Tyranny and capriciousness

Skirting the rules of fair use, I want to reproduce nearly ALL of Nikki’s post on the topic over at flying hedgehogs. As a witness to the whole sad affair, this is precisely what bothered me about it, and it’s the thing that seems easiest to lose sight of:

to me, this is certainly not about the questionable dancing of some participants, or the questionable activities of thomas jefferson. to me this is not about misuse of public property, it is not about race. this is not about the interaction between the jefferson 1 and the officer, the group’s motives, or what the law should be.

this is about the transparent enforcement of a clear rule of law, and the need for easy access to laws. officers could not cite any type of rule authorizing the arrest. this strongly suggests they either a) didn’t know one or b) didn’t think she needed to know. this is about detaining a human being without citing or, as it seems, having, just cause. it’s moreover about the real possibility that countless individuals outside the jefferson 1’s socioeconomic status are arrested without being shown the law in writing. and they may not have the resources to fight back. they mayn’t feel that they even should fight back. that is what this is about.

the albeit flawed founders were generally in favor of a government with clear, set rules not subject to the whim of the ruler like their former king, or his extensions in the form of a state. this is about that perhaps-impossible ideal, as certainly there are unavoidable gray areas in enforcement. but this is about asking the law’s representatives to move a little closer towards that ideal

You rock, Nikki. It reminds me of my favorite Mises quote — that the opposite of freedom is not brutal tyranny, but capriciousness.

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