19 April 2010

Bait and Switch

Coyote blog | Warren Meyer | Here is the Key Bait and Switch

Bill Clinton joined a number other leftish writers of late trying to marginalize those who criticize the government (and in particular, I think, the Tea Party folks). I am really not going to comment much on this attempt, except to say that we endured something identical during the Iraq war, with the BS about not criticizing the President during wartime.

Here is the key bait and switch in Clinton’s argument:
But we should remember that there is a big difference between criticizing a policy or a politician and demonizing the government that guarantees our freedoms and the public servants who enforce our laws.
The government that guarantees our freedoms? I suppose this sounds sort of good if one just lets it roll by, but in the context of our country’s formation, this is absurd. The only threat to freedom that the founders of this nation were concerned about was the government itself.

The government is the only entity with the power to use force and the power to grab money without permission. As such, the founders recognized it as the single most potent threat to freedom that could possibly exist. All their efforts were aimed at constructing limitations and protections from the power of government itself.
Hear, hear.  Freedom is not something granted to us by the state.

Can you spot the other bait-and-switch?

Clinton claims that it's okay to dislike policies (i.e. legislation and regulation) but it's not okay to dislike the people who enforce those policies.  These policies would not exist without the legislators who draft them, the regulators who refine them, and the policemen, bureaucrats, tax collectors et al. who put them into practice.  You can't decouple the rules from the rule-makers and rule-implementers.

"Policy" does not exist on some Platonic plane: it is the result of willful, intentional actions by human beings.  Those men bear responsibility for the rules they create and enforce.

PS Clinton's government killed 76 people, including 20 children and 2 pregnant women, 17 years ago today because they were weird.  No wonder the murderous, perfidious crook wants to disassociate the actions of a government from the people who lead it.

My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.
– Adlai Stevenson

PPS Radley Balko points out that this is also the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

It is also the anniversary of MacArthur's farewell address to Congress.  I mention that because (a) it's an superb piece of oratory, and (b) the whole episode of MacArthur's relief is an excellent demonstration that policy can not be uncoupled from policy makers and implementers.

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