Thursday, March 28, 2013

Political Expediency

By Dave Dargo
The first few postings, a layman's view of constitutional law, were a manifestation of the pressure building up over the past few months as we have witnessed a dangerous eagerness to sacrifice the Constitution of the United States for quick political expediency.

That political expediency has been a part of a growing disrespect for the law and, as a result, a growth in lawlessness.  That growth in lawlessness comes from two sources.

The first is the devaluing of what constitutes a serious crime.  I remember as a child when my bicycle was stolen.  We called the police and a police officer came to the house and took a report.  He even followed up with us over the next week until I got my bike back.  It was an interesting lesson for an eight-year old - I remember being told that I was allowed, as the rightful owner of the bike, to take back the bike if I found someone with it.

Today, you're extremely unlikely to get a police officer to come to your house to take a report on a stolen bicycle.  In fact, in some jurisdictions, the police don't even show up to take a report for a stolen motor vehicle.

As the seriousness of the crime that justifies the police deigning to show up to take a report increases, the cost of committing crimes under that level decreases.  As the potential cost of a crime decreases, just as with standard supply-and-demand economics, the demand for those crimes increases - that is, more of those crimes are committed and the less concerned society seems to be with those crimes.  It has come to the point in many jurisdictions that property crime is nothing more than an insurance claim with no police involvement whatsoever.

As a result, we, as a society, become desensitized to those crimes that are just minor incidents.  This is a vicious circle that serves to increase the level of crime that needs to be committed in order for society to take it seriously.

The second source for the growth in lawlessness is the disrespect for laws garnered by run-away legislatures that continue to churn out more and more laws as if they were paid by the words they wrote for a magazine serial.

The laws being created are affectionately known as flypaper laws in that they are just as likely to capture an innocent as they are to catch a true lawbreaker.  Ayn Rand had a great theory for why these laws are created:
"There's no way to rule innocent men.  The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals.  Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them.  One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws."
A question I like to ask people, "Do you know what law you broke today?"

The more laws we make, the more law-breakers we create and the more disrespect we build for all laws.  Rather than making it more difficult to own a gun without breaking a law how about if we actually crack down on the real predatory criminals who prey on society?

That might just make us all a little more respectful of the law.

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