If it hadn't been for the video nobody would have believed this family.Liberals of my acquaintance observe with regret and mourning that George W. Bush and his Republican party have done some kind of inexpressible "damage to our institutions." Their managerialism shows through: they believe that good people--civil servants, career professionals, graduates of the Coro Center for Civic Leadership, Justice Department lawyers, Assistant District Attorneys, etc.--toiling within these institutions (idealized abstractions of the physical apparati of state power, natch) work, oh, not universally, but generally and dilligently for the betterment of our society and our lives, unless corrupted by "ideology." Ideology is a euphemism for Republicanism, whatever that is.
Liberals accuse Conservatives of undue fealty to power, but the Liberal trust in these Institutions leads naturally to siding with authority. When I see someone write that she'd never believe--nobody would ever believe--that agents of state authority, armed and empowered to use violence, would act violently, unless we saw the documentary evidence first, I see someone whose perpetual shock suggests a serious divorce from reality. The Right, in this regard, is much more realistic. They've constructed a whole apologetics for state brutality, defending dog-killers and bro-tasers as necessary enforcers of order and subservience, shrugging off those abuses that can't be denied as regrettable but inevitable features of the system, or else, in extremis, as "bad apple" aberrations. In other words, a Conservative admits to his worldview the fact that authority is often violent (indeed, he approves of it), and is therefore neither surprised nor shocked when violence-by-the-authorities occurs.
Liberals are much more dishonest and contradictory on the point. Because they selectively exclude the foundation of santioned violence from their conception of the state-as-a-cooperative-enterprise, they are routinely shocked when the smoke rolls back and they witness the boot coming down. You can see it most clearly in their reaction to clumsy, blatant warfare of the Iraq variety, but it shows up in a more ubiquitous and insidious form in their constant surprise at police beatings, or prosecutorial corruption, which, again, they usually pin on some Republican ideologue-bogeyman who's corrupted our institutions of public safety. Incoherency leads to a sort of hysteria, but however many times they witness the plain evidence that their worldview is wrong, they respond as if it has never happened before:
Apparently, this is the way things are done in America these days. The police can shoot you full of electricity for any reason they choose and can deliver marijuana to your house and then burst in without warning, shoot your dogs down in cold blood and then when it turns out you are an innocent victim, shrug and say what they did was perfectly appropriate. This could happen to any one of us at any time.These days, she says, as if it constitutes a novelty. Ask poor urban blacks or rural whites, people with no vested interest in defending any aspect of our status quo, to describe their interactions with police, and see if you don't revise your opinions about the commonnness of "abuses." By and large, the people who want to take up the mantle of "progressivism" or "activism" are people who have failed to construct an accurate model of the world in which they live. The latter begets the former, in fact, because their shock and surprise impel them into their various political programs.
I would have believed that family without a video.