Legalizing Vehicular Terror

There is an op-ed in the Washington Post.

The car as weapon is a touchy subject because, of course, before the invasion of Iraq, when the U.S. was still trying to use persuasion to get
Saddam Hussein to hand over some land for military bases (like the ones we have in Japan and South Korea), the local opposition to Saddam’s regime was assisted by the U.S. in their efforts to “de-stabilize” his rule by having the CIA teach them how to make car bombs. Yes, the U.S. introduced car bombs to the Middle East. Where did they get the cars? According to some serial numbers recovered from engine parts, the cars had been stolen in southern California.

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A comment worth saving?

Authoritarian behavior is pretty consistent around the globe. The authoritarian wants to exercise authority for which there is no basis in fact — no expertise, no experience, no education, no product.

The party of no is not an aberration, either. Presumably, the existence of incompetents was less threatened when the social system of inherited wealth and status provided for them and each household had a manager, so to speak. For example, widows and spinsters set up boarding houses which were, in effect, households for largely ineffectual or incompetent people.

Equating households with nuclear families was not a good development. It was, most likely, an unanticipated consequence of the effort to “move labor (of both men and women) out of the house.” That was done in the interest of monetizing all our endeavors so they could be more easily counted.

If that’s correct, then it’s not profit but monetization and quantification that caused what we now consider undesirable results. I write that as one who consciously decided NOT to move my labor out of the house and have spent the last fifty-one years as a household manager.

Permits for Charlottesville?

Yes, “the issuance of a permit is not a matter of grace.” So says Justice Kennedy and I agree. Permits are issued for legal activities. The purpose of the permitting process is to alert public servants to the possibility that a greater level of service may be required because, as in this case, for example, a crowd of people may become unruly. So, yes, the city of Charlottesville did not prepare adequately for the presence of a large number of pedestrians. In part that’s because car culture doesn’t like pedestrians much anyway. It is not a coincidence that a person in a car ran down some pedestrians. The number of people killed by cars while walking has been increasing steadily. Bicyclists too. One suspects that people ensconced in metal cages with wheels perceive themselves to be challenged by people perambulating on their own two feet. It may be a subconscious “how dare they step out of line?” response.
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On Oppression

Oppression, being a version of abuse, requires an intervention from outside. The U.S., unfortunately, is too tolerant of abuse, perhaps because the line between discipline and abuse is so thin. No doubt, those lacking in self-discipline perceive restraint as abuse. But, there again, an external perspective is needed to decide. Perhaps we can say that self-discipline rests on a foundation of social support, which both promotes and keeps it from going overboard.

Innovations in Law Enforcement

While I have some sympathy for our agents of law enforcement confronting the fact that the rate of violent crime has fallen about half in the last twenty-five years, a reality that gives rise to the fear of being summarily sent to the ranks of the unemployed, agency response has to be judged as totally unacceptable. The answer to less crime being committed should not be to define more behaviors as crimes.
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