Friday, May 14, 2010

Surprisingly, A Good Article On Big Government

I was scrolling down Big Government's first page when I came across this article about the Arizona immigration bill  written by Dr. Ronald L. Trowbridge.
Some major aspects of Arizona’s immigration law are Keynesian and left wing, and criticisms of these aspects are quite consistent with conservative values. I focus here on three of those values: one, the sovereignty of freedom; two, the sovereignty of the individual over the collective; three, the opposition to big government power.

S. B. 1070, in some key ways, falls short of these three principles.

One, the sovereignty of freedom: Often we are asked to choose between freedom and safety–and many understandably choose safety. But in S. B. 1070 precious little safety is provided in reality. If in enforcing this law there must be “lawful contact” with possible illegal immigrants and “the most likely context where this law would come into play is a traffic stop,” very few of Arizona’s 500,000 illegal immigrants will be caught. But freedoms of many innocent people will be intruded upon. Of this, there is no doubt.

Two, the sovereignty of the individual over the collective: John Stuart Mill wisely observed the “tyranny of the prevailing opinion” throughout times in history. When, for example, the American majority approved the incarceration of Japanese-Americans during World War II, those minority individuals who opposed such incarceration were called unpatriotic Americans by the majority. Similarly, those in the minority who denounced the majority’s defense of the Salem witch trials were called blasphemous. And those who criticize S. B. 1070 are dismissed by many in overly harsh tones.

Three, the opposition to big government power: S. B. 1070 doesn’t codify abuse, but it does codify the power for government abuse–and that abuse will surely come. Ten years ago in Texas, as a relevant example, a federal judge cited a catalogue of “reasonable suspicions” that police offered in stopping and searching vehicles in South Texas...

Already in Arizona calls are coming into the police station such as: “Officer, there’s a bunch of Mexicans gathered together on the corner. Get over here quick to check their ID papers to see if they are illegal immigrants. They look suspicious.”

When I worked for President Reagan at the United States Information Agency, I watched East German guards, then under the Soviet Bloc, demand identification papers from ordinary East Berlin citizens who innocently approached the American Embassy. Never, ever did I envision that American government officials would demand ID papers from a group standing in a parking lot, ostensibly guilty of nothing but being together and looking suspiciously “like Mexicans.”

S. B. 1070 will catch few illegal immigrants, it will challenge the sovereignty of freedom, it will place the sovereignty of the collective over that of the individual, and it will codify the power of big government abuse. Conservatives–hell, everyone–should rail against this well-intended but, in reality, bad law.
Trowbridge's conclusion is that while the law is well-meaning, it is a "bad law" that contradicts conservative principles.  As can be expected, the readers over at the far-right site got upset, wondering why Trowbridge was ever allowed to publish that story in the first place.

I particularly like the follow-up comment to this post, mentioning "brown on white hate crimes."  I bet these are the very same people that claim Obama is racist.  Some of the responses seemed to underplay the significance of the reference to East Germany, seeing the legislation in Arizona to be different because Arizona is in America, and America is not a Soviet Bloc country.  This is what happens when as a group you fail to recognize the importance of education and knowledge.

Trowbridge's article was well written and to the point.  He made concise comparisons that were both relevent and powerful, and while admitting that the system is perfect, concluded that this law is not good, and contradicts the principles of those who claim to be principled.  Unfortunately, Big Government was the wrong venue to distribute this article.  The readers seem to be ignorant of not only their own views, but of the world they live in, and while they criticize the Obama administration for stealing their rights, they are willing to just hand over their rights in the name of security.  It is just sad...

My only criticisms of Trowbridge's article is his assertion that major portions of the law are "left wing," but I think he confuses the bill and it's contradiction with conservative principles as being liberal, when the legislation is a right-wing invention, and represents the modern conservative thought.

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