EPautos’ resident authoritarian apologist – Clover – let fly with the following intellectually (and grammatically) palsied, ethically crippled commentary in defense of dragnet-style, random and arbitrary “safety” checkpoints:
Eric asking you to stop and talk for 10 seconds is in no way injurious to you. If you believe it is violence to be stopped then I guess you have never stopped at a stop sign or stop light. Eric 100s of thousands of drivers have been stopped by police with no violence placed on them.
It kind of speaks for itself. doesn’t it? In the same way that an outhouse does. But, I decided to attempt a reasoned riposte, as follows:
Clover claims that random “safety” and “sobriety” stops do not involve violence. That the person stopped is merely being “asked” a few questions and this is “in no way injurious” to them.
It seems Clover is unfamiliar with the concept of duress. And cannot tell the difference between a request (which one may refuse) and an order (which must be obeyed – or else).
What takes place at a checkpoint, Clover?
One is compelled – by the threat of violent repercussions for noncompliance – to stop one’s vehicle, to roll down the window and submit to an interrogation and a visual search of the contents of one’s vehicle. One is not free to decline the interview. Indeed, if one does not “cooperate” – that is, if one does not submit and obey – not only will violence be used (you will be physically removed from your vehicle, then subjected to a physical search, including quite possibly a forcible blood draw or “body cavity” search). In many states, mere refusal to cooperate is sufficient to warrant punishment as if one had actually been driving “drunk” and convicted of this offense – even if it is later proved that one had “0.0” percent alcohol in their system. Refusal to submit to interrogation/various “tests” empowers cops to arrest and cage – and courts to convict. One’s “privilege” to drive may be rescinded. Etc.
I queried Clover:
Do you deny that, minimally, the threat of violence is involved in all the above? Do you seriously claim that motorists are free to not stop? To decide not to roll down their window? To elect not to answer the questions spoken by armed men? What will happen to any person, Clover, who peacefully attempts to go about their business or turns around and attempts to drive away?
Regardless of their state of intoxication.
Clover knows exactly what will happen – but via some bizarre process of doublethink does not consider this violence. His position is that so long as one obeys, there will be no violence! And thus, the interaction is not violent.
Government schooling works miracles.
It is telling that Clover – like all authoritarians – feels the need to couch the violence he advocates and defends in euphemisms. One is merely asked questions. In the same way that one merely contributes to Social Security – and is a customer of the IRS and DMV. Do as ordered – and there will be no need for violence. “Millions of people” (Clover’s trademark justification) have not had violence done them … because they did as ordered!
I’ve asked Clover to at least be honest and admit that what he advocates involves threatening people with force in order to compel their obedience and submission for the sake of some “greater good” (as defined by Clover).
But since I don’t back up my questions with threats, Clover is free to decline to answer them.
And so, has elected not to.
Instead, he responds with more of the same evasions, euphemisms and non sequiturs:
Again Eric I have been stopped and no violence was placed on me. Dom (EPautos tech guru) showed us a video of him being stopped and no violence was placed on him. Eric if you take a swing at them or try to run them over then I hope they use violence on you because you would then not be an innocent person then would you?
If they do not use violence on me or anyone that I know and only use it on libertarians then what does that say about libertarians? It shows that libertarians use first force because they do not touch innocent people like me.
I suppose Clover won’t mind if an armed stranger shows up at his house and – very nicely – “asks” to be let in to have a look around … while fingering his pistol.
I asked Clover (again, no violence behind my question): Why not apply his awful totalitarian premise of presumptive guilt across the board?
We’d catch so many more criminals that way.
We’d be so much “safer.”
Why not conduct random cop sweeps of people’s homes? Search every person approaching a bank (after all, “someone” might be about to rob the bank). How about “your papers, please” checkpoints for pedestrians at every major intersection? We’d catch more criminals, certainly. Mandatory ankle bracelets for everyone – perhaps even locator/monitoring “chips” embedded in their bodies. So much easier to monitor and track law breakers… along with everyone else.
Bu that’s the part that Clover doesn’t grok – or give a damn about. Criminalizing everyone – and forcing them to prove they’re innocent.
Clover instinctively recoils from the quaint idea that in a free society, it should be hard for cops to hassle people – even if it means it’s harder to catch “dangerous drunks” (and so on).
Clover prefers to make it easier for cops to catch “dangerous drunks” – by catching everyone. Including people who’ve done absolutely nothing to indicate they’ve done … anything.
Clover does not believe this involves violence – because he does not mind being stopped and is happy to answer the “nice” policeman’s questions. All in a good cause.
But the fact that Clover and his ilk don’t object to being treated as presumptively guilty until they’ve proved themselves innocent does not mean others haven’t got a right to object to being treated like criminals before they’ve committed a crime or given anyone a reason to suspect they might have.
And of course, Clover is incapable of comprehending the broader principle – the menace – that is at issue:
I asked him:
Do you believe that if I don’t object to cops randomly conducting “checks” of my home (after all, a child might be in danger; there could be elder abuse… and I believe it is important to keep kids and old people safe) then no violence is used … and therefore, you also ought not to object to random “checks” of your home?
No answer. Or rather, more euphemisms and evasions.
Yes Eric I believe in principles. I believe it is not violent as you say to talk to someone in a nice manner. Your definition of violence and mine is drastically different. I believe it is violence to allow people under the influence is to be on the road with me or my family. You say you think they should not be on the road either but your solution of kissing their asses until they kill someone is in no way a deterrent. Then you come up with your what ifs as usual. Eric how about the what if that the police will kill you tonight in your bed. If that is something you believe as very possible then why worry about anything as minor as talking to you?
I have attempted to explain to this Clover creature that if it is acceptable to subject people who – by the government’s own admission – have done nothing whatsoever to give any reason to suspect they might be “drunk” – to a compulsory investigatory process … to forcibly interrupt their peaceful travel, to subject them to an inspection/interrogation (however “nicely” conducted) not on account of anything they’ve done or given reason to suspect they might have done… but because a hypothetical “someone” might have been drinking and driving … then there is no rational/principled basis for objecting to any random/arbitrary search/interrogation.
Because there is always the chance that “someone” might be guilty of (put “x” here).
You want to talk “safety,” Clover? There is nothing less “safe” than granting to government random/arbitrary power over people. In your childlike little mind, you see government as a benevolent entity that is wise and trustworthy and which would never abuse such power.
And yet, it does.
Because useful idiots such as yourself have signed away not just your rights. But all of our rights.
You see, Clover, when anyone’s rights are violated all our rights are threatened. Not just in the one isolated instance, but generally.
Because principles matter. Even if they do not matter to you.
Which is why, Clover, we now live in a country where the government brazenly intercepts and collects everyone’s telephone conversations, all our e-mails, our web surfing records. In which old ladies, cripples and little kids are forced to endure humiliating personal searches in order to board airplanes. In which people who’ve not even been formally charged with any crime may be snatched off the street and – literally – tortured.
Or even murdered – by fiat. No different than Tony Soprano ordering a hit.
No presentation of evidence, no opportunity to defend oneself. No presumption of innocence until proved guilty. Just presumptive guilt – and violence.
All you can do is rationalize such things as being necessary for various “greater goods.” You can compartmentalize and euphemize. You can hem and haw. But – ultimately – you believe in presumptive guilt rather than presumed innocence. You’d rather everyone be treated as guilty lest any “guilty” person “get away” with something.
This is the country you and your kind are building.
But you’re not bright enough – or thoughtful enough – to understand this.
Which is terribly sad.
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