Let’s pretend for a moment that the cops are telling the truth and that Darren Johnson, 43, owner of a barber shop, a Harley Davidson, and – according to police – some cocaine, ran not only a stop sign but a red light as well on his motorcycle. The officers who pulled him over also claim that he “became increasingly agitated and aggressive and struck one of them a week ago Monday in San Bernardino, California. Something in Mr. Johnson’s alleged infraction or reaction apparently suspended the rules of fair play, simple decency, and the Constitution, because the two cops ganged up against him. One held him on the ground while the other beat him with a baton “18 to 19 times.”
The Federalist Society has compiled a “Conservative & Libertarian Legal Scholarship: Annotated Bibliography” to collect what they deem to be the best legal analysis of every aspect of American law. Their recommended reading for constitutional law contains the following advice: “The Heritage Foundation has published a comprehensive Guide to the Constitution.… The Guide is so useful and concise a resource for understanding conservative and libertarian constitutional thinking that we have cited relevant pages throughout this section, in addition to other articles.”
I saw two stories recently that had diametrically opposed messages.
The first was pro-life in the broadest sense of the word, a breakthrough against cancer via a new tumor-targeted genetic medicine, Rexin-G, that produced clinical remissions in late-stage cases of three chemotherapy-resistant, otherwise intractable cancers — prostate cancer, metastatic osteosarcoma, and pancreas cancer.
Ask a friend or associate, “Can you explain ‘cap and trade?’” More than likely you will be astounded at what a poor grasp (if any) he or she has of the subject, even though the future of our economy and even our country hinges to a large extent on whether or not cap-and-trade legislation passes or not. Without knowledge, our citizenry will not realize this innocuous phrase “cap and trade” really means government control of an ever diminishing energy supply and the rationing that must accompany any restrictive policy implemented.
It was once an American credo that bad laws are made to be broken. But with the Republic’s long slide past democracy into a police state, reverence for “the law,” good or bad, now reigns. We might chalk that up to the draconian penalties awaiting violators: eight years in prison for lying to the FBI despite the agency’s own inability to tell the truth; hundreds of dollars in fines for exceeding speed limits; execution for disembarking from an airline flight without permission. Such severe punishment will dissuade all but the bravest or craziest from flouting the rules.