Thursday, November 30, 2017

Letter of Resignation

A friend writes: “I am sending a letter of resignation to Minnesota Public Radio, to the three major networks, CNN. The New Yorker, The New York Times and The Washington Post in anticipation of allegations that I might harass someone if I were hired to become part of their staffs. Harassment is viral and I don't know if I can be certain my autonomic nervous system is to be relied on in situations where there are other bodies in an enclosed space. After all, it is by definition, autonomic, right?” People who are suffering from illnesses which make them particularly vulnerable to infection have to be quarantined in germ free rooms in which they run no risk of contamination. That is what is slowly happening in America today. The only way to avoid allegations of harassment is quarantine. Who knows if the next handshake a firing? Of course terrible things have occurred; many men and women have been victims of ugly assaults on their bodies and dignities. But such wrong doing is always how massive counterreactions begin. And these sometimes match or even exceed the injustices they are out to correct. In one view the deleterious effects of the Versailles Treaty catalyzed the rise of fascism in Germany. Doesn’t anyone remember the House Un-American Activities  Committee and the blacklist and the tarring and featherings that are an ignominious part of American history? The alacrity with which whole careers and lifetimes are disposed of, without even a semblance of due process and the self-righteous outcries for revenge, all reek of lynch mob style justice? What about Big Brother and Newspeak? This is like Stalinist Russia or present day Russia for that matter. Why is no one speaking up? Why is no one arguing for a reasoned response in which each case is dealt with separately and with a modicum of equanimity that precludes hysterical rushes to judgement?

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