Physiognometry

The idea that you can tell things about a person from their appearance underlies the entire point of dressing up, wearing make-up, and being concerned with our appearance. There are probably some things you might be able to assume from a person’s looks, but it’s still going to be pretty unreliable: you can’t tell someone’s a terrorist because they “look muslim” because “looking muslim” is a vague concept to begin with.

What about people who look like criminals?

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Because We Love Freedom of Speech

Freedom of Speech is not some magical thing: like all freedoms in politics, there’s got to be a justification for it. In the case of the US – on paper, at least – individual liberties are defined in terms of, “other than the things the state says you cannot do, you’re free.”  So, because the state has not legislated that I cannot dye my hair blue, I can dye my hair blue. Freedom of speech is specifically called out, though, as a positive freedom. It’s not that “because the state has not told you what you can’t talk about, you can talk about anything else” – it’s specifically stated:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

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Tactical Retroscoping

“If you take out the biggest mouth, everybody just withers away, so you concentrate on the ones you believe are your organizers,” he said. “Once you identify that person, you can run computer checks on them to see if they have a warrant out or any summons failures, then you can drag them in before they go out to speak or rile up the crowd, as long as you have reasonable cause to do so.” [guardian]

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