posted at 5:32 pm on November 25, 2009 by Dafydd ab Hugh
Well, surprise, surprise: a Swiss court has abruptly and inexplicably reversed itself; it will now grant Roman Polanski bail in the amount of $4.5 million, though that might still be reversed on appeal:
A Swiss court granted Roman Polanski bail on Wednesday, accepting $4.5 million to allow him to remain under house arrest at his chalet. The director will stay in prison for up to 10 days while the Swiss government decides whether to appeal.
The Swiss Criminal Court reversed its previous rejection of bail, saying it was confident the large cash guarantee would compel Polanski to remain at his chalet in the Swiss resort of Gstaad under house arrest and monitored by an electronic bracelet.
The court said it still viewed him as a high flight risk.
I’m confused: If the court still views Polanski as a “flight risk,” if he already fled once when facing just a few weeks more in prison, then why does it even consider granting him bail?
But who knows; maybe there is something in Swiss law requiring it, I have no idea. I’m really interested in another aspect of this question, one based on a hypothetical (that actually seems fairly likely to me):
- Suppose bail is finally granted;
- Suppose Polanski makes bail and is sent to his chalet in Gstaad under “house arrest;”
- Then suppose he escapes again, right back to next-door France.
Would liberals — and their neolibertarian allies, on this and many, many other issues recently — cheer the escape? Would they treat child-raper Roman as a folk hero, the way earlier liberals treated John Dillinger — and the way they worship Robin Hood as a hero even today?
I would be far more upset if the latter group did so than the former; I expect more from libertarians than from liberals. I don’t know why; lately it seems that so-called “movement libertarians” are actually wereliberals, who go barking mad and howl at the moon every November of an even-numbered year. Still, at least they pay lip service to concepts such as rule of law and the idea that violent crime should be suppressed; liberals seem quite content using naked force to steal whatever they cannot beg or borrow.
So would those two subsets of humanity cheer the escape of Roman Polanski, if such eventuates?
I ask because I’m not sure. On the one hand, liberals revered those two armed robbers and murderers, Mr. Dillon and Mr. Hood, because they saw them as “great redistributionists.”
Oddly, a great many people who call themselves “movement libertarians” feel the same way — though it seems strange that folks who claim Capitalism as their greatest economic ideal would cheer “spreading the wealth around.” (Of course, the strong libertarian support for candidate Barack H. Obama in 2008 augurs that the libertarian rejection of forced income redistribution may not be as strong as it once was.)
I’ve heard libertarians argue that Robin of Locksley and John Dillinger were actually “anarchists,” and they were really attacking “the State” and the centralized banking system. However, what they really did, in reality or in fable, was steal from “the rich” — i.e., any non-pauper who traveled the roads in Sherwood, anyone who made a bank deposit — and give to themselves… and incidentally, give just enough to the poor to get a good rep as philanthropists, so the ordinary citizen wouldn’t rat them out (the Jesse James gang used the same tactic). Thus, they’re more like French revolutionaries than political anarchists.
But in any event, Roman Polanski cannot possibly be considered a “great redistributionist” by either liberals or libertarians; so that should, in theory, argue against either group being happy if he escapes the authorities yet again.
On the other hand, both groups — let’s just call them “the libs” collectively — whined and bitterly complained when he was captured in the first place; the libs urged his release by Swiss authorities so he could not be extradited back to the United States.
Whatever their mysterious reasons for taking the rapist’s side, the fact that they did makes it immensely hard to take the other side if he escapes: It would be tantamount to admitting they were foolishly wrong before; and both branches of the libs share an almost genetic inability to admit folly, at least in my experience.
Both parties include in their “definition of self” the deeply rooted belief in their own mental superiority to, well, everyone; but especially to conservatives, whom libs see as religious fundamentalists akin to the mullahs of Iran — or snake-handling, tongue-speaking, charismatics and zealots (to the extent libs even know the difference). There simply is no way in Hades that a lib would ever admit he was wrong about an issue if that meant a conservative was right.
On the third hand, the libs (especially lib journalists) appear to suffer from a great and shared confusion about the nature of the actual crime committed by Roman Polanski. Sadly, the ignorance even infects the very Breitbart story we’ve been quoting… and Andrew Brietbart is supposed to be one of the good guys!
The verdict does not affect the Swiss Justice Ministry’s ongoing assessment of whether Polanski should be extradited to the United States for having sex in 1977 with a 13-year-old girl. Polanski fled sentencing in Los Angeles a year later.
Just to set the record straight, Polanski did not “have sex” with a thirteen year old girl, no matter how much the libs would like to rewrite the crime to fit “the story” they want to tell… the story of hinky, uptight Victorians who want to persecute this brilliant artist just because they hate sex.
Polanski drugged and raped a struggling, terrified thirteen year old girl — first orally, then anally, then vaginally. Then he paid her mother half a million dollars as a bribe — and also had his lawyers threaten the little girl into silence, saying they would bear false witness against her, telling the mass media, hence the world, that she was a whore who was just trying to shake Polanski down.
After the victim was intimidated out of testifying, the prosecutors cut the best deal they could; and Polanski pled to statutory rape. He served six weeks in prison; but instead of going to court to get his final sentencing, he escaped and fled to la Belle France.
Roman Polanski is an escaped violent felon. But to a whole subsegment of the country, including most journalists, his only crime was “having sex in 1977 with a 13-year-old girl,” who (nudge, wink) probably instigated the whole thing anyway.
Since it’s all just about sex (just like Bill Clinton, who both liberals and libertarians also elevated to heroic stature during his impeachment), there is a strong impetus for the libs to cheer Polanski’s possible future escape. Those conservative theocrats never want us to have any fun!
Taking all in all, I would bet a lot of money that most libs would set up a whoop and a holler if Polanski took advantage of Swiss generosity and escaped custody. Again.
So the next question is — could he escape? And would he if he could?
The court in Geneva expresses confidence:
“The 76-year-old appellant is married and the father of two minors,” the court said as it considered Polanski’s offer of a cash bail secured by his apartment in Paris. “It can be assumed that as a responsible father he will, especially in view of his advanced age, attach greater importance to the financial security of his family than a younger person.”
The court said Polanski would be subjected to “constant electronic surveillance” at his chalet and an alarm would be activated if he leaves the premises or takes off the bracelet.
But I’m not so sanguine. All the electronic bracelet can do is alert authorities that he has fled; it can’t stun him with an electrical shock like a taser, nor can it prevent him from walking, running, or even flying in a helicopter. If he picks his time carefully — a holiday, late at night — he could dart into a waiting car (or helo) and get the hell out of Dodge. All right, out of Gstaad.
The Swiss cops would probably call Polanski’s cell phone first, and he would tell them he’s sitting quietly in his chalet; they would send a patrol out to investigate, wasting more time. By the time light finally dawned on the cheese-making bell ringers, Roman Polanski would have a big enough head start that, like a reverse von Trapp family, he could speed over the Alps and back into sanctuary in next-door France. There, he could jeer the hapless, dour authorities, thwarted in their attempt to limit human freedom — rather, limit the license granted to artistic aristos to seize their pleasures where they will, and to hell with how the peasants feel about it.
Sure, he would lose his money; but he probably hocked his Swiss chalet to get the cash in the first place. It’s clear that if he escapes, he would never be able to return to that chalet anyway, so who cares if it’s forfeited to whomever put up the dough? (I’m sure the Swiss would never be motivated by $4.5 million to drag their feet on recapturing him, for they are all honorable men.)
But wait — what about his kids, his paternal responsibility? Without those millions, he might not be able to send Morgane and Elvis to the finest schools in old Europe, thus depriving them of the elite, aristocratic upbringing which is their birthright, as the princess and prince of titled cinematic royalty. Who could imagine Roman Polanski doing anything to harm a child?
Yes, I think Roman Polanski could easily arrange an escape if he’s minded. And I strongly suspect that liberals (and movement libertarians) would set up a lusty celebration if he did. I’m not sure they would, but that’s how I’d bet it. They bemoaned his arrest, why wouldn’t they cheer his escape?
I don’t care much about liberals; anybody who could support socialism and Jacobism, now that we know where they inevitably lead, is so far gone already that one more lump of vile abuse won’t move them any further down the circles of Hell.
But my evidence-based suspicion fills me with a great sense of loss for the libertarian movement I once proudly joined, back when I thought they really meant what they said: that the only true crimes where those rooted in “force or fraud.” The only fraud was their claim that they actually opposed the initiation of force… at least when an aristocrat was merely enjoying his “droit du seigneur.”
Alas, I must conclude that contemporary libertarians don’t reject feudalism; they envy it.
Cross-posted on Big Lizards…
Recently in the Green Room: