Lessons from a Tragedy at Sea

by Jonah Goldberg

Rich Lowry had a good column on the death knell to chivalry posed by the Contra Concordia disaster. I agree with Rich and I think the whole thing is beyond awful and my heart goes out to the families involved.

But I’d like to add two observations. First, the outrage over Francesco Schettino’s abominable behavior is apparently eliciting a healthy counter-reaction of disgust among the seafaring community. This is an important point, I think. The idea that the Captain must be the last to leave his ship after doing everything he (or she) can to ensure the safety of the passengers and crew is essentially, fundamentally, good dogma. Good dogma needs to be replenished every now and then and widespread disgust at violations of good dogma is one way that happens. Obviously, I’d rather this tragedy didn’t happen. But the values that Rich sees being trampled on the Contra Concordia are being reaffirmed in the aftermath of this disaster.

Second, there’s something about this disaster that I find oddly reassuring, for want of a less

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