“Whenever Merck was up there [on the witness stand], it was like wah, wah, wah,” juror John Ostrom told The Wall Street Journal, imitating the drone of Charlie Brown’s teacher after dunning Merck & Co. for $253 million in damages. He was describing his own reason for finding that Merck’s Vioxx had killed a 59-year-old man, even though the trial established that the man had died of unrelated causes.
Ostrom’s fellow jurors don’t seem much cleverer. Marsha Robbins prayed to be made forewoman, and in an irrefutable proof of God’s bounty ended up getting the position uncontested. Lorraine Blas noted in her questionnaire that she’s a fan of The Oprah Winfrey Show, and when plaintiff’s lawyer Mark Lanier in his closing arguments suggested a guilty verdict might land the jury a spot on Oprah’s show, Blas, rather than being creeped out by this used car salesman’s trick, laughed and enjoyed the lawyer’s attention. And consider juror/medical genius Matthew Pallardy, who, despite evidence to the contrary, “kind of figured” the victim suffered from a Vioxx-related blood clot, “even if it went away real quick.”
The irony, here, is that this example of injustice in the form of gross incompetence and dereliction of a sworn oath is actually justice in action. It’s reality’s backlash against a culture that has come to promote frivolous, incurious, immature, unintellectual, and hedonist mediocrity. I see it virtually everywhere I look, nowadays.
At home, school, and even at work, we’re raising and sanctioning generations of the uninteresting, the shallow, and the moronic.
One way or another, you and I are going to pay for it.
When reality comes home to roost, it’s the purest form of justice because it’s perfectly Objective. Do you grasp the implications? This is justice at essentially a metaphysical level. You’ll pay because you’re a human being and so much of what’s going on is an abject rejection of all the principles necessary to live a human being’s life. That’s bound to effect you regardless of your own personal exercise of rationaliity and mature good sense.
On a related but different note with current personal undertones, I often ponder what I can do in this life to have some small effect, as well as to retain some measure of self-respect and integrity. I’ve argued many times for doing one’s best to go along and get along in order to have the most successful, happy, and fulfilled one-and-only life you can have (you’re welcome to delude yourself, but such delusions serve only to diminish the value of your one-and-only life).
What it’s really come down to, for me, time and time again, is to pursue an ideal of living with an extreme sense of justice. That means, ideally: a very careful exercise of mercy, forgiveness, and redemption. And, ideally: all come at a very stiff and inflexible price. The truth is, life is too short to waste it on bullshit all the time. I’m tired of being party to a moronic, "don’t-worry-be-happy" culture of perpetual and instantaneous forgiveness of any and every wrong with virtually no limit and no serious permanent repercussions.