Bill Barr's police speech proves the GOP doesn't actually care about "small government."

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Well, honestly, he is apparently on terrifyingly solid grounds legally, although morally and ethically he is a total shitstorm.


Show “the respect and support that law enforcement deserves”

That makes sense, but I hope he realizes it can be interpreted two ways. Neither more nor less respect than they deserve.

(Even if you don’t like the police in general, make sure to thank the ones who do make a good job to encourage them).


They are going to have to come up with a new slogan to paint on patrol cars.

Wait, that is it.


There’s arguably an additional aspect to this, which makes Barr’s statement extra dickish:

Given that a lot of police work either relies on, or is much aided by, having the cooperation of the people in the area being policed(whether it be actively providing tips, providing useful witness testimony, general lay-of-the-land stuff; cultural pushing of currently harmless but not well directed youth away from the wrong sort of associates, etc.) it is substantially true that communities that don’t support and respect police will not receive the policing that would be of benefit to them.

Trouble is, Barr states it as “kiss the Thin Blue Line’s ass or we’ll be even happier to let you rot in your thug ghetto, undesireables”; rather than as “Police, you will not be able to do your job if you fail at community relations; which, even if you didn’t already feel like treating people justly because it’s the right thing to do, means that good community relations are an inextricable part of doing your job adequately. Consider this carefully at all times.”

It’s a special kind of wrong when you not only start with a dubious and assholish implicit premise(pretty much the tired “Our Troops, patrolling the grim, pigmented, streets of minoritystan; get behind the flag!”); but follow up by delivering a 100% backward interpretation of the part of your statement that is substantially true: ‘policing’ is possible only at the barest ‘occupation’ level without the appropriate relationship between the police and the policed. He just reads this as “therefore you should unconditionally cringe to your betters” rather than “therefore a police force is overtly bad at its job if it fails to facilitate the conditions that are essential to it having even a shot at success.”


So the policy can be summed up as:

That’s a nice rat-infested, shithole community you have; if you don’t start thanking us for our racially biased, draconian law enforcement, we might just leave and stop murdering unarmed people when they make us uncomfortable.

Seems like kind of a mixed message to me.

Then again, not.


She apparently did not “adequately respect” the officer?


The desire for “small government” applies to the parts of government that aim to help people, not the parts that aim to control people.


When I read this article and what he said / implied, my first thought was that respect is earned, not freely given. I’ll respect them as soon as they respect the communities they are charged with protecting and serving.


Barr is absolutely full of crap. I see no debate on that one.
However, this statement seems hollow to me:
“Except the GOP never actually cared about small government. They only care about authoritarianism.”
While the “big government bad” shibboleth is GOP gospel unless we talk about the military, ICE, TSA, etc.,it seems counterproductive to me to act as if only one party supports authoritarianism. How many democrats voted against the Patriot Act? How many have voted for its continued re-authorization?


Oh certainly; I didn’t mean to give the DNC a pass on that bullshit. In this specific context, I was just focused more on the lip-service of “small government.” The popular accusation of the Democrats is that they do love centralized power and big government, which, well, does go along with their love of the Patriot Act. That much is consistent at least.


As I’ve said before, movement conservatism’s vision of community protection is more reminiscent of that of the feudal warlord or of the mob shakedown artist: only those who pay tribute get protection.

Meanwhile, Kim Stanley Robinson succinctly addresses the “small government” types on the right:

“That’s libertarians for you — anarchists who want police protection from their slaves.”


“Small government” was the dog-whistle popularized by Reagan becuase the plutocrats could hear it as “No more paying for benefits to help poor people,” and the racists could hear it as “No more federal interference with local racist laws, governments, or customs.”


Mighty fine community you got there, son. Be a pity if anything happened to it.


You’re an asshole. Plain and simple.

Maybe (royal) we should start addressing him publicly as Mr. Asshole, or Asshole General Barr.


We’re entirely in agreement!

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  1. “the GOP doesn’t actually care about “small government:”” - True, and something that took me awhile to figure out. Worse the government they do tend to support are branches with the more authoritarian power.

  2. The police are actually not legally obligated to protect anyone. Many of them WOULD, but not all and they aren’t required to.

  3. The police serve a role, but that doesn’t mean they should be above the law nor allowed to abuse their power.


Only one party literally brands itself as “the party of small government.” It’s the hypocrisy that’s being called out here.


Many years ago I was in Chicago and a native told me that you were welcome to drive as fast as you wanted, regardless of the speed limit, as long as you tapped your brakes when passing any cop to “show respect”. He also shared a story of his friend who was pulled over out of a crowd of much faster drivers for failure to do so…his friend was doing 80+ in a 55 while those around him were closer to triple digits.
NOTE: I’m guilty of “drive to road conditions” all too often myself (e.g. well beyond posted speed limit); thank god[dess[es]] for cruise control.