“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Suicide. Death of a Madam.
Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the "D.C. Madam'' who committed suicide last week, left behind a note for her mother saying she couldn't bear prison. Copies of the notes are here and another to her sister here. Palfrey made the irreversible decision that death at her own hands was preferable to a life controlled by others. She was facing prison and decided to kill herself, all for getting caught selling sex. To me the entire episode sounds absurd and is a macabre tragic farce.
There are multiple degrees of absurdity to all of our lives. Most felons guilty of the worst crimes will do anything to avoid the death penalty, but Ms. Palfrey executed herself for what many people hardly view as a crime at all. The law makers who used the services of Ms. Palfrey constitute a special category of absurd hypocrites.
I suppose that there are legitimate reasons for taking your own life. Absurdity must be one of them.