Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Titanic and the Concordia

My friend Jason points us to the latest column from Mark Steyn who writes a brilliant essay comparing and contrasting the behavior of passengers and crew on the Titanic and the Costa Concordia. Steyn lets each event symbolize the society of the time in which the ships sailed and sunk, and, if that's a plausible assumption, there's much to be anxious about.

One particularly perspicuous point made by Steyn was the difference in the way the men of the Titanic took pains to ensure that women and children were safely ensconced in life boats before they looked to their own safety. Female passengers aboard the Concordia, however, testified to being shoved aside by burly crew members making haste to secure a spot in the life boats for themselves.

As one of Steyn's correspondents wryly noted, “The feminists wanted a gender-neutral society. Now they’ve got it. So what are you (they) complaining about?”

True enough, but what does it say about us that in extremis it's now every man for himself? What does it say about our materialist, secular society that male honor is rarer than once it was. I suspect that once a society minimizes and seeks to neuter masculinity and the masculine virtues, as modern liberalism arguably has done, a sense of honor and respect toward women is one of the first casualties. We certainly don't need to read about the treatment of the women of the Concordia to see evidence of that.

At any rate, there's much more thoughtful and delightfully acerbic commentary in Steyn's column. Give it a read.


Ever wonder why none of the people responsible for the ethically questionable home foreclosures that occurred in the wake of the collapse of the housing bubble haven't been prosecuted by Eric Holder's Justice Department? Well, so have lot's of other people wondered about that very thing, and maybe now we have some clue as to why there's been no interest in investigating the banks that foreclosed on the hapless souls who found themselves unable to make their mortgage payments.

It turns out that many of the big banks which were engaging in these questionable foreclosure practices were represented by a Washington law firm, Covington and Burling, which numbered among its law partners none other than the aforementioned Mr. Holder and his lieutenant Lanny Breuer. It's certainly good to have connections in the Justice Department if you're a big bank engaging in dubious behavior.

It may be hard to believe, on the other hand, that a man of the probity and rectitude Mr. Holder is known to possess would have looked the other way rather than prosecute his former clients, so perhaps there's more to the story. In any case, I wonder if the media will exert themselves as strenuously to ignore this matter as they've exerted themselves to ignore the Fast and Furious scandal.