Sunday, August 31, 2014

Andrew Pardue - On Conservatism, Minority Rights and the Tragedy of Silence

From The Harvard Salient, the university's conservative newspaper

The foundation of the conservative ideology is a respect for and appreciation of traditional societal institutions – or to put it in slightly more colloquial terms, “We hold this truth to be self-evident, that if it ain’t broke it ought not be fixed”. I agree, and I feel that too frequently our government creates problems where they did not previously exist both domestically and overseas. But I doubt that anyone in America can look at the scenes coming out of Ferguson and declare that all is well in the heartland. Do we honestly believe that we can best preserve respect for authority by automatically siding with the authorities in an incident where they might be in the wrong?

 Our police forces perform an essential duty in patrolling our communities and keeping them safe, and we should be grateful to them for their service. However, the mounting frequency of incidents in recent years in which citizens have died as a result of encounters with the police (and, yes, a disproportionate number of them are male and black) cry out for a solution. Several commentators have suggested installing forward-facing cameras on the patrol cars or on the uniforms of police officers themselves. While departments will likely grumble about the cost of installation, imagine the dollars of legal fees and hours of productivity that will be saved if a reliable video recording exists of every citizen encounter with police officers. This measure would serve as a mechanism to reinforce the integrity of the vast majority of American officers who perform their jobs with the professionalism and solemnity that they always pledged to. If a disagreement arises about who initiated a confrontation, one need only turn to the tapes to validate the officer’s story. Allowing ambiguity to creep into the narrative allows people to choose their own rationale to explain the events that occurred, and that can easily lead to long-festering resentments. Ambiguity is much like those trickles of water that worm their way into miniscule cracks in a relatively solid boulder only to totally shatter the stone after a number of years.

Read complete article here