Lawlessness from Above
This column by ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight was published October 9, 2016 by The Washington Times.
Corruption and abuses of power by America’s ruling class are becoming such everyday occurrences that they leave one wondering if there is any bottom to it.
No matter how outrageous the power overreach, it just keeps happening without apparent consequences to the guilty.
Several years ago, we learned that the Obama administration had transformed the Internal Revenue Service into a wrecking ball against the tea parties and other conservative groups. Congress held hearings, vowing to punish the guilty.
Nobody was punished. And it’s happening again. Some tea parties still don’t have their tax-exempt status six years after they applied.
Meanwhile, President Obama just committed the nation to an international climate change treaty that he did not submit to the Senate for ratification. As before, he magically transformed a treaty into a one-man executive “agreement.” You know, like a king would issue.
When he jammed the Iranian nuclear deal for dollars down the country’s throat, he at least threw a fig leaf over it. In a baffling move, the Senate had agreed that it would take a two-thirds majority to reject the pact. But the Constitution requires a two-thirds vote for approval, not rejection. It’s a far higher bar, for good reason. This upside-down, get-around-the-Constitution measure was sponsored by a Republican senator from Tennessee. Why?
Lawlessness at the top abounds. Last week, we learned that Hillary Clinton’s aides, Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson, who were among five people given immunity by the Justice Department in the Servergate scandal, were in charge of deciding which emails on Hillary’s compromised server to turn over to the State Department. Also, they got guarantees that their laptops would not be searched after Jan. 31, 2015. Now for the kicker, as related by The Wall Street Journal:
“More amazing, Justice agreed to destroy both laptops after examining them. Think about that: Before the authorities knew what was on the laptops, they agreed to destroy potential evidence in their investigation.”
Do you think for a nanosecond that federal authorities would be this accommodating to you if you ran afoul of one of the tens of thousands of laws to which we’re all subject? I didn’t think so.
Despite all the talk about “rising inequality” in America, the real gap is not so much income disparity. It’s the neon-bright double standard in terms of laws, lawlessness and cultural values. The ruling class can do or say anything and go its merry way, while the average American finds himself in the grip of an ever-tightening octopus of official and unofficial sanctions for insufficient fealty to the opinions of our decadent ruling class.
In an essay for the Claremont Review of Books titled “After the Republic,” Angelo Codevilla makes the case that the ruling elites have been spectacularly successful at minimizing the clout of the nation’s “deplorables,” as Hillary Clinton characterized Trump supporters. They have replaced personal autonomy and traditional values with top-down cultural and political mandates. The courts in particular have done enormous damage to the idea that Americans still have a say in their own governance, sweeping aside laws and replacing them with edicts based on their own prejudices.
“Decisions and administrative practice have divided Americans into ‘protected classes’ —- possessed of special privileges and immunities —- and everybody else,” Mr. Codevilla writes. “Equality before the law and equality of opportunity are memories.”
He offers telling examples: “Who, a generation ago, could have guessed that careers and social standing could be ruined by stating the fact that the paramount influence on the earth’s climate is the sun, that its output of energy varies and with it the climate? Who, a decade ago, could have predicted that stating that marriage is the union of a man and a woman would be treated as a culpable sociopathy, or just yesterday that refusing to let certifiably biological men into women’s bathrooms would disqualify you from mainstream society?
“In today’s America, a network of executive, judicial, bureaucratic, and social kinship channels bypasses the sovereignty of citizens.”
Another way to bypass the people is to devalue their votes by making elections more vulnerable to vote fraud.
Over the past two weeks, thanks to an American Civil Rights Union lawsuit, we learned that thousands of non-citizens are registered to vote in Philadelphia. We also learned that more than a thousand non-citizens were registered to vote in a handful of Virginia’s 95 counties and 38 independent cities.
If you don’t think this matters, bear in mind that Democrat Mark Herring beat Republican Mark Obenshain for the office of Virginia attorney general in 2013 by 165 votes out of 2.2 million cast.
The ruling elites tell us that vote fraud is a myth and that voter photo ID laws, which secure honest elections, are racist. Of course, the same elites tell us that we’re “deplorables” if we don’t welcome biological males into our daughters’ restrooms and locker rooms or support unlimited immigration and confiscatory taxation.
I’d like to think the American people have finally had it and are on to the elites’ game. Somebody pass out the pitchforks.