It Was The Worst of The Times

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

I did jail time in the Sixties for a peaceful sit-in against the Vietnam War. So (as with many things) my understanding of the issues involved in what may be termed “civil disobedience” is eminently practical as well as theoretical. I was very disturbed by a recent column in the New York Times by Kirk Johnson entitled “Do Motives Matter?” It discussed the DeChristopher case. I reproduce it in its entirety and discuss it below.

Do Motives Matter? The DeChristopher Verdict

Tim DeChristopher hugged supporters as he left a courthouse in Salt Lake City after his conviction. Associated Press Photo

The American legal system tends to pay obsessive attention to a person’s motives and mental state. A hate crime, for example, only becomes a hate crime at all with motive. Premeditated offenses often get harsher treatment than impulsive acts of rage or passion. The capacity to understand right and wrong is a fundamental threshold of competency in a courtroom.

OK, let’s stop right there. Part of that is simply untrue. In addition, he is conflating motive, premeditation, mental competence, and intent.

The American legal system pays almost no attention to motive. The only crime I can think of in which a person’s motives make a difference is a “hate crime”. This is a recent addition to the law. But if you murder someone, or steal their wallet, your motive is meaningless. You might have stolen to impress your girlfriend. You might need the money to feed your kids. Doesn’t matter, the jury will never hear about your motive. The only question the jury ever considers is “did you do it”, not “why did you do it”.

While premeditation and mental competence and intent are certainly issues to which the law pays “obsessive attention”, they have nothing to do with motive. All they are doing in his essay is confusing the issue. In general the person’s motive for doing something whether a person had noble reasons for committing a crime is legally immaterial to the jury. If motive enters into the record at all, it is only and solely in the sentencing phase, after the person has been found guilty and the jury sent home. Thus the judge acted correctly in doing what Kirk Johnson describes in mildly accusatory accusatory undertones as:

But in the federal trial of Tim DeChristopher, who was convicted on Thursday in Salt Lake City on two felony charges for trying to derail an auction oil and gas leases in southern Utah in late 2008, discussion of motive – at least so far as the jury got to hear – was almost entirely stripped away.

Judge Dee Benson told the lawyers that the case would not be about why Mr. DeChristopher did what he did, but only whether he did it. Federal energy policies and concern about climate change, which were in fact the core drivers of Mr. DeChristopher’s actions, as he has said in many interviews, would not be put on trial, Judge Benson ruled.

And he properly ruled so. DeChristopher’s motives are not relevant to the jury’s deliberations.

Does it matter? In covering the case for The New York Times, I found myself pondering a pretty deep question: In assessing offenses driven by environmental concerns, is an understanding of the “why” crucial to the truth? Or is it a huge distraction because of the politics and complexity and controversy that swirl around the subject?

Is his motive “crucial to the truth” or a “huge distraction”? I would say neither. I would say that an understanding of his motive in the context of what is called “noble cause corruption” is useful in understanding the current sorry state of climate science. In either case his motive does not matter to the law, nor should it.

Would the jury have assessed things differently if the defendant’s deeper psychological portrait had emerged – specifically his belief that risks to the planet and the future are so dire and urgent that rules must be broken?

Or is the “rule of law,” as an assistant United States attorney, John W. Huber, put in it his closing argument, crucial to civil society — the linchpin of protecting everything we have, including and perhaps especially the environment?

I have no sympathy with this argument at all. Why on earth should I care about Mr. DeChristopher’s “deeper psychological portrait”? I don’t generally turn over rocks if I fear that there are strange things under them … I’m not interested in what lies under Mr. DeChristopher’s actions. I have enough problems with the creatures that live under my own skullcap, I have no interest in the unknown denizens of Mr. DeChristopher’s cranium.

Certainly, Mr. DeChristopher, a 29-year-old economics graduate, is no eco-terrorist. This was not an Earth Liberation Front firebombing; the closest he got to violence was raising his bidding paddle at the auction to buy land leases with money he didn’t have. But there was also little doubt, as he had also conceded in interviews, that he broke the law by signing federal forms while posing as a legitimate energy buyer, and then by bidding successfully for upward of $1.8 million in leases from the federal Bureau of Land Management.

Again, I’m not clear what the relevance of this is. He is not an eco-terrorist. He is also not a kidnapper or a child molester … so what? What does that have to do with his case? Is he saying we should have sympathy for him because he is a “white collar criminal”? Because I generally have less sympathy for that breed of crook, not more. I’ll take an honest bank robber over a bank accountant who steals the same amount of money, any time.

In a statement after the verdict, the United States attorney for Utah, Carlie Christensen, addressed part of this debate, one that will no doubt continue in Mr. DeChristopher’s probable appeal. “Whether the B.L.M. was correct in its decision to offer these parcels for oil and gas lease sales was not the question which this jury was asked to resolve,” Ms. Christensen said.

Nor should they be asked to resolve it. It is not a question for the jury.

Look, I have no problem with Mr. DeChristopher’s actions. As I mentioned, I did the same myself, and I did time for it. As we said then, if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime. However, I never heard the New York Times opining that the judge should have considered my motives in deciding my guilt or innocence. It didn’t matter. I was guilty. As is DeChristopher.

What I have a problem with is when this kind of thinking slops over into the scientific arena. You see, if a scientist thinks it is ethical to break the laws of civil society in the name of saving the planet, I have absolutely no confidence that the same man will not break the laws of honest, transparent, ethical science in the name of saving the planet. As we have seen, sadly, this more than a thoretical threat.

When this occurs in science, it is called “noble cause corruption”. It occurs when a scientist thinks that their cause (saving the world from Thermageddon) is so important and so noble that it transcends plebeian concerns. Their cause is much more critical and vital and important than, you know, mundane boring things like transparency, and scientific integrity, and archiving data that may not agree with your hypothesis, and revealing adverse results. For scientists like that, those are petty scientific concerns, things that only apply to people who are not engaged on a mission from Gaia.

This noble cause corruption, amply personified by Michael Mann, Phil Jones, Gene Wahl, Caspar Amman, Gavin Schmidt, James Hansen, Stephen Schneider, Lonnie Thompson, and far too many other leading lights of AGW orthodoxy, has been the root cause of the mistrust of the public in climate science.

And reasonably so. When the public sees top-notch, world-renowned climate scientists lying and cheating and breaking the rules and stuffing the peer-review panels and subverting the IPCC, what do you think will happen to the reputation of the field?

Judith Curry and others keep presenting this as a communications problem. It is not. The AGW folks think the problem is that they’re not getting the word out. So they’ve formed some kind of Guerrilla AGW Killer Rapid Response Ninja Suicide Death Commando Team to answer questions, at least I think that’s the name … guys, lack of AGW scientific opinion is not a problem as far as I can see, quite the opposite. We’ve heard your scientific claims of upcoming catastrophe proclaimed at full volume over and over. And over. And over. The problem is not that your message is not getting across. We hear it. It’s crystal clear, no problem with either the medium or the message. RST is five by five, as the ham radio operators have it.

But most folks simply don’t believe anything you say. You’ve lied to everyone before, you conned us in the past, people are determined it won’t happen again.

The problem is that a large number of the top names in the field have been shown to be, well, liars, cheats, and thieves. They were working hard, in secret, using deplorable, unethical, and likely illegal tactics to advance their noble cause and to protect their secrets and their data and methods.

Now, if that were all, it would be bad. But it is worse than that. If, when all that was revealed, the rest of the honest, decent climate scientists had stood up and pointed and said “For Shame!”, the breach in trust could have been repaired. If the miscreants were identified and disowned by the majority of climate scientists, there would have been problems, but not huge problems.

But that’s not what happened. When the Climategate rock was rolled over, and the UEA nest of scorpions was revealed and they started running from the sunlight, with few and notable exceptions the good, decent, honest climate scientists suddenly found something else really fascinating to talk about. About how it was just boys being boys. About how it was just scientists talking trash about each other in private. About how Climategate meant nothing. About how the use of “hacked” emails was unethical. The overwhelming majority of the good honest decent AGW supporters talked volubly about everything under the sun … everything except the putrid scientific rot Climategate revealed within the top ranks. Nor did they say a peep about a succession of ludicrous whitewash investigations apparently led by Inspector Clouseau of “Pink Panther” fame … silence and closing the ranks was the order of the day.

So as a result much of the general public in the US at least believes that all climate scientists are crooks. They’re not. They’re mostly just reasonable, curious scientists who tragically were unwilling to speak up for scientific honesty and integrity when history called on them to do so. And as the saying goes, for scorpions to succeed, all that is necessary is for good climate scientists to do nothing.

After all of that, anyone who thinks that what we have is a communications problem, or that it can be solved by better scientific explanations, or that it can be fixed by reframing the discussion, is seriously deluding themselves. Someday, good science will eventually win out. Not communication. Not reframing. Good science.

But until then, I can assure you that if a climate scientist says it’s raining outside, any reasonable person will surreptitiously glance out the window …

w.

[Update] There is an outstanding comment below:

Turn this around when thinking about the “profit motive” such that the “profit motive” were a valid legal defense. A really scary thought, that one is.

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216 thoughts on “It Was The Worst of The Times

  1. Surreptitiously?

    Willis, I’d throw the “climate scientist” out the window and watch to see how wet he gets.

  2. Hmm, good thing you didn’t testify to Congress, knowing your reputation you’d end up President or something :D:D

  3. Yes, this is obvious. Why it is not obvious to the climate faithful is a mystery. It is classic, that there is a general view that climate is different from everything else. This is a clear indication of how far climate activism has vanished up its own fundament.

    Once the principle is accepted that to break the law in a good cause is OK, we are down the rathole. At that point we are going to have to start considering whether bombing the London Underground was justified by the divine imperative to jihad against the unbeliever, and whether anti Muslim riots and mayhem are justified by the Biblical injunction to smite the Amalakite hip and thigh…. and so on.

    These people have got to understand that complying with the law is a precondition of living in a democratic society.

  4. Willis,

    Motive does also play a significant role during the investigation period. The first people considered for a crime (one in which there is uncertainty regarding the identity of the perpetrator) are those that have motive. Indeed, motive is all but a requirement for a warrant.

    Also, for many crimes, motive matters to a jury in cases of doubt, e.g., a defendant that is arguing innocence, rather than “I had a good reason,” will be judged partially on whether he actually had a reason to commit the crime. If you have no motive, nothing to gain, your odds of an acquittal are increased, possibly by a significant amount. This is most certainly a point a defense attorney will argue.

    I would imagine that there is a difference between arguing that no motive exists (by the defense,) motive was for some personal gain (by the prosecution,) and motives are somehow altruistic (again by the defense.) The two former cases would likely be allowed by any judge, though I agree the latter, as is probably this case, should not matter except in the sentencing phase.

    Just my two cents worth… maybe a penny now due to the performance of our currency lately.

    Mark

  5. Willis I hope your old fashioned common sense spreads because it is a commodity that is in short supply.

  6. I shouldn’t get into this but here goes. There is the Law and there is Justice. The Law finds you guilty, Justice comes hopefully when the Judge considers motives and circumstances, with a possible input from the Jury.

    Which is why IMHO that there should never be mandatory sentences. An assisted passing by a loving spouse should not be treated the same as a murderer for gain or malice. Possession of a few ounces of a substance that the same government mandated farmers to grow within my life time (hemp) should not result in life in prison for a “three time loser” . So there.

  7. So as a result much of the general public in the US at least believes that all climate scientists are crooks. They’re not. They’re mostly just reasonable, curious scientists who tragically were unwilling to speak up for scientific honesty and integrity when history called on them to do so.

    Everyone’s a hero–as long as it’s not high noon.

  8. I hope I’ve understood all this at the lay level but is there not also a case to be made that they have colluded in changes of energy policy that may well have resulted in an unknown (but large) number of deaths through diversion of food production with resulting price increases and/or creation of social instability in the developing world?

    Allegedly, hypothetically speaking only of course….

  9. Mark T says:
    March 12, 2011 at 12:00 am

    Willis,
    Motive does also play a significant role during the investigation period. The first people considered for a crime (one in which there is uncertainty regarding the identity of the perpetrator) are those that have motive. Indeed, motive is all but a requirement for a warrant.

    Agreed.

    Also, for many crimes, motive matters to a jury in cases of doubt, e.g., a defendant that is arguing innocence, rather than “I had a good reason,” will be judged partially on whether he actually had a reason to commit the crime. If you have no motive, nothing to gain, your odds of an acquittal are increased, possibly by a significant amount. This is most certainly a point a defense attorney will argue.

    True, but since in this case DeChristopher wasn’t arguing innocence, it doesn’t apply here.

    I would imagine that there is a difference between arguing that no motive exists (by the defense,) motive was for some personal gain (by the prosecution,) and motives are somehow altruistic (again by the defense.) The two former cases would likely be allowed by any judge, though I agree the latter, as is probably this case, should not matter except in the sentencing phase.

    My apology for my lack of clarity. You are correct that in some circumstances motive may be reasonably argued by either the prosecution or the defense. My blanket statement was wrong. I was speaking of the third situation you discuss above, the argument that the person is not guilty because his motives were pure. That, as you point out, will be disallowed by the judge as happened in this case.

    w.

  10. vas says:
    March 12, 2011 at 12:23 am

    I hope I’ve understood all this at the lay level but is there not also a case to be made that they have colluded in changes of energy policy that may well have resulted in an unknown (but large) number of deaths through diversion of food production with resulting price increases and/or creation of social instability in the developing world?

    Converting land that is producing food to production of fuel is a Very Bad Thing™ on my planet.

    However, I blame noble cause corruption rather than collusion. There was collusion in Climategate, but that is the exception rather than the rule.

    w.

  11. I was wondering if it was fair to use scorpions instead of say cockroaches. So I had to research scorpions, and true enough, they do live under rocks, and are nocturnal. However I found this out “Scorpions excrete very little”, and now have to continue my research, this time on the habits of cockroaches.

  12. Motives are important in the Anglo-Saxon jury system. Motivation goes to how like us is he/she, and is there a risk of future offences. The jury is of your peers as it allows perverse juries to protect you where the letter of law is lacking public support. A recent case in 2010 being the Crown verses George McLeod 2010. Mrs Findlay, was killed by George Mcload semi-blind driver George McLeod, in Scotland.

  13. If there can be hate crimes that are discernible only in the light of knowledge of the motive, it seems inuitively obvious that there should also be “love crimes”. Crimes to save the planet would be love crimes. So would mercy killings.

    My point is not so much that love crime should attract a more lenient sentence, as the complement of the harsher sentence attached to a hate crime. My point is that the concept of hate crime (thought crime) is lunatic. There’s just crimes and non-crimes.

  14. Noble Cause Corruption is also prevalent among those selling the AGW/CC message to voters. In Oz we have a number of intellectuals hired by the government to convince the great unwashed that we need a “carbon” tax. The very name is a subterfuge; they mean a carbon dioxide tax but most know that we breathe it out and it puts the bubbles in beer and so can’t be all bad. The sellers don’t mind overhyping without references and straight out lying. I think calling any of this “noble” is drawing an extremely long bow. It does however mirror the shoddiness and fraudulent nature of much of the science.

    The end result is as Willis stated; We have no trust is scientists of any hue and it seems to be spreading to many science based professions such as doctors and agricultural science. It is truly a setback for science in general.

    In our case we ask the government apologists of the tax ” how much will it cost and how much will it reduce the temperature?”. So far no one can answer the question.

  15. Sean says:
    March 12, 2011 at 1:32 am

    Motives are important in the Anglo-Saxon jury system. Motivation goes to how like us is he/she, and is there a risk of future offences.

    At least in the US, the “risk of future offences” is never a question for the jury.

    The jury is of your peers as it allows perverse juries to protect you where the letter of law is lacking public support.

    This is called “jury nullification“, and in the US it’s rare but does happen.

    A recent case in 2010 being the Crown verses George McLeod 2010. Mrs Findlay, was killed by George Mcload semi-blind driver George McLeod, in Scotland.

    HMA v GEORGE McLEOD said nothing about motive. Nor did it involve jury nullification. Not sure what your point is here.

    Thanks,

    w.

  16. Perverse juries is call jury nullification in the USA. While juries are protected by USA in law if they set aside the facts, telling them this can get you in hot water. In practice a less charge is often accepted where the punishment for a heavyer charge was supported by the facts. Think “mercy” killing of a suffering loved one, or killing a burgler.

  17. Sean and Willis,
    Remember that Scots Law is based on Roman Law, not Anglo Saxon (or English) Law which has a Germanic basis.
    Just a nit pick, though.

  18. However, I blame noble cause corruption rather than collusion. There was collusion in Climategate, but that is the exception rather than the rule.

    Great posting…

    Personally, I am more cynical in these days of Newspeak where:
    The phrase noble cause is synonym from window dressing.
    The phrase team player is a synonym for collusion.

    Differentiating Oldspeak and Newspeak is a challenge…
    A challenge that is resolved by personal value judgements
    So everyone has their own personal perspective.

    Newspeak attempts to influence value judgements through information overload… and when information overload doesn’t work then Newspeak techniques seek to:
    divide and conquer
    demonise
    terrorise

    We live in interesting times :-)

  19. Good post …. pretty much bang on the money. But I would push your conclusions even further ….. I think what has happned in climate science has diminished the position of ALL scientists. And set scientific enlightenment back a generation.

    To the detriment of us all.

  20. “I’ll take an honest bank robber over a bank accountant who steals the same amount of money, any time.”

    What??!?!

    Threatening the life and limb of innocents is better then moving some digits around on a computer screen?

    Do you inhabit the Joker’s moral universe?

  21. It should also be noted that the law does make a distinction between robbing $1000 and embezzling $1000 dollars and the punishment the law deals for the two crimes reflects the the exact opposite of your idiotic moral algebra.

  22. Willis – great thoughts. No nit to pick here. Move along, send the crook to Leavenworth! and shoot the rest of the lot for good measure. /sarc

  23. Joshua Corning says:
    March 12, 2011 at 2:42 am

    “I’ll take an honest bank robber over a bank accountant who steals the same amount of money, any time.”

    What??!?!

    Threatening the life and limb of innocents is better then moving some digits around on a computer screen?

    Do you inhabit the Joker’s moral universe?

    I’m not approving of either one. My point is that if a bank president steals a million dollars, he may get two years in a country club prison, while when a poor man steals a hundred bucks, he may get seven years hard time. If a man is going to rob me, I’d rather he do it with a pistol than a fountain pen. And yes, before you ask, I’ve had a pistol stuck in my face.

    But that’s me and my experience, not you and yours. YMMV.

    w.

  24. Well, the Romans, a couple of thousand years ago, gave us this saying:

    Fiat justitia pereat mundi – which means, roughly translated, ‘let there be justice even if the world is perishing’.

    And that should be the resounding answer to the doubt of the author expressed here:
    ‘Or is the “rule of law,” as an assistant United States attorney, John W. Huber, put in it his closing argument, crucial to civil society — the linchpin of protecting everything we have, including and perhaps especially the environment?’

    Attorney J.W.Huber has it spot on.

  25. Joshua Corning says:
    March 12, 2011 at 2:50 am

    It should also be noted that the law does make a distinction between robbing $1000 and embezzling $1000 dollars and the punishment the law deals for the two crimes reflects the the exact opposite of your idiotic moral algebra.

    As Dickens remarked

    “If the law supposes that,” said Mr. Bumble,… “the law is a ass—a idiot. If that’s the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is that his eye may be opened by experience—by experience.”

    Joshua, I know the law makes a distinction between rich men’s crimes and the crimes of the poor.

    Me, I think that’s a crime, but that’s just me.

    w.

  26. Judge Christensen:
    “Mr. DeChristopher had several reasonable and lawful alternatives by which he could have expressed his objections to the sale of these oil and gas leases.”

    Translation:
    “We don’t mind you protesting just so long as you don’t protest in such a way that might actually change anything.”

  27. Almost invariably a defendent will come up with a string of excuses, true or otherwise, to try and demonstrate to a court that the crime was, in the defendants mind, justifiable. Lawyers love pleading in mitigation as, by the use of language, ommission and the manner in which the story (the facts based on the evidence) is told, they are able to persuade the judge to pass a more lenient sentence or, at its most successful, persuade a jury to find a guilty person, not guilty.

    What the ‘usual supects’ of climate propaganda might plead (once we get them where they belong, in court) are a variation of the McNaghton Rules (insanity due to the inability to distinguish right from wrong). The question arises as to whether AGW has become an irrational cult with leaders who, if psychiatrically examined, might be diagnosed as psychotic. In other words, they suffer from a disorder of the mind in which they lose touch with reality, lack insight and become deluded.

    This defence would no doubt fail on the simple grounds that the usual suspects do have the mental capacity to appreciate their conduct, because by pursuing this conduct they are able to obtain $ billions of our money.

  28. “This noble cause corruption, amply personified by Michael Mann, Phil Jones, Gene Wahl, Caspar Amman, Gavin Schmidt, James Hansen, Stephen Schneider, Lonnie Thompson, and far too many other leading lights of AGW orthodoxy, has been the root cause of the mistrust of the public in climate science.”

    Well the problem here is that you label these people such because you suspect they would falsify scientific results, not because you have any evidence or proof that they have.

    So by definition any scientist concerned about man-made climate change enough to vocally speak out about it gets added to your list of “nobel cause corruption”.

  29. Leninists have pooped in their own nest to some extent. In previous times the point of civil disobedience was to serve your time as hard as possible so the public could see the injustice.

    Modern leftists have lost the courage and lost the point. They want the court system to pardon them because they’re following orthodox Party doctrine. This is no longer civil disobedience, it’s just a plain old totalitarian system where Correct Animals are more equal than Incorrect Animals.

  30. Ok, it would have had an economic cost. But the potential punishments of bankruptcy (750000 fine) and 5 years jail time is out of wack with a rather funny non violent action. He personnel did not make money out of it. For me 100 dollar fine or 6 months suspended. If I was on a jury I would never convict if he risked real jail time.

    Clearly you can not allow folks to break the law just because thier beliefs say it is OK. That way leads to terrorism. Plus I do not share his views on climate. but such non violent actions are good for democracy. A funny beautifully simple idea and the organisors of the auction are also responsable.

  31. I cannot speak for the US legal system, but in the UK and Australian systems, motive may be very relevant to whether a person is convicted in certain cases. The classic example is where someone is charged with assault/manslaughter/murder and they plead self-defence. Self defence, if accepted, may result in acquittal even if the act undoubtedly occurred.

    However, self-defence has to pass tests of reasonableness and proportionality. These tests are applied very strictly, in our system anyway. I don’t think it would have a prayer in the circumstances of the example you cited.

  32. There is no noble cause corruption from those whom you alledge. Instead the corruption is on sites such as this by people such as yourself, which are able to ignore scientific study and evidence because there is a noble cause of stopping those who are a threat to your worldview. Your calls a few weeks back to concentrate on the science instead of the scientists has gone unheeded by yourself.

  33. michel says:
    March 11, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    “These people have got to understand that complying with the law is a precondition of living in a democratic society.”

    I beg to differ, complying with the law is a precondition to living in a civil society. Republic, or democracy, either society requires the rule of law. I prefer a limited republican form of government, having majority rule without bounds, is asking for another pogrom of one form or another. Before I hear any complaints about the use of pogrom, they were used against many different groups, not just the Jews. If some of the Warmists had their way, we Skeptics would be in deep trouble.

  34. My dad told my when I was much younger “Part of being a man is owning up to what you do. If you did it admit it and take you punishment. Doing anything else is what a child does.” A lot of our society wants to live as children.

  35. Willis, is it possible the NYTimes article is attempting to equate the DeChristopher motive to existing self defense law? Self-defense laws vary from state to state, but they tend to afford a defendent lawful use of either lethal or non-lethal force whenever the defendent “reasonably believes that unlawful force which will cause death or grievous bodily harm is about to be used on him.”

    I would imagine they might argue the whole thing is equivalent to self-defense, if a time-scaling multipling factor is applied, i.e., DeChristopher’s actions and the environmental harm he believed his actions might prevent are all on a much longer time scale than those associated with a typical self defense case.

  36. To me the real question is not why some charlatans gamed the system for personal gain, it is why honest scientists that didn’t believe stilled stayed silent. They are almost more guilty than the liars.

    As Col Blair says in the climatic scene in the movie Scent of a Women “Now I have come to the crossroads in my life. I always knew what the right path was. Without exception, I knew. But I never took it. You know why? It was too damn hard.”

  37. I disagree with the assertion that most climate scientists are not crooks because they simply failed to speak up when history called on them to do so.

    They are profiting off of the fear.

    If I knew that the accounting departing was over-paying all staff and I kept quiet about it, I am guilty of knowingly misappropriating funds.

    If a doctor knows that the other doctors in the practice are abusing the medicare reimbursement program and does nothing, that doctor is guilty of collusion.

    If an attorney at a practice knows other attorneys are behaving unethically and illegally and does nothing, that attorney is guilty of fraud.

    These so called innocent climate scientists know their funding will dry up if they speak up, and choose to remain silent, feeding off the public trough. They are guilty of theft of public funds.

  38. It ultimately comes down to whether you are an absolutist or a relativist. Relativism is inferior in the case of legal responsibility because an heinous act can be found inferior to another and thus excused. I’m not saying there is no place for mercy, but that requires contrition and acknowledgment of violating a standard.

  39. Excellent analysis and commentary. I don’t see many people addressing these issues. Thanks!

  40. Isn’t the whole idea of DeChristopher’s “protest” to take a stand against a society bent on environmental destruction? He should be proud to spend a couple of years at the Utah state prison for a cause so noble.

    Man up Tim. Joe Hill you ain’t.

  41. Interesting post. I mention my take on whether motives legally matter or not, but it’s already been mentioned to an extent. As to the violence vs. non……… Bernie Madoff. As to the “messaging” issue, I recently participated in a discussion at Curry’s blog about “story telling”, read messaging. My take is similar, but, not the same as yours. Climategate is only pertinent to the people that care about climate science. Rather than reproduce my thoughts here, I’ll just link to my comment at Curry’s, http://judithcurry.com/2011/03/06/climate-story-telling-angst/#comment-52967
    They’ve messaged themselves to the point of disregard and inattention by the general public. It isn’t as if people like you and I are the targets of the message, I doubt anyone believes the minds of the participating skeptics will be changed. It is the unwashed masses that they’re looking toward and have for 30 years or so. My children grew up with the madness their entire lives as did anyone else younger than 30 y/o. They don’t care. No amount of story-telling, framing, or messaging will ever get them to the point of caring about an issue that did nothing but waste their time. From the first earth-day coloring paper in kindergarten to the biology teacher screaming about crimes against the earth and the doomsday prognostications that never occurred. They’ve been tuned out and turned off. (lol, take that you hippie generation lunatics.) :-) Anyway, my take.

  42. Hear hear, Willis.

    By their silence, shall they be judged. Science and “scientists” are becoming a four letter word, and they’ve only themselves to blame. Thank our lucky stars for the engineers.

  43. Credibility, once lost cannot be regained with more words.

    When a person without credibility says something I already know then I have learned nothing and the communication is worthless. When a person without credibility says something I don’t know, I cannot believe it and the communication is worthless.

    Yesterday a Global Warming article mentioned in the first paragraph the need to limit global temperature rise to 2 degrees C since the pre-industrial period (end of the LIA in my mind). I stopped reading and no matter how erudite the rest of the article, there was no communication.

  44. Willis said:

    I’ll take an honest bank robber over a bank accountant who steals the same amount of money, any time.

    I think this is a very unfortunate, or at least, poorly justified.

    These “honest” bank robbers, tend to commit violence during the commission of their crime and while trying to evade the police, and as you have already stipulated that the amounts stolen in each case are the same, it would seem to me that on any grounds one can think of the “honest” bank robber’s crime is greater.

  45. “a succession of ludicrous whitewash investigations apparently led by Inspector Clouseau of “Pink Panther” fame”

    That is an insult to the genius of Clouseau. Clouseau was incorruptible and his motives were always to uncover the truth. His unconventional and unpredictable methods invariably forced the guilty parties out into the light of day and lead to their apprehension. While many might argue with his methods, none can argue with his results.

    The climategate inquiries on the other hand had quite a different purpose. They were entirely predictable, allowing the guilty ample opportunity to arrange an escape.

  46. onion2 says:
    March 12, 2011 at 4:36 am

    “This noble cause corruption, amply personified by Michael Mann, Phil Jones, Gene Wahl, Caspar Amman, Gavin Schmidt, James Hansen, Stephen Schneider, Lonnie Thompson, and far too many other leading lights of AGW orthodoxy, has been the root cause of the mistrust of the public in climate science.”

    Well the problem here is that you label these people such because you suspect they would falsify scientific results, not because you have any evidence or proof that they have.

    I guess you missed the climategate emails, the whitewash investigations, all the refusals to release data, the manipulation of models. You must be right, how could we possibly think badly of these noble individuals?

  47. Onion2: Well the problem here is that you label these people such because you suspect they would falsify scientific results…

    Not necessarily, Onion. There are a number of reasons to make the list besides falsifying results. Things like evading FOI requests, violating peer-review procedures in professional journals, ditto in IPPC reviews, hiding data and analyses that detract from your preferred position, ….

  48. Intent is a defense, motive less so. For example:

    Intent is the difference between murder and manslaughter. if your actions were not intended to kill but did so accidentally, then it is not murder but manslaughter, within limits.

    The same is true for self-defense. If you intent was simply to defend yourself and you accidentally kill your attacker, this can be ruled self-defense, again within limits.

    However, if you set out to kill someone to defend yourself, this could well be viewed as first degree murder. Simply because you believe someone intends to harm you in the distant future gives you no right to kill them today.

    Thus, the argument that a belief in future environmental harm gives you the right to commit a crime today is no defense. Two wrongs do not make a right.

  49. The NYT article seems fairly neutral on the subject matter sans the headline.

    Perhaps if the opening question in the NYT headline read;

    Does the rule of law matter more than motives?

    In this case, given the “known” uncertainties, clearly the rule of law matters most.

    We would need to be almost certain of an alternative outcome, to overturn the existing rule of law, within normal legal channels. Short of living in a police state, and overthrowing that government, I think we are bound to the existing rule of law.

    Where this get’s interesting, is in the government’s creation of new environmental rules/laws/regulations and civil disobedience. You may not like, or disagree with, these laws, you can protest, or get those laws changed, through the available legislative and judicial remedies, however, you are still bound by the rule of law.

    Turn this around when thinking about the “profit motive” such that the “profit motive” were a valid legal defense. A really scary thought, that one is.

  50. onion2 says:

    “’This noble cause corruption, amply personified by Michael Mann, Phil Jones, Gene Wahl, Caspar Amman, Gavin Schmidt, James Hansen, Stephen Schneider, Lonnie Thompson, and far too many other leading lights of AGW orthodoxy, has been the root cause of the mistrust of the public in climate science.’

    “Well the problem here is that you label these people such because you suspect they would falsify scientific results, not because you have any evidence or proof that they have.

    “So by definition any scientist concerned about man-made climate change enough to vocally speak out about it gets added to your list of ‘nobel cause corruption.'”

    Onion2, after all these weeks of your nasty comments, have you not learned anything? We have the evidence, which you refuse to look at. You are the denier.
    —————-
    sceptical says:

    “There is no noble cause corruption from those whom you alledge. Instead the corruption is on sites such as this by people such as yourself, which are able to ignore scientific study and evidence because there is a noble cause of stopping those who are a threat to your worldview. Your calls a few weeks back to concentrate on the science instead of the scientists has gone unheeded by yourself.”

    Are you and onion2 dating, or, possibly, the same person? Nobody’s threatening our world view; we don’t have trillions upon trillions of potential carbon trading profits on the line. We weren’t organized by Enron or bankrolled by Goldman Sachs. None of the skeptics I’m aware of here has anything to gain from their position, but ALL of the True Believers I’m aware of have everything to gain from theirs. I can’t tell you how many of my True Believer friends have invested in carbon trading and windmills, hoping to get rich off of government subsidies and strong-arming the public. Take away the profit and donation motive, and I guarantee you that 90% or more of AGW’s most vocal believers and defenders would abandon the cause overnight. And this includes the BBC, which has FIVE BILLION dollars of its retirement fund invested in carbon trading. And do you think their reporting is honest and unbiased?

    It isn’t just Noble Cause corruption that’s the problem. It’s also IGNOBLE CAUSE CORRUPTION. Climate Science has been reduced to a joke accomplishing nothing other than spreading hysteria, especially among children. And the crew you defend is among its most loathsome representatives.

  51. DeChristopher was participating in civil disobedience.

    Thoreau wrote the book on Civil Disobedence (well, at least the essay).

    Thoreau went jail for his civil disobedience. Why should DeChristopher be any different? He broke the law now he should accept his punishment.

  52. Great post, Willis. Excusing blame because of a “noble cause” is another very slippery slope in this society at the present time. “Hate” crimes is closely related, I think.

    You are dead on about looking out the window, LOL!

  53. Wonderful article, I endorse each and every word.

    Just a technical quibble on the use of motive in courtrooms. You are correct that the quality of the motive is irrelevant in the courtroom. However, there is the matter of having a motive or not having one. Most states distinguish between murder in the first degree and murder in the second degree on the ground that to prove first degree murder the prosecution must show that the accused was rational, calm, had a motive, and acted on the motive at the time of the killing.

    The quality of the motive does not matter in first degree murder cases. If you killed to eliminate a rival or killed to gain an inheritance it is all the same to the court.

  54. I have a confession to make. Not only have I told lies, but I have knowingly told lies to my own children. I have told them there was a father Chrismas, an easter bunny and a tooth fairy.
    Yet when I make the confession, people smile and say ‘ohh, what a good father’

    Last night I told my wife her hair looked nice and her bum didnt look too big in her outfit. I guess that makes me a good husband as well.

    There is no way in the world we will stop people lying in a good cause, being righteously corrupt, or even fighting and dying for a noble cause. We should not even try, the best way to fight fire is not with fire but with water.

    This is the greatest test of the scientific process ever. A process that cannot weed out the noble cause liars and goodly corrupt does not deserve to survive

    EO

  55. “The American legal system pays almost no attention to motive. ” That statement is clearly incorrect. If a person sees a hat and thinks it is his and takes it, is not a crime it is a mistake. If he sees the hat and just wants it and takes it, is a crime.
    Intent or motive can be a major factor in a criminal case. The problem is how to prove motive. How to prove the person in the hat case did or did not think the hat was his. In either case he could be in civil court in a suit for damages because he damaged the owner of the hat by taking it.

  56. The slippery slope of the End Cause Justifying the Means has gone over the edge into motive.
    Once that point is reached, arrogance is found to be in ample supply.
    There is no Good Faith to be found anywhere in such endeavors.

  57. sceptical says:
    March 12, 2011 at 5:03 am
    “There is no noble cause corruption from those whom you alledge. Instead the corruption is on sites such as this by people such as yourself, which are able to ignore scientific study and evidence…”

    When are you going to publish those physical hypotheses which are necessary to explain and predict the forcings that are caused by manmade CO2 and that are necessary to cause an increase in temperatures that is dangerous? This increase is additional to that caused by manmade CO2 alone, an increase which is not dangerous. Warmista talk about the brilliance of their science constantly. Why won’t they publish their science?

  58. The law concerns itself with WHAT was done. The media is interested in WHY it was done (uses up lots more words). The lawyers are interested in LEGAL COMPLEXITIES that maximize billable hours. The judge is interested in a nap-enabling ADJOURNMENT. The defendant is obsessed his foolish refusal to COP A PLEA and avoid this mess.

    This is American system of justice in action. Use every means at your disposal to AVOID DIRECT CONTACT with it.

  59. I tend to agree that climate scientists should be assumed to be eligible for the “noble cause” argument. I tend to believe that many of our politicians (like maybe Al Gore) do not. Problematically, a number of these scientists have moved into the politician area and are similarly in-eligible for the noble cause argument (Mr. Mann and James Hansen come to mind.)
    PS. Sceptical. We all read the emails (evidence), what these guys were doing was not science, it was something else. Insisting that we are stupid because we don’t go along with an accepted opinion is also something other than science.

  60. Taphonomic says:
    March 12, 2011 at 8:42 am

    “Thoreau went jail for his civil disobedience. Why should DeChristopher be any different? He broke the law now he should accept his punishment.”

    Yep. The Western thinker who wrote the book on civil disobedience, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., explained to all of his protest participants that they must accept the legal penalties for breaking specific laws. Of course, MLK had a more sophisticated theory of civil disobedience than anything we can find in DeChristopher’s behavior.

  61. Willis made the statement: “I’ll take an honest bank robber over a bank accountant who steals the same amount of money”, and has caught a lot of flak. However, I agree in a way. I put some trust in the bank employee that I would never do with the bank robber-type guy.

    Betrayal of trust is very painful thing. If I’m to be robbed, I’d prefer it not be done by someone I trust.

  62. Joshua Corning says: March 12, 2011 at 2:50 am
    It should also be noted that the law does make a distinction between robbing $1000 and embezzling $1000 dollars and the punishment the law deals for the two crimes reflects the the exact opposite of your idiotic moral algebra.
    ———————————————————————-
    Joshua Corning. Yawn. It is such a pity that you have to be so literal. I suspect that you were the only one reading this who did not understand what Willis was saying.

    Douglas

  63. A very well reasoned essay on the dangers of the so-called “noble cause corruption”, however, one thing that seems to be missed by many on both sides of the AGW issue, and it is brought forth in this statement by Willis. Referring to the message given by AGW “warmist” scientists, he wrote:

    “The problem is not that your message is not getting across. We hear it. It’s crystal clear, no problem with either the medium or the message. RST is five by five, as the ham radio operators have it. But most folks simply don’t believe anything you say…”

    ____

    I think it would be most illuminating if in fact we looked at this notion that “most folks simply don’t believe anything you have to say…” and break it down as to what is actually happening.

    Let’s take the expression “most folks” as meaning the average person in society, as average would be some nice middle part or majority of the bell-shaped curve. Truth is, most folks (i.e. the average person you might find shopping at Walmart or Costco, or stuck in rush hour traffic) simply DON’T REALLY CARE ABOUT THE AGW ISSUE. I’ve said this before on WUWT, and I’ll say it again…the people who frequent this blog and the other dozen or so blogs that discuss this issue are hardly average. We are all at the fringes of society in that we come to blogs like this to discuss issues that the average person who just wants to pay their rent, buy groceries, and send little Billy to college really doesn’t care about. We should not delude ourselves into thinking otherwise. So, going back to Willis’ statement, we see that it is wrong state that “most folks don’t believe” climate scientists anymore. Most folks on your street or in your little town could not tell you what climategate was all about, and quite honestly, don’t really care.

    Why is it important to know this? Because (except for the few on the fringe of politics), you won’t get the average voter’s interest in supporting some kind of mass reaction against dishonest climate scientists (assuming there were any). This isn’t an issue likely to enrage the passions of the electorate. Furthermore, within reason, people will accept laws, regulations, and even taxes imposed upon them so long as they don’t significantly make their lives worse, more importantly, less convenient. There is a threshold beyond which the government must not pass before the great moderate middle of the electorate get up in arms or generally raise a stink about an issue.

    So here are the several scenarios in the way the AGW issue could play out over the next few decades or so, with each scenario (or some combination thereof) having a degree of probability which cannot be known because they are based on data not fully known:

    1) AGW derived climate change related issues will generally get worse, causing obvious disruptions in global weather and the all important food supplies. The climate disruption will become so obvious that the great moderate middle will readily accept it as happening and it will so inconvenience their lives that they will generally accept whatever attempts are made at the political and technological level to mitigate the worst of the climate disruptive effects.

    2) AGW skeptics will succeed in stalling any meaningful regulations or controls on GH gases, and it will prove to be a good thing as AGW will prove to be a farce, and billions in potentially wasted dollars will be saved. AGW skeptics will be proven as heros.

    3) AGW skeptics will succesd in stalling any meaningful regulations or controls on GH gases for a short time, and that success will prove disastrous in the long run as it will have wasted critical time in getting GH gases under control, making issues far worse later on.

    4) AGW warmist and skeptics will battle on the political front for a few years, during which time the great moderate middle of the society generally ignore the issue while the climate will continue on with its natural variations, and eventually the issue will fade away until the next issue that conservative and liberals can fight about (because of their basic psychological differences) comes along.

    5) AGW will accelerate to far worse levels than even the most pessimistic IPCC scenario causing such a great climate disruption that resource wars over food and water erupt and governments (that are able to survive) around the world are forced to impose strict regulations and even impose marshal law due to chaotic nature of the worldwide political system and general global turmoil as humans begin to fight for their very survival as a species. Eventually, humanity ends up much like James Lovelock forecast, as small bands of tribes clinging to the edges of a very warm Arctic ocean.

  64. Gates, you’re craving scenario #5, aren’t you?

    However, you missed the elephants in the room: China, India, Brazil, Russia and a hundred smaller countries that are emitting CO2 for all they’re worth. Whether the U.S. and the West cuts CO2 emission to zero won’t even matter.

    I notice you rarely if ever mention the world’s biggest CO2 emitter. Instead you want to impoverish the U.S., based on zero evidence that CO2 causes damage to the planet.

    If it were not for evidence-free conjecture, you wouldn’t have a lot to say, would you?

  65. R. Gates says:
    March 12, 2011 at 10:12 am

    The Nobility of the AGW cause is in question, for 2 separate reasons:
    1.) The high ground of the cause rests on a pretense of nobility, as evidenced by the actions of the Noble Pretenders.
    2.) AGW is no more than a suspicion, being indistinguishable from natural causes.
    Even mass extinctions themselves are not evidence of AGW, should they become manifest before our eyes, as these have occured under natural causes many times prior.
    Here’s a nugget for you: AGW is confounded all day long by the laws of nature, geology, history and civilizations.

  66. tallbloke says:
    March 12, 2011 at 3:41 am

    Judge Christensen:
    “Mr. DeChristopher had several reasonable and lawful alternatives by which he could have expressed his objections to the sale of these oil and gas leases.”

    Translation:
    “We don’t mind you protesting just so long as you don’t protest in such a way that might actually change anything.”

    Translation: you don’t like the ruling, so you’d like folks to think that the only possible way for DeChristopher to actually change things was civil disobedience. Plus put in a dig at the Judge in the process, who seems to have ruled correctly throughout.

    Generally in this life there’s more than one option. To my shame, I’ve used tallbloke’s excuse before, “It was the only possible action given the gravity and urgency of the situation.” Generally, it’s just that, an excuse.

    w.

  67. For all the people commenting on the bankrobber comment:

    -I think the point of the statement is that the “honest” bankrobber is “honest” because he is stealing the money because he needs it to say feed his family, etc.
    -The bank accountant is stealing not for an honest cause, but for simple greed.

    This is my take on the comment, I could be wrong, but why add the word honest if you didn’t mean that? A bank robber who is stealing for greed is no different than the bank accountant, just is not in the same position so needs to use different means.

    I would also point out that people like the defendant are choosing these methods to punish the rest of us who are not as “enlightened” as him. He doesn’t want to “raise awareness”, he want to force you to think like him. He wants to punish you until you do. He also doesn’t expect to be punished back after, cause “he is right” and we are “wrong”. He is delusional in that he can’t differentiate between right and wrong, only between his opinion and others does he identify right and wrong. Anything he does to us is justified, in his mind.

  68. onion2 says:
    March 12, 2011 at 4:36 am

    “This noble cause corruption, amply personified by Michael Mann, Phil Jones, Gene Wahl, Caspar Amman, Gavin Schmidt, James Hansen, Stephen Schneider, Lonnie Thompson, and far too many other leading lights of AGW orthodoxy, has been the root cause of the mistrust of the public in climate science.”

    Well the problem here is that you label these people such because you suspect they would falsify scientific results, not because you have any evidence or proof that they have.

    So by definition any scientist concerned about man-made climate change enough to vocally speak out about it gets added to your list of “nobel cause corruption”.

    I loved the typo, “Nobel cause corruption”, I plan to steal it quite shamelessly.

    Next, I said nothing in general about falsification of results. That’s your words, not mine. I said they personified noble cause corruption, which is a very different thing.

    onion2, clearly you’re new to this story. Start by reading the Climategate emails end to end. Learn about Caspar and the Jesus Paper. Study up on Michael Mann and the “CENSORED” folder. Find out about Lonnie Thompson.

    I put each of those men in the list deliberately, with great care, and for good reason. It is not a random list as you seem to think. It is a list of sufferers, people whose professional lives have been blighted by Nobel cause corruption.

    w.

  69. @Willis

    I suggest you review the following about motive in criminal proceedings.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Means,_motive,_and_opportunity

    Motive, or lack thereof, can be important and is certainly not generally excluded from the courtroom. A good lawyer ought to be able to get this ruling thrown out on appeal due to improper judicial conduct.

    In this case the guy had a motive and if the prosecution thought they needed to show motive to secure a conviction they would have done it. Obviously the prosecution didn’t think they needed to prove motive and there was no reason, IN THE JUDGE’S OPINION for the defense to prove it either as it would theoretically add to the prosecution’s case. The only possible reason for the defense to show motive would either be publicity for the cause and/or influencing a member of the jury to exercise his or her constitutional right of nullification.

    I’m disturbed by the article as well because I believe showing motive should always be an option for the defense as I am an ardent supporter of jury nullification and believe the justice system is corrupted when juries are not informed that they can sit in judgement of the law as well as the accused and if they feel the law is unfair they can refuse to convict even when it is clear beyond any reasonable doubt that the law has been broken.

    I believe all juries should be informed they can find a verdict of not guilty for any damn reason they want including the reason that they don’t approve of the law. This is one of the important checks and balances built into our constitution. It is why citizens are entitled to a speedy trial before a jury of their peers. It is a power check against a government that is creating unpopular laws. Power under our constitution ultimately rests with the people. That’s you and me not our representatives and not our appointees. We have little enough direct power as individuals and I strongly object to giving up the right of jury nullification.

    Last time I was called in for jury duty I made it quite clear to the prosecution I would sit in judgement of the law as well as the law breaker. That’s probably the surest way there is to not get selected for a jury. But at least I let the entire roomful of potential jurors know they could judge the law as well as the lawbreaker and no one can stop them.

  70. sceptical says:
    March 12, 2011 at 5:03 am

    There is no noble cause corruption from those whom you alledge. Instead the corruption is on sites such as this by people such as yourself, which are able to ignore scientific study and evidence because there is a noble cause of stopping those who are a threat to your worldview. Your calls a few weeks back to concentrate on the science instead of the scientists has gone unheeded by yourself.

    I and a number of other guest posters have written studies published in the peer-reviewed scientific journals. I have a paper in peer-review now with such a journal. Your claims are untrue. If you have a specific point to make, you haven’t made it.

    w.

  71. Smokey says (to R. Gates):
    March 12, 2011 at 10:34 am

    “Instead you want to impoverish the U.S., based on zero evidence that CO2 causes damage to the planet.”

    __
    Smokey, you seem to indicate that I’ve taken a stand or been a proponent of some environmental law or regulation that would, as you put it, “impoverish the U.S.”. I challenge you to give one example or show one time that I’ve taken a stand on any such environmental law or regulation. If you can’t give such an example (which I know you can’t), you are simply proving why you’re called Smokey…as in Blowing Smoke.

    In regards to the issue of the impoverishment of the U.S., our current absurd spending ways will do that. We’ve got bloated entitlement programs, bloated Military Spending with its bloated international empire that are keeping us spending far more than we can afford. Our dollar is a joke, and soon, very soon, the world will realize the Emperor has no clothes and take action to do something about it, the dollar will tumble from the seat of being the world’s currency, and the citizens of the U.S. will suffer the fate of all collapsing empires by seeing a lower standing of living.

  72. Willis!

    Just for you.This is a lecture by Yuri Bezmenov a defector from KGB before the wall came down.Its entertaining and frightening at the same time.The lecture is about the KGB tactics of subversion by demoralisation to create destabilisation and chaos.
    Its a military thing with spyes and blowing up things? No not at all its about how to confuse us of whats right wrong normal or not.Its not about inflicting kommunism.
    Its a lecture on how societies cultures collaps and why.

    I love articles maby Im wrong but I think this lecture will be one of your favorites.For me its trange how Bezmenow has been forgotten.His lecture is timeless but for me it gave structure to why our western civilization is so out of the rails.
    Enjoy! :)
    Lecture:

    Intervju personal backround and life story

  73. rbateman says:
    March 12, 2011 at 10:47 am

    “AGW is no more than a suspicion, being indistinguishable from natural causes.”

    ___
    If this is what you truly believe, then there is no hope at all for an you to get an accurate education on the issue. You are too deeply rooted in the skeptics worldview.

  74. EFS_Junior says:
    March 12, 2011 at 8:25 am

    … Turn this around when thinking about the “profit motive” such that the “profit motive” were a valid legal defense. A really scary thought, that one is.

    That is an outstanding analogy and cautionary insight. Very well done. I’ve added it to the head post.

    Thanks,

    w.

  75. Excellent post Willis.

    We had a similar case here in Canada. An eco-terrorist named Tre Arrow was captured and tried for several crimes, including arson which resulted in serious injuries to several firefighters involved. His defense involved claiming that he was protecting the environment.
    The problem with these people thinking they are taking the moral high ground is that, unfortunately, their morals are about as skewed as can be. They believe they are looking at ” the big picture” and, as such, if there is damage or pain inflicted along the way, it is acceptable, because it is trivial in relation to the pursuit of the end goal.
    This is exactly what the climate scientists are thinking. That lying, cheating and fraud are acceptable, and ” the ends justify the means.” They think they are saving the world, when in fact, they are bankrupting it.

  76. “The American legal system pays almost no attention to motive. The only crime I can think of in which a person’s motives make a difference is a “hate crime”.”

    You need to spend more time in a courtroom, Willis.

  77. Mods

    I think my post may have been filtered. The filters must not like me much, maybe it’s my new hairstyle :)

    Thanks!

    [Rescued & posted. ~dbs]

  78. I take issue with only one thing if they have to resort to lies, hiding data and all sorts of nefarious plots to get their point across then they are not top notch scientists. They are more akin to Dr. Fiddlediddle’s traveling medicine show. Truly nothing more than over educated con artists.

  79. David Springer: “Noble” cause corruption ie. ‘ends justify the means’ is a dangerous path to follow. Remember that jerk that killed the abortion doctor? His motive was even more noble – to protect unborn infants from murder. Just about anything can be translated into a “Noble” cause. What value the law then? Or is it only causes the YOU believe in that are noble? They have a word for that type of thinking.

  80. Gates, I can easily give examples, if I want to waste the time doing a search. The demonization of CO2 runs throughout your posts. For example, you commented that CO2 is the cause of Arctic ice decline. There is no evidence for such a conjecture, only True Belief.

    From there your post goes far off topic, into military spending, entitlement programs, the dollar, etc.

  81. The law is the law. If you break it, you get penalized. Good to see justice was done in this case.

    For those of you who think motive matters, think about if the motive wasn’t consistent with your world-view – just as EFS_Junior does above. This is precisely why motive can never be considered – whether a motive is justified is purely a subjective judgement & the rule of law must be objective, not subjective.

  82. The proper role of government is to protect the inalienable rights of individuals (life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness). What objective laws should do is prohibit the use of force against individuals, either directly (violence for example) or indirectly (fraud). Objective laws are concerned with the “what”, not the “why”. The ends will never justify the means if laws are properly objective. This is what I believe the founding fathers meant when they referred to a government of laws and not men.

    What Mr. DeChristopher did was use force (indirectly, through fraud) in protesting (and preventing) the lawful auctioning of those oil and gas leases. What he did was against the law, and he was properly punished for his crime, as that is exactly what it was.

    As for his motive, personally I think he has demonstrated a great deal of irrationality, though it seems both he and Mr. Johnson are very good at rationalization.

    Thank you for this post. By the way, I don’t care who tells me it’s raining outside, I always look for myself.

  83. rbateman says:

    “AGW is no more than a suspicion, being indistinguishable from natural causes.”

    R Gates didn’t like that statement, but it is 100% accurate. There is no measurable, testable, empirical evidence for AGW. None. It may be true, but there is no evidence for it, only computer models. And we know that climate models can’t predict their way out of a wet paper bag.

  84. Willis Eschenbach says:
    March 12, 2011 at 10:52 am you don’t like the ruling, so you’d like folks to think that the only possible way for DeChristopher to actually change things was civil disobedience. Plus put in a dig at the Judge in the process, who seems to have ruled correctly throughout.

    I frequently find petty officials to be narrow minded and lacking a sense of proportion. Judge Christensen seems to be one of them.

  85. Dave Springer says:
    March 12, 2011 at 11:05 am

    @Willis

    I suggest you review the following about motive in criminal proceedings.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Means,_motive,_and_opportunity

    Motive, or lack thereof, can be important and is certainly not generally excluded from the courtroom. A good lawyer ought to be able to get this ruling thrown out on appeal due to improper judicial conduct.

    Thanks, Dave. From what I read on the law blogs, that question is a long way from settled. We’ll see.

    … I’m disturbed by the article as well because I believe showing motive should always be an option for the defense as I am an ardent supporter of jury nullification and believe the justice system is corrupted when juries are not informed that they can sit in judgement of the law as well as the accused and if they feel the law is unfair they can refuse to convict even when it is clear beyond any reasonable doubt that the law has been broken.

    I believe all juries should be informed they can find a verdict of not guilty for any damn reason they want including the reason that they don’t approve of the law. This is one of the important checks and balances built into our constitution. It is why citizens are entitled to a speedy trial before a jury of their peers. It is a power check against a government that is creating unpopular laws. Power under our constitution ultimately rests with the people. That’s you and me not our representatives and not our appointees. We have little enough direct power as individuals and I strongly object to giving up the right of jury nullification. …

    I fear you misunderstand, let me try again. A man can claim innocence for a variety of reasons. A few of these involve motive, such as “self-defence”. However, consider the comment a few posts above:

    Turn this around when thinking about the “profit motive” such that the “profit motive” were a valid legal defense. A really scary thought, that one is.

    Should we allow a CEO to claim he is innocent because he was motivated by profit?

    That’s the kind of claim of “motive” that has no place in the courtroom.

    w.

    PS – the question of “jury nullification” is an important one. However, it is quite nuanced and complex, with a long and not always internally consistent legal trail stretching back many years. It is an important power of the jury, but one that is obviously subject to abuse. If a group of southern racists are on a jury, should they be encouraged to nullify the law in a case about a KKK murder and let the killer walk?

    So it’s a delicate balance, not a clear-cut issue. However, that’s likely a question for another thread …

  86. “You see, if a scientist thinks it is ethical to break the laws of civil society in the name of saving the planet, I have absolutely no confidence that the same man will not break the laws of honest, transparent, ethical science in the name of saving the planet. As we have seen, sadly, this more than a thoretical threat.”

    Craig Mariconti writes about why people do not believe what they are being told to believe about AGW:

    http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/publications/observer/2009/february-09/understanding-the-disconnect-on-global-warming.html

    “The majority of Americans still do not believe global warming is something they need to personally worry about, even if they believe that global warming is occurring or will occur soon. This is where psychology comes in — psychology researchers are working to understand this disconnect and develop ways to counteract it.”
    Understanding the Disconnect on Global Warming
    by Craig Mariconti

    So psychologists are working on ways to make us believe what reason tells us is either untrue or unproven.

    “By the skillful and sustained use of propaganda, one can make a people see even heaven as hell or an extremely wretched life as paradise…Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.”

    The actions of the man who said these things led to the deaths of 60 million people.
    This may be an extreme example, but his motives were, as every decent person would agree, irrelevant.

    In 2008 Professor James Hanson gave evidence for the defence in a prosecution of Greenpeace activists who caused £35,000 worth of damage to Kingsnorth power station in Kent, UK. The Jury found the activists not-guilty on the basis that they had a “lawful excuse” because, according to Professor Hanson, the earth was in “imminent peril” due to CO2 from power stations such as Kingsnorth.

    After the case one of the activists said: “The jury heard from the most distinguished climate scientist in the world. How could they ignore his warnings and reject his leading scientific arguments?”

    We are supposed to accept Professor Hanson’s evidence simply because he is said to be ” the most distinguished climate scientist in the world” and whose “leading scientific arguments” provide a “lawful excuse” for criminal damage.

    Fortunately at a later trial another jury rejected the “lawful excuse” defence. Hansen once again gave evidence in defence of environmental activists who had conspired to shut down a powerstation at Ratcliffe, UK. They were rightly found guilty.

    Perhaps Dr Hansen should forget about self-righteous motives and give thought to the words of Superintendent Adrian Pearson, who led the investigation. He said, “these individuals were determined to commit offences that would result in them… damaging property and potentially endangering the lives of others…”

  87. tallbloke says:
    March 12, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Willis Eschenbach says:

    March 12, 2011 at 10:52 am you don’t like the ruling, so you’d like folks to think that the only possible way for DeChristopher to actually change things was civil disobedience. Plus put in a dig at the Judge in the process, who seems to have ruled correctly throughout.

    I frequently find petty officials to be narrow minded and lacking a sense of proportion. Judge Christensen seems to be one of them.

    Thanks, tallbloke. Somehow, to date you’ve neglected to mention exactly what it was that the judge did that marked him as “narrow minded and lacking a sense of proportion”. This makes it difficult to respond to your claims.

    w.

  88. Smokey says:
    March 12, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Gates, I can easily give examples, if I want to waste the time doing a search. The demonization of CO2 runs throughout your posts. For example, you commented that CO2 is the cause of Arctic ice decline. There is no evidence for such a conjecture, only True Belief.

    From there your post goes far off topic, into military spending, entitlement programs, the dollar, etc.
    ___
    Once more Smokey…you’ve proven worthy of the name.

  89. R. Gates says:
    March 12, 2011 at 11:18 am

    There is no hope in AGW for me, nor for anyone I care for. It’s a death sentence for humanity, an open license to practice unnatural selection which will lead to genocide, and that’s why I give it no room to fester.
    i.e. – I’m not tired of living.
    I do have hope that the Alarmists will be thwarted in throwing out civilization to save the planet. These people leap from unproven cause to rash proposals in the blink of an eye.
    If you have knowledge of AGW Science that is distinguishable from natural causes/cycles, please feel free to put your finger on it.

  90. In the real world, motive is important for deciding the actual charges and for sentencing purposes, but not for findings of guilt. Someone, based on motive, for example might be charged with 1st Degree or 2nd Degree murder, or even Manslaughter, based on their motives and circumstances. Once tried and convicted, once more, their motives come strongly into play, and even expressions of remorse, can sway the Judge.

  91. Every mass murdering whack job dictator in history believed he had “Noble Cause” on his side.

    That’s what makes them do what they do . . .

  92. Willis: “I put each of those men in the list deliberately, with great care, and for good reason.”

    I understand James Hansen has shown his willingness to break the law and made some very questionable scientific judgments, but is there any evidence of intentional scientific misconduct from him? He has made the GISS temperature and model code available.

    Great post, BTW.

  93. Smokey says:
    March 12, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Ah, Smokey, you have hit the nail on the head once again.
    The computer models said there would be no rain today, only faint drizzle for NW. Ca.
    So, I set about doing yardwork.
    I was driven indoors by showers which turned to rain.
    The computer models couldn’t keep me dry, but my manmade roof was up to the task.
    Neither can computer models thousands of miles away warm my house, but the suspicion of AGW wants to take away my roof and my heater to save the planet.

  94. Do aims justify means? Invariable that is what terrorists and revolutionaries claim. In the early twentieth century, before the wars and revolutions got started, Stalin pulled a bank heist in Tblisi and sent the proceeds from it to Lenin abroad. Lenin is said to have remarked that people like that were the ones he liked as part of his movement. We know what those kinds of people did when they got to power.

  95. johanna,
    Technical quibble, aka-nit pick;
    There is no such thing as UK Law.
    In Gt. Britain, English Law operates in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
    In Scotland, Scots Law operates.
    They are VERY different.
    Doesn’t detract from the main idea of the post from Willis, though.
    See my post above.

  96. @ Willis Eschenbach,

    The premise that proof of motive is not allowed in a court, nor presented to a jury, is simply wrong. As you are not an attorney (at least to my knowledge), you are not expected to know this.

    Motive and intent are both types of evidence allowed in a criminal trial under Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b), and in many states, for purposes other than showing the accused’s criminal disposition. The rule is known popularly as the MIMIC rule, for motive, intent, absence of mistake, identity, or common scheme or plan.

    http://topics.law.cornell.edu/wex/mimic_rule

  97. Willis Eschenbach says:
    March 12, 2011 at 12:00 pm
    Somehow, to date you’ve neglected to mention exactly what it was that the judge did that marked him as “narrow minded and lacking a sense of proportion”. This makes it difficult to respond to your claims.

    Well, OK Willis, I retract the comment until sentencing.

  98. One of DeChristopher’s friends, a bus driver for the Salt Lake City School District, decided to detour (hijack) a bus load of elementary school kids and take them to the protests outside the Federal Court to show them what real democracy was. He was fired. In an interview, he acknowledged that he knew that there were risks associated with his action but that he felt it was worth it. When asked if it was fair that he was fired, he said, “No.” What a whining, self-righteous poseur — like his friend. He is lucky that he was only fired.

  99. Sorry, I meant to type “knew” not “new”. Blasted spell checker.

    [Had already been fixed.☺ ~dbs]

  100. rbateman says:
    March 12, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    “The computer models couldn’t keep me dry, but my man-made roof was up to the task. Neither can computer models thousands of miles away warm my house, but the suspicion of AGW wants to take away my roof and my heater to save the planet.”
    ____
    I think this nicely displays the paranoia amongst some in the skeptical community that Big Brother wants to take the niceties and comforts of your modern life under the pretext of saving the planet. This gets to the heart of a deeper paranoia (as aptly expressed by Willis is demonizing and criminalizing certain scientists) that has infected much of the American psyche, and it crosses all paths in the political spectrum. Currently this paranoia only exists at the margins of the body politic, as (to my early post) the average person could really care less about global warming and is more concerned with the price of gas and what’s on sale this week at their favorite big-box stores. For a nice analysis of this paranoia and its larger context, I highly suggest:

    http://www.timwise.org/2011/01/paranoia-as-prelude-conspiracism-and-the-cost-of-political-rage/

    Bottom line rbateman– no one wants to take your roof or heater away. Take a deep breath my friend…

  101. Steve Reynolds says:
    March 12, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Willis: “I put each of those men in the list deliberately, with great care, and for good reason.”

    I understand James Hansen has shown his willingness to break the law and made some very questionable scientific judgments, but is there any evidence of intentional scientific misconduct from him? He has made the GISS temperature and model code available.

    Great post, BTW.

    Intentional scientific misconduct? I didn’t say anything about Hansen doing that. Where did you get that from?

    w.

  102. tallbloke says:
    March 12, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    March 12, 2011 at 12:00 pm
    Somehow, to date you’ve neglected to mention exactly what it was that the judge did that marked him as “narrow minded and lacking a sense of proportion”. This makes it difficult to respond to your claims.

    Well, OK Willis, I retract the comment until sentencing.

    It was a serious question, tallbloke. What exactly are you objecting to? Until you tell us that, saying he’s “narrow minded” means nothing.

    w.

  103. In at least partial defence of the scientists who said nothing after the many revelations of fraud, etc., I suggest the following from the March 5 edition of The Economist. In an article on Pakistan, in a section dealing with the murder of the prominent politician Salman Taseer for opposing Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy law, no one from the University of Punjab would speak up publicly against fundamentalist control of the campus. “If sombody as big as Salman Taseer can be killed,” someone said, “how can we be safe?”

  104. Roger Sowell says:
    March 12, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    @ Willis Eschenbach,

    The premise that proof of motive is not allowed in a court, nor presented to a jury, is simply wrong. As you are not an attorney (at least to my knowledge), you are not expected to know this.

    Motive and intent are both types of evidence allowed in a criminal trial under Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b), and in many states, for purposes other than showing the accused’s criminal disposition. The rule is known popularly as the MIMIC rule, for motive, intent, absence of mistake, identity, or common scheme or plan.

    http://topics.law.cornell.edu/wex/mimic_rule

    Thanks, Roger. As I stated upthread, you are correct. However, I’m speaking of the attempted use of motive in this case. He is claiming that he should be found innocent because of his motive. As someone said above,

    Turn this around when thinking about the “profit motive” such that the “profit motive” were a valid legal defense.

    That is the use of motive that I was speaking of, the claim that he is innocent because he was pursuing a noble goal. That is not covered by the “MIMIC” rule, which only allows introduction of past acts of misconduct or prior crimes by the defendant, neither of which was alleged in this case.

    DeChristopher’s use of motive is generally not allowed in US law as I understand it. However, as you point out, IANAL.

    My apologies for my lack of clarity.

    w.

  105. Willis: “Intentional scientific misconduct? I didn’t say anything about that.”

    You said “This noble cause corruption, amply personified by…”

    I interpreted that to mean their science had been corrupted. If you are just saying that they have shown themselves to be potentially susceptible to noble cause corruption, then I agree.

  106. Regarding the question of motive in deciding guilt, we had a case in NZ last year where three men successfully used a defense of “Claim of Right” after they had been arrested for vandalizing the Waihopai spy-base.
    A spokesman for three said “They did it because Waihopai operates, in all but name, as an outpost of US intelligence on NZ soil…”

    A jury found them not guilty after they had stated they believed their actions to be for the “greater good”.

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Waihopai-trial-no-precedent-from-acquittal—law-expert/tabid/423/articleID/146924/Default.aspx

    I doubt this case can be used as a precedent outside of NZ, but it was significant news here when it happened because of the success of this line of defense.

  107. Incredible thread. I just want to say that I was in Stovepipe Wells in Death Valley
    one Christmas in the 1990’s and saw this big fat scorpion in the TV/rec room. I
    told the person at the desk and she sent a ranger to collect it because it was
    endangered! Wow, there were many of them in the barn in my childhood. I’ve
    heard something about ‘blacklights’ makes them visible and they’ve been decimated.
    But, back on track, this is one great thread.

  108. oldseadog says:
    March 12, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    johanna,
    Technical quibble, aka-nit pick;
    There is no such thing as UK Law.
    In Gt. Britain, English Law operates in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
    In Scotland, Scots Law operates.
    They are VERY different.
    ———————————————————
    Apologies for sloppy terminology, but I was aware of Scots Law and that it is different in many ways (and superior, IMO!) However, in terms of the use of self defence argument in court, there are no substantive differences (and with Australian law).

    As far as I am aware, self defence only applies to crimes against the person, so is not relevant to eg a property crime.

    My point was that motive is relevant in some circumstances in legal systems based on English (and Scottish) law. Willis’ blanket statement was incorrect, including in relation to US law, as Roger Sowell has confirmed.

    Willis’ point, I infer, is that some activists are trying to stretch the concept in ways that are totally inappropriate. Amen to that. This is happening all over the Western world, and needs to be firmly resisted. The rule of law should not be subject to populist fluctuations. If people are unhappy with the law, change the law, or protest and cop the consequences.

  109. Dear Willis – Thank you for your thoughts. I couldn’t agree with you more.

    Again, tragically – we see that it’s not Science that failed us, just the mere mortals that study it – Thank God that He loves and forgives us with all our weaknesses considered.

    Throughout the ages, it seems, it’s been ‘fear and silence’ that have ruled the day – with only brief glimpses of original thought based on Truth. ‘What ‘is’ Truth’ Someone long ago asked – and if ‘It’ CAN set an individual free – why is it not exemplified more often? (I’ve asked myself.)

    My conclusion is this. By not incorporating the first part of that verse ‘…and the Truth will set you free.’ we get ‘mucked up’. For, anyone can ‘see’ that when Truth (or Observation, as it is in Science) is ‘up for grabs’ in someone’s mind – ‘Truth’ can be perverted. It can simply be made to be ‘anything’. Therefore, we get: “What IS Truth?”

    I still say there is no human ability to twist Truth when one reads the full verse out of the Bible. “IF you are my disciples and FOLLOW ME,…then you shall know the Truth and the Truth WILL set you free.” The epitome of the ‘IF, THEN’ statement, I daresay.

    So, unless a Man – Scientist or ‘whatever’ calling he chooses – a garbage collector, would be a lofty position, even – no matter what he chooses – unless he learns to FOLLOW the Truth – he will be victimized and in turn, victimize others in this corrupt world system. Whether he knows it or not – he becomes a tool in evil’s twisted hands. (Hence, my ‘rant’ weeks ago about the charades ‘Scientists’ have ‘allowed to go on’ which have completely indoctrinated ‘the public’ with garbage rather than observable Truth.) And, now I believe we are only seeing the beginning of the harvest that they have sown into ‘Man’ by suggesting that he is a mere animal.

    So, please enjoy the banquet table that is currently being set – ‘if’ you’re able to stomach it. For, I choose to eat from an entirely different feast set for an entirely different Lord and Master, and I have found JOY in His Truth.

    Lastly – for those who choose to loathe my ‘streams of consciousness’ – I suggest that
    choosing it is better than opting for an eventual tsunami of pro-pagan-‘duh’ which inevitably ensues once we abandon the Path of our Maker. A drink from the former ‘may’ give you a head or heart ache – but, the other assuredly KILLS.
    Be Blessed.
    Cynthia Lauren Thorpe

  110. R. Gates says:
    March 12, 2011 at 1:12 pm
    ============
    Call it paranoia, or call it history.
    A few names that come to mind: Stalin, Hitler, Mao.
    Depending on who’s numbers you believe, those three “leaders” are responsible for 100 million deaths.
    There are many more such “leaders” waiting in the wings, if given their chance.
    You say “take a deep breath”.

    I’ll take this advice:

    “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” — Wendell Phillips, (1811-1884),

  111. Steve Reynolds says:
    March 12, 2011 at 1:32 pm (Edit)

    Willis:

    “Intentional scientific misconduct? I didn’t say anything about that.”

    You said “This noble cause corruption, amply personified by…”

    I interpreted that to mean their science had been corrupted. If you are just saying that they have shown themselves to be potentially susceptible to noble cause corruption, then I agree.

    I see Nobel cause corruption in Hansen’s constant readjustment of the historical record. In a perfect world, the net effect of these would tend to average out, or perhaps reduce the trend slightly (e.g. UHI).

    In Hansen’s world, somehow they usually end up showing more and more warming, and less and less cooling in the 1970s. I don’t think Hansen is doing that deliberately … it’s what happens with noble cause corruption.

    He is also closely associated with RealClimate, which strongly censors opposing scientific opinions and even inconvenient questions. Again, I see this as noble cause corruption – to them, selling the story (AKA “saving the planet”) is more important than exposing the scientific debate to public view, warts and all.

    w.

  112. Willis

    An excellent post.

    In comments you quote; “It was the only possible action given the gravity and urgency of the situation.”

    Which I understand is the basis of Post-Normal Science. That, together with claims to the moral high-ground is precisely what changes AGW fraud into AGW scam.

    Strong choice of words? I wait to be proved wrong on both.

  113. R. Gates says:
    March 12, 2011 at 1:12 pm
    rbateman says:
    March 12, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    “The computer models couldn’t keep me dry, but my man-made roof was up to the task. Neither can computer models thousands of miles away warm my house, but the suspicion of AGW wants to take away my roof and my heater to save the planet.”
    ____
    “I think this nicely displays the paranoia amongst some in the skeptical community that Big Brother wants to take the niceties and comforts of your modern life under the pretext of saving the planet.”

    Does a gas-guzzling SUV count as a nicety or comfort of modern life? How about several gas-guzzling SUVs? How about several houses heated and cooled by fossil fuels? How about an indoor swimming pool that is climate controlled?

    Everyone who favors some government policy based on a carbon tax or regulations achieving the same thing must realize that they will drive up the cost of all of our niceties and comforts. By driving up the cost, they are causing people to stop using those niceties or comforts. In practical terms, they are taking them away. There are very good rational reasons for believing that greenies want to take them away.

    So, why is it paranoid to think that the greenies want to take away our niceties and comforts?

  114. In a way you could consider what he did a hate crime. Self hate and hate of humanity. I too think the judge ruled correctly and that one’s personal beliefs do not justify illegal actions nor should they be considered motives.

    I for one feel a great deal of sorrow for these types of people who are used by the AWG cult (as Dr Corbyn so rightly names them) and then discarded once they have generated the headlies for them. Hopefully he can spend some of his time in prison reading up on the subject.

    The hard thing for anyone to admit, but even more so for a true believer, is to admit that you’ve been had. Even when they know it to be the truth most will still live in denial rather than take corrective action against those who lied to them.

    At least he didn’t go to the extremely sad ends that the couple in Argentina did. Knock on wood.

  115. TimM says:
    March 12, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Regarding the question of motive in deciding guilt, we had a case in NZ last year where three men successfully used a defense of “Claim of Right” after they had been arrested for vandalizing the Waihopai spy-base.
    A spokesman for three said “They did it because Waihopai operates, in all but name, as an outpost of US intelligence on NZ soil…”

    A jury found them not guilty after they had stated they believed their actions to be for the “greater good”.

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Waihopai-trial-no-precedent-from-acquittal—law-expert/tabid/423/articleID/146924/Default.aspx

    I doubt this case can be used as a precedent outside of NZ, but it was significant news here when it happened because of the success of this line of defense.
    ——————————————————————–
    Yes, this is an example of jury nullification, which has been previously discussed in this thread. If the person had been before a judge alone, he/she would have been convicted. It is a feature of legal systems based on English law everywhere.

    The good news is, such decisions do not constitute any sort of precedent. The law itself is completely unaffected by them, including in NZ.

  116. Theo Goodwin says:
    March 12, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    In today’s world, a car happens to be a necessity. See any horses around to get to the market? And the produce grown often comes from places you could not get to, nor could the goods be delivered in time, without the aid of fossil fuels. To turn that world upside down in the name of saving the planet is a veritable death sentence.
    Witness what happens in a modern disaster when transportation is suddenly removed.
    Heck, all you have to do is to watch the current natural disaster.
    There is a dream out there that if we suddenly turn the technological clock back 200 years to 1811, all will be bliss.
    Daylight saving time is bad enough. No need for Planet saving time.

  117. Cynthia Lauren Thorpe says . . . .

    Blah, blah, praise the Lord! blah, blah.

    Sorry Cynthia, if you aren’t a troll pretending to be a skeptic; your sermon has little to do with the subject and everything to do with YOUR belief system, which you are trying to impose on everyone else here. Your truth may not be true at all, and the fact that you think it is doesn’t change that.

    You nasty comment about paganism is also not appreciated by me. Religions don’t make people good; if virtue doesn’t come from within, then it doesn’t really exist. But some of the most noble teachings in history derive from the very pagans you apparently consider beneath you.

    This is a science blog, not a pulpit for religion. The fact that post here at all seems dubious to me. After all, I don’t know many skeptics who quote from the bible. Blind religious credulity and thoughtful skepticism are not the same things.

  118. Willis: “I don’t think Hansen is doing that deliberately … it’s what happens with noble cause corruption.”

    It seems to me what you are accusing Hansen of is just confirmation bias if he is not doing it deliberately:

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/corruption/#nobl

    “…in cases of noble cause corruption — contra what the person who performs the action thinks — the ‘corrupt’ action morally ought not to be performed”

  119. Mr. Eschenbach, “I and a number of other guest posters have written studies published in the peer-reviewed scientific journals. I have a paper in peer-review now with such a journal. Your claims are untrue. If you have a specific point to make, you haven’t made it.”

    All of that is moot to the point I was making. In this article, instead of addressing any of the science, you choose to address the scientists. Unfounded accusations about those with whom you disagree is in conflict with recent advice of yours.

  120. “If a man is going to rob me, I’d rather he do it with a pistol than a fountain pen.”

    If a poor man puts a gun in your face that is Robbery. If a rich man takes your money without threat of violence it is theft.

    You need to go to Wikipedia and look up robbery and the difference between robbery and theft.

    They are not the same crime.

    One involves the threat of violence the other is simply taking another person’s stuff.

    “Joshua, I know the law makes a distinction between rich men’s crimes and the crimes of the poor.”

    No this is not a distinction between rich and poor….it is a distinction between threat of harm and simply stealing things.

    If a poor man burglarized your home it is a lesser crime them if he put a gun in your face and took your wallet.

  121. Anton: Blind religious credulity and thoughtful skepticism are not the same things.

    Indeed not. Anthony has asked us all to avoid religious controversies, and with good reason. Still, the Book has a great deal to say about motives, rules, laws and truth. All of which are intrinsic to any discussion of noble cause corruption. Don’t want to put words in the saint’s mouth, but I think Paul would agree with Willis’s position on this issue: And why not say (as some people slander us by saying that we say), “Let us do evil so that good may come”? Their condemnation is deserved!

  122. It is clear from the foregoing discussion that (a) motive is indeed relevant in American criminal jurisprudence, both in assessing guilt, and in determining punishment; and that (b) some motives should, or ought to be, dismissed or ignored, for a variety of reasons (irrelevant, fanciful, etc.). In the end it will inevitably depend on who’s ox is being gored whether the reason for the goring (or Al-goring) has any bearing. I think most here would tend to agree that the rule of law takes priority, even when the cause is noble (or ‘nobel’). The end may sometimes justify the means (e.g. lying or even killing to protect one’s family from tyrants), but then even if one may hope for mercy on noble grounds, one must be prepared to pay the price the law demands.

    /Mr Lynn

  123. Intent mattersfor obstruction of justice e.g. the leading case of US v Quattrone.

    The judgment of the 2nd Circuit appeal ( see here) provides a readable summary of the facts and the law. A discussion of recent leading obstruction cases (including both Quattrone and Arthur Andersen) is here.

    The offence is not strict liability; corrupt intent is an essential element for an offence to exist.

  124. Cynthia Lauren Thorpe says:
    March 12, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    … Lastly – for those who choose to loathe my ‘streams of consciousness’ – I suggest that choosing it is better than opting for an eventual tsunami of pro-pagan-’duh’ which inevitably ensues once we abandon the Path of our Maker. A drink from the former ‘may’ give you a head or heart ache – but, the other assuredly KILLS.
    Be Blessed.
    Cynthia Lauren Thorpe

    Cynthia, I don’t exactly loathe your stream of consciousness. I do love your statement, that you like your stream of consciousness more than the alternative. It’s hardly surprising that you find the sound of your own voice so alluring and compelling. I find that to be common in religious SIFs.

    However, I don’t like your stream of consciousness. Not only don’t I find it compelling, I find it intrusive and pushy and inappropriate that you want to shill for your own beliefs here. This is not atypical of Christians, many of whom (like you) seem to obey only the parts of the Bible that they like, and ignore things like Matthew 6 : 5-8

    5 And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the internet to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.

    6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

    7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like Cynthia, for they think they will be heard because of their stream of consciousness.

    8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

    In other words … please “Be Blessed” someplace else, my dear, some place like … well, the bible suggests “your room” with the door closed and the internet off, that sounds like a good Biblical type location. Not WUWT. We’re already blessed here, you see, we don’t need your assistance.

    w.

  125. Well, it’s about time, Willis, that you stepped into a subject which I know something about.

    I will leave be what the other posters have said here about their views of “motive” and “intent.” Many of them are right in their assessment of the role of motive in the criminal justice system. What is important is that the N.Y. Times is seriously wrong about certain aspects of this case.

    What is known as “criminal intent” or “mens rea” is more about actions and circumstances coupled to a state of mind. If I fire a gun at random in the air, around and around, and I hit someone, it is pretty obvious that I am intending to shoot a gun. Whether I have committed a crime in that situation depends more on the total circumstances of the shooting as opposed to just what is actually in the mind of the shooter. If, for example, I stop whirling around at one point of my random shooting activity, pause, point my gun at one person briefly, and fire, thereby hitting the victim, it can make a big difference what kind of crime I may be charged with. The circumstances, coupled with evidence of a host of factors (where the shooter was, how many other people around, what happened when the shooting started, how the person was hit) more often determines whether a criminal act or criminal intent occurs, as opposed to state of mind. The state of mind of the shooter can be used to determine whether: (1) the person acted intentionally or with premeditation; (2) the person acted recklessly (i.e. he really was just playing shoot-em-up, wasn’t trying to hit somebody, but knew what the consequences of shooting around a bunch of people would be and didn’t really care too much); (3) the person acted with criminal negligence (which is a crime in Texas – criminally negligent homicide). This determines the degree of the crime committed. One must in most states, Texas included, allege and prove some form or degree of intent as a part of any criminal offense.

    That is how intent and motive generally work. Motive also works, as some have already pointed out, in cases of highly circumstantial evidence of a crime, to corroborate certain behaviors that would be consistent with the commission of a crime.

    What some folks often confuse is motive as an important element of any criminal offense with motive as a defense to a crime committed. Motive is seldom if ever a legitimate defense, except in homicide cases. Self-defense in homicide cases is the classic example of a “motive” that is the exception to this rule – but even that requires knowledge and proof of pertinent physical circumstances. Otherwise, the fact that one can claim to have a “good motive” for committing a crime is seldom relevant; in the case you write about it is highly irrelevant. That could have been the Pablo Escobar defense, of course, had he survived the Colombian authorities – he gave a lot of illicit drug money back to his community in the form of stadiums and other goodies. But the truth there is that it is irrelevant what he did with the drug money he received from the sale of illegal drugs. Because the sale of certain drugs has been defined as a criminal act by governments, due to the fact that there is a lot of other social harm caused by the sale and use of drugs that far outweighs the benefits of Pablo’s drug money. Defenses to a criminal act that a law is “bad or immoral policy” are equally irrelevant and equally fraudulent.

  126. Steve Reynolds says:
    March 12, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    Willis:

    “I don’t think Hansen is doing that deliberately … it’s what happens with noble cause corruption.”

    It seems to me what you are accusing Hansen of is just confirmation bias if he is not doing it deliberately:

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/corruption/#nobl

    “…in cases of noble cause corruption — contra what the person who performs the action thinks — the ‘corrupt’ action morally ought not to be performed”

    Thanks, Steven. The problem with noble cause corruption is that it expresses itself in a host of ways, from things like a strong confirmation bias or unconsciously selecting proxies to fit a preconception at one end of the spectrum, through to things like actively subverting the IPCC and deleting emails at the other end. There’s a host of other actions in between that may be the result of noble cause corruption.

    w.

  127. So, if I understand this correctly, when you did jail time for a peaceful sit-in against the Vietnam War in the ’60s you were suffering from “noble cause corruption”; that mass psychological phenomena among college enrolled baby boomers that ultimately led to the Cambodian Holocaust and the defeat of South Vietnam and all those millions of brown skinned oriental people having to flee communist nirvana on sinking boats? It is curious how the “draft” doesn’t count as “affirmative action” at Columbia, Stanford, Princeton, Yale, Harvard…Yeah, motives do matter. For the record, I volunteered for two tours in Vietnam, and got to enjoy some of that mighty fine military single payer health care; so, did you spend a safe weekend in jail pending arraignment or were you released with no future court date and dropped charges?

  128. Willis says:

    I loved the typo, “Nobel cause corruption”, I plan to steal it quite shamelessly.

    You should also call Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth” a Nobel lie.

  129. sceptical says:
    March 12, 2011 at 5:03 am

    Instead the corruption is on sites such as this by people such as yourself, which are able to ignore scientific study and evidence because there is a noble cause of stopping those who are a threat to your worldview.

    How do you explain those who’ve “crossed the aisle” to this side from yours, then? (A question Naomi Klein might ask herself as well.)

  130. Rather interesting. this young man convicted by the government for believing the “science” put forward by that same government. Does that make Hanson & Mann etel guilty of “insighting to riot”? pg

  131. willis says:

    I see Nobel cause corruption in Hansen’s constant readjustment of the historical record. In a perfect world, the net effect of these would tend to average out, or perhaps reduce the trend slightly (e.g. UHI).

    In Hansen’s world, somehow they usually end up showing more and more warming, and less and less cooling in the 1970s. I don’t think Hansen is doing that deliberately … it’s what happens with noble cause corruption.

    He is also closely associated with RealClimate, which strongly censors opposing scientific opinions and even inconvenient questions. Again, I see this as noble cause corruption – to them, selling the story (AKA “saving the planet”) is more important than exposing the scientific debate to public view, warts and all.

    Another instance is habit of making alarmist predictions and then distancing himself from them when they don’t work out. I.e., his attempt to spin his 1988 prediction as unfalsified, and his burying of his 1980’s prediction about a flooded Manhattan by now.

  132. Walt Ughes says: “To me the real question is not why some charlatans gamed the system for personal gain, it is why honest scientists that didn’t believe [still] stayed silent. They are almost more guilty than the liars.”

    Some honest scientists did, and bore the consequences: vilification, threats, firing, demotion, inability to publish in (formerly) prestigious journals. Why didn’t the rest of them speak up? Maybe many did, and the MSM failed to publish their statements, and the journals refused their papers, and we never heard about it.

  133. Not to detract from your sentiment, which I agree with, but motive and intent are quite important in trials. For instance, if you kill someone because you are worried about great bodily harm, that’s justifiable homicide. On the other hand, if you kill someone because you want their life insurance money, that is murder of some kind. That having been said, these ideas are codified in the law.

    I’ve been in a debate with a very intelligent AGW person, who primarily focuses on the science. I think the science is not conclusive, but it would be really nice to have a pure bullet list of offenses by the people you list who have crossed the line. Phil Jones’ emails are pretty compelling, but it would also be good to have the pure list for Michael Mann. He seems to be a bit smarter than the others, more like a religious leader than a zealot.

  134. don says:
    March 12, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    So, if I understand this correctly, when you did jail time for a peaceful sit-in against the Vietnam War in the ’60s you were suffering from “noble cause corruption”; that mass psychological phenomena among college enrolled baby boomers that ultimately led to the Cambodian Holocaust and the defeat of South Vietnam and all those millions of brown skinned oriental people having to flee communist nirvana on sinking boats?

    Egad, sirrah, I hardly know where to begin. I see you have a strong belief that the Americans who didn’t believe in the Vietnam War and protested against it were the cause of the defeat of South Vietnam. Given your age, I’m sure you must have noticed that view of the causation of history is not universally shared.

    It is not generally appreciated that when the Americans entered the Vietnam War, Ho Chi Minh was 61. He had been fighting to throw foreigners out of his country since he was fifteen. Over forty-five years, he had fought the Chinese. He had fought the Japanese as an ally of the US. He had fought the French. After decades of fighting, the Americans foolishly entered the fray. De Gaulle told Kennedy he was stupid to get into an Asian land war against Ho. He was ignored.

    If I had to ascribe causation for North Vietnam willing the war, I’d say Ho had a hell of a lot more to do with that, than I and every other person who protested the war put together. He was an absolute demon on the subject of jerks coming from other countries and trying to tell Vietnamese how to run their own place. He wouldn’t stand it, and lots and lots of Vietnamese felt the same. Blaming the loss of the war on the American Peace movement ignores a host of other, much more important factors.

    It is curious how the “draft” doesn’t count as “affirmative action” at Columbia, Stanford, Princeton, Yale, Harvard…Yeah, motives do matter.

    Haven’t a clue what the first sentence means. And yes, motives do matter … but noble motives don’t make a man innocent.

    For the record, I volunteered for two tours in Vietnam, and got to enjoy some of that mighty fine military single payer health care; so, did you spend a safe weekend in jail pending arraignment or were you released with no future court date and dropped charges?

    Not clear what your point is in that, don. I’m glad you volunteered for two tours in Vietnam. A longer version of what I did in that time is here. I make a comment there as follows:

    =======================

    A good buddy of mine in high school went to Canada to avoid the war. He lives there still.

    Another good buddy volunteered. He said he wanted to go fight to make the world safe for democracy. Naw, just kidding. His actual words were that he wanted to “kill gooks”. He landed in Vietnam. After processing he was sent immediately out to a firefight. Fifteen minutes in, a bullet entered his stomach and exited his rectum. Dying on the ground, he heard a helicopter, but he could tell it wasn’t a medevac chopper. He gave up hope. The chopper landed anyhow and picked him up, took him direct to the Saigon Airport. He was flown to Tokyo and operated on. He lived. Less than a day in-country.

    I have a friend who was a Lurp. He’s said little about what he did over there. From what he has said, I don’t want to know more. He is not proud of what he did. He’s lived alone since the war, doesn’t sleep well, and runs twenty miles a day.

    I have a friend who got married and had a kid just to avoid the draft. The marriage fell apart. The kid was a wreck. He never was drafted.

    I have other friends who are just names on the wall.

    Did any of us group of friends, kids not far out of high school, make the ethical decision, the moral decision? What is the ethical and moral decision to make in an unethical, immoral war? I thought it was to tell them calmly to their faces that I couldn’t take their orders blindly, I had to make up my own mind … but then I got sucked back in, I didn’t have the spine or the will or something to hold to my principles. Was that ethical or moral? Should I be proud I tried and ashamed that I failed, or the other way around? What I know is that my failure left me profoundly depressed.

    A friend of mine was a Captain in the Army who was going to be a lifer. He was stationed in Korea. He took leave to go to see what was happening in Vietnam because he was slated to be sent there. Having seen it, he resigned his commission so he would not have to participate in what he saw (and still sees) as the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time against the wrong people. The war cost him his career, but not his honor.

    Another friend got out of the draft by walking around the draft board examination rooms, in and out of offices wearing only underwear with holes in them and singing

    “Oh, the Bonneville Dam, it’s a sight to see,
    makes that e-leka-tris-eye-tee.
    E-leka, e-leka-tris-eye-tee,
    makes that e-leka-tris-eye-tee”

    at the top of his lungs over and over until they threw him out.

    Was his singing more or less moral than being a Lurp in Vietnam and killing women and silently executing Viet-Cong farmers in their beds? None of us did right in that war, not the ones that fought, not the ones that refused to fight. There was a man in the nuthouse with me. All day long he crawled around on the floor, reaching for something. He never said a word. Whatever he was reaching for, it always eluded him. He could never grasp it. The Docs said he’d been in a foxhole with his buddy. Someone threw in a grenade. He went to grab it and throw it out of the foxhole. Before he could reach it, his buddy threw himself on top of it and was blown to shreds before his eyes.

    He never recovered. They tried plugging him into the wall, but the war had blown him through time and space to his own private planet, a place of perpetual Sisyphean torment that apparently wasn’t wired for 240 volts, so they shipped him off to a VA hospital.

    The Vietnam War wounded everyone it touched, at the end of the day those of us lucky enough to walk away from it walked away with blood on our hands, soldiers and civilians alike.

    ===================

    So don, I make no judgement on the actions and choices of anyone who was touched by the war. I am not qualified to do that, nor is anyone I ever met. You did what you felt was right, as did I and others. As Bob Dylan commented,

    You’re right from your side, and I’m right from mine.
    We’re both just one too many mornings and a thousand miles behind.

    Let it go at that, even the photos are faded, let the dead past bury its dead. We have new battles to fight now.

    Thanks,

    w.

  135. Yeah the motive issue actually mitigates AGAINST innocence in our legal system. If you had a “good reason” to do what you did, that increases the likelihood that you are guilty, whereas if this idiot was just some sub-80 IQ chucklehead waving a paddle around, he would be deemed innnocent due to lack of mental capacity.

    So, even if your cause is noble, the fact that you HAVE a cause to do what was done reduces the doubt on the part of the jury as to your innocence.

    Now, if you dont like the LAW, then what you need to do is argue against the validity of the law and try to encourage a jury nullification of the case against you. Judges tend to hate that strategy even more, and most attorneys are loathe to engage in such a strategy out of fear that the judge will hold it against them in all future cases (for which there is ample justification, most judges oppose jury nullification, and I know people who have been arrested for contempt, OUTSIDE court houses for handing out jury nullification pamphlets.)

  136. Johanna I cannot speak for the US legal system, but in the UK and Australian systems, motive may be very relevant to whether a person is convicted in certain cases. The classic example is where someone is charged with assault/manslaughter/murder and they plead self-defence. Self defence, if accepted, may result in acquittal even if the act undoubtedly occurred.

    In the US, at least, whether the killer acted in self-defense is not a question of motive. He only acted in self-defense if his life was in imminent danger. For example, suppose I see you with a gun, and I believe that anyone carrying a gun puts my life in danger, so I kill you. That’s not self-defense. There may be an out for a killer who had good reason to believe that his life was in imminent danger, even though it was not, but that doesn’t depend on the question of motive, either.

    I’ll be surprised if this is significantly different in the UK or Australia. It sounds to me like you misunderstand the concept of motive.

  137. Willis,
    While I respect that you think you were fighting for a noble cause in your anti-war protests, and you seem to think Ho Chi Minh was some sort of SE Asian George Washington, but I have to say that George Washington never sent millions of his own citizens to die in reeducation camps, he never ordered the torture and assassination of elected civillian officials, and he never killed anybody to prevent multi-candidate or multi-party elections. Reference data:

    “More than 172,000 people died during the North Vietnam land reform campaign after being classified as landowners and wealthy farmers, official records of the time show. But official figures leave out summary executions of those accused of membership of the National People’s Party, however. Unofficial estimates of those killed by Ho Chi Minh’s Vietnam Labor Party, which later become the Vietnamese Communist Party, range from 200,000 to 900,000. …“The land reform campaign was a crime of genocide like that of Pol Pot,” Hao said.”

    This is just one of many sources of data on the genocidal crimes of the Communist Vietnamese government, just for crimes on their own people. There were also hundreds of thousands killed in Laos and Cambodia by Vietnamese forces. Furthermore, a campaign of ethnic cleansing drove millions of people into the sea, the lucky ones on boats, the luckiest ones on boats that were sea worthy, becoming the largest “boat people” migration in history. The seas offshore of Vietnam are littered with the bones of millions of refugees from Ho Chi Minh and his successors.

    I recognise tho, that, much like American Communists of the 30’s and 40’s and 50’s who had no idea about the tens of millions that Stalin was killing in his own genocidal purges, yet willingly sabotaged American national security, self righteousness purges all guilt.

    Further references:

    http://www.paulbogdanor.com/left/vietnam/hochiminh.html

    http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/SOD.CHAP6.HTM

    http://www.vietnam.ttu.edu/star/images/239/2390710003A.pdf

    http://www.paulbogdanor.com/left/vietnam/landreform.html

    http://www.paulbogdanor.com/left/vietnam/boatpeople3.pdf

    http://web.archive.org/web/20030215155233/http://www.laohumrights.org/laowht02.html

    Like historian Michael Moyar, I consider Vietnam to be justified but improperly executed, although we won militarily, our military victory was betrayed by hamstringing rules of engagement and diplomatic betrayals, as well as the active participation of US mass media in the NVA propaganda machine (for instance, the TIME Magazine bureau chief in Saigon was a commissioned Colonel in NVA Intelligence, documented in his own autobiography, a fact that the publishers of TIME to this day refuse to admit).

    Just because you think Ho Chi Minh was a great man to not tolerate foreigners in his country, his intolerance for many other things, including the opinions, rights, property, and existence of many of his own countrymen, delegitimizes him as a leader worthy of any respect.

  138. Wow, Willis, that’s probably the best rant ever on Wattsup. Bookmark.

    I want to say I can feel your pain, but I suspect I have but glimpse a tiny moment of it.

  139. Mike Lorrey says:
    March 13, 2011 at 12:40 am

    Willis,
    While I respect that you think you were fighting for a noble cause in your anti-war protests, and you seem to think Ho Chi Minh was some sort of SE Asian George Washington, but I have to say that George Washington never sent millions of his own citizens to die in reeducation camps, he never ordered the torture and assassination of elected civillian officials, and he never killed anybody to prevent multi-candidate or multi-party elections.

    You misunderstand me, clearly I was not clear. I do not like Ho or what he believed in. However, many of his countrymen do think that was a SE Asian George Washington. You’ll have to explain to them why they’re deluded.

    My point was that he, and many other men and women like him, spent a lifetime fighting against and throwing foreign invaders out of Vietnam. They won the war because after 45 years of doing it, they had become expert in it. Ho and his friends beat the Chinese and drove them out of Vietnam. They beat the Japanese and drove them out of Vietnam. They beat the French and drove them out of Vietnam. And at the end, they beat the US. Vietnam is now, for the first time in a long, long time, free of foreign invaders.

    So no, I’m no fan of Uncle Ho. He did many bad things, you’ve listed some of them above, there’s lots more you haven’t listed. My point was that the Vietnam War was not lost by the American peace movement. It was won by insanely patriotic Vietnamese, incredibly skilled and battle-hardened men and women who were willing to fight for independence from all foreign powers, not for a few years, not for a decade, but for decade after decade after decade. Ho ended up fighting for over fifty years, half a century, before finally succeeding in ridding his country of foreign overlords. What other country can say that their independence was bought so dearly, by such dedicated men? George Washington didn’t fight the British for 50 years … doesn’t make Ho and his friends good guys, you are right about that, but it does make him and Big Minh and the others legendary and ultimately invincible warriors.

    People think we could have won “if only we’d been free to bomb Hanoi” or “if only we’d put more power in”. I say those people still don’t get it. They don’t understand what drove Ho and his friends through fifty years of everything that huge, powerful nations could throw against them. We could have, as some said, “Bombed North Vietnam back to the Stone Age”, and Ho and his guys would have hid in their insane underground rabbit-warren cities, and come out even more determined to kill us with stones if they had to. He had fought fifty years, and it was simple. He wasn’t going to stop. He wasn’t going to quit. He wasn’t going to negotiate away anything. He was going to win if he had to crawl on bloody hands and knees to do it. Against trucks and tanks and ships and jets, they won the war on bicycles. Bicycles! And if they hadn’t had bikes, they still would have won.

    We stuck our head into a buzz-saw, and paid the price. And so did they. I said above that the Vietnam War wounded everyone it touched. The worst wounded, of course, were the Vietnamese themselves. It became a civil war to them, and they are always the most savage and self-destructive.

    Finally, the list of Ho’s crimes is large and long. He was a harsh and brutal man, no question, fifty years of fighting tends to do that to you. However, My Lai and a host of other war crimes, reported and unreported, by ourselves and our South Vietnamese allies, should remind us that our own hands were far from clean … no one walked away unscarred.

    w.

  140. Willis,
    Yes, Ho and his people definitely were fanatical, but so were the generals of the Tojo government in Japan during WWII, of them all, only Yamomoto had a rational appreciation of the capacity of the US to wage total war, and he died relatively early. The Bushido Code that the militarists were infused with from youth, as well as a common and enduring, if somewhat contradictory, national mythology of racial supremacy coupled with a deep sense of national insult about how the West dealt with Japan, like they dealt with China and the Indo-china countries, created a sense of fanaticism and martial discipline at least as extreme as that among the Vietminh.
    The NVA were not superior soldiers by any means. They never won a battle in which they were evenly matched, and frequently lost battles in which they outnumbered their opponents. They refused to respect the Laws of War, torturing and butchering captured prisoners, both US and ARVN. The few abuses, like those of My Lai, were a response, as unfortunate as they were, to the barbarity of the NVA and VC, policies of barbarity that were intentionally engaged in as a matter of policy according to Marxist revolutionary theory, that dictated that it was necessary to force the enemy to commit atrocities out of desperation in response to the brutality of the insurgent forces, so that the enemy’s brutality would be publicized by “fellow travellers” and “useful idiots” in the press.

    It remains a common shibboleth in the western left that Ho was some sort of patriot when in fact his first loyalty was to communism, not to the Vietnamese people, and that wasn’t a late development, but dated back to the beginnings of his fighting against Nationalist Chinese, Imperial Japan, and against French colonialists. He was not a supreme fighter, he was as brutal a butcher as Che Guevara and Pol Pot.

    I’m a military veteran. I, and many other veterans, consider it a grave insult when people who don’t know what they are talking about try to claim that Ho and his commissars were some sort of gallant patriots for the cause of Vietnam or fought as warriors. They did not behave as warriors. It’s common to hear, though, just as it was common even during WWII to see OSS agents and the US state department to regard Mao as a mere “land reformer” who should be supported as some sort of Chinese FDR. These were common delusions that college students were taught by their leftist professors or by trotskyist parents.

    The only distinction, really, between the governments of Tojo and Ho was that Tojo was seen in the western intelligentsia as a right wing government, therefore inherently wrong, justifying total opposition and the worst sort of racism in the media, and Ho was a left wing government, thus inherently right by their marxist leanings, and thus justifying apologia, subversion of democracy, and sabotage of the american war effort.

    This is common to see, like today, the government of Mubarak was seen as right wing and thus illegitimate by the western media and the Obama white house, worthy of being overthrown, while Gaddaffi’s government is leftist, so Obama has gone limp on the opposition National Council, and his National Security Czar has testified before congress already stating that Gaddaffi will win the fight.

  141. @willis

    “Should we allow a CEO to claim he is innocent because he was motivated by profit?”

    Yeah, why not? Just as he should be allowed to claim he did it because the Moon was in the Seventh House and Jupiter aligned with Mars.

    The judge’s duty is to instruct the jury in the law. In this case his duty is to inform the jury that astrology is not a recognized excuse and they should ignore it. Then the jury’s power to decide takes over. The jury cannot be compelled in any way nor suffer any punishment for reaching one verdict or another. Their deliberations and reasons for reaching one verdict or another are secret. They may decide based on their conscience rather than the evidence if they so desire.

    The only way to thwart the jury’s power to judge the law as well as the lawbreaker is to exclude evidence or testimony from ever reaching their ears and/or fail to instruct them that they are free to use their conscience instead of the law to guide their decision.

    You wrote “if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime”. I agree with that but I believe a corollary applies to the government “if you don’t have the time, don’t try the crime”. Exlcuding motive or extenuating circumstances from the courtroom for expediency turns our trial by a jury of peers system away from a fair justice system into a robotic manufacturing line for legally correct verdicts.

  142. Mike Lorrey;
    I find myself astonished that I am onside with someone vs. Willis. The case is even stronger in one respect than you present. As of the Paris Accords, the US and SVA had won. Then followed years of illegal rearmament of NV by Russia and China, to cricket chirps in the silence from the Western Media. And abrogation of the basic support guaranteed SVA, by the Democratic Congress.

    That duplicity, plus the unremitting media distortion and demonization of the US by its own Filth Estate, was what ultimately handed Ho his prize.

  143. Dave Springer;
    Jeez, two in a row! Again, I agree with your position vs. Willis’. Juries are often irrational, but there must be a means of “breaking” the law when it is “a ass, a idiot”. Like bureaucratic regulations*, laws are dependent on the imaginations and abilities to logically extrapolate of the framers for their applicability to the myriad of real world situations and events which they end up dealing with. Unintended Consequences and sheer bone-headed oversight are common enough to require a mechanism to divert injustice and raise red flags.

    * It is worth remembering that both are generally written by the same people or kinds of people: the nameless faceless staff of the elected lawmakers and the nominal heads of bureaux who front them. I remain, e.g., very curious about just whose thousands of man-hours actually went into the composition of the Health Care Behemoth Bill, which sprang from Pelosi’s forehead all stuffed with Democrat sugarplums, within days, it seems, of Obama’s inauguration, ready to be passed so we could then read it. And who directed and paid for all that beavering away in the shadows.

  144. I frequently find petty officials to be narrow minded and lacking a sense of proportion. Judge Christensen seems to be one of them.

    TALLBLOKE

    You totally miss the point, sadly, because you have not shown that tendency in the past. The law is designed to be a rigid framework in which we are all guided and protected. By definition it requires narrow minded people to implement it. Proportion in law only arises after the event and allows the framework to modified or changed according to the circumstances surounding the case. Willis is right, you are wrong. Not wishing to annoy or confound but you appear have a natural aversion to authority a bit like me and Willis. Think about it.

  145. Brian H says:
    March 13, 2011 at 4:08 am
    Dave Springer;
    Jeez, two in a row! Again, I agree with your position vs. Willis’. Juries

    It is neither the jury’s right or role to pass judgement on or to change the law. You are there to assess the evidence against the law as written under the guidance of the Judge. ONLY A JUDGE has the opportunity to modify the law through the unusual circumstances of a particular case based on the veidence of that case and that can most often only occur by rfeference to the highest court of your country. No matter what Springer may have said in the jury room he was not in a position to carry out his threat and if expressed in the presence of the judge could have EVENTUALLY been held in contempt. Evidence only for the jurists.

  146. juanslayton says:

    Anton: “‘Blind religious credulity and thoughtful skepticism are not the same things.’

    “Indeed not. Anthony has asked us all to avoid religious controversies, and with good reason. Still, the Book has a great deal to say about motives, rules, laws and truth. All of which are intrinsic to any discussion of noble cause corruption. Don’t want to put words in the saint’s mouth, but I think Paul would agree with Willis’s position on this issue: And why not say (as some people slander us by saying that we say), ‘Let us do evil so that good may come’? Their condemnation is deserved!”

    Evidently Anthony’s good reason was not good enough for you, so here’s my response.

    “The Book” as you put it, isn’t a book; it’s a collection of writings, many of them plagiarisms of older pagan works. For instance, the parable of the mustard seed, laughably put into the mouth of Jesus, was plagiarized almost verbatim from Buddhist scriptures.

    I don’t care what the so called saint Paul said. After reading his idiotic observation on potters and sewer pipes (God is supposedly a potter, and some people are supposedly his sewer pipes, created to be damned because He wants it that way), which some Protestants turned into the doctrine of Predestination, I’d had enough of the exalted Paul.

    Excluding Islam, almost every surviving old religion on Earth, from Bon to Hinduism to Buddhism to Christianity, condemns lying, and takes the position that the ends do not justify the means. Christianity isn’t unique in this, and quoting its scriptures isn’t impressive. They are not intrinsic to the discussion here of noble cause corruption.

  147. I beg to differ on the books of the Bible. They are charming, ugly, and everything in-between, enlightening human stories of nearly everyone’s quest: to figure out the “why” of our individual and collective lives. Read in that vein, in which the reader should properly tear off the back of the book’s cover and continue to write the stories, they are filled with cautions, advice, parables, and real-life sagas of the human quest.

    Who wouldn’t benefit from such a thing as that? Did you build your house on the beach? Did you put a Nuke plant on a major fault? Did you pour your foundation next to a river? Do you put your life; lock, stock, and barrel, in the saving grace of a government? You were warned.

  148. Several posts above talk about owning several SUV’s, referring to whether or not those things are necessities, wants, or just to make envy. There is nothing wrong with owning. If you have the money, own whatever you want to own and suffer the gains or consequences of such a thing.

    However, there comes a time when at least some folks in this state of success, become unwitting dependers on government slop in the trough. If you own several homes, can you survive off the grid, especially without stocked and banked money? It is hard enough for one person in one house to survive on their own resources.

    Take stock of how much “stuff” you have that would be severely harmed if the land under your feet or the government you live by collapsed. It would be well for those who own much to understand they will lose much in disasters and may find themselves whoafully unprepared to physically survive, let alone materially survive.

  149. Willis,

    “Ho and his guys would have hid in their insane underground rabbit-warren cities, and come out even more determined to kill us with stones if they had to. He had fought fifty years, and it was simple. He wasn’t going to stop. He wasn’t going to quit. He wasn’t going to negotiate away anything. He was going to win if he had to crawl on bloody hands and knees to do it. Against trucks and tanks and ships and jets, they won the war on bicycles. Bicycles! And if they hadn’t had bikes, they still would have won.”

    One of the best pieces of prose I’ve read in a long time.

  150. Somewhere we have missed the phrase ‘The ends justify the means’. Trotsky wrote a small book examining the (dielectical) interelationship of the Ends and the Means. Specifically in ‘There morals and ours’ he argued against the Webbs etc who excused and hid from their eyes the Stalin purges purveying the line of the CP that everything was fantastic and the party was building a new future for mankind. It was the next stage in the development of humanity. Many went to the USSR taking the official tour and returned believing this to be so ignoring the purges, the frame ups, the Moscow Trials, the judicial mass murder and so many other items of evidence.

    Indeed, quoting Trotsky verbatum

    “Did these people realy beleive the Moscow accusations (show trials of former bolshieviks turned traitors)? Only the most obtuse. The others did not wish to alarm themselves by verification. Is it reasonable to infringe upon the flattering, comfortable and often well-paying friendship with the Soviet embassies? Moreover – oh, they did not forget this! – indiscreet truth can injure the prestige of the USSR. These people screened the crimes by utilitarian considerations, that is, openly applied the principle, ‘the end justifies the means’

    One can easily replace the USSR with Climate Science, but no one will ever state what their real final goal is. Perhaps it is not a coincidence that the majority of the Climate Scientists are Democrats.

    Trotsky goes on to state the play Franz von Sickingen, by Ferdinand Lasalle where he puts these words into the mouth of one of his heroes:

    ‘…. Show not the goal. But show also the path. So closely interwoven are path and goal that each with other ever changes, and other paths forthwith another goal set up….’

    The interesting part in this was the aim to building of a society of super abbundance with the phrase ‘from each according to their ability to each according to their needs.’ We can already see the germ of who is deciding what their needs are. Nowadays they talk not of superabbundance but of a new type of growth, ie. negative.

  151. Anton: …almost every surviving old religion on Earth, from Bon to Hinduism to Buddhism to Christianity, condemns lying, and takes the position that the ends do not justify the means.

    Pretty much my point. But I disagree that that position is not essential to a discussion of noble cause corruption. One needs some foundation for the corruption part of that phrase.

  152. Willis Eschenbach says:

    A lot.
    ============================

    Brevity is sometimes the best type of explanation.

    You said earlier,

    “So don, I make no judgement on the actions and choices of anyone who was touched by the war. I am not qualified to do that, nor is anyone I ever met. You did what you felt was right, as did I and others. As Bob Dylan commented,

    You’re right from your side, and I’m right from mine.
    We’re both just one too many mornings and a thousand miles behind.

    Let it go at that, even the photos are faded, let the dead past bury its dead. We have new battles to fight now.”
    ==============================================

    Should have been all that was stated and left there. The memories and wounds are still fresh for many.

  153. Btw, tallbloke appears to have introduced a name/title confusion into the discussion. There is no “Judge Christensen”.
    She is the United States attorney for Utah, Carlie Christensen.
    The ruling is by Judge Dee Benson. (Him’s a her, like Carlie.)

  154. Stephen Richards;
    The actual unpalatable truth is that juries are indeed empowered to vitiate and over-rule the law if they so choose. As I said, it’s a necessary inefficiency in “The System”. Judges hate it, and warn and fulminate against such subversion of their authority, but there it is.

    Sorry you don’t much like the taste!

  155. Just for the record, I think DeChristopher is a jerk***, his opinions and tactics both inane, and that he got what was coming to him.

  156. onion2 said: “So by definition any scientist concerned about man-made climate change enough to vocally speak out about it gets added to your list of “nobel cause corruption”.

    That’s exactly why in science it is imperative that your data and methods be shared, open and transparent and your results be reproducible and ideally your hypothesis be falsifiable. Virtually every field of science has contentious issues to be hammered out on the anvil of scientific method, every researcher has an emotional investment in their hypothesis and theories that will stand or fall in the light of objective peer review and replication; Climate Science isn’t special.

  157. The American justice system was founded on the concept of blind justice; the fate of the accused is not based in circumstance. Why? to prevent the rich and famous from bending the system for thier purposes.

    While modifying the outcome of this case to assess motive may seem noble in the eyes of the New York Times such a practice can just as easily be used against it’s best interests.

    So how does the Times want the justice system changed? Extend each trial to discuss motives and extenuating circumstances. Isn’t this exactly the opening a rich defendent would need to game the system? Defence lawyers might also enjoy the new system.

    The rest of us not so much.

  158. About 20 years ago I had a friend who was a criminal defense attorney. He told me a story about a client he defended some years before. The client was a pharmacist and worked in a local drug store. He was caught stealing narcotics. And here’s where motive matters. They caught the pharmacist red handed and he did not deny stealing the drugs. What changed his world is what he told the investigators when they asked him why. He truthfully told them he was taking them for his wife who was in intractable pain and was under-treated (they didn’t have many “pain specialists” back in those days). This changed what he was charged with. Had he claimed he had taken the drugs for himself he would have faced disciplinary measures from his licensing board and probably be ordered to participate in drug rehab. But because he had taken the drugs for his wife who was suffering in pain he was charged with trafficking. He lost his license and did jail time. Technically he committed a different crime as soon as he transferred the controlled substances to another individual but they didn’t bust him for that. He admitted it when asked of his motive. It was a tragic story. The guy’s wife committed suicide while he was in jail. But, by golly, the community was safe from the illegal use of controlled substances.

  159. Paul;
    In the sense you mean, Climate Science indeed gets no special dispensation. But it is “special” in a number of crucial respects.
    A partial list:
    –It’s new, infantile. “Climatology” is an invented subspecialty of physics, requiring skills and tools from a dozen others to be done well (as so far it is generally not);
    –It pertains to public experience and life in a way few others do;
    –It is making claims about ongoing and imminent global changes and events which have vital and deadly implications for a near(?) majority of the population;
    –It is benefiting from a lion’s share of public research funding;
    –It is using computer extrapolations (“projections”) as a tool to sample possible futures and make recommendations about how to shape them — a process utterly dependent on the validity of said models. Which it resists establishing in the standard ways.

    And more. I doubt you can name another field with analogs of even two of the above characteristics.

  160. The reason the “good” climate scientists don’t complain or otherwise out the bad actors is the money is too good, the federal grants are too juicy, so they make up stories to themselves to justify protecting the funds.

  161. Concerning the bible, Pamela Gray says . . .

    “Who wouldn’t benefit from such a thing as that? Did you build your house on the beach? Did you put a Nuke plant on a major fault? Did you pour your foundation next to a river? Do you put your life; lock, stock, and barrel, in the saving grace of a government? You were warned.”

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Instead, people read the stories and behave as told, stoning people, including their own children, to death, abusing animals, and living like savages, all the while claiming they’re doing something good. Once again we see the complete disregard for in inborn conscience in favor of a supposedly desired ends: in this case, God’s favor and/or a diminution of His wrath.

    I don’t use terror-tales to guide me through life. I actually think about what I’m saying, doing, or anticipating, and the direct. and possible ripple, effects, and comport myself accordingly. But, none of this is relevant to the essay in question. The warmists HAVE decided the ends they imagine justify the means they indulge in, and to hell with everyone else. They HAVE made “climate science” look idiotic and filthy, and brought guilt by association upon everyone involved else in it. The many academics, celebrities, politicians, investors, journalists, and laypersons who have rushed to their undeserved defense, and who are involved in their shameless damage-control efforts, are every bit as corrupt, or completely gullible and self-destructive. The so called Team is a cancer corrupting everyone it touches or who willing touch it, and until “climate scientists” in general isolate it and prevent it from doing further damage, they will never again be credible.

  162. Brian, you have touched upon the precautionary principle in your insightful list. “Post normal” science is a return to the snake oil science of years gone by. It isn’t post-anything. It is meant and polished for public sale, not public education, just like it was decades ago. Snake oil in a new bottle.

  163. Excluding Islam, almost every surviving old religion on Earth, from Bon to Hinduism to Buddhism to Christianity, condemns lying,
    ————————————————————-
    Excluding Islam?

    I am not aligned with any of the religions mentioned. But suggesting that Islam condones lying is just ludicrous.

    Perhaps the quote about the mote in one’s own eye is apposite here.

  164. Anton, I actually agree with your statement about bibles. Some follow it like they have bull ring in their nose attached to the thing. What I have come to understand is that we all, regardless of creed, have our bibles, don’t we. I hold mine loosely yet still find it instructive and wise, even in its trumpeting of stories made of whole cloth and pure fiction inside it’s well-worn pages. I think it wise to read our own choice of bible with this in mind: be it Green, Christian, Pagan, or the Koran, they are likely filled with stories of how to do something wrong as if it were the right thing to do, as often as they advise the right way to do a thing when in reality it is just the opposite.

  165. If you read my last statement in my comment to Anton, very carefully, you will get the full meaning of why I find such texts a fascinating read.

  166. Smoking Frog says:
    March 13, 2011 at 12:29 am

    Johanna I cannot speak for the US legal system, but in the UK and Australian systems, motive may be very relevant to whether a person is convicted in certain cases. The classic example is where someone is charged with assault/manslaughter/murder and they plead self-defence. Self defence, if accepted, may result in acquittal even if the act undoubtedly occurred.

    In the US, at least, whether the killer acted in self-defense is not a question of motive. He only acted in self-defense if his life was in imminent danger. For example, suppose I see you with a gun, and I believe that anyone carrying a gun puts my life in danger, so I kill you. That’s not self-defense. There may be an out for a killer who had good reason to believe that his life was in imminent danger, even though it was not, but that doesn’t depend on the question of motive, either.

    I’ll be surprised if this is significantly different in the UK or Australia. It sounds to me like you misunderstand the concept of motive.
    ————————————————-
    Well, ‘motive’ at its most basic means ‘the thing that makes movement’. If someone is trying to kill you and you respond by killing them, your motive is pretty clear. The fact that a motive (as in some of your your examples) is inadequate is neither here nor there. The point is – as several PPs have said – that motive can be very relevant to legal proceedings, especially where crimes against a person are involved.

    In legal systems based on the English law (including that of the US), motive is rightly discounted for other crimes. It does not matter whether you held up the bank because your mother was dying, or because you wanted to spend the money in Vegas. You are still guilty. It might affect the sentencing, though.

    As an aside (Willis is indulgent to asides, I suspect) – one of the best things about Scots Law is that there is an alternative to ‘guilty/not guilty’. A Scots jury can also render a verdict of ‘not proven’ – a testament to the subtle minds of that great culture. It means, ‘OK, the prosecution could not prove beyond doubt that you did it, but we, the jury, know that you are lying through your three remaining teeth, you scum’ – although there are much more high falutin ways of putting it. It mitigates against known criminals and their lawyers parading on the courthouse steps saying things like “I have been found to be innocent” and “My client has left without a stain on his reputation”. Everyone knows what ‘not proven’ means. It also helps to avoid hung juries.

    As for the Vietnam War, it is paradoxical that the people who would never give up if someone invaded the US cannot understand that people in another country would react in the same way.

  167. R. Gates points to an article by the inestimable Tim Wise, quote:
    “Whether or not Loughner was influenced directly by any of these words, these verbal daggers aimed at civil discourse, is quite beside the point.” After several paragraphs of polemical blather Mr. Wise gets to the point. He doesn’t have one. The whole article is just his cover for spouting a liberal diatribe against other opinonators with whom he disagrees..

    Mr. Bateman’s comment about the inability of computer models to produce verifiable results, unlike a roof that produces immediate, directly observable results is not paranoia. Just a simple observation that computer models of the climate are highly limited and often misused. Gates’ paranoia exists only at the margins of society because only a small, marginal fraction has the experience, education, and intelligence to understand propaganda and be afraid of it. It is not paranoia when “they actually are out to get you”. The President hinmself on several occassions has said words to the effect that “I want to make energy much more expensive”. You can’t get any more clear. He wants to transform society in basic ways that the majority of Americans do not want and never intended ecause he did not campaign honestly.

    Mr. Obama’s misrepresentations of his true intentions(Yes we can fix America’s problems), lack of experience, poor decision making, bad selection of advisors, and dithering are real threats to our security. Concern is not paranoia.

    The various scientists who have misused data, fudged results, interfered with peer review, deleted emails, and other misconduct have only themselves to blame. If the science really was “settled”, as say the methods needed to calculate planetary orbits are, we wouldn’t be having this debate. The terrible disaster in Japan has shown that we can measure a position on the globe to fractions of a millimeter, but that knowledge can’t be translated into any useful analysis of what it might mean for the climate.(keeping on topic).

  168. johanna says:
    March 13, 2011 at 11:56 am

    “I am not aligned with any of the religions mentioned. But suggesting that Islam condones lying is just ludicrous.”

    Look up “taqqiya.”

  169. Thanks for the update, Willis!

    The little weasel committed fraud. Motivation is irrelevant. Bang the gavel: GUILTY. Put him in prison with other criminals, for a long time. Next………

  170. johanna says:

    “‘Excluding Islam, almost every surviving old religion on Earth, from Bon to Hinduism to Buddhism to Christianity, condemns lying’
    ————————————————————-
    “Excluding Islam?

    “I am not aligned with any of the religions mentioned. But suggesting that Islam condones lying is just ludicrous.”

    No, it isn’t. The practice is called Al-taqiyya, a Shia concept, and is permitted in certain situations, including to further the cause of Islam (supposedly the ends justify the means). The Koran offers several examples of permissible lying, which radicals have interpreted as loosely, and harmfully, as possible.

    Pamela Gray says:

    “Anton, I actually agree with your statement about bibles. Some follow it like they have bull ring in their nose attached to the thing. What I have come to understand is that we all, regardless of creed, have our bibles, don’t we. I hold mine loosely yet still find it instructive and wise, even in its trumpeting of stories made of whole cloth and pure fiction inside it’s well-worn pages.”

    I’m glad for you, but I’ve never found any story that has helped guide me in moral situations. I don’t kill because I don’t believe in killing; I don’t lie because I don’t believe in lying; I don’t steal because I don’t believe in stealing. True, a lifetime of reading about comparative religions, and particularly about specific spiritual subjects of interest to me, has contributed to my outlook, but I have a pretty good ability to empathize with others, and my conscience won’t let me do the things so many other people seem to have no problem with.

    For some reason, I don’t believe anyone ever gets away with anything. Nobody else may know what someone has done, but he or she does, and will eventually have to face it and its consequences. The subconscious never forgets anything, and is not forgiving. Neither, apparently, is the superconscious.

  171. Anonymous,

    How right you are about ‘true believers’.

    In 1986 I wr0te a piece in a newsletter criticising the Soviet Authorities for trying to cover up the Chernobyl accident for around two weeks before evidence from elsewhere became incontrovertible.

    This was at the height of the Cold War and the newsletter was that of a local group campaigning against nuclear weapons (a cause I believe in). I was publicly berated in the street by supposed supporters of the campaign because I had criticised the SU whilst their logic was that the Cold War was all the responsibility of the US. They ignored completely the facts of the accident at Chernobyl and its possible effects on peoples arouind Europe. A number of them even resigned from the local group in protest.

  172. Brian H says:
    March 13, 2011 at 3:49 am

    Mike Lorrey;
    I find myself astonished that I am onside with someone vs. Willis. The case is even stronger in one respect than you present. As of the Paris Accords, the US and SVA had won. Then followed years of illegal rearmament of NV by Russia and China, to cricket chirps in the silence from the Western Media. And abrogation of the basic support guaranteed SVA, by the Democratic Congress.

    That duplicity, plus the unremitting media distortion and demonization of the US by its own Filth Estate, was what ultimately handed Ho his prize.

    Mike Lorry you say

    I’m a military veteran. I, and many other veterans, consider it a grave insult when people who don’t know what they are talking about try to claim that Ho and his commissars were some sort of gallant patriots for the cause of Vietnam or fought as warriors. They did not behave as warriors.

    Yeah, he didn’t win because he had balls of steel and fought for 50 years in conditions that would have left you and me dead. He won because he was “handed the prize” and he didn’t behave like Mike says true warriors behave.

    Like James Taylor said, “maybe you can believe that if it helps you to sleep”. Me, I’m more of a realist. He won because he was a fanatic who absolutely refused to stop.

    And for the accusation that he and his men didn’t “behave as warriors”? Please, it makes you look like a petulant child. He didn’t fight the way we fought, it’s true. He also won. I can see that drives you nuts, but there it is. Ho could have been a true warrior that you might approve of, he might have fought like Lt. Calley or General Westmorland, but he didn’t. He wasn’t fighting to win prizes for good behavior. He was fighting to win, and like the US, he fought dirty.

    Guys, I’ve got what may be news for you. Claims that the US held the high moral ground in Vietnam are generally not believed these days. Claiming that you were a warrior and Ho wasn’t? Please. We were on the losing side of an ugly war, but that doesn’t mean you get to pretend that we were also on the moral side of that war. It doesn’t mean you can claim we lost because the other side didn’t follow the rules, because they didn’t play fair, because they were just pretending to be warriors, because Ho got it handed to him … cry me a river. You may not have noticed, but all that does makes you bad losers of a war instead of just losers of a war.

    Look, I didn’t like Ho either, I didn’t say he was a moral guide or a good guy, why are you on my case? When a man gets as nervous and jumpy as you two, just because I say Ho was a brutal and dedicated unstoppable warrior who fought for fifty years for the independence of his country and finally won it at the end of half a century (a demonstrably true statement), it makes me wonder if you gents really are the he-men you seem to want me to think you are.

    Because the real warriors I’ve known don’t get all twitchy and upset by a passing random comment on the internet like you two have. They have nothing to prove because in fact they are real warriors. They don’t mind if someone praises their enemy, because they respect him even though they may not like him or approve of his tactics. And when they lose, they don’t run around making excuses about ‘he’s not a reeeal warrior’ and ‘waaaa, he didn’t really win it, he had it handed to him’ like you guys would have us believe.

    But I don’t care if you are or you aren’t real warriors. Truly, it is immaterial to me. You want to lecture me passionately about why Ho is not a warrior, I’ll listen politely and wonder why on earth you should care. I’m just perplexed that this has gotten you worked up … truly, you guys need to think about what it is that’s got you so upset, because it’s not me — I don’t like Ho either.

    w.

  173. Brian H says:
    March 13, 2011 at 4:08 am

    Dave Springer;
    Jeez, two in a row! Again, I agree with your position vs. Willis’. Juries are often irrational, but there must be a means of “breaking” the law when it is “a ass, a idiot”.

    Well, that’s because you don’t understand my position. When did I say there wasn’t or shouldn’t be a way for juries to nullify the law? I just said that nullification is a complex subject that has a downside as well as an upside. I didn’t say we should get rid of jury nullification. QUOTE WHAT I SAID, I can’t fight against your fantasies.

    w.

  174. johanna says:
    March 13, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Excluding Islam, almost every surviving old religion on Earth, from Bon to Hinduism to Buddhism to Christianity, condemns lying,

    ————————————————————-
    Excluding Islam?

    I am not aligned with any of the religions mentioned. But suggesting that Islam condones lying is just ludicrous.

    Perhaps the quote about the mote in one’s own eye is apposite here.

    I have no idea if the Koran forbids lying. But johanna, the apposite quote is not what you claim. The apposite quote here would be the quote that supports your claim, some quote from the Koran enjoining people not to lie. Bring that quote out, and you’ve won your point. Don’t bring it out, and you’re just waving your hands.

    w.

  175. Johanna said, “As for the Vietnam War, it is paradoxical that the people who would never give up if someone invaded the US cannot understand that people in another country would react in the same way.”

    My dear, I am a rare patriot, one who actually swears allegiance to the Constitution, not to a flag, or to one’s own tribal group, labor union, church, or political party or casus belli. There are few of us left. Most in this country are sold out to the proposition that their own political agenda, or their own entitlements, are worth trading every liberty for. I recognise that when the day comes when the State comes to seize my arms, property, my liberty, etc that I will refuse to cooperate, I will strike down my oppressors, but I will also be vilified by the press and my fellow man as a criminal for doing so. I accept my fate.

  176. What’s the big deal, here?

    Just what is so wrong about “Noble Cause Corruption,” “Confirmation Bias,” and the plain old deceitful arts of lying, making up data, and hiding things like declines? Hell, about everyone does it now-days. Watch the senators in Wisconsin go to a different state to avoid doing their job of voting (screw democracy!). Watch your Congressman or Senator vote for bills (s)he has never read. Watch the Dept. of Justice wink at thugs trying to influence elections. And in 2011 we have actually come to EXPECT politicians to lie (and boy, do we have some top experts at the top, right now!). Some corruption is just normal, after all. Who cares?

    I mean, if you really believe your cause is noble, why should you not go all out to support it? Especially when humanity or Planet Earth hangs in the balance! A little data manipulating, coercion, bribing, and lying can always be “explained away” by an appropriately selected panel or lawyer. It’s virtually impossible to prove scientific fraud, unless someone is egregiously passing out government money to everyone in sight (well, I doubt that even most of that is noticed). And lies aren’t even newsworthy anymore.

    I think it is clearly damn hard to get into any serious trouble (like jail or fines) these days, as long your cause is noble—and especially if the government has your back. Even if your cause is not so noble, you can always play an appropriate “card,” like the race card, the xenophobe card, the homophobe card, etc. The end justifies the means, no?

    So just how can some of you folks condemn the poor working scientists who are simply defending their noble causes? What gives you some “moral high ground” to condemn their kind of science? What right do you have to demand others follow your moral system? It’s all relative, after all.

  177. Willis, you say:
    “So as a result much of the general public in the US at least believes that all climate scientists are crooks.”
    ==========
    I would say most of the general public in the US has no idea of the policies being foist
    upon them in the name of climate “guilt”.
    God forbid they ever hear of a “climate crook”.

  178. jae says: March 13, 2011 at 3:12 pm
    [What’s the big deal, here? Just what is so wrong about “-----Noble Cause Corruption So just how can some of you folks condemn the poor working scientists who are simply defending their noble causes? What gives you some “moral high ground” to condemn their kind of science? What right do you have to demand others follow your moral system? It’s all relative, after all.]
    ———————————————————————–
    Jae. Yeah Riiiiiiight!!!!

    Douglas

  179. Willis:
    I have no idea if the Koran forbids lying. But johanna, the apposite quote is not what you claim. The apposite quote here would be the quote that supports your claim, some quote from the Koran enjoining people not to lie. Bring that quote out, and you’ve won your point. Don’t bring it out, and you’re just waving your hands.

    I believe that this is the reference that the poster was referring to:

    http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/Quran/011-taqiyya.htm


    Muslim scholars teach that Muslims should generally be truthful to each other, unless the purpose of lying is to “smooth over differences.”

    There are two forms of lying to non-believers that are permitted under certain circumstances, taqiyya and kitman. These circumstances are typically those that advance the cause Islam – in some cases by gaining the trust of non-believers in order to draw out their vulnerability and defeat them.

    So, generally don’t lie to other muslims unless it’s the “white lie” sort of thing, but lying to the enemy is permissable and even desirable. Many references to the various citations there.

    This is is perhaps the most obvious on its face.

    Reliance of the Traveler (p. 746 – 8.2) – “Speaking is a means to achieve objectives. If a praiseworthy aim is attainable through both telling the truth and lying, it is unlawful to accomplish through lying because there is no need for it. When it is possible to achieve such an aim by lying but not by telling the truth, it is permissible to lie if attaining the goal is permissible (N:i.e. when the purpose of lying is to circumvent someone who is preventing one from doing something permissible), and obligatory to lie if the goal is obligatory… it is religiously precautionary in all cases to employ words that give a misleading impression…

  180. Mike Lorrey says:
    March 13, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    “My dear, I am a rare patriot, one who actually swears allegiance to the Constitution, not to a flag, or to one’s own tribal group, labor union, church, or political party or casus belli. There are few of us left.”

    Maybe more than you think but I suppose they’re easier to find where I live (Texas) where school children still don’t have a choice about reciting the pledge of allegiance every morning (unless a parent or guardian files a written request to excuse them from it). There are only 6 states left that do that:

    http://undergod.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000074

    Anyone in the military (there’s a lot of us – me USMC 1974-1978) had to make a bit more solemn oath:

    I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

    Note there’s no expiration date on the military oath to defend the consitution so a man or woman of high integrity must consider themselves bound for life. Then again I enlisted voluntarily. I’m not sure how I’d feel if I were drafted and forced to recite the oath but I have to believe a forced oath is no oath at all. Kids that are forced to recite the pledge of allegiance might feel the same but at least they’re reminded about 200 mornings per year for 12 years of the country they’re beholden to for their freedoms.

  181. @willis

    “He won because he was a fanatic who absolutely refused to stop.”

    That’s pretty naive. He (Ho Chi Minh) won because we weren’t allowed to do what was necessary to win. Hirohito was fanatical about winning too but Truman didn’t pull any punches thank God and Hirohito’s fanaticism faded pretty quick. Our targets in the North Vietnam were highly restricted. A few dams in particular if they’d been taken out would have crippled the North almost beyond comprehension. Johnson often bragged, ‘Those boys can’t hit an outhouse without my permission.’ Indeed, even in South Vietnam the rules of engagement were ridiculous. I remember my company commander in Marine Corps boot camp in 1974 telling us how he’d been going down a road in a jeep and took some fire from a rice paddy. He spotted the perp with a rifle 200 yards away and shot him dead. Then he and his men had to wade out into that rice paddy and frantically search for the perp’s rifle laying somewhere on the bottom of the muck all the while exposed to fire from any other guerillas in the area. They found the rifle and got away unharmed but if they hadn’t found it the young lieutenant was subject to court-martial from his own side.

  182. kcrucible says:
    March 13, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    Willis:

    I have no idea if the Koran forbids lying. But johanna, the apposite quote is not what you claim. The apposite quote here would be the quote that supports your claim, some quote from the Koran enjoining people not to lie. Bring that quote out, and you’ve won your point. Don’t bring it out, and you’re just waving your hands.

    I believe that this is the reference that the poster was referring to:

    http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/Quran/011-taqiyya.htm

    Thanks, kcrucible. Facts beat fantasies regarding what the Koran says, or anything else for that matter.

    w.

  183. Stephen Richards says:
    March 13, 2011 at 4:51 am

    “It is neither the jury’s right or role to pass judgement on or to change the law.”

    Whether it’s a right is arguable. Whether it’s a power is not. A juror cannot be compelled to explain why he reached one verdict or another nor can he be punished for reaching a verdict that the judge finds incredible.

    “You are there to assess the evidence against the law as written under the guidance of the Judge.”

    It should be codified in law somewhere then. Got a statute number?

    “ONLY A JUDGE has the opportunity to modify the law through the unusual circumstances of a particular case based on the veidence of that case and that can most often only occur by rfeference to the highest court of your country.”

    Most judges prefer it that way but jurors have the de-facto power to take the opportunity onto themselves.

    “No matter what Springer may have said in the jury room he was not in a position to carry out his threat and if expressed in the presence of the judge could have EVENTUALLY been held in contempt.”

    He’d have to prove I actually did it. Jury deliberations are nominally held secret so I’d have had to made it plain in the deliberation room I had no doubt the defendant committed the crime but was refusing to reach that verdict because I didn’t agree with the law, another juror would have had to rat me out to the judge, and the judge would have had to done something extremely rare in holding me in comtempt rather than just dismissing me for misconduct and replacing me with an alternate. I doubt I would have stood on principle long enough to risk contempt – I’d have just said “not guilty” because I didn’t think the evidence was sufficient. Nothing a judge can do about that and that is why they don’t hold people in contempt for jury nullification because jurors will just stay silent and nullify in stealth.

    “Evidence only for the jurists.”

    Again, got statute?

  184. @Stephan Richards

    Here’s a hypothetical for you. In 1850 the Fugitive Slave Act made it a punishable offense ($1000 fine, which is like $50,000 today) for any law enforcement officer who refused to arrest a runaway slave. A runaway slave was designated solely by a sworm affidavit from the owner of his ownership. The arrested slave was not allowed to contest the affidavit in any way. So you’re a law officer and someone you don’t know comes to your office and swears out an affidavit saying a black man or woman residing in your juridiction is a runaway slave. If you don’t go arrest the man without any question or hesitation, knowing full well the black man will be taken away in chains by the man who swears to own him, that there is no legal means for the alleged slave to dispute the ownership claim, you yourself will have your life ruined should you be found guilty of violating the Fugitive Slave Act.

    Not surprisingly few northern law enforcement officials arrested runaway slaves and also not surprisingly few juries found them guilty of any offense. The law was an ass and juries nullified it. This is the power we have as jurors. You may not like it but the alternative is even less palatable – it makes a mockery of the right to a trial by a jury of peers to tell them they are compelled to convict a morally blameless man. We are not robots under the law – the law is a robot under us.

    Many free blacks residing in northern states were conscripted into slavery in this manner.

    If you were sitting on a jury hearing the evidence against a marshall accused of refusing to arrest an alleged runaway slave and the evidence was clear the marshall was guilty would you ruin his life for an act of conscience or would you perhaps listen to your own conscience and nullify the Fugitive Slave Act?

    Whether we have an inalienable right to nullify the law when the law’s an ass is arguable. Whether we have the power to do it is not arguable – we do. The only real question is whether jurors should be explicitely instructed that they have this power.

  185. Dave Springer says:
    March 13, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    @willis

    “He won because he was a fanatic who absolutely refused to stop.”

    That’s pretty naive. He (Ho Chi Minh) won because we weren’t allowed to do what was necessary to win. Hirohito was fanatical about winning too but Truman didn’t pull any punches thank God and Hirohito’s fanaticism faded pretty quick. Our targets in the North Vietnam were highly restricted. A few dams in particular if they’d been taken out would have crippled the North almost beyond comprehension.

    And Truman didn’t pull any punches in Korea either, and he got smacked in the teeth and went home. Not clear what Truman has to do with anything.

    Ho Chi Minh and his friends had fought for forty-five years when the US entered the war. They had fought when they had noting at all and were a tiny group opposed to the Chinese. They had fought the Japanese in small guerilla bands, living off the countryside and the people. They had fought against the best that the French had at Dien Bien Phu, and killed or captured every one. They had taken everything that the Chinese had thrown against them. The Japanese certainly didn’t pull any punches, and Ho beat them. The French tried pulling out all the stops and had their butts handed to them.

    So while you think knocking out a couple of dams would make Ho and his men say “Gosh, we’ve been fighting for fifty years for this, but boy, without those dams we’ll just have to give up”, I am not nearly as sanguine.

    You think that we could have won by denying Ho and his men stuff. Things. Dams. Buildings. But Ho never won by having stuff, things, the usual materiels of war. His opponents, from day one, always had all the stuff, the tanks, the ships, the airplanes. Every one of his opponents had much, much, much more stuff than he had. More guns, more men, more equipment, more uniforms, more food, more tanks, more airplanes, more mortars, more of every single thing. He was used to having nothing and still winning. Denying a modern army of “stuff” will stop it in its tracks. Not Ho and the way he fought.

    He won the way that the Russians won Stalingrad — by making something out of nothing. Here’s a joke from the time that you may have heard.

    Up by Hanoi, they give a guy some black pajamas and a bicycle and a pair of sandals and a big old artillery shell that weighs 80 pounds (50 kg). They send him off down the Ho Chi Minh trail to Saigon. Day after day, he rides some, but mostly walks the damn shell south. He endures bombings from planes up so high he can’t even see them. Week after week he toils. Going up hills is endless work, dragging the shell along. He endures mines sown across the trail. He hides during the day and travels at night. Planes come overhead and drop chemicals. Trees shed their leaves. He hides under rocks. He sleeps in the day covered with sticks, invisible from the air. The weeks drag on.

    Three quarters of the way there, a nearby bomb nearly kills him, and the bike is destroyed. He straps the artillery shell on his back. He walks and walks. Finally, almost exhausted, his sandals worn out and his pajamas patched and torn and patched again, he nears Saigon. He gets directions to the artillery. When he gets there a battle is raging, the big gun is firing shells. He goes up to the artillery captain. He gives him the shell. The Captain gives the shell to the Sergeant, who puts it in the cannon and pulls the lanyard. BOOM! The man in the black pajamas is overjoyed to see what he has contributed to the war. He stands with his eyes wide and his ears ringing with joy. And cannon fire. The Captain turns his way after a moment, notices him there, and says “What are you standing around for, man? Go get me another shell!”

    That was the joke, but it was also the reality. And on the ground, the man in the black pajamas would have turned around and walked straight to Hanoi and brought back another shell. And another after that, and another.

    Now, if you think blowing out some dams would have stopped that kind of single-minded dedication, I fear I can’t agree. Dave, we couldn’t stop them when we owned the town they lived in. As you likely know, they just built a town underground and kept on going. Right under the feet of the American soldiers walking around on the surface. The Cu Chi tunnels totalled some two hundred to three hundred kilometres (120 to 180 miles) of tunnels. Can you imagine the dedication of the men who dug those, using only hand tools?

    That is why the loss of a couple dams would mean nothing. The factories in the north had all been moved underground, tunnels were built all over the north underneath villages … here’s an example:

    The American forces believed the villagers of Vinh Moc were supplying food and armaments to the North Vietnemese garrison on the island of Con Co which was in turn hindering the American bombers on their way to bomb Hanoi. The idea was to force the villagers of Vinh Moc to leave the area but as is typical in Vietnam there was nowhere else to go. The villagers initially dug the tunnels to move their village 10 metres underground but the American forces designed bombs that burrowed down 10 metres. Eventually against these odds, the villagers moved the village to a depth of 30 metres. It was constructed in several stages beginning in 1966 and used until early 1972. The complex grew to include wells, kitchens, rooms for each family and spaces for healthcare. Around 60 families lived in the tunnels; as many as 17 children were born inside the tunnels.

    The tunnels were a success and no villagers lost their lives. The only direct hit was from a bomb that failed to explode; the resulting hole was utilized as a ventilation shaft.

    Three levels of tunnels were eventually built.

    That’s what the US never, ever understood. These were fanatical people who had been fighting, against all odds, and against powerful, wealthy, industrialized, mechanized opposing forces, for fifty years when we stupidly entered the fray. Not only that, they were fighting to throw foreign invaders out of their homeland, which would make any man a raging fanatic.

    Given all of that, the loss of some dams and electrical generation would have meant nothing. The fight would have continued no matter what we did, short of killing every human being in North Vietnam. And even then, that would have left all of the Viet Cong and NVA forces in South Vietnam still squirreled away in their tunnels and working as waiters and translators in the Embassy and living in villages and infiltrated throughout South Vietnamese society.

    So while it is tempting to think that air power applied liberally to North Vietnam would have broken their will and ended their ability to fight, that same air power applied incredibly liberally to South Vietnam, combined with lots and lots of troops and tanks and jets and all the weapons of war, hadn’t broken their will or ended their ability to fight … so why do you think it would have worked in the North when it hadn’t worked in the South?

    In fact, it was that delusion that got us in so deep. Our military kept saying “If we just apply a little more pressure, they’ll fold. If we just interdict a few more supply lines, or assassinate a few more Viet-Cong farmers, or bomb a few more areas, or defoliate a few more square miles, or bring over 50,000 more US troops, they’re done.” Remember the famous “Light at the end of the tunnel”? The idea that “if only we had been free to bomb” is the postwar equivalent of that claim, that just a bit more pressure and they would have quit.

    But no matter how much territory we defoliated, and no matter how many villages we had to destroy in order to save them, did you notice any weakening in the resolve of Ho Chi Minh and his men? Because I didn’t, they were like the dang Energizer Bunny of warfare.

    And that’s what defeated us. They were willing to fight the US in Vietnam for another fifty years regardless of the conditions. Hardly a single person in the US was willing to fight in Vietnam for another fifty years under any conditions. So they could outlast us, and they knew they could outlast us, and they did outlast us. As they would have done even if we’d bombed every dam north of the DMZ.

    My best to you,

    w.

  186. johanna,

    The legal defense of self-defense is an example of what the law calls exculpatory defense, or defense of necessity. To say that it depends on motive is to entertain the absurdity of a person faced with the necessity of defending himself but having some other motive for the violence that he commits, such that it matters to his guilt or innocence. Suppose he cares nothing at all for defending himself; he is a radical pacifist. In that case, you may say, he lacked the motive and therefore lacked the “necessity”; actually he wants to reduce the number of Republicans, and the person who attacked him was a Republican. So we’re talking about a radical pacifist who seizes the opportunity to kill someone in circumstances in which anyone else would have the motive of self-defense. How crazy is that? The fact is that he acted so as to defend himself.

    Well, ‘motive’ at its most basic means ‘the thing that makes movement’. If someone is trying to kill you and you respond by killing them, your motive is pretty clear. The fact that a motive (as in some of your your examples) is inadequate is neither here nor there. The point is – as several PPs have said – that motive can be very relevant to legal proceedings, especially where crimes against a person are involved.

    You’re telling me that the motive is implied by the facts “trying to kill you…you respond by killing them.” That gets rid of the question of motive. If everyone who acts so as to defend himself has the motive of defending himself, motive is irrelevant. It is only relevant if some people who act so as to defend themselves lack the motive of defending themselves – but those would be crazy people. Whether the defendant acted in self-defense is a question of fact, not motive. I said it before, and I’ll say it again: You don’t understand the issue.

    Prior to this message, I only offered one example, so there is no “some of your examples.”

    Everyone knows what ‘not proven’ means. It also helps to avoid hung juries.

    I doubt that it helps to avoid hung juries. According to Wikipedia, Scottish juries render verdicts by simple majority, there are 15 jurors, and anything less than 8 “guilty” votes is an acquittal.

    As for the Vietnam War, it is paradoxical that the people who would never give up if someone invaded the US cannot understand that people in another country would react in the same way.

    I didn’t say anything about the Vietnam War.

  187. Dave, another thought for you. You say:

    Hirohito was fanatical about winning too but Truman didn’t pull any punches thank God and Hirohito’s fanaticism faded pretty quick.

    Truman stopped the Japanese by being willing to immolate entire cities of civilians. The firebombing of Tokyo killed more civilians in one night than either of the atomic bombs, but even that didn’t stop the Japanese. Not until the atomic bomb was dropped did they surrender. Shows the fanaticism of people defending their homeland.

    In the 1960s, neither of those were available as military options. Then, as now, the killing of civilians had come to be seen as reprehensible. So although Truman “didn’t pull any punches”, the US didn’t have that option in Vietnam. For example, firebombing Hanoi wouldn’t have played well on the world stage, you know what I mean.

    So I fear your example doesn’t really apply.

    w.

  188. The history of Vietnam is a complex history. Moral High ground, is rarely clear in complex international politics. Small nations often become pawns for more powerfull nations. What happened after we left Vietnam does give some indication that the communist way leaves little room for liberty. http://www.jim.com/ChomskyLiesCites/When_we_knew_what_happened_in_Vietnam.htm The “boat people” followed the reeducation camps. What happened in Cambodia was far worse.

    In Japan the US was faced with the terrible option of a ground invasion, or the use of atomic bombs. I am forever grateful I have never had to face such terrible choices.

  189. willis said:

    Excluding Islam?

    I am not aligned with any of the religions mentioned. But suggesting that Islam condones lying is just ludicrous.

    Perhaps the quote about the mote in one’s own eye is apposite here.

    I have no idea if the Koran forbids lying. But johanna, the apposite quote is not what you claim. The apposite quote here would be the quote that supports your claim, some quote from the Koran enjoining people not to lie. Bring that quote out, and you’ve won your point. Don’t bring it out, and you’re just waving your hands.
    ————————————————————-
    Willis, I am disappointed that you have allowed people to use quotes from a hate site like thereligionof peace.com (tagline – and a big stack of dead bodies) without challenge, while challenging my contention that Islam, like all other major religions, regards truthfulness as a virtue.

    Cherrypicking a few quotes from 1400 years of theological history and claiming that this represents an entire religion is about as valid as declaring that the views of one of the many subsets of Christianity (some of which have been, to put it politely, pretty weird) exemplifies Christianity.

    As far as ‘taqiyya’ is concerned, a more balanced view from Webster’s dictionary is available here:

    http://www.websters-online-dictionary.org/definitions/TAQIYYA?cx=partner-pub-0939450753529744%3Av0qd01-tdlq&cof=FORID%3A9&ie=UTF-8&q=TAQIYYA&sa=Search#906

    Extract:

    Within Shi’ite Islamic tradition, the concept of Taqiyya (التقية – ‘fear, guard against’) refers to a dispensation allowing believers to conceal their faith when under threat, persecution or compulsion.

    The word “al-Taqiyya” literally means: “Concealing or disguising one’s beliefs, convictions, ideas, feelings, opinions, and/or strategies at a time of imminent danger, whether now or later in time, to save oneself from physical and/or mental injury.” A one-word translation would be “Dissimulation.”

    So, it is just like people concealing being Jewish when the Nazis were rounding them up. To suggest that Islam condones lying across the board is absurd. It is an insult to 1.3 billion people who are no more or less likely to lie than anyone else. Do you actually know any Muslims?

    Here is the quote from the Koran you requested.

    “Truly Allah guides not one who transgresses and lies.” Surah 40:28. In the Hadith, Mohammed was also quoted as saying, “Be honest because honesty leads to goodness, and goodness leads to Paradise. Beware of falsehood because it leads to immorality, and immorality leads to Hell.”

    As I stated above, I have no religious affiliations. But I have friends, family and work colleagues who have a range of beliefs. In my experience, professed belief and personal integrity are very different things.

  190. Smoking Frog says:
    March 14, 2011 at 2:49 am

    johanna,

    The legal defense of self-defense is an example of what the law calls exculpatory defense, or defense of necessity. To say that it depends on motive is to entertain the absurdity of a person faced with the necessity of defending himself but having some other motive for the violence that he commits, such that it matters to his guilt or innocence. Suppose he cares nothing at all for defending himself; he is a radical pacifist. In that case, you may say, he lacked the motive and therefore lacked the “necessity”; actually he wants to reduce the number of Republicans, and the person who attacked him was a Republican. So we’re talking about a radical pacifist who seizes the opportunity to kill someone in circumstances in which anyone else would have the motive of self-defense. How crazy is that? The fact is that he acted so as to defend himself.

    [snip]

    You’re telling me that the motive is implied by the facts “trying to kill you…you respond by killing them.” That gets rid of the question of motive. If everyone who acts so as to defend himself has the motive of defending himself, motive is irrelevant. It is only relevant if some people who act so as to defend themselves lack the motive of defending themselves – but those would be crazy people. Whether the defendant acted in self-defense is a question of fact, not motive. I said it before, and I’ll say it again: You don’t understand the issue.

    Prior to this message, I only offered one example, so there is no “some of your examples.”

    Everyone knows what ‘not proven’ means. It also helps to avoid hung juries.

    I doubt that it helps to avoid hung juries. According to Wikipedia, Scottish juries render verdicts by simple majority, there are 15 jurors, and anything less than 8 “guilty” votes is an acquittal.
    ———————————————————
    What a strange post. ‘Motive’ is what it is – the thing that moves someone to do something. It doesn’t matter whether or not it is part of a subset called ‘exculpatory’. As for the stuff about pacifists and Republicans, I read it a few times, and still do not know what it means. And, I am baffled by your statement that where motive is reasonable and understandable (such as defending your life), it no longer exists. Que?

    You are correct in picking me up on the use of the term ‘hung jury’. I apologise for that. My point was that it gives jurors who are not comfortable with either a conviction, or an acquittal, a third option. In a group of 15, that provides a worthwhile alternative in cases where most members are unconvinced by the cases of both the prosecution and the defence.

  191. johanna, read this article about the murder of the Israeli family the other day. Mother, father, and three children, including a baby. It includes priceless examples of Muslin deception: quotes from one press release for the West, in which the victims are referred to as victims, and another from the same organization for fellow Muslims, in which the victims are nastily referred to Zionist usurpers. The letters from Muslims praising the murders are also instructive.

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2011/03/028596.php

    Quoting a dictionary means nothing. Actions speak louder than words, and in this case, one set of words speaks far louder than another. I don’t know of religionofpeace.com, which I don’t go to, is a hate site, but I think you’re living in LaLa Land if you refuse to face reality.

    And talk about cherry-picking. Your quote from the Koran is hilarious. Go buy a Koran and read the whole thing, and then come back here to tell us how wonderful and truthful Islam actually is. Remember the infamous “Satanic Verses?” And keep in mind, it wasn’t written three thousand years ago, either. The policies it advocates are in effect in the most of the Middle East today, where people are still stoned to death, where homosexuals are burned alive, and were women and animals are treated like dirt.

  192. Thanks, Willis.

    One need is for better law. “Hate crime” is an example of going in the wrong direction, it is legislation by concretes instead of principles, thus does not protect individuals and will always be behind the creativity of psychologically troubled persons.

    Another is better voters (there’s an ambitious goal? ;-). Voters elect the politicians who appoint judges who ignore the constitution, which was the problem with racial discrimination in the SE US (look at, for example, the case of a legal challenge to Louisiana law by a young man, financed by a transit railway company who did not want to segregate but were forced to by local law). Somehow the Declaration of Indpendence’s “self evident” wasn’t in the minds of voters who elected the dishonest control-minded politicians.

    (Note that opposition to the Vietnam war had three elements that were usually confused together:
    – conscription (the military draft), which is morally wrong
    – whether or not the mission was worth the effort (the Communists were of course wrong, but there is not a duty to fight every case)
    – motives of the objectors (were they resisting the draft or promoting Marxism?).

    In both “hate crime” laws and climate alarmism we are dealing with collectivism rather than individuals, but worse we are dealing with bad thinking.

    Hate comes from many reasons – an individual may hate a parent for some reason (whether valid or not), Marxists hate business people (because they believe in fixed pie economics and do not value the mind), environmentalists hate consumers (because they believe in fixed pie economics and they believe that humans are not capable of acting for good, or worse they hate humans intrinsically). Typical “hate crime” law covers only the tribal type of collectivism – attacking someone because of a characteristic or belief of the attacked individual that is the same as a number of other people (skin colour or religion (such as the attack on a Jewish centre in Seattle by a Muslim person)). But does “hate crime” cover the vicious attack on a young man in Esquimalt BC because he had a red jacket on – he was dressed up for a date, some individuals assumed he was a member of a rival gang of young thugs so beat him up severely? What about Kick A Ginger day (which some idiot invented and some mindless students acted on)? What about gratuitous attacks that are common today – no motive toward the attacker per se, just choice of victim on opportunity? How does motive matter to the victim, who is maimed or dead? A problem with collectivist approach to law is that it leaves individuals without protection of the law.

    Of course in climate alarmism we are seeing “circling of the wagons”, protecting the dishonest “climate scientists” in order to somehow save the collective thus their mission. (Note the frequent use of “consensus” as a reason people should believe alarmists. Note the attempt to redefine the term “scientist” to exclude their critics. Both tactics come from the bad philosophy underlying their movement, one founded in a negative view of humans.)

    And those who oppose climate alarmism aren’t always decent people. One of them, a retired climate scientist, has links to racist articles on his web site. Obviously I want nothing to do with him.

    As for “civil disobedience”, which is often not very civil in nature, note the case of a prominent alarmist scientist being arrested for protesting against a coal mine.

    But beware that you may be guilty of “thought crime”: http://www.capitalismmagazine.com/law/6319-court-endorses-thought-crime.html

  193. I am in no way an apologist for Islam or any other religion, as I keep saying to people with fingers in their ears saying ‘la-la-la.’

    The fact that people use religion as an excuse for atrocities is nothing new – for a Western example that may be more understandable, look at the history of the IRA. Men, women, children, killed and maimed in the name of a perverted version of Christianity. It is always appalling and deplorable when that happens. Are you suggesting that the IRA bombers were driven by the ideology of Christianity?

    My (Muslim) local restauranteurs phoned me the other day because they had inadvertently overcharged me by $10. I guess they must have missed the part in Muslim belief systems which says that dishonesty is a core value.

  194. johanna said: What a strange post. ‘Motive’ is what it is – the thing that moves someone to do something. It doesn’t matter whether or not it is part of a subset called ‘exculpatory’. As for the stuff about pacifists and Republicans, I read it a few times, and still do not know what it means. And, I am baffled by your statement that where motive is reasonable and understandable (such as defending your life), it no longer exists. Que?

    Nothing strange about it. I’ll try to make it as simple as possible:

    Self-defense is a matter of what the person did in what circumstances, not a matter of his motive for doing it. Only a crazy person, or perhaps not even a crazy person, would defend himself without having the motive of self-defense. The radical pacifist who defends himself without having a motive of doing so, but with having another motive (to get rid of Republicans), illustrates this. He defended himself regardless of his motive.

  195. My (Muslim) local restauranteurs phoned me the other day because they had inadvertently overcharged me by $10. I guess they must have missed the part in Muslim belief systems which says that dishonesty is a core value.

    Not that it’s a core value, but that it is permissable if it allows you to accomplish a permissable and praiseworthy thing. Stealing isn’t praiseworthy. There is no noble means attained by the sin.

    There are numerous quotes where Mohammad basically attests that the ends justify the means. That’s a rather unique feature in a religion. In many respects Mohammad is nearer Sun Tzu than Jesus. That’s only an insult if a person chooses to take it that way.

  196. johanna says:

    “Are you suggesting that the IRA bombers were driven by the ideology of Christianity?”

    No, I never said anything remotely like that. How you’ve managed to conflate the behavior of Stone Age religionists with the Irish political situation is beyond me. The Koran demands stonings, beheadings, and murders of all kinds, which many Muslims obediently engage in; the New Testament does not. Mohamed butchered hundreds and hundreds of innocent people; the Jesus of the Christian myth never killed anyone. Mohamed married and had sex with a little girl. Jesus didn’t.

    I’m not a Christian, but I do know the difference between Christianity and Islam, and if you don’t, that’s your fault. But, since you don’t, you really should not be expounding on the imagined innocence of Islam or trying to pick a fight in its defense. You’ve completely ignored the fact that every Muslim country is barbaric by Western standards, and not one of them has a system of human rights remotely equivalent to ours. As a female, you would no rights in most Muslim countries, but if that’s okay with you, go for it.

    Islam seeks world domination and the installation of a global theocracy. In the year 2011. Now. Christianity does not; Judaism does not; Buddhism does not; Hinduism does not; Bon does not.

    Muslims routinely murder Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, and Jews. They destroy Buddhist temples, bomb churches and synagogues, and blow up all kinds of buildings for Allah’s sake. They do this somewhere almost every day. They strap bombs on their own little children, including retarded children, and send them into Jewish neighborhoods to become martyrs. Can you name any other religionists who do these things?

    And don’t try to accuse me of hate speech. Facts are not hateful, though they may be hideous. I’ve never set out to hurt anyone in my life. But, you’ve made a point of defending Islam (even though, by your own admission, you don’t know anything about it), and of calling a critical Web site a hate site. Has it occurred to you that perhaps the people running that site know infinitely more about the subject than you? That perhaps they’ve had bad personal experiences that have shaped their views?

  197. johanna says:
    March 14, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Willis, I am disappointed that you have allowed people to use quotes from a hate site like thereligionof peace.com (tagline – and a big stack of dead bodies) without challenge, while challenging my contention that Islam, like all other major religions, regards truthfulness as a virtue.

    If you have a better page, please suggest it. I only read as far as the Koran quotes, so sue me. However, Islam does in fact allow the faithful to lie. Mohammed broke treaties with “unbelievers” using the loophole. So I fear that although you’re right about that site (very anti-Islam), you’re wrong about lying and Islam.

    Because the Islamic holy books clearly say it’s ok to lie to unbelievers, that’s you and me. And as the comment that started this discussion said, it’s the only major religion I know of that says that it is OK to do that, to lie to people outside the religion.

    w.

  198. But, Willis, the rest of the religions allow us to be forgiven for our lies next Sunday with little more than a contritely said, “Sorry, my bad” (not that I’m complaining about that). That makes for a bit of parity here. We are forbidden but apparently serve little time for our foibles. While Islam allows lying under certain circumstances, you’ld better get those circumstances right or face getting your lying tongue cut out of your mouth. There had been times, as a mother of three teens, I was ready to be radicalized.

  199. George M says:
    March 13, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    If there’s even a smidgeon of political justice about, his party will be held to account for generations with having, with malice aforethought, foisted Obama on the country.

  200. Pamela Gray says:
    March 15, 2011 at 5:15 am

    But, Willis, the rest of the religions allow us to be forgiven for our lies next Sunday with little more than a contritely said, “Sorry, my bad” (not that I’m complaining about that). That makes for a bit of parity here. We are forbidden but apparently serve little time for our foibles. While Islam allows lying under certain circumstances, you’ld better get those circumstances right or face getting your lying tongue cut out of your mouth. There had been times, as a mother of three teens, I was ready to be radicalized.

    Thanks, Pamela. Very funny, and nicely put.

    I don’t have much use for any religion. But that doesn’t mean I think they’re all equal or even similar. Islam is not Christianity with funny headgear by any means.

    For me, the distinction is that Hinduism seems like a naturalistic farmer’s religion, full of elephants and monkeys and the like. Christianity is a religion that preaches love as the response to aggression, although it often practices the opposite. Buddhism preaches a message of letting go of clinging, and the Eight-Fold Path. All are different, and appeal to different kinds of people.

    Islam is a warrior’s religion. If I were to design a religion for teenage boys, it would be Islam. It contains an ingenious rule, one that led to huge Islamic expansion.

    Before the Koran, when you conquered somebody, you killed them, or not, whatever. But the Koran says you have to offer the conquered people the chance to convert to Islam. If you didn’t convert, you had to pay taxes … which for dirt-poor people could be ruinous. Civilized, right?

    So when the Islamic homies rolled into town, and a young guy was offered a chance to either convert to Islam and have a chance to go out raiding with them and get money and food and women and slaves, or stay at home and pay taxes, it wasn’t too tough a choice. As a result, the armies of Islam swelled, and the religion rolled out of the mideast and spread, in large part by the sword, around the planet. It’s brilliant, it’s got a heaven with 72 virgins for those men that make great sacrifices … like I said, it’s designed for teenage boys.

    The Koran is chock full of rules about how to wage war, and what you can do in war, and how to dispose of the war booty and the slaves … not the kind of stuff you find in other religions. Oh, other religions tell of ancient wars, but the Koran was kind of the Geneva Convention of its time.

    In fact, it was ahead of its time, in that the Islamic strictures on war were at least codified, and they generally were more civilized than those of many of the surrounding cultures of the time. Unfortunately, what was outrageously avant-garde in the seventh century doesn’t seem that advanced here in the twenty-first century …

    The problem is that the Koran, and Mohammed, and Islam, are all split in two. When Mohammed was young and had no power and was just another poor guy preaching on the street corner, the revelations of Allah in the Koran were all about being friends with those around you, about peace, about solving things without violence. Once he had moved up in life, to being the leader of a bunch of guys with swords who raided neighboring villages, Allah’s revelations became all about wars and violence and stuff like cutting people’s hands off if they dare to leave the religion and speak against it.

    It makes sense, because leaving a religion is no big deal, there’s no need to punish anyone for that. But leaving what had become a raiding army of Allah and the speaking against it was betrayal and desertion in the face of the enemy and even worse, joining the enemy in opposing Islam. That deserves the harshest punishment (specified as cutting off a hand and a foot on opposite sides of the body).

    It is also the reason for the verses about lying. When everything was peace and love, there was no need for verses about lying. But when you are making rules governing the lives of men in an army, deception of the enemy is sometimes a requirement. Which is the subject of a number of the exceptions allowing lying.

    So while it is true that Islam is the Religion of Peace™, it is also just as strongly the Religion of War™. Which is why the lovely little old Lebanese or Persian or Indonesian lady down the street on the one hand, and Osama Bin Laden on the other hand, both believe they are correctly following the Koran … because they both are correctly following the Koran. It’s just that the Koran is split, schizophrenic, half love and half hatred, half peace and half war.

    At some point, I have to assume some really charismatic Islamic leader will arise who will say “Dear friends, burying women up to the neck and stoning them to death is soooo seventh century, let’s get rid of the Satanic Verses that have crept into the Koran.” Last one to seriously try that was Baha’ullah, he was not well received and his followers are still persecuted by Shiite Muslims …

    I just hope it’s soon. Events in Egypt and elsewhere give me hope that the Islamic youth are being infected with the virus of independent thought. But then I note that slightly less than half the people in Indonesia think stoning is the proper punishment for adultery, and that’s a moderate Islamic nation. Like I said, schizophrenic.

    w.

  201. ‘How you’ve managed to conflate the behavior of Stone Age religionists with the Irish political situation is beyond me. The Koran demands stonings, beheadings, and murders of all kinds, which many Muslims obediently engage in; the New Testament does not.’

    I didn’t mention the Bible at all – but since you raise it, the Old Testament is full of blood curdling stuff about smiting one’s enemies. I notice that you confine your remarks to the New Testament. Does that mean that you only subscribe to the bits of the Bible that you agree with?

    Willis, asking me to put up an alternative to a hate site is exactly the kind of tactics you deplore elsewhere. It’s a hate site. It’s a load of bull. Why do I have to put up an alternative to ‘prove’ that – like why do people in the climate change debate have to put up some sort of alternative to prove a null hypothesis?

    More broadly, suggesting that Islam (and therefore all its members and associates) is based on deception is uncomfortably like the old rag that said that Communism (and therefore all its members and associates) is based on deception. The notion that hundreds of millions of people all got together and agreed that systematic lying was the way forward for the world is just ludicrous. Russia and Eastern Europe are currently undergoing a huge renaissance of Christian religious observance, despite nearly 100 years of repression. I guess they were ‘commies’ that didn’t get the message. Then, there were lots of people who didn’t care about politics, or religion, and just went along to get along. No sign that they fell for the ‘lying’ ideology either. The apparatchiks lied like they do in every political system.

    The ‘pure’ Communist ideology did not condone dishonesty in ordinary human relations. The ‘pure’ Islamic, Christian, Buddhist, Jewish or any other religion of note’s beliefs, do not either. It’s a pragmatic thing – people cannot get along if there is not a basis of trust.

    If you think that ordinary Muslims go about life uniquely thinking that they have a free pass to lie to infidels – spend a few days in Vegas, and find out what lying to suckers is all about. Then, go to Washington, and discover the nature of truth.

    If Christians took the Old Testament literally, your comments about aggressive, warrior behaviour, would be at least as applicable. Fortunately, the vast majority of Christians and Muslims, and members of other religions, are not running around lying because of their faith, or declaring war on other faiths.

    You bailed me up for quotes to prove that Islam does not condone lying, and I provided them. Now you say that their holy books provide ample evidence of warlike sentiments. OK, provide them – but I will be able to provide plenty of quotes involving smiting and such from the Old Testament. What will that prove?

    Suggest you have a quick look at the history of the Crusades before and if you post again on this topic. There is no patent on stupidity and atrocities committed in the name of religion.

    While I am here, for the PP who raised the issue of women’s rights – just how long ago was it accepted that a married woman could be raped by her husband in your jurisdiction? Stone Age times?

  202. Johanna, thanks as always for your comments.

    You bailed me up for quotes to prove that Islam does not condone lying, and I provided them. Now you say that their holy books provide ample evidence of warlike sentiments. OK, provide them – but I will be able to provide plenty of quotes involving smiting and such from the Old Testament. What will that prove?

    Suggest you have a quick look at the history of the Crusades before and if you post again on this topic. There is no patent on stupidity and atrocities committed in the name of religion.

    The difference, as I said before, is in the holy books. Islam is a warrior’s religion. For example, there are entire suras about the proper rules regulating warfare. Take, for example, Sura 8 entitled “Spoils of War.” This is all about how to divide up war booty, and reads like an army manual. See also e.g. Sura 59:7 et seq. I see nothing corresponding to those in, for example, the New Testament.

    Yes, the Old Testament contains lots of smiting, but those are descriptions, not prescriptions of things that the devout follower must do. The Koran, on the other hand, contains prescriptions that true Muslims do things like smite off people’s hands for stealing … I don’t recall Jesus advocating that kind of thing, but I might have missed it.

    Yes, the followers of both religions do violent things, no doubt. But Christ didn’t lead groups of men out to kill his neighbors. Mohammed did. The New Testament condemns stonings, the Koran requires stonings. Different people, different styles, different religions. I’m not sure why this is so hard for you to understand. As I said before, Islam is not Christianity with funny headgear. It is a religion founded by a desert warrior, which is very different in root and branch from a religion founded by a man who advocated loving your enemies … you ignore that distinction at your peril.

    Note I’m not saying Islam is bad. It is schizophrenic, which is a very different thing. Those that follow the good half of Islam are generally decent folks, although apparently the transient sight of a woman’s thigh gives them the vapors, and an unclothed breast causes insanity among even the best of them …

    But those that follow the bad half of Islam have been blowing each other up and killing each other and stoning women and chopping of hands and declaring jihad on infidels at a rate of knots for a while now. And they say they are doing it with the blessing of the Koran and Islam, and the really bad news is … they are right. The Koran does advocate and say that Muslims should do those things.

    And although you are correct that Christians did lots of bad things in the past, when was the last time a young Methodist guy put a bomb under his load of watermelons, drove to the next village where they’re mostly Baptists, invited the women and kids to buy cheap watermelons, and blew himself and the women and kids to smithereens … and then had his actions applauded by the Methodist religious leaders?

    Because it’s a pretty common occurrence between those Shiites and Sunnis who follow the dark side of Islam, they blow each other up and their religious leaders not only think it’s just fine, they urge them on to further atrocities. The story about the watermelons is an actual Shiite/Sunni occurrence a couple years ago … you asked me to show that Islam is warlike? You could start there.

    Thanks,

    w.

    PS – Johanna, you say:

    Willis, asking me to put up an alternative to a hate site is exactly the kind of tactics you deplore elsewhere. It’s a hate site. It’s a load of bull. Why do I have to put up an alternative to ‘prove’ that – like why do people in the climate change debate have to put up some sort of alternative to prove a null hypothesis?

    You misunderstand me entirely. That site was not my recommendation, it was that of another poster. I only read the quotations from the Koran, until you pointed it out I hadn’t scrolled down to see that the authors were no fans of Islam.

    So, since you didn’t like the site, I said you might suggest another site that discussed those issues that was more to your liking. My exact quote was:

    If you have a better page, please suggest it. I only read as far as the Koran quotes, so sue me.

    Asking you if you have a better page, Johanna, is not asking you for “an alternative to a hate site”. And I certainly didn’t say you have to ‘prove’ anything, why is that in quotes? That’s 100% fantasy. I agreed with you that the site was inadequate, but then I just used it to read the Koran quotes, so it didn’t matter to me.

    So I don’t know who you think you are talking to, but it’s not me. I said nothing like what you are claiming.

  203. Note I’m not saying Islam is bad. It is schizophrenic, which is a very different thing. Those that follow the good half of Islam are generally decent folks, although apparently the transient sight of a woman’s thigh gives them the vapors, and an unclothed breast causes insanity among even the best of them …
    —————————————–
    I enjoy a good argument, as you obviously do, without malice. But, just as you talk about the ‘schizophrenic’ (which is inaccurate, but I assume you mean split or opposed) nature of Islam – surely the Old and New Testaments are the same thing?

    I notice that you talk about Christ and the NT when differentiating Christianity from Islam, while carefully excluding the Old. For good reason, I suggest. Muscular Christianity has a long and strong tradition.

    The cheap shot about women’s thighs would not have played so well in Christian America or England 100 years ago, where people pretty much believed the same thing. Indeed, most of the tut-tutting about the backwardness of Islam about women’s rights would not survive historical comparisons with Christianity for anyone who has a memory longer than that of a goldfish. Women, for a while, did not have souls. Later, they simply couldn’t own property, vote, or be raped in marriage.

    Suggesting that the West benevolently handed women equal rights because of its moral superiority (or slaves their rights ditto) does make one wonder – if it is so self evident, how come it didn’t come with the package in the first place?

  204. johanna says:
    March 21, 2011 at 9:58 am

    Note I’m not saying Islam is bad. It is schizophrenic, which is a very different thing. Those that follow the good half of Islam are generally decent folks, although apparently the transient sight of a woman’s thigh gives them the vapors, and an unclothed breast causes insanity among even the best of them …

    —————————————–
    I enjoy a good argument, as you obviously do, without malice. But, just as you talk about the ‘schizophrenic’ (which is inaccurate, but I assume you mean split or opposed) nature of Islam – surely the Old and New Testaments are the same thing?

    I notice that you talk about Christ and the NT when differentiating Christianity from Islam, while carefully excluding the Old. For good reason, I suggest. Muscular Christianity has a long and strong tradition.

    The cheap shot about women’s thighs would not have played so well in Christian America or England 100 years ago, where people pretty much believed the same thing. Indeed, most of the tut-tutting about the backwardness of Islam about women’s rights would not survive historical comparisons with Christianity for anyone who has a memory longer than that of a goldfish. Women, for a while, did not have souls. Later, they simply couldn’t own property, vote, or be raped in marriage.

    Suggesting that the West benevolently handed women equal rights because of its moral superiority (or slaves their rights ditto) does make one wonder – if it is so self evident, how come it didn’t come with the package in the first place?

    I don’t buy that at all. One hundred years ago Western women didn’t have to wear a head-to-toe burqas with only a small slit for the eyes. Why are you excusing that kind of action by trivializing it? I don’t buy the argument that “both were bad so that makes them equal”, that makes no sense.

    Certainly, until recently women were legally subjugated even in the Western world. The democratic nature of our institutions plus the action of a lot of dedicated women has allowed the gradual passage of laws forbidding discrimination based on sex.

    However, this has not happened in the Islamic world. And unfortunately, the laws in question are not from 1860 as in the Western world, they are from the year 660. So this has the same problem as the “well, Xtians stoned people to death too, and tortured them in the 1600s in Spain” type of argument.

    So your point about women is true. Absolutely true. However, last I looked this is the 21st century. Everywhere in the modern world, people have given up burying women up to the neck and stoning them to death … except in Islam, where it is public sport. Public sport, mind you. Perhaps you see that as an unfortunate coincidence …

    I say again, Islam is not just Christianity with funny headgear. I’m a shamanist, I think both Islam and Xtianity are superstitions … but they are very, very different superstitions. You conflate them at your own peril.

    w.

    PS – Oh, yeah, the Old and New Testament. I hold that Christ was pretty emphatic that he brought a new law. This was “Love God above everything, and love your neighbor as yourself”. His deal was there could never be stonings, since the person throwing the stones had to be without sin … a whole new plan.

    That, to me, is the essence of Xtianity. Yes, it has been “twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools”, but that was the original message. Jesus threw out all the stuff about how you can’t wear clothes that are cotton/polyester blend (Leviticus 19:19, which seemed reasonable to me, polyester makes me sweat), and whether crayfish have cloven hooves, and the like. It replaced those laws with “Love your enemies, it drives them nuts.”

    So that’s why I distinguish between Xtianity and the Old Testament. YMMV.

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