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They Do It Anyway

August 3, 2010

IAN WELSH, quite reasonably, has this to say today:

The government should not (I won’t say “does not” because they do it anyway) have the right to punish anyone without a timely trial before their peers, the right to see the evidence against them and the right to face their accusers. [Welsh]

Never one to miss the pertinent point, and focus on something barely related, I tripped over the phrase “have the right.” Because, what’s a right?

Jack Crow:

[A] right has a whole lot less to do with a quality you possess (as in, nothing), and a whole hell of a lot more (as in, everything) to do with how much power you have and hold, how many people you can force or persuade to agree with you, and how much loot you can pool in order to defend the list of things you want to do, as well as stave off the efforts of those who want to stop you. [Crow]

It’s certainly not that Welsh misses this conception of “rights,” for he’s said this very thing, “I won’t say ‘does not’ [have the right] because they do it anyway[.]”

That said, of course. The government is not justified in punishing anyone. Period. Much less without the customary judicial accouterments, those stalwart facades of justice: a timely trial before their peers, allowing the accused to see the evidence against them, to face their accusers, and so on. But they do it anyway.

[Hat tip: Charles Davis]

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3 Comments
  1. Senescent permalink
    August 3, 2010 4:21 PM

    Rights are just curdled will and whim, shouldn’t be surprising they lose out to the fresh stuff.

  2. August 4, 2010 9:23 AM

    The couple of times I’ve served on jury duty, I’ve come to loathe my peers even more than I previously had which only makes the state apparatus an even greater purveyor of the heebee jeebees.

  3. August 4, 2010 3:44 PM

    ‘rights’ are intangibles, ideas/hopes/desires/ideals, and have no bearing in and of themselves on power.

    a jury is a mob.

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