Punitive Ineffectualism: Example and Cure

So the shutdown is in full bloom and shenanigans abound.  The award for most photogenic example goes to locking WWII vets out of their memorial.

I’ve written about shutdowns before in 2011 Tour of Reality Denial: Part I and the incredibly cleverly named follow up; 2011 Tour of Reality Denial: Part II.  I even coined the a term to describe things like the vet / memorial kerfluffle:

Punitive Ineffectualism: When a person or organization deliberately chooses to be outrageously incompetent to piss people off. Example; “I’d ask Bill to pick up beer for the hunting trip but he doesn’t drink alcohol and he’d buy Zima or some other crap. Rather than deal with that idiot’s punitive ineffectualism I’ll get it myself.” It is a gambit which can backfire by generating unforgiving animosity. Example: “Remember last year when Bill threw $50 worth of Cuban cigars into the lake because he wanted to save us from cancer? As payback I’m waiting until we get to bear country before smearing his tent with bacon. Take that you sanctimonious motherfucker!”

What?  You thought this was something new?  Of course not.  Governments “shut down” from time to time and when they do they invariably deploy “punitive intellectualism”.

It just makes sense.  If everything is done competently and professionally then citizens find the shutdown more palatable.  Simple game theory says that the best gambit is to shut down in such a way as to annoy as many people as possible.

I observed the same thing when Minnesota shut itself down in 2011:

Example five: Kicking Citizens out of their Park and locking the gates.

At the time I had a simple observation:

Why the hell is there a gate at all!?!”

(In the 2013 D.C. version, unlike the 2011 Minnesota version, the gates were temporarily installed.  Same concept though.)


Now for a silver lining to all this.  Pay attention because I’m really happy to see it and nobody (but me) seemed to notice.

Optimistic Observation Of The Day:

Nobody got hurt!

Men with guns and badges, with orders to keep people out of the park, refused to commit mayhem to keep their orders.  Excellent news!  That’s not as easy as it sounds.  They had jobs to do with clear instructions.  Yet when the time came, they acted like grown adults.  They did the sane thing and stood down.  Well done gentlemen!

The folks who stood down and let veterans (citizens!) into their monument did the right thing.  All up and down the chain of command, once they realized what was happening, people did the right thing.  Nobody handcuffed grandpa or fired tear gas, no guns cleared leather, nobody did anything rash.  The whole thing was resolved in an unexpected outbreak of common sense.  America rocks!

Park based mall cops; for your example of looking into the face of authoritarian disasters and choosing not to leap, I salute you!  Thanks!

Also to the veterans, well done!  When some jackoff with a badge was doing wrong you spanked their ass.  As it should be.  Well done in 2013 and thank you for your previous service as well!

About Adaptive Curmudgeon

I will neither confirm nor deny that I actually exist.
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2 Responses to Punitive Ineffectualism: Example and Cure

  1. kx59 says:

    “Men with guns and badges, with orders to keep people out of the park, refused to commit mayhem to keep their orders.”
    And then, they shot to death an unarmed schizophrenic postpartum depressed mother with her one year old child in the back seat of the car because she bumped a barrycade and fled.
    Cuz, you know
    only the police should have guns.

    • Oh good grief. See what happens when I let a ray of sunshine out? Some jackoff gets all “respect my authoritah” and I eat my words. Dammit!

      The “barricade massacre of 2013” came not long after I opined about the “outbreak of sanity at the memorial”. The glow of mutual respect sure didn’t last long. I’m not sure when bumping a barricade became a reason to unload a magazine into a citizen’s car but I’m pretty sure it correlates with they started issuing body armor to domestic cops.

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