Thursday, October 08, 2009

The Dangers of Arbitrary Government Force

Here's a scary concretization of the dangers of both non-objective law and unaccountable government agencies and bureaus:
Mr. Norris ended up spending almost two years in prison because he didn't have the proper paperwork for some of the many orchids he imported. The orchids were all legal - but Mr. Norris and the overseas shippers who had packaged the flowers had failed to properly navigate the many, often irrational, paperwork requirements the U.S. imposed when it implemented an arcane international treaty's new restrictions on trade in flowers and other flora.
There's more, read the whole thing.


Anonymous L.H. said...

Yes, this is frightening. The idea that they can send some elderly man to prison for not filing the right paperwork on his orchids--well, who was injured? How does this qualify as criminal?

I guess what I don't understand is what happens to the mind and the moral decision-making ability of the agents who pursue these arrests and even more so the district attorneys, judges, etc. who go on to convict? Why don't any of them stand up and say, "this is wrong?" Are they really blind to the injustice simply b/c of some words written by bureaucrats?

I wonder if it's related to the effect mentioned in another post, the creeping tendency to kowtow to those in power--perhaps it affects low-level bureaucrats who fear those higher up & thus blindly follow orders? Unfortunately, though, I suspect it may be more of a power thing that is unleashed by non-objective laws.

7:38 PM  

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