Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I feel sadly vindicated in my weird political views critical of the government:  empowering the government to tell people what to do, and empowering government recklessly in an insane rush to "protect" ourselves and our "homeland," certainly didn't diminish the likelihood of cops arresting someone for taking their photo, or pepper-spraying kids "impermissibly" sitting on a sidewalk. . . .

So the next time you clap when Congress says it might outlaw charging fees for checked baggage, or force businesses to remain open certain hours, ask yourself whether you want to empower these people.  I like to check my bags without pulling out a
    debit card as much as the next fella, but

Remember:  among other things, government is ultimately people with guns telling folks what to do.

And I like this day and age: being critical of my government doesn't immediately render me a "right-wing kook" or a "left-wing kook". . . .


Mister Parker said...

Ah, mister muleboy, all your pals know you're neither a left-wing kook nor a right-wing kook -- you're a blue-eyed kook.

In-joke there for fans of classic Mad magazine ...

mister muleboy said...

i don't understand

what we have here is a failure to communicate

thingy said...

What's your solution, or, don't you care, either way?

mister muleboy said...

What's your solution, or, don't you care, either way?

Oh, I care. Too much, probably. . . .

My solution to overreaching government, or my solution to the world's problems, which others propose be answered by government overreaching?

My answer to one actually involves, in part, my answer to both. I would curtail the government's actions, at the expense of some "good" things that might be achieved by government, but which I believe ultimately come at too high a price.

If you're looking for specific actions, I guess I'd say that at this stage, I'll vote for candidates that recognize the authoritarian bent of our government, and express a desire and some plan to change it. I'll also, hopefully, challenge arbitrary, overreaching authority. If I have the ball.

I think that we have, for instance, blurred the distinction between safety and soundness with many other laudable goals. But by removing the checks on power, including any idea of limited government (especially national), we have

removed the checks on power.

So having meat inspectors to ensure that meat is gathered in sanitary conditions and transported by refrigeration has now morphed into having a notion that government is largely free, if it can identify a benefit, to regulate any behaviour in the meat-packing plant. The sole remaining checks on the government are the limited resources and attention span of those identifying all the good that we can do.

I will vote for candidates who say that they'll install as many checks on the government as they reasonably can.

So yes, I would let passengers who don't rise from their seat curse at flight attendants without going to jail, I would let photographers take photographs of policemen as the police do their policing, and I would let kids sit on the sidewalk even though they're not supposed to without firing pepper spray into their passive little eyes.

To ensure that, I would keep the federal government from mandating calorie disclosures, from sending federal investigators to state colleges, and from sending feds to investigate local crimes. I would, in part, revive federalism because I think that someone in Akron can see and shame and stop an Akron mayor, or a state legislator in Columbus, more readily than they can get to their U.S. representative's legislative aide.

This is all wasted effort, btw -- the toothpaste's outta the tube, as "they" say. Do you actually think that your local police, with their Patriot-Act provided SWAT gear, are gonna give it up? Or are they gonna use it more and more, thus perpetuating a "need" for it.

The sky fell.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

I feel quite confident that my support for involvement by the federal government in necessary and appropriate roles - where an overarching structure is required to solve national problems - can in no way be blamed or even connected with UC Davis or the photo-taking crackdown.

I DO however see the through-line that you describe from terrorism-Patriot Act-paramilitarization of our - ahem - *LOCAL* police departments to the recent examples of abusive crackdown on dissent.

Don't you know, George Bailey? Every time a USDA Inspector earns hiw wings, a student protestor gets shot in the eye!

In other words, I'll keep the meat inspectors and not so much the police state, thank you. Any minimally decent civilation should be able to figure out how to have one without the other.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

And here's Greenwald arguing that the 1st amendment is largely illusory, that peaceful dissent had never really been tolerated in this country, and that the events-of-you-know-when just exacerabted the whole problem.


mister muleboy said...

Any minimally decent civilation should be able to figure out how to have one without the other.

Here's where we disagree, and probably always have. Decent civilizations have little to do with it - the actors are ultimately men and women, who have historically demonstrated little ability to not institutionalize their exercise of authority, and then seek to enhance it. And ultimately wield that power. So while I think that meat inspectors are good things, I think that there is a line between them and UC Davis. It's an interruptable line, but it requires a vigilant recollection and awareness that power expands and power is seized.

So I, too, would like meat inspectors, hold the police state. But I believe that one can lead, slowly yet inexorably, to the next.

Mister Parker said...

Actually, airlines are less regulated now than ever before, and in terms of government violence, pepper spray from a campus cop hardly compares to the good old fashioned thuggery of Bull Connor or Mayor Daley.

One might call this progress.

And far from being a step on the slippery slope of socialism, I don't think a government solution to the multi-headed problem of runway delays is an example of over-reach, it's the only available market response to a problem that no one private individual or entity (airline, airport, customer) can solve unilaterally. For good or ill, as a country we've put all our long-distance travel eggs in the airline basket, and when an industry has a virtual monopoly on a service -- because "drive for three days" "stay home" or "fly our competitor who does the same thing" aren't realistic alternatives -- the government is the only entity with the power to solve the problem.

And while I know government interference in interstate commerce strikes fear in your libertarian heart, I would remind you, our Founding Fathers abandoned the old Articles of Confederation in favor of the Constitution because the former had no means of regulating interstate commerce. The Commerce Clause isn't a recent add-on fobbed off on us by pink-o liberals, it was the very reason our government as currently constituted exists.

mister muleboy said...

I think the shameless twisting of the Commerce Clause to regulate any human behaviour is what strikes fear in my libertarian heart, not the actual regulation of commerce as intended.

Somebody carrying a gun near a school or beating his wife or growing reefer in his backyard and selling it to a neighbour might be bad or good, but I don't think it's interstate commerce as most people would ow it.

And freeing the reins to do something you like is freeing the reins to do something you don't like.

And as I seem to repeat, my central premise is that a government given power becomes eager to wield it and reluctant to surrender it. So it should be given thoughtfully and reluctantly, imio

Btw, I like regulators specifying which plane takes off when

I dislike planes being sent back to the gate because an attendant dislikes a passenger's attitude.
And ibreally dislike a bullying security agent pulling someone from a line because that someone is "disrespectful.". Or spraying pepper spray at prone kids, quite casually, because those kids had the temerity to engage in civil disobedience.

And the disobedient civilians can't really complain as much as I can. They've elected to take their licks. *I* can complain, though -- the licks are being dispensed in my name. . . .