11 October 2016

Too Much Freedom to Persecute

Dr. Helen brings up an interesting point about the costs of ever-advancing leftism that few people ever stop to think about, but which carries real costs for real people:
[...] liberal bias and anger against those of us who do not go along with the liberal agenda could increase and in ways that cost people their jobs, livelihoods, relationships etc.
It's already happening, and we've seen way too many examples of it during Obama's 8 years of torture. The IRS, for example. Even when IRS corruption and abuse of power is viewed in the most innocent possible light - that it was just some rogue, out-of-control individuals, not directed from any layer of management whatsoever, and surely not the White House, which is amusing, but let's go with it - it still broke the law by persecuting Tea party sympathizers, asking ridiculous, illegal, un-Constitutional questions about who they associate with and even asking for copies of church sermons. There is no possible way any of that is permissible in a country built on liberty and freedom.

Dr. Helen continues:
A Trump election means that people (mostly liberal) will stop to think about the consequences of their acts more with the other side in power. The fact is, the media, schools, universities and much of society in general these days is driven by liberal thought and with a liberal president and Justice Department at the helm, people feel very free to engage in acts against dissidents without as much restraint.
(emphasis mine)

Again, back to the "best possible spin on the IRS" -- bureaucrats took note of which way the wind was blowing, from Obama's public statements and surely many other subtle signs from within the IRS such as emails, plus lack of any sort of pushback from the media -- and took that as unspoken approval to proceed with making clearly protected speech somehow illegal in their little bureaucratic bubble.

Persecution, abuse of power, and oppression can be based on nothing more than "othering" and virtue signaling. No direct orders are needed, no smoking gun emails required.

Whether it was ordered from above or not - and the fact that they destroyed emails, and lied about it to Congress, and obfuscated all along the way, pretty much indicates that it was - the point here is that persecution can be, and is, based on nothing more than social cues, because people are awful, in most cases. We don't need to find a smoking gun email that says, "Hey IRS, go after those deplorable Tea Partiers! Signed, Barack". Looking for that type of evidence is a waste of time, because people are rarely that forthcoming when conducting illegal activities. The plausible deniability is baked right in. That's how it works.

Our nation was founded on the idea that abuse of government power to persecute those with inconvenient opinions is a crime against our God-given "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". It's important to understand that, often, a leader drives that abuse by providing intellectual cover for the henchmen who carry out the deeds, rather than issuing a clear set of rules on what is to be done. And we need to put a stop to that.