12.30.2015 1

Has America’s social fabric been torn asunder?

Cartoon - State of the Kingdom - 600

By Rick Manning

The government depends upon mass, voluntary compliance with the law for it to be able to enforce the rules on society as a whole.

Simple things like a general agreement that if the speed limit says 55 miles per hour, that we will travel somewhere in the general proximity of that posting, with the outliers risking a ticket.

The understanding that we drive on the right hand side of the road and that slower vehicles stay to the far right on multi-lane highways make the free flow of traffic possible.

But events over the weekend make a reasonable person wonder whether the constant fraying of the social contract has finally created a tear that is rapidly becoming irreparable.

In malls across the country, thousands of people congregated, not for the purposes of shopping, going to a movie or simply enjoying each other’s company, but instead with the goal of disrupting people from using the already hard pressed brick and mortar stores for their intended purpose.

At Minneapolis’ Mall of America, the radical Black Lives Matter group even went so far as to feint a protest so there would be a heavy police presence, allowing them to shut down part of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport during the height of the Christmas travel season.  Beyond the obvious problem that their actions caused hundreds of people to miss their flights home, they deliberately placed thousands at an additional risk of a terrorist attack due to distracted security.

Mall disruptions also were reported in New Jersey, Kentucky and elsewhere around the country.  When combined with flash mob convenience store robberies and random assaults by mobs playing the “knockout game”, it would be hard to not notice that something is badly amiss.

Even our assumed driving rules are under attack.  On the Washington, D.C. Beltway, a group of approximately fifty motorcyclists caused a delay as they uniformly slowed down across all the lanes bringing traffic to a standstill. As they got moving again, they aggressively cut cars off from passing, and even went so far as to drive north bound up the south bound lanes.  There did not appear to be any political or other message in the motorcycle foolishness, but instead the mass act of civil disobedience seems to have been done just because they could. However, it reveals the fragility of our common understanding about the need to follow the rules.

While it is usually dangerous to draw broad societal assumptions based upon flash mobs at malls, roadways or even political protests blocking bridges, it is safe to note that these occurrences are becoming significantly more frequent.

And it is fair to tie this civil disobedience to President Obama’s continued attack on the law as a whole.  When the President doesn’t enforce the nation’s immigration laws, people naturally believe that if the law isn’t going to be enforced then it is null and void, and the fabric of our nation’s social contract is torn.

When Obama nullifies sentencing decisions for thousands of drug dealers and others, releasing them back into their former neighborhoods it sends a message that the system was wrong and the fabric tears a little more.

When Democrats in Congress urge Obama to use his pen and phone to circumvent Congress, they send a powerful message to their constituents that the rule of law doesn’t matter, and the tear grows.

And when the left and some on the right make those who seek to enforce the laws, targets for attack and murder, creating a schism of fear between the protector and the protected, the fabric itself becomes unrecognizable.

The social fabric that binds America together as one has always been fragile, and to complete the fundamental transformation that Obama strives to achieve, it must be torn asunder from top to bottom in a wholesale surrender of the current rule of law to another set of laws composed not through consent, compromise and agreement, but instead through forced acquiescence.

America should not worry about getting on a slippery slope away from rule by the consent of the governed, because we are already half-way down the slide and few have noticed.

As more and more people read the news and wonder what is happening to their country thinking that the craziness that seems to ooze from our government is an anomaly rather than the forced new normal under Obama, a ballot box response erupts if there is a trusted alternative.

Something to think about as we head into the presidential primary season.

The author is president of Americans for Limited Government.

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