First thing we do, we’ll kill all the voters.

Over on Fecesbook, I see people talking about it being a shame cops make it home at night — at the moment, primarily based on various and sundry arrests being made of people violating illegal executive orders regarding quarantine, but pre-COVID-19, the argument was simply that cops were either enforcing poorly-drawn law or misinterpreting what they thought was the law.  For some, this is a reflexive response that gets spit out every time they hear about some injustice being perpetrated by what they feel are bad cops.  Maybe the cops are bad, maybe they aren’t.  It’s not my place to make that judgement.

But this argument leaves out the fact that cops don’t make the law.  They are merely charged with enforcing it.

And the argument leaves out talking about what a shame it is the legislators who make those shitful laws make it home at night.  Or in the current situation, the governors and mayors and judges who are issuing executive orders which illegally restrict the ability of the citizens to live their lives.  (Illegal, because no executive order in and of itself may make new law or create new offenses.  You need the legislature for that.  And in Indiana, at least, it appears that no executive order trumps that principle, regardless of anything our governor has to say about it, or any prima facie unconstitutional (per the Indiana State Constitution) statute that’s been written into the Indiana Code regarding the governor’s supposed power to do that.)

So by this Facebookean logic, there are no good legislators, either.  Frankly, I’m not really arguing against that, because I think it’s valid; even if one goes into politics with good intentions, it seems to end up being a power thing (as in, “how do I hold onto power?”), and bad law continues to be written despite all the “reform” politicians who are elected swearing to change things.  As Heinlein trenchantly observed (via the voice of Lazarus Long),

“I don’t mean that a business politician won’t steal; stealing is his business. But all politicians are nonproductive. The only commodity any politician has to offer is jawbone. His personal integrity—meaning, if he gives his word, can you rely on it? A successful business politician knows this and guards his reputation for sticking by his commitments—because he wants to stay in business—go on stealing, that is—not only this week but next year and years after that. So if he’s smart enough to be successful at this very exacting trade, he can have the morals of a snapping turtle, but he performs in such a way as not to jeopardize the only thing he has to sell, his reputation for keeping promises.

“But a reform politician has no such lodestone. His devotion is to the welfare of all the people—an abstraction of very high order and therefore capable of endless definitions. If indeed it can be defined in meaningful terms. In consequence your utterly sincere and incorruptible reform politician is capable of breaking his word three times before breakfast—not from personal dishonesty, as he sincerely regrets the necessity and will tell you so—but from unswerving devotion to his ideal.

“All it takes to get him to break his word is for someone to get his ear and convince him that it is necessary for the greater good of all the peepul. He’ll geek.

“After he gets hardened to this, he’s capable of cheating at solitaire. Fortunately he rarely stays in office long—except during the decay and fall of a culture.”

Heinlein, Robert A.. Time Enough for Love (p. 110). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Finally, reductio ad absurdum, even those who voted for the bad legislators are themselves bad — and as Heinlein suggests, are themselves culpable for the writing of bad law due to their unwillingness to vote out “their guy”. To some extent I will argue that point; it seems to me, in the main, those who vote for bad legislators are simply under-informed, weak-minded, and vote with their feelings rather than with any logical purpose in mind.*  On the other hand, there are really no good candidates, either (this is implied already by “no good legislators”), so that makes any choice a bad choice, and all of us bad voters.  Sadly, to paraphrase a fictional computer that learned wisdom, “The only winning move is not to vote.”  Which, of course, fixes nothing.

But this is because the entire system is a fucked-up crapshoot. Plus, nobody really knows what the law is to begin with, which (if they were honest) legislators would admit is a feature of the system, not a bug.  Thus we have legislators who vote for omnibus bills they have not read, and police and government agencies that enforce laws that are often incomplete, full of loopholes (intended or unintended), and often unintelligible to all but the corpus of lawyers who specialize in bureaucratic law.  While it is the responsibility of the police to know the laws under which they are citing and arresting people, it is in this day and age nearly impossible for any one person — even one charged with knowing, applying, and upholding it — to truly know the law.

And thus, as is often pointed out, the average American unknowingly commits at least three felonies every day.

When and where does this stop?  When do we have the Great Overhaul of the Federal Code that throws out about 75%, hell, maybe 100%, of everything that’s been passed since 1789, and starts over from Constitutional scratch?

To answer my own question:  Probably never, since nobody teaches civics anymore.  Nobody seems to understand that the way to fix these problems is to remonstrate decisively when bad law is enacted, and if our elected legislators and other government officials then hesitate or refuse to fix the problems, or deny that any problems exist, THROW THE BASTARDS OUT.  And keep throwing the bastards out until you get a crop of bastards who, while they are still bastards, will follow the dictates of the people because they really want to stay in office.

And if that fails, simply state, “I will not comply,” and let laws that violate civil liberties rot on the vine.  (Which is what is beginning to happen as people understand the quarantine edicts — not really laws — that have been laid on us for the past two months have accomplished little more than to wreck the economy.**)

One man or woman saying “I will not comply” is not sufficient.  A million men and women saying, “I will not comply” is a constituency that must be heeded.  (But make it an actual million, folks, or even more; these “million ____ marches” — fill in the blank — are little more than a publicity stunt.  A month later, nobody remembers them.)

If citizens really understood the concepts of citizenship and liberty, these problems would not exist, because the people who are responsible for them would be, at minimum, out of office; or possibly six feet under, depending on the severity of the foolishness for which they were responsible.

I would argue that the good people of the Commonwealth of Virginia had this opportunity several months ago, and they blew it.  Thus ever to tyrants?

Let’s hope not.  The Tree of Liberty is long overdue for a watering, even if the nature of the watering is only metaphorical.


* Also in my opinion, this happens on both sides of the political divide.  Conservatives are just as guilty as progressives.  Leftists, Centrists, Rightists, all are guilty guilty guilty (Centrists are guilty for pretending it’s possible to debate our freedoms and pare them away in the name of “consensus”).  I have argued for years that as much as I believe abortion is murder, it is not worth the Right’s time and effort to concentrate on that battle.  To be brutally honest, one can even substitute “2A rights” for “abortion”.  These single issues divert our attention from the main event, which is simply the idea that we should be electing people who are broadly devoted to liberty and upholding the Constitution as written, rather than worrying about how a given candidate comes down on a given pet issue.  If we elect people who are devoted to the Constitution as a whole, many of the questions over which we argue today would vanish, or at least be shoved to the side in favor of liberty.  None of these vanity issues matter if the Constitution itself is subverted or ignored.

** This post isn’t really about the COVID-19 quarantine, unless it is, but here are some links that go along with that statement:

California Docs Say Lockdown vs. Non-Lockdown ‘Did Not Produce a Statistically Different Number of Deaths’

Here Comes the Sun: The Good News about COVID-19 the Media Apparently Doesn’t Want You to Know

Businesses Without Options Defy Closing Orders

Lockdown is Destroying Food Supply Chain