Arbitrary government operating by force, by terror, must destroy the best, the boldest dissenters in sheer self-defence; soon it finds itself destroying all who, on the one hand, do not actively assist it or, on the other, do not passively submit. – Edward Crankshaw
In other words, if you won’t have a government of laws and customs, then you simply must destroy the very best people you have…those who think in the boldest terms and seek to do the best. Arbitrary government cannot exist except when everyone is beaten down…and mindless, bureaucratic hacks are free to just grind away.
A strict – even Draconian – legal code is no problem, at all. If you know what the law is and if the law applies equally to all, then we all know where we stand. We can take care. We can take evasive action. We’re fine, even if rather inconvenienced. But when what the law is resides in the merest whim of those who enforce the laws, then no one really knows the law – no one knows what may be done, or what may bring punishment. People become fearful, dissent and innovation dry up…and the world is left to those who enjoy wielding arbitrary power (and make no mistake about it, some people do enjoy it…such people exist in all societies…and an arbitrary society just brings such people out of the woodwork in droves).
What we saw in Wisconsin is an example of arbitrary law – even if one wants to believe that Walker supporters were breaking the law, it was still an arbitrary enforcement…and done with such crude (disgusting, actually) force that everyone involved in right of center politics in Wisconsin became fearful. What our liberals – who are still mostly silent on the issue – don’t realize is that while they might think it good for such things to be done to conservatives, they will eventually be done to liberals, as well. People who like to arbitrarily enforce laws in a cruel manner never get tired of it – and when the enemies are all destroyed, they simply go after the friends, as well. You see, once you’ve got people empowered to do whatever they wish, they’ll do it – and, indeed, they have to, in a sense. If all the enemies are disposed of and it is now time to close up shop, that forces a bunch of people off the government gravy-train. They’ll invent new enemies as needed in order to justify their continues bureaucratic existence.
The lesson for all of us here – left and right – is strict rules strictly enforced. There is no half-way house. It is liberty or tyranny – no shading in between. We, as a people, must demand that our government officials scrupulously follow the rules…and if we find a gap in the rules, then we must fix it, and the government must follow the new rules, as well.