Conservative judgement and the convenience of power

The Hershel Walker thing has prompted a minor revelation.

The most egregious laws (ok, a subset of egregious laws) are those that are regularly broken without repercussion. These are the “soft” laws that include jay walking (illegal) or driving over 55 (illegal). Everyone does it; everyone is a criminal. But the exercise of them and subsequently the exercise of subsequent “probable cause”s are a convenient path to selective enforcement. When the police can choose who they deem criminal, above a low bar of criminality that is regularly ignored, the police have the power and not the laws.

The canonical example for me is the 55 mph speed limit. I don’t know how many times or for how long I’ve broken the law. As has (let’s face it, a far majority) everyone else. So its ubiquitousness is such that we seldom consider that it’s a breach of the law. Nine times… ninety-nine times out of a total there is no consequence and no expectation of consequence.

Unless you’re black.

So, yes, we are wary at 59 mph and above, but let’s face it: when you’re in a group of cars all going the same illegal speed you’re not too concerned.

Unless you’re black. Or brown (let’s be realistic).

So this recent completely-expected-but-still-absurdly-frustrating situation where Herschel Walker is not only forgiven for his ongoing lies and endemic Religious Right Defined amorality is a point of both befuddlement at best and un-surprise at worst… since even though we don’t expect morality from the self-appointed gatekeepers of morality we still can be aghast-by-proxy for their brazenness. It is crazy-making.

So now we have Walker’s seed spreading peccadilloes. Just what you’d expect from the moral majority to racewash to their convenience.

And this seems the reciprocal of the 55 mph law: you define a restriction that everyone will naturally elide from their moral vocabulary because it is a societal norm, and that then allows you to selectively enforce. To your own benefit.

The conservatives, and any Moral High-Grounders, have always used this approach to subjugate the Other while absolving themselves. Transgression becomes perversion for those they want to dehumanize but redemption for themselves. Walker has said he regrets his choices and has chosen a new, moral path.

This is just an example of selective law enforcement manifest as selective morality and it works to demonize a group or a race or a gender. This is an ageless problem but as it is, America as a country will not survive it’s current virulent manifestation.

Here’s to being wrong: 🍸