Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Drop that Chalupa, Pedro

When those cold war movies I grew up on wanted to let you know the scene was not in the land of the free, we were furnished with Angst ridden scenes where the protagonist was asked for his papers by someone in a leather trench coat on some dark street corner. Maybe his accent was showing, the cut of his clothes -- maybe it was just routine, but we were all grateful that back here, in "freedom" we could go about our business without worry and the government was on our side.

The strangest thing about Arizona's new knee jerk immigration law is that Arizona is the spiritual home of small-government libertarianism and the feeling that Government is a necessary evil; perhaps more evil than necessary. They don't want the government telling them when and where or if they can keep and bear and conceal weapons, what they can eat, smoke or drink or what they can do on their property. They don't trust public education or public radio and they sure as hell don't want to pay for them. I suspect they'd raise holy hell if the police were to stop them at random looking for contraband or illegal weapons or even a drivers license, yet they're apparently quite happy to demand that anyone "suspicious" in that state must keep proof of citizenship on their person at all times, display such proof to any cop that feels like demanding it, or face serious consequences. Of course, if you're white, you're probably all right, so never mind.

To any unbiased observer this alone would more than hint of a police state and unconstitutional government interference in private life.

Sure, if the Arizona police were perfect human beings there would be little concern, but they're far from that. Still, those self-styled Libertarians seem quite happy to give unprecedented and perhaps unconstitutional power to Law enforcement to stop people and demand papers. It's pretty hard to maintain the pose of strict constitutional limits on government when the power reserved for the judicial branch is given to a cop on the beat. The various issues surrounding protecting citizens from government powers of search and seizure were a cornerstone of our rebellion against British rule -- as I shouldn't have to remind anyone.

Dare I speculate that the Libertarian label might, for a great many people, sometimes be only the phony ID that authoritarianism carries?

Evidently fear of aliens overrides high principle and what Arizona really wants is a government that cuts a swath through the law to root out what they want rooted out -- and the Constitution be damned. What they want is a government that lays it's fingers heavily on people they don't like and lays completely off anything that stands between them and whatever they please. Sorry cowboy; when you add in the racist element, this situational Libertarianism is too much like Fascism to make it worth trying to find a difference.

1 comment:

d nova said...

ja! i recall pre-cold-war flix like dat.

da phrase, always delivered in a tone o polite but insistent menace, was "Papieren, bitte!"

every now n then i get a chance 2 talk 2 a libertarian. most o it sounds like rationalization 4 stinginess or greed. apparently they have other anxieties 2.