On Cato and The Washington Examiner, Gene Healy discusses Obama’s recent decree not to enforce some aspects of immigration law. Much of the existing commentary has been on how bad the present immigration law is, how it works to the detriment of all of us, native and immigrant alike, and how relief is greatly overdue. This is all true.
What Gene points out in this commentary is that we have here a prime example of the US descent into totalitarianism. If we have bad laws, we should repeal them, not ignore them. Selective enforcement gives the government arbitrary discretion to prosecute — persecute becomes a better term — those who don’t play the game.
This is not new, of course, just the latest example. When I was a university student in Lincoln, Nebraska, back in prehistoric times, I patronized public laundromats, much as any apartment dweller would. One evening, a local policeman was also present, doing his own laundry. He was chatting with a friend, and remarked casually that there were enough laws on the books that everyone was always in violation of some law or another, and it was his choice whether or not to figure out which law and whether to enforce it.
That did not surprise me a great deal. I already knew that the government was never my friend, nohow, no way. But it did get my attention that he considered this state of affairs to be a good thing. The word epiphany comes to mind. I learned a lot that evening about how the world works.
Gene, thank you for getting right down to the essence of what’s really happening here.