Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Trusting the Government: Part two

Here, after an intermission with my last post, is part two of my posts on Trusting the Government.

"Law and Order" is the second topic of these posts because it seems like many limited government types fall in love with candidates that run on platforms with those words. Nevermind the fact that less law, and to a certain degree less order is part of limited government. Less laws on drugs, getting rid of mandatory minimum sentencing, and less government power allowing the state to take human life as a punishment should be pricipals that advocates of smaller government would embrace. But that hasn't been the case. President Reagan and mandatory minimum sentencing is a case in point, one that is thankfully being reconsidered by Congress because of stronger sentencing for crack than cocaine. The former of which is used in poor and predominately black communities, the latter of which is predominately used in the bathrooms of Wall Street investment bankers......jk........okay, maybe not.

The increased focus on "law and order" hasn't made us safer. Our violent crime rate is higher than 40 years ago, even with one adult in 100 behind bars. What we are looking at in the US today is a country that has more and more laws that are supposedly designed to stop crime and more and more people locked up in jail (and for all you low tax people, that's taxpayer money keeping them there).

If you want to see a great article about our justice check out this recent Economist article.  The money quote is from libertarian scholar Gene Healy: "Yet over the last 40 years, an unholy alliance of big business-hating liberals and tough-on-crime conservatives has made criminalization the first line of attack- a way to demonstrate the serious about the the social problem of the month, whether it's corporate scandals or e-mail spam."

The whole article is three magazine pages detailing the silliness of some of the laws that exist in our country and how easily some of them can still send you to jail. The opening story about a 65 year old orchid collector getting his home stormed and ransacked by armed police, then17 months in jail for importing orchids for his collection, and then 71 days in solitary confinement for bringing his prescription sleeping pills into jail is enough to make you ask how much of our country's much touted freedom is a reality.

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