I Think I Can Agree With This

I observed a while back that "Eliot Spitzer has been brought down for a crime most libertarians don't
think should be a crime, by federal prosecutors who should not be
involved even if it were a crime, and using techniques, such as
enlisting banks as government watchdogs of private behavior, that
stretch the Fourth Amendment almost out of recognizable shape."

Megan McArdle makes a pretty good point about the last part:

I'm not distressed to hear that the Feds were spying on Eliot Spitzer.
No, not because I don't like the man, but because I think maybe we should
spy on our politicians, all the time. No probable cause, you say? I
fling back at you Mark Twain's observation that America only has one
distinct criminal class: Congress. . . . I think it's entirely
appropriate that the anti-corruption police watch politicians like
hawks. They've chosen public office; that conveys a lot of
responsibility to the public, including assuring them that your votes
aren't being bought outright. I also think that politicians, when
caught in a crime, should automatically get the maximum penalty; if
they think the law is such a good idea, they ought to suffer heartily
when they disregard it.


  1. Mesa Econoguy:

    I have a sneaking suspicion that various injured partied (Dick Grasso, Ken Langone, et al.) covertly employed a small army of private investigators to tail Spitzer, and the arrogant suckwad actually thought he was safe.

    Which is the perfect reflection of competition: piss people off, especially the electorate, they’ll probably come after you….

  2. Mesa Econoguy:

    I also think that being worth about $500 million, conducting covertly illegal behavior and transactions, and being in the employ of the state punishing others for doing exactly as you, entitles you to your severed head on a pike.

  3. mith:

    The only disagreement that I have is that it's the federal government spying on local government. Which means, if the feds find something that they don't want to become public, it won't become public.

    In a libertarian sense, spying on our government is the duty of every citizen, not something we should be expecting the federal government to do for us.

  4. Sameer Parekh:

    Megan is on to something. The mere fact that someone is a politician sounds like probable cause to keep them under surveillance to me!