Great to have you back, Rick! You're always one to help me sharpen my focus, if not my verbal knives!

Here's Rick:

Ok Pete, I'll bite....
I thought the reckless broad brush was whittled down a piece? I guess it would make for much less interesting blogging if you didn't.
To castigate entire institutions because of a very few bad people is simply unsound even when other "bad apples" protect them.
I already posted all of the "institutions" that have "bad apples" back in July. You accurately mentioned the police, yes I would agree with this, and doctors. But you hold a dear place in your heart for the Catholic Priests (Here's one from your book = Are they idealized adults of your youth who let you down???)
Again, only 5% of the sicko priests were accused. A far less number were actual pedophiles, abusers of prepubescent children, like the doctors you mention. Most, as with teachers, social workers and doctors, engage in sexual abuse to minors. Also, most of the priests were homosexuals, not pedophiles.
Well, you hooked me particularly your obvious omission of therapists and your distinction of "western doctors". Unfortunately, abusers come in all shapes, sizes, religious affiliation and geographical "practices" and sexual preferences. Should we hate all heterosexuals? Should we hate all homosexuals? No. Should we should strike down all those people who take advantage of their position and abuse children, adults and the elderly? Yes! Yes! Yes! It matters less their affiliation to a group or profession and more their affliction. Should we hate Muslims? No. Muslim terrorists? Yes.
The highlighted cases of female teachers having sex with their middle school students (one happened in the school district where I teach) and several cases involving abuse of high school students parallel those of many "bad apples". However, do you then keep your children out of schools?
What about the Wall street scandal? Those bastards have raped and abused the lives of many more people than all of the institutional "bad apples" combined. Does that mean we shouldn't invest in good companies or take our money out of the banks and retirement funds?
Should we not go to schools, hospitals, police stations, fire stations, therapists' offices, churches, temples, mosques, social services or any institution that has bad apples? I think not.
We should embrace those institutions that help us become self-actualized and I feel all of those have the potential to do just that. We should support those professions that help us find peace in our society and within ourselves and protect and help us.
It is intellectually dishonest to simply demonize those very institutions because of the actions of a few, regardless of how heinous those actions may be.
There is only one exception. Those institutions/professions whose practice and philosophy supports abuse. Neo Nazis???

Here's PL:

As always, Rick, your points are well-taken, and as is almost as often the case, I have a response.

Institutions, for the most part, are set up in such a way that the survival of the institutions after a while takes precedence over the quality and integrity of the service that the institutions were meant to provide. This is the nature of bureaucracies that are based on an authoritarian rather than a collaborative model. "Bad apples" end up getting deliberately hidden from view for fear that exposure of their presence will damage the reputation of the institution, which of course, only encourages bad apples to continue being bad. It might seem ironic to some, but not to this blogger, that the more authoritarian or hierarchical the institution (i.e. - priesthood and police, etc.) the greater the propensity for acting out.

Organizations that are truly democratic at least hold the potential for solving this problem.

At my 12-year old's school, for example, the Brooklyn Free School, all aberrant behavior - by students or teachers - is immediately brought to the attention of the entire community and a "democratic meeting" is held to resolve the issue and decide on consequences, if necessary. Acting out is never swept under the rug for the sake of the school's reputation, nor are bullies able to rise to power amongst the student population or the staff. As a result, integrity reigns at the Free School.

You ask - provocatively - "Should we not go to schools, hospitals, police stations, fire stations, therapists' offices, churches, temples, mosques, social services or any institution that has bad apples?"

Well, actually, my answer, without taking the bait of the way you framed the question, is that, yes, as much as possible, we should seek health care services, education and safety from providers who are "out of the box" of establishment institutions that have shown a tendency towards corruption and exploitation. I haven't been to a "mainstream" doctor in almost two decades, and I am in fine health as a result, and as a bonus, my immune system hasn't been destroyed by drugs. Likewise, I would be very hard-pressed to send a child of mine to a traditional doctor, a traditional school or a traditional psychotherapist, and I certainly wouldn't send anyone I loved to a church, temple or mosque of any kind. And as far as the police are concerned, on the rare occasions that I have been a victim of a crime, I have found the police to be indifferent and useless at best, if not altogether downright incompetent. (Although in fairness, when it comes to skulking around neighborhoods waiting for parking meters to run out, I have found cops to really be on their game!)

The nature of "conservatism" is to conserve traditional ways of doing things. The nature of "progressivism" is to explore new ways of doing things. When I examine history, I never find a time in the past that looks more inviting than the future, even when there are problems in the present. We grow by reconsidering and re-examining the way things are currently set up and operating, and knowing that we can do better.

I know we can do better.

Okay, Rick. That's it for now. Once again, welcome back! Hope your travels have been enlightening.


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