Can someone please tell me why Megan McArdle has a job?
I know, it’s a question we on the left perpetually ask. But here she puts the “ass” in morass while wading into the Jerry Sandusky swamp:
McQueary grew up in State College; his family was friends with Sandusky, and of course, Sandusky had coached him. Paterno had worked with Sandusky closely for years. And if you think about what you would have done in a situation where you caught someone you love and respect in that position, is it really so obvious, as the chest thumping punditariat proclaims, that you would have leaped into the shower, beaten the snot out of him, and frog marched him to the police station after you rescued the kid? Really? You’d have done that to your father, your favorite uncle, your best friend, a beloved mentor?
Yes. Hell yes. Raping a 10-year-old boy in a shower? Oh my GOD, yes. This isn’t a moral gray area. This is assault on a child.
She goes on:
Think about what that really entails: overcoming all the shock and horror, the defensive mechanisms that make you question what you’re really seeing. The total destruction of a long relationship as soon as you name it out loud and accuse him to his face. The actual physical logistics of grabbing a naked sixty year old man, detaching him from that child, and then pounding on him for a while as a ten year old you don’t know watches. The fact that the minute you go to the police, you will have utterly ruined this man’s life: he will be jobless, friendless, and branded as the worst sort of pervert by everyone in the country–oh, and also, in protective custody so that the other inmates in jail don’t, like, kill him.
That’s a pretty huge emotional hurdle to leap in the ten seconds or so that McQueary had to do the right thing. Isn’t it quite understandable that your instinct might be to get away? To look for some way that didn’t have to involve jail? Wouldn’t it be a huge relief to tell your superiors and let someone else take care of it?
What fucking world do you live in, lady? This just explains so much about McArgleBargle. That something as clear-cut and flat-out-wrong as anally raping a child should somehow become morally ambiguous as she tries to place herself in Mike McQueary’s shoes… I’m just dumbfounded that she’d even go there.
I guess we should give McMegan some props for at least giving empathy a shot, I’m just shocked that it’s for Mike McQueary. It’s not like we’ve seen her walk a mile in the shoes of someone who’s been unemployed for months, or was sold a crap mortgage by CountryWide, or has gone 10 rounds with their insurance company and still denied benefits, or any of the other people I personally hold empathy for. Weren’t we just reading that conservatives are sociopaths? I’m starting to think it’s true.
Look, maybe it’s how I was raised, but when I see a crime in progress, I’m going to try to stop it. And if I catch my coworker in the act of something like raping a kid, I’m not going back out of the room, tell a superior, and then be all like “bygones!” when I still see the guy around the office. I’m going to stop the act and then I’m blowing the whistle.
Maybe it’s just me.
And then McMegan plays the “Nazi Jews in Germany” card. Only 1% of Germans sheltered Jews in danger, she says, which just proves that everyone claiming they’d stop Jerry Sandusky in the act is lying. She goes on:
Oh, well, that’s an extreme example, you may say; McQueary was at no risk of life and limb. Fair enough, but one can name dozens of less dangerous situations where only a small minority actually does the right thing, but everyone believes that they woulda.
When you find out that someone you know is a pedophile, that doesn’t erase your knowledge that they’re also a human being. It does in the public mind, of course, but it’s very different when you know them.
As Edmund Burke famously said, “All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” And for columnists like Megan McArdle to sympathize with those who stood by with their hands over their ears and eyes.
Here’s a deep thought: despite all of our flaws, human society is actually getting better. Take the long view — long in human terms, at least — and you will see that for the most part, we’ve been on a long march from brutality towards enlightenment. Less than 150 years ago, fellow human beings were held as property in this country. Just a few hundred years ago, watching two men beat each other to the death was considered entertainment — the equivalent of going to the multiplex or catching a football game. When I get depressed about the human condition I remind myself that if you take the long view, things are actually getting better. We still have a long way to go, but we have come a long way. The arc of history is long, but it tilts toward justice.
And I guess this is the difference between someone like Megan McArdle and me. By justifying the inaction of those people who let evil triumph, she stands on the wrong side of human evolution, the wrong side of humanity, and the wrong side of morality.