December 13, 2003

Policing the Rights Police

Steven Den Beste's recent article on the human rights groups popped off a thought that Amnesty Internationa, Human Rights Watch and the rest should properly be thought of as private, specialized police. They police the world for violations of human rights treaties and conventions. Now if you translated their behavior into the behavior of a normal policeman walking the beat, what would that look like and how good a career would that cop have?

That hypothetical beat cop would:

1. Selectively enforce the law in terms of arrests to please those who sign his paycheck
2. In terms of warnings that do not matter, he'd be even handed.
3. In terms of conflicts between those hated by his paymaster and those who are a subject of indifference, there would be only some arrests (of the participants hated by his paymaster) and the other participants would go scott free, or if there was sufficient protest, a warning would be issued to them.

So what would you do with a policeman like this in your city? Even if he was locking away people you despised preferentially, would you be happy with his performance?

Posted by TMLutas at December 13, 2003 11:23 AM