Our rights do not originate with government, but they are to be "secured" by government.
Formerly: Libertarian Party of Citrus county

Friday, February 25, 2011

Equality under the Law is Dead in America

Equality Under the Law was a foundational principle for our country and the basis of modern western civilization. This is the principle that ascribes that each individual is subject to the same laws, with no individual or group having special legal privileges. No one is exempt or included more than another. Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law." The Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that all people will have "the equal protection of the laws." This basic principle, when applied, results in one of the other and interconnected foundational principles of western society; that a person is innocent until proven guilty. These two principles are what we call Justice.

This is not a new concept, the Bible is pretty clear saying “in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor nor defer to the great.” The ancient Greek, Pericles, had this to say about the principle of Equality under the Law:
Our form of government does not enter into rivalry with the institutions of others. Our government does not copy our neighbors', but is an example to them. It is true that we are called a democracy, for the administration is in the hands of the many and not of the few. But while there exists equal justice to all and alike in their private disputes, the claim of excellence is also recognized; and when a citizen is in any way distinguished, he is preferred to the public service, not as a matter of privilege, but as the reward of merit. Neither is poverty an obstacle, but a man may benefit his country whatever the obscurity of his condition.

This is not a principle that liberals believe, practice, or promote. They rarely even pay lip service to this principle anymore. The notion of "equality before the law" was long ago abandoned by the left.

Explain why congress and the government are exempt from the Americans with Disabilities Act, why they are exempt from OSHA.

Consider the special privilege that is granted to the NEA. This union organization is a 501c3 corporation. It is the only 501c3 corporation in the USA that is permitted to serve as a lobbying organization. It is is illegal for any other tax-exempt group to do what the NEA does. That is not equality under the Law.

Consider the current debate/fight over Gay Marriage. It only exists because we have given up on the notion of Equality Under the Law. Why should anybody be treated any differently under the law because of personal relationships with another which they voluntarily choose to participate? Why should any law treat any individual differently because of contractual obligations they have with another individual? The problem isn’t that homosexual couples don’t get the same benefits as heterosexual couples; it’s that we give heterosexual couples special legal privileges and punishments.

Consider Taxes; our current tax system is not just or equal. The tens of thousands of pages with special exemptions for some and not others, and special punishments for some and not others is far from just. The tax system tries to instill “fairness” not justice. What is just or fair or equal about taxing somebody at a different rate because they are in a contractual relationship than somebody who is not? What’s just or fair or equal about allowing a person to deduct the cost of their health insurance if they buy it through their employer but not if they purchase it directly?

A journalist or pastor would be rightly outraged if they had to petition for permission from a government bureaucrat in order to exercise their First Amendment rights. The constitutional phrase “Shall Not Infringe,” implies that prior restraint on the exercise of basic rights is not permissible. In our Republic the idea of basic rights are unalienable and not granted by the government, and the idea of Equal Rights under the law, prohibits the government from enacting laws that restrict or unalienable rights prior to abuse of those rights. That principle is thrown out by modern liberals who only believe that people should be able to do what the ruling elite say they should.

So consider the right to defend oneself, arguably a far more basic right than those of free expression or religious practice, is routinely constrained, restricted, or rejected. The fact remains that gun owners are denied equality under the law. The Second Amendment clearly and unequivocally states that the right to firearms "shall not be abridged," such forthrightness escapes those who feel uninhibited in passing more and more anti-self-defense laws.

This abandonment of the principles of Justice are a path towards tyranny. Where those in power grant special favors to those they want to reward, and punish those that don’t obey the tyrant. Consider Obamacare, where around 900 businesses are exempt, mostly unions and corporations who have donated to Obama and the Democrat Party, and explain how Obama granting some favored people the right to limit health care payouts and not others is Equality Under the Law. This and similar despotic laws, has and will continue to undermine the confidence that we the people have in government.

Our government was instituted to protect individual rights, and all laws should do that, and punish those who violate another’s rights. No reasonable person would disagree with that. But rather than work under that assumption, and the idea that laws are for justice, and that all individuals should be treated Equally Under the Law, the socialists and leftists over the past 125 years have worked on a different premises. The idea that because something might be abused, the government has the right to deny/restrict/regulate that thing for all people. This principle allows the aggregation of power with a few ruling elite. Liberty, freedom, justice, and equality under the law are principles that have been abandoned for this principle.

A crowbar is an effective criminal tool and deadly weapon, it can and often is used to destroy or facilitate the theft of private property, and can just as easily be used to intimidate, injure, or kill someone; because it is so effective and readily available, does that justify the government forcing all people who want to own and use a crowbar to have to get a permit to own one, and to have to keep it in a locked unusable condition when not in use, and to restrict where a law abiding citizen may possess one? Some of you reading this are actually thinking that maybe we shouldn’t allow just anybody to go down to the local hardware store and buy such an efficiently destructive and deadly device; 50 years ago the absurdity of restricting every persons’ right to own a crowbar because it might be used criminally would have been obvious. We have laws making vandalism, theft, destruction of private property, assault, intimidation and murder crimes. We do not need, nor should we allow government to create special laws restricting the rights of everybody to certain things because they might used to break other laws.

Accepting the pernicious principle that “because something might be abused, the government has the right to deny/restrict/regulate that thing for all people,” has lead those in power to abandon the principles we call Justice , and create more and more laws discriminating against innocent people in how they conduct their lives.

You may ask, how is creating a law that equally restricts everybody a violation of the principle of Equality Under the Law? The answer should be obvious, no potential rights violation justify laws that discriminate against innocent people in how they conduct their lives. It treats the innocent like a criminal. Does the fact that a hammer can be used to crush your skull, or a pillow could be used to suffocate you, provide the impetus to allow the government to take away your liberty to own unlimited sizes, numbers, and varieties of pillows? Our government needs to abandon its attempts to forestall every undesirable behavior or to punish all of us for the transgressions of the few.

Take the time to re-read our Declaration of Independence, where the purpose of our government is plainly stated. Our laws should deal solely and exclusively with real or imminent threats to our rights and our freedoms, that is, with those people who initiate direct or indirect violence against us. Any other approach on the part of those who craft our laws can only destroy what each of us equally deserves: the full and unrestricted protection of our liberty.

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