Saturday, March 26, 2022

A Moral Holiday

The Atlantic has an interesting and relevant article about how the United States is currently going through a moral holiday

The United States is now in the midst of an extended moral holiday, in both senses. I see many manifestations of this moral holiday converging, and two in particular: first, the orgy of violence on display by supposed law-enforcement officers long before the current protests began; and second, the looting, vandalism, and other forms of public lawbreaking by rioters at the fringe of the earliest protests. This second form of lawbreaking, occurring over a period measured in days, is as nothing compared with the steady accumulation of police violence over decades. What these phenomena have in common is an implicit sense that we are in a time of accelerating change, making what was forbidden suddenly licit. Criminal acts that were heretofore shameful, such as beating unarmed, peaceful protesters or burgling a hair salon, are now performed in full knowledge that dozens of cellphone cameras are turned in your direction.

Although true, I disagree it is a new phenomenon. By many measures we are far more moral than in the past. Slavery and overt racism (when is the last time being in the KKK was considered cool?) are long gone. More recently I remember huge battles over gay marriage just a few years ago which quickly petered out to the point where it is widely accepted today. Nor do many people today argue women should be paid less than men for equal work.   

Although I think the legal industry is one where crime is rampant, I do not believe this is anything new. Unfortunately, reform in the legal system is well behind reform in other areas such as law enforcement as evidenced by the lack of reporting on the issue. Hopefully this changes. Soon. 

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