Leroy Lockhorn (KFS) asks a question that has occurred to me, too. You’d think there would come a moment when everyone would shudder, recoil in horror and mend their ways, but if so, it’s overdue.
Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised. I’ve long pointed out that the medieval marketplace included some truly appalling entertainments that delighted some truly appalling peasantry, but that those gormless, mud-spattered morons were not given any meaningful role beyond being hewers of wood and drawers of water.
There were a lot of memes on social media yesterday about Martin Luther, who nailed his 95 Theses on the church doors October 31, 1517. Thus began either the Protestant Reformation or the Protestant Revolution, depending on who taught you about it.
He also began translating the Bible, on the theory that people would have a better grasp of the will of God if they read it and judged it for themselves instead of having the clergy select and interpret what they should hear.
Granted, I doubt the aforementioned gormless, mud-spattered morons could any more read German than they could Latin, and so Luther’s goal was more intended for the middleclass, such as it was at the time.
But even then, Luther appears to have been the first idealistic liberal, because giving everyone access to scripture does not appear to have much elevated humanity.
Yet we were once capable of being appalled, even within living memory.
Case in point: When Kennedy was assassinated, there was a seemingly universal revulsion, and one concrete result was that some TV westerns and cop shows either disappeared from the schedule or were altered to feature less gunplay and violence.
Which didn’t save Bobby or MLK or, for that matter, Malcolm or George Lincoln Rockwell, but at least it was some kind of gesture.
This Ann Telnaes commentary reminds me that there was also a time, not all that long ago, when people dressed up to fly. Some women even dressed in outfits that seemed to emulate the uniforms of stewardesses, who were not yet “flight attendants” but stylish role models.
If nothing else, people bathed and put on clean clothing before getting on the plane, and, as the flight attendant here puts it, if they didn’t dress in ways that resembled stewardesses, they at least behaved in ways that resembled civilized human beings.
Perhaps you had to be there.
And I suppose it helped that flying was more expensive, the seats were more comfortable, you got a meal and the experience felt special, and so people were perhaps a bit overawed by the experience. Flying was special.
Now that airline flights are priced like amusement park rides, we should probably have metal lap bars to hold passengers in their seats until the ride is over.
And there are other things we could do, if we really cared.
I’d note that there are several airports that seem to have more places you can buy a drink than places you can buy a meal.
Or you can tank up after your plane has taken off.
Meanwhile, Chuck Legge asks where people got the notion that protecting public health constitutes an infringement of their rights, comparing Port Townsend’s vaccination protocols to the disks meant to keep rats from boarding ships.
Martin Luther and Thomas Jefferson shared the delusion that, if people could read — in one case, scripture, in the second, newspapers — they would understand.
We seem intent on proving them, if not wrong, at least overly idealistic.
There isn’t any place either in the Bible or the Constitution that says people have a right to do whatever the hell they want, and certainly not to do things that put others in danger.
In fact, both documents strongly suggest quite the opposite.
Reading may be fundamental, but it’s obviously not a cure-all.
It is, however, monumentally unfair to blame this astonishingly self-serving view of reality on “the peasants,” as if there were a class of people too stupid to be taught how to think.
There are all sorts of well-dressed upper-class people out there who ought not to be trusted with sharp objects or powerful jobs.
John Darkow gives an example of someone who has risen to the level of Governor of Missouri and yet does not understand the relationship between the federal government and that of the states. (Love the tongue.)
Which would only be a curiosity if Parson were the only such example.
I’d like someone to do a graph of nitwits who believe, on one hand, that states can simply override federal pandemic rules at will, but that, on the other hand, local police are absolutely required to enforce federal immigration policy.
“There’s no fool like an old fool,” the saying goes, but there’s also no fool like an educated, privileged fool.
Ignorant people have an excuse, but ignorance can be overcome, which is precisely why we need both universal education and universal suffrage.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton had the idea that, once women’s suffrage was established, voters should have to take a test to make sure they were intelligent enough to be responsible voters.
It sounds like a good idea until you realize how it was used in the Jim Crow South to keep Black people from voting, but, even without conscious, purposeful misuse, it relies on what is — consciously or unconsciously — an elitist grading system.
It’s the same elitist judgment that is at the center of “Great Expectations,” in which Pip thinks only the best of the well-dressed, well-educated people who surround him in his new life when, he finally learns, it is the lower class characters — Joe and Biddy and even Abel Magwitch — who turn out to be kind, decent people of good will and good judgment.
Australia is toying with the idea of bringing in Voter ID laws like we have in the United States, and First Dog in the Moon accuses the Morrison government of wanting them for the same reason. (The rest of his cartoon is here.)
Luther and Jefferson were right to believe that, if people are given access to information, they will make good choices.
Maybe not always, but often enough.
We should avoid blanket judgements, while keeping our heads on a swivel.