Earlier today I was watching some online videos about Columbo, a popular series mainly (but not only) in the 1970’s that had a particular approach to it. In the show, the audience knew who (and why) the murder was committed at the beginning of the episode, and the remainder of the episode was spent with the blue collar detective eventually using logic and observation and a firm awareness of circumstantial evidence in dealing with the elite murderer to prompt to a confession and an admission of guilt that allowed the audience to root for justice being done, even with a sense of sorrow at the waste and loss that was involved in even a successful resolution of a case. What struck me, though, was the way that those who praised Columbo for the portrayal of elites did not quite understand the nature of the enemies of human existence, for they thought that only wealthy capitalists fancied themselves to be above the law.
As human beings, we live a universe full of laws. It is not my intent at this time to discuss the laws of our existence, though that is a subject worth exploring in detail. Rather, I would like to talk about the qualities of the enemies of our existence, who only sometimes end up resembling the business elites that people expect. The similarity that all enemies of our existence have is that they believe they are above the laws that govern the existence of other people. Such an attitude marks that one considers oneself to be an elite, special, privileged, entitled to act in ways that others do not. Yet this is by no means an affliction that is limited to capitalists. It is, for example, one we regularly find in those who work for government who enact rules for others and pass laws that apply to others but that do not govern their own conduct of the conduct of their cronies, but only the peasants who are not on their level. We similarly see this behavior in Marxist and Anarchist circles, where only certain people are considered by be privileged by those who are themselves privileged in their own imaginations not to be judged by the same standards that they seek to enforce upon others. We also see this same sort of people in the criminal class, who rely on others obeying the laws and thus making themselves vulnerable to their predation.
It is for this reason that the criminal classes have often been seen as useful elements by corrupt and totalitarian regimes as a means of helping to exploit the ordinary people of a regime under their misrule. In many ways, the behavior of criminals justifies the harshness of a government, and as criminals share with the leaders of such regimes the misguided belief that they are above the laws and rules of morality, to say nothing of legality, that govern the existence of decent and ordinary people, they find themselves to be allies in their shared contempt for the rules that are enforced upon others. So long as there is at least lip service being given to the rule of law within society, there is at least some chance that the moral fiber of a people may be strong enough to hold the unindicted criminals of the political and cultural and economic elites accountable for their misdeeds. For the criminal elites to be free of the fear of being held responsible or accountable, the moral longing of people for justice must be twisted by the establishment of a privileged class that is not viewed any longer as being subject to any restraint whatsoever.
The only thing that prevents the abuse of people at the hand of other people who fancy themselves to be their superiors is the rule of law that holds all under the same standard. Those who want to consider themselves to be elites above the common herd of humanity have always waged war against those standards which viewed them as ordinary human beings under the same laws and the same rules as everyone else. Such people have always sought, in every time and place and in every institution, to be the ones enforcing the rules so that they may enforce harsh laws on others and not consider their own conduct to be in need of the same level of policing. They have always complained when they have found themselves, however infrequently, to be subject to the same treatment they have meted out to others. In such people, no justice can be found, for they do not recognize that the law is not for the just, but for the unjust, and they do not recognize themselves as belonging to the category of the unjust. And when we succumb to the same corrupt mindset, we too become the enemies of our own existence, and that of everyone and everything else.