Hurry Up and Know Nothing
You should check out Andrew McCarthy’s treatise on what’s wrong with Congress. Okay, it’s a start on what’s wrong with Congress, but the point makes that even more clear. It starts with a debate between Senators Ted Cruz and Charles Schumer on immigration. The initial point of McCarthy’s post is that some 119 pages of changes were inserted into a 1200 page bill, and the two are debating whether a senator could read that over the weekend in order to vote from a knowledgeable position.
And I agree with his next point as well… really, a 1200 page bill? How many loopholes and problems can show up in that much complex material? And this is one of many bills that’s going through Congress and could be signed into law. With all this legislation that adds complexity and contradiction into the system, how can the laws be enforced?
I’ll go to McCarthy for this section:
You cannot have a functioning democratic republic when the laws are so voluminous no one can know what the law is. And that is especially the case when (a) the rationale for passing new laws — according to “reform” proponents like Senator Marco Rubio and Rep. Paul Ryan — is that we don’t enforce the laws currently on the books; (b) key parts of legislation consist of commitments to do what previously enacted law already commands; and (c) the president, notwithstanding his oath to take care that the laws are faithfully executed, claims the power to refrain from enforcing whatever laws he disapproves of. Washington has made a farce of the legislative process and of the once proud boast that we are ”a nation of laws not men.”
In his excellent little book A Matter of Interpretation, Justice Antonin Scalia recalls that the emperor Nero would post edicts high up on the pillars — it was a pretense of having the rule of law that barely camouflaged the reality of arbitrary and tyrranical enforcement. That is what we have now. It is what happens when a government gets so big no one any longer recognizes either the limits or why it is essential to have limits.
I know that Rome is Lynn’s shtick. I have to borrow it occasionally. We’ve approached the point where a law can be passed and enforced in any way in any district, with no continuity. Imagine playing a game of cards at a table and having someone move you to a different table. Once you get to the table, you suddenly realize that the rules are different, and that people are using that to get your money when you thought you were winning. That’s a weak analogy for what might be happening given the direction of our legislation.
Don’t blame the political parties as much as you should blame the people who vote for this type of system. We have the ability to change things, but we’d need to get angry. The Tea Party at least had that much right. Get angry and fight for change, and keep changing until it really affects the system. Maybe it’s time to wake them up again.