Re: Trust No One


Uh-oh. My car "contains toxic or poisonous chemicals or their immediate precursors." Also, the chemicals used to power my car "are toxic and highly combustible." Good thing Unf's a lawyer.

Posted by: Bob | Link to this comment | 08- 4-03 1:44 PM
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"That is the logic of law enforcement. It tends toward control, not liberty."

I think this is a very important point. Much as I oppose this, and related developments stemming from anti-terrorism policies, I also worry when people start talking about "fascism." That just ups the rhetorical ante, and ends by weakening the force of the substantive arguments against abuses of the laws. I believe it is more productive to realize that the logic of law enforcement tends toward control, and that we must therefore be at all times (though at some times even more so than at other times) vigilant about maintaining and safeguarding our liberties.

Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 08- 4-03 7:31 PM
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Very good point about the level of rhetoric.

I sometimes wonder whether most political rhetoric isn't aimed at journalists. Almost everybody won't ever hear what the National Review or The Nation says about something. It makes more sense to imagine that most journalists are trying to influence the coverage of the few who have an audience among that great middle that is not either totally indifferent or addicted to news.

As for law enforcement, I also like using the word "tends" because I want to keep from villianizing people: it's likely that I would be doing what they are doing, were I in their place and responsible for people's lives. Since I'm not in their place, I have different obligations: to complain about what they do, for one.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 4-03 8:23 PM
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It's important to realize that law enforcement is not making these decisions. Charging decisions are made entirely by prosecutors, who are not involved in law enforcement per se, but rather in the process that takes place after an individual has been arrested and charged with a particular crime. Prosecutors can choose to charge the crime a police officer recommends, a lesser crime, or, as in thise case, a much higher crime; or even not at all. Once law enforcement does its job of investigating and detaining an alleged criminal, the criminal justice process then falls squarely on the shoulders of the prosecution to determine an appropriate charge.

Posted by: th3rma1 | Link to this comment | 08- 6-03 12:02 AM
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That's a fair point. I was using "law enforcement" too broadly. Nevertheless, those institutional systems intended to ensure compliance with the law tend toward control. We, as citizens, have to be vigilant in checking that tendency.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 6-03 12:07 AM
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