Friday, June 22, 2007

Selective Outrage and the Rule of Law

In this essay, Victor David Hanson examines the phenomena of people and groups who disrespect, disregard and work to destroy the rule of law, but who are then upset when it doesn't magically reappear to support THEM:

Hypocrisy That Undermines Civilization
There is only a thin veneer that separates civilization from man's innate barbarity. Some 2,500 years ago the historian Thucydides once warned us about the irony of revolutionaries and insurrectionists destroying this fragile patina of culture, as if they themselves might be exempt from ever wanting it back again.

Yet no sooner, he warned, have such outsiders torn down the system of law than they are in need of it themselves when they assume power and the responsibility of governance. Even the worst terrorist apparently wants his wife and kids to be safe--and able to drink clean water when turning on the faucet. The trick apparently is to blow up the neighborhood's electric pylon while still finding enough light and power to assemble an IED device. [...]

He goes on to give examples of this dynamic in action in Iraq; among the Palestinians; and throughout Muslim cultures generally, in the Middle East and abroad.

He also examines the same thing happening in Mexico:

[...] To facilitate such massive illegal immigration, Mexican officials hector their American counterparts about our supposed illiberality in not letting millions more stream in unchecked. They have even gone so far as to publish a government comic book instructing their own citizens how to cross the American border safely--and in flagrant violation of our laws.

But Mexico has nearly the same problem with its own 600-mile southern border with Guatemala as we do with our own 1,800-mile common boundary with Mexico. Hundreds of thousands of Central and Southern Americans try to cross into Mexico, either to work as cheap laborers or to make their way eventually into the United States as competitors to illegal aliens from Mexico.

In response, Mexico's policy toward illegal immigrants on its southern border is as brutal as America's is humane. Violators are often summarily deported--if they are not first robbed by Mexican officials or beaten and killed by criminal gangs. Mexicans may lecture Americans about our purported sins in trying to secure our border, but they don't seem to care what their own government does to Guatemalans. Again, the irony arises that a government that has abandoned the rule of international law suddenly is worried that another country may be doing to it what it does to others.

What lies behind this abject hypocrisy of first undermining civilization and then demanding that it reappear in the hour of need?

Double standards depend on demanding from United States and Europe a sort of impossible perfection. When such utopianism is not--and never can be--met, cheap accusations of racism, colonialism, and imperialism follow. Such posturing is intended to con the West into feeling guilty, and, with such self-loathing, granting political concessions, relaxing immigration, or handing over more foreign aid. Left unsaid is that such critics of the West will always ignore their own hypocrisy, and, when convenient, destroy civilized norms while expecting someone else to restore them when needed.[...]

(bold emphasis mine) I call it the dishonest side of Multiculturalism at work. So what's to be done about it? Victor has some thoughts about that. Read the whole thing, it's not very long.

Related Links: (From Fjordman at the Brussels Journal blog)

The Great Conversation
[...] It is true that if you cannot define your enemy, your criticism is bound to be vague. But this is part of my point: I, and numerous others with at least average intelligence, have spent a considerable amount of time trying to analyze the doctrines of Multiculturalism. We have found this to be quite challenging, precisely because it is vague, incoherent and doesn’t have any clear philosophical foundation. Multiculturalism seems to be a curious mix of older, Enlightenment ideas such as Rousseau’s “noble savage” and later Marxist ideas, among other things. There are those who claim that it was never supposed to be logically consistent and that we shouldn’t look for any cohesive, rational arguments behind it because there are none. What little can be discerned from its ideas is sometimes quite disturbing, with elements of anti-Western hatred, totalitarian impulses and Utopian ideas involving large-scale social engineering.

But isn’t this alarming? Multiculturalism is now official state policy in many countries, together accounting for hundreds of millions of people. Isn’t it disturbing that millions of people are subject to a radical ideology that is almost impossible to comprehend, and thus to criticize? Many of its proponents seem to know that it cannot be rationally defended, which is why they simply shut critics down with charges of racism and shame them into silence whenever they sense some opposition. In fact, it is now more or less illegal in some countries to criticize it, although it could mean the most massive transformation of our countries in modern history. [...]

On Bureaucracy, Liberty and the Rule of Law
[...] When does the rule of law break down? It breaks down when laws are no longer passed with the consent of free people, when citizens no longer feel that the law is just, when regulations become so numerous that it is virtually impossible even for decent individuals not to break the law on a regular basis and when the authorities are incapable of protecting their country’s borders while criminals rule the streets. It breaks down when the law appears increasingly arbitrary, when it invades the most intimate details of the life of law-abiding citizens while it allows great freedom to criminals. In short, it breaks down when it no longer corresponds to reality and to the sense of justice experienced by ordinary people. [...]



Bob's Blog said...

Hansen is the best I've read today. Thanks. I have linked to you.

Chas said...

Hi Bob,

Isn't it funny how tyrants end up wanting the very thing they worked so hard to destroy for others? Thanks for the link.