Successful Evil

22 02 2009

All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing to oppose it.

Roughly paraphrased from an unknown source. What brought that particular quote to mind is the actions of an insurance company in the matter of a McDonald’s employee claim for Workman’s Compensation.

It turns out that this young man working at a McD’s in Arkansas saw a customer beating the crap out of a female customer inside the restaurant. Being what his manager described as a good man, he immediately intervened on behalf of the female victim and muscled the attacker outside … where he ended up getting shot three times.

Several surgeries and hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses later, his application for Workman’s Compensation was denied by the company managing the McDonald’s insurance plan. Here’s the story.

By any rational standard, the young man in question exhibited courage and good character. His manager went out of his way to praise Nigel for his work habits and general attitude, suggesting that Nigel Haskitt is the sort of man you would want to work for you or to watch your six in a firefight. He saw something wrong and knew he had the power to stop it, and did so without any thought for himself. He got shot helping out a total stranger, because it was the right thing to do.

And yet, the attorneys and insurance companies in this country indulge in histrionic shudders of revulsion at the mere idea of this sort of action. Ordinarily, this would be just one more reason to justifiably refer to those creatures as vampires, leeches, and similar vermin. Sadly, the attorneys and insurance companies are gradually destroying the American will to do the right thing.

Their method for this conversion is slow and subtle, but nonethless certain. Every business must carry liability insurance or be rent asunder at the hands of lawyers for a host of plaintiffs with real or imagined grievances against the business. Insurance companies are in the business of making money for their shareholders, so they are understandably reluctant to part with any money for such ephemera as justifiable claims. Those insurers will therefore force their clients to adopt rules and business practices which should reduce the number of claims, or suffer from increasingly high insurance premiums. Attorneys then heavily punish (through scads of lawsuits for real or imagined grievances) those businesses which fail to adhere to the insurance companies’ will.

The end result is generations of Americans who are more and more inclined to worry about potential lawsuits when faced with danger. In lieu of dealing with the immediate threat, Americans are more and more inclined to gauge the possible legal penalties to be as great (or greater) a threat than the immediate hazard.

Don’t get involved. None of my business. It’s not my problem. This is the language of serfs.

Guess what? If you see it happen, you are involved. If it happens in your neighborhood, city, state, or country, it is your fucking business, and it is your problem. If you let this sort of rot fester and grow through inattention or indifference, you will inevitably become a victim of the behavior you fail to act against.

Failure to act is itself an action. Actions have consequences. The consequence of allowing social predators to act freely in our society is the destruction of that society. Just take a look at what happened to Nigel Haskitt. He stood up for what was right and helped a total stranger. At some point in time, you will be that total stranger who needs help. If the insurance companies and lawyers have their way, you will be looking for your own Nigel Haskitt, but he will be worrying about possible lawsuits. No one will stand up and do the right thing, because the cost is growing prohibitively high.

That sound you hear? It’s our civilization circling the drain. You have three choices on what to do about it. You can do nothing at all, you can try to save our society, or you can help push it into the toilet. Unfortunately, choosing to do nothing is exactly the same as actively working to destroy our civilization (such as it is).

Current status: Vexed

Current music: Bard Dance by Enya