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Here's the thing. I'm watching one of these shows on the Cooking Channel featuring food trucks. There's a Scottish expat making fish and chips; in a thick brogue he somewhat wearily explains his irritation with Americans who habitually order a side of tartar sauce: "tartar sauce is basically gherkins." That's this blog. I claim no particular insight, no revelation. If you enjoy the flavor, great, but this blog is basically gherkins.

Tell Me Again About Big Government

Saturday, July 25, 2009



Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates was arrested in his own home after the officer had become aware that Gates was, in fact, the homeowner.

That's not in dispute.

But yet, conservatives - the same people who devote their lives to opposing big government, so devoted to their opposition that they'd rather continue with the health care status quo of having 47 million uninsured Americans than have nationalized health care - have immediately leapt to the side of the police. This is less "he said, he said" than we're told - it seems like both sides of the story are pretty similar. Gates chewed out the cop who was standing in his house. There's no allegation of physical threat; Gates yelled at a cop. Not on the street. Not as the cop was patrolling. Yelled at a cop while standing inside his own home. And was arrested after showing his ID.

"Disorderly conduct" is a terrific catch all crime - it basically gives cover to police to arrest anyone for virtually any behavior. It expands police authority. It's the definition of big government.

Truth is - conservatives love big government, they lick it up, as long as that big government is in someone else's house.

You try to raise the minimum wage and conservatives yell "big government" - you try to regulate how much businesses can pollute the envivonment and conservatives scream "big government" - you try to tax multi-millionaire estates and conservatives scream "big government". Hell, they fight 3 day waiting periods to buy guns. Who is the government to keep me from my armor piercing bullets for 3 days? Goddamn liberals.

But government inside a woman's uterus? That's where it belongs. Government in the bedroom of consenting adults? Absolutely. Government standing in the way of two men or two women who want the same equal protection as heterosexuals? Block that kiss, government. Reading my email? Government's job. Listening to my phone calls? Government's job.

Years ago I had a student - who would rail, just get passionately angry about the Florida regulations that pop up occasionally regarding how much one can water one's lawn. Hated it. Saw it as big government invading his life.

But that same student was adamently pro death penalty. Thought the biggest problem with the death penalty was the appeals took too long.

And he never saw any disconnect between those thoughts. Government conserving water = too much government. Government executing people? Only problem is it's too slow.

It's the American way. As a recent Washington Post poll demonstrated - Americans are now in favor of torture (and what's more big government than trillion dollar foreign wars?) as long as it's Americans doing the torturing.

Immorality is when something we don't like happens to us.

Consider this - if it's Rush Limbaugh and a black cop - exactly the same factual scenario - to the letter - what's the reaction?

You know when you're allowed to use deadly force to defend yourself? Conservatives have successfully won the fight in many states (including Florida) to define the reasonable use of deadly force in self defense to any situation where an intruder is in your house. Doesn't matter if he's armed or not - doesn't matter if he's actually threatening to attack you or not - the idea is that an intruder in your house is inherently threatening to your life.

Shoot first, ask questions later is an acceptable defense when you're in your home.

Here's Professor Gates, in his home. He didn't shoot the cop. Didn't threaten to. Didn't make any physically threatening move in any way. He yelled at him.

And he got arrested.

And the conservatives, those great defenders of the "king of the castle" idea - those most opposed to expansive government power -

They have risen against Gates. Obama is a "militant" with a "chip on his shoulder" says Rush Limbaugh.

Conservatives love them some big government. As long as it's in your house.

I don't know what the percentage of white professors there are as opposed to black professors. It's an extreme disparity, I believe.

But yet - I can't recall ever reading about a white professor arrested in his own home under these fact circumstances.

Probably it's the power black and Hispanic media covering it up. Probably an ACORN/Sotamayor conspiracy. Another example of that reverse discrimination conservatives love to talk about.

Especially since last November.

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