[No Comment ]L’Espirit de l’escalier | Harper's Magazine

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[No Comment]

L’Espirit de l’escalier

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Having just posted on the curious ransacking of the office of Siegelman’s attorney, I just want to make clear that I am in no way suggesting that the forces involved with the Siegelman prosecution had anything to do with this or any of the other curious goings-on in Alabama. After all, we know that Karl Rove was in Hershey, Pennsylvania through the weekend.

But it is worth considering – would people who committed the sorts of crimes that went on in court all the way through the Siegelman prosecution hesitate for even a second about a petty burglary? On this point, Thomas de Quincey put it very well in his little essay Murder Considered as one of the Fine Arts (1827):

If once a man indulges himself in murder, very soon he comes to think little of robbing; and from robbing he comes next to drinking and Sabbath-breaking, and from that to incivility and procrastination.

And the next thing you know, he’ll be putting his commas outside the quotation marks. And with that, all human civilization will collapse.

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