My irregular musings on city life, politics, baseball, roller derby, and whatever happens to be getting my goat today.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

war pigs

I’ve never spent much time around livestock, but I’m told that hogs in a pen become vicious animals. Wound one, in fact, and the others will smell its blood and weakness and devour it. Or so I’m told. When I lived in Ohio, I worked for a while with a woman whose grandparents had been bootleggers. I learned a lot from her, among other things how to make fried green tomatoes. I had some fantastic co-workers in those days... Anyway her grandparents raised hogs in addition to their extra-legal whisky business, and on at least one occasion a government “revenuer” ended up getting fed to the foul creatures, erasing the evidence of whatever it was that had led to the sudden death of a Federal agent on private property. I have no idea whether the story was true, but she sure liked to tell it.

Such folk legends of resistance against government authority are a part of people’s identity in many parts of the country – antisocial, yes, but quintessentially American. I used to look on these loony libertarians with a certain amount of skepticism and despair, but recent events have me coming around. What with the government claiming the right to spy on Americans, detain them without evidence, torture them, and hold them incommunicado for the rest of their lives, these folks are starting to make a lot more sense to me.

Common sense arguments seem to fall on deaf ears. Torture doesn’t work as an intelligence gathering tool. It produces compliance, not information. Spying on everybody just wastes scarce resources like agents’ time and leads mostly to dead ends and useless information. The good stuff the NSA can get the old fashioned way, with warrants, the way the FBI does when it’s surveilling the same people.

These arguments don’t convince anyone because the White House is bent on expanding power for its own sake, not because they want to defend the country. They think the American people are so dumb stupid that they can justify anything just by shouting terrorism! 9/11! Look, bin Laden! So if the whole point of this exercise was to push some old school liberals like me into the arms of the Libertarians in wanting to restrict the scope and power of the Federal Government, then congratulations. You win.

It makes me so mad, these people should by happy there’s not enough room in my postage stamp back yard to raise hogs.

Sometime soon I'm gonna edit this guy and put the links back in, but I just can't be bothered this morning.