Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Authoritarianism by Anecdote

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In our post-Constitutional police-state, rulers often pass laws and regulations according to the following formula: someone suffers, whether from a genuine tragedy or mere inconvenience; said victim bewails his pain while demanding more laws to save the rest of us from his particular agony, however unusual its cause; the corporate media amplifies his screams while praising his “courage”; and presto, politicians pretend to solve the problem as they gain more control over our lives.

Needless to say, such quaint notions as constitutionality or government’s inability to cure our ills, let alone its having caused them in the first place, never figure in the equation. The State benefits socially as well, with such traits as dependence and conformity, immaturity and whining replacing Americans’ traditional self-reliance, autonomy, dignity, and fearlessness. The stiff upper lip degenerates into a trembling mouth that tattles to Big Daddy Government about everything, all the time — along with calls for taxpayers to foot the bill.

The Associated Press brings us yet another example of the phenomenon as it lauds “sexual abuse survivor Lauren Book.” Lauren tells a graphic and horrific story: when she was a child, “her mother had mental health issues … Her father[, Ron,] worked long days and spent a lot of time in the state [of Florida’s] capital, 400 miles away” as a lobbyist. Turns out wining and dining Florida’s potentates into legislating favorably for clients is amazingly lucrative, which may explain why Ron left his sick wife and kids to “spen[d] a lot of time” on it: he “has reported earning [$2,001,000] in just six months.”

And so Ron hired a nanny, Waldina Flores, when Lauren “was 11 to take care of her, her sister and brother.” Lauren alleges that the lady “made a little girl starved for attention and love feel special. …The abuse started slowly with a single inappropriate kiss and then fondling. It escalated to sodomy and physical violence.”

Lauren contends that Ms. Flores pushed her down the stairs, beat her, and repeatedly raped her. The nanny even threatened to kill Lauren’s high-school boyfriend, Kris Lim. 

Ms. Flores’ career ended when Kris saw 17-year-old Lauren’s bruises and delivered an ultimatum: she must tell her parents or he would. That catapulted Ms. Flores to trial and prison and Lauren to her obsession with sexual abuse. She has written about her experience for magazines and in a book; she hosts a website (which relies heavily on government’s statistics to prove that sexual abuse rages — though, curiously, not at airports; only more laws and taxes can save us); she has “marched” a thousand miles around Florida to publicize herself — sorry, her cause.

This isn’t extraordinary. Like multitudes of other victims or their survivors, Lauren has exploited her story to foist her whims and concerns on us — though she may brag about it more than most: “She says it's difficult for lawmakers to look in the face of a victim and not support her efforts. ‘I know how to work it, and I know that's how I can make a difference … I say, “It's not an option.” What are they going to say?’" Certainly not, “Hey, Lauren, this isn’t constitutional. We’re sorry you suffered, but that doesn’t authorize you to subvert the Bill of Rights.”

Instead, these gutless wonders have cooperated with Lauren “to enact … ordinances that prohibit sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of schools and playgrounds.” In densely populated cities, where schools and playgrounds' half-mile radii may overlap, that effectively and unconstitutionally keeps ex-cons homeless. No matter: Lauren and her lobbying father also “fought for the right to get 48-hour access to HIV test results on predators, as well as a protection act banning molesters from ever contacting the victims or their families.… In addition to passing residence restrictions and extending cyber sex laws, they established a funding mechanism for a state-wide network of treatment centers.” Indeed. Every do-gooder needs a pocketful of the taxpayers’ dimes.

Predictably, Lauren’s laws oppress Floridians with unintended consequences. “…scores of convicted molesters live in rat-infested squalor [under a bridge] because of child protection laws [Lauren] helped to enact” — specifically, the ones that unconstitutionally dictate where people released from prison may reside. Lauren concedes, “We don't want anyone living under a bridge to be so desperate they reoffend” and magnanimously helps these victims of her previous help to “find legal places to live.” The ex-cons don’t seem to appreciate these (forcible?) relocations: “’They know who we are and don't like use [sic] very much,’ Lauren said.” No kidding. “‘These people harmed children, and I don't think they can dictate where they get to live.’ " Of course not. That’s Lauren’s department.

Meanwhile, we’ve heard only Lauren’s side of things since Florida’s Department of Corrections currently cages Ms. Flores. Which guarantees the corporate media won’t try to interview her for her story: a court has convicted her; ergo, she is guilty beyond any shadow of any doubt. So what if the State has railroaded multitudes of innocent people on similar charges?

Indeed, it is precisely because of such injustices — and because of the State’s distinct, devastating advantages over defendants — that the Founding Fathers deliberately hamstrung it with the prohibitions Lauren and other crusaders disdain. Governments employ whole bureaucracies of ambitious politicians to convict us via laws that are increasingly vague and draconian; what citizen of ordinary means can withstand a determined prosecutor and his enormous budget, his investigators and experts, the benefit of the doubt most jurors give him simply because Leviathan empowers him versus their automatic assumptions against the accused?

When we override the Constitution’s safeguards, when we urge Leviathan’s lackeys to slip its leash, we perforce empower the State. Pedophilia is heinous and utterly evil — but so is totalitarianism.

Tragically, totalitarianism may be Lauren’s goal. Like most Americans, she considers government our savior and benefactor, a god that cannot err and that only requires complete power to transform us into the sort of people she and her fellow-reformers approve. No wonder she advances Leviathan’s interests as fervently as those of abused kids: “the state’s steep cutbacks is what disturbs Book the most. She said victims, facing no relocation assistance, are often forced to return to live with those who abused them. And overwhelmed prosecutors allow the predators and abusers to plead to lesser crimes, so they’re inevitably back on the street, Book said. ‘It’s sad and it’s scary and it should make people very, very angry,’ said Book.”

Actually, what’s sad and scary and should make us very, very angry is authoritarianism by anecdote rather than government by Constitution.

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