One silver lining of living during the Obama Era is that we get to witness something that many of us found inexplicable when we learned about it in school: How a civilized country can be brought to the heel of ideologues and thugs. It’s always seemed a bizarre mystery why a large majority of reasonable people would let things that are so patently wrong, so clearly corrosive of everything we value, go on… and expand.
Two stories on National Review Online provide some evidence. When the people in power — backed by the President of the United States — decide the rules don’t apply to them, it must be quite a game for them to watch the reasonable, civilized people attempt to battle them using the rules. Here’s Quin Hillyer checking in on the case of the IRS promising a leftist group that it would spy on churches:
So the IRS, acting with the whole power of government behind it, seems to be saying it can monitor and presumably punish churches for the content of their sermons, but the churches can’t know exactly if, how, and why they are being monitored….
The ADF, on behalf of threatened churches, merely demanded through FOIA that the IRS share that same “evidence” with it, including details about the new “procedures.” Pretty basic stuff. …
And the IRS now has violated even the latest deadline it set for itself, after its first illegal extension, without even bothering to give further notice that it is doing so.
Read the whole article for the full sense of how futile it seems to play by the rules with Obama’s IRS. Hillyer’s plea for the courts to step in and attempt to enforce the law are almost quaint, given the long, slow roll tactic that the Obama administration has used so frequently with every scandal, to limited interest from the national news media. (And then there’s former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s violation of Senate rules to sit friendly judges throughout the judiciary.)
Next, turn to David French’s story about the assault of Wisconsin’s union-Democrat machine on the rights of people who’ve supported Republican Governor Scott Walker, with legally sanctioned police home invasions of households on secret “John Doe” warrants:
For dozens of conservatives, the years since Scott Walker’s first election as governor of Wisconsin transformed the state — known for pro-football championships, good cheese, and a population with a reputation for being unfailingly polite — into a place where conservatives have faced early-morning raids, multi-year secretive criminal investigations, slanderous and selective leaks to sympathetic media, and intrusive electronic snooping.
Yes, Wisconsin, the cradle of the progressive movement and home of the “Wisconsin idea” — the marriage of state governments and state universities to govern through technocratic reform — was giving birth to a new progressive idea, the use of law enforcement as a political instrument, as a weapon to attempt to undo election results, shame opponents, and ruin lives.
If the party affiliation were reversed, journalists at every level across the country would be mentioning these stories in tweets and blog posts. It would be “check out David French’s important report on abuse of power.” Progressive astroturf protesters would be staging street dramas to give those journalists more excuses to turn passing mentions into full-blown stories.
Instead, reasonable people in Wisconsin are chasing the affront up the ladder of the judiciary, having to hope they can get around the activist judges who prove again and again that they have no problem rewriting the law to conform with their progressive beliefs.
This is how reasonable people let it happen.
The activist types (mostly impressionable kids and 1960s throwbacks) have been co-opted to one side by facile news and entertainment media narratives, and most people just want to live their lives. At this point, when visible activism might have an effect, the threat doesn’t seem real enough for the masses to risk jail time and family disruption. (After all, the nature of the affronts that they would protest give them reason to fear that they’ll have the book thrown at them, rather than benefit from leniency based on their law-abiding records.)
Meanwhile, reasonable Democrats and other progressives could have a similar effect simply by speaking up against their allies (particularly if the admonitions came from the news media), but they’re constrained by social pressure not to be associated with conservatives (which could mean exclusion from the in group, as attacks on Fox News have shown for years) or even taking seriously conservatives’ concerns, which are cast as kooky conspiracy theories.
They are until they aren’t, and then it’s too late.
(Thank you to Instapundit Glenn Reynolds for linking to this post.)