Friday, June 25, 2010

Toronto police and the Shock of Law-breakers. . . .

It was quite amusing listening to the Toronto chief of police (I think his name is William Blair) tell CBC radio that he had found the right balance between security and freedom. When they asked him if he thought this balance had been reached he said. . . . wait for it. . . . "Yes, I do." What did they expect him to reply "No I prefer a system heavily weighted to persecution and oppression and one in which dissent is made into a criminal act."

He then went on to tell CBC and its listeners that he was genuinely 'Shocked' that some people willfully go out to break the law. Really? A police officer is shocked by law=breakers? Call the newspapers! Stop the presses!

I am shocked that people are shocked that people willfully break the law at events such as the G20 whose real purpose is to maintain the wealth of the rich nations while paying just enough lip-service to poverty issues so that they can pretend they really care.

Police officers, like so many people, imagine that we live in a genuine democracy which consists of a (In Rousseau's phrase) a 'social contract' to which we have all a priori agreed. But of course those who pay the piper chose the tune. Laws are created by a rich and elite group in the interests of the rich and elite. The question one often needs to ask is not whether people have broken a legal restraint, but whether someone is violating a moral principle. When someone murders or rapes someone, we all know what is going on. But many people are protected by a whole structure of law because they are rich and powerful.  Thus I am sure that the William Blair is not shocked by the decades of Tobacco companies secretly filling cigarettes with a bunch of crap that makes them more addictive. And yet the people that have done this are not only not in jail, they live wealthy and prosperous lives in big houses with expensive sports cars. I am sure that Mr. Blair is not shocked by the fact that BP and Halliburton drill deep-sea oil wells with no way to cap such wells if they go haywire, and even cut corners to make more profit. Why? Because these moral criminals are protected by money and power and the laws are created in ways that protect them. It is a reification of corporate power. And Mr. Blair will not be shocked by the fact that no one will ever pay for these crimes. But William Blair is 'shocked' when a ragtag group of youths who care about the future of the planet and the outrageous violations of moral laws committed by our so-called global leaders, decide to come to Toronto and knock down a couple of fences or do other such things in a desperate attempt to get people to wake up to the international moral violations by people who are, in ethical terms, much worse than a few so-called anarchists will ever be.

This is truly shocking.

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