Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Liberals, morality, and Roman Polanski

Liberals like to believe they are the elite, morally and intellectually. Hollywood liberals (no, that is not entirely redundant) make normal liberals look humble by comparison. And yet the only ones they are fooling are themselves. Nothing exposes the moral bankruptcy of the left like their inability to apply morality uniformly.

This is because morality is useful in placating moderates and bludgeoning conservatives. But, truth be told, if it weren't for those pesky moderates and conservatives they would prefer there be no morality at all. Liberals seem to think that abject hedonism and intellectual enlightenment can exist in the same being.

Witness for the prosecution: Roman Polanski. This "gentleman" drugged a thirteen year old girl, raped her, then fled the country to avoid imprisonment. After thirty-two years in exile, he has been arrested in Switzerland and is awaiting extradition hearings. A large number of artists in America and in Europe have rushed to Polanski's defense, claiming he's suffered enough already and that such a great talent should not be shut up in prison.

In other words, if you are talented you should a) be allowed to have sex with anyone or anything, regardless of legality or the wishes of the victim, b) should not be subject to the rule of law, and c) should be shielded from their own stupidity. So what they seem to be telling us is that Timothy McVeigh's only real crime was not being talented enough.

Of course this attitude should not be surprising. Artists and actors have been told by everyone and themselves for years that they are special, that they are delicate souls, and that their role is to push the boundaries and break the rules. More than once in my own musical training did I hear the maxim "You have to learn the rules before you can break them." So many artists have "handlers" to shield them from the realities of life.

But to shield artists, no matter how talented, from the consequences of illegal activities is to undermine the very society that makes it possible for them to develop and display their talents. It is spitting in the face of everyone who has lived by the rules. It cannot be allowed to stand.

Roman Polanski is a criminal. He broke the law. Criminals must be punished, or the system breaks down. He did not just break one law, either. He raped the girl, and he fled the country to avoid justice. That is two laws. Even if there is any reason to overlook the first--and there is not--there is no reason to overlook the second. On the contrary, overlooking the second does more harm to society than the first.

I do not believe those who claim he has suffered enough for his crime already. In what way has he suffered? He has still been able to work all of this time. He has had his freedom. True, there are certain countries he has been unable to visit, but he seems to have done well enough in spite of that. Such are the inconveniences of fleeing justice. Is being unable to go to other countries to accept honors for your work a small price to pay for being free to continue your work?

It is not the fault of American justice that Roman Polanski, for all his supposed genius, was stupid and remains stupid. If there is any constant in America it is our willingness to forgive and forget, especially our celebrity types. What else can explain how Bill Clinton can commit adultery with no consequence while GOP senators continually have to step down for less?

Had Roman Polanski gone to jail like he was supposed to he may have given up a year or two of his life. Considering the kid-glove treatment he was receiving that allowed him to flee in the first place, he probably would not have served even a year. Once he got out he would have been embraced by Hollywood again, and perhaps even lauded all the more for his having experienced the darker side of American justice and come through unscathed, or some clap-trap nonsense like that. Critics would have been falling over themselves to point out the new-found depth and passion in his work that could only have come from having experienced the horror of incarceration and a loss of freedom for a time.

And he would have been free to collect his awards anywhere he liked.

No, I do not feel sorry for Roman Polanski. Every step of the way he has received special treatment. He has foreign diplomats and celebrity elites falling over themselves to come to his defense. The man made some very serious mistakes, but he has largely avoided the consequences.

If Roman Polanski gets off I will feel outrage on behalf of a friend of mine who committed statutory rape. He also plead guilty. He went to prison for several years, voluntarily accepting harsher conditions than was required. I believe he learned his lesson and was reformed. Yet, as a registered sex offender, he will never have the same degree of freedom Roman Polanski has enjoyed for thirty-two years.

Where are the celebrities rushing to his defense? Where are the awards? Is his only crime, then, not being famous enough?

The liberal elites think they are so intelligent, yet they cannot see the harm their attitudes toward morality and rule of law are doing. My friend accepted responsibility for his actions and learned from the experience. He's a much smarter man than Roman Polanski.

Roman Polanski should serve time for his rape. He should serve even more time for evading justice. If he dies in prison, so be it. We, as the "unfamous, untalented" of America, deserve nothing less. The liberal and Hollywood elite deserve nothing less. It is high time someone sent them the message that they are not above the law, that "genius" and creativity and celebrity are no excuse for anti-social behavior. The question is whether or not they are smart enough to learn the lesson when we try to teach it.

UPDATE: In all fairness, I should point out that while the Huffington Post has fired an extensive volley in support of Roman Polanski, not all on the left see it the same way. Many see the situation for what it is: a crime exacerbated by evasion of justice.

It is mainly the Hollywood Elite who are rushing to Polanski's defense. And why not? If justice can be enforced on him, could be enforced on them too! We must push back the hands of legal progress!

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