If you have ever had or been around kids, you are probably familiar with Doctor Lawrence Kohlberg’s Levels of Moral Development, which can be essentially compacted to:
1. I should do this because if I do not, I will be punished.
2. I should do this because it is the law.
3. I should do this because it is the right thing to do.
I am, of course, grossly oversimplifying the theory, but if you want to do your own homework on it, and look up the six total, individual stages, you are more than welcome to.
Why am I bringing this up? Because we are slowly realizing that our government, at all levels, has never progressed past level one. We are effectively being governed by children who do things because they want to and because they think they can, and in the rare instance where they realize they cannot do something yet, they go ahead and “legalize” it for themselves, even if that course of action is blatantly unconstitutional. Why? Because they know there will be no consequences. Thanks to things like “qualified immunity”, governments can get away with what amounts to be murder with nary a slap on their wrists – do you really think they will be concerned with things as inconsequential (to them) as your individual rights?
Well, like Joe says, it is time to change that:
Governments (actually people in general but the present context is government) will not abide by the law (or contracts) unless there is some punishment they fear if they fail to comply with the terms. When people in government spent other peoples money (OPM: pronounced “opium”) they have virtually no incentive to spend it wisely.
The sad reality is that the vast, overwhelming majority of politicians simply do not care about you, they do not care about me, they do not care about their constituents, and they probably do not even care about the country; the only two things they absolutely care about, in all cases, is “staying in office” and “expanding their power”. So how does one reign in politicians who think they can get away with blatantly illegal shenanigans “under the color of law”? Simple – you hit them where it hurts: their pocket books, and their re-election prospects. More optimistically, they should face criminal charges for passing laws that were known to be flawed at the time, but something tells me society is not quite ready for that yet.
Hopefully it will be soon.