Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Threats from the State

They say that 'politics makes strange bedfellows' but sometimes I am amazed that different groups do not find common cause and work together.  For example, there are right-wing libertarians that distrust or even hate government, and mutter darkly about growing government power and its ability to hurt ordinary citizens.  But they never seem to provide concrete examples of such government abuse.  When they discuss their fears, their arguments often seem vague and mostly ideological.

And then there are the left-wingers who constantly bring up real examples of government abuse, such as the execution of an innocent man in Texas and the detention and rendition of an innocent man in the Washington airport.  They do an excellent job of showing the horrible violations of liberty that our government has perpetrated, but never seem to make the logical connection that big government inherently leads to these kinds of things.  They seem to think that government would be fine if we fixed a few things.

Both groups rightly complain that the apathy and ignorance of ordinary citizens allows and even encourages the government to get away with harming people and perverting justice.  But they never seem to find common cause.  I'm not sure why.  It may be ideology, or simply a failure of communication.  The kinds of people who read right-wing gun-nut blogs might not even be aware of the kinds of things uncovered by the Innocence Project, and the kinds of people who protest police treatment of minorities might not even be aware of the philosophical arguments for limiting the power of the state.

That's all I feel like writing today.  If you are not aware of how ignorant police arson investigators condemned an innocent man, read the story in the first link.  I may come back to the topic later, as it relates to what I keep saying about the scientific method.

It is an excellent example of why you should always question self-proclaimed authorities, and of the consistent fallacies of human reasoning and memory.

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