Here's part of an article posted on Lew Rockwell.com...it is a libertarian, classic liberal take. Bill Barnwell is a pastor...
Why have so many conservatives cheered on the legal persecution of Martha Stewart? Itís partly because most do not understand the federal system and what Stewart was even being charged with and partly because they just simply support an unfair legal system. Its part of their image of being "tough on crime" when in reality they are tough on freedom. While many conservatives are (allegedly) suspicious of government power, they are more than willing to support it unconditionally when it comes to matters of law. Thus the victim of police brutality always had it coming, the big corporate CEO on charges is always guilty, and the police, the feds and the prosecutors are always right.
Conservatives love the law. They rigidly adhere to it and see any deviation from the law as worthy of a beheading. Therefore, they are much more likely than leftists to support rigid maximum fines and penalties for even the slightest of transgressions. It is conservatives who support the outrageous fines and penalties for drug offenders. It is conservatives who pushed for the unfair and unjust "federal sentencing guidelines" (which make sure that small time federal offenders are punished in disproportionate amounts to the severity of the crimes they actually or supposedly committed) and it is conservatives who support many Police State measures such as the Patriot Act.
In the eyes of most conservatives, Martha broke the law. Cased closed. No questions asked. But those of us with a more libertarian disposition go even further than that. We want to know whether or not the law was just to begin with. Also, how do the enforcers of the law go about nabbing their target? Conservatives, by and large, are not willing to challenge whether or not the law is morally just. Nor do they care to spend a lot of time looking at some of the corrupt and deceitful practices of the police, feds, judges and prosecutors. In the beloved Police State of the mainstream Right, the bad guys are always the accused and the good guys are always the State. The State can do no wrong.
Each time a person stands accused, the conservative asks in a stone-faced and serious manner, "Is he guilty?" They instinctively believe that whenever the government brings an indictment or a charge, they must be correct. In their eyes a man or woman is guilty until proven innocent, not the other way around. Nor do they really want to consider that even if the accused person is guilty of what he or she is being accused of that the law itself may be unjust. Thatís because they believe law and the system is never unjust. Power hungry cops and federal prosecutors along with phony legal offenses apparently are our friend and help keep us safe.
You also wonít find a whole lot of conservative sympathy for those who have been wrongly imprisoned or wrongly put to death by the State. These "law and order" types will just rationalize this problem away, either by denying that such cases exist, or by simply asserting some innocent people will have to suffer for the greater good. How this is conducive to the cause of freedom and liberty is questionable to say the least.
On matters of civil liberties, it is the Left that is more reliable than the Right (except on matters of religious liberties, where the Left wants to purge religion from society). In the eyes of the Right, only crazed hippies are opposed to the Patriot Act. Conservatives, who seem to love militarism, use war as an excuse to suck up all kinds of personal liberties. Besides, they reason, sometimes when you are fighting a war, you have to surrender some of your freedom. If you donít agree, then you donít care about national security, you are ignorant, and you can just leave the country. This brings me to my final point, the conservative love for war.
Authoritarian Conservatism by Bill Barnwell
The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.
John Kenneth Galbraith
You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence. óCHARLES A. BEARD
The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them. - Patrick Henry
It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others: or their case may, by change of circumstances, become his own.