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Machan's Musings - Who Regulates the Regulators?
When Rush Limbaugh—the poor righteous soul, who had, despite his repeated bashing of big government (well, big government when Liberals support it, not so much when the Republicans do) backed the war on drugs—got caught gobbling down pain-killers to which he became "addicted," many made fun of him for his hypocrisy. Perhaps he really couldn’t help himself—such things have been known to happen to some people, even though this idea is mostly a ploy by defense attorneys when nothing else works to get off their clients. In any case, we have here a far more important case of hypocrisy. On several levels, actually.
There is, first of all, the man himself, who seems to have carried out his vendetta against drug offenders while doing exactly as they have been doing. I must say, it baffles me how one brings this off. Maybe I am naïve—after all, con-men (or is it now con-persons?) abound in history and I have run into a few two-faced folks myself in my life. But still, just as with vandalism—like scratching car doors or bending antennas—I just don’t get it. Peculiar mentalities, these, I must say.
But in my book the more interesting hypocrisy is this: Unlike when Enron executives perpetrated their criminal conduct and the liberal Left was hollering for re-regulating various aspects of business that they claim weren’t sufficiently regulated to prevent those guys from pulling off their evil deeds (which, by the way, they were caught doing without the extra regulation), in this case I have heard nothing about more vigorous regulation of criminal prosecutors.
Oh, you say, this is just one case—there are many, many decent criminal prosecutors, so one shouldn’t jump the gun. Yet that is exactly what holds true about the Enron people—they were a bunch of individuals gone wrong and nothing at all follows about needing to re-regulate the industry in which they did their bad deeds. So why, then, the discrepancy?
Mainly because those who love regulation have a prejudice against business. You can read it on Op-Ed pages everywhere—especially The New York Times. Commerce is bad—too many choices, people cannot handle them, let’s, therefore, limit them. Commerce—it makes people treat one another as objects (as commodities), so let’s restrict it. Commerce—it gives big companies too much power, so people are duped into buying things they don’t want or need just so this big corporations become rich. And the refrain continues without end.
But when a criminal prosecutor—whose specialty is victimless crimes and who has sent hundreds up people up the river for dozens and dozens of years for hurting no one at all—gets caught breaking the same unjust laws he so enthusiastically used to hurt people and clearly turns out to be duplicitous, there is no cry to "regulate" criminal prosecutors. Well, of course, that’s because there is no one left to do the regulating—criminal prosecutors are, after all, the end of the line of government regulation.
This is just what ought to teach folks a vital lesson: regulating people’s lives to prevent their doing harm to themselves is futile. It ought to be stopped. Let the law handle cases where someone violates another’s rights, period. That’s not regulation—it is prohibition, based on the fact that we all have unalienable rights none may violate and all should get punished if they do violate them. The rest is not the law’s business.
Ah, but this would put a big dent into the sacred faith that governments are the solution to all of our problems. And such a faith seems to have a life of its own, whatever the facts show.
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