Would it be fair to describe the relationship between the American people and their elected leaders as dysfunctional, manipulative, perhaps even abusive? The answer to this question is largely a matter of perspective of course, but to attain that answer, one must ask two further questions: Do lawmakers, and the bureaucrats who serve them, consider themselves equal to those they supposedly represent? What do the laws and regulations these officials impose upon society tell us about their attitude toward the “common” man or woman?
Them and Us
The answer to the first of those two questions is barely open to debate. Most Americans would likely agree that politicians, once elected to office, do not see themselves and their constituents as equals. They often bend, or in some cases, openly flout laws in ways the ordinary citizen would never get away with. Even state governors have ignored their own mandates. Most office-holders appear to believe government should have virtually unlimited access to any private individual’s documents, records, and even communications but they are loathe to disclose their own – and often will not do so unless faced with a court order.
As for that second question, consider how insulting some laws and government regulations are. Take for example one provision in the stupendous infrastructure bill currently slogging its way across Capitol Hill. Privately owned vehicles, the provision proposes, should be fitted with “drunk and impaired driving prevention technology” – and cameras to ensure the driver isn’t trying to deceive.
An Issue of Trust
Pause for a moment to reflect on what that means. In the supposedly “free” world – and specifically in the United States – the justice system is based upon a presumption of innocence. Countless criminal suspects who may well have committed the crime or crimes of which they were accused walked free because their guilt, beyond a reasonable doubt, could not be established. That is the way it should be. Why, then, should every American be compelled to prove that he or she has not been consuming alcohol in order to operate his or her own vehicle?
The proposal mandating this technology is based on the assumption that every driver is predisposed to break the law an act in a dangerous and irresponsible manner. Essentially, everyone is guilty until they prove themselves innocent.
Supporters of the proposed rule would no doubt argue that it serves the greater good; that because some people will consume a debilitating amount of alcohol and then get behind the wheel, everyone must be treated as if they would do the same.
In fact, a great many laws in the U.S. are based on the same idea; a sort of collective punishment in which everyone’s behavior must be regulated because of the bad actions of the few. It is painfully ironic that most of the politicians who support such laws claim to believe penalizing the many for the actions of the few is bigoted, hateful, narrow-minded, racist, [insert any other relevant descriptor here].
Case in point: How many times, after an Islamist extremist has shot, stabbed, or blown up a bunch of innocent civilians, have certain politicians lectured Americans that they cannot assume all Muslims are murderous fanatics because of the crimes committed by a small minority. In this case, those politicians are in fact quite right.
How about another example? A great many American citizens have been murdered by illegal aliens in the U.S. In some cases those homicides were clearly very deliberate and sometimes extremely brutal. And yet, many elected officials will claim that it is unfair and racist to blame all illegal aliens for the terrible crimes committed by a relatively small number of them. Once again this is correct.
It is never OK to tar all members of a particular demographic with the same brush because a few of them are bad actors. That would be as bad as claiming all white people are racist because, hundreds of years ago, the descendants of a small percentage of them owned slaves. It would be as unjust as insisting all police officers are brutal, racist murderers because a minority of them abuse their power.
So, a great many laws are written upon the premise that, given the opportunity, everyone would behave in the same despicable and irresponsible manner as those few people who do routinely behave that way. Virtually all gun laws are based on that very idea.
But there is another class of rules by which ordinary people are forced to live. These are the laws that regulate behavior. They are based on a different but equally insulting assumption; that without such laws most people would endanger themselves because they lack the common sense or intelligence or basic instinct for self-preservation that would compel them to act differently.
Drugs are illegal because, apparently, everyone or most people would become junkies if they were not illegal. The wearing of seat belts is compulsory for a similar reason – unless one lives in New Hampshire. Countless other laws exist because of this same belief shared by most of the ruling elites; that ordinary people cannot be relied upon to do the right thing or behave in a responsible manner.
Whether in office or running for office, politicians beg the voters for their trust, but they do not trust the voters.
One can only conclude that America’s elected leaders think their constituents incapable of acting like rational adults – or they believe otherwise normal, law-abiding people would descend into an anarchistic, Mad Max-like existence if they were not forbidden from doing certain things. The relationship between the elected and the electors, then, is certainly dysfunctional, in many ways, manipulative and, to an extent, could reasonably be described as abusive.
The post Americans and Their Elected Leaders: Dysfunctional Relationship? was first published by Liberty Nation, and is republished here with permission. Please support their efforts.