Libertarians and Conservatives have been talking about criminal justice reform for years, yet the left has managed to hijack it. The left created and fueled the mass incarceration they now rail against, lifting themselves up as champions of civil liberties. This occurs as a result of conservative’s massive failure to actually be conservative.
The greatest example of failure in recent memory is the rash of shootings of unarmed young men by police. If young unarmed men are being killed by law enforcement, then conservatives need to be first to speak up for civil rights. Yes, we can value our law enforcement and the work they do while always protecting and standing for civil liberties. It is possible to honor the work of law enforcement, while being diligent about recognizing and calling out abuses.
The battle of “Blues Lives Matter” vs “Black Lives Matter” vs “All Lives Matter” is a snare, an unproductive clash of prejudice that results in massive ideological rifts. They are a superficiality, adopted and promoted by political agendas, but hardly meant to achieve a desired goal. They are plays on emotion and irrationality, and they work. Yes, lives of all color and service do matter, this indeed is the pro-life position, and the support or dismissal of one over the other by liberals or conservatives displays their great hypocrisy, especially in light of party platforms.
The question then, is where are conservatives on this matter? For the most part, they are failing. They are taking sides, and they are failing to objectively examine scenarios in which civil rights abuses may have occurred. It is necessary to rectify this situation, but it requires self-reflection and the admittance of a failure to do so thus far. Considering that at least a portion of the Republican Party has exposed itself as having racial bias recently, it makes this self-reflection more painful.
In the wake of the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Senator Rand Paul was the only conservative presence. He was there because someone’s civil rights might have been violated. While many conservatives were making judgments, Senator Paul was looking into identifying a problem, and rightfully so. He explained his position on the matter here:
This is not to argue for Brown’s innocence or to condemn the actions of the officer. This is a question of our conservative response to a community. However you feel about Brown’s case, the riots in Ferguson, or any hateful community response against law enforcement is irrelevant; that judgment is separate — and should be separate — from the cries for justice. It is the cry for justice that conservatives should answer first.
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