Wednesday, 15 June 2016

The Lawbreaker’s Mask

Most people frown upon the antics of lawbreakers. They suspect them of trying to take unfair advantage of others by breaking rules and regulations that are meant to apply to everyone.

Yet curiously, charlatans who seek to break off legal constraints in the name of freedom may not only escape censure, but are often applauded for their daring efforts.

How does that work?

Well, run-of-the-mill thieves and robbers may hide their identity, but the most deceptive lawbreakers hide their agenda. By donning the mask of liberty, they are able to rally support in dismantling laws that get in their way. Publicly, they stir up people’s resentment against collective requirements that diminish our precious freedom. Privately, they plot to do away with any law that holds them back from doing whatever they want, regardless of the dire consequences for the likes of you and me.

When they say the state should leave families alone, they mean there should be no law hindering them from treating their spouses and children in any way they see fit. They trumpet freedom for ‘traditional families’ because the tradition they worship confers upon them unlimited power in misleading, intimidating and even abusing everyone else in ‘their’ family.

When they complain about too many rights are granted to “whining minorities”, or too many responsibilities placed on “wealth-creators”, they mean these statutory impositions should be swept aside so the elite few can become ever more powerful, while those lower down the social hierarchy should vent their frustration at those at the bottom of the heap.

When they say the government is hurting enterprise with too much red tape, they mean their notion of a thriving business has no room for legal barriers to exploitation. If only they had total freedom to browbeat their workers, twist the arm of their suppliers, deceive their shareholders, rip off their customers, and pollute the environment, they would be able to make so much more money – for themselves.

And when they say democracy is jeopardised by transnational political institutions such as the European Union or the United Nations, they mean their efforts in thwarting national governments by developing transnational corporate arrangements can only succeed if governments do not join forces in reining them in with the rule of law.

Their rhetoric screams passion for freedom and democracy for all. But behind their mask, the face is animated by the craving for power over others. Hence the endless variations on the same old theme – cut local authorities; shrink national government; withdraw from the European Union. They know, and steadfastly hope others don’t, that without laws enacted and enforced by democratic governments, the predators would be free to turn everyone else into their prey.

No comments: