John Livingston

What is True of the Part

The fallacy of composition is an informal fallacy that arises when one infers that something is true of the whole from the fact that it is true of some part of the whole.

My two closest adult friends are Catholic Priests. . Fr. Pat Russell was a legend in the Idaho Catholic Community. Standing all of 4 feet he was a giant as he projected his faith. Born with a devastating demineralizing bone disease—Osteogenesis imperfecta, in his lifetime he survived hundreds of fractures and over 40 major surgical procedures. I was with him the day he died ten years ago and even on his death bed he was inspirational and faithful as he continued to project and spirit of equanimity, peace, and an unwavering faith in God.

Fr. Lance Krzywicki was an Attorney and worked on Wall Street before he became a Priest. His intellect, faith in God, and unwavering love for me in a time of great sadness allowed my family to survive a difficult time in our lives.

Whenever I went out to dinner with either of my friends, they always wore their Roman Collars. One time, I asked them why and they opined that for people who see them and may not believe in God, they at least for a moment think of Him when they see the collar. In later years they stopped wearing the collar I again asked them why. “Because everybody when they see a Roman Collar thinks of the sex scandal in the Catholic Church instead of thinking about God,” was their answer.

Several studies have demonstrated that the percentage of Catholic Priests that were directly involved in the sexual abuse of vulnerable people and who leveraged their positions of authority and respect for their own self-gratification were less than 2%. About the same number as abusive elementary school teachers and pediatricians who have also been identified as being groups where sexual abuse is problematic. The number of people who were knowing and complicit in these abuses—including high-ranking Bishops and administrators in our schools and medical schools, is also extremely problematic.

As groups, Catholic Priests, elementary school teachers, and teachers, and pediatricians are the most unselfish and magnanimous people in our society. To impugn their characters and motives based on the sinful wickedness of the few is wrong and hurtful.

The fallacy of composition is an informal fallacy that arises when one infers that something is true of the whole from the fact that it is true of some part of the whole. Like the Story of THE BLIND MAN AND THE ELEPHANT, where six sojourn Indian peasants after examining the different parts of an elephant came to different conclusions of what an elephant really looks like, the condemning of whole groups of people, institutions, and organizations based on the immoral actions of a very small minority of people within that group is wrong, hurtful, and counterproductive on so many levels. We should focus our wrath on the leaders in those organizations who knowingly allowed for those types of people to continue to be a part of their organizations.

I am a big supporter of our military, our police departments, and all agencies of government that are charged with providing for “The Common Defense” of WE THE PEOPLE. In doing so we recognize that we relinquish a piece of our own individual sovereignty, with the promise that they will be ultimately accountable to us. Painting with broad strokes and criticizing the system provides the opportunity for the abusers of power to hide behind the shield of “Process”. Individuals should be held accountable for their own individual actions, and the 98% of good people who are lumped into the bad suffer severely and we are all hurt. Look at how the police were demonized after George Floyd, as the defunding of police in major cities became politically fashionable, violent crimes in those cities increased by 20%, and homicide rates increased similarly. Fatal police shootings of civilians also increased—did you know that 70% of those shootings involved non-Black people (Asian, Hispanic, and White)? By condemning all of one group of people, 98% who do their jobs honorably and put their lives on the line every day to protect us, puts the lives of our families in more not less danger.

I have known for years and written in previous articles about the dangers of Federal Government Programs—originally called Family Advocacy Programs (FAP) that had their origins in the late 70’s in the military and have now infiltrated into all the States with the promise of government subsidies to the people participating within the system. Most people working within the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (DHW), Child Protective Services (CPS), Family Court (FC) are good people with virtuous motives. The same can be said about those working in our hospitals in the CARES programs that are designed to protect kids. But just like in our medical schools, elementary schools, and in the Catholic Church a small minority of evil people can cause a great deal of damage to individuals and families. For the sake of our children and their mothers and fathers but also for the sake of the great majority of people who work unselfishly to take care of us, let’s not paint with broad strokes.

I support the family of baby Cyrus 100%. They as a family have been subjected to a great evil. People in positions of authority within our government—the executive branch, The Governor, and the Director of (DHW), the judiciary, judges and prosecutors doing the business of family court, hospital administrators who are charged with the overseeing of cares programs, are in the same position that Catholic Bishops and Church administrators were in 30 years ago. Great leaders demand and accept scrutiny. The best commanding officer I ever had in the Navy was the Captain of the USS Virginia. He looked forward to every inspection—operational, nuclear, weapons etc., because it provided an opportunity to prove to himself and his crew how well they were doing their jobs. The Idaho (DHW) has been identified as administering the 4th most fraudulent Medicaid reimbursement system in the country with a 39% false billing and false claims rate, yet there have been no audits—operational or financial. This lack of desire for accountability is for only two reasons. Our political leaders don’t want to be accountable, or they don’t care. If either case is true, this points to corruption at the highest levels in our state government. This should be the primary issue in the upcoming primaries. Those running for Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General should be asked about the corruption that is so ubiquitous in our State Government and are they willing if elected to weed it out.

The Baby Cyrus case may be an aberration—or not. His family needs to have the yoke taken off their backs. We need to look at the whole system of child protective services. Those in the system should look forward to such scrutiny if they believe they are doing their jobs the way they are supposed to. My guess is that there are some problems. My guess also is that those people in positions of authority, both in the executive branch and the courts, don’t want to know about the problems and they will fight against any form of accountability that questions their power and leverage. The “Ostrich in the Sand” eventually must raise her head.

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