The Wicked Stepgovernment

by Edgar J. Steele

March 7, 2002

And let us reflect that, having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled and suffered, we have yet gained little if we countenance political intolerance as despotic, as wicked, and capable of as bitter and bloody persecutions.

- - Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801

Much is made these days of ours being a government of laws, rather than of men.  The difference is bound up in the concept that men are subject to bias.  At best, we tend to see the world as we would like it to be, not how it really is.  Often, our wishes are born of personal desire or, worse, avarice.  Being subject to law supposedly ensures that we are all treated equally.  That's the theory.

But, there's a problem with theories.  For example, in theory, Communism appears to be the greatest socio-economic system around.  In practice, need only look to the shambles made of one of the greatest countries in the world during the last century by Communism:  Russia.  Other examples abound:  Cuba, for instance. 

Academicians excuse examples of Communism-as-failure by sniffing, "Well, they just didn't do it right."  Do it right, say the academics, and it will work just like the textbooks say.  That's why they are academics, of course.  Those who can't do, and all that.  They just don't get the notion that if something requires laboratory conditions to succeed, it will fail in the real world. 

Murphy's law applies in the real world but apparently not in the rarefied atmosphere of academe.  It takes a towering intellect to create a towering house of cards.

Communism does look pretty good on paper.  In practice and in small groups, communism even seems to work pretty well.  That's just what a family is, after all.  From each according to their ability and to each according to their needs. 

Families depend upon their leaders (parents) to be benevolent dictators, and there's the rub.  Families without benevolent dictators can be merely unpleasant; those with tyrants or criminals in charge can be hell on earth.  Stepchildren, in particular, know this.  Countries are no different.  It's just a matter of scale.  Look at what Stalin did.

That's why we strive to eliminate the personal element from the way in which we are ruled - a government of laws, in other words.  And we go our merry way, supremely confident that we have done all that we can to ensure truth,  justice and the American Way.  That's the theory.

Reality, again, is something different. 

  1. Because we allow men to write those laws.
  2. Because we allow men to interpret those laws.  
  3. Because we allow men to decide when those laws will be enforced. 
  4. Because we allow men to decide where those laws will be enforced. 
  5. Because we allow men to decide against whom those laws will be enforced.
  6. Because we allow men to sit in judgment of other men accused of breaking those laws. 
  7. And, of course, we allow men to carry out the judgments that are rendered. 

The result can be every bit as tyrannical as that suffered by Russians under Stalin's iron grip.  Only it isn't as widespread.  It occurs sporadically in America today.  Suffered by some individuals in all places, such as the politically incorrect.  Suffered by all individuals in some places, such as those ruled by corrupt county or parish bosses.  Suffered by everybody everywhere, as with the general disarming of Americans taking place today, while government at every level seems to be arming everybody with any sort of uniform.  Or with the total elimination of civil liberties of any sort in certain places, like airports.

That's how someone like Lonny Rae, a client of mine, can be sentenced to jail for a pure thought "crime," in a harbinger of things to come to all of us, as a poorly-conceived statute is capriciously applied and arbitrarily ruled men.  Men who ignore the First Amendment, as they do now the entirety of the Constitution under which America was founded.

That's how Brian and Ruth Christine, also clients of mine, can have their children taken away for specious child neglect charges, because their kids were skinny like themselves and not fat like the normal kid today.  Because they fought back against a corrupt rogue state agency - composed of men - they now face life in prison.  Because laws conceived by men are stretched to apply to a situation not considered by those men...stretched by other men.

The average American refuses to believe that it happens at all, of course.  "We're a nation of laws, not of men," they respond.  "Truth will out."  Sure.  In your dreams.  Maybe.  Maybe not.

Lonny Rae and Brian and Ruth Christine are casualties of the nation-of-laws myth, casualties that we conveniently ignore by pretending that, somehow, we aren't told the whole story.  They must be the bad guys, else they wouldn't be in court.  After all, we are a nation of laws.

Get this:  We are a nation of men, just like every other nation before us and every other nation that ever will follow. 

Ours is a nation of men using the nation-of-laws shibboleth as a mantra to keep its citizenry in check.  So long as our leaders are benevolent and have our best interests at heart (or think they have, at least), things kind of stumble along ok.  That's why we allow John Ashcroft to tighten the screws of justice as he has, of late.  That's why we allow a travesty like the appallingly-named Patriot Act to be enacted.  Problem is, laws tend to travel in one direction only:  toward ever-greater control. 

So long as Dad is a nice guy, the family gets on fine.  However, if ever Dad gets replaced with a wicked stepfather, then things can spiral out of control very quickly, owing to the impressive controls at his disposal.

The stage now is set.  How long before a wicked stepgovernment emerges and assumes control via the awesome mechanisms put in place during the current administration and its predecessor? 

How long before what is happening in pockets of society today, to the likes of Lonny Rae and the Christines, begins to happen to all of us?  Believe me, they are not isolated occurrences, either, like they would have been even 10 or 15 years ago. 

As an attorney, over the past few years I have seen a groundswell of corruption yielding up an ever-increasing tidal wave of casualties just like my more noteworthy clients today. 

However, most people can't get lawyers because they don't have one or two hundred thousand dollars to throw at a trial.  (And, no, having a public defender is not anything like having a lawyer.)  Virtually every lawyer today is more concerned with income and image than with justice.  And they are overwhelmingly the ones who become judges, of course, and politicians and elected officials.  Even public defenders.  Especially public defenders.

Corruption and oppression have spread like a cancer through the American body politic.   They have metastasized to every facet of American society, such that surgery alone will no longer suffice.  Nor, I fear, will the political equivalent of chemotherapy or radiation effect a cure without killing the patient, as well.  It's terminal.

If  ever you want to know where you're going, just turn around and take a look at where you're coming from.  Look at what America has been doing to other countries, of late.  Look at our undeclared war-that-will-never-end.  Look at what America is doing to Lonny Rae, Brian and Ruth Christine and to countless others throughout America today.  Look at the Patriot Act and what has been done to the constitutional republic established by our forefathers.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to project the trend line to its obvious conclusion. 

We need a new America altogether.

New America.  An idea whose time has come.


"I didn't say it would be easy.  I just said it would be the truth."
            - Morpheus 

Edgar J. Steele, 2002

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