Road Rage With Missiles

 

Me, six years ago:

 

 

When we react with anger to some­one else, we’re gen­er­ally try­ing to teach them a les­son. A judge once told me that anger is usu­ally the result of either a loss of con­trol or a per­ceived loss of dig­nity; I think that he got it right. When we try to teach another per­son a les­son, we’re try­ing to show them that they can’t take away our con­trol or dig­nity and get away with it.

President Obama, nine days ago:

This attack is an assault on human dignity.

Me, five years ago:

“I’ll show him!” That’s the ret­ribu­tive impulse in a nut­shell, isn’t it? The desire, when some­one angers us by mak­ing us feel a loss of con­trol or a per­ceived loss of dig­nity, to regain con­trol and dig­nity by “teach­ing him a les­son”?…

It dri­ves pros­e­cu­tors to put peo­ple in prison (hold them account­able! teach them a les­son!), it causes domes­tic assaults, and it results in road-rage incidents.

The President, nine days ago:

…I’m confident we can hold the Assad regime accountable for their use of chemical weapons….

Me, from the 2007 post:

What is road rage but an effort to teach the other guy a les­son? Dri­ver A makes a mis­take, and dri­ver B feels a loss of con­trol. So Dri­ver B then flips dri­ver A off, and dri­ver A feels a loss of dig­nity. So Dri­ver A brake-checks dri­ver B, and Dri­ver B feels a loss of both con­trol and dig­nity. So Dri­ver B runs Dri­ver A off the road, and Dri­ver A feels a loss of con­trol and dig­nity as well. Soon some­one is get­ting shot on the median and some­one is get­ting charged with mur­der. These things tend to turn bru­tally expen­sive for every­one involved really quickly.

And that’s what the President wants to get us into in Syria. Except of course the consequences will be much more brutally expensive than any run-of-the-mill road rage.

All because his dignity got a little bruised.

Congress would do well to heed a little street wisdom:

Even if the odds are more even, though, being the aggres­sor in a road-rage inci­dent is a bad idea. Unless you plan to stay in your car and shoot the guy who has deprived you of your pre­cious dig­nity (a good way to get indicted), you’re either going to (A) dam­age your car while dam­ag­ing his (explain that to your insur­ance com­pany. and your wife); or (B) get out of your car and risk get­ting your stu­pid self run over (if you get out of your car, in my view the other dri­ver should rea­son­ably assume that you are car­ry­ing a gun and intend­ing to use it on him). There is lit­tle upside to a road-rage inci­dent. It’s much cheaper to swal­low your pride and go home.