Progressives

Left and Right Unite: Let's Not Get Too Upset When Government Does Bad Things

|

Interesting juxtaposition of pundits from progressive left and conservative arenas showing their annoying colors when it comes to citizens getting upset about or resisting government overreach.

At In These Times, Louis Nayman reminds proggies that they ought not get too upset about massive government data hoovering and constant surveillance, because doing so might undermine Government Itself, which does so many great things for us it would be churlish to complain:

From what we know, the National Security Agency's collection of metadata on telephone and Internet records has been effective in keeping us safe…

For better or for worse, such surveillance is also legal….

We should do all we can to assure proper oversight any time a surveillance program of any size and scope is launched. But it helps no one, least of all those who see a role for government in leveling the playing field between concentrated privilege and the rest of us, to reflexively delegitimize the government's efforts.

As people who believe in government, we cannot simply assume that officials are abusing their lawfully granted responsibility and authority to defend our people from violence and harm. If that's not a proper function of government, I don't know what is.

And Patrick Howley at Daily Caller notes in his disucssion of the viral video of a young libertarian resisting at a DUI checkpoint in Tennessee (see J.D Tuccille on that) that while young conservative/libertarian activists may be cool and all, sometimes they really need to understand that one is obligated to knuckle under to authority because it is authority:

While the activist…may, in fact, be correct that he was not legally required to roll down his window and give his age (my knowledge of the Tennessee statutes is admittedly thin), his behavior in this video speaks to some of the worst tendencies of modern conservative-libertarian activism.

The young conservative-libertarian movement is rapidly gaining popularity in the aftermath of Rand Paul's #standwithrand anti-drones filibuster and the Obama administration's IRS and NSA surveillance scandals. Commentators often criticize the movement for being too extremeAnd there is a genuine insurrectionist spirit in the conservative-libertarian movement — a spirit that, if taken too far, can cause young people to disrespect men with a badge, and to disrespect their elders.

There's a marked difference between expressing a political viewpoint and engaging in conduct that disrupts people's lives and makes adults who don't care about politics feel threatened. Lest this young small-government activist forget, the Occupy movement didn't start losing public support in Washington, D.C., until Occupiers blocked the Key Bridge at rush hour. Libertarians need to be careful not to alienate the public with disrespectful stunts.

Both struck me as amusing "I can't believe they said that out loud" explications of the dark heart of American ideology today: always coming down for some reason to know that Government Does Best and just shut up about it.

Bonus: Reason.TV video on why one should always assert your rights when dealing with police, interview conducted by former Reason-er Tim Cavanaugh, now with Daily Caller:

NEXT: Gambling is Very Illegal, and Very Popular, In Utah

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. There’s a marked difference between expressing a political viewpoint and engaging in conduct that disrupts people’s lives and makes adults who don’t care about politics feel threatened.

    Wait, what the fuck?

    1. Is he talking about cops or activists?

      1. I think he is saying that the stunt makes nonpolitical low IQ low information America feel threatened because they might no longer be protected by DUI check points or something.

        1. I agree, I was being sarcastic because his sentence, taken literally, applies to cops far more than it does activists like this guy

    2. “There shouldn’t be a checkpoint because it disrupts the lives of adults” is what I got outta that.

  2. “For better or for worse, such surveillance is also legal”

    Unless one has never heard of or read the U.S. Constitution

    But I guess it’s too much to expect that of people. I mean it’s like 100 years old and was written in Old English by dead white men, right?

    1. And even if it was “legal”, that doesn’t make it any less offensive. Well, it was legal so go fuck yourself there is no reason to object to it.

      1. Slavery was once legal. Jim Crow was once legal. If these people lived back then, they would far more likely be siding with the slaveowners than abolitionists, even if they didn’t own slaves themselves. Can’t have those troublemakers disrespecting our laws

    2. Remember the good old days when it was “legal” to deny people liberty based on their ethnicity? How about back when we could jail people for suggesting that foreign wars weren’t necessarily in the nation’s interest? What about those halcyon days when it was completely legal to buy narcotics from Sears and your finer drugstores?

      Appeals to authority are still appalling.

  3. “Lest this young small-government activist forget, the Occupy movement didn’t start losing public support in Washington, D.C., until Occupiers blocked the Key Bridge at rush hour.”

    …and defecating on police cars and setting up camps where disease and rape were real risks. And so forth.

    Versus someone who may well have had the right not to roll down his window all the way but probably should anyway just to play nice with authority. (Why wasn’t authority obliged to play nice with *him*?)

    1. Why wasn’t authority obliged to play nice with *him*?

      This. Cops are supposedly legally classified as citizens which means fully at the mercy of civil penalty. He verbally assaulted the young man in that video in a harassing fashion. He is obligated by law not to do that.

      1. Cops are supposedly legally classified as citizens civilian

        An important distinction, apologies for the sloppiness.

    2. Why wasn’t authority obliged to play nice with *him*?

      Oh, I think we all know the answer to that question: FY, TW.

      And besides, what’s the point of having authoritay if you can’t use it to push around one of those “little people” when they get uppity?

  4. There’s a marked difference between expressing a political viewpoint and engaging in conduct that disrupts people’s lives and makes adults who don’t care about politics feel threatened. Lest this young small-government activist forget, the Occupy movement didn’t start losing public support in Washington, D.C., until Occupiers blocked the Key Bridge at rush hour. Libertarians need to be careful not to alienate the public with disrespectful stunts.

    Filming a cop and actually asserting your rights is a “disrespectful stunt”? That is the dumbest thing I have read all day. Those check points are horrible and people have been bitching about them for years. And the point of the video was to show that the government is lying about them.

    And the worst part is, Howley lists himself as “an investigative journalist”. But going undercover to show how the government is lying and violating people’s rights is just “disrespectful”.

  5. Look, limited government, individual rights, fuck you all.

    1. Hey, limited government is fine, just so long as you don’t offend the politically inactive 30-something next door living in his parents’ basement and not wanting to have to worry about politics, so long as the disability checks keep flowing. Won’t someone think of him? What do your precious ‘freedoms’ do for his life?

      1. Welfare state for the win.

  6. “a spirit that, if taken too far, can cause young people to disrespect men with a badge, and to disrespect their elders”

    Wow. As if I needed another reminder that the 60s were a long time ago, back when the Left had an anti-authoritarian streak.

    It was hilarious to see OWS very briefly resurrect that streak, and suddenly become a protest about police brutality rather than wealth redistribution. The same people that spent the prior week demanding more government enforcement of more laws, suddenly remembered that the po-po ain’t always your friend.

    But that whiff of nostalga faded with the last corner of the last ziploc baggie. The left is back in full-time “OBEY” mode, and unlikely to change … until Team Red wins back the executive, of course, at which time it will be ‘disrespect your elders’ all the way down.

    1. I think Howley is on the Right.

  7. “And there is a genuine insurrectionist spirit in the conservative-libertarian movement ? a spirit that, if taken too far, can cause young people to disrespect men with a badge, and to disrespect their elders.”

    Because God forbid that authority ever feel disrespected. Authority’s cock won’t suck itself, and Patrick Howley is here to help.

    1. I thought he was going down the armed rebellion path, but all he had was disrespect authority. WTF. Why didn’t we respect the kings authority when we were a colony. Oh yeah because freedom is more important you sum bitch!

    2. How the fuck does Howley think this country got started?

  8. “And there is a genuine insurrectionist spirit in the conservative-libertarian movement ? a spirit that, if taken too far, can cause young people to disrespect men with a badge, and to disrespect their elders.”

    Because a 12-week course in Glynco, GA shooting at paper targets and learning to circumvent the Constitution does not merit respect.

  9. Hey, as long as the rapist strokes your hair you need to be okay with it. Because without sex there can be no people and you need to appreciate the value of that.

  10. Again with referencing “adults”. The young activist is disprespecting his elders. Elders ?!

    This constant need to not address the real issues because, you know, the people on the other side are not “adults” is really really starting to grate.

    1. And calling it a “stunt” sounds like my grandma…if you ever pull a stunt like that again….

  11. At least on the Daily Caller story, pretty much every comment disagreed with the article.

  12. engaging in conduct that disrupts people’s lives

    Is he saying the guy disrupted the poor cop’s life? Or he disrupted his own life? Or huh?

  13. Sometimes man you just gotta roll with it.

    http://www.Privacy-Planet.com

  14. I keep seeing people accusing videographers at checkpoints of being “disrespectful”. Yet the videos invariably show that the videographer was thoroughly courteous in the face of harsh and abusive conduct by public officials.

    They keep using the word disrespectful, I don’t think that it means what they think it does.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.