Two Protestors (and some other thoughts)

Shelley Luther, a Dallas hairstylist who has made national news, was held in contempt of court and jailed for opening her salon in defiance of an order to stay closed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. This matter has some interesting aspects.

These is a legal doctrine called the “collateral bar rule” that hold one cannot defend conduct disobeying a court order before challenging it in a higher court.  Ms. Luther did that, so her act may have been legally unjustified. Not knowing all the fact, I decline to express an opinion

It is also reported that the judge in the case called upon Ms. Luther to apologize and admit she was being “selfish” for opening her salon in defiance of his order. She declined to do so. Now there are some, if not many sub rosa, who believe selfishness, properly understood, is a virtue. Ayn Rand was among the first to point that out explicitly. She wrote a series of essays in a volume entitled as such. Actually, without using so many words, Adam Smith believed that and implied so in his great work on economics, The Wealth of Nations.  The idea there is that taking care of yourself first is necessary, otherwise one cannot help anyone else.  There are numerous examples of this. And most of those who proclaim their own altruism, are really trying to signal what they believe is their virtue, all for self-aggrandizement.

Finally, and most interesting, Shelley shares a surname with the man who started the longest running protest of it all, Martin Luther. Four hundred ninety-nine years ago in the year 1521, Martin stood before the Imperial diet (council) in the city of Worms — present Germany– and refused to recant his then heretical religious beliefs. “Hier stehe ich. Ich kann nicht anders. Gott helf mir (Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me.)” His recalcitrance exposed him to being burned at the stake, a much worse fate than Shelley was exposed to. But as Shelley had her Greg Abbott, Martin had a patron in the Elector of Saxony, who had little use for the Emperor, who doubtless he would have regarded a real Palpatine. (You know that George Lucas didn’t make any of his stuff up.)

Both Luthers were set free.

 

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