One common, and amusing, retort I encounter whenever I point out that not all laws are equally moral or ethical, is “It’s the LAW; you have to obey whether you agree or not.” Usually that is followed by some personal ins-ults and innuendo.
It is a pathetic excuse for an argument. The first thing bad government (but I repeat myself) does is make its own abuses “legal.” It fools those who just want to do the right thing into taking the side of the bad guys.
Remember that there is right and there is wrong, and legality has less to do with rightness with each passing day. Suppose history repeats itself and suddenly a segment of the population — in the past it has been Jews and runaway slaves — is forced into hiding in order to survive. The law also demands you report any of those in hiding or you become a criminal just like they are. Would you obey the law? Would you ridicule and report those who refused to obey the law? It would, after all, be “the law.”
If you would, I pity you. I still will not obey laws that violate the basic, inborn natural human rights of others, even people I don’t particularly like. My conscience is more valuable than is the feeling of being a “good citizen” by doing the bidding of those who believe they have the authority to rule.
Plus, there is a glaring inconsistency. We are expected to obey everything government imposes upon us, yet government employees conveniently forget to obey the laws that bind them. And, judging from recent history, they can’t generally be held accountable.
Legally, as amendments, the Bill of Rights supersedes anything in the body of the Constitution. Where the two clash, the Bill of Rights is the supreme law of the land. That means every gun “law,” no matter how minor, is illegal, and enforcing it is a serious crime. Yet, how many enforcers end up in jail for enforcing gun regulations and prohibitions?
It also means that the constitutional mandate for government employees to stay out of your home and papers (and today, your car, computer and phone records) except in severely limited circumstances is rock solid. Any “fishing expedition”-type searches are illegal. Contrary to the clear intent of the law, warrants are rubber-stamped with no specific criteria, usually to enforce laws that the Constitution clearly prohibits.
In the coming years, as things average citizens care about become just as illegal as those things they don’t, I will be amused to see the shift in attitudes, and will be thinking “Welcome to the party, pal.”
Kent McManigal is a freelance writer who sometimes offers commentary on our websites. Contact him at: