This used to be something I only saw from the left, but today, it’s something that both ends of the political spectrum engage in with wild abandon. They seem to think that if you don’t like the law, if you don’t think the law is just or if you think it is discriminatory, you get to simply ignore the law and pretend it doesn’t exist, and of course, suffer no ill consequences for doing so. Your opinion suddenly becomes more important than the law.
This came up again recently in debating the relatively recent case of a high school football coach who went out in the field after a game to pray. He was instructed by the school to stop doing so, it could be interpreted as a violation of the separation of church and state. He refused and got fired and is now suing the school. That’s fine, but what he did was a clear violation and he got canned for it and I feel no sympathy for him.
But then you get the religious right who will defend anyone doing whatever they want in the name of their religion because, as we talked about on the podcast a while back, they think that their religion overrides everything else. Sorry guys, it does not. Representatives of public institutions, and that includes public schools, cannot promote one religion over another at any time, period. The school offered him a private place to go pray if he wanted, he refused, he wanted to make a public spectacle of it. Fine, so be it, he got what he had coming to him, but now the right are whining that since the law is “unjust”, people can just pretend it doesn’t exist at all and continue to do whatever they want. Sorry, that’s not how the law works. It applies to everyone and whether you think it’s just or not, so long as it is in effect, you are expected to follow it or suffer the consequences thereof. It doesn’t matter if that makes you happy or not, it is a fact of life.
This kind of complete disrespect for the law is really problematic as it is a clear sign of the disintegration of society. Certainly, this started with the liberals in the 60s, but it has grown to the point where anyone who doesn’t want to follow society’s dictates thinks they can get away with doing whatever the hell they want. It used to be called civil disobedience, a way to get your message across by violating the law and then paying the consequences. Now, it isn’t about a message, it’s about getting your own way. Nobody wants to pay the consequences. They just want to do what they want to do. That’s where things start to fall apart.
But this is really why I think that the modern religious right aren’t conservative because respect for the law is a large part of that ideological position and they simply do not have it. They don’t respect the Constitution, at least not when it says something they don’t want to hear. They don’t respect the law. They don’t respect the government. They don’t respect authority. They stomp their feet and hold their breath like little children and pout until they get their own way. This cannot be allowed to stand in any civilized nation. You don’t have to like the law. There are ways to change the law. You can’t just ignore it because you don’t feel like following it. That is not an available option.