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Hogarth judge

February 2018



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Hogarth judge

Jack Thompson and the activist mind

Judge Dava J. Tunis, writing as the special referee in the Florida bar disciplinary case involving anti-game and anti-porn lawyer Jack Thompson, went beyond the Bar's recommendation for a ten year suspension from the practice of law, and came down in favor of permanent disbarment without leave to petition for reinstatement.

She wrote:
Over a very extended period of time involving a number of totally unrelated cases and individuals, the Respondent has demonstrated a pattern of conduct to strike out harshly, extensively, repeatedly and willfully to simply try to bring as much difficulty, distraction and anguish to those he considers in opposition to his causes. He does not proceed within the guidelines of appropriate professional behavior, but rather uses other means available to intimidate, harass, or bring public disrepute to those whom he perceives oppose him.

An "activist" is a person who makes enemies lists. Activism frequently results in a feedback loop that is harmful to the well being of the activist. After all, if you have a cause, it is likely that someone will applaud you for taking a stand. Eventually, the world becomes black and white. Your only true friends are those who are willing to applaud your every action. Everyone else is an enemy. This seems to be one of the things going on in Jack Thompson's case.

Dr. Karl Menninger called paranoia the inoperable cancer of psychiatry: and paranoia is also one of the fruits of activism. Frankly, Mr. Thompson seems to be engaged in behavior that seems a classic example of the sort of thing you expect from people who require psychiatric treatment. His conviction of self-importance (i.e. "ideas of reference") leads him to self defeating behavior:
Throughout these proceedings the Respondent faxed his pleadings, motions and correspondence to the Bar and the Referee herein. On a number of occasions the faxes Respondent sent to the Bar were incomplete. When the Bar requested the missing pages of the fax be resent, the Respondent stated the Bar was not to “expect any courtesies” from him. Thus, at the case management conference held on August 30, 2007, the Court granted the Bar’s Motion to Prohibit and issued a written order dated September 5, 2007, that “[a]ll communications and filings by the parties shall be sent by United States mail henceforth. The parties are not to fax each other herein.” . . .
The Respondent has continued to send this Court a multitude of e-mails, faxes and communications, many of which constitute thirdparty letters or pleadings not directly related to this cause. This Court estimates that the Respondent has sent over five hundred (500) communications to the undersigned in contravention of the September 6, 2007 Omnibus Order.

and led the referee to conclude that he was in fact incorrigible: "Respondent has repeatedly stated in these proceedings that he will not change his conduct. Thus, an enhanced disbarment is appropriate."

I've read some of Thompson's filings, and frankly they do not read like anything a lawyer would have written. They read like the screeds written by stir-crazy jailhouse lawyers, and are filled with the same malicious fantasies of persecution. Thompson has filed pornographic pictures with various courts, apparently seeking to insinuate that any who would oppose him favors their publication. It seems clear that Thompson is an activist who has crossed the line, and veered into the realms of psychopathology. Let's hope and pray that he gets the treatment he needs. It may require a criminal prosecution to get him into treatment.


Ye gods.

One wonders how many more of these creatures there are out there. Where you see one ....
If that's how activists end up, what about people who are just trying to get the word out about something to change people's heads on that subject, but don't think people who disagree with them are the enemy? Is there a different word for that? Or is it only a matter of degree?
I probably need to expatiate on that subject a bit more. But the basic problems caused by activists all stem from the fact that they are dissatisfied with the way things are and have various ideas in their heads about the way things ought to be. They therefore use politics in an attempt to change the world. They don't, of course: it won't budge. But they don't give up trying, either.

In an ideal republic, the policeman on the corner is a friend and ally in time of trouble: because there is no major discontinuity between the ideals espoused by public law, and the way people conduct their private affairs. Law is held in check and only prohibits unreasonable actions. To the extent that you might not want him poking around in your garden, blame an activist.

Activists are why the speed limits don't reflect the way people actually drive, and are instead set to the way somebody thinks they ought to be driving. Maybe it's for "safety", or maybe for "conservation". It makes no difference.

You don't like the human fondness for getting drunk or stoned. It might be unfortunate. So you pass a law, and turn the policeman into the enemy of your neighbors.

And so on, ad infinitum. Activists turn government, which ideally ought to be the same from one decade to the next, into something everyone has to monitor, the subject of constant attention. Ideally, the Congress should sit once a decade, for a couple weeks. But there are too many people out there who have all sorts of wonderful ideas about how you ought to be running your life, and they all want to be heard.

All of the activists, from the animal rights nuts to the anti-abortion nuts, want the government to declare war on some subset of their neighbors. All of them imagine it's mighty important, and needs to be done now. I repeat: "an activist is a person who makes enemies lists."

Activists, broadly defined, are responsible for most of the trouble caused by government:

— from the war in Iraq (lobbied for by the Israeli government and its apologists for some time)

— to the reprehensible metric system (the epitome of top-down "rational planning," whose flaws are the result of its arbitrary, lofty abstraction and consequent neglect of human scale.)

Yes, all activism's bad.

Edited at 2008-07-14 10:21 pm (UTC)