The Matter of Law

And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country’s planted thick with laws from coast to coast– man’s laws, not God’s– and if you cut them down—and you’re just the man to do it—do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

So said the character of Sir Thomas More in Ben Bolt’s play A Man for All Seasons – essentially a warning about the misuse and abuse of authority – an authority which might once have been accepted as legitimate by all parties concerned. But once the law has been ‘cut down’ in pursuit of some supposed greater good – then all bets are off. The winds will blow, and no one will be able to stand upright, once the protection of equally applied-law and customs and habits of a well-ordered society have been dispensed with. This is the most horrifying aspect of what David Foster linked to regarding the John Doe investigation in Wisconsin – that both law and the constraints of custom and practice are being coldly cut down and trampled upon. Essentially, DA John Chisholm used his position to wage lawfare against supporters of Scott Walker, and with the full cooperation of Judge Barbara Kluka. Midnight SWAT raids against people who had done nothing more than to be politically-involved citizens exercising their rights to support a candidate with their vote, their donations and their words.

A more grim and deadly crime against the citizens of a democratic republic can hardly be imagined … and yet DA Chisholm and Judge Kluka were perfectly fine with ordering a series of fishing expeditions, plainly with the intent of harassing and humiliating conservatives and their families. And to add insult to the injury, ordering those so investigated to remain silent, and even to refrain from consulting a lawyer. I can only wonder if the logical next step in the eyes of activists like DA Chisholm and Judge Kluka are labor camps in the frozen woods or a term in a very particular kind of mental hospital.

This is what happens when people on one side of a matter are persistently ‘otherized’ – eventually words and words and words accumulate. The ‘designated other’ is no longer worthy of civilized regard and consideration in the minds of the proper and upright, and any kind of retaliation against them becomes perfectly acceptable, even laudable. Because … they are the ‘other’.

A commenter on another matter, on another blog discussing how the Nazi party managed to take over Germany in the 1930s, remarked that the date on which that was accomplished wasn’t really when Hitler dissolved the Reichstag, or when the Nazi Party first won seats in it: it was when SA thugs began beating up Jews and political opponents in the streets … and ordinary people looked away and did nothing, because they were afraid and/or thought it none of their business, really. And that was the moment when the laws being cut down, the wind began to blow.

13 thoughts on “The Matter of Law”

  1. 1) The laws indeed are “all flat”. What is determinant now is the “Connected Persons Clause”. If you are connected to the powerful, you are above any law and can do anything. In passing, what the “connected” will not understand is that if their existence becomes inconvenient to the Nomenklatura, the connection can be severed by them with deleterious, if not fatal, consequences.

    2) There is NO political opposition. We are a functional one party state. In the last 48 hours we have learned that the expiring provision [requires renewal] of the Patriot Act that gives the Executive Branch power to conduct mass surveillance of Americans without warrant will be renewed in a bill that Mitch McConnell is bringing to a vote outside normal procedure to avoid a debate on constutionality. Today, the Republican Senate confirmed Loretta Lynch as Attorney General after she testified that she believes that the President has the power to rule by decree regardless of Federal law and the Constitution. And today we found out that the REPUBLICANS are preparing a bill to restore the funding for the Obamacare exchanges that may be cut off by the Supreme Court because they are flat illegal, even under Obamacare.

    We are not going to be allowed to vote our way out of this, because there is no one to vote FOR on our side.

    3) Rather than mass roundups and beatings in the street, I expect a series of accidents and disappearances first.

    4) Sgt. Mom, I rather expect that you are an Oath Keeper; in your heart if not in active membership. I commend to your attention the blog of the founder of the allied 3% Movement.
    especially the Three Percent Catechism and a recent post that includes a Kipling poem involving Subadar Prag Tewarri.

    The poem is Kipling, and thus worth reading. What it illustrates in the post would bear consideration in my humble opinion.

  2. Ann Althouse has been covering the Walker story for several years. Now she has several posts up on the John Doe story and some of her left wing commenters are keeping the faith:

    Blogger garage mahal said…
    “Total agreement. Free speech cannot be trampled by the Government. This seems like a clear-cut case to me.”

    So, you’re certain Walker and his donors didn’t break any Wisconsin laws?

    There is one commenter and the reply by a standard leftist. If you’re not sure, it is OK to raid their house in the middle of the night with a battering ram and guns. New legal standard.

    The Patriot Act is a dilemma. Some those provisions depend a bit on who is doing the looking. We have too many, far too many, agents of the enemy in our country to ban all surveillance. One problem is that

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    I don’t trust the Justice Department, even Bush’s DoJ, because Democrats blocked all his nominations after 2000 and he kept most of the Clinton appointees. Now the DoJ is filled with career lawyers who are hard leftist ideologues. It was leftist DoJ lawyers who went after Stevens.

    I don’t know the solution but I am quite concerned about the militarization of agencies like Education and EPA.

  3. I find what Subotai B. says spot on, as usual, as far as he goes.

    But I also suspect that the laws blew flat a long time ago, and only recently have the mass of conservative voters been made aware of the ugly truth. Previously, the lawless American Nomenklatura took care to pretend the United States was still a nation of laws long after it had ceased to be, and kept up an elaborate kabuki dance to fool the proles.

    Examples are legion. For example, the entire Clinton administration. Or the open Bush refusal to enforce US law and secure the US border.

    The problem for the regime now is that the lawlessness is so blatant and the failure of the GOP so obviously betrayal that they’re wrecking the whole game.

    The victorious left, having never seen real opposition, has concluded that conservatives in general and white males in particular have no rights they should feel bound to respect. The right, having been betrayed over and over again by the GOP, is growing to loath the Republican party.

    That’s my guess at least, and I’ve been surprised at how many people I read online and talk politics with in person have expressed the opinion that the highest praise the GOP deserves is that it is merely worthless.

    This reminds me of something. The Democrats of the politically-dominant Antebellum South- the Slavocracy condemned by Abraham Lincoln- were never as successful politically in any other time as that during which they were cementing their doom. They so successfully defeated the Whig party that it disintegrated. They passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which ended the Missouri Compromise, and engineered a Supreme Court decision that would have spread slavery throughout the entire country, had it stood.

    But it did not stand. It created an opposition that was willing to match the Slavocracy in ruthlessness, with results well known.

    As someone once said prediction are hard, especially about the future. But I can’t imagine that the GOP, feckless and irrelevant, will be able to survive its omnipresent failure forever.

    We’re on to them.

  4. The only salvation of the GOP is the Tea Party wing but they have been hit pretty hard by Obama and the IRS. The Wisconsin attack on conservatives is another escalation. We will see the lawless closing of Guantanamo by the end of Obama’s term and I would not be surprised to see a big terrorist incident by then.

  5. Mike K,

    You’re spot on here as well, but I think what you’re really describing is simply the scrubbing away of the illusions we all once believed about the present regime.

    In my evaluation Barry Obama is of the same sort of president as James Buchanan and Herbert Hoover- and will share the same sort of historical reputation.

    Alas, we’ll likely have to suffer through the same sort of disaster as that produced by his predecessors.

    Those of us that will survive, that is.

  6. Well if the answer to Law’s being another tool of power is to appeal to the law, don’t bother.

    If you’re going to submit to the Law, you submit to men.

    So…submit already.

    The Left wins not because of facts, logic or reason.

    The Left wins because it understands Politics is Power.
    The Left usually wins.

    That’s all Politics is – Power.

    The Right never tires of the mistake of appealing to God, reason, facts and the most politically risible notion ever of the common good.

    The Right almost always loses.

    Common people don’t care or even understand the common good except occasionally when it’s so utterly absent they’ll submit to anyone who will end it – say in conditions of warlordism – an Iraq or Mexico level of violence. Then they’ll gather round this person or group just for security and crawl before him.

    If you want to even consider not being a slave kindly stop looking at the Law as sacred [not an American or Anglo/European tradition at all you know] and look at the Law as Lawyers and judges do; a Business.

    Law is a Business. Like Politics.

    The Law and for that matter Crime and Criminals are actually in practice different now, criminals will always need to be punished, caged, killed for any order at all to prevail. Nor is the Law to be confused with our blessedly noble police.

    Law is a Business. Like Politics.

    Now if this Business is going to behave like a chaotic gang of criminals or a rampaging tribe bent on looting and punishment – and they are – decide whether you want to flee, fight or submit.

    Stop whining however to cops and lawyers, they committed the very deeds.

  7. Law is a Business. Like Politics. Like War and organized crime have been frequently throughout history.

    Nothing sacred about Law. Nor is the concept of Law itself being sacred American, the concept that Law is sacred is alien and of course doesn’t quite fit America. The attendant disorders without normal remedies follow.

  8. If the laws have been cut down, and we are only just now beginning to realize and come to grips with it, we can still resist in other ways besides the ballot-box. We can do Irish democracy, by sullenly non-cooperating with the ruling class. We can still blog, contribute to candidates and causes quietly, we can shun the worst perpetrators, not buy whatever they are selling, whether it be a column, a book, a movie, a magazine. We can film their minions at their worst, satirize them, boo their public appearances. We have options, still.

  9. Sgt. Mom,

    In my view all of that is already happening to one degree or another.

    What hasn’t happened- yet- is that the left’s devil hasn’t turned round to burn them.

    We’re their devil- conservatives, or even merely people who believe in the rule of law. Believing no one could or would ever oppose them they’ve made themselves terribly vulnerable to an opposition that will use their tactics against them- or even simply enforce the law as written.

    I don’t think our American nomenklatura has decided to give up the pretense of a functioning political system for the United States because they wanted to – they’re doing so because they have no other choice, aside from political oblivion. For example, if the Wisconsin left could have defeated Scott Walker via an election they’d have had no need for midnight SWAT raids. They couldn’t, so they called SWAT- which I suspect has now done them more political damage than if they’d simply let Scott Walker serve out his term or two unmolested. But leftists simply can’t imagine that using midnight raids against their political opponents will ever come back to bite them- and they just could not abide the disrespect shown by Scott Walker when he challenged them.

    Similarly, I don’t think the Antebellum South decided on secession because they wanted to, either. They did so because their other option was political oblivion at the hands of the North. I remember reading somewhere about the supposed first casualties of the Civil War- someone raised a Confederate flag, someone pulled it down, got shot, then was shot in turn.

    Ancient history- but it seems terribly similar to our situation today. The left has made it clear that they despise America, Americans, and American culture- and I think Americans are figuring that out, and learning to have equally hard feelings about the left.

    We don’t seem to be there yet- but it takes time. It took time for the North and South to get to the point at which strangers were shooting each other because of a flag- but they got there.

  10. But it is accelerating now, Xennady; our pushback is absolutely driving them wild. I’ve been following the Sad Puppies thing, with the Hugo awards. Short version, certain middle-of-road to conservative scribblers of science fiction began pushing back against a kind of lefty-feminist-politically-correct element who favored glum and earnest fables when it came to nominating and awarding the Hugo. The middle of the roaders made a huge number of readers and fans aware that they could become members of Worldcon, get in on the action. The screeching from the politically correct element was epic, so was the viciousness unleashed. Gee, it was almost as if the middle of the roaders were Tea Partiers or something.

  11. I’ve also been following the Sad Puppies saga, and the Rabid Puppies too.

    The mask has slipped. The left get away with what they get away with in part because they always paint themselves as the nice, sane, moderate people in any debate.

    They aren’t. The hysterical, maniacal shrieking generated by Larry Correia’s mild and polite attempt to bring balance and fan representation to the Hugo awards shows the left as they really are- deranged freaks who can’t tolerate dissent or disagreement.

    That is, as exactly the sort of monsters who have carpeted many nations with mass graves, which is what they are.

    I suspect the Hugo awards are done. The left has not only been unwilling to accept the Sad Puppies slate as real SF fans- they’ve also mounted an intimidation campaign against authors who are on it, with the aim of forcing them to refuse their nomination.

    They’ve has some success, alas. So I see no reason why anyone else should think the Hugos are anything more than yet another trophy given by leftists to leftists, for being leftists.

    YMMV, of course.

  12. “conservative scribblers of science fiction began pushing back against a kind of lefty-feminist-politically-correct element who favored glum and earnest fables”

    I wonder if you have seen this essay which is by a male gender person.

    Above all, I mean that women can carry on the business of a complex world in ways that are more focused, efficient, deliberate, and constructive than men’s because women are not frequently distracted by impulses and moods that, sometimes indirectly, lead to sex and violence. Women are more reluctant participants in both. And if they are drawn into wars, these will be wars of necessity, not of choice, founded on rational considerations, not on a clash of egos escalating out of control.

    I’m sure Catharine the Great and Elizabeth I would be interested in his opinion.

    I doubt he would be interested Catharine’s pornographic furniture. Although maybe he would be.

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