Three principles. The first is Stein’s Law: if something can’t go on forever, it won’t. The second is that governing is ruled by the law of unintended consequences. The third is that expanding government power will ultimately be tyrannical inasmuch as its exercise of its power will become increasingly capricious. Governments can be remarkably creative when it comes to dipping their hands into our pockets.
What brings this on? This remarkable story by Sarah Stillman in The New Yorker dealing with “civil forfeiture,” by which local authorities have essentially grabbed citizens’ property with impunity. The principle of civil forfeiture, originally a strategy employed in the Reagan “war on drugs” (why conservatives insist on thinking of Reagan as one of them is beyond me), has been expanded in such a way that municipalities are confiscating wealth directly and terrorizing innocent persons in the process.