The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

3 October 2004

Stratified for your protection

However much we rail about the excesses and inanities of the government — or the "govment," as Huck's Pap called it — we recognize that it's not one large, monolithic operation, as noted by Francis W. Porretto:

The military, the police and the courts are regarded as separate manifestations of the protective mechanisms of society. More significant, they're considered on a separate plane from the rest of the coercive edifice: "above" in importance, "below," meaning more fundamental to our stability and security, in structural terms. With-but-after the police would come the unarmed emergency responders: firemen, ambulance services, and comparable workers and agencies. But a long, long way down from all of the above would be the routiniers of the bureaucracy whose mission in life is to write public-school sex education syllabuses, enforce diversity-in-hiring quotas, or fine homeowners for having too high a fence. And infinitely further down are the myrmidons of the ATF and DEA, who've demonstrated a willingness to slay and spare not to prevent Americans from exercising ownership rights over their own bodies or their Constitutionally guaranteed right to own and carry whatever weapons they please.

Of late, I'd say the courts might have slipped a notch or two here and there, but otherwise this is spot-on. And I'd argue that the Feds, deep in their flinty little artificial hearts, don't think much of ATF either. Presumably by design, ATF is an organization that regulates three (well, four, actually) commodities that were thrown together seemingly at random: they have nothing in common other than the fact that some people in high places don't like them.

The DEA, of course, exists to make George Lucas, circa THX-1138, appear to be a visionary.

And please note Mr Porretto's reference to the "coercive edifice," which reminds us that all of government is coercive, though some parts are more coercive than others. And some have more legitimate claim to the consent of the governed than others: it's not at all difficult to find a correlation between the position of regard in which any segment of government is held and the strength of that claim.

Posted at 9:49 AM to Political Science Fiction