No One Is Above The Law

There are many slogans that look good on paper but which in reality prove to be far more troubling than would first appear to the case for those whose intellectual depth is no more serious than hashtags of the current thing or statements that appear to be statements of broad and even-handed principle but which are typically only enforced in a partial and one-sided fashion. It is not my point–though others are free to make it their point–to demonstrate the sorts of ways that no one being above the law would be particularly unpleasant for the people who are shouting a slogan that they view in a narrow sense as being beneficial to their political cause, while not thinking or caring about how its even-handed application would be far more ruinous to their case than helpful because of the corruption of contemporary cultural and political elites.

To the extent that political prosecution of the party on the outs is going to become a feature, going forward, of the American Republic, we ought to be very careful as to the results of this particular phenomenon. When the price of losing an election is facing politically motivated prosecution and the weaponization of the government apparatus against what could otherwise be a loyal opposition, the motives to avoid ever losing elections is going to increase, and those who refrain from punishing their political opponents are to be viewed only as weak and cowardly rather than principled in their refusal to abuse the power of state against those who are only waiting for a change in power to abuse them and arrest them and harass them in turn.

Who can be trusted to make good law? Who can be trusted to enforce laws fairly and justly and even-handedly? In such a world as we live in, not many people can be trusted to do so. When people who are peacefully invited into the Capital Building as if they are somewhat politically minded tourists are viewed as threats to the American Republic while those who burn and loot cities are viewed as mostly peaceful protesters, we have a clear problem with demonstrating even-handed and just views of the law and its applicable enforcement in an atmosphere of widespread crisis and a lack of legitimacy on the part of those in power, regardless of what party they come from. Indeed, it is not merely enough that people in power often lack legitimacy in the eyes of their rivals for power, but even in the eyes of their frustrated followers who are upset that elections do not fix the problems that we all see around us.

We ought not to expect politics to save us from ourselves. Ballots can replace bullets as the way in which disagreements are solved only when there is the expectation that those who are making decisions are principled in their behavior and that the results are generally tolerable and also generally free and fair, if not necessarily perfect. Nor can we entirely get rid of politics, regardless of what political order we would prefer, since wherever there is power, there will be rivalries in order to obtain and hold onto power and disagreements over the proper way in which power is to be used and for what ends. We ought rather to shrink the domain of politics in order to reduce the attractiveness of gaining political power to force one’s ideas against a recalcitrant populace that happens to be a temporary minority, or a defrauded majority. Yet we seem intent on making politics ever more important, and thus ever more fractious and combative, contrary to the way of wisdom.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Musings and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s