Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Legitimacy underpins all good governance.

We pay our taxes, mostly obey the speed limit and don't kill each other because we feel the government is legitimate in writing those laws to control our behavior.

What is happening in Ferguson is that the government has become illegitimate in the eyes of many of its citizens.  Capt. Johnson made some nice rhetorical efforts to calm the situation, but at this point there are people who have simply decided that they are in open revolt against the state (and I don't mean Missouri).

Those that seek to excuse the police behavior at its worst are in some ways naturally drawn to coercive authority.  This is the authoritarian personality at play.

I'm not sure at this point what brings Ferguson back.  How does a community in which a large part of the populace no longer acknowledge the legitimacy of the police or the government reintegrate itself into the commonwealth?  And what's more, why should any of them believe that they have an avenue of re-entry?

If there is a greater cost to the invisible phenomenon of white privilege, I don't know what it is.

For many African Americans, their government is no longer legitimate.  And I don't see how it gets better soon.

No comments: