Archive - May 2012

The Unconscious Of The Dink

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Memo to Andrew Price: AHEAD WARPED FACTOR 9.

It's that time again! Time to mock a conservative writer, usually from Big Hollywood, as they warp conservative ideology and popular entertainment in a desperate attempt to get them to meet in the middle. Today, the moron is Andrew Price, and the entertainment in question is an OG Trek episode, "The Conscience Of The King".

Now, admittedly, OG Trek was the most conservative of all the Treks. Women knew their place, and their place was bringing Captain Kirk things to sign and/or banging him. The Klingons and Romulans were just thinly-veiled Cold War Soviets and Chinese. But it was still Trek.

Trek posited a human race that had moved past war (sort of), past money (sort of), and were generally more enlightened in terms of race, sex, social organization, etc. than the America that was actually watching it. Unfortunately, that America was the network-TV-watching America of the late 60s, who were, at the very best, just beginning to accept the changes the 60s were bringing. So while Classic Trek was fairly conservative on an absolute scale, for its time it was progressive.

Did you enjoy the above paragraph? Good, because that's all the thoughtful analysis you're going to see about Trek from this point forward. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"A fundamental difference between conservatives and liberals involves the question of whether motives can excuse behavior. With rare exceptions, e.g. self-defense, conservatives judge people on their actions, not on what motivated those actions."

First of all, "self defense" isn't that rare an exception. And second of all, BULLSHIT. Conservatives, like most people, excuse motives they agree with and ignore motives they disagree with. Look at all the stuff they let Dubya get away with under the motivation of "keeping America safe".

Price rambles on a bit about ends and means, but it's all based on the same erroneous premise, that conservatives only look at means and liberals only look at ends. Of course, some ends do justify some means. I want this column to be on the Internet. That end requires, as means, that I post it into a web form and click a Submit button. I think that end totally justifies those means.

Anyway, a guy is suspected of being a notorious, I guess the term would be "peace criminal", who executed 4,000 colonists because there wasn't enough food for them. He's hiding out on a planet under another name like a Nazi in Argentina, but another guy finds him out and brings the Enterprise there and there's a trial and then Price makes this hilarious argument.

"Then he argues that he deserves “understanding” because he was charged with making life and death decisions. This is moral relativism because it asks that he be judged under a different standard than others because of the circumstances he faced. This is the idea behind the liberal root-causes argument, which says that criminal behavior should be judged in light of a person’s economic circumstances or personal history. Finally, he argues that punishing him will not undo the crime. This is the liberal impulse to dismiss all aspects of criminal justice except reformation. Kodos essentially presents liberal criminal law in a nutshell."

Here's an important tip. If you see an empty nutshell lying around, that means that somewhere, nearby, A NUT IS LOOSE.

I mean, I'll cut the first half some slack. The criminal's argument is a form of moral relativism, sort of, and taking circumstances into account in the judicial system is also a form of moral relativism, sort of, but they're not really the same form of moral relativism. Also, there's nothing wrong with moral relativism.

But the second half? What the fuck? First, it's not "reformation", it's "rehabilitation", and second, there is no version of mainstream liberal criminal law that dismisses the preventive effect of punishment. That's just some weird strawman stereotype that Price pulled out of his ass. Hell, not even his ass. Some mid-80s, Reagain/Bush era "soft on crime" ass. And it must have been a big ass, because Price finds even more shit up there:

"Instead, Kirk takes the conservative position that crimes must be punished objectively and cannot be overlooked just because the criminal thinks the punishment is too harsh."

Thank fuck conservatives realized it's a stupid idea to ask the criminal how harsh their punishment is, and then overlook their crimes if the criminal says "too harsh". So many murderers and rapists went free before the conservatives pointed out this legal fallacy to us moral relativists.

Price excuses the episode's failure to instantly execute the criminal after his conviction to the necessities of drama, and is satisfied instead with the episode's incredibly conservative ending:

"She then kills her own father while trying to kill Kirk. The punishment is complete, justice is had, and the moral is clear: evil means are never justified and evil will receive the punishment it deserves. And that is a strong conservative message."

Yes! A strong conservative message! It doesn't matter that the criminal met his judgment by accidental patricide, what matters is that he met it! The ends, in other words, justify the means.

I guess Andrew Price does have a point after all. Because what stronger conservative message is there than consistently contradicting your own stated principles and not even noticing?