"Who am I to judge?"

Peter Cresswell's picture
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Sat, 2007-05-12 05:14

A shop girl is sacked for stealing from her employer ... and there's outrage and public support for the thief, and a call taken up by all quarters of the NZ blogosphere to boycott the franchise they see as responsible. This morning the website leading the charge for the thief trumpets to loud applause that "the charges have been dropped, but Subway still need to he held to account for their actions." Sorry, Subway needs to held to account!? What about the goddamn thief?

This is just dumb, but it's a kind of dumb for which this example is just a trivial one. It gets worse, much worse -- with that clue, see if you can find a common thread here:

  • An Otara couple are convicted of beating the woman's three-year-old son to death "for continually soiling his pants" -- beating him to death with baseball bats, an oar handle and vacuum cleaner pipes ... and when the verdict is announced from the well of the court comes the supportive cry: "I love you, Sis!"

  • For a prank, for an afternoon's 'fun', an Otahuhu fourteen-year-old drops a concrete block on to a speeding car, killing the driver instantly... and people express sympathy for the killer. His friends call him "cool." When asked how he felt about the accident, the 'look-out' for the killer said, "Sad. Not for that man, but for [the killer]. He's my mate." Few point out what it means to have a mate who's a killer.
  • A drive-by gang shooting kills a two-year old, the gang refuses to give up the killer (and the police appear powerless) .... and an MP admits that "the killing of a child is appalling," but said it would be "wrong to blame gangs." "Just like I'm not prepared to say the police are all rapists,' said the MP, 'I am also not prepared to say that all gangs are criminals."
  • A young man drives his car at full speed through a crowd of packed party-goers, killing two ... and his cousin tells sympathetic television reporters that he is "a good man," and the mother of one young girl whom this fuckwit killed says she "feels sorry" for the killer. For the killer!
  • A student shoots and kills 32 of his 'fellow students' ... and a brainwashed dimwit says she feels "incensed" because the murderer isn't memorialised with his victims. "Who am I to judge who has value and who doesn't?" asks the moron. "I am not in that position. Are you?"
  • A "green think tank" says children are bad for the planet" and another environmentalist (one beloeved of many local environmentalists) declares mankind a 'virus' ... and instead of outrage, condemnation and denunciation, these statements are met with yawns. "Haven't we heard this before?" people say -- and of course they'd be right.
  • Islamofascists commit atrocity after atrocity, and outrage after outrage ... and the chattering classes condemn, not the fascists, not the bombers, not the killers, but those who have the temerity to express outrage at atrocity. Or anger at the killing. Or those who draw cartoons expressing derision at the culture in whose name the atrocities are committed.

Why am I listing these events in this way? Because I suggest there's a common thread to them all. Do you see it? Can you see what ties these events together? Specifically, what is the common factor in the reactions to each of these outrages?

Could it be, do you think, the inability to pass moral judgement? Rather than moral condemnation of a wrong-doer or sympathy for a victim who is wronged or killed, what is expressed in each is sympathy for the perpetrator.

Have people gone mad? Have some of us completely lost the ability to discriminate between good and bad? To make moral judgements? Are people no longer able to condemn anybody? Not thieves, not people who kill their kids, not even stone killers who show not an ounce of sympathy for those they killed or would have killed? What's gone wrong?

That first girl is a thief -- trivially perhaps, but a thief who is wholly undeserving of this collective outpouring of bloggish sympathy. She's a thief. The second two are killers. They're bad bastards. All of these killers or would-be killers are scum. Why can't people say that! They're evil. Can't we identify good as good, and bad as bad, and -- when it's so clearly bloody obvious -- wicked as wicked.

People wonder why few youngsters appear to have any sense of values; yet when their elders demonstrate their absolute refusal to state the obvious, to evade the moral responsibility of passing judgement when they need to ... well, it's little wonder, is it.

Like the characters in Frank Miller's '300', they hear King Xerxe's appeal -- Leonidas asks them to take a stand -- and they decide instead to kneel in supplication.

People continue to commit outrages such as these and people continue to excuse them with talk about "root causes" such as poverty, testosterone, mental illness, drugs and alcohol, sexual or physical or (Galt forbid, the only thing worse than murder these days) racial abuse .... as if any of these is an excuse to commit atrocity.

What about free will? What about choice? Lots of people are poor, or like a drink, or have been sexually or physically abused. Half the people in the world have testosterone. Yet despite that all-too obvious fact, very, very few of them steal, rape, or commit violent acts of murder.

Those people who do are bad bastards. We're entitled to say so. And so too are those who refuse to judge -- in the face of evil, evasion of moral judgement is nothing less than moral cowardice. As Lindsay Perigo says in the latest Free Radical, "Civility in the face of evil is no virtue; rage in the face of nihilism is no vice."

Feel free to judge me how you wish for saying so. Meanwhile, I'm off to Subway for lunch.

( categories: )

Bureaucracy? Here!?

Peter Cresswell's picture

No, no, we've won gold medals for freedom, didn't you know?

Just ask Ed and Roger Donway. ;^)

Cheers, Peter Cresswell

All good points.

atlascott's picture

All good points.  I am getting the impression that NZ has bureaucracy that makes US look positively streamlined.

Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur!

Stealing from your boss

Phil Howison's picture

Luke: All good points. I worked in a different fast-food place one summer, and we could have unlimited soft drinks. I don't remember any rule about sharing your drink, but I understand that it is a normal rule for fast-food restaurants.

Philip and Scott: The outsome of the story seems a bit strange. In the Subway case, I got the impression from news stories that it would only be legal to fire the worker without prior written warnings if she had committed a crime at work, which was why the police were called in. So the mechanic example would seem to be a miscarriage of justice, unless the theft could not be proved.

It is true that employment laws in New Zealand are absolutely twisted. My high school, in a very rare case, fired an incompetent teacher. It was an expensive and drawn out process, with both major teachers' unions involved, but the personal grievance claim was unsuccesful in the end. Richard Prebble once said of NZ schools: "there are more teachers removed by the police, than removed for incompetence". I don't know the figures, but it would seem that the laws in this case remove any incentive to be competent.

This case is even worse:

The authority found Mr McNeill’s conduct amounted to a misleading and/or fraudulent misuse of his sick leave. However, Solid Energy did not follow the correct procedures in dismissing him, something a “fair and reasonable employer” would do.

The authority said Mr McNeill seemed “almost to see it as an imposition to be required to attend work if it did not suit him” and believed he had done nothing wrong.

If you think work is an imposition, you should WANT to be fired.  More to the point, what kind of sick and evil system would describe someone as “misleading and/or fraudulent” and then reward them $5000 plus six weeks of undeserved pay because his employers didn’t “follow correct procedure”?  If you can’t fire someone on the spot for being “misleading and/or fraudulent”, what can you fire them for?

Smells like bullshit to me...

atlascott's picture

...and an example of why not all anecdotal evidence is reliable.

Sounds like a run of the mill "anti-access-to-Courts" made up story.

Sorry for the tirade.  I get tired of hearing about the outrageous things this or that Court did as evidence that things are generally fucked, because we never hear about the 99.9% of case the Courts decide absolutely ball-on--or close enough.

But, IF this story is true, did your mate hire a lawyer?  If he did and got that outcome, he should sue his damed lawyer for malpractice.

Fucking government stupidity.  Probably some magistrate Judge who couldn't think his way out of a fucking paper bag.

And Ross is right--this sort of shit is why we got big problems.

Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur!

What is the Exact Law in Your Country?

PhilipC's picture

> The garage owner fired him immediately. The thief went to court, was convicted and sentenced....the garage owner had to pay the thief thousands in compensation because, despite the crime, the proper dismissal procedures had not been followed.

Ross, this is a frustration I sometimes have with these overseas stories, understanding the context or extent of an abuse or horror story: In the U.S. we have 'at will' employment for most jobs. You can be fired at any time for any reason. Two weeks notice (although customary and usually given in most situations) isn't even needed - on either side - unless contracted for in writing (or by a union agreement, etc.

Can you explain: What country do you live in, England or Australia? What are the non-'employment at will' rules and how sweeping? Do they apply to every job, at every level, whether wage or salary, white collar or blue collar? manual or academic or professional?

Thanks in advance...

Subway Handbook

Luke Setzer's picture

From the first linked article:

"Autonomous Workers Union organiser Bill Clark says [...] the Subway handbook allows free soda [...] while working."

Can anyone corroborate or refute this statement?  I cannot locate an online version of this handbook anywhere.

Does the soda become "her" property to dispose as "she" wishes since Subway gives "free" soda to "its" employees while working?

Does the handbook say that an employee cannot share "her" drink with "her" friend?

Perhaps someone can quote the exact section of the Subway Handbook that authorizes or forbids "free" sodas for "its" employees while working and how no "reasonable person" could misunderstand the limits of that authorization.  Also show that a young lady with a form of autism qualifies as such a "reasonable person."  If not, then why did Subway hire her in the first place?

This case begs too many questions of context for me to work myself into an outrage and call her a "thief" outright.  I do not consider it in the same clear category as the other examples cited.

Luke Setzer -- Global Organizer -- PROPEL(TM)

A story

Ross Elliot's picture

Names have been dispensed with to avoid me having my ass sued.

Ten years ago, I knew a man who owned a business, a garage, car repair, that sort of thing. He went in one morning to open up and noticed that a lot of tools were missing. He called the cops, who investigated. Due to some suspicious behavior on the part of a new worker at the garage, the police executed a search warrant on his house. They found most of the tools, thousands of dollars worth. The garage owner fired him immediately. The thief went to court, was convicted and sentenced.

All sorted? No.

A couple of weeks after the dust had settled, the garage owner got a letter from the thief's lawyer saying that a case had been filed in the employment court for unfair dismissal. Long story short, the garage owner had to pay the thief thousands in compensation because, despite the crime, the proper dismissal procedures had not been followed.

This is how Rome fell.

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