THE UTILITARIAN STATE -- 2
Bob Hegamin and Nigel Keiffer April 23, 2000
PROLOGUE: The following excerpts are replicated from "The Utilitarian State",
published on February 15, 1999.
Among all the problems facing the people of Washington State today, the one that holds the greatest threat is the informal state Constitution (i.e., opinions of the State Supreme Court). Protections, set forth in the formal or fundamental State Constitution, are gradually being eroded by the introduction of an alien political philosophy, generated by the Legislature and sanctioned by the Washington State Supreme Court. The principle is “utilitarianism”, an ethical doctrine which states that virtue is based on utility and essentially replaces the “Rule of Law.” Given any serendipitous opportunity, some elected officials at every level of government are selectively violating state and local laws. They reason their “altruism” justifies any violation if it will generate a perceived “good” for the people. Obviously, “utilitarianism” cannot be ignored by the governed.
Since the state is but a microcosm of the United States, it is just a matter of time before this philosophy and procedure could poison the nation.
Unfortunately, government at every level in the state of Washington has been leaving a disturbing message for the people. Very simply, it says: “From now on, as long our efforts will produce a perceived good, it will justify any means we use, whether they violate laws or not.”
Immediately following the riot during Seattle's World Trade Organization (WTO) conference in late November 1999, the excuse that "no one was hurt" was extensively used. Seattle's elected officials, at the time, had attempted to minimize the effects of their use of force in curbing the riot. It was a risk they had taken to contain what started as a peaceful protest. Despite their mea culpa's for the tragedy, they had tried to make it appear the incident never happened because "no one was hurt."
It is amazing the same "no one was hurt " theme was used, ad nauseam, by defenders of the government's use of force in the Elian Gonzalez case. Elian, a six year old boy, was forcibly removed from a residence - at night - by heavily armed government agents. It was just another step in the government's plan, which saw the boy moved from being an illegal immigrant to being a pawn in a child custody case and back again, all to influence the legal outcome. The resulting confusion exposed the government's case as a red herring.
Governments are today hiding behind the "Rule of Law" rhetoric while stretching the truth and ostensibly subverting the law. Some examples in the Gonzalez case were:
1. A warrant obtained to extricate Elian was not served.
2. An imagined urgency used to excuse the armed "No-knock" raid.
3. Miami's Mayor not officially informed of the impending raid within his jurisdiction.
Both cases have added to the contention that, in fact, governments commonly apply the "end justifies the means" technique. Eventually, there will be casualties at which time the "no one was hurt" theme will no longer work. In the Miami case, there would never have been a question about reuniting father and son -- with a court order. Instead, to guarantee attainment of that perceived good , government resorted to unreasonable force, violating the Fourth Amendment. But, that's what "Utilitarianism" is all about.