I’m very happy Chauvin got convicted on all counts. I’m also quite distressed that it took SO MUCH evidence. For NINE DAYS the Prosecution presented witness after witness. The legal folks, trainers, fellow officers, his boss, all testifying that Chauvin did NOT use proper procedure. He violated his training. The medical folks all testified that Mr. Floyd’s health conditions and drug history played no part in his death and that he died because people were sitting on him in the prone position for nine minutes. The defense? Well, they had to do something so they brought in a guy to say the use of force displayed looked okay to him (he wasn’t the one being sat on, however) and another who said that maybe it was the drugs and then rested. All of this AFTER the video that made so clear that Chauvin murdered Floyd. STILL, everyone was holding their collective breath. What would the jury do?
I think Chauvin went to trial because he’s used to the notion that Minneapolis cops don’t get convicted of killing black people. He was arrogant at the scene. He was arrogant taking a trial instead of a plea bargain. He was arrogant in the courtroom. He just didn’t seem to believe it was possible for him to be convicted.
I suppose now his fellows will accept plea bargains.
My favorite definition of a Libertarian is a conservative who likes to smoke pot but that is really just a playful description. The truth is Libertarians believe in a kind of perfect freedom – for themselves, anyway. It’s a kind of perfect freedom that does not – CAN not – exist in a society because of the old ‘Fist-to-Nose’ allegory. Libertarians believe in their absolute, perfect right to swing their fist anytime they want, any place they want. It takes no time at all to see the flaw in the “logic.” What happens when their perfect freedom to swing their fist comes into conflict with my perfect freedom to not be hit?
Of course, it’s possible Mr. Fistswinger and Mr. Nohit can talk about it and come to some accommodation – an agreement that respects each other’s perfect freedom without infringing on it. But what happens when someone insists on their own perfect freedom to swing their fist and refuses to acknowledge MY perfect freedom to not be hit? Obviously, that’s where courts come in. The courts rule: your right to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose. You may not violate MY rights in the pursuit of your own perfect right. This is simply a balancing of rights that MUST occur in a society in which people interact. But Mr. Fistswinger refuses to accept this balance and storms off – angry, swearing, and whining that his perfect right has been infringed.
Frankly, I think it’s probably been people of the Libertarian mindset that spread humans across the globe. As governing rules are imposed on a society, the Libertarian…leaves. They would not acknowledge the need to balance rights so, in an effort to secure their own perfect right, they just went somewhere people weren’t. Eventually, civilization followed, the Libertarian felt closed in by new rules, and off they went again. It’s actually a pretty workable solution – so long as there exists someplace “new” for the Libertarian to go. Obviously, though, they eventually ran out of “new” places and society overtook them.
Eventually, that mindset got lumped together into a group and given a name: Libertarian. Inevitably, the Libertarians formed a political party of the same name. The party has existed since 1971 but they’ve never done well in elections. The BEST they ever did was in 1980 when they captured about one percent of the national vote but they’ve never been able to repeat that “success.” My own thinking is that they don’t do better because people understand how unrealistic the ideas of the Libertarians are. It’s not that they’re wrong, per se. But there is no practical application for perfect freedom in a society, as we’ve already seen.
After 1980, this vile pseudo-human known as Charles Koch realized that nobody was ever going to take the Libertarian party seriously so he did what any self-serving, one-percenter might do: he lied. He, along with his brother, David, started funding “think tanks” like the Cato Institute. These were not true think tanks, though. These were disinformation machines conceived, intended, and created to inject disinformation into the body politic. THEY knew they were lying. The consumers of their drivel did not. The idea was to “mainstream” Libertarian thinking by making it appear more credible than it ever actually is. But they didn’t stop there.
From time to time, some clever sod will go out and buy an old, surplus Army uniform and some medals and tell everyone they served and earned the medals even though they didn’t. The practice is referred to as “Stolen Honor.” In the same way, Charles realized people were not likely to embrace the Libertarian party since their impractical reputation preceded them. So, slowly, Libertarians started registering as Republicans and running under the more respectable banner of the GOP, a kind of “Stolen Respectability.” People didn’t realize what was happening but they DID notice that the Republicans of this once-great nation had become a bit…unhinged.
As time went on, once-mainstream Republicans – the rational Republicans – began to leave the party. They didn’t move to the now center-right Democratic party where they might have felt quite at home. They just became independents. But this left the faux-Republicans running the GOP. We’ve all seen the results. The GOP is now as bat-shit crazy as the Libertarian Party ever was – and for the same reason: it’s full of Libertarians. I’d say the scheme was, overall, successful. The Libertarians FINALLY got their President, Donald Trump. The world saw Libertarian “thinking” in action as Trump simply ignored science and other realities and tried to impose his preferences on real life. (Not surprisingly, it didn’t work.) Conservative “news” outlets, built to stoke Libertarian contrarianism, continued to lie and present the Trump presidency as successful. These lies all culminated in the January 6, 2021 assault on the US Capitol building as domestic terrorists who saw themselves as “Patriots” tried to overturn a “stolen” election that bears absolutely NO evidence of having been stolen.
The after-effect has been…eye opening. The media continues to report on what “Republicans” think about this or that issue but, mostly, nobody cares anymore. People seem to have realized that today’s Republican Party is a sorry shell of it’s former self. It’s like the Trump years and the Capitol assault caused the scales to fall from the nation’s eyes. Sure, the Libertarians managed some temporary success with their stolen respectability but they’re essentially barbarians and it’s not easy for a barbarian to behave as a civilized person for very long. People have long understood the Libertarian Party was full of useless wishful thinkers and it’s now normal to see the Republicans the same way – useless. The Libertarians marginalized themselves in the Libertarian Party and now they’ve very nearly marginalized themselves and the GOP as well.
The truth is, I’ve never had much use for political parties but I understand that people like to organize themselves into like-minded groups so political parties seem inevitable. Right now, there’s a strong push for more progressive thinking. (Progressive thinking is always the way the country recovers after some GOP – or in this case, Libertarian – dimwit has been in the Oval Office.) You might think this idea, progressive thinking, appeals to me. Okay, it does. I prefer a nation that seems to be at least trying to do the right thing. But…I have concerns about a party – any party – being the only realistic game in town. This once-great nation has NEVER truly been a so-called “two party” system. It’s just that we only had two parties that seemed, you know, sane. The Communists did okay when they first showed up – until people understood Communism. The Libertarians followed the same path. Their start was as strong as they were ever going to be. The Green Party? They’ve never even really had a strong start. People don’t seem to know what the Green Party is about – mostly because the Green Party doesn’t seem to know what the Green Party is about.
Like it or not, we’ve had two realistic possibilities for party affiliation for those who feel the need, Democrats and Republicans – and now the Republicans are every bit as useless as the other outliers, leaving the Democrats as the only rational and realistic option. That’s dangerous. Honest debate about honest concerns is better for governing. (This, as opposed to just stringing together words that can sound correct but actually make no sense.) Rational Republicans leaving the fold seems to have been inevitable as the Libertarians usurped (and tarnished) the GOP but I think it’s time for the rational Republicans to come back and push the Libertarians back to where they belong: obscurity.
I’ll tell you this: sooner or later, any unchallenged party will go too far – or even just make a well-meaning but honest mistake. Having someone around to at least mention possible issues is an effective stopgap – but that “someone” has to have credibility and the only way that’s going to happen is if the GOP recovers some honest respectability. They can’t do it with Libertarians in their midst…