Bruce (kor27) wrote,

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I Couldn't Say It Better...

I've just been reading a discussion on Fark about an absolutely abhorrent case of a man having been convicted of rape despite overwhelming evidence against it. He may be shortly exonerated in part by DNA evidence - and the fact that the new (democratic) Dallas DA has pledged to overthrow false convictions.

A number of people commented - apparently seriously - that one shouldn't be too upset, because the man must have done something, even if not this, prompting this little essay, which I just have to share:

What kind of logical fallacy does this statement represent: Well, if he didn't do this, he musta done sumthin!

It's not quite "ad ignorantium". Nor is it quite "guilt by association". Or is it?

I believe it's Erectionus Executionum.

The very very frightened take solace and comfort (and seemingly no small amount of titillation) from the idea of bad men being jailed and executed... concerns about innocence, false imprisonment and injustice are viewed as impediments to that goal.

But... not many people like to think of themselves as a bad person, especially the walking hard-on "tough on crime" types who like to think of themselves as pillars of old fashioned common sense, morality and just plain right-headedness.

Thus, the only way to dispel the aforementioned impediments while maintaining moral certitude is to assure yourself that even if the system IS significantly fallible and highly corruptible the only way one could truly find themselves victimized by it is to AT LEAST stray too close to the edge.

They are authoritarians, and logic and reason and rationality have little to do with their views... (not to suggest they're always illogical or irrational, just that that's not what their views are motivated by).

It's an emotional and deeply psychological need for rules and structure and authority, and for everyone to align themselves to those things.

They're the people who tattle as kids, and they're the people who block you on the highway if you're speeding. The thing they hate more than anything else is the idea that anyone "thinks he's special" or "thinks the rules don't apply to him."

They deeply need to believe the promise of the most basic if-then statement of our society. "If you play by the rules and do as you're told, then you will be rewarded. If you do not, then you will be punished."

The idea that anyone could play by the rules and be punished is the second most abhorrent thing they can imagine, and thus they reject it outright. 'He must have done something...'

(The most abhorrent thing imaginable to them is that anyone could disregard the rules and yet be rewarded... the aforementioned "thinks he's special" thing.)

They need the system... They require its guidance and approval, and the sense of security they derive from it... thus they need to believe in it... thus their faith in it is nigh on unshakeable.

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