We hear this headline constantly. And yet, time and time again, people constantly try and excuse their actions on this very basis.
Of course, we should not that the people who quote this old saw to others are government employees. Especially cops. Usually when they are writing out and issuing a ticket for a violation of some petty regulation or law (or interpretation of the law) that the (automatically assumed to be guilty) offender wasn’t aware of.
Yet when those same cops and other government officials are caught doing something unconstitutional, illegal, or underhanded and prohibited for them? They use the same excuse. Somehow, the courts, starting with the local “administrative hearing officer” or “administrative judge” right up to the Nine Nazgul (the Supreme Court of these United States), these outstanding civil servants are forgiven. Unlike the poor suckers who didn’t see the school crossing sign or the reduced speed limit sign, or Rule Number II.23.b.(1)(b)(3.1) sub-clause 265.34 that said the grass can’t be more than six inches high on alternate Mondays in months with less than five letters in their name.
One of the many, many perks of government and government service.
And one which more and more officials and employees are using more and more often. They can’t get things right, they seem to be claiming, because the situations and everything are too complex. They can’t learn everything, let alone remember it. BUT… they know why they exist. Boy and how do they know.
Why do they exist? Because Americans are unable to govern themselves. Unwilling and unable to exercise discipline in their lives. Nothing but a bunch of scofflaws who do horrible things to other people. And for the most evil of reasons: racism, sexism, and every other ism. So the brave, unselfish, and conscientious public servants step in and exercise their powers for “good.” As defined, of course, by them. And if they sometimes make a mistake out of ignorance, well…
“Oh, look, here is a ‘get out of jail free’ card for you. See you in the office tomorrow.”
But it’s for the children! It’s for the elderly! It’s for the first responders and the front liners in the war on X. It’s for the handicapped. And so on.
The truth? It is for the elected officials, the appointed officials, the bureaucrats, the jack-booted thugs, and of course their backers and puppet-masters. For their power, their prestige, their job security, and their wealth (or at least, their retirement). These are all excuses for ignorance, for stupidity, for arrogance, and for every possible abuse of power and position.
The cop who races down the highway – no lights – doing 25 miles above the posted speed limit. In order to catch and fine someone for a broken tail light. Or just because they don’t want to be late for supper.
The code enforcement thug that hangs out the window of his SUV using the camera on his phone to document that grass that is too tall, as he weaves back and forth on the narrow neighborhood street.
The judge who lets the border jumper sneak out through her chambers to avoid the IHS and police officers waiting for the accused rapist in the lobby.
The politician who literally has cold cash buried in his freezer from the bribes (and the campaign contributions) he has collected for years.
The cop who demands that the peaceful citizen walking down the sidewalk instantly whip out his government-issued ID when the cop demands it.
We could add dozens – hundreds – thousands of examples.
Who do we blame for this sad state of affairs? There is plenty of blame to go around.
The politicians themselves, eager to gain and consolidate their power, and pay back their donors and patrons.
The bureaucrats, including too many of the cops and others, drawn to professions that let them lord it over other people and yet be praised for their wonderful sacrifices.
The voters who elect those people and pass those laws pushed by all the special interests.
And sadly, every one of us who don’t tell those people, “Freedom = I won’t.” Who let our fears override our freedoms, our desire to live a peaceful life override our desire to live a life of liberty.
When you get right down to it, it is that last group of people who have any hope at all of ending this misery.
Enough is enough.