Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Exception and the Rule

MERCHANT: To assume that the Coolie would not strike me down at the first opportunity would have been to assume he had lost his reason.

JUDGE: You mean you assumed with justification that the Coolie must have had something against you. You may, then, have killed a man who possibly was harmless -- because you couldn't know he was harmless.

MERCHANT: One must go by the rule, not by the exception.

JUDGE: Then I pronounce the verdict. The Court regards it as proven that the Coolie approached his mater not with a stone but with a water flask. But even when this is granted, it is more credible that the Coolie wished to kill his master than that he wished to give him something to drink. The Merchant did not belong to the same class as his carrier. He had therefore to expect the worst from him. The Merchant could not believe in an act of comradeship on the part of a carrier whom, as he has confessed, he had brutalized. Good sense told him he was threatened in the highest degree. The accused acted, therefore, in justifiable self-defense -- it being a mater of indifference whether he was threatened or must feel himself threatened. In the circumstances he had to feel himself threatened. The accused is therefore acquitted.


  1. Yeesh, more from the Marxist Aesop, clubbing us over the head with cartoon ironies.

    Josh, you must be the last man on earth who mistakes Brecht's puerile cynicism for serious social critique.