Thursday, November 10, 2011

Moral Outrage - A Comparison

As we've often repeated, communism only succeeds when traditional family values and religious values are diluted within the target society.

The term is Moral Nihilism.

This week's child rape scandal at Penn State gives us a great opportunity to gauge the health of our nation's moral compass. Let's look at three sources of response to the scandal.


I read the grand jury report on Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky and couldn't believe what I was reading. I'm not going to link to it because it is awful. If you want to read it you can find it yourself. It wasn't the fact that Sandusky was a pedophile that was so shocking. We all know about the horror of pedophilia and that it exists in the world. No, what really shook me were the actions of the people around Sandusky - and two of those people in particular.

One was a 28 year old (at the time) graduate assistant in the Penn State football program. He testified before the grand jury, and the grand jury found him to be "extremely credible". This grad assistant testified that he literally walked in on Sandusky anally raping a ten year old boy in the Penn State football locker room showers. Right in the middle of the act itself. He even testified that both Sandusky and the child turned and looked at him - in the middle of the rape act.

What did this grad assistant do? He ran away. He ran away from a child in the midst of being raped. The next day he went to Joe Paterno's house and told Joe Paterno what he saw.
In this we have the proof that Joe Paterno KNEW what Sandusky was, and he basically let it slide. For this, Joe Paterno deserves not only to lose his job, but he also deserves to spend some time in prison. Aw, but he's a kind old man. That may be. But that "kind old man" let a man whom he KNEW to be a child rapist have the run of his football facility until JUST LAST WEEK.

And today's WSJ editorial: The Paterno Question - A tragedy in more ways than one

"This is a tragedy. It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more," Mr. Paterno said in a statement Wednesday announcing that he'd step down at the end of the season, at age 84. The university trustees fired him instead Wednesday night, effective immediately.

Mr. Paterno's statement refers to his decision to inform a university official, and not the police, that a graduate assistant had told him in 2002 about witnessing former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky with a young boy in the showers. It isn't clear from conflicting reports whether that graduate assistant told Mr. Paterno the ugly details of the sexual assault that is described in the grand jury report.

But this is at best ameliorating, not exculpatory. As everyone has noted and Mr. Paterno himself now seems to accept, the coach fulfilled his legal obligation, but not his moral duty, to look after the well-being of that child and others who may have been victimized later. He is now paying for that lapse in judgment with a tarnished end to a long and distinguished career.

And the Penn State student body, as reported by the NYT: Penn State Students Clash With Police in Unrest After Announcement

After top Penn State officials announced that they had fired Joe Paterno on Wednesday night, thousands of students stormed the downtown area to display their anger and frustration, chanting the former coach’s name, tearing down light poles and overturning a television news van parked along College Avenue.

The demonstrators congregated outside Penn State’s administration building before stampeding into the tight grid of downtown streets. They turned their ire on a news van, a symbolic gesture that expressed a view held by many that the news media exaggerated Mr. Paterno’s role in the scandal surrounding accusations that a former assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky, sexually assaulted young boys.

“I think the point people are trying to make is the media is responsible for Joe Pa going down,” said a freshman, Mike Clark, 18, adding that he believed that Mr. Paterno had met his legal and moral responsibilities by telling university authorities about an accusation that Mr. Sandusky assaulted a boy in a university shower in 2002.

Demonstrators tore down two lamp posts, one falling into a crowd. They also threw rocks and fireworks at the police, who responded with pepper spray. The crowd undulated like an accordion, with the students crowding the police and the officers pushing them back.

“We got rowdy, and we got maced,” Jeff Heim, 19, said rubbing his red, teary eyes. “But make no mistake, the board started this riot by firing our coach. They tarnished a legend.

Granted, these comparisons are not fair. Ann speaks for herself. She is an individual. The editorial board at the WSJ is a group who write with no personal attribution. They publish as a group, and there may be members of the board who think a higher level of outrage is warranted. Third, the Penn State students are many, and only a fraction of them protested the coach's firing.

But the message is clear from everyone other than Ann: knowing about child rape and doing nothing does not qualify for mass moral outrage. The moral impulse, even when children are being raped, is to dilute.

So what qualifies today for moral outrage?

Is there some crime we can all agree deserves absolute justice? The 300k condemned to death in North Korean concentration camps perhaps? Muslim genital mutilation at 90% within muslim countries? Muslim honor killings? Herman Cain telling a co-worker she is the same height as his wife??

We'll close with another Ann quote:

This is a sick and yet pristine allegory for what is happening to this culture on a macro scale today. We SEE what those "in power", like Sandusky, are doing. We keep catching them in flagrante dilecto and are so overcome with fear, so far removed from Christ and His strength, that we do NOTHING. We slink away into the shadows of self-preservation. And more children are slaughtered. And more Mexican civilians are killed. And more money is stolen. And more mosques are built.

And so, to finish out the allegory, I am the janitor who came around that corner and saw the child being raped, and instead of running away and keeping my job, I bayonet-charged the rapist like a mercenary honey badger.

Another Ushanka Tip to Ann.
No Ushanka Tip to the WSJ or to the Penn State students.

UPDATE 2:45pm

Bob hits a 10 on the moral outrage meter.

Ushanka tip to Bob.

Now that is a total of two Ushanka Tips on this subject. Roughly 300 million to go before we feel better about this country's future...

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