21 January 2011

A divide

Political philosophies operate off of some general core assumptions that they begin with. For this case, what is lacking is a distinction between an authoritarian state philosophy, which may (or may not) have limitations on that state but operates on an assumption of defined rights for citizens (such as they are) and expansive powers for the state everywhere else in societal life, and a strictly limited state which operates on an assumption of defined powers for the government and expansive rights for the citizenry everywhere else in life. This second one appears to be the logic behind most constitutional democracies and republics and provides a great deal of individual, economic, and cultural freedoms for the most part.

So when we start seeing court decisions that wonder where a "defined" right for the citizen is, rather than a court decision wondering why a government requires a power which may be used to violate or at best obfuscate whether violations of rights occur, I think we should be worrying.

Even if there is not a defined right to record the actions, and particular the words, of police officers and other government officials in situations like those of arrests or organised citizen protests which may be engaged by law enforcement, there is a defined right to avoid various violations of constitutional rights, and where a dispute arises between whether these rights are violated or not, some recording devices might provide concrete evidence which may either acquit public officials in the performance and service of their communities, or will show that they have indeed flagrantly defied their duties to uphold these rights and values. And it would be better if we had more evidence, and more sources of evidence, than the mere word of mouth of the subjects involved. But I guess disentangling civil rights lawsuits isn't a very pressing matter for some reason to our court system...
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