El Coyote Gordo (supergee) wrote,
El Coyote Gordo
supergee

Front

In the 1950s we were supposed to be terrified by the idea that the civil rights movement was a "communist front." Some of us decided that the civil rights movement was a pretty nifty thing anyway no matter who else liked it, and some looked a bit further and noticed that the CPUSA was an old folks' home that probably would have collapsed if the FBI infiltrators had withheld their dues, and the civil rights movement succeeded or at least enabled America's racial situation to make a great leap forward to its present mediocre state.

Now there is a lot of concern about police abuses, and some progressives are warning us that Cop Block and other such sites are libertarian fronts. They have a point. Cop Block plugs libertarian books, and perhaps our best one-man open source police review board, Radley Balko, is an open and notorious libertarian.

Which is not terribly surprising. Just as Communists, motivated by a desire to minimize suffering, noticed that segregation was awful, so a group defined by distrust of the State is going to notice that some of the guys given guns and clubs to enforce the law are going to misuse them.

I am a recovering libertarian. I know there is such a thing as economic force, as well as the nasty old State, I know we can't solve the coordination problem and the tragedy of the commons without a State. But I also remember the good parts of libertarianism--the wariness of police power and the distrust of the war on some drugs and the war on some Asians--and I'm willing to make common cause with the "extreme right wing" libertarians about them.
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