The Moral Infrastructure


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The “Occupy” movement, which the Obama administration and much of the media have embraced, has implications that reach far beyond the passing sensation it has created.

The unwillingness of authorities to put a stop to their organized disruptions of other people’s lives, their trespassing, vandalism and violence is a de facto suspension, if not repeal, of the 14th Amendment’s requirement that the government provide “equal protection of the laws” to all its citizens.

How did the “Occupy” movement acquire such immunity from the laws that the rest of us are expected to obey? Simply by shouting politically correct slogans and calling themselves representatives of the 99 percent against the 1 percent.

But just when did the 99 percent elect them as their representatives? If in fact 99 percent of the people in the country were like these “Occupy” mobs, we would not have a country. We would have anarchy.

Democracy does not mean mob rule. It means majority rule. If the “Occupy” movement, or any other mob, actually represents a majority, then they already have the votes to accomplish legally whatever they are trying to accomplish by illegal means.

Mob rule means imposing what the mob wants, regardless of what the majority of voters want. It is the antithesis of democracy.

In San Francisco, when the mob smashed the plate-glass window of a small business shop, the owner put up some plywood to replace the glass, and the mob wrote graffiti on his plywood. The consequences? None for the mob, but a citation for the shop owner for not removing the graffiti.

When trespassers blocking other people at the University of California, Davis refused to disperse, and locked their arms with one another to prevent the police from being able to physically remove them, the police finally resorted to pepper spray to break up this human logjam.

The result? The police have been strongly criticized for enforcing the law. Apparently pepper spray is unpleasant, and people who break the law are not supposed to have unpleasant things done to them.

Which is to say, we need to take the “enforcement” out of “law enforcement.”

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  • Grantmann

    Quote: "There has been much concern, rightly expressed, about the rusting of bridges around the country, and the crumbling and corrosion of other parts of the physical infrastructure. But the crumbling of the moral infrastructure is no less deadly."

    "The police are the last line of defense against barbarism, but they are equipped only to handle that minority who are not stopped by the first lines of defense, beginning with the moral principles taught at home and upheld by families, schools, and communities."

    Amen, Dr. Sowell. Amen.

  • davarino

    Excellent article Mr. Sowell. I like your argument about the "99%" having to resort to violence when all they have to do is vote. Oh well, I guess us poor little "1%ers" will have to wait and see how the election turns out………..

    You "99%ers" have fun with your little tirade for now. In the mean time us "1%ers" have to be about turning this country back to the constitution and laws.

  • CALLEEGIRL

    Grantmann I said the exact same thing! Amen and Amen! However when we have the AG of the United States giving a speech Sunday at the NAACP saying that they are working as a team to stop the main problem in the black community ” Travon Martin Type Killings on All their Chidren” …well there is Nothing Else to say except that if we don’t Wake Ip in America to the truly bad forces out there hiding behind this 99% tag line then the REAL 99% of us will be stepped on and definitely Silenced ” our own AG and President will see to that! So please everyone GET OUT and VOTE..It is our ONLY HOPE!

  • http://imataxpayertoo.wordpress.com kathy

    "The consequences? None for the mob, but a citation for the shop owner for not removing the graffiti.:

    Justice has truly been turned upside down in this administration. It's interesting to note that the first time in our history that the U.S. elects a man of color (albeit a radical Marxist) to the presidency (because after all, we are no longer a racist nation, right?), and he destroys the country, pitting neighbor against neighbor. We (although I did not vote for him, having done my homework) give him the opportunity to lead the nation and look what he does. I do wish to note that it is NOT his color that is at issue…it is his thinking, his ideology, his politics and his deceit. I only know that there is One in heaven to Whom he will give account for this betrayal of the American trust.

  • clarespark

    For the mob described in Sowell's piece, the father figure is Rousseau, not Alexander Hamilton or Charles Sumner or any other rational forebear. I wrote about how Hamilton viewed popular sovereignty here: http://clarespark.com/2012/01/28/popular-sovereig…. There is a link to another blog that recounts AH's contribution to the laws of libel and slander, making speaking or writing the truth the standard for litigation.

  • Schlomotion

    Where was all this "law and order" and "Constitutionality" when 66 cents was being knocked off the dollar by the Federal Reserve and by a bunch of soci.alistically protected private bankers? Where was all the law and order and constitutionality when the gasoline cartel was spiking the price of gas 300%? Where was the law and order and Constitutionality when the President opened up a Caribbean Gulag? Where was the law and order and Constitutionality when the RNC dumped the Iowa election results, cut entire districts out of Maine, and is now blocking delegates from several states from participating in the election? Were is the law order and Constitutionality when the Russian Army is going to be doing joint training exercises with the US military in putting down domestic insurrections? ALL OF A SUDDEN, when people take to the streets about it, now we need to go back to law, order and Constitutionality? All of a sudden a thousand people have to clear out of a park so that one woman in a mink coat walking a papillon can use it?

    • Justanopinionnow

      The problem is that 99% of the Occupiers have no idea why they are occupying anything. The other 1% have been paid to show up and stay. The article is not about the Federal Reserve, the gasoline cartel, the RNC, GITMO or anything else you have described. If you actually read and comprehend the article, it is about some citizens, because they are PC, getting away with destroying small businesses and vadalising the areas they occupy. Those parks are meant for everyone to enjoy and most can't because of the actual trash left around, the nasty comments, the physical attacks on the rest of the 99% they say they represent. With law and order, you have chaos. And chaos begets chaos and so on……

      • Schlomotion

        Again, I have just enumerated the concerns of the 99%. I know the article desperately avoids discussing their motivations and concerns, leaving that hollow and blank to fill with a conspiracy theory about Marxism. Please. These articles are not difficult to read or understand. It is difficult however, for people to pull a Spencer and insist that any questions directed to the author be constrained to his fragile crystalline diorama of an analysis. You can frame the argument but you just can't frame the reaction to that argument, especially not with so many people having been ripped off.

  • Ronald Johnston

    Remember Kent State? The students who were breaking laws immediately left the premises when they were fired on. It would not take shooting them to get them to leave, just enforce the laws of this country!!!!

  • Ghostwriter

    The Occupy Movement doesn't represent me in any way,shape,or form. They are a bunch of mouth breathing idiots who have nothing better to do than protest and wreck stuff. Hopefully soon,they're going to be in jail and I won't feel one ounce of sympathy for these clowns. Not one iota of sympathy.

  • http://www.americarepublicspring.com Marvin E. Fox

    The nullification of law began a long time ago. It is working now. When establishing sanctuary cities/areas to protect illegal aliens from arrest for illegal entry to the U.S. is being promoted by American officials of whatever government level in the U.S., that is the nullification of Federal law. If AZ SB1070 passes, State laws will be nullified for the same reaason. I am sure there are other laws being broken when that happens.
    The Occupy Wall Street situation seems similar. It seem more a city law problem in that case, perhaps, but when the laws are being ignored by those payed to uphold the laws, nullification of law results. Maybe November will be the cure.
    Marvin E. Fox

  • BS77

    Read Ann Coulter's DEMONIC….a crystal clear analysis of the contrast between the AMerican and French Revolutions….. Leftist Occupy represents the French style ……..destruction, stupidity, , violence and mindless mob madness.