On Self Righteousness and Perry Mason

My Dad and I were watching an episode of Perry Mason the other morning and Perry was talking to the wealthy founder of an investment banking firm on behalf of his client. The client had worked brilliantly to enrich the founder but when he was accused of murder the founder fired him immediately because he didn’t want his company’s reputation stained. He said this with a smarmy, self righteous manner. He had no time to see how the case played out, which really meant he had no time for the truth or justice, although those outcomes are rarely the result of adjudication in the American legal system.

The founder’s self righteousness rankled Perry. He grilled the founder on his rush to judgment and wondered how any company led my such a self righteous man could have ever lasted as long as it had.

It occurred to me watching the show that Perry Mason crusades for justice, the wrongly accused and the downtrodden but never in a self righteous manner. Not once in all 250+ episodes. He never rushes to judgment like virtually everyone else does (and this was decades before social media and how that disease has enabled rushes to judgment with exponential speed).

Perry insisted the man was premature in his beliefs. There is always more than meets the eye, which is a great saying but nearly lost in American culture as a course of thought.

So many people, on the Left and Right (although the Left is probably worse) enjoy taking the low road, the gutter, with their instant judgments that highlight their self righteousness. There is no hesitation, let alone deliberation. Reckless and bandwagon judgment is one of the most distasteful and dangerous traits a person can practice, It is also as easy as walking through air.

If only we had more Perry Masons around.

I can’t think of another show that makes re reflect on ethics like this show does. That’s why I watch it with my Dad every weekday morning.