The disciplined child

Generally speaking, I am against attributing crimes to demonic possession. I find this practice is too “liberal” (in our postmodern sense of leftwing): it distracts from the criminal’s personal responsibility. We see this in most journalistic accounts of major pathological crimes. To mention “demons” or “devils” or “Satan” is unfashionable, so instead the term “evil” is used without qualification. It is an expression of panic, among those who were never taught that evil progresses in subtle grades, and must be qualified by definitions. Or who don’t know that evil begins in the whining of the unrestrained child.

Among people with no training in exorcism, there is the tendency to over-simplify. The mechanism by which the criminal embraces radical evil may seem simple in its result — a murder is just a murder, after all — but the personal “journey of self-discovery” on the part of the murderer is different in each case. True, he has, in the end, expressed his allegiance to Satan. But like the murder itself, this is just an end point. Along the way, he has toured many other motives, including some for which he might expect to be praised, as the modern parent will praise an errant child. In reading the manifestos of mass killers, for instance, a naïve idealism will often be encountered. (The relation between naivety and madness is a topic someone should explore.)

The greatest crime writers (Dostoevsky comes to mind) trace the development of a criminal mind from invariably glib, rather childish origins. Often he (the criminal) is looking for something as “innocent” as a shortcut to some goods he wants. By small increments, or by accidents in the course of trying to commit a “relatively harmless” robbery, things get out of hand.

I don’t think the average housebreaker, carrying a sawn-off shotgun, has the slightest intention to use it. His chance, unexpected meeting with the homeowner becomes his excuse to the court, for performing the murder; or to God (as suicide is self-murder), for himself getting “blown away.” Those with experience interviewing criminals, including injured ones, often note their use of the passive voice. (“There was a gun. It went off.”)

But this does not apply to such a wilful crime as, say, the massacre of children in a school; almost invariably ending in the suicide, or as it were, “constructive suicide,” of the perpetrator. There is unambiguous intention to do evil. Planning was involved. Likewise, behind every case of Islamic terrorism are practical considerations. The “pure theory” of avenging some historical injustice doesn’t get you very far.

My point in this little Idlepost is to call attention not to terror crimes, but to the more modest criminality of the liberal mind, resembling that of the housebreaker. He only intends to “push the envelope” a little way, towards his unexamined utopia. He makes demands for goods, in the form of taxation, of those who are “rich” from what they have somehow earned. (To the criminal mind, this “earning” must always be illegitimate.)

There are people who have volunteered to pay, without pressure, and there is nothing wrong with such conventional taxation, to fund various forms of community defence. Nor do I oppose people beggaring themselves, on ludicrous schemes, with their own money. But the liberal cannot be satisfied with this; he anyway needs more for his generous redistributions, or batty, counter-economic projects. Even those opposed to them must be forced to pay. He graduates from a collector of charity or taxes to the equivalent of a weaponized thief. This may remain peaceful for a while, but eventually the homeowners resist. Only then might violence suddenly occur. It comes as a surprise; especially to the criminal.

It is the misfortune of our society to have forgotten that the whining child must be resisted from the start; prevented, until it becomes a habit, from doing things that are wrong — when self-discipline can take over. We must restore that clarity of will, that prevents nature’s liberals (a class that includes all babies) from growing into criminals.

The Batflu we still have with us; and I doubt that this postmodern liberalism can be easily expunged. But we must at least try to eliminate it, permanently.