Repulsive Government

by Don Boudreaux on May 21, 2011

in Civil Asset Forfeiture, Crime

There is no more offensive, repulsive, inexcusable, and tyrannical government operation routinely undertaken in today’s US of A than civil asset forfeiture.  It’s criminal.  (HT EconLog’s David Henderson)

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MWG May 21, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Absolutely disgusting.

TeeJaw May 21, 2011 at 4:49 pm

Civil forfeiture creates an incentive for authorities to abuse their power for gain. It adds significantly to the already universal experience that everyone who holds power is drawn to abuse it and to proceed until they find the limits.

vidyohs May 22, 2011 at 12:13 pm

You bet it is. Both for departments (it is how they get all those fancy SUV police vehicles and that neat SWAT team shit) and individual officers (who are given a share of the proceeds for spotting and executing the opportunity).

Had a distant cousin in the Missouri State Troopers, who worked the rivers looking for drug trafficking. He bragged about participating several large seizures and showed the totally tricked out AR-15 he bought with his share of the last bust he was in on.

He loved the forfeiture program, oh yes indeedy!

vikingvista May 22, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Whatever limits they find, are merely a temporary inconvenience.

A. May 21, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Since you said routinely undertaken, we can also include imprisonment for non-violent drug offenses

Dr. T May 21, 2011 at 6:41 pm

It’s not criminal: A majority of Supreme Court justices said that governments can take private lands for public use, and that “public use” now means any purpose a government believes to be good. That tragic redefinition turned criminal acts into acceptable government policies. The unethical Justices who failed to uphold the Constitution were:

John Stevens (appointed by Ford and approved 98-0 in 1975 )
Anthony Kennedy (appointed by Reagan and approved 97-0 in 1988)
Davod Souter (appointed by Bush and approved 90-9 in 1990)
Ruth GInsburg (appointed by Clinton and approved 90-93 in 1993)
Stephen Breyer (appointed by Clinton and approved 87-9 in 1994)

vidyohs May 21, 2011 at 7:07 pm

What is equally disgusting is the level of control commercial enterprises can demand. Government and collaborating businesses will eventual squeeze the private individual down to where he has no alternatives but to go berserk on the world, or sink to his knees, stick his thumb in his mouth, and whimper as they put the collar around his neck.

I clink on the link above and it tells me that to view the youtube video I have to have a Google account. This has happened just recently. I think I remember that Google bought up Youtube, eh?

You either give Google information on yourself, or no more Youtube videos? Screw it.

nailheadtom May 21, 2011 at 8:25 pm

Law enforcement is simply another gang, financed by their victims. They’re no different than the criminals they are supposedly trying to apprehend.

Sam Grove May 21, 2011 at 9:10 pm

In fact, they carry many of the same morés, such as not squealing on fellow criminals to the man.

Tom May 21, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Agreed. One must oppose actions of the police to the extent such actions remains within the law.

vikingvista May 22, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Revere agreement. Fear law.

Tom May 22, 2011 at 9:39 pm


vikingvista May 23, 2011 at 3:08 am

“to the extent such actions remains within the law” sounds like reverence for the law. The law is a unilateral imposition, and an offense. It merits scorn, but must be feared as the demands of any tyrant must be feared.

BonnieBlueFlag May 22, 2011 at 1:26 am

So much for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Apparently the government’s judgment takes precedence over natural rights.

vikingvista May 22, 2011 at 12:46 pm

More plainly, the government violates rights whenever it suits its agents.

Chucklehead May 22, 2011 at 3:55 am

History shows that the “State” had its origin in conquest and confiscation. We are fast approaching the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission.

vikingvista May 22, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Fast approaching? What do you imagine are the restraints on government?

Chucklehead May 22, 2011 at 2:39 pm

Good point.
First let me apologizes for my previous laziness/tiredness in not properly attributing the statements.
The first ” The positive testimony of history is that the State invariably had its origin in conquest and confiscation. No primitive State known to history originated in any other manner.”-Albert Jay Nock — 1935
Second “Instead of being a protector of man’s rights, the government is becoming their most dangerous violator; instead of guarding freedom, the government is establishing slavery; instead of protecting men from the initiators of physical force, the government is initiating physical force and coercion in any manner and issue it pleases; instead of serving as the instrument of objectivity in human relationships, the government is creating a deadly, subterranean reign of uncertainty and fear, by means of nonobjective laws whose interpretation is left to the arbitrary decisions of random bureaucrats; instead of protecting men from injury by whim, the government is arrogating to itself the power of unlimited whim—so that we are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force.”- “The Nature of Government,” from The Virtue of Selfishness by Ayn Rand 1961

I have slowly come to realize that the combination of a judiciary who no longer believes is protecting the negative liberties of its citizens; with elected branches that are besieged by rent seekers; combined with a central bank willing to debase the currency to obfuscate the confiscation of wealth; that there are no longer limits on government.
I would just like to hear one a supreme court decision which sights a “compelling interest of the citizens to protect their liberty.”

John V May 22, 2011 at 10:42 am

I must say that always find it funny that our resident leftist trolls never ever comment on posts of this nature…or any for that matter….in which the abuse of state power or indefensible corruption is the central issue.

John V May 22, 2011 at 10:45 am

I got a kick out of “conservative-leaning Institute for Justice”.

First of all, they are not conservative. Second of all, the ideological bend of the Institute’s legal staff is totally irrelevant to the subject matter.

It fits the report as well as “My conservative-leaning tennis chiropractor gave me few exercises to work on at home.”.

John V May 22, 2011 at 10:46 am

correction: “tennis-loving”

BZ May 23, 2011 at 12:38 pm

I also noticed and got a giggle out of that. What must the social conservative, law-and-order types out there think when they try to ponder a “conservative” legal agency going after cops on 4th amendment grounds?

Richard Stands May 22, 2011 at 2:21 pm

And yet placid newscasters and pundits are astonished by people in town halls and movements like the Tea Party who shout at legislators in rage.

Politicians, especially those more distant in Washington, enjoy insulation from this outrage which is only broached every two to six years. For some judges, that insulation can last a lifetime.

Krishnan May 22, 2011 at 5:54 pm

This must have really happened in the USSR or Communist China or Venezuela or Nicaragua or some such … (No?)

IN THE US OF A? And people wonder what we have become? 5 Justices thought it is OK to do this? (I mean, that this sort of action if constitutional?)

Wow … I hope this video goes viral – that someone, somewhere will decide to go up against Big Brother before we all sink into the abyss

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