Doctor Science Knows

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Heroes and the Rule of Law

Glenn Greenwald continues to do a bang-up job on The political establishment and telecom immunity -- why it matters. My comments:

As wbgonne said, a real respect for Rule of Law is simply not a prominent trait in the American character. Look at the drug arrests in Gerald, MO:
the agent, a man some had come to know as “Sergeant Bill,” boasted that he did not need search warrants to enter their homes because he worked for the federal government.
Bill Jakob apparently conned the whole town into believing he was a federal officer -- but they also were willing to believe that federal officer don't need no stinkin' badges or warrants. The article asks:
And why would anyone — receiving no pay and with no known connection to little Gerald, 70 miles from St. Louis and not even a county seat — want to carry off such a time-consuming ruse in the first place?

The answer seems obvious to me: Bill Jakob wanted to be a hero, and this is how heroes act, in our mythology. Macho Sue is a man who knows What Needs to Be Done to Clean Up the Town, and details like "Rule of Law" don't stop him.

If the stories Americans tell ourselves are about individualistic heroes who refuse to be tied down by law, then we will not, on a gut level, respect the rule of law. This is why we need better stories, not just better politicians.

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