The following was posted as a Samizdata comment by the pseudonymous ‘Jaded Libertarian’, but it deserved to be an article in my not so humble opinion, and so…
I read in the paper today that after subjecting 500,000 people to mandatory face to face interviews, the government denied passports to eight for fraud.
This is the thing that most do not get. The big evil does not justify, never justifies, the small good. Causing inconvenience, misery and transgressing the privacy of half a million people in order to catch eight fraudsters is absurd.
And our society is full of such absurdities. Millions of adults are denied the “gift of giving” into their children’s lives by “child protection” policies. There is this assumption that any adult watching children swim is potentially sexually aroused, for example.
I would contend that the people who make such laws have dirty minds. I find it nobler and better to live life as though perverted degenerates do not even exist, for they are thankfully rare. And on the rare occasions where monsters abuse society’s trust, why, we should quickly and simply hang them in the town square and then return to life as before.
This is the model for transgressing only the liberties of the lawless, and not those of society at large. If you have to tread on the freedoms of innocent people to catch the lawless you’re doing it wrong.
“If it stops one fraudster, if it saves one life and if it protects one child it will all be worth it” the statists cry. These thoughts are supposed to make us feel warm inside as we queue to be inspected by the passports office, as security cameras follow us down the street and as police demand to know what we are doing for no particular reason. We are to lay our personal freedom on the alter of society in the name of the common good, and feel heartened by our sacrifice. As bizarre as it may sound, there are “true believers” in this cult – I see them all the time.
Down that road lies 24 hour policing of the entire population, and lives that are not worth living for all but the party elite. Basically 1984 made real.
And it all began when we passed that first law that mildly inconvenienced many in order to wheedle out the wicked few…