The current situation in New York City with the Frenchman, former head of the International Monetary Fund, a fellow by the name of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, is this week’s most teachable moment.
First, why do French mothers give their sons names that belong to girls? Okay, forget it, we’ll move on. To that teachable moment.
The prosecutor’s case against “DSK” is falling apart because of the increasingly documented lack of credibility of the woman who was allegedly attacked. The prosecutor has notified the defense of several times and circumstances where the woman lied on official documents. Because of this, I (along with everyone else) am presuming, the prosecutor has agreed to release “DSK” on his own recognizance. This is a dramatic change from the rather Draconian control and confinement measures previously implemented. This creates this week’s “moment”.
Is “DSK” innocent, much less likable? To the first, “no”, and to the second, “definitely not”. Whether he’s convicted of anything or not, he acted like a dirt bag. Even if the woman begged him to have a sexual encounter, he is married. It doesn’t even matter if his wife approves, or even arranged this. He is a very public man and he set a hideous example. So nothing said here will in any way excuse or rehabilitate “DSK”.
Now, to the woman, her history of lying, and the impending collapse of the prosecutor’s case. Do bad things happen to honest people? Yes. Do bad things happen to dishonest people, even when they haven’t been dishonest. Yes. Does a person have to be perfect, with a flawless record, to be taken seriously, even believed, when they make an accusation? No, they do not. And yet, it appears, this woman’s prior dishonesty is unhinging the prosecutor’s case? Is this right, much less fair? Yes, it is.
Every serious adult guards their “word” jealously. A serious adult will “take the Fifth” rather than try to shade the truth. It was said that a man’s word is his bond. Today, anyone who aspires to be a serious adult must learn this same lesson. A time will come, with no way to know when or how or why, when the only thing a person has to offer in their own defense is their “word”. When that moment comes, the human survival instinct in each of us will take over and we will make a judgment whether to believe the person, or not. Anyone in the way way back who was bad at making this judgment does not have living descendants populating the world today. Being able to accurately judge whether to trust a person or not is a skill that is strongly correlated to survival.
In making this judgment, our most reliable indicator is past performance. I’ve had people lie to my face, plead for trust, promise the world, and none of it matters. I have seen enough liars, and enough honest people, that I will trust my own judgment, and I will not be persuaded by the most elaborate presentations. If a person is honest with me over normal events, I am inclined to trust that person. If a person is dishonest, or even marginal, in everyday affairs, then I am strongly inclined to distrust them when all they have is their word.
For every person, know this without a doubt. The time will come when your past is all you have to rely on. You will face the most outrageous accusations, with no positive way to absolve yourself. When that moment comes, what you will have is your “word”, and the result you get will depend on that. “Trick me once, shame on you. Trick me twice, shame on me.”
There are convicts who are innocent, and there are judges who are crooks. But the numbers make betting on that a losing proposition. I know the kind of scrutiny that police officers go through, and the chances of that badge concealing a dirt bag are very very slim. It happens, but it is the glaring exception. People live their lives, they reap their results, they are achieve a station in society, and the wise among us guard that reputation with all we have.
G’day, all, and may God continue to bless America.