Vidcast: Presumptive guilt

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This Vidcast was inspired by my muse, Clover, whose every view seems to be based on the idea of presumptive guilt. This is an idea similar to “pre-crime” – if you remember the movie (based on the novel by the great Phillip K. Dick) but takes things a step farther.

Pre-crime at least focuses on a specific individual who – according to various indicators – appears likely to commit some crime in the future. The person is punished before he actually commits whatever the crime is.

Presumptive guilt, on the other hand, presumes everyone’s guilty. And so, everyone is punished before the fact. This is the principle behind “sobriety” checkpoints – and it will be expanded, as I have tried to explain to my muse, because precedents are based on principles and principles, once accepted, become practice. If it is legitimate to stop motorists at random, without any reason for suspecting them, as individuals, of having done the slightest thing illegal, then why would it not be legitimate to also randomly stop people merely walking down the street? Or even to randomly eavesdrop on people’s telephone calls and e-mails (whoops – they’re already doing that) or – to take it one natural step farther – conduct random “checks” of their homes?

Why not?pre crime lead

Clover, of course, has no answer. Well, he has no answer based on principles. For Clover is ethically myopic. He only sees “dangerous drunks.” Not the danger of ceding to the state very dangerous sweeping authority based on a principle that will necessarily be applied to other things.

Already has been, in fact.

Which explains why there’s been no real uproar over outrages such as the government randomly and without even the pretext of individualized suspicion (once upon a a time, the keystone of Western legal tradition) filching our e-mails, monitoring our conversations and subjecting us to degradations formerly only visited upon convicted felons merely to travel by airplane.

It has been accepted – in principle – by broad swaths of the public that such things are legitimate – because the linchpins of a free society such as individualized suspicion and evidence of guilt prior to criminal investigation/punishment have been de-legitimized.

Worse is on the way as a result of this. It is as inevitable as a muddy lawn after a sustained downpour.

The average person probably believes that history’s great tyrants – Hitler, for instance – mesmerized a nation, turning the people, who were sane one day, into raving maniacs the next by flights of satanic oratory.


Hitler and his kind are always among us. But they are powerless until the people are ready to give them power. By 1932, a sufficient number of Germans were ready. They had come to venerate authority. The pathetic little man with the funny moustache merely channeled this lust to be led. To be “kept safe” and made “secure” … and became Der Fuhrer. He himself admitted this, openly. That he was a vessel, the incarnation of the German People, the manifestation of its will.

Those with eyes to see may see what’s coming. The same bland men, authoritarian but ditherers unable or unwilling to take the next step precede the man who is able – and who will.

He is coming.

Because Americans are ready now, too.

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  1. Interesting take on computers and security. WASF

    “In theory, the reason we’re so nice to soldiers, that we have customs around honoring and thanking them, is that they’re supposed to be sacrificing themselves for the good of the people. In the case of the NSA, this has been reversed. Our wellbeing is sacrificed to make their job of monitoring the world easier. When this is part of the culture of power, it is well on its way to being capable of any abuse.”

  2. Only muslims don’t go through tsa “insecurity”. That’s the reason our gov’ts allow them in our countries so Uncle can impose his “authority”.

  3. “Presumptive Guilt” is yet another stark indicator of government lawlessness — but American sheep still cling to the myth that they live under a just Rule-of-Law.

    The law is supposed to be a shield against tyranny, but it’s been gradually transformed into a weapon of mass destruction & control against the populace.

    But American lemmings will flock to the voting booths next Tuesday, foolishly believing they actually control their government rulers.
    And even if your guy/issue (Republican/Democrat/Independent/etc) wins next week — it will have no practical effect on our outrageous legal system and oppressive government.

    “Presumptively Dumb” about the true nature of government is an apt description of most Americans — and the reason we’re in our present dangerous predicament.

  4. Most here already know my stance on this regarding common law. If you don’t know your rights, you have none – and they know it. I need not comment further.

    • I don’t know about that, Revolution. People still have rights – they’re born with them actually. But to expect people with power over others to respect those rights, exercised or not, well that’s another matter entirely.

      • Agree to your latter JRO, but the government treats people as children within the legal system, requiring counsel because they’re considered incompetent. You must stand your ground and prove otherwise. It’s an unfortunate state of affairs.

        There’s a difference between UN-alienable and IN-alienable rights. The latter are the rights government gives you and therefore can take them away at any time.

        Those in power won’t respect the rights of others because the money and power are great incentives.

        If you know your unalienable rights via common law you stand a better chance. Sheeples have let it go too far. We need to stand on our own in increasing number. They can’t arrest us all.

        • I don’t think presumed stupidity is why courts want everyone to have lawyer. It’s to make more business for lawyers. So much is done with new laws and the court system just to make business for lawyers. Law doesn’t have to be complex with bizarre incantations. It’s made that way so (hopefully) only members of the temple know how to do it. In the USA one hires a lawyer because of his relationships with the other lawyers (judges, prosecution, etc) This was part of the laughs in “My Cousin Vinny” 😉

          • Hi Brent,


            It’s absurd – no, deliberately vicious – that one for all intents and purposes one must have – a lawyer merely to effectively present a (legal) defense against a speeding ticket.

            Yes, I know it can be done sans lawyer. But it is so recondite and prolix that it is effectively impossible for most people.

            There is no legitimate reason for this.

            Why can’t one simply go before a court and state the relevant facts – without all the procedural nonsense?

            For one reason only: To protect the legal cartel’s monopoly on “justice.”

  5. I live in a rural little county in SE Missouri. On Tuesday, I had to go to the county courthouse and pay property taxes on a 47 year old car (don’t ask). The county jail and sheriff’s office is located behind the courthouse. I noticed a shiny new black (of coarse), big honkin’ mobile “command center” with “Scott County DWI Task Force” painted in patriotic colors on each side, along with motifs of soaring eagles and US flags.

    The nicest buildings in these poor little towns are always the “public” buildings. Somebody has to pay for them.

    • The boys over at the “fire protection district” building had the big ladder truck out this afternoon giving it a spit polish. The fire protection district building was built by Uncle using DHS money to keep the world safe for freedom, or at least that’s what they told us.

      I’m actually OK with having a fire department, especially since this one is all volunteer, but the money spent on the building and equipment was unnecessary, especially that big ladder truck. The highest building in town is the 3 story rec center.

      Well, OK, the gas plant might be 3 stories too, but if it catches fire there won’t be much of anything to put out after the explosion levels it!

      • Hi Eric,

        I suspect fire departments would exist even if coercive government disappeared tomorrow – for the same reason I suspect farmers would continue to farm (and so on). Because people will pay for what they consider valuable. Fire service is valuable. Perhaps not everyone would “subscribe.” But I imagine enough would to carry the rest, or at least, those who legitimately could not afford to subscribe. The fire service could – based on its own judgment – decline to help, say, the obviously could-afford-it guy (who has a nice house, etc.) who refused to subscribe – and therefore, took the risk upon himself. Just as it could decide to help the guy who lives in the little shack down the road that everyone knows is broke.

        But, regardless, community fire service ought to be fee for service/pay as you go, like any other service. Just without the element of coercion.

  6. And remember, the “Public Schools” were originated in Prussia in the 1800’s, in order to train good citizens. W/o them, Hitler might not have ‘happened.’