Latest update: June 25th, 2012
This farce can take place under the guise of law, but it represents a lawless society. Law limits power. It limits the power of individuals, institutions and governments. But in a lawless society no limitation on power applies if the power is being applied for the sake of the higher ideals which the society can be said to represent. If those higher ideals involve helping the poor, then every institution can act like Robin Hood. And it’s perfectly legal, because there is no law.
In a lawless society, law is a function of emotion. The one who screams the loudest gets his way if he can influence enough people to believe that he has a case. Laws get made from a sense of “rightness” that is entirely a function of emotion. Everyone operates in the egotistical “I feel” mode, sharing and feeling their mutual pain, and passing laws to outlaw anyone from hurting anyone else… unless it is in the interest of preventing pain.
Rights become entirely positive and empathy-based. Negative rights become associated with selfishness. Everyone has the right to a thousand benefits, but no one has the right to opt out. Everyone is free to speak their mind, so long as it is an expression of need, rather than a demand to be left alone.
Empathy makes for very bad law, because it isn’t law at all. It’s a subjective response to the suffering of others. And often those who excel at marketing their suffering aren’t suffering at all, while those who are genuinely suffering remain silent. Empathy-based law commodifies pain, but it’s empty of justice.
A lawless society is one where those who manipulate empathy gain power. Where temporary outrage substitutes for policy. A video that stirs anger and goes viral matters more than law. Everyone is a muckraker, and everything is a muck of competing narratives because everyone is a victim and everyone is dirty at the same time.
There is no law and so every case, every incident is political, because law is made on an ad hoc basis. One side projects grief, the other side charges cynicism. The side that manipulates the emotions of the crowd most deftly, wins. Every politician is an actor, every debate is a performance and every victory is a chance to gather more spoils.
The idea that there should be one law for all, rather than one law for the sufferers and another for those who aren’t suffering, is alien to a society where empathy trumps law. Rather than making it easier for the rich and poor to compete, the rich hobble the middle-class for the benefit of the poor. Rather than outlawing racial discrimination, it’s reversed so that it favors those discriminated against. Rather than doing the right thing, the left does the Robin Hood thing, leaping from the tree, looting the society, and writing songs about its own dashing courage.
The government-media complex acts out the empathy narrative. Its reporting has nothing to do with the facts, but everything to do with emotion. A law is bad when it protects the privilege of the opposition, but good when it protects their privilege. The powers of the Senate, the Executive and the Supreme Court are good when they serve their ends, but bad when they serve the ends of their enemy. The blame always goes to one side – the side blocking their agenda.
A society that lives by law can have laws that mean something, but in a lawless society, a law only matters so long as it serves the purpose of those in power. When it doesn’t, then it’s ignored or tossed aside.
Last week we witnessed Obama playing Robin Hood by casting aside immigration law and transparency to the jubilant cheers of the media, whose fondest wish is for politicians to play Robin Hood, cut all the Gordian Knots and just carry out their agenda without regard for the law. That is what they wanted, that is what they got. But a lawless society cuts both ways and takes the system out of the protection of the law.
Law is impartial. It states absolute principles that apply regardless of faction and position. But in a lawless society, there is no law, only power. The left has ushered in a lawless society, but we will all have to live with the consequences.
About the Author: Daniel Greenfield is an Israeli born blogger and columnist, and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. His work covers American, European and Israeli politics as well as the War on Terror. His writing can be found at http://sultanknish.blogspot.com/. The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not represent the views of The Jewish Press.
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