Are you to blame?

One thing I’d like you to take away from the last post is where to place the blame. Yes, our society has many problems. We have systemic racism. We have profit motives by vendors of military equipment and private prison operators. We have a dysfunctional media. But, in the context of the last post, some blame also lies with anybody who blindly supports laws with only a superficial grasp of the consequences.

Laws are necessary for civilization. I don’t have radical libertarian beliefs, but irrationally supporting laws purely out of fear is a problem. As an example, if you support MADD and their prohibitionist, ineffective policy ideas, then you are to blame when poor people and minorities are disproportionately affected. You don’t get to stand with the protesters in Ferguson while at the same time supporting predatory speed enforcement. These types of things do disproportionately impact those who don’t have the education and money to fight for their rights. Or maybe you still support those laws because you have weighed the costs and benefits, but you don’t really get to have it both ways. You can’t take the side of the protesters in Ferguson and also support the massive framework of ineffective laws that leads to systemic bias.

Of course this isn’t everything. There are definitely racist cops out there. There are definitely problems that go way beyond broken taillight violations. But if everybody stopped supporting laws for minutia, then there would be less room for selective enforcement and prosecution of those laws.

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