By Jim Moseley
Politicians try to seize the moral high ground by saying, “We are a nation of laws.” This is generally the announcement of someone about to break a few of them.
There’s nothing in being a nation of laws. What counts is being a nation of good laws and being a nation that obeys them. What we are, increasingly, is a nation of too many laws, more of them bad than good, and a nation that eagerly obeys the bad laws and ignores the good ones. Worse, we ignore laws of great consequence, the ones that determine the future of our civilization, while we fastidiously enforce those of no consequence except to the wee Napoleons whose joy in life it is to thrust them upon others.
When President Obama breaks the law by making recess appointments when the Senate is not in recess, the nation, rather than running him out of town on a rail for usurping the republic, ignores it.
When Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the House “deems” a bill to have passed without conducting a proper congressional vote, rather than tarring and feathering her, the nation ignores it.
When Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid presides over a Senate that for years illegally fails to pass a single budget, rather than turning him out in high dudgeon, the nation ignores it.
When Chief Justice John Roberts invents a whimsical legal theory to support an illegal provision of Obamacare, rather than clap him in a pillory on the Supreme Court steps, the nation ignores it.
But if a policeman (definition: a bureaucrat with a gun) catches you not wearing a seatbelt, he will eagerly write you a ticket – because many states think it’s their responsibility to try to give you a long life. Unless you’re a child in your mother’s womb, in which case many states think it’s their responsibility to give your mother the right to end your life before you first see sunlight. Or unless you’re an old person who has outlived your usefulness (i.e., your value to the state as a tax garden); then an Obamacare death panel will effectively euthanize you. Why is it that the state believes it has the right to try to lengthen the lives of some citizens and abbreviate the lives of others? It’s their conscience, of course. Why cannot citizens exercise a similar conscience on the ruling class? Think George Washington.
If an airplane attendant catches you with a cellphone on while taxiing for takeoff, he or she will assiduously demand that you turn it off, even though cellphones never have interfered with avionics. (To prove this, I have often wanted to conduct an experiment: Let’s have all the passengers use their cellphones collectively to divert the plane to Spokane – one, two, three, together now! Oops. Nothing.) But if a group of rowdy Middle Easterners exhibit threatening and obscene behavior in flight, it takes a mutiny of citizen passengers to induce the airline crew to remove them from the plane.
In California, if you are an illegal alien, you can get a driver’s license. But if you are a legal resident, you have to qualify for that license with proofs that no illegal alien could ever provide.
If you are homosexual, there are laws to protect the sanctity of your same-sex marriage. But if you are an innocent child yearning for the stability of a mother and a father in a committed relationship – what we once quaintly called “a home” – there are no-fault divorce laws designed to help egocentric parents deprive you of that.
You can push sex-enhancing pharmaceuticals in revoltingly stupid ads (clearly designed by producers with unsatisfying sex lives) during family viewing hours on Fox News, and you can use the most appalling language in films (a medium whose creators are notorious for having “small Latin and less Greek”), because whatever decency laws may still languish on the books are never enforced. But if you criticize the president, you’re a racist. If you state that Jesus or the historic Santa Claus (the fourth-century Greek Bishop Nicholas of Myra) were white (which only someone totally ignorant of history – that is, every living recipient of government-funded education – would doubt), you are guilty of hate speech.
Cicero, the great lawyer and orator in the dying days of the Roman Republic, famously wrote, “The more laws the less justice.” In the dying days of the American Republic, we might reflect upon that.
Jim Moseley is CEO of TransGuardian Inc., a technology company that creates transportation management software.