Free Markets, Free People

America’s problem of “contempt for the law”

We’ve recently seen how multiple jurisdictions openly ignoring the law resulted in circumstances that led in the death of Kathryn Steinle at Pier 14 in San Francisco last week. Why? Because, ideologically, they’re opposed to the law as it stands and are refusing to consider its validity, much less enforce it. The results are inevitable. Steinle’s death is just a symptom of a much more wide-spread threat to our nation. The left’s contempt for laws that don’t fit their ideology. Victor Davis Hanson says:

Ultimately, no nation can continue to thrive if its government refuses to enforce its own laws. Liberal “sanctuary cities” such as San Francisco choose to ignore immigration laws. Imagine the outcry if a town in Utah or Montana arbitrarily declared that federal affirmative action or gay marriage laws were null and void within its municipal borders.

Once an immigrant has successfully broken the law by entering and residing in the U.S. illegally, there is little incentive for him to obey other laws. Increasing percentages of unnaturalized immigrants are not showing up for their immigration hearings — and those percentages are higher still for foreign nationals who have been charged with crimes.

The general public wonders why some are selectively exempt from following the law, but others are not. If federal immigration law does not apply to foreign nationals, why should building codes, zoning laws or traffic statutes apply to U.S. citizens?

And that’s the threat. That’s the danger. If our political leadership can ignore the laws at will or only enforce them when the whim strikes them or it is to their political advantage to do so, why should the ordinary citizen follow laws he or she doesn’t like?

If you can’t count on government enforcing the laws on its books, why should one obey those it disagrees with? As Hansen points out, there’s little incentive to do so. And, eventually, you end up with … Greece. Or Mexico. Or any of a number of third world countries who seem to be on the verge of collapse.

There is a process for changing laws one doesn’t like or think need improvement. The fact that the process takes time, leadership and energy doesn’t mean one can arbitrarily ignore laws that aren’t politically useful at the time. But that’s precisely what is happening with immigration laws in this country.

Then there’s the lack of accountability that runs rampant within government circles. Hillary Clinton knew perfectly well that setting up a private email server as Secretary of State was ethically wrong if not illegal. Yet she really had no fear of being held accountable. She merely shrugs the controversy away and cruises along as a potential presidential candidate. She is indicative of an outlaw government, that, we’re finding out, saw the IRS, FBI and other agencies actively meet with an eye to prosecuting political enemies. During the time of this investigation, the IRS has consistently obstructed the investigation, stonewalled and refused cooperation. Has anyone been yet held accountable? Will anyone? If I were a betting man, I’d lay long odds on it ever happening.

Hanson concludes by saying, “Civilizations unwind insidiously not with a loud, explosive bang, but with a lawless whimper.” He’s precisely right. And, given the propensity of this administration to enforce laws by whim or not at all, that’s exactly where we’re headed.


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4 Responses to America’s problem of “contempt for the law”

  • My impression of the inner mind of a leftist on this issue:

    The law is just words. As our postmodern teachers have taught, words mean whatever we need them to mean. Therefore the law can mean whatever we need it to mean to get to a greater society.

    A greater society is defined by the needs of the collective. The needs of the collective must be decided by elites – people with superior knowledge and moral sensitivity. I am such a person. Therefore, I can intuit the needs of the collective.

    It is immoral not to further those needs. People suffer if those needs are unmet. I cannot allow that suffering.

    So I must interpret the law in such a way as to reduce or eliminate that suffering. I must interpret the law in such a way that the collective is served.

    This is not because I seek power or influence or special privilege. I’m above all that.* I just feel in my innermost soul that these things must be done for the good of the collective. If you disagree with me, you are immoral, and that is automatic evidence that I can treat you with complete contempt, and even punish you with whatever tools I can bring to bear.

    It is not necessary for me to study the law, or epistemology, or philosophy, or economics, or any competing political viewpoints. Those things are irrelevant to the suffering of the collective. My emotional reaction to that suffering is sufficient for me to automatically know what is best, and to take any means necessary to further what is best.

    (*) From my discussions with them, they really do believe they are on some higher plane than those grubby people on the right. They really do think they are taking the moral course, and the fact that it just happens to benefit them personally is just a happy accident.

    The resulting combination of smugness, ignorance, arrogance, and power-lust is repulsive to me, and, I think, to the majority of people in our society. But they apparently find and celebrate each other, with college campuses and media organizations being the main venues.

    • It’s also irrelevant that the collective might not actually be suffering.

      It’s only necessary for an anecdotal case of suffering or a misunderstood case to spur them into action.
      As you say, their emotional reaction to the (perceived anecdotal) suffering is sufficient for them to employ any mean necessary to further what is best.

    • Vigilantes…

      The term has a lot of loaded meaning, most of it invoked as a negative. “Taking the law into your own hands”, and all that.

      Yet, in their first impulse, Vigilantes were…IMNHO…totally justified. They asserted their nature rights to self-defense, defense of others, and defense of property in a literally lawless regime. But they went too far, and became tyrannical in the application of power.

      How are “sanctuary cities” Collectivists NOT the worst manifestation of “Vigilantes”? In what way are they different? None at all, I suggest. They “take the law into their own hands” without the least respect for the ideals of a civil society. They consider their “compassion” for illegal aliens to be superseding of all other considerations.

      They don’t do this in classical “civil disobedience” fashion, because they ARE the power-structure in their jurisdictions. They don’t take a moral stand and test the law. They just defy it.

      The same is true of the outlaw gang I call the Obami. They are just that…outlaws. They know the laws, and they simply defy them. They are like the worst manifestation of Vigilantes, in that they have no “natural right” to do what they are doing. They know this, and they don’t care. There is nobody to stop them.

      You cannot have a nation that continues under this outlawry. We won’t stand for it, nor should we.

  • The behavior is an product of the Narcissism of the Left.

    from Wikipedia
    Hotchkiss identified what she called the seven deadly sins of narcissism:[9]

    1. Shamelessness: Shame is the feeling that lurks beneath all unhealthy narcissism, and the inability to process shame in healthy ways.
    2. Magical thinking: Narcissists see themselves as perfect, using distortion and illusion known as magical thinking. They also use projection to dump shame onto others.
    3. Arrogance: A narcissist who is feeling deflated may reinflate by diminishing, debasing, or degrading somebody else.
    4. Envy: A narcissist may secure a sense of superiority in the face of another person’s ability by using contempt to minimize the other person.
    5. Entitlement: Narcissists hold unreasonable expectations of particularly favorable treatment and automatic compliance because they consider themselves special. Failure to comply is considered an attack on their superiority, and the perpetrator is considered an “awkward” or “difficult” person. Defiance of their will is a narcissistic injury that can trigger narcissistic rage.
    6. Exploitation: Can take many forms but always involves the exploitation of others without regard for their feelings or interests. Often the other is in a subservient position where resistance would be difficult or even impossible. Sometimes the subservience is not so much real as assumed.
    7. Bad boundaries: Narcissists do not recognize that they have boundaries and that others are separate and are not extensions of themselves. Others either exist to meet their needs or may as well not exist at all. Those who provide narcissistic supply to the narcissist are treated as if they are part of the narcissist and are expected to live up to those expectations. In the mind of a narcissist, there is no boundary between self and other.

    Sound like people we know? Everyone has those traits to some degree but Narcissist have most/all of them to an unhealthy level. Granted there is one contradiction in the Left vs. textbook psychological narcissism is their ability to work together. Somehow, their narcissism exists at an individual level but also to a heavy degree to a Collective or Tribal Level. That being said when they don’t have a strong leader figure that excites them to unity or an enemy, they start to eat themselves. A quick example of their form of Tribal Narcissism is Germany move to Nazism in the run up to WWII. They very much had those traits at a Collective level. But instead of moral or political superiority they based their sense of superiority on racial or cultural grounds and their enemy was the Jew instead of the Left where its usually Conservatism (and the Jew). As a side note, Jews can’t get a break from narcissist driven hate, it seems. There’s probably something there.

    Anyway, people with the above traits in unhealthy levels or ways aren’t going to be very compatible with lawfulness especially if they feel they are big enough or powerful enough to challenge or influence those laws or their enforcement.