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: