Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Radical Rant

When I was in college I was a fringe member of various subversive communist groups including the League for the Revolutionary Party and the Workers World Party. Eventually I had to decide whether to go out and join the world or continue on with the class struggle. I was no big fan of communism; I found the people humorless and the ideology stifling, although as a sociology student I thought and still think that a lot of the Marxist critique of Capitalism is right on the money (haha). Most monolithic ideologies are stifling, come to think of it. Anyway, when I decided that I could stomach being a left-wing democrat, even though it meant accepting the obvious systemic inequities of capitalism, I consoled myself with the thought that at least in America we have a constitution with a fourth amendment and freedom of speech and that although the government is for the most part corrupt and self-interested, at least the judicial system is a check on the robber baron tendencies of the millionaires in Congress and the White House. I was able to cruise along with this happy fiction intact until I graduated law school and saw first hand the mockery the judicial system makes of the concept of justice, as the term is classically understood. The bias against the people is more clearly seen in the criminal justice system where young black men are sent to jail for five years for crimes that if they had occurred at Columbia wouldn't have even resulted in an arrest. Bail set on marijuana dealers at thousands of dollars, 5 years state prison for shoplifting, etc., etc. After 911, this country went bonkers. Completely mad. The government, which can't muster up enough energy to ensure that everyone in the richest country on earth has affordable healthcare, was able to overnight throw a net of security over this country so that any movement through the system can be, and probably is being monitored. We are now engaged in an endless war against "terrorists" and the government's legal arguments for why torture is acceptable conduct are actually being carefully considered by the Courts. We are over in Iraq for no apparent reason yet we can't spare enough National Guard troops to rebuild New Orleans because they are all over in Iraq torturing people and ensuring that the Islamic world will be waging jihad against the United States for the next ten generations. Perhaps that is why I want to run away to the woods. I find it harder and harder to justify American action since we are starting to resemble what we always excoriated in the rest of the world.

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