At his Voices of Liberty channel, former congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul puts the violence in Ferguson (which happily subsided last night under the direction of saner police commanders and less confrontational tactics) in the larger context of "Too many bureaucrats with guns, too many laws, too many regulations, too many prisons—all designed to protect the state."
It's a point, he reminds us, that he made in the wake of the Boston bombing, when police locked down the entire area in search of two suspects. "The Boston bombing provided the opportunity for the government to turn what should have been a police investigation into a military-style occupation of an American city," he wrote at the time, in a widely reported statement.
With regard to recent events, he comments:
Protesters to the police killing an unarmed teenager have been met with tear gas, a substance banned in warfare. Police-initiated violence should surprise no one. NSA spies on everyone without warrants. Drug busts with SWAT teams making mistakes are common. The excessive use of police power should be an expected consequence of big government, which is authoritarian by nature.
Too many bureaucrats with guns, too many laws, too many regulations, too many prisons—all designed to protect the state. The people's liberties are forgotten.
As the economy continues to deteriorate, expect the violence to accelerate. The unfairness of the distribution of wealth that is caused by economic intervention is the constant, smoldering issue that can turn a skirmish with the law into something much bigger. When root causes are not understood, emotions can easily take over.
Before we go all Piketty, note that Paul refers not to income inequality as an evil in itself, but to the consequences of the state gaming and impeding people's ability to create wealth.
In terms of solutions, Paul urges better understanding of civil liberties and property rights, small and local government, and prosperity achieved through free markets rather than authoritarian attempts at redistribution.
The Rattler is a weekly newsletter from J.D. Tuccille. If you care about government overreach and tangible threats to everyday liberty, this is for you.