One of my main areas of historical study has been the "Progressive Movement" that began in this country in the late 19th Century and has been with us ever since. Academic historians trend to treat Progressives as always being the "good guys" who helped save us from the "ravages" of big business. In reality, "Progressives" believed that the U.S. Constitution, with its checks and balances, was outmoded for a modern, "scientific" society, and that people needed to be ruled by a strong executive (President of the United States) who, guided by "experts," would be able to make important decisions without having to consult Congress.
Some of the "accomplishments" of the "Progressives" included World War I (or at least this country's entry into it), complete with the near-nationalization of the U.S. economy during that time, Prohibition, and, indirectly, the Great Depression. (Lest anyone angrily object -- and that usually is the case -- I would urge readers to look at the writings of prominent "Progressives" like Herbert Croly, Margaret Sanger -- especially her writings about eugenics and black Americans -- and Walter Lippman, at least in his early days before he turned against the New Deal.)
An important legacy of "Progressivism" has been the empowering of the executive branch and especially the federal bureaucracies. With every social movement, including the attempts by the Barack Obama administration to vastly increase the power of federal agencies, Congress has empowered the bureaucracies, and in the past few decades, have given the "family and children" agencies literal life and death power over American families.
Anyone who has dealt with the various "child protection" or "child advocate" agencies can attest to the bullying techniques used by people who enjoy near-absolute power over the lives of others. From what I can see, people who enjoy bullying others often self-select into working for entities like CPS or the CAC or some other agency which has near-dictatorial powers over families. Furthermore, as I noted in my last post, the sets of incentives that govern the workers in these agencies, plus the procedures as outlined by Congress, guarantee that these entities will approach EVERY case as though the accused were guilty, no matter how specious the evidence.
Furthermore, as economist Murray N. Rothbard noted, we can expect to see a deterioration in the system of justice over time. Hans Hoppe, writing about Rothbard in 15 Great Austrian Economists, says:
In particular, Rothbard scorned the idea of a "limited" protective state as self-contradictory and incompatible with the promotion of social utility. Limited government always has the inherent tendency to become unlimited (totalitarian) government. Given the principle of government-judicial monopoly and the power to tax-any notion of restraining government power and safeguarding individual life and property is illusory. Under monopolistic auspices, the price of justice and protection will rise and the quality of justice and protection will fall. (Emphasis mine)Indeed, in cases where "child protection" workers and the police work to accuse people of child molestation and other acts of sexual misconduct, Hoppe's interpretation of Rothbard holds fast. Unless one is prepared to spend upwards of a quarter-million dollars, an accused person almost certainly will go to prison, with guilt or innocence being irrelevant. That alone should bother the heck out of people associated with the system of "justice," but, to be honest, very few of them care at all.
So, for the various child "protection" agencies, we can see that the sets of incentives favor the assumption of guilt. The real problem comes, however, when people who operate with an assumption of guilt join with people in the actual "justice" system, where "innocent until proven guilty" supposedly rules.
At this point, we have to understand that "innocent until proven guilty" is inconsequential because prosecutors now run almost the entire "justice" apparatus. There almost are no checks and balances with prosecutors, and many judges themselves are former prosecutors who see their job as helping make sure that the accused are found guilty, no matter what the evidence. We saw this in all its ugliness at the Tonya Craft trial (although "judge" Brian Outhouse was just a garden-variety attorney before being elected to his present post) when it was clear that there was a tag team of prosecutors and the "judge" trying to rig the outcome.
Now, people should have been shocked at this, and certainly many were, although my numerous conversations and emails with the people at Channel 9 demonstrated to me that they were just fine with the travesty that was going on before them. (The news director of WTVC-TV intimated to me in an email that Ms. Craft very well could have been guilty, although one surely could not tell that from the "evidence" the prosecution threw at the jury.)
However, we have to understand that when we have a marriage of prosecutors who see all of this as a game that they are trying to "win," and "child protection" agencies that operate on the assumption that everyone (except themselves and prosecutors, of course) is a child molester, then it almost is impossible to get justice in a court of law when one is charged with something like this.
As I see it, this is a pretty logical outcome of what we call "Progressivism." Instead of having to depend upon the "messy" and "unprofessional" "innocent until proven guilty" system, we can have the "professional experts" determine for us who is guilty and who is not. (Not surprisingly, few people are "innocent," at least according to these so-called experts.)
Thus, when Tonya's jury actually saw through the nonsense, the "professionals" were outraged. District Attorney Buzz Franklin called out the jury (and I called out him), and the Dishonest Duo of "Alberto-Facebook" and "The Man" had their own pity party with (Who else?) Channel 9.
What were these guys saying? They were declaring that THEY were the "professionals," and they knew Tonya was guilty, so anyone who got in their way -- including those jurors who wickedly and recklessly insisted on looking at the evidence -- was a friend of child molesters. If you wish to understand the end result of "Progressivism" and the attitudes it has spawned, I give you Franklin's press release and the ADA's Channel 9 interview. This "we are the experts" mentality that helped launch two world wars and the Great Depression is alive and well, and even thriving, despite all the damage and millions of lives it has cost.
The average person really understands Lord Acton's statement: Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. However, the "experts" never will understand it, because they really want us to believe that they are beyond corruption. Anyone who has been tossed into the maw of this country's "child protection" machine knows full well the horror of absolute power.