The rule of law is dead. And yet persecution by law is alive, well, and thriving in the tyranny of the New Normal
Each and every day, some American citizen, whether he’s building a stock pond on his own property — with local government approval — or exercising his religious freedom by refusing to use his own labor to create a custom cake he doesn’t wish to bake, is being harassed, harangued, demonized, coerced, molested, and ensnared in costly legal battles intended to break his spirit and deplete his assets (should he not simply give up and conform to the demands of his federal government betters). In fact, so commonplace have such stories become, it is increasingly evident that, because Congress relinquished so much of its lawmaking powers to an administrative state filled with career bureaucrats who in many cases have been plucked from the ranks of the leftist activist community, we are living in a society where several of its foundational tenets, equality before the law, consent of the governed, and representative government chief among them, are no longer stabilizing, static pieces of the governing paradigm.
Which is bad enough, given that in the absence of equality before the law, the law becomes arbitrary, and as such, a matter of mere selective force used by a police state to control the population, with governmental agencies and politicians picking life’s winners and losers.
Beyond even that, though, there is a new form of brazen attack on the notion of equality before the law so important to the classical liberal framework in our constitutional republican system — namely, a refusal of those entrusted with enforcing our laws to do so against either certain constituency groups (think Holder and the New Black Panthers, or Obama and the Democrats with respect to illegal immigrants and a dozen or so other other examples), or against members of their own circle. Jim Geraghty:
Sunday night, our John Fund offered an eye-popping story from Philadelphia:
Prosecutors almost never go to war against each other. But in Pennsylvania, Democratic attorney general Kathleen Kane is being brutally criticized by Seth Williams, Philadelphia’s district attorney and a fellow Democrat. Williams is upset that last year one of Kane’s first acts in office was to decline to prosecute four Philadelphia state legislators and other government officials. In a sting operation, all had been caught accepting cash or Tiffany jewelry in exchange for votes or favors. Kane, who is white, has defended herself, saying that the investigation was badly managed and tainted by racism. She claims the criticism comes from what she calls the “Good Ol’ Boys Club.” Williams, who is African American, has shot back: “I have seen racism. I know what it looks like. This isn’t it.”
So, just to clarify, the white state attorney general is accusing the African-American district attorney of having a racist motivation for… exposing African-American state legislators for accepting cash or jewelry for votes or favors.
The term “racist” is now just a synonym for “I don’t like it,” isn’t it?
Begun in 2010, the Philly probe was conducted under Kane’s three immediate predecessors as attorney general, and it resulted in more than 400 hours of video and audio recordings. Tyron B. Ali, a lobbyist originally from Trinidad, served as the undercover agent; after he was charged with fraud, he agreed to wear a wire in exchange for lenient treatment. Word of his cash offers eventually got around and prompted some elected officials to call him first. “Sources with knowledge of the sting said the investigation made financial pitches to both Republicans and Democrats, but only Democrats accepted the payments,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reported last week.
Attorney General Kane inherited the investigation when she took office in January 2013. She told the Inquirer that she stopped it without filing any charges because it was “poorly conceived, badly managed, and tainted by racism.” She quoted Claude Thomas, the chief investigator in the case, as saying he had been ordered to target “only members of the General Assembly’s Black Caucus” and to ignore “potentially illegal acts by white members.”
In response, Williams issued an angry statement and penned an op-ed in Sunday’s Inquirer. “The notion that they would target anyone based on race is ridiculous,” Williams said in a statement. “I am confident they are not racist, and it is regrettable that the attorney general would casually throw around such an explosive accusation.” Thomas, who is also African American, now works for Williams and denies he ever made such a statement.
What’s more, it looks like the state attorney general doesn’t know how to discourage press interest: “[Kane] met with Inquirer editors last Thursday, she brought her personal attorney and on his advice declined to answer any questions after the meeting. Her attorney says she may file a defamation suit against the paper, a ploy frequently used by public figures to intimidate journalists.” When a politician threatens to sue reporters for writing about something, she might as well have a flashing neon sign saying “DEAR JOURNALISTS: THERE IS SOMETHING SCANDALOUS HERE.”
Forget for a moment the obvious smokescreen that comes with the overdetermined and almost completely meaningless accusations of racism coming from the cynical, craven pie holes of mostly white bread, insular Democrat concern trolls. Which in this case includes the Pennsylvania Attorney General — whose accusation was aimed at a fellow Democrat, and a black one, at that.
What we have here is something bigger, and even some local Democrats who still believe in equality before the law are not only taking notice, but they are beginning to speak out, as well. Essentially, Seth Williams — himself a Democrat — is suggesting, in no uncertain terms, that the new Democrat Attorney General of Pennsylvania is in point of fact pre-pardoning the four Democrat state legislators and other government officials who were caught on tape taking bribes. That is, there’s a refusal to prosecute even in the face of demonstrable evidence of bribery and vote-buying fellow Democrats, a move that in effect signals that they are above the law.
Worse still, the pretense that the sting was somehow racially isolated (which the prosecutors deny) in no way changes the guilt or innocence of those who took the bribes. They are and were the color they are and were, and this was so — and they had been elected to public office despite this apparently debilitating fact — before they accepted such bribes. It’s a red herring. If you’ll pardon the obvious racial attack on Native Americans implicit in that particular fallacy of argument.
When you have a country in which those elected for the purposes of upholding the law so brazenly and openly refuse to uphold the law when it comes to their own friends, and yet will eagerly use laws or regulations to “nudge” certain behaviors intended to destroy the “bourgeois” middle class and return us to a feudal state, what you have is a tyranny enforced by a police state apparatus working at the behest of an entrenched ruling elite.
That the epaulettes and mustaches and riding crops and balcony speeches are missing is just an evolution of style. Underneath, though, beats the same power-mad heart of the tyrant.