Sunday, March 19, 2006

Blunt Instruments

Not to go on a Powerline spree (that feels like it should be a pun, but I don't think it is), but I can't resist noting this incredible display of John Hinderaker's problem solving mentality. Referring to the group of Christian extremists who are protesting the funerals of American soldiers because our country encourages homosexuality, and a Minnesota law targetted at them, John laments
our culture's obsession with legal remedies. As a lawyer, I suppose I shouldn't complain; but as a citizen, I think it's ridiculous....One of the basic problems in our society is that nearly all informal sanctions have been forfeited, so that there is hardly any middle ground between passive acceptance of antisocial behavior and a felony prosecution. Legislation and criminal prosecution are blunt instruments that cannot be brought to bear against every deviancy that may arise.

I'm actually inclined to agree here. Though I respect the Court's key role in protecting my rights as a person, it should not be our first resort. Alternative problem solving mechanisms--mediation, arbitration, or even simple conversations between persons of competing views--all are badly underutilized in our current state.

So what is John's non-legal proposal for dealing with these abhorrent characters?
If a bunch of crazies show up waving signs at a funeral, the appropriate course is for an able-bodied man--there should be at least one at any funeral--to take a sign and break it over the ringleader's head.

Ah, yes. The "caveman" approach.

Blunt instruments indeed.

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