We refuse?

A co-worker recently sent me a link to Michael Boldin’s We Refuse, excerpted from a speech given to a tax day tea party earlier this month. As it turns out, I agree with several of the principles his argument is based on–government power should be limited, we shouldn’t throw people in jail for private, consensual activities, and the police really shouldn’t be subjecting people to searchers without a warrant.
I even agree that the recent health care bill, which mandates that people buy corporate products regardless of whether they want them is a bad idea.
Nonetheless, I just can’t keep from wondering: this is where you draw the line? Caring for the sick? Where were you guys during the War on Drugs People, the Patriot Act, the illegal wiretapping, and torturing? This is “the Intolerable Act“? Seriously?
Can’t we focus on the real threats to liberty in to form of ever increasing police powers and surveillance? The police here in Tuscaloosa have spent over half a million dollars covering public streets with “evidence-grade” cameras to monitor the public roads. The local paper accepts more or less at face value the police chief’s assertion that “if you’re not engaging in criminal activity and have no plans to engage in criminal criminal activity, you have nothing to fear from the cameras” and that “it’s extremely important to maintain some secrecy about how the cameras will be used”
That’s a police state mentality straight ought of the former DDR, and a much bigger threat than a health insurance mandate. Although the “Hope Camera Initiative” was reported as a plan “to blanket high-crime areas with surveillance cameras,” its mission has already begun to creep, and cameras are spreading beyond “high crime” areas. How long until most public roadways are under police surveillance with clear “evidence-grade cameras”? Once that infrastructure is in place, the possibility for abuse is tremendous–even without facial recognition software, how long will it be until the police decide that they need a license plate recognition software? It’s not just a matter of federal power–its a matter of ever increasing government power.

One response to “We refuse?

  1. The arguments of the Tea Party seem less to be about civil rights (how many of them protested the Patriot Act, or the Iraq War… pretty ‘big government’ moves with grave effects on liberty) than reducing their tax bill, and preventing the ‘wrong’ people from receiving any government benefits.

    As you point out, if liberty is the issue, there are more pressing dangers than health insurance.