Just a Little Prick

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A news item from the Salt Lake Tribune (April 1): “Despite opposition from civil libertarians and criminal defense lawyers, Gov. Gary Herbert signed a law Wednesday that would significantly expand those whose DNA is kept on record in the state’s database. Under SB277, anyone arrested for a violent crime would be required to pay $150 to have their DNA sampled and added to the state database when they are booked into jail, before they are charged or go to trial.”

In other words, the state of Utah assumes you are guilty until proven innocent; it forces you to pay for its assumption of your guilt; and, should you be able to prove your innocence to Utah’s satisfaction, you will still need to pay for a court order to have your DNA removed from the state database.

One aspect of the passage of this hideous bill leaps out at me. Herbert has been loudly protesting the feds’ violation of states’ rights; yet he illustrates why I don’t favor states’ rights as do so many libertarians. I don’t see the advantage. States are as vicious in violating individual rights as the feds are. I have no preference for being persecuted by Frick, as opposed to Frack. In any given instance, I might prefer one over the other simply because of a difference between their policies. But I can’t generalize. I remain baffled by libertarians who believe that states’ rights are an avenue to greater freedom.

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