Libertarians fear few things as much as Big Government. Imagine an evil and a Libertarian could connect it to government somehow, somewhere. They echo our Founding Fathers' concern with too much power centralized into one or a few hands. Libertarians also prefer the possibility of social misbehavior to legal correction in many cases. Not because anyone wants to see people suffering from their own bad judgment, but because no human being can be trusted to exercise authority without full accountability.
Mingo County yesterday proves their case.
In yesterday's edition, two of the most egregious federal indictments to come from a long term investigation were covered, complete with links to the indictments.
If true (because we have to assume innocence until the government proves its cases), this is a prime example of arrogance in power run amok. And it confirms every fear held by Libertarians....and libertarians, for that matter.
In one case, County Commissioner David Blaisdell leans on a local company to give him special favors under threat of pulling the lucrative deal it has with the county. He wanted snow tires for his own car with the government discount. To get what he wanted, Blaisdell allegedly threatened the store owner through voice mail.
The second case describes Judge Michael Thornsbury trying to repeatedly frame an individual only identified as "RW." Thorsnbury was sleeping with RW's wife and wanted her to leave him. She would not, so the judge used every level available to him. He tried to get a Homeland Security official to plant drugs. He tried to manipulate a grand jury. He conspired with a State Trooper to harass the poor man.
Don't be tempted to pass this off as backwoods Boss Hoggism. These men are educated individuals who lost all scruples when it came to abusing power.
What is the difference between Thornsbury and former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer? Spitzer illegally abused the power of his office to gather information to benefit his own campaign.
What is the difference between Blaisdell and the federal government? They threatened telecommunications firms to gather information to use against the Associated Press. They harassed Tea Party groups with the power of the IRS.
Mingo County's malefactors played for petty stakes. And they will go to jail for their arrogance. But too many in the federal government have abused the vast power at their fingertips. We cannot be certain that the information they obtain will not be used for political ends.
None of them will go to jail.
Libertarians and many conservatives understand the connections and fear the consequences. Mingo County's problems are not isolated issues, they are part and parcel of any government given too much power and never held to account.