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View Diary: ACLU Accuses Detroit Police of Kidnapping Homeless, Dumping Them Outside City (36 comments)

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  •  The Cons have convinced themselves that (1+ / 0-)
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    individual rights are derived from the Constitution, an order to which citizens consented hundreds of years ago and on the basis of which their compliance with the rule of law (an impersonal system) is expected. That is the rationale for the culture of obedience. First comes obedience; then comes sustenane. So, if an inividual has no sustenance, then that is evidence of a failure to obey.
    The agents of law enforcement are the agents of this culture of obedience. In addition, their own survival in the hierarchy of the organization, as well as their protection from the consequences of enforcing the law (qualified immunity) depends on absolute obedience. In effect, the agents of law enforcement are paid to obey and their access to sustenance depends on being obedient, which, whether they recognize it or not, is an abusive situation. So, naturally, they pass the abuse on. That's what people do.  That's how abuse gets transmitted from generation disguised as discipline.
    What the agents of law enforcement are doing to the pedestrians they pick up is just passing the abuse on.

    But, as I suggested at the outset, there's a philosophical basis which effectively denies intrinsic human rights and argues that, while rights may be natural or God-given, having them recognized by other humans is something else. And, indeed, for all intents and purposes, rights not mentioned in the Constitution or the Amendments don't even exist. That human rights, and the rights of other organisms, for that matter, derive from the natural attributes with which we/they are endowed simply doesn't occur to these thinkers. So, while speech and writing are to be respected (unless it is inconvenient to the security of the state) bodily integrity, perambulation, ingestion and even excretion, not being mentioned as rights, can be disregarded or even declared illegal.  

    What we need to constantly remember is that the rule of law is not necessarily supportive of just behavior. All kinds of deprivations have been declared and continue to be declared legal. Moreover, it is to compensate for this historical and on-going disregard for human rights that property rights have been elevated to the top spot. That the people being detained by the cops know this instinctively accounts for their making a point that they were forced to throw money (material assets) away. In other words, having money in their pockets provides them no more security than it did the slaves who were "permitted" to hire themselves out in the days when slavery was still legal. Money is not the definitive criterion. Men could purchase their freedom and that of their relatives, but that did not guarantee their security then and it doesn't guarantee it now.
    The lust for power can only be addressed by exercising dominion over some other person, an abuse that, in turn, leads to more lust, a lust, it seems, that can never be satisfied. So, there has to be an intervention. And, when the abuse is manifest as a demand for obedience, it means that what we routinely characterize as a virtue has to be recognized as a wrong. That's hard.
    Telling the police that their obedience is what they get paid for in the name of citizens they feel inclined to harass is going to be hard. But, that's a fact. Public officials get paid to be obedient. That's different from being obedient to eat. But, it is difficult to make that distinction when the culture insists on "no free lunch."

    What I would argue is that, since no person has any say in being brought to life, those responsible for his existence have an obligation, at a minimum, to provide sustenance. Indeed, because we have been sustained we have an obligation, whether we desire it or not, to sustain our fellow man, unconditionally. Which means that obedience cannot be (morally) coerced by the threat to withhold sustenance.

    The cops feel challenged by vagrants who insist on their rights. However, the cops are not to blame. If the cops are transporting citizens to the edge of town, that's evidence of a gross failure of administration and supervision. It is evidence of officer discretion run amok.
    It used to be that these kinds of behaviors were restricted to certain populations. One "good" result of the emphasis on equal treatment is that "bad" behavior is no longer exclusive and to recognize that the effort to coerce obedience does not respond to a prompt from the victim, but arises from the impulses of the abusers. Cops harass pedestrians because they resent their freedom to perambulate at will. That was true of the cops interacting with OWS in New York or stopping pedestrians in Harlem and it's true of the cops "giving" rides in their cages on wheels in Detroit. "Misery loves company."

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:01:23 AM PDT

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