It seems to me, no law that is enforced on the people, when broken, has the negative effect on our society, culture, economy and good government, than when our lawmakers violate Our Constitution and their own laws. To argue that robbing a liqueur store has anywhere near the profoundly destructive effect on our society, as an elected leader breaking his own law, is absurd. I challenge anyone to argue differently. To claim that a person speeding along in a car on the highway is a greater threat to public safety than a lawmaker who undermines our Constitution for political expediency, is to assert that up is down and down is up. We all know this instinctively, but we happily go along when the liqueur store bandit is punished with years behind bars, while the lawmaker sees no negative consequences for his much more destructive actions. We shake our heads as we pass the guy or gal pulled over for speeding, and ignore the direct assaults on our Constitution, by those very people who have sworn an oath to protect it. Then we wonder why our prisons are full, our economy is shrinking and we are not even safe in our own homes.
We all have a sense of justice. As I wrote in a previous article, justice is a state of mind not a state of being. Justice is treating everyone the same. The speeder faces negative consequences for speeding, in the form of fines, points on their licenses and increased insurance costs. A lawmaker who undermines the protections guaranteed to us by our Constitution faces no negative consequences at all. The worst that can happen to him or her, is to have their usurpation of our collective Rights overturned by a court, and that is only temporary until the court can be stacked with people who also want to undermine that facet of our rights. Clearly, of the two, the speeder faces far more punishment for his minor infraction than the politician who damages our very Constitution and way of life. This is the definition of injustice.
The damage to our society, economy, culture and good governance is far worse when a lawmaker violates his own laws. This is because people are far less likely to mimic a masked bandit holding up a liqueur store than we are to follow the example of a leader violating his own laws. The bandit is a person who is outside society, but the political leader is at the top of society. Moreover, no matter how draconian the punishment for holding up a liqueur store is, if people watch their political leaders violating their own laws with no punishment at all, there will be more crime. As Confucius said, “we follow our leaders.” If they are corrupt, especially if they face no real consequences for it, we will follow them and be corrupt ourselves. We don’t follow the lone gunman into criminality we follow our leaders into crime. That is why our jails are so full and we are not safe in our own homes.
As lawmakers use their positions of authority to enrich themselves and their patrons our economy is damaged exponentially more than a liqueur store robbery. The thief damages a small segment of our economy, but the lawmaker who passes laws and regulations, to protect some politically favored industry or patron, damages the entire economy, not only now but forever. The market system depends on equal treatment of people, (justice), but when the politically favored get special treatment, nations become polarized into the haves and the have nots. It is not a government bureaucrat that ensures economic fairness, they destroy economic justice, because they treat people differently. Eventually, government does so much damage to the economy, people become stuck in the station they are born into, the poor have no way out because the rich are the only ones who can get through the regulations. The gap grows ever larger and the poor are tricked into supporting a system, socialism, where they are forever poor and the powerful are forever wealthy.
You and I are forced to follow every law to the letter, even if we are ignorant of it, but the lawmaker, those who actually write laws, can simply claim ignorance… this is a clear injustice. We have a gut understanding of that injustice, but instead of holding our political leaders to their own laws, we hold them in awe. As our Constitutional Rights are crushed under the jack boot of ever more tyrannical authority, with no negative consequences, the usurpation of them will grow ever more bold and ever more destructive. We are held to the law so our society can function, but when our leaders are not, the functioning of society and the economy, are damaged far worse than any liqueur store robbery. As we look around ourselves, at our crumbling standard of living, the high crime rate, the scourge of drugs, school shootings, the rise of existential threats and general malaise, we must remember, it is not the speeder, the thief or the madman who is responsible, it is the corrupt lawmakers and those who allow and embrace their corruption, who are the real villains. Until we as a society and people learn this, and demand consequences for the political elite who violate their own laws and our Constitutions, the slide to despotism, poverty and chaos will accelerate.