Crime and Punishment

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I recently theorized that Bill Clinton's problem is that he thinks too highly of himself. He believes that no matter what his crime -- even if he believes at the time his crime was justified, and later realizes it was not -- it is not sufficient cause to remove him from his office, because he is under a different set of rules. He is better than you or I. He is the Chosen One, if not chosen by God, certainly chosen by the People, and he has a job to do, and no one can do it better than him, so if he is not justified, he certainly must be excused.

This is the same thing that us geeks saw in a certain epsiode of Babylon 5, where Delenn and Sheridan were tested by a man from Earth's past to determine their worth to lead their people. It was determined that they were worthy, only because they realized two things: first, that they could be replaced; second, that one cannot sacrifice his principles in order to champion and protect those same principles. Interestingly enough, the man who judged their worth was Jack the Ripper, who like many before and since, had deemed himself outside the normal rules of society, because he was better than everyone else, because the end justified the means, because indecency is necessary to maintain decency.

I am similarly reminded of the classic Hitchcock movie, "Rope". The movie opens with our victim already dead at the hands of a student who believes that the intellectuals are not bound by the rules common to society, that they have a right -- even an obligation -- to do what they see as best, even if that means killing someone without what society would see as just cause.

I am in the middle of reading Dostoyevsky's Brothers Karamazov, a fantastic book. When I am through, I plan on tracking down and seeing the movie, starring Yul Brenner and William Shatner, and then I will move on to Crime and Punishment, which I have not read in many years. I believe Rope was probably based on Crime and Punishment, as it is a similar tale of intellect, hubris, murder, and fallout. But before I read it again, I plan on seeing the timeless (timely?) tale on NBC next week. I hope the President watches it, if he hasn't the time to read the book.

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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