Frisk Me

A dinner table conversation last night that began in praise of the NYC police commissar’s “stop and frisk” policy morphed into a discussion of government security measures in general and whether they actually protect us from black people crime or black people with towels on their heads terrorism or, rather, simply act as pretexts for the repression of officially unapproved activities that have nothing to do with either crime or terrorism. What follows are statements that were made in defense of police state policies. Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

I’ve Got Nothing to Hide said, “I wouldn’t mind being frisked…as long as they weren’t giving me cavity searches or something like that. I don’t like being spied on by the government, and I see how such a program could be abused, but honestly, I don’t really care if a few potheads get thrown in jail…If it prevents my kids from getting shot or bombed, I’m all for it.”

Translation: I’m pretty sure shopping will never be outlawed. And: Please please PLEASE keep me and my children safe!

Government is Wasteful and Inefficient said, “I’m not afraid of the government. The government is totally inept.”

Translation: What I really mean is that I’m sure the government couldn’t possibly be inept enough to mistake me for a troublemaker.

Security is Freedom said, “You’d feel differently if something happened to you.”

Translation: I’ve never been stopped and harassed by thuggish cops for merely walking down the street while wearing the wrong skin color.

Government Persecution is a Thing of the Past said, “I don’t buy into this right-wing fear of the government. It’s not the 1950s anymore.”

Translation: I haven’t seen any famous Hollywood people dragged up in front of a congressional committee, so clearly that type of thing doesn’t happen anymore; and anyone who thinks otherwise must be a paranoid birther.

Nothing too surprising here: A handful of largely apolitical, reflexively conservative middle-class whites who don’t feel threatened by the state security apparatus. Obviously, the problem is in assuming that since it’s not happening to you, it must not be happening to anybody; or, worse, it’s in putting security over freedom—that is, your security over everyone else’s freedom.

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Show me you really care

As I mentioned before, the beauty of having Ron Paul as a presidential candidate is the turd-in-the-punchbowl effect he has on the defenders of the political status quo, whether “left” or “right,” in our midst.  This time we have a nice twofer from the liberal camp (one, two), wherein we learn, among other things, that Ron Paul isn’t really a civil libertarian because his opposition to the Patriot Act and the War on Drugs isn’t based on any genuine concern for civil liberties but rather opposition to federal legislation.  Proof of this is that he also opposes the Civil Rights Act.  Now, if you assume that a federal law is the only thing standing between relative freedom for blacks and the return of Jim Crow, and that “states’ rights” is just code for “oppression of minorities,” then I guess you might have a point.  On the other hand, the Patriot Act and its various offshoots are pretty clearly about making it easier for the feds to trample on whatever rights U.S. subjects–pardon me, citizens–are still, more or less, permitted to enjoy.  Also, the implication that the War on Drugs is somehow not a civil rights issue, especially considering how it disproportionately screws over blacks, is just absurd (not to mention ironic, coming from people who are apparently so concerned about the welfare of the poor and minorities).

Even more ridiculous, though, is the idea that he’s not actually anti-war.  It’s just that he doesn’t care enough about foreigners to drop bombs on them.  No, seriously:

But the nature of his anti-war stance is fundamentally different from that of liberal opposition to any given war. The tipoff is in his opposition to foreign aid, and his anti-United Nations position: he’s anti-war because the rest of the world just isn’t worth it.

And what exactly does “liberal opposition to any given war” mean in practice?  Voting for a “peace” candidate, who, once in office, proceeds to continue prosecuting the wars liberals oppose while expanding them into new areas?  At least ABL is honest when she writes, “So, am I monster for caring more about my uterus and the rights of minorities and the underclass than I am about the victims of drone strikes in a foreign land? Maybe. But I’m ok with it.”

Not to get too into trying to divine motive here, but it sure seems like the real problem is that certain liberals just hate seeing a conservative take a more principled stance on their issues, while their savior, the glorious Obamalord, continues to prove that he has no principles.

But even if it’s all true, and Paul really doesn’t give two shits about civil liberties and it’s just all about hating the federal government—who cares?   If you’re rotting in jail on drug charges and somebody comes along and tells you you’re free to go, are you going to question their motives before you agree to leave?  Only if you’re a fool.  Or a liberal, apparently.