November 25, 2009

Exit Laughing

Hatched by Dafydd

Well, surprise, surprise: a Swiss court has abruptly and inexplicably reversed itself; it will now grant Roman Polanski bail in the amount of $4.5 million, though that might still be reversed on appeal:

A Swiss court granted Roman Polanski bail on Wednesday, accepting $4.5 million to allow him to remain under house arrest at his chalet. The director will stay in prison for up to 10 days while the Swiss government decides whether to appeal.

The Swiss Criminal Court reversed its previous rejection of bail, saying it was confident the large cash guarantee would compel Polanski to remain at his chalet in the Swiss resort of Gstaad under house arrest and monitored by an electronic bracelet.

The court said it still viewed him as a high flight risk.

I'm confused: If the court still views Polanski as a "flight risk," if he already fled once when facing just a few weeks more in prison, then why does it even consider granting him bail?

But who knows; maybe there is something in Swiss law requiring it, I have no idea. I'm really interested in another aspect of this question, one based on a hypothetical (that actually seems fairly likely to me):

  1. Suppose bail is finally granted;
  2. Suppose Polanski makes bail and is sent to his chalet in Gstaad under "house arrest;"
  3. Then suppose he escapes again, right back to next-door France.

Would liberals -- and their neolibertarian allies, on this and many, many other issues recently -- cheer the escape? Would they treat child-raper Roman as a folk hero, the way earlier liberals treated John Dillinger -- and the way they worship Robin Hood as a hero even today?

I would be far more upset if the latter group did so than the former; I expect more from libertarians than from liberals. I don't know why; lately it seems that so-called "movement libertarians" are actually wereliberals, who go barking mad and howl at the moon every November of an even-numbered year. Still, at least they pay lip service to concepts such as rule of law and the idea that violent crime should be suppressed; liberals seem quite content using naked force to steal whatever they cannot beg or borrow.

So would those two subsets of humanity cheer the escape of Roman Polanski, if such eventuates?

I ask because I'm not sure. On the one hand, liberals revered those two armed robbers and murderers, Mr. Dillon and Mr. Hood, because they saw them as "great redistributionists."

Oddly, a great many people who call themselves "movement libertarians" feel the same way -- though it seems strange that folks who claim Capitalism as their greatest economic ideal would cheer "spreading the wealth around." (Of course, the strong libertarian support for candidate Barack H. Obama in 2008 augurs that the libertarian rejection of forced income redistribution may not be as strong as it once was.)

I've heard libertarians argue that Robin of Locksley and John Dillinger were actually "anarchists," and they were really attacking "the State" and the centralized banking system. However, what they really did, in reality or in fable, was steal from "the rich" -- i.e., any non-pauper who traveled the roads in Sherwood, anyone who made a bank deposit -- and give to themselves... and incidentally, give just enough to the poor to get a good rep as philanthropists, so the ordinary citizen wouldn't rat them out (the Jesse James gang used the same tactic). Thus, they're more like French revolutionaries than political anarchists.

But in any event, Roman Polanski cannot possibly be considered a "great redistributionist" by either liberals or libertarians; so that should, in theory, argue against either group being happy if he escapes the authorities yet again.

On the other hand, both groups -- let's just call them "the libs" collectively -- whined and bitterly complained when he was captured in the first place; the libs urged his release by Swiss authorities so he could not be extradited back to the United States.

Whatever their mysterious reasons for taking the rapist's side, the fact that they did makes it immensely hard to take the other side if he escapes: It would be tantamount to admitting they were foolishly wrong before; and both branches of the libs share an almost genetic inability to admit folly, at least in my experience.

Both parties include in their "definition of self" the deeply rooted belief in their own mental superiority to, well, everyone; but especially to conservatives, whom libs see as religious fundamentalists akin to the mullahs of Iran -- or snake-handling, tongue-speaking, charismatics and zealots (to the extent libs even know the difference). There simply is no way in Hades that a lib would ever admit he was wrong about an issue if that meant a conservative was right.

On the third hand, the libs (especially lib journalists) appear to suffer from a great and shared confusion about the nature of the actual crime committed by Roman Polanski. Sadly, the ignorance even infects the very Breitbart story we've been quoting... and Andrew Brietbart is supposed to be one of the good guys!

The verdict does not affect the Swiss Justice Ministry's ongoing assessment of whether Polanski should be extradited to the United States for having sex in 1977 with a 13-year-old girl. Polanski fled sentencing in Los Angeles a year later.

Just to set the record straight, Polanski did not "have sex" with a thirteen year old girl, no matter how much the libs would like to rewrite the crime to fit "the story" they want to tell... the story of hinky, uptight Victorians who want to persecute this brilliant artist just because they hate sex.

Polanski drugged and raped a struggling, terrified thirteen year old girl -- first orally, then anally, then vaginally. Then he paid her mother half a million dollars as a bribe -- and also had his lawyers threaten the little girl into silence, saying they would bear false witness against her, telling the mass media, hence the world, that she was a whore who was just trying to shake Polanski down.

After the victim was intimidated out of testifying, the prosecutors cut the best deal they could; and Polanski pled to statutory rape. He served six weeks in prison; but instead of going to court to get his final sentencing, he escaped and fled to la Belle France.

Roman Polanski is an escaped violent felon. But to a whole subsegment of the country, including most journalists, his only crime was "having sex in 1977 with a 13-year-old girl," who (nudge, wink) probably instigated the whole thing anyway.

Since it's all just about sex (just like Bill Clinton, who both liberals and libertarians also elevated to heroic stature during his impeachment), there is a strong impetus for the libs to cheer Polanski's possible future escape. Those conservative theocrats never want us to have any fun!

Taking all in all, I would bet a lot of money that most libs would set up a whoop and a holler if Polanski took advantage of Swiss generosity and escaped custody. Again.

So the next question is -- could he escape? And would he if he could?

The court in Geneva expresses confidence:

"The 76-year-old appellant is married and the father of two minors," the court said as it considered Polanski's offer of a cash bail secured by his apartment in Paris. "It can be assumed that as a responsible father he will, especially in view of his advanced age, attach greater importance to the financial security of his family than a younger person."

The court said Polanski would be subjected to "constant electronic surveillance" at his chalet and an alarm would be activated if he leaves the premises or takes off the bracelet.

But I'm not so sanguine. All the electronic bracelet can do is alert authorities that he has fled; it can't stun him with an electrical shock like a taser, nor can it prevent him from walking, running, or even flying in a helicopter. If he picks his time carefully -- a holiday, late at night -- he could dart into a waiting car (or helo) and get the hell out of Dodge. All right, out of Gstaad.

The Swiss cops would probably call Polanski's cell phone first, and he would tell them he's sitting quietly in his chalet; they would send a patrol out to investigate, wasting more time. By the time light finally dawned on the cheese-making bell ringers, Roman Polanski would have a big enough head start that, like a reverse von Trapp family, he could speed over the Alps and back into sanctuary in next-door France. There, he could jeer the hapless, dour authorities, thwarted in their attempt to limit human freedom -- rather, limit the license granted to artistic aristos to seize their pleasures where they will, and to hell with how the peasants feel about it.

Sure, he would lose his money; but he probably hocked his Swiss chalet to get the cash in the first place. It's clear that if he escapes, he would never be able to return to that chalet anyway, so who cares if it's forfeited to whomever put up the dough? (I'm sure the Swiss would never be motivated by $4.5 million to drag their feet on recapturing him, for they are all honorable men.)

But wait -- what about his kids, his paternal responsibility? Without those millions, he might not be able to send Morgane and Elvis to the finest schools in old Europe, thus depriving them of the elite, aristocratic upbringing which is their birthright, as the princess and prince of titled cinematic royalty. Who could imagine Roman Polanski doing anything to harm a child?

Oh, wait...

Yes, I think Roman Polanski could easily arrange an escape if he's minded. And I strongly suspect that liberals (and movement libertarians) would set up a lusty celebration if he did. I'm not sure they would, but that's how I'd bet it. They bemoaned his arrest, why wouldn't they cheer his escape?

I don't care much about liberals; anybody who could support socialism and Jacobism, now that we know where they inevitably lead, is so far gone already that one more lump of vile abuse won't move them any further down the circles of Hell.

But my evidence-based suspicion fills me with a great sense of loss for the libertarian movement I once proudly joined, back when I thought they really meant what they said: that the only true crimes where those rooted in "force or fraud." The only fraud was their claim that they actually opposed the initiation of force... at least when an aristocrat was merely enjoying his "droit du seigneur."

Alas, I must conclude that contemporary libertarians don't reject feudalism; they envy it.

Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 25, 2009, at the time of 2:57 PM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this hissing:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Exit Laughing:

» Exit Laughing from The Greenroom
Well, surprise, surprise: a Swiss court has abruptly and inexplicably reversed itself; it will now grant Roman Polanski bail in the amount of $4.5 million, though that might still be reversed on appeal: A Swiss court granted Roman Polanski bail on Wed... [Read More]

Tracked on November 25, 2009 2:32 PM


The following hissed in response by: Resolute

I know it's not a Polanski movie, but all I can think of is Tequila Sunrise, when the one guy says "My friend, she would fork[the movie used a slightly different word] a snake to get out of this..."

Polanski would gnaw off his foot, much less give up a few mil, to get back to France. The Swiss would have to be moronic to let him out of jail.

The above hissed in response by: Resolute [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 26, 2009 6:28 AM

The following hissed in response by: Sabba Hillel

Actually, they probably know that he intends to run. However, given the current occupant of the White Hose and the "character" of his attorney general, they probably do not trust the U.S. to actually go through with the extradition. This way they get the money and arrange for Polanski to be picked up and sent to the United States as a fuguitive.

Plus, if he ever shows up where the Swiss can get him, he can be arrested and thrown into jail for violating his bail (and the Swiss still get to keep his money).

The above hissed in response by: Sabba Hillel [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 27, 2009 5:44 AM

The following hissed in response by: brotio

I suppose there's a group of self-described libertarians who don't know the difference between libertarian and libertine, but I'm a fairly staunch libertarian, and Polanski's crimes are especially offensive to me because he violated the liberty of a helpless girl.

Although the best I can hope for in today's political climate is that Polanski be sentenced to one year in prison for every year he's been on the run, there is a very effective punishment for rapists in The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress. Polanski is an excellent candidate for spacing.

The above hissed in response by: brotio [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 27, 2009 2:32 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


I was hoping to make clear that I was talking about "movement libertarians," not instinctual libertarians. The latter, which you appear to be, are the more Heinleinian type libertarians.

The latter are the people who attend the Karl Hess Supper Club, who used to read Konkin's New Libertarian, who had friends who lived in the Anarchovillage, who hang out with J. Neil Schulman (or L. Neil Smith, though he's more of a Libertarian than a libertarian, movement or otherwise), who fill up the first row of a small meeting room at an SF convention to watch the Prometheus Award be given to Connie Willis or David Brin or some other well-known supporter of the free market (I don't know what the irony glyph is).

That lot.

That lot used to not only read but actually understand the writings of Albert Jay Nock, Freddie Hayek, Luddie Mises, Milton Friedman (and David son o'Milton). They used to have a deep understanding of the danger and evil of too powerful a State. They were open to supporting either major party, depending on which was more in tune with liberty and Capitalism at that moment. They used to be more like instinctual libertarians.

But now they campaign and vote for Barack H. Obama (like Schulman and Christopher Buckley), or they vote for Ron Paul or Babar in a tight race, knowing that is tantamount to a vote for Obama; they relentlessly lash out at "neocons," which seems to include everybody who supports either the Iraq or Afghanistan wars; they despise the Republican Party with a visceral hatred, but seem to have no problem with the Democrats.

They never lose an opportunity to excoriate Sarah Palin for not speaking out against tyranny, for speaking out against tyranny, for supporting traditional marriage and opposing aboriton, for not denouncing George W. Bush, for being a hottie, for speaking with an Alaskan drawl, for running for president (which she hasn't done, by the way), for trying to force schools in Alaska to teach creationism instead of evolution (which she also hasn't done), and for being a funny religion -- you know, one of those really weird "throwback" sects that still believe in "God."

But they give a free pass to Mitt and Mike and Bobby and Haley and every other Republican contender that you can imagine who isn't a cute female. (These movement libertarians go after Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, and Carrie Prejean with equal fervor.)

Oddly, this behavior pattern replicates the current liberal crusade against all good-looking conservative or Republican women; but perhaps that's just coincidence.

I think I was a bit naive when I first encountered movement-libertarianism, when I was around seventeen. These folks were all about 7-8 years older than I (Smith and Konkin were more aged, and Smith still is; Konkin is conveniently dead, but that's no excuse)... so I was fairly impressed when I first met them; I assumed they actually exemplified the values they espoused. (Of course, I thought the same about Ayn Rand, of much earlier vintage.)

I was also reading William F. Buckley, Walter Williams, and Thomas Sowell around then -- conservatives with a strong libertarian streak, but who understood that "natural rights" were but the obverse of the coin; the reverse was "natural (and national) duties;" the one cannot exist without the other.

That is, the right to freedom of speech includes the duty to defend the right to freedom of speech -- to fight for that right even for those who disagree with you. The right to keep and bear arms implies the duty to protect the innocent from the guilty... whether that means calling the cops or holding a would-be rapist at gunpoint.

And the right to live in a free country implies the duty to defend our country (and our allies) against actual attack from people or countries more statist than we... which surely includes sharia/jihadi Moslems, Iran, Syria, and so forth.

(I supported the invasion of Iraq then and now; but it's certainly reasonable to argue against that policy, if you can come up with a workable, more libertarian way to protect us from our enemies. However, it's entirely unreasonable for "libertarians," in concert with liberals, to accuse Bush of "neocon imperialism," as if we invaded Iraq merely to steal their oil!)

Screaming about natural rights while completely ignoring the associated duties isn't libertarian; it's more akin to libertinism and license. And when that is accompanied by paeans to liberal-fascists like Barack Obama and their socialist policies, I part company with the whole crowd.

I still believe the conservatives and the much older libertarians were consistent and committed; but I have no such certainty about most of the "movement libertarians" I first met back in the seventies.

Some seem honestly to have abandoned the theory as well as the reality; but others still mouth the words, as they violate every libertarian precept in practice.

I still consider myself a capitalist, a defender of true liberty for all, and a mind-your-own-business Republican. That used to be called libertarian; I don't know what to call it today.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 27, 2009 6:10 PM

The following hissed in response by: brotio


Thanks for the thoughtful reply. You made some excellent points, and clarified many things. :-)

You and I are in general agreement about the Islamo-fascist war, and also about their rants against Palin, and anyone else pretty and conservative. In fact, I can't disagree with any of what you wrote, and I wish I could pen my beliefs as eloquently.

One thing that irritates me is that, because of those people, we're about to lose another term to the Left. They already stole, "liberal" (at least in the US), and the types you mentioned are about to hand them, "libertarian". I want libertarian to still identify a capitalist, defender of true liberty for all, and a mind-your-own-business republican - small 'R', just to nitpick ;-).

The above hissed in response by: brotio [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 28, 2009 10:41 PM

Post a comment

Thanks for hissing in, . Now you can slither in with a comment, o wise. (sign out)

(If you haven't hissed a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Hang loose; don't shed your skin!)

Remember me unto the end of days?

© 2005-2009 by Dafydd ab Hugh - All Rights Reserved