Saw a sweet Samsung phone at Radio Shack the other day

Saw a sweet Samsung phone at Radio Shack the other day May 5, 2014

…so I smashed the case and took it. They called the cops and had me arrested, saying what I did was “illegal”. I pointed out to these simpletons that “legality” and “morality” are not the same thing. Everything Hitler did was “legal” too, you know. But the cops still hauled me off to jail. This only confirms to me that we are ruled by a regime that uses brute force to get its way and I am a Son of Liberty. Fight the Power! IF LEGAL, THEN HITLER! IF LEGAL, THEN HITLER!

Man! This free internet logic course I’m taking is paying off in spades! I’ll have my Ph.D. printed out in no time!

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  • Dan F.

    I see what you did there… 😉

    • Benjamin2.0

      Would you explain it to me, then?

      • Dan F.

        This parable manages to skewer libertarians, torture apologists and supporters of that crazy rancher in Nevada all at once.

        • Benjamin2.0

          It seems to hit absolutely anyone making the distinction between legality and justice using the Nazi comparison. Putting justice before the law is a sane alignment of priorities, and anyone forced to do so tends to use justifications. The Nazi argument only establishes the possibility of unjust law, further argumentation has to establish applicability to specific circumstances (i.e describe how the particular law is unjust). Where one stands or falls is in the validity of the latter. What the above looks like to me is ridicule of this alignment of priorities per se, of the very idea that a law’s injustice can demand disobedience. For a citizen of the United States to say that there can be no unjust law is to say that there should be no United States.

          I’d be eager to be wrong.

      • CJ

        To expand a bit further, some small government activists will object to a given assertion of legal authority by saying “everything Hitler did was *legal*, too!” The implication is that authority under the positive law is meaningless and can be superseded by any individual’s idea of what should be legal.
        For instance, many tax protestors believe that there were defects in the ratification of the 16th Amendment allowing the feds to levy income taxes. Therefore, they believe that federal income taxes are illegal and they don’t have to pay them. They lose 100% of the time in court, but that just proves the courts are corrupt, not that the protestor is wrong.

      • chezami

        CJ’s right. In this particular case, I was responding to the constant mantra that Cliven Bundy was a hero for mustering a private army and hiding behind women and children as human shields because he didn’t feel like obeying the law.

        • Jonk

          If you really wanted an accurate metaphor, you’d be the store manager breaking into the Radio Shack after the strip mall landlord raised the rent through the roof while simultaneously limiting the hours you were open and the goods you could sell.

          But, you’re right: it IS fun to throw nuance aside and burn a straw man every once in a while.

  • Pete the Greek

    While I know they run a mutual admiration society, I think Mark is VERY inferior to John C Wright when it comes to social commentary. Mark just doesn’t have the skill for it.

    I very much enjoy his talks, articles and posts about Church teaching, Scripture and theology. He’s at his best on those.

    When it comes to social or cultural items, he likes to get loud and sarcastic, as above, but the insight just isn’t there. His posts on those topics seem more like a sarcastic comeback that just… doesn’t… quite make the point he wanted to make.

    • sez

      You’re expecting a fine dining experience, but Mark is serving hamburgers to the masses. He is more in line with the sound-bite mentality, but his sound-bites actually bite.

      Combining brevity, humor, and common sense, he shows us the illogic that we might not otherwise see. Those who adhere to such illogic won’t sit down for the full course, anyway. His style appeals to them, and just might get through to them. They might not be his regular readers, but his regular readers can point the hamburger lovers to posts like this, or use his analogies in conversation to help others start to think.

      • Pete the Greek

        Note: I’m not saying I disagree with much of what he says at all (usually I very much agree), I just don’t think he does it well.

        Take this post for example: I had the same reaction of as Benjamin below: What the heck is this all about? I had to read back a bit to figure out what specifically he was referencing. But then I don’t read every post he writes every single day either.

        Perhaps it’s more in how I think social commentary is being used these days. The ‘hambuger’ approach and the meme picture approach (would that be the gas station premade sandwich option?) is used by everybody from Catholics, to pro second amendment people, to gay marriage pushers etc. It is in my experience useless except for preaching to the choir. When was the last time you saw a meme that really addressed issues, made a real point that would convince anyone who wasn’t already convinced? You shouldn’t be able to. If you can remember one, then your thinking on that topic is shallow.

        If he was just doing it as a ‘rah rah’ post for people who already agree with him, that’s totally understandable. But I think he genuinely thinks these posts will make ideological opponents stop and go ‘hmmm.’

        • Rebecca Fuentes

          I enjoy Mr. Wright’s passion and eloquence when he writes social commentary, but I sometimes don’t have the reading time to keep up with him, so I also appreciate Mark’s brevity. I mainly have clench my fingers from arguing with memes. The best ones are still to simplified to really be accurate, and the worst ones are so off they aren’t even wrong, they’re just silly.

    • BillyT92679

      I could not disagree with you more. I think he’s very trenchant and wise.

    • Barbara

      I actually disagree. Mark may be more the “sound byte” type but he is more nuanced in his views. John has a big imagination and sometimes goes off into fever swamps when he analyses the views he disagrees with. Mark can see the ills on both sides of the cultural divide. John only seems to write about the ills of progressivism, while conservatism can do no wrong. John is better with words, but don’t confuse cleverness with subtlety.

      • Pete the Greek

        “John only seems to write about the ills of progressivism, while conservatism can do no wrong.”
        – If by ‘conservatism’ you mean a political party, I think perhaps you haven’t read much of what he’s said then, as that is a totally incorrect summary of his principles.

    • PalaceGuard

      “When it comes to social or cultural items, he likes to get loud and sarcastic, as above, but the insight just isn’t there. His posts on those topics seem more like a sarcastic comeback that just… doesn’t… quite make the point he wanted to make.” Yeah, but somebody’s got to fill that niche!

  • It’s actually pretty rare in a functioning first world country where the legal/moral distinction is a real world issue. Then there’s the United States. Here’s a ‘top of my head’ current list of them:

    1. police refusal to enforce CT and NY firearms legislation in the face of widespread resistance.
    2. Obama administration whistleblower hunts.
    3. BLM refusal to sell wild horses and burros to buyers who will legally slaughter and use the meat for food.
    4. refusal to honor requests for confidentiality on search warrants by major tech companies who are starting to tell the targets of the warrants that their information is being searched.
    5. Obama administration attempts to categorize journalism as espionage.

    I assure you there are more, a lot more, out there. There are morons out and about in the world who do, in fact, misuse the issue to try to apply to things that are well settled. Things do not end well for them as a rule much like our smash and grab guy in the parable above.

    This does not mean that the issue is false or that the solution all goes one way. Picking through my five examples above, I would expect that most readers would split their verdict between legal and moral with few coming down in all 5 cases on either the legal or moral side.

  • JohnE_o

    That’s a ridiculous scenario – nobody goes to Radio Shack anymore!