A couple of stories caught my eye recently, revolving around the desire of some folks to avoid bearing the consequences for their actions — and the efforts by others to hold them accountable.
First up, colleges across the country are looking to access applicants’ records, to see just what sort of legal and disciplinary problems they’ve presented in the past. And this move is being resisted by high schools, who fear that honesty “could stigmatize applicants as troublemakers and keep them from being accepted.”
One Boston school official’s quote is most telling: “”Our first allegiance is to the students,” said Jim Montague, director of guidance counseling at Boston Latin School.” Note that Mr. Montague’s allegiance is not to truth, but to the students — and he is willing to lie by omission to protect them.
Amazingly, the student given the last word is one who seems to have her head firmly attached to her shoulders:
Others thought counselors should answer the questions partly to protect others in college.
“It helps my chances because I haven’t been in trouble,” said Julie Moran, 17. “I don’t want to be in a college with people who’ve brought knives and guns to school.”
Hear, hear. Instead of focusing on those who need “a second chance” or a chance to redeem themselves, why not show a bit of favoritism for those who haven’t screwed up in the first place? Those who actually know what they want and have behaved themselves accordingly? In other words, the “good” kids who have been told that if they act properly and work hard and obey the rules, they will be rewarded?
Nah, screw them. They’ll be fine anyway. They always are.
At least that seems to be the prevailing attitude these days.
And then we got some good news out of Canada. Their Supreme Court has heard the appeals of American deserters from the military, and decided that yes, there is indeed a difference between “persecution” and “prosecution.” Therefore, they do NOT qualify for political asylum, and can be kicked out of the country.
Note that the US military is not actively seeking their return — and that, it seems to me, to be precisely the right approach.
As I understand it, the official policy of the US military towards deserters works out to something like this:
“These worthless sacks of shit gave their solemn word to us, and then broke it. Screw ’em. They are not worthy to serve in the US armed forces. They’ve already stolen enough of our resources so far, we’re not going to waste any more chasing them down.
But that doesn’t mean they’re scot free, though. We’ll put out the word that we’d like them back, and if they get themselves caught, we’ll take ’em back for a few moments of their time. Or maybe a few years. And we’ll make damned sure that the stigma of their cowardice follows them the rest of their lives, either as wanted fugitives or holders of a dishonorable discharge.”
Now those would-be martyrs are having to face the crushing blow to their egos: they simply aren’t anywhere near as important as they thought they were. Canada refuses to recognize them as heroic resisters or victims of injustice. Their “backers” tend to lose interest in them once they use up their value as symbols. And the military won’t feed into their persecution complex by moving heaven and earth to get them back in their hands. They find themselves revealed as they truly are: pathetic, craven losers that nobody really wants and nobody really cares about.
Well, at least they have one hope. If they decide to try to get into college, they might not get ratted out by their old high schools.