Sunday, June 06, 2010

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"The Ace of Spades"

Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small;
Though with patience he stands waiting, with exactness grinds he all

- Longfellow, tr. Von Logau

The delay that cost a girl her life is a tragedy but not a crime. The process and ritual of the law exist for a purpose. Like Sir Thomas More's forest they hedge in the power of the State. Shakespeare asked,
And what have kings, that privates have not too,
Save ceremony, save general ceremony?
(Henry V, Act IV scene 1)
The ceremony protects the innocent against arbitrary power.

The radicals cannot see the importance of ceremony. They seek ends if the means are not subservient to their power. However if the ends are inconvenient or unobtainable then they will focus on the means, as with affirmative action or a "Peace Process" since the only true goal is power devoid of any fixed, that is external to themselves, moral standard. In this they resemble the criminals for whom everything is negotiable or expendable. The criminals are always exact in their sense of grievance at any lapse on the part of their victims.

The defense says when the law is against you, argue the facts. When the facts are against you, ague the law. When both the law and the facts are against you, bang the table and shout. The ceremony and exactitude of the law drain the capacity of the guilty to turn the Temple of Justice into a circus. When a Judge fails to control the process, as with Julius Hoffman in the Chicago 7 case or Lance Ito in the OJ Simpson case we all suffer. The exactitude of the Interpol functionary is not sufficient, the agents of totalitarians are devoted to their procedures, but it is necessary to protect not only the accused but the society at large.

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