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Palmer on Rockwell and Rodney King

[Cross-posted at Palmer Periscope]

More of Palmer’s outright lies. He has no compunction about outright dishonesty in smearing those he hates. In this thread about torture of terrorists, Palmer manages to dredge up Lew Rockwell’s 1991 comments about Rodney King. Now before I turn to that let me note that Palmer says in his post:

If you have a captured terrorist (and it seems that some of those who have been released were not terrorists, although there is evidence that others have indeed turned out to be), is it out of bounds to threaten such a humiliation if the information you get might break up a terrorist cell? It’s shocking. It’s degrading. It’s disgusting. Is it immoral? It’s not obvious to me what the answer to the last question is.

I.e., he at least entertains the possibility that torture of prisoners is okay.

Now, in Rockwell’s letter he writes:

Did they hit him too many times? Sure, but that’s not the issue: It’s safe streets versus urban terror, and why we have moved from one to the other.

street criminals … have the time preference of depraved infants. The prospect of a jail sentence 12 months from now has virtually no effect.

As recently as the 1950s — when street crime was not rampant in America — the police always operated on this principle: No matter the vagaries of the court system, a mugger or rapist knew he faced a trouncing — proportionate to the offense and the offender — in the back of the paddy wagon, and maybe even a repeat performance at the station house. As a result, criminals were terrified of the cops, and our streets were safe.

Today’s criminals know that they probably won’t be convicted, and that if the are, they face a short sentence — someday. The result is city terrorism, though we are seldom shown videos of old people being mugged, women being raped, gangs shooting drivers at random or store clerks having their throats slit.

What we do see, over and over again, is the tape of some Los Angeles-area cops giving the what-for to an ex-con. It is not a pleasant sight, of course; neither is cancer surgery.

Liberals talk about banning guns. As a libertarian, I can’t agree. I am, however, beginning to wonder about video cameras.

Palmer calls this “Rockwell’s sickening thesis,” and says:

Quite a nice picture, isn’t it? And a bit awkward for someone who now complains about brutality against captured prisoners. (And, no, I am not saying that the fact that Lew Rockwell favors torture of American citizens makes it ok or makes brutality against captured foreigners ok; it’s bad in both cases. But Lew Rockwell favors it when the person nabbed on the street and not charged with a crime is beaten senseless in the back of a paddy wagon, especially if he’s one of those people prone to having high time preferences, the ones who are like big children, wink-wink, nudge-nudge, the ones who used to be called “boy” in the successor states to Rockwell’s beloved Confederate States of America, if you know what he means. It does undermine his credibility at least a bit, as a critic of mistreatment and as a “libertarian.” And that’s not even mentioning his remarkable suggestion that video cameras — one of which captured the beating of Rodney King on film for all the world to see — be banned.)

Note how dishonest this is. First, with the “boy” comment, he is clearly implying Rockwell is here calling for cops to beat blacks. This is a sickening libel. What Rockwell was talking about–explicitly–was street criminals. Here we have the constant resort of the “serioso and dimwit libertarians” (as Rothbard put it) to the tired old cries of racism to smear those with whom they have substantive disagreements. Palmer is still at it, of course; he seems not to have noticed that the ’80s and early ’90s are over–he and his ilk have cried wolf too many times, and no one pays any attention to their cries of “bigotry”.

Second, he writes–Oh so serioso–Rockwell’s “remarkable suggestion that video cameras — one of which captured the beating of Rodney King on film for all the world to see — be banned”. Thereby demonstrating another failing of the left and left-libertarians–their utter lack of humor. Of course Rockwell was joking. You could not expect the dour, grim, thought police libertarians to realize this, however. It’s only acceptable to make fun of paleos, Southrons and “breeders,” you see.

What is also remarkable about Palmer’s criticism of Rockwell’s views about proportionate beatings of actual street criminals — is that it appears in a post in which Palmer himself muses about whether torture of possibly innocent foreign prisoners of a unjust and illegal war is possibly moral! I.e., in a column where he dabbles with justifying torture he dares to criticize Rockwell’s defense of non-lethal, non-torture force used to apprehend an actual street criminal resisting arrest! The chutzpah is just amazing! (If use of that word won’t get me accused of anti-semitism by the schoolmarm and cocktail party libertarians.)

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