Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. On Razors and Reprobates

 

For a kid growing up in an Italian-Catholic household in 1970s New England, the Lenten season wasn’t a whole lot of fun. It wasn’t supposed to be. For a month and a half, you were required to give up something that you liked. Friday night dinners always meant fish. And, every other night, or so it seemed, you had to go to mass. And these masses were not the ordinary Sunday affairs: there might be ashes, incense, holy water, or palm fronds, the sermons and the readings were extra long, and sometimes, you had to engage in a ritualized call and response with the priest in which your role was to choose the reprobate Barabbas over Jesus Christ.

No kid really understands adult concepts like hindsight, context, and tyranny. And being a kid, I refused to join in that portion of the ritual, to choose Barabbas, a thief and a murderer, over Christ. I just could not understand how anyone would make such a choice. But, as an adult, I understand it well: Occam’s Razor.

Judea, in the time of Christ, was a Roman-occupied province. The Judeans were chafing under the yoke of a government that they viewed as tyrannical and that viewed them as the enemy. Worse still, the Judeans’ own ruling elites were, at best, complicit. However, Barabbas, the thief and the murderer, was also an insurrectionist. So when the Judeans were offered the choice between some guy who chafed at Rome’s tyranny as much as they did, and some guy accused of claiming to be the Messiah, I could imagine that that choice would be a rather easy one to make: for this Christ guy to actually be the Messiah and not just some madman, that would take a miracle, and miracles are exceedingly rare, so, “give us Barabbas.”

Whether or not you believe Christ to be the Messiah, hindsight is not foresight — the Judeans’ decision was logical, understandable, and not at all surprising. Pilate really should have seen it coming.

Now, as an adult, I know that, if put in that same situation, I would have also chosen Barabbas. And I can be certain of this because I also know that, today, if I lived in Alabama, I would be voting for Judge Roy Moore – a man not convicted, but accused, of being a reprobate of the highest order. And I would vote for him specifically as a thumb in the eye of a government which views me as the enemy.

Let me make something clear to our rulers: it’s not that We the People don’t believe you about Moore, it’s much worse than that. It’s that we now know to believe the exact opposite of whatever you claim – as a survival strategy, as a life preserver, as a Polaris. I mean, it’s not like an accusation of a sex scandal isn’t one of the oldest arrows in the political quiver of the demagogue. It’s not like a good portion of the country hasn’t realized the same truth that has informed the first of my three political aphorisms: Marxists lie. It’s not like We the People haven’t fully realized that you, as did the Romans with the Judeans, just don’t like us very much.

You have so thoroughly spent your political capital and goodwill that you’ve not only created a Barabbas but you’ve made him a viable, insurrectionist option.

And if the application of Occam’s Razor has cut wrongly on the issue of Moore, if after having been tried, he is then convicted of being the reprobate that you claim — well, we will deal with him then, Due Process justly applied.

However, for the application of Occam’s Razor to have cut so wrongly about you, for you to actually be what you claim: benevolent and omniscient paragons of justice and virtue, and not what you actually appear to be: demagogues and conspirators who, for the sake of a socialist fever dream, have sold out this Country, its People, and its Constitution for your own personal political agendas, benefit, arrogance, and aggrandizement – well, that would take a miracle.


Full Disclosure: the author, a very lapsed Catholic, considers himself a Classical Deist. He intends in this piece no endorsement of or slight against Catholicism, Christianity, Judaism, or any of their adherents.

There are 40 comments.

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  1. Boss Mongo Member

    Rick Poach: However, for the application of Occam’s Razor to have cut so wrongly about you, for you to actually be what you claim: benevolent and omniscient paragons of justice and virtue, and not what you actually appear to be: demagogues and conspirators who, for the sake of a socialist fever dream, have sold out this Country, its People, and its Constitution for your own personal political agendas, benefit, arrogance, and aggrandizement – well, that would take a miracle.

    Outstanding. Thank you.

    • #1
    • December 8, 2017, at 3:35 PM PST
    • 9 likes
  2. Judge Mental Member

    Always enjoy your stuff Rick.

    • #2
    • December 8, 2017, at 6:35 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  3. Hypatia Inactive

    I really like this piece. It echoes perfectly what Trump said last night, and the tone in which he said it. “We can not have another Schumer-Pelosi puppet. Vote for Roy Moore. Do it.”

    No matter how the MSM today will ridicule this, he was just saying: the guy is on our side.

    But: Doug Jones is no Messiah.

    • #3
    • December 9, 2017, at 5:43 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  4. Steve C. Member

    It saddens me to agree with this sentiment.

    • #4
    • December 9, 2017, at 6:37 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  5. cdor Member
    cdorJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Hypatia (View Comment):
    I really like this piece. It echoes perfectly what Trump said last night, and the tone in which he said it. “We can not have another Schumer-Pelosi puppet. Vote for Roy Moore. Do it.”

    Here here @rickpoach, nicely stated, and here, here Donald Trump. For a man who supposedly says all the wrong things in all the wrong ways, he sure manages to do all the right things, and mostly in the right way.

    • #5
    • December 9, 2017, at 6:47 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  6. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western ChauvinistJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Rick Poach: Now, as an adult, I know that, if put in that same situation, I would have also chosen Barabbas. And I can be certain of this because I also know that, today, if I lived in Alabama, I would be voting for Judge Roy Moore – a man not convicted, but accused, of being a reprobate of the highest order. And I would vote for him specifically as a thumb in the eye of a government which views me as the enemy.

    This. Voting for Moore is an adult choice in recognition of the fallen state of man and the need for a savior — which definitely won’t be found in government, let alone among Democrats, let alone Doug Jones. Ptui.

    However, it’s a lot more than a thumb in the eye. It’s choosing to concern yourself with policy votes that best reflect your values, even if they come through a flawed vehicle like Roy Moore. This is what grown-ups do — make discerning choices under imperfect conditions.

    And, btw, this Catholic isn’t the least offended. In fact, I think you’re making the case for the wisdom of the Good Friday liturgy. Kids (and leftists) aren’t expected to “get it.” Just remember, you’re always welcome home, brother. The lights are always on.

    • #6
    • December 9, 2017, at 6:50 AM PST
    • 11 likes
  7. Rick Poach Inactive
    Rick Poach

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):
    Outstanding. Thank you.

    Thank you, Boss.

    • #7
    • December 9, 2017, at 8:42 AM PST
    • 1 like
  8. Rick Poach Inactive
    Rick Poach

    Judge Mental (View Comment):
    Always enjoy your stuff Rick.

    Thank you, Judge.

    • #8
    • December 9, 2017, at 8:47 AM PST
    • 1 like
  9. Rick Poach Inactive
    Rick Poach

    Hypatia (View Comment):
    But: Doug Jones is no Messiah.

    Indeed. Thanks for reading, Hypatia.

    • #9
    • December 9, 2017, at 8:49 AM PST
    • Like
  10. Rick Poach Inactive
    Rick Poach

    Steve C. (View Comment):
    It saddens me to agree with this sentiment.

    I understand completely. Thanks for reading, Steve.

    • #10
    • December 9, 2017, at 8:49 AM PST
    • Like
  11. Rick Poach Inactive
    Rick Poach

    cdor (View Comment):
    Here here @rickpoach, nicely stated,

    Thank you, cdor.

    • #11
    • December 9, 2017, at 8:50 AM PST
    • Like
  12. Rick Poach Inactive
    Rick Poach

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):
    Just remember, you’re always welcome home, brother. The lights are always on.

    Thanks, WC. If Francis the Marxist ever leaves, I might consider it.

    Thanks for reading.

    • #12
    • December 9, 2017, at 8:52 AM PST
    • 1 like
  13. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    If one candidate may have done something vile thirty-odd years ago, and the other has announced the intention to continue doing something vile into the future, scratching one’s chin as to the proper course of action does seem to be overthinking things a tad.

    • #13
    • December 9, 2017, at 8:57 AM PST
    • 11 likes
  14. Rick Poach Inactive
    Rick Poach

    Percival (View Comment):
    If one candidate may have done something vile thirty-odd years ago, and the other has announced the intention to continue doing something vile into the future, scratching one’s chin as to the proper course of action does seem to be overthinking things a tad.

    Agreed. Thanks for reading, Percival.

    • #14
    • December 9, 2017, at 9:03 AM PST
    • Like
  15. Ruthenian Member
    RuthenianJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Rick Poach:

    […] a government which views me as the enemy.

    Let me make something clear to our rulers: it’s not that We the People don’t believe you […], it’s much worse than that. It’s that we now know to believe the exact opposite of whatever you claim – as a survival strategy, as a life preserver, as a Polaris. […] It’s not like a good portion of the country hasn’t realized the same truth that has informed the first of my three political aphorisms: Marxists lie. It’s not like We the People haven’t fully realized that you […] just don’t like us very much. […]

    I agree with the stated sentiment: beautifully said! What saddens me is that the edited version – see above, describes exactly how I, my friends, and many of my then compatriots felt when I was growing up some 40-50 years ago in one of the “workers’ paradise” countries. Not quite forty years ago I left that “paradise” never believing that it would ever end, and, yet, one day it did, sooner than I could have possibly imagined. But the virus never died, it just moved to a new and a receptive host(s)…

    • #15
    • December 9, 2017, at 9:46 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  16. Rick Poach Inactive
    Rick Poach

    Ruthenian (View Comment):
    I agree with the stated sentiment: beautifully said!

    Thank you, Ruthenian.

    Ruthenian (View Comment):
    Not quite forty years ago I left that “paradise” never believing that it would ever end, and, yet, one day it did, sooner than I could have possibly imagined.

    It still surprises me that the opinions of those who lived it are always dismissed by the Marxist faithful (it’s not just a virus, it’s a religion). And the acknowledgement of that dismissal is exactly what I am referring to in the third of my three aphorisms: Some people need to touch the stove (i.e.: some people need to experience Communism firsthand before they’ll ever really ‘get it’.)

    Thanks for reading.

    • #16
    • December 9, 2017, at 9:53 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  17. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western ChauvinistJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Rick Poach (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):
    Just remember, you’re always welcome home, brother. The lights are always on.

    Thanks, WC. If Francis the Marxist ever leaves, I might consider it.

    Thanks for reading.

    Oh, he’s going… we just have to outlast him. Besides, nobody should come or go because of the pope. We come for the fullness of the Truth — because it’s Home and Family. It’s kind of like the mafia (by virtue of your baptism) — nobody leaves the Family. ;-)

    • #17
    • December 9, 2017, at 9:57 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  18. Rick Poach Inactive
    Rick Poach

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):
    Oh, he’s going… we just have to outlast him. Besides, nobody should come or go because of the pope.

    That’s my wife’s opinion as well, and I understand what both of you mean. But, in my heart, I believe that he is a Marxist, and I can not give my endorsement, not even a tacit one, and certainly not a monetary one, to an organization that is trending Marxist.

    Don’t worry, my wife is steadfast in trying to wear me down.

    • #18
    • December 9, 2017, at 10:03 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  19. Steve C. Member

    Rick Poach (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):
    Oh, he’s going… we just have to outlast him. Besides, nobody should come or go because of the pope.

    That’s my wife’s opinion as well, and I understand what both of you mean. But, in my heart, I believe that he is a Marxist, and I can not give my endorsement, not even a tacit one, and certainly not a monetary one, to an organization that is trending Marxist.

    Don’t worry, my wife is steadfast in trying to wear me down.

    I don’t think he’s a Marxist. I think he is a romantic(!) Catholic who takes the concept of the Social Gospel uncritically. And I don’t have a problem with that, because I know his ideas are not fundamental doctrinal teachings supported by papal infallibility. What hurts is the secularists take his statements as gospel!

    Sort of like how David Brooks and other alleged center right intellectuals are used as clubs to beat garden variety conservatives.

    • #19
    • December 9, 2017, at 10:12 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  20. Ruthenian Member
    RuthenianJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Rick Poach (View Comment):

    […] It still surprises me that the opinions of those who lived it are always dismissed by the Marxist faithful (it’s not just a virus, it’s a religion). And the acknowledgement of that dismissal is exactly what I am referring to in the third of my three aphorisms: Some people need to touch the stove (i.e.: some people need to experience Communism firsthand before they’ll ever really ‘get it’.) […]

    Dostoyevsky’s somewhat paraphrased saying about loving humanity but hating human beings is a perfect description of Marxists in general. Humanity never objects to their designs, but even though enough human beings did, they can always be dismissed (hated) as not representing humanity.

    OK! I’ll bite! What is your second of the three aphorisms?

    • #20
    • December 9, 2017, at 10:45 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  21. Rick Poach Inactive
    Rick Poach

    Ruthenian (View Comment):
    OK! I’ll bite! What is your second of the three aphorisms?

    1. Marxists lie.
    2. Never create a martyr.
    3. Some people need to touch the stove.

    You can read about both the second and the third here on Ricochet.

    • #21
    • December 9, 2017, at 10:53 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  22. Rick Poach Inactive
    Rick Poach

    Ruthenian (View Comment):
    Dostoyevsky’s somewhat paraphrased saying about loving humanity but hating human beings is a perfect description of Marxists in general. Humanity never objects to their designs, but even though enough human beings did, they can always be dismissed (hated) as not representing humanity.

    And it’s always “humanity” in the abstract, an abstract which actually mean “whatever is in accord with our current utopian fever dream.”

    “Humanity,” however, when used by them never means in accord with actual human nature. Marxists despise human nature, and so, necessarily, they despise actual humans.

    • #22
    • December 9, 2017, at 10:57 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  23. Boss Mongo Member

    Rick Poach (View Comment):

    • Marxists lie.
    • Never create a martyr.
    • Some people need to touch the stove.

    And some people need to bring the heat…

    • #23
    • December 9, 2017, at 11:08 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  24. Tom Meyer, Common Citizen Contributor

    Interesting argument, Rick.

    • #24
    • December 9, 2017, at 12:47 PM PST
    • 1 like
  25. Ruthenian Member
    RuthenianJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Rick Poach (View Comment):

    Ruthenian (View Comment):
    OK! I’ll bite! What is your second of the three aphorisms?

    1. Marxists lie.
    2. Never create a martyr.
    3. Some people need to touch the stove.

    You can read about both the second and the third here on Ricochet.

    Thank you for the links @rickpoach. Through the second aphorism link I found your 2016 post where you listed your aphorisms. What caught my eye was the list of six types of Democrats. What they all seem to have in common is that they think of themselves as educated, perhaps highly educated, or dare I say intellectual.

    I was born a little over a decade after the end of WW II, perhaps owing my existence to death of Stalin – it took couple years after his death for things to get somewhat better, giving folks some hope for a better future with the baby boom in the block following afterwards. I did not experience the horrors of post-war strengthening of the people’s power, but that was something that was seared my parent’s generation memory. When I became of age when I could be trusted, I heard some of the stories. For most part common workers were not enthused about the new system. (Peasants were more receptive, as they received land taken from the large landowners. Of course they soon changed their minds when the state started taking this land back to start collective farms, but that is another story.) But a fairly large number of members of the surviving intellectual classes had embraced the new system; how many out of true conviction and how many out of fear is hard to say. Many opposed either emigrated, never came back from abroad where they escaped during the war, were liquidated, or stayed silent. Quite a few writers and poets put their pens in the service of the new system. (After the block dissolved, many of these were somewhat embarrassed by people reminding them of their slanted literary works and poetry. Of course being word smiths, many blamed youthful idealism or naivete with the following being an example: “Unfortunately I succumbed to [the temptation of seeing the world through the Communist ideology]. Quite a few years have passed since those times but I still remember all the phases of this experience: from joyful faith in the fact that with the help of doctrine I could see the world more clearly and more broadly – to the discovery that that which I was seeing so clearly and broadly was not at all the real world any more but an artificial construction hiding it.”) Fair enough! Many eventually turned away, and did great service for the cause of freedom. I do not want beat up on their “youth indiscretions,” after all St. Paul had a bad start as well, and we are all sinners. What I find curious is that it is “the sophisticated” that often fall first for these toxic ideologies. This quote attributed to Churchill, Disraeli and many others “If you aren’t a liberal when you’re young, you have no heart, but if you aren’t a middle-aged conservative, you have no head” blames it all on age. Really? Is that all? So, how do you make them touch the stove without burning us all in the process?

    • #25
    • December 9, 2017, at 12:47 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  26. Tom Meyer, Common Citizen Contributor

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Voting for Moore is an adult choice in recognition of the fallen state of man and the need for a savior — which definitely won’t be found in government, let alone among Democrats, let alone Doug Jones. Ptui.

    However, it’s a lot more than a thumb in the eye. It’s choosing to concern yourself with policy votes that best reflect your values, even if they come through a flawed vehicle like Roy Moore. This is what grown-ups do — make discerning choices under imperfect conditions.

    A few thoughts:

    1. It’s wrong for people who would not vote for Moore to present themselves as the only ones to be making a moral decision; there are lots of people — as Rick demonstrates well above — that think there are more values at play than just Moore’s sexual history.
    2. Likewise, it’s wrong for people who would vote for Moore to present themselves as the only ones making a practical decision; there are a lot of folks who think Moore’s election will, for example, give the Democrats an albatross to hang around the party’s neck.
    3. People on both sides are weighing the moral and practical concerns in this, and no one does it in quite the same way. Unless people share not only your concerns but your concerns in the same proportions as you, they can come out on the other side of issues like this.
    • #26
    • December 9, 2017, at 12:54 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  27. Profile Photo Member

    Ruthenian (View Comment):
    What I find curious is that it is “the sophisticated” that often fall first for these toxic ideologies.

    Extremely intelligent people are also more likely to join cults, from what I have heard. Maybe we should start factoring this into our collective psyche; maybe those who abhor “populism” could consider this. Those of us with average IQs are not necessarily wrong to be suspicious of those who are smarter than we are, especially considering the often disastrous results of their leadership.

    • #27
    • December 9, 2017, at 12:58 PM PST
    • 1 like
  28. Ruthenian Member
    RuthenianJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Tom Meyer, Common Citizen (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Voting for Moore is an adult choice in recognition of the fallen state of man and the need for a savior — which definitely won’t be found in government, let alone among Democrats, let alone Doug Jones. Ptui.

    However, it’s a lot more than a thumb in the eye. It’s choosing to concern yourself with policy votes that best reflect your values, even if they come through a flawed vehicle like Roy Moore. This is what grown-ups do — make discerning choices under imperfect conditions.

    A few thoughts:

    1. It’s wrong for people who would not vote for Moore to present themselves as the only ones to be making a moral decision; there are lots of people — as Rick demonstrates well above — that think there are more values at play than just Moore’s sexual history.
    2. Likewise, it’s wrong for people who would vote for Moore to present themselves as the only ones making a practical decision; there are a lot of folks who think Moore’s election will, for example, give the Democrats an albatross to hang around the party’s neck.
    3. People on both sides are weighing the moral and practical concerns in this, and no one does it in quite the same way. Unless people share not only your concerns but your concerns in the same proportions as you, they can come out on the other side of issues like this.

    Agreed! Then, how about issuing to everyone Richelieu’s letter to Milady with the following slight modification and letting them vote their conscience in the privacy of the polling booth without passing judgments on the morality/practicality of people that may vote differently?

    It is by my order and for the good of the state that the bearer of this has done what he has done.”

    • #28
    • December 9, 2017, at 1:53 PM PST
    • 1 like
  29. Boss Mongo Member

    Tom Meyer, Common Citizen (View Comment):
    A few thoughts:

    1. It’s wrong for people who would not vote for Moore to present themselves as the only ones to be making a moral decision; there are lots of people — as Rick demonstrates well above — that think there are more values at play than just Moore’s sexual history.
    2. Likewise, it’s wrong for people who would vote for Moore to present themselves as the only ones making a practical decision; there are a lot of folks who think Moore’s election will, for example, give the Democrats an albatross to hang around the party’s neck.
    3. People on both sides are weighing the moral and practical concerns in this, and no one does it in quite the same way. Unless people share not only your concerns but your concerns in the same proportions as you, they can come out on the other side of issues like this.

    On the accusations against Moore, I’ll state (again): Deviants gotta deviate. They are under the spell of a compulsion. I find it hard to believe that a political lightning rod would ride out 38 years under scrutiny without another, credible, more recent (let’s say the last 10, maybe 15 years) accusation coming to the fore.

    • #29
    • December 9, 2017, at 2:06 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  30. Rick Poach Inactive
    Rick Poach

    Ruthenian (View Comment):
    Quite a few writers and poets put their pens in the service of the new system.

    I write quite a bit of political satire poetry which I do not post here on Ricochet. The very first piece of satirical verse I ever wrote was a parody of Soviet Realism. I’ll have to see if I can dig it up for you.

    Ruthenian (View Comment):
    So, how do you make them touch the stove without burning us all in the process?

    You can’t make them touch the stove, you can only try to avoid them until they do. And when they do, there’s nothing saying that they won’t have a second or third go (as Marxists always do), because they just didn’t touch the stove correctly last time.

    • #30
    • December 9, 2017, at 3:56 PM PST
    • 3 likes

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