Skip to comments.The Moral Infrastructure (Thomas Sowell on OWS)
Posted on 05/07/2012 12:24:07 PM PDT by jazusamo
The "Occupy" movement, which the Obama administration and much of the media have embraced, has implications that reach far beyond the passing sensation it has created.
The unwillingness of authorities to put a stop to their organized disruptions of other people's lives, their trespassing, vandalism and violence is a de facto suspension, if not repeal, of the 14th Amendment's requirement that the government provide "equal protection of the laws" to all its citizens.
How did the "Occupy" movement acquire such immunity from the laws that the rest of us are expected to obey? Simply by shouting politically correct slogans and calling themselves representatives of the 99 percent against the 1 percent.
But just when did the 99 percent elect them as their representatives? If in fact 99 percent of the people in the country were like these "Occupy" mobs, we would not have a country. We would have anarchy.
Democracy does not mean mob rule. It means majority rule. If the "Occupy" movement, or any other mob, actually represents a majority, then they already have the votes to accomplish legally whatever they are trying to accomplish by illegal means.
Mob rule means imposing what the mob wants, regardless of what the majority of voters want. It is the antithesis of democracy.
In San Francisco, when the mob smashed the plate-glass window of a small business shop, the owner put up some plywood to replace the glass, and the mob wrote graffiti on his plywood. The consequences? None for the mob, but a citation for the shop owner for not removing the graffiti.
When trespassers blocking other people at the University of California, Davis refused to disperse, and locked their arms with one another to prevent the police from being able to physically remove them, the police finally resorted to pepper spray to break up this human logjam.
The result? The police have been strongly criticized for enforcing the law. Apparently pepper spray is unpleasant, and people who break the law are not supposed to have unpleasant things done to them. Which is to say, we need to take the "enforcement" out of "law enforcement."
Everybody is not given these exemptions from paying the consequences of their own illegal acts. Only people who are currently in vogue with the elites of the left in the media, in politics and in academia.
The 14th Amendment? What is the Constitution or the laws when it comes to ideological soul mates, especially young soul mates who remind the aging 1960s radicals of their youth?
Neither in this or any other issue can the Constitution protect us if we don't protect the Constitution. When all is said and done, the Constitution is a document, a piece of paper.
If we don't vote out of office, or impeach, those who violate the Constitution, or who refuse to enforce the law, the steady erosion of Constitutional protections will ultimately render it meaningless. Everything will just become a question of whose ox is gored and what is the political expediency of the moment.
There has been much concern, rightly expressed, about the rusting of bridges around the country, and the crumbling and corrosion of other parts of the physical infrastructure. But the crumbling of the moral infrastructure is no less deadly.
The police cannot maintain law and order, even if the political authorities do not tie their hands in advance or undermine them with second-guessing after the fact.
The police are the last line of defense against barbarism, but they are equipped only to handle that minority who are not stopped by the first lines of defense, beginning with the moral principles taught at home and upheld by families, schools, and communities.
But if everyone takes the path of least resistance if politicians pander to particular constituencies and judges give only wrist slaps to particular groups or mobs who are currently in vogue, and educators indoctrinate their students with "non-judgmental" attitudes then the moral infrastructure corrodes and crumbles.
The moral infrastructure is one of the intangibles, without which the tangibles don't work. Like the physical infrastructure, its neglect in the short run invites disaster in the long run.
The same way Elizabeth Warren can claim minority status and George Zimmerman cannot?
US governments, at all levels, are all about selective enforcement.
Which proves that the infrastructure has been crumbling for decades. 'Cops are pigs!' I remember when the JBS was distributing Support Your Local Police bumper stickers and people were snickering. Pretty soon we'll be longing for the sight of a cop on his beat.
He’s so right on the mark on this. Have been concerned for quite awhile about the lack of enforcement, the targeted enforcement, the political enforcement, and how it’s effecting the whole of our Nation.
Invalidate the Constitution and suggest nothing as good or better in its place....that will be the end for this country
All these OWS geniuses have NO alternative... just whining and hateful disregard for others.
That depends on whether or not you have a pet you like or an opinion that the cop doesn’t like. As someone pointed, some police departments act like just another gang.
Cut the middleman. Get a permit. Most of the time, cops are just for cleaning up after the fact.
” . . . ..Elizabeth Warren can claim minority status and George Zimmerman cannot?”
Does George Zimmerman want to do so, and if so, why?
Perhaps George Zimmerman, if asked, would say he’d like to have an end to needless and pointless divisiveness and ethnic classifications. He just might propose that we deal with each other, with respect to race and ethnic origins of ourselves or our parents, as provided by the U. S. Constitution.
Sowell is the intellectual equivalent of America's Founders, always separating out the chaff and getting to the heart of the matter.
In the Year 1839, John Quincy Adams' "Jubilee" Address, presented by invitation to a NYC Historical Society gathering, reviewed the nation's first 50 years under its Constitution. In that lengthy address, he dealt with the ideas of "democracy" and "republic" throughout, but here are some of his concluding remarks that are pertinent to the Sowell's points:
"The President himself is no more than a representative of public opinion at the time of his election; and as public opinion is subject to great and frequent fluctuations, he must accommodate his policy to them; or the people will speedily give him a successor; or either House of Congress will effectually control his power. It is thus, and in no other sense that the Constitution of the United States is democratic - for the government of our country, instead of a Democracy the most simple, is the most complicated government on the face of the globe. From the immense extent of our territory, the difference of manners, habits, opinions, and above all, the clashing interests of the North, South, East, and West, public opinion formed by the combination of numerous aggregates, becomes itself a problem of compound arithmetic, which nothing but the result of the popular elections can solve.
"It has been my purpose, Fellow-Citizens, in this discourse to show:-
"1. That this Union was formed by a spontaneous movement of the people of thirteen English Colonies; all subjects of the King of Great Britain - bound to him in allegiance, and to the British empire as their country. That the first object of this Union,was united resistance against oppression, and to obtain from the government of their country redress of their wrongs.
"2. That failing in this object, their petitions having been spurned, and the oppressions of which they complained, aggravated beyond endurance, their Delegates in Congress, in their name and by their authority, issued the Declaration of Independence - proclaiming them to the world as one people, absolving them from their ties and oaths of allegiance to their king and country - renouncing that country; declared the UNITED Colonies, Independent States, and announcing that this ONE PEOPLE of thirteen united independent states, by that act, assumed among the powers of the earth, that separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitled them.
"3. That in justification of themselves for this act of transcendent power, they proclaimed the principles upon which they held all lawful government upon earth to be founded - which principles were, the natural, unalienable, imprescriptible rights of man, specifying among them, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness - that the institution of government is to secure to men in society the possession of those rights: that the institution, dissolution, and reinstitution of government, belong exclusively to THE PEOPLE under a moral responsibility to the Supreme Ruler of the universe; and that all the just powers of government are derived from the consent of the governed.
"4. That under this proclamation of principles, the dissolution of allegiance to the British king, and the compatriot connection with the people of the British empire, were accomplished; and the one people of the United States of America, became one separate sovereign independent power, assuming an equal station among the nations of the earth.
"5. That this one people did not immediately institute a government for themselves. But instead of it, their delegates in Congress, by authority from their separate state legislatures, without voice or consultation of the people, instituted a mere confederacy.
"6. That this confederacy totally departed from the principles of the Declaration of independence, and substituted instead of the constituent power of the people, an assumed sovereignty of each separate state, as the source of all its authority.
"7. That as a primitive source of power, this separate state sovereignty,was not only a departure from the principles of the Declaration of Independence, but directly contrary to, and utterly incompatible with them.
"8. That the tree was made known by its fruits. That after five years wasted in its preparation, the confederation dragged out a miserable existence of eight years more, and expired like a candle in the socket, having brought the union itself to the verge of dissolution.
"9. That the Constitution of the United States was a return to the principles of the Declaration of independence, and the exclusive constituent power of the people. That it was the work of the ONE PEOPLE of the United States; and that those United States, though doubled in numbers, still constitute as a nation, but ONE PEOPLE.
"10. That this Constitution, making due allowance for the imperfections and errors incident to all human affairs, has under all the vicissitudes and changes of war and peace, been administered upon those same principles, during a career of fifty years.
"11. That its fruits have been, still making allowance for human imperfection, a more perfect union, established justice, domestic tranquility, provision for the common defence, promotion of the general welfare, and the enjoyment of the blessings of liberty by the constituent people, and their posterity to the present day.
"And now the future is all before us, and Providence our guide."
In an earlier paragraph, he had stated:
"But this institution was republican, and even democratic. And here not to be misunderstood, I mean by democratic, a government, the administration of which must always be rendered comfortable to that predominating public opinion . . . and by republican I mean a government reposing, not upon the virtues or the powers of any one man - not upon that honor, which Montesquieu lays down as the fundamental principle of monarchy - far less upon that fear which he pronounces the basis of despotism; but upon that virtue which he, a noble of aristocratic peerage, and the subject of an absolute monarch, boldly proclaims as a fundamental principle of republican government. The Constitution of the United States was republican and democratic - but the experience of all former ages had shown that of all human governments, democracy was the most unstable, fluctuating and short-lived; and it was obvious that if virtue - the virtue of the people, was the foundation of republican government, the stability and duration of the government must depend upon the stability and duration of the virtue by which it is sustained."
James Madison said regarding Shays’ Rebellion:
“Abuse of liberty is as much a danger to the people as abuse of power.”
It doesn’t matter the nature of their complaints, real or imagined, the way they are going about expressing them is uncivil and illegal. I hope they get pepper-sprayed again and again until they figure out that that is not how we handle public discourse.
I agree that there is too much footsie going on between the well-connected and government and the forgotten man is getting dumped on and taken advantage of way too much as a result. It is the corporatism I don’t like. But not only do I not agree with their solution, which is actually the root cause instead of the cure, there is no way I could find even an ounce of solidarity with them if I did because of the uncivil way in which they carrying on about it.
Boy, you sure know how to miss the point.
Is Pat Robertson jumping on the OWS bandwagon by calling for an International Year of Jubilee, where all of the world’s debts would be cancelled?
Never miss an opportunity to bash cops doncha know. If no opportunity exists, why, just create one then.
Does George Zimmerman want to do so, and if so, why? Perhaps George Zimmerman, if asked, would say hed like to have an end to needless and pointless divisiveness and ethnic classifications. He just might propose that we deal with each other, with respect to race and ethnic origins of ourselves or our parents, as provided by the U. S. Constitution. . . . ..Elizabeth Warren can claim minority status and George Zimmerman cannot?
There is no reason to suppose so: George Zimmerman is a Democrat.George Zimmerman has an admirable history of colorblindness; he has tutored black children and he has advocated for justice for an abused black man. He thought he was politically correct - but he has been demoted to honorary Republican status because self-defense against a black teens attack made him a convenient target for Al Sharpton et. al.