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Yes, the binary mind recognizes difference. But, it is a difference that is oppositional, like the two ends of a seesaw, one up and one down and vice versa. Or male and female, hard and soft, night and day -- two antagonistic versions of the same thing. Indeed, the antagonism seems central. It's why the Cons have to be antagonistic towards a President that's not one of them.

Is that to say that the Cons have binary minds? Not necessarily. Some people are binary thinkers without being antagonistic to those who are not like themselves. Whether they can wish them well, I'm not sure.

In any event, my purpose in bringing it up is to discuss how it happens that the binary mind cannot come to grips with a body of law that's designed to be variably effective, depending on the social standing of the person it affects.

In a sense, the law, as addressed and outlined in the Constitution of the United States is discriminatory, even now that the blatant subordination of some persons, by categorizing them as less-than-human property to be owned, has been taken out. That is, in addition to discriminating between natural born citizens and everyone else when it comes to the designation of the President, the "law of the land" discriminates between the people, who govern, and the people who serve as their agents.

"Agents of government," a phrase I owe to Justice Anthony Kenndy's disquisition on the rule of law, are subject to a different regimen than the ordinary persons within the jurisdiction of the Constitution, whose interest in justice and equitable behavior is to be served. That's because the agents of government, even those who draft rules and procedures for how that service is to be carried out, are hired to serve. It's what they get paid for even though, on many a minor board or commission, the pay consists of little more than a seat at a table and a note-taker with a pad. Public officials, whether elected by a large body or appointed by a few, are public servants, stewards who pledge to follow the law.

The law is different. As it applies to public servants, it tells them what to do -- nothing more and nothing less. As it applies to ordinary persons, citizen and non-citizen alike, the law directs what they may not do, without risking some negative consequence--i.e. punitive measures to "correct" behavior. This is a difference with a major distinction. Where ordinary persons are to be restricted or restrained AFTER they have committed an infraction, agents of government are effectively coerced to perform certain (enumerated) duties or risk being dismissed.

Some of our agents of government don't seem to understand that and perhaps many citizens don't understand that either. That would account, on the one hand, for the failure to remove especially those agents of government that don't serve (some even announce it proudly) and, on the other, for citizens putting up with being coerced by the very people we've hired to serve.

Certainly, the evidence of this basic misunderstanding is difficult to miss. How else can it be explained that the representatives assembled in Congress would presume to attempt to regulate what ordinary adult persons ingest, inhale and inject? Nor, for that matter, would they consider it appropriate to inspect how, when and with whom ordinary persons communicate with each other, whether electronically or on paper. Apparently, our agents of government have become confused and do not understand that the requirements of their positions -- to be subservient, open, compliant and responsive -- simply don't apply to ordinary people.

They are doing unto others as is done to (or expected of) them and that's just plain wrong. It's not a binary system. Even if it were tit for tat, the tat is comprised of many more variables, including, perhaps most importantly when the issue is liberty, the option not to participate at all. Individuals are entitled to "just say no" and even refuse to respond to questions. Agents of government aren't. They can claim a right to secrecy, but only if we let them get away with it and fail to dismiss them for their insubordination.

(Obviously, penalizing Manning for publicizing malfeasance is overreaching. On the other hand, our system of justice depends on real cases being tried. If overreaching and claims to secrecy are to be addressed, there has to be a case).

The individual's right to privacy cannot be justifiably expanded into a right to secrecy for agents of government. "Limited government" means that agents of government not only have fewer rights than ordinary persons, but more obligations. And there's the rub. It seems a whole slew of people have been attracted to hiring themselves out as stewards under the mistaken impression that they'll have no obligation to actually work for their pay. Somehow, that the Constitution is a compendium of mays and musts has escaped them.

That's probably our fault. We, the people, have failed at the task of law enforcement. Or we have been bullied out of that role by scofflaws, who would just as soon substitute the law of the jungle (catch as catch can) for the rule of law (take what you've made and leave other people's stuff alone). I see there is, again, some grousing about the "endless campaign." Well, that's what there's got to be. If we're going to be civil, then our attention to governing has to be constant. Governance is not automatic like a mosquito sucking blood.

The law is different.

Originally posted to hannah on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 04:13 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Shades of grey are so messy for people...;) (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hannah, Joieau, theBreeze

    Dudehisattva...

    "Generosity, Ethics, Patience, Effort, Concentration, and Wisdom"

    by Dood Abides on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 04:27:55 AM PDT

  •  My Dad studied to be a lawyer, and ended up (7+ / 0-)

    this area's utmost respected electrical engineer.  That was so not an accident.

    Living the austerity dream.

    by jwinIL14 on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 04:33:24 AM PDT

  •  Our Constitution is Fundamentally Troubled (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Samulayo, theBreeze

    By a mixed message about the purpose of government.

    As it was originally conceived the document was a concession, by the people -- who naturally hold all of the power -- to the government, surrendering it certain powers that the Founders felt the government should have. All unnamed powers were intended to remain with the people.

    This was quickly seen as a flawed premise. It did not allow government to function as a unifying moral force for the people -- something that all nations require, but was not provided through other means, like religion or blood-and-soil claims on people and territory.

    So, we first got the Bill of Rights, which was an acknowledgment that some powers were implicitly the right of government, which could then cede exceptions to this hegemony to the people.

    This tension, between the fundamental libertarianism of the original document and the authoritarianism of the later amendments, keeps us in constant debate about the nature of our state that other countries do not participate in.

    "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

    by bink on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 05:04:00 AM PDT

    •  We Celebrate the Bill of Rights (5+ / 0-)

      But we should acknowledge what their arrival meant for our system. It meant that government now felt it had all the power and then might deign, as it wished, to give back a few enumerated rights to the people as suited it.

      "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

      by bink on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 05:07:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, it is a Trojan horse. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Samulayo, CorinaR, theBreeze

        Kennedy's support for the rule of law is also part of a grand deception. The law is an impartial tyrant, not available to be offed, like a flesh and blood one.

      •  Federalist 84 (0+ / 0-)
        I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and in the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers which are not granted; and on this very account, would afford a colourable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why for instance, should it be said, that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed? I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretence for claiming that power. They might urge with a semblance of reason, that the constitution ought not to be charged with the absurdity of providing against the abuse of an authority, which was not given, and that the provision against restraining the liberty of the press afforded a clear implication, that a power to prescribe proper regulations concerning it, was intended to be vested in the national government. This may serve as a specimen of the numerous handles which would be given to the doctrine of constructive powers, by the indulgence of an injudicious zeal for bills of rights.
        - Alexander Hamilton

        (emphasis mine)

        "None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." - Goethe

        by jlynne on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 03:41:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It's a contest that once won, is license to act.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hannah, theBreeze

    ..as if that is the end of the service to the public and the beginning of their role as mouth pieces for their "sponsors" (corporate/special interests) demands and agenda.

    The end of what the "agent of government" has to fulfill for normal people.  
     They competed in a "tounament" and if they come out on top it's proof to that they have won a position of the exalted. That describes the Con party to the bone. rep. Joe Walsh Illinois is was a perfect example. He's out, talked too much and gave away the republican game.

    The ones "in charge" now.

    "Limited government" means that agents of government not only have fewer rights than ordinary persons, but more obligations. And there's the rub. It seems a whole slew of people have been attracted to hiring themselves out as stewards under the mistaken impression that they'll have no obligation to actually work for their pay.
    Also too. when not on the job public servants are equal in rights obviously but on the job is when they are bound with, as you say, "fewer rights".

    But that rarely seems to apply to legislators of the Con party. Their loyalty is purely for the corporations ("people my friend") and the special interests that sponsored and weighted the odds (and weighted is an understatement these days - gerrymander as just one example) in their favor for their "contest" (election)

    That is how it seems to me

  •  Meeting in Houston (0+ / 0-)

    at the SHAPE Center, Saturday, Sept. 14, 3815 Live Oak, starting at noon. The issue is mass incarceration. There will be a movie.

    Censorship is rogue government.

    by scott5js on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 11:23:28 AM PDT

  •  Transparency of being Public (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hannah

    The "cost" or contract of oneself representing the Public when representing an office in the trust of the Common. Not the corp. Huge difference!

    " "Limited government" means that agents of government not only have fewer rights than ordinary persons, but more obligations."

    You bet! This is the task some have forgot or realize that was the whole point when they raised their R hand.. or filled the coffers.

    We "should" be Private but Common before deciding (yeah right..) becoming or representing the Public.

  •  Best thing I've read on this site (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, YucatanMan

    in a very long time.  Thank you.

    "None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." - Goethe

    by jlynne on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 03:31:39 AM PDT

  •  CRIMINAL JUST US = Rule of Lawyers, NOT (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, YucatanMan

    the Constitutional Rule of Law.

    The law doesn't work when criminals are the law.

    The self-policing LIE by the legal profession is to cover up willful criminal misconduct by lawyers and "judges".

    (EX.  The 2 Luzerne County, Pa "Kids for Cash" scandal "judges" who took $2.8 Million in bribes to close a county juvenile detention facility and keep 2 private, for-profit juvenile prisons packed to capacity, Mark A. Ciavarella, Jr. and Michael T. Conahan, were cleared of all misconduct by the corrupt Pa. "judicial" Conduct Board, but Ciavarella was sentenced to 28 years in federal prison after a jury convicted him and Conahan was sentenced to 17.5 years in federal prison after he gladly pled guilty to racketeering conspiracy.  Both had rejected plea deals to mail and wire fraud that carried only 87 months in federal prison each.)

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