The incident of a man getting dragged off a United Airlines flight despite having paid for his seat has received near-universal condemnation.
Note that we said "near-universal." That's where WorldNetDaily columnist Sean Harshey comes in. He actually blames the man, David Dao, for making the decision to be dragged off the plane, and also for some reason "leftist individualism" for Dao thinking he had a right to take his flight because he paid for his seat and was already seated in it.
No, really. Harshey writes in his April 14 WND column:
Over the past several decades, Western civilization has been under relentless siege by leftists seeking control of the foundational institutions of our communities – courts, legislative bodies, academia, media, etc. – in order to tear down collective norms.
Over the past few years, however, there has been a new twist. A push by leftists to give individuals a veto over community standards with which they personally disagree. What to do when someone personally decides that marriage should be something besides what it has always been? The leftist answer is to allow every individual to redefine marriage to whatever they personally want it to mean. What about a man who decides that he wishes he were a woman – a biological, scientific and medical impossibility? Leftists control over foundational institutions is used to enforce his personal fiction on society, demanding he be treated and referred to as a woman, going so far as to permit him to dominate women in sports and intimidate them in restrooms.
The common theme is to turn community norms and standards upside down and portray them as an evil thing to be defeated instead of a good thing that holds us together. Chaos and confusion are the new “good” in place of order and peace.
To recap, Dr. Dao was in his seat on an airliner prior to takeoff. United reportedly overbooked the flight. Without sufficient volunteers, the airline selected random travelers for rebooking. Dao was asked by the flight crew to leave the aircraft. He refused. The flight crew summoned police who asked him to gather his belongings and exit the aircraft. He still refused. In video of the incident, Dao – a Kentucky physician – is seen screaming and physically fighting police efforts to remove him from his seat. Once pulled out of his seat, he goes limp on the floor, requiring police to drag him by the arms down the aisle of the aircraft.
As in the matters of Brown, Gray and Garner, most discussions ignore Dao’s fighting with police by debating the underlying reasons for his contact with officers. Why are airlines permitted to overbook flights? Or why was Dr. Dao allowed to board the airplane before being bumped? But these are not the decisions of police. They are not policies of the flight crew. When Dao was asked by the crew to leave the aircraft, or when he was ordered off the flight by police, that was not the time for a debate about the correctness of airline policies any more than a sidewalk on Staten Island was an appropriate place for Eric Garner to fight police because he disagrees with a law against selling individual cigarettes.
The difference with Dr. Dao is that many more Americans can relate to the aggravation of being bumped from a flight than can understand walking in the middle of a street, resisting arrest or selling cigarettes on the sidewalk. And, unlike Brown, Gray and Garner, Dr. Dao did nothing to cause the initial interaction with the flight crew. He was randomly selected.
The question remains, however: What should police have done instead? The doctor was forcibly removed from the aircraft because he would not stand up and walk out. The screaming, fighting and lying on the floor were all Dao’s choices.
If someone believes a law is dumb, should he be allowed to violate that law if he resists hard enough?
The situation with Dr. Dao and the police is another step toward the chaos liberals are urging in every corner of our culture. As much as we sympathize with his situation, we should resist joining in the calls for people to assert themselves as individual islands or sovereign nations in any and every situation at the cost of confusion and turmoil in our society.
Harshey is misleading in claiming that only "leftists" push individualism: The organization that publishes Harshey's column loves to tout individuals who break laws they think are dumb. The ones that say you have to pay your income tax, for instance.
Also, Dao violated no laws; United Airlines, utilizing what it claimed to be a company policy, arbitrarily chose him to be removed from the plane to allow an airline employee to fly in his place. If you are unfairly and arbitrarily being singled out because of a company policy, that would seem exactly the time to resist it.
United went there by dragging Dao off the plane and somebody caught it on video. Now it's paying the costs in terms of bad publicity and customer anger, and it's also been forced by the incident to change its policies.
Dao was clearly not planning to do what he did, but it worked in terms to drawing attention to the injustice of United's policies, and any lawsuit over it he may file against the airline is highly likely to be successful.