Universal Translator

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Matt Taibbi on Occupy Davis

I swear, I will stop writing about this whole Liberty/Freedom distinction.  For one thing, it is tiresome to hear yourself keep spouting off about the same "revelation."  For another, it isn't much of a revelation.

Still . . . Matt Taibbi has a great piece up over at his blog, and - again - he seems to be dealing with the same kind of thoughts.  As always, please do click over and read Matt's take on the UC-Davis pepper spraying of unarmed, non-violent, peaceful protesters.

Here's a taste:
What happened at UC Davis was the inevitable result of our failure to make sure our government stayed in the business of defending our principles. When we stopped insisting on that relationship with our government, they became something separate from us.
And we are stuck now with this fundamental conflict, whereby most of us are insisting that the law should apply equally to everyone, while the people running this country for years now have been operating according to the completely opposite principle that different people have different rights, and who deserves what protections is a completely subjective matter, determined by those in power, on a case-by-case basis.
Not to belabor the point, but the person who commits fraud to obtain food stamps goes to jail, while the banker who commits fraud for a million-dollar bonus does not. Or if you accept aid in the form of Section-8 housing, the state may insist on its right to conduct warrantless "compliance check" searches of your home at any time – but if you take billions in bailout aid, you do not even have to open your books to the taxpayer who is the de facto owner of your company.
The state wants to retain the power to make these subjective decisions, because being allowed to selectively enforce the law effectively means they have despotic power. And who wants to lose that?
The UC Davis incident crystallized all of this in one horrifying image. Anyone who commits violence against a defenseless person is lost. And the powers that be in this country are lost. They’ve been going down this road for years now, and they no longer stand for anything.  
(emphasis added).
Lord knows I've been a critic of the Occupy movement and its tactics, but maybe I've just been overly focused on the achievement of small-term, small-time, concrete goals.

If The Powers That Be overreact so badly to so little, one just has to think that maybe Occupy is really on to something here.  Maybe it is enough -- right now -- simply to keep pointing out how far America falls in failing to be what it promised us.

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