We want belief

As the impeachment trial winds down, what’s next?

My prediction: widespread non-compliance of future laws.

I watched the Bill Clinton impeachment trial, and it seemed pretty silly at the time. On one side, we wanted to remove a President for lying about a sexual relation he had with an intern. His defense seemed just as silly, as I watched people come up and talk about everything from race relations to economics. All around, it seemed kinda silly.

Trump’s impeachments were even sillier. Admitting news reports as evidence, without actually using eye witnesses or first-hand accounts? It basically broke down to “Trump said things we don’t like,” which in itself is a double standard considering the large number of Senators and Representatives that call for violence against Trump supporters on a regular basis.

Trump’s impeachment won’t change anything in Washington DC. But it will move a lot of people to no longer comply with the law. In front of everyone we’ve seen how the justice system no longer seeks justice. We’ve seen how easy it is to throw someone in jail over small items, or worse, over news reports that don’t have a shred of truth to them. The justice system is committed to getting convictions, period. The truth has become a afterthought.

People will react accordingly. When people don’t believe that the laws they live under are fair, they will find ways to circumvent them. They also will remove their participation from this part of society. We’re already seeing this as police forces are struggling to recruit new officers. The military faced this problem in the wake of the Vietnam Conflict, and will likely face it again given the new focus on “domestic terrorism.” Nobody wants to work where you could get punished capriciously, so they’ll vote with their feet.

The next thing we’re going to see is non-compliance with the worst of rules. If President Biden pushes for gun control, you’ll have gun owners melt into the background. The police can’t afford to go door to door and search every single house to find guns. Heck, they can’t find all of the illegal weapons, let alone legal ones. The same will go for LGBT training, zoning rules, traffic fines, etc. People will simply walk out of training, not follow zoning rules and simply not pay fines. The more it happens, the harder it’ll be to enforce compliance, and the more it will embolden these actions.

We live in a society that relies on most people voluntarily following the law. Police officers are there to punish law breakers, but we’ll never have enough cops to punish widespread disregard for the law. If a large swath of the population doesn’t believe the law is fair or being applied fairly, they’re going to disobey, and it’ll be difficult to stop them.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

3 thoughts on “We want belief

  1. I think you have hit on the essence of “Irish Democracy”, the refusal to go along with the dictates of unjust laws. As a government employee, you have undoubtedly seen the same thing as I did during my long Federal career; bureaucrats want to be in control and force others to comply, but at the same time they are work averse and non confrontational. By continually refusing to do what they want, not by open defiance, but by just not doing what they want, it forces them to be confrontational and expend additional effort. Which they don’t like. Eventually you often can just wear them down by forcing them to do additional work that they would just as soon not do. Try the technique out sometime, it works pretty well.

  2. I think all of your points are entirely valid, but I would suggest an even larger one which is that of, “If those who make and enforce the laws do not have to follow them, then neither do we.”

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