucks, and thereby "attained our strategic objective — to increase the cost of publishing anti-Islamic material."
Still, lawsuit defeated. So "the system worked."

Steyn continues:
"Just to confirm that, here's my friend Barbara Amiel writing in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo bloodbath:

"When in 2011 I had the one and only column of my 37 years of writing for Maclean's spiked, it was on Dutch anti-Muslim immigration politician Geert Wilders. I thought it was pretty milquetoast writing since I was automatically self-censoring and pulling my punches but I really couldn't blame Maclean's. They were suffering from battle fatigue: nothing is more enervating and time-consuming than filling out the endless details and forms that human-rights complaints require. Not to mention the legal fees. "You'd win," said one of my editors. "We know that. But we just can't go there again." ""
But lawsuit avoided, and oh! but there are still such sensational thing to publish in a magazine. "The system worked."
_______


Earlier this year, Politico reported the news of a coming DOJ investigation against David Daleiden and the group that busted Planned Parenthood's selling of aborted baby parts:

JUSTICE TO PROBE CENTER FOR MEDICAL PROGRESS — While congressional committees investigate Planned Parenthood’s practices, the Justice Department agreed to look into whether the group that released the sting videos obtained the footage legally. In response to a request by House Democrats, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Wednesday afternoon that Justice would “review all of the information and determine what the appropriate steps moving forward would be.”

Then:
"In April, pro-abortion California Attorney General Kamala Harris stole unreleased video footage concerning Planned Parenthood from Daleiden’s home. California authorities seized a laptop and hard drives containing the video footage collected during Daleiden’s 3-year investigation of Planned Parenthood’s involvement in the illegal sale of aborted baby remains, according to a written statement made by Life Legal Defense Foundation, which is helping to defend Daleiden.
. . . .
"Planned Parenthood has donated $81,000 to Harris and, because of the massive conflict of interest, pro-life groups are calling for her resignation. Harris also was endorsed by the pro-abortion National Organization for Women. NOW describes her as a “longtime, vocal supporter of Planned Parenthood” who promised to investigate CMP and fight for taxpayer funding of the abortion business." 


"But now the "Harris County District Attorney’s office on Tuesday dismissed all charges against Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, the pro-life adovcate who worked with him on the groundbreaking videos [exposing Planned Parenthood's sale of aborted baby parts]."
So Daleiden has been vindicated of charges against his worked critical of Planned Parenthood, even if he was kept from continuing his work for several months. "The system worked."
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ACLU announces it will file a federal lawsuit against Trinity Health Corporation, a Catholic health organization, for refusing to perform abortions. A spokesperson for Trinity Health said in a statement: 

A federal court already dismissed a similar ACLU claim, and we will seek dismissal of this suit for the same reason. The Ethical and Religious Directives are entirely consistent with high-quality health care, and our clinicians continue to provide superb care throughout the communities we serve. We are proud that more than 25,000 licensed physicians work directly with our health system and share our commitment to people-centered care.”
So long as Catholic hospitals can continue to pay attorneys to successfully dismiss baseless lawsuits trying to bring them in line with the pro-abortion-rights agenda -- ignoring, of course, the other life-saving good that could be done with that money -- "the system worked."

________

On the climate front, the Weekly Standard reported: Senator Whitehouse: Use RICO laws to prosecute climate skeptics. Excerpts:

"Obviously, there’s a lot of money hanging in the balance with regard to energy policy. But when does coordinating “a wide range of activities, including political lobbying, contributions to political candidates, and a large number of communication and media efforts” go from basic First Amendment expression to racketeering? The tobacco analogy is inappropriate in regards to how direct the link between smoking and cancer is. Even among those who do agree that global warming is a problem, there’s a tremendously wide variety of opinions about the practical effects. Who gets to decide whether someone is “downplaying the role of carbon emissions in climate change” relative to the consensus? If message coordination and lobbying on controversial scientific and political issues can be declared racketeering because the people funding such efforts have a financial interest in a predetermined outcome, we’re just going to have to outlaw everything that goes on in Washington, D.C.


"In February, Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., attempted a McCarthyite witch hunt against climate scientists he found disagreeable. And Sheldon Whitehouse is sitting U.S. Senator. He’s now publicly encouraging legal persecution of people who conduct scientific research and/or those that have opinions about it he disagrees with. He wrote this opinion in the Washington Post on Friday, and no one much noticed or batted an eye at the consequences of what he’s advocating here. Such calls for draconian restrictions on speech are becoming alarmingly regular. And if more people don’t start speaking out against it, sooner or later we’re actually going to end up in a place where people are being hauled into court for having an opinion that differs from politicians such as Senator Whitehouse."
Conservative media outlets were highly critical of Sen. Whitehouse and Rep. Grijalva's plan, and no lawsuit has been brought. Yet. And valuating the cost of chilled speech and inhibited scientific inquiry is about as much guesswork as climate science anyway. So "the system worked."

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Stalin's secret police chief, Lavrenti Beria, infamously said: "Show me the man and I'll find you the crime." Lawmakers and judges hasten to fill the law books with new legal theories to suit every slight, every grievance, every disturbance. A lawsuit in every pot, a cause of action in every garage.

The legal system, as currently emerging, will put western liberalism -- free exercise, free speech, free inquiry -- on the tines of a Morton's Fork: give in, or join an endless, pitiless culture war. The abusers of that system understand the marketplace-of-ideas metaphor: they're pricing ideas right out of the market.

The system, for this purpose, works very, very well. 

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