Glenn Greenwald (whose view of the press at the founding is quite at odds with Jefferson’s) and Megan McArdle have a diavlog on the obligation of journalists to pound the point home on the Yoo memos. I am largely in agreement with Megan non-water-engineer that The People are to blame. Unfortunately many people, including not only bog-standard liberals but radical anarchists like Kevin Carson and Murray Rothbard fall prey to The People’s Romance. Jack Ross explains the latter as just being Jewish. The good thing about Carson is that he seems to take the Moldbuggian view of objective journalism. Greenwald takes the MM view of the privileged nature of the journalistic profession, but sees that as a noble ideal they unfortunately fall short of. I am down on that kind of idealism because it leads you to be perpetually shocked, whereas the real measure of an accurate view of reality is not being surprised. The press is not a branch of government created to check the other ones. It is a self-interested outside power-center of the sort Bertrand de Jouvenel wrote about, expect it to behave like one. I’ve defended Greenwald before if only because he was being attacked on little basis, but in this dispute he seems to have behaved like a real ninny. As long as I’m piling on, his new book’s blatant hypocrisy seems like a good example of the Jimmy Johnson rule in action. I had suspicions about it earlier and was not persuaded otherwise by its editor at the time.

A little while back Chip Smith pointed out the sad case of Tim Masters. It’s the sort of thing you would expect Radley Balko to write about. However, there’s too much abuse of power for just one man to cover. Balko himself has recently finished an excellent story on years of police persecution of some old grandparents in Church Point Louisiana. It’s the sort of thing that inclines one to much less sympathy towards the police than, say, Peter Moskos in his diavlog with Will Wilkinson on his book “Cop in the Hood“. One interesting thing they discussed was how he could rationalize fighting a drug war he didn’t believe in. His answer was that he saw his activities as quality of life maintenance. Peter’s big idea is foot patrol. I laid out evidence on the effectiveness of different police patrol tactics here.

During the Duke Lacrosse brouhaha a Sudanese immigrant cab-driver was arrested on trumped up charges (a fare he had driven was convicted of shoplifting way back) because he had an alibi proving one of the accused was not at the scene of the “crime”. For defying the authorities (which he was taught to fear in his home country) and sticking up for an innocent stranger he was made Reader’s Digest Hero of the Year. Remember that no good deed goes unpunished and that economic freedom is just a kind of personal freedom as the authorities still haven’t finished screwing him over. Although he now has his citizenship Durham went after his license due to complaints from his competitors that he was “unfairly competing” (i.e offering a better product or service at a lower price than the politically connected) with them and so he is out of the taxi business. I recognize that public roads are a state subsidy rather than a feature of the market and that a free-for-all on the commons can mean congestion, but state licensing of cabs is simply rent seeking and an invitation for corruption. Tom DiLorenzo explains how good provided privately in the past were monopolized and then turned into supposedly “natural monopolies” here.