Monday, March 17, 2008

The Lamb-like Innocence of the State

According to the geniuses at Time magazine (via Glenn Greenwald):
In all the examples of diminished civil liberties, there are few, if any, where the motivating factor was something other than law and order or national security.
Well, duh!

Greenwald wants to dispute this characterization by asking for empirical evidence of the motives of those seeking to expand the surveillance state. I don't think any such evidence is necessary, or even relevant. The problem is not that the state has expanded its police powers for some nefarious purpose. The empirical consciousness of those pushing these changes is meaningless. Nonetheless, I think the real intention--i.e., the objective tendency, rather than the conscious aim--of these expansions of police power is precisely the law and order or national security Time cites. Law and order or national security are the only motives for police action ever. That's precisely the trouble with the police.