Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Christmas Shopping With Claude

Also according to police:

-- On the morning of Dec. 24, Allen was filmed selecting a $237 Kodak printer that he paid for with his Visa card. Hours later he obtained a refund at a Target store in Germantown for an identical printer.

-- On Dec. 30, Allen bought a $60 jacket, a $25 pair of pants, two shades worth $15 each and two unspecified items worth $2.50 each. Hours later, he received a $125.94 refund for identical items.

-- On Jan. 1, he purchased an $88 RCA stereo at a Target store in Gaithersburg. About an hour later, he was videotaped selecting an identical stereo at a Rockville Target store, and he obtained a refund using a receipt that corresponded to the one from Gaithersburg.

I'm sure Claude used all of his booty for the purpose of homeschooling his kids. ("If you spend $130.00 on purchases, and only get a refund of $125.94 when you shoplift the identical items from the store, how much has Target ripped you off?")

The most amusing part of the story is all the wingnuts, from Bush down to the idiot bloggers, moaning about how sad the Allen story is. Apparently Claude is the archetypal "good man who did a bad thing." If you're a bad person who does a bad thing, you deserve prosecution, ridicule and hellfire. However, if you espouse righteousness and damn others for their moral failings, it's merely a bummer if you don't act accordingly.

My favorite wingnut on the story is James Taranto, who simpers as follows:

Allen is said to be [sic] something of a moralist, and left-wing bloggers are, predictably enough, exultant. Typical is this comment from Daily Kos diarist "DarkSyde":

Allen was a big abstinence only crusader and led several assaults on AIDS service organizations as well. This paragon of moral values was recruited by Karl Rove.

It's a familiar theme: Left-wing antimoralists attack right-wing moralists when the latter are found engaging in some crime or sin or vice. But a moralist's own propensity for immoral behavior does not discredit his moralism. After all, the temptation to do wrong is a universal human trait. Perhaps those in whom that temptation is strongest also have a more acute awareness of the need for social restraints to prevent bad acts.

First, Taranto simpers that those who support compassion and care for AIDS victims, but oppose shoplifting, are "antimoralists." He also characterizes DarkSyde's comments as an attack, when they're merely an observation that Allen wasn't as moral as he claimed to be. (Brutal!)

But the topper is the claim we should pay heed to phony moralists because they more than anyone have divine knowledge of how depraved we are.

By Taranto's reasoning, we should look to Chas. Manson and Eric Rudolph to define the morality of killing, and Don Rumsfeld and Abu Gonzales to define the morality of torture.

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