Monday, July 27, 2009

Authoritarianism, not racism, is the elephant in the Gates-Crowley room

Have Americans really lost the suspicion of authority that Jefferson seemed to think was indispensable in a free country? Seems like the answer to that is a resounding yes.
Sure, we should treat the cops with respect and society shouldn't encourage people to be reflexively hostile to police. They have a tough job, and we should all be properly respectful of people who are doing a dangerous and necessary job for the community. But when a citizen doesn't behave well, if not illegally, as will happen in a free society, it is incumbent upon the police, the ones with the tasers and the handcuffs and the guns, to exercise discretion wisely and professionally. And when they don't, we shouldn't make excuses for them. It's far more corrosive to society to allow authority figures to abuse their power than the other way around.
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