Very good sentences

The point is that as a society changes, as what’s held sacred and who’s empowered shifts, so do the paths through which evil enters in, the prejudices and blind spots it exploits.

So don’t expect tomorrow’s predators to look like yesterday’s. Don’t expect them to look like the figures your ideology or philosophy or faith would lead you to associate with exploitation.

Expect them, instead, to look like the people whom you yourself would be most likely to respect, most afraid to challenge publicly, or least eager to vilify and hate.

Because your assumptions and pieties are evil’s best opportunity, and your conventional wisdom is what’s most likely to condemn victims to their fate.

That is from Ross Douthat, on the general lessons of Rotherham.

Comments

No doubt about it. Widespread child abuse by priests is all the fault of liberals, just as Douthat says.

It's funny - in a dark way - the extent to which this statement actually reflects the reality of the last half-century or so.

Sometimes the truth one speaks is not the truth one intends.

"Widespread" was about the same as all professionals, like accountants, and far less than any normal public school.
The scandal was in the church cover up, and that it is not government run, like public schools.

And Penn State. And that Nazis would kill millions but rake care to try to keep it on the down low. I suspect cops "don't discuss ongoing investigations" for some of the same reasons. I suspect this goes deeper than the two party system.

That's right! ISIL and radical Islam aren't the most dangerous enemies of our way of life, it's widespread Catholicism.

My comment on the previous post on death camp guards applies precisely here, as well. These are individuals who held or hold cushy jobs, so why rock the boat? Excuses one can always give oneself. I repeat: Individual behavior is always and everywhere a question of the price one is willing to pay. - See more at: http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2014/09/interview-with-a-former-auschwitz-prison-guard.html#comments

The government affects the price, risk and reward just as in all transactions. In casual reading about various serial killers it is striking how casual law enforcement often is. Often a survivor shames the police or court into action. Sometimes it is the intrepid cop motivated to make a name for himself. Then there are the ones in South America that the cops just set free. Maybe we should formalize individual prizes for more than just informants and bring back the letters if marque.

"letters if marque"

I like that idea...bounty hunters...new employment opportunities in the service economy.

The general lesson of Rotherham is that, quite unlike the widely -almost obsessively- publicized and dramatized Priest Abuse scandals which yielded numerous successful lawsuits and convictions, traces of Rotherham are fading from the news media almost as fast as they appeared (As Arnold Kling says, "Indeed, that story has been easy to miss if you only follow liberal media.").

And of course no one will be fired, and it won't be a major election issue, despite the scale and duration of the outrage. I'd guess that none of the girls will be able to sue a single public official for liability from all the willful blindness. That's a general lesson to the bureaucracy to maintain business as usual.

And another general lesson seems to be that it really matters whether the press and elite respectable opinion is on your side.

Not entirely the majority can sometimes beat the elite on issues with high visibility and wide spread consensus like immigration amnesty, but yes when it comes to generating the motive force necessary to turn a scandal into a political response then you are entirely right. They've already moved onto the how can we make sure that diversity isn't a casualty of this outrage stage.

Which is why the Guardian is huffing and puffing over the English Defense League saying this is going on in many more cities.

Douthat is hardly the leftist shill to listen to when it comes to evil. The asshole has a persistent and consistent tendency to overlook all sorts of evil stateside, if it conflicts with his rabidly leftist ideology. That Tyler opines otherwise is simply mental masturbation to assuage his own leftist tendencies.

More or less as he wrote that, I suppose, a madman recently converted to Islam used a machete to behead an Italian granny who was hanging up her washing in her London back garden.
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/sep/04/woman-found-beheaded-edmonton-north-london-garden

Great-granny, apparently, and here's the delightful chap alleged to have done it.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2745629/Revealed-How-Muslim-arrested-gran-s-beheading-loner-never-job-nicknamed-Fat-Nick.html

I liked the part about him not being a good Muslim because he gambles and plays roulette. That and chopping off heads, I suppose.

Na, there's an instruction to chop off heads in the Koran, apparently.

"Celestina, 49, said: ‘She knew the area was changing but she was determined to stay."

This is what happens when a society depends on paid bureaucratic strangers for protection. If the father or brother of any one of these girls had taken the risk of punishing her rapists he himself would have been a target of the law. Less than 200 years ago this sort of thing would have been impossible but now the entrenched bureaucracy has determined the fates of even little girls. The Rotherham cops are even lower on the evolutionary scale than the Paki thugs.

In 1937 the Home Secretary ruled that self-defence was no longer a suitable reason for applying for a firearm certificate, and directed police to refuse such applications on the grounds that "firearms cannot be regarded as a suitable means of protection and may be a source of danger". (Malcolm, Joyce Lee (2002). Guns and Violence: The English Experience. Harvard University Press.)

Okay, but wouldn't that just mean that girls without (healthy, capable) male relatives would be open to abuse? Even with the right to self-defense, we all ultimately rely on the police for our protection, because no matter how tough you and your seven brothers are, somewhere, there's a gang with ten times as many people who can do whatever they want to you.

Regarding sexual abuse i the Church , perhaps Douthat is wrong to blame "the wave of liberation." Isn't it possible that it was widespread even in earlier decades but did not come out?
Tyler calls these very dood sentences. The really good sentences are in one of the comments in NYT:
"The fact that all of the predators Douthat mentions--the priests, the winning college coach, the elite teachers, the tinseltown abusers and the immigrant rapists--were abusing people who simply didn't matter, certainly not enough to rock the boat captained by the wealthy and the powerful. It was not that the abusers were above reproach, but that the victims were beneath contempt.
So before we excuse the conservative ethos and its power to short-circuit justice for the poor or for abused women and children, we should remember that a society is judged by the way it treats its least fortunate. And when Douthat tells us to pay no attention to that priest behind the curtain, that is the first place we should look." From .gemli.

Ratzinger was defrocking homosexual priests at a rapid pace and the left/liberals were attacking him for this, even though it gets directly at the heart of the priest abuse scandal. The wave of liberation was directly responsible for it. There were very few actual pedophile cases with the priests, if you look at the victims, it is mostly the pre-teen boys that have been favored by homosexuals for thousands of years.

There were very few actual pedophile cases with the priests, if you look at the victims, it is mostly the pre-teen boys that have been favored by homosexuals for thousands of years. Right, this is not pedophilia at all. Then-Cardinal Ratzinger refused to do anything about known sexual abuse on numerous occasions.

Well, he did what the best imaginable defense of what Obama did with the NSA.

And the way...some people...jumped on the Catholics kind of vidicated a coverup impulse.

I still don't know if the rate of abuse was any more or less than any institution, and we certainly don't know if they were more or less covered up about it.

I think we do know, I'm pretty sure the stats say it's fairly comparable to other institutions.

But it doesn't matter, because it should be much lower.

Bad guys find places where they can be in authority over people they can victimize. Predators don't want to be priests, or teachers, or therapists. They just want to find victims; and churches, schools, and counseling offices are where the victims can be found.

Church leaders should have understood this like no other group was able to. If principals and superintendents saw teachers commit crimes and took it as neurosis, sent them to counselors and then back to the classroom, that's bad. But bishops should not have done that. Bishops are supposed to understand that there is sin and evil and not excuse everything away as some kind of social construct or mental condition.

And frankly, I'm still not seeing Church officials take the right position on this even now. They have a lot of bureaucratic mumbo jumbo set up around "protecting" kids now. You have to take a class if you work at a parish, that sort of thing. My kids get to read pamphlets in the bulletin about protecting kids from sexual abuse -- thank you, bishop, for forcing me to talk about sexual predators after Mass.

But I have yet to see one priest stand at the pulpit and say, "If you hurt a young person you will go to hell. If you stand by when you know someone is doing that, you will go to hell."

It is interesting to me that Douhat is being excoriated as either a liberal fool or a conservative fool, depending on which comment thread you read.

It is also interesting to me that people claim various forms of "leftism" would solve this - does anybody think the communist states were really any better at preventing abuses of women and girls? It's due to Austerity? When it started in the 1990s? It's due to insufficient government - when it's a failure of government actors in a nation where government spending dominates all else and sometimes exceeds half of GDP? Do they think that having government spend 100% of GDP like a fascist or communist state would actually be better?

It is finally interesting that no sensible conservative solution has appeared in the press visible to me - what, expelling all Muslims will solve this because white skinned british thugs are somehow genetically unable to conduct such behavoir? Rolling back some amount of inclusiviity in society will expell Pakistani thugs but somehow uplift lower class white girls who have been ill treated by most of the west for hundreds of years? Are reactionary anti-immigrant societies really somehow free of nasty classism and always respectful of girls and women from lower class households? Show me an example of such a society larger than a single large American city (places like Denmark that are no larger than Chicago don't count.)

Douhat is right that evil often wears a respectable suit. The NYT commentor quoted above is right that when there are people "who simply don't matter" (to the powers that be) such horrors will occur and persist. Anybody who doubts the reality of these things is referred to the history of how black people and first nations people have been treated in the United States, often by people in positions of great standing.

Not very good sentences. Very comforting sentences. At least to proponents of multiculturalism.

Not so comforting to the working class parents of white girls. Such a term, "working class white," may not exist in a few generations because of people like Tyler Cowen.

These should be comforting sentences by virtue of the fact that they are spoken, by virtue of which we may not have to worry so much about the problems he may be alluding to, we can hope.

I'd argue this has more to do with British culture and a lack of free speech as well as a few other civil liberties.
In my experience, the US has a more open and transparent culture because rights are enshrined and the people are generally politically active.
Living in England for a decade now, my perception is that folks here think keeping yourself to yourself is 'polite' and that people who call others out are hypocrites or troublemakers. Either way, they don't think it's a good thing.
The stiff upper lip is supposedly so much better. Mustn't complain, mustn't grumble.
Many Americans here are considered whingey, pampered and idiotic.

These things can be seen in how various events unfold and are covered. Look at the BBC pedophile ring where some of the nation's biggest entertainers sexually assaulted minors. You'd think there would be huge things that got done to make sure this was eradicated completely, yet in reality it's just been an opportunity for the public to let off steam and nothing gets done.
So many heads should have rolled, but the pointing of fingers rather than the solving the problem has been the big event here. And even the finger pointing doesn't seem to have been done all that well.

Then there's the London riots. Race riots, right? Like Ferguson. Started by poor, under-represented folk to assert some control in a life full of poverty and constant harrassment. Not a chance.
These were all young animals looking for an easy life and something to steal. Racial and economic differences hardly got noted in the coverage.

The truth is that England is a very old, very conservative bastion of pure white privilege though it must cover itself up with the clothes of modern worldliness in order to appear respectable.
In that world, juniors don't speak out because they know that they can be silenced on a whim. Women don't get to run things because the should be in the kitchen instead (Thatcher is an anomaly. Look at the representation for minorities across the UK in boardrooms and government. Basically everything is still old, white and male). And black people should just shut the hell up and accept their 'natural' second class status. See the Stephen Lawrence case if you've got any doubts about that.
And let's not go onto stuff like libel laws where Britain has some of the toughest in the world and people regularly have the police come over for tweeting the most uncontroversial things.

Britain and the US are still very different, but I think it's the general transparency and ability to speak truth to power openly that the UK clearly doesn't have which causes situations like Rotherham to evolve.

Just my (wordy) 2 cents worth.

Does something hurt you if it isn't true? Maybe it does if you have a coverup culture where criticism is rare and examples stand out. Maybe you describe two bifurcated equilibria. In England criticism is rare so it is jarring. In the US it is ubiquitous and tolerated and ignored. If this is roughly right, the internet is a thing and therefore England is going to experience some changes.

One thing I don't understand about your comment is you state that British society is set up to protect some kind of white privilege yet the examples you state such as the London riots and the Rotherham sex scandal show that white Brits are getting attacked. Why won't (white) Brits make it easier to defend themselves? In other words if they really dominate the country as you say, why do they have a society where criminals can have guns and they are victims? Or maybe they don't run the country as you say?

There are a lot of outspoken people in the UK. I'm sure you can find them if you look. But fake and polite veneer is certainly not uncommon either.

@andrew

Sounds like a totally reasonable view. Hopefully what you note ends up being the case.

@Keith

My view is if you're white AND elite, then you're good. Otherwise, you're generally divided and conquered even if you'll end up at the top of the shit pile with a lighter pigmentation.
Unless of course, you're Eastern European. In which case, your whiteness is 2nd class.
It's not that I don't see where you're coming from, it's just that groups get played off of each other quite devastatingly at times.
Why do Nick Griffin and the BNP hate poor Eastern European workers when they arguably have far more in common with them than anyone else in Britain.
I think it's a mix of jingoism, a highly stratified social structure and a bunch of other untended resentments.
These people should pretty much be natural allies in a battle by the workers against exploitation by capital and the elites. Yet, the BNP and UKIP hate both them and the elite. It's crazy really. They just seem like they're so angry that they can't think straight enough to get their strategy in order.
And, the elite don't want to contradict them for fear of being called out of touch and the Eastern Europeans can't say anything because they're already a target and they don't want to draw any extra attention to themselves.
These are my views. I'm not saying they're right, but this is the sense I get about the various social avenues and interactions having worked and lived here for some time now.
It's made even worse by the fact that Britain (and Europe for that matter) might need immigration to support its ageing population.
The funny thing is that the obvious place for that to originate from is North Africa, given the demographics.
Imagine how much fun that's going to be?
For now though, heads are buried firmly in the sand and societal integration doesn't even get anywhere near the top of the agenda.
Maybe some huge race/cultural/religious riots will have to happen first, but if your look at the human movement from across the Med already you can see it happening.
I think the smart thing is to accept that fact and prepare for it in as civil a way as possible. I'm not sure that that's even being considered yet.
On the topic of guns, I don't know. I prefer an armed citizenry, but that 's just my one vote on the issue.
A cynic might say that society is comprised of 3 (maybe more) armed cabals. Citizens, govts and criminals.
It's just my perspective, but I think America's founding fathers were smart about arming citizens because you're less likely to get extorted if everyone is armed.
By disarming the citizens, my thinking is that governments and criminals will do all the extorting and the citizens will do all the paying. Again, good for the elites but terrible for everyone else. The carrot will be left dangling though, so people still think they have a chance of moving up the ladder.
Then again, I could simply be full of it. I'm not saying this is definitive or anything, just what I believe based on my experiences, thoughts and also prejudices.

@Nathan W

I'm not sure if that's directed at my post or not, but I'll respond anyway. You're right. Dissenting voices can be found everywhere. My only concern is that they're almost always marginalized in favor of the official party line.
I'm not saying this is a uniquely British problem, but it does have a bit of the Chinese willingness to simply not report an issue that they don't like about it.
Or not ask questions about issues that are very complex or sensitive.
My sense is that the US gets this more right than anyone else, even if it too clearly has obvious failings.
Really though, I agree. Maybe the whole all-roads-lead-to-London thing is a bit of a bitch here as well though.
The US has New York, Washington and California. All big power bases. Britain only really has London. That might result in things being too incestuous in some ways from money to reporting and so on.
Anyway, that's just something that popped into my head earlier.

Hope no-one minds too much that I've taken up the whole thread here. Just wanted hopefully add something worthwhile.

Rotherham (and the rest of the many Pakistani pimp cases in England) is a direct result of the War on Stereotypes. Nothing could be more stereotypical than that Muslim immigrants treat women badly, so nobody was supposed to mention it. Nick Griffin mentioned it, and they arrested him.

like all those home invasion robberies being committed by handsome white guys on Brinks commercials

"Expect them, instead, to look like the people whom you yourself would be most likely to respect, most afraid to challenge publicly, or least eager to vilify and hate.
Because your assumptions and pieties are evil’s best opportunity, and your conventional wisdom is what’s most likely to condemn victims to their fate."

--Our own Armed Forces?

The citizens of the UK need to take back their natural right to defend themselves. More guns leads to scared predators.

Or more dead school children from accused predators - 'The Dunblane school massacre occurred at Dunblane Primary School on 13 March 1996. The gunman, 43-year-old Thomas Hamilton (b. 10 May 1952), entered the school armed with four handguns, shooting and killing sixteen children and one adult before committing suicide. Along with the 1987 Hungerford massacre, the 1989 Monkseaton shootings, and the 2010 Cumbria shootings, it remains one of the deadliest criminal acts involving firearms in the history of the United Kingdom.

Public debate subsequent to these events centered on gun control laws, including public petitions calling for a ban on private ownership of handguns and an official enquiry, the Cullen Report. In response to this debate, the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 and the Firearms (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1997 were enacted, which effectively made private ownership of handguns illegal in the United Kingdom.' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunblane_school_massacre

Douthat, a devout Christian, could be writing about the early history of his own religion, which was transformed from a revolutionary Jewish movement against the Roman occupiers into an antisemitic Gentile movement accommodating the Romans.

Douthat mentioned Roman Polanski. In that case the thirteen year-old girl's mother delivered her to him.

Viewed a certain way, this nation delivered these girls to these men.

Enoch Powell was right.

People, and especially groups, which point to their own piousness (religious, or secular humanism) as a sign of their inherent ethical superiority, may be turned to as a sign of inspiration and/or direction. But when this becomes infused with power, mixed with power, or is directly in the driver's seat, should at all times be treated with the very same caution and skepticism with which all wise societies treat power.

Power corrupts the soul. As such, absolute power must be avoided absolutely, and diverse mechanisms must exist to rid ourselves or those who become addicted to any excesses in their efforts to fulfill their responsibilities in positions of influence, representation, and/or leadership.

Quite an accomplishment in putting a shipload of inanity into only four sentences. You've got a future as a speechwriter for some politician.

British officialdom 1948: Let's be rid of Pakistan so the English working class can have a peaceful and prosperous existence.
British officialdom 2014: We're moving a Pakistani clan into your neighborhood. Many of them will live entirely off your taxes, some will never learn English, and if you complain we'll prosecute you.

Enoch Powell was right.

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