Monday, August 10, 2009

Incompetence or Malice

The Smallest Minority has an unnerving post up today in which he presents several humorous, yet seemingly unerring "laws".

Heinlein's (or, if you insist, Hanlon's) Razor:

Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity, but don't rule out malice.

Then there's Grey's Law:

Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.

And Rick Cook's admonition:

The key to understanding the American system (of government) is to imagine that you have the power to make nearly any law you want. But your worst enemy will be the one to enforce it.
Kevin goes on to point out a number of unintended consequences of various laws and policy decisions...or were they? Was it merely incompetence or was it malice? Here is another example, from the 60s, taken from the Hoover Institution interview between Peter Robinson and Thomas Sowell:

Peter Robinson: "The transparent dishonesty with which quotas and preferences have been instituted and maintained here in the United States," you write, "is a dishonesty reaching into the highest court in the land as the Weber case demonstrates." Take us through what took place in the Weber case.

Thomas Sowell: In the Weber case, Weber was a worker in a plant in Louisiana and he wanted to get into a training program which would qualify him for higher jobs, and he was turned down. And blacks who had lesser qualifications than him were admitted. And so he took this to the Supreme Court. And the Civil Rights Act of 1964 said, "individuals," and Justice Brennan, someone with a great verbal sleight of hand, turned this around. Said, well, but the real intent of Congress, you see, was this or that and so he then ruled against Weber and then when the dissenting opinion of Rehnquist said that this reminded him of the great escapes of Houdini. That, you know, the language was so plain and clear, in the law itself. And it was also plain and clear if you got into legislative history where they talk about the possibility of quotas and Hubert Humphrey who was pushing the Civil Rights Act said, you know, I'll eat my hat if this thing turns out into quotas. Well, he wasn't there to eat his hat.

The emphasis is mine. You should go read the whole interview to find out just how anti-American and unconstitutional the whole quota regime is, but the question is again, was it incompetence, or malice, or both? I was thinking these of these ideas when I read this from the Liberty Sphere:

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin called President Barack Obama's health plan "downright evil" Friday in her first online comments since leaving office, saying in a Facebook posting that he would create a "death panel" that would deny care to the neediest Americans.

"The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care," the former Republican vice presidential candidate wrote.

"Such a system is downright evil," Palin wrote on her page, which has nearly 700,000 supporters. She encouraged her supporters to be engaged in the debate.

The claim that the Democratic health care bills would encourage euthanasia has been circulating on the Internet for weeks and has been echoed by some Republican leaders. Democrats from Obama on down have dismissed it as a distortion. The nonpartisan group, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania says the claim is false.

Is Congress and the supporters of Obamacare being incompetent, or malicious? They all know that the way to judge legislation is to imagine that it is enforced by your worst enemy. Oh sure, the bill doesn't have "euthanasia" in it, and the bill doesn't have anything about health care rationing either. So, technically, Obama and his supporters are telling the "truth." But here's what could happen:

The bill will be passed. Sometime in the future, some regulator will "interpret" euthanasia into the language. Of course there will be fights about it, but the Supreme Court will find, somehow, that it is all nice and Constitutional, so just submit to it. Later, after we all get used to the idea of "putting Grandma to sleep," which is the only compassionate thing to do in light of her obvious suffering, the New York Times will run articles about how Down Syndrome babies lead such a miserable existence, how any "civilized" people would put them out of their misery. It's the only "compassionate" thing to do. They will keep up the drum beat, politicians will jaw bone and wring their hands, the Pope will point out the obvious and be ignored. One day, the some regulator will "read" into the law mandatory abortion for these unfortunate children. A court will manage to find that this is indeed what the legislators intended. And voila, there you have Margaret Sanger's eugenics program, all nice and legal.

Was it incompetence, or malice?

Sure, it's only one possible outcome, of many. But we know that the Left has dreamed of eugenics since the 1920s, and has had universal health care on the Democrat platform since 1948. So why give them the power over you to this to you in the first place? The Constitution doesn't grant it to them, so why would you? Remember that you must interpret any law in its worst light. Otherwise, you are just giving them the rope with which to hang you.

Incompetence, malicious, or both?