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Faith in humanity…

Another example of where my faith in humanity, or it’s future, is challenged (from NYT):

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — After top Penn State officials announced that they had fired Joe Paterno on Wednesday night, thousands of students stormed the downtown area to display their anger and frustration, chanting the former coach’s name, tearing down light poles and overturning a television news van parked along College Avenue.

Ok, yes, we in the “court of public opinion” honestly cannot know if Joe Paterno is guilty of, by his relative inaction, aiding a pedophile. Yes, this does have all the trappings of a mob lynching.

But we also don’t know that he didn’t aid a pedophile (again through relative inaction, not literal aid). There’s no way in hell that you could get me to be so sure of my opinion about the subject that I would start literally rioting. I mean, we do at least know Mr. Paterno employed said pedophile and did hear of a literal vile act of said pedophile where it was reported to a “dead end” – that is an uncomfortably close relationship.

So, I could see expressing one’s opinion in a reasonable manner that your “off the cuff” opinion is he’s getting the shaft here – but it would take pure basest tribalism to riot over it.

That is, the only way that one could become so sure that Paterno isn’t guilty that one would start trashing stuff is out of shear ugly tribal mob mentality – perhaps the least pretty aspect of humanity (or lack off).

In the end the point I’m getting at isn’t so much whether Paterno is guilty or not, but rather that I find this as yet another example where so-called “factual decisions” (guilty or not guilty) are really based on arbitrary affiliation. If you’re Penn State fan he’s not guilty (with a vengeance), if you’re not a Pen State fan, then maybe your more open to all the possibilities.

In short, don’t assume your “hard earned” opinion (regardless of subject) is really “hard earned” rather than predetermined by you biases of affiliation/association.

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