Friday, February 18, 2005

Column on Duplicitous Drug Offender Prosecutor

Who Regulates the Regulators?

Tibor R. Machan

This is not some original question from me but I must ask it again. Did
you read about the ?zealous prosecutor of drug criminals? who has turned
out to be, you guessed it, a drug criminal himself? He is Richard James
Roach of the Texas Panhandle, a Republican district attorney, who is
reportedly notorious for his lambaste of drug offenders and his vigorous
pursuit of them in court. Alas, et tu Brute!

When Rush Limbaugh?the poor righteous soul, who had, despite his repeated
bashing of big government (well, big government when Liberals support it,
not so much when the Republicans do) backed the war on drugs?got caught
gobbling down pain killers to which he became ?addicted,? many made fun of
him for his hypocrisy. Perhaps he really couldn?t help himself?such things
have been known to happen to some people, even though this idea is mostly
a ploy by defense attorneys when nothing else works to get off their
clients. In any case, we have here a far more important case of hypocrisy.
On several levels, actually.

There is, first of all, the man himself, who seems to have carried out
his vendetta against drug offenders while doing exactly as they have been
doing. I must say, it baffles me how one brings this off. Maybe I am
naïve?after all, con men (or is it now con persons?) abound in history and
I have run into a few twofaced folks myself in my life. But still, just as
with vandalism?like scratching car doors or bending antennas?I just don?t
get it. Peculiar mentalities, these, I must say.

But in my book the more interesting hypocrisy is this: Unlike when Enron
executives perpetrated their criminal conduct and the liberal Left was
hollering for re-regulating various aspects of business that they claim
weren?t sufficiently regulated to prevent those guys from pulling off
their evil deeds (which, by the way, they were caught doing without the
extra regulation), in this case I have heard nothing about more vigorous
regulation of criminal prosecutors.

Oh, you say, this is just one case?there are many, many decent criminal
prosecutors, so one shouldn?t jump the gun. Yet that is exactly what holds
true about the Enron people?they were a bunch of individuals gone wrong
and nothing at all follows about needing to re-regulate the industry in
which they did their bad deeds. So why, then, the discrepancy?

Mainly because those who love regulation have a prejudice against
business. You can read it on Op Ed pages everywhere?especially The New
York Times. Commerce is bad?too many choices, people cannot handle them,
let?s, therefore, limit them. Commerce?it makes people treat one another
as objects (as commodities), so let?s restrict it. Commerce?it gives big
companies too much power, so people are duped into buying things they
don?t want or need just so this big corporations become rich. And the
refrain continues without end.

But when a criminal prosecutor?whose specialty is victimless crimes and
who has sent hundreds up people up the river for dozens and dozens of
years for hurting no one at all?gets caught breaking the same unjust laws
he so enthusiastically used to hurt people and clearly turns out to be
duplicitous, there is no cry to ?regulate? criminal prosecutors. Well, of
course, that?s because there is no one left to do the regulating?criminal
prosecutors are, after all, the end of the line of government regulation.

This is just what ought to teach folks a vital lesson: regulating
people?s lives to prevent their doing harm to themselves is futile. It
ought to be stopped. Let the law handle cases where someone violates
another?s rights, period. That?s not regulation?it is prohibition, based
on the fact that we all have unalienable rights none may violate and all
should get punished if they do violate them. The rest is not the law?s

Ah, but this would put a big dent into the sacred faith that government?s
are the solution to all of our problems. And such a faith seems to have a
life of its own, whatever the facts show.

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