By Thorsten J. Pattberg for The Saker Blog
This is Part 2 of a series: “This concise text will introduce to our distinguished readers the most deadly ways to subvert, to demoralize, to lobotomize and finally to liquidize someone‘s brains… until they are reduced to nothing more than another helpless Schizo Fran or Mona Loser ready for suicide or the local madhouse. “
Not many relations are as stressful as those relations with a dedicated quibbler. The quibbler is a nitpicker, a raisin-slitter, a hard-ass over the tiniest details and forgettable non-problems – stuff we couldn’t care less about.
Such a person will effortlessly drive you mad. He will quibble over the definitions of words, worry about trivialities and find flaws in every case you present to him.
“Buddhism was founded in India and spread to East Asia, but in India itself it declined after the 12th Century. ” “Not true,” says the quibbler. He has “seen a Buddha statue in New Delhi last year on a business trip with Joe!” Indeed, the quibbler’s sole proclivity in any conversation might just be to disassemble, to discourage or to sabotage what is the case. This can be done by a sly lawyer who objects to anything the prosecution champions out of principle in order to derail proper proceedings; or it can be done by a chatty manager who shamelessly blames middle management or the bookkeepers in order to obfuscate responsibility.
So, when US president Bill Clinton in 1998 technically lied under oath to Congress that he did not have a sexual relation with Monica Lewinsky or any other staff member in the Oval Office, he was nevertheless immediately acquitted during his impeachment trial. This was the result of Bill’s impeccable quibbling to Puritan theology: Apparently, the president was under the general impression, shared by the sages in Congress, that “sexual relations” does not say casual blow-jobs.
Nervous quibbling had divided the nation before in 1995 during the O. J. Simpson murder trial, in which former sports icon and movie actor Mr. Simpson was de facto found guilty for the double-murder of his wife and her lover, but de jure acquitted because of a shriveled glove and a gutty defense lawyer: “If the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”
In big business just as in big politics, during all the important negotiating, contracting and bargaining, the quibblers – not the signatures – are usually in charge. They come for the details and will phrase and interpret the whole thing any way they want. As one anecdotal divorce lawyer assured his client: “You reached an agreement with your wife not to tell anyone? Well, how about you write it down then and leave it on my desk.”
When the United States in 2003 primed for invading oil-rich Iraq, it summoned the Pentagon’s archaic scammers and pettifoggers to legislate a new legal category – that of a ‘preemptive war’ – to stop Saddam Hussein before he could be defending himself with weapons of mass destruction, even though Mr. Hussein had no such weapons. This giant elephant in the room of course didn’t bother war preparations, as the lawfins in Washington now argued that “preemptive war” could mean anything, including destroying Iraq before it could have been acquiring such weapons in theory in a parallel universe of thoughtful quibbling.
Unsurprisingly, quibbling in western Christian denomination has always been associated with ‘the devil’, and the quibblers in literature were ‘the devil’s advocates’. A nation of quibblers, on the other hand, cannot be deterred by ethics or morality. Hence the Americans’ relentless digging the ‘the rule of law’ from under the rest of the world: At one point, the freest people in the world employed 2/3 of lawyers on this planet.
The author is a German writer and cultural critic.