A mediocre defense of private prisons for children
Here we have a fellow named Mark Krikorian, who holds a Masters Degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a Bachelors Degree from Georgetown, which itself is supposed to be some paragon of the nation’s jurisprudential training infrastructure. Let us see what these degrees are worth.
Krikorian begins a blog post at National Review by noting that he is personally fond of NPR and then proceeds to lead us into a den of madness and degeneracy.
That said, a story this morning reminds me why we call it Neo-Marxist People’s Radio.
… which in turn reminds me why there is no halfway decent political satire written by movement conservatives, but then I am interrupting.
The “news” story tried to claim that Arizona’s SB 1070 was the brainchild of the private prison industry conspiring to manipulate the political system for profit: “That’s because prison companies like this one had a plan — a new business model to lock up illegal immigrants. And the plan became Arizona’s immigration law.”
The story in question actually makes a pretty solid case that around 50 members of the American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization that includes the private prison firm Corrections Corporation of America which itself is now set to make hundreds of millions off of the upcoming incarceration of woman and children, wrote the bill and even named it before it was so much brought up in the state legislature – a case that’s all the more solid due to having been confirmed to NPR by the state senator who introduced the resulting bill. Krikorian’s response to all of this is to evoke several cute tricks by which to dismiss the story and its implications, starting with the following:
This borders on trutherism.
… which I’ll let marinate for a bit as Krikorian finishes his thought:
This supposed conspiracy was hatched at “a meeting of a secretive group called the American Legislative Exchange Council,” or ALEC. ALEC is a group of state legislators, businesses, and scholars devoted to implementing conservative principles at the state level, and noted for preparing model legislation on just about every topic you could name. It’s so “secretive” that its website lists all the members of its various boards and committees, its events and initiatives and publications, its state chairmen, staff, model legislation — if that’s secretive, I’m Kemal Ataturk. What the reporter seems to mean is “ALEC, a group I’d never heard of…,” which ignorance, if true, is a pretty bad sign for a journalist.
I try not to resort to numbered lists, but fuck me if there’s not all kinds of crazy bullshit going on here at once:
1. NPR asserts that a company whose own internal reports note that “etc” and whose representatives were heavily involved in the drafting and naming of the legislation may very well have planned the legislation in the first place. Krikorian denounces such an assertion as akin to a conspiracy theory and thus prima facie absurd.
2. Krikorkian mocks NPR for referring to the organization that oversaw the word-for-word drafting of major legislation in a private hotel room with financial beneficiaries in attendance as “secretive” and notes that, to the contrary, the organization lists its members, its stated goals, and the schedule of its closed-to-the-public meetings.
3. Krikorkian decides that a journalist who characterizes such an unusual organization as “secretive” most likely does so merely because it is an organization that the journalist had never heard of, rather than because the journalist considers its nature and proceedings to be “secretive,” and that the journalist in question must therefore not be very good at his or her job.
Tragically enough, Krikorkian does not stop here but actually continues to write sentences.
Of course, the simplest explanation is that Arizona state senator Russell Pearce, who sponsored the legislation, is the one who came up with the idea. In fact, that’s what he told NPR.
This would indeed be the simplest explanation if there were no reason for a state senator to claim a popular idea as his own, or if the very article under discussion did not begin by pointing out that representatives of corrections firms had already begun conducting meetings with other state officials to set the groundwork for the implementation of this particular idea last year.
In response to a portion of the article in which the firm in question is factually characterized as “the largest private prison company in the country,” Krikorkian retorts as follows:
Big Tobacco! Big Oil! Big Guns! And now, Big Prison!
… before immediately afterwards going on to call the article “stupid” and “puerile.”