Unequal Treatment under the Law

Government is an instrument of force.  Its laws, rules, and regulations are enforceable with police power and military might.  This force is necessary to maintain domestic peace and national sovereignty.  When applied equally, a government’s monopoly on force can protect everyone’s life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.

The problems arise when a government loses sight of its primary purpose as protector of everyone’s equal rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  When it starts to play favorites, it tips the scale in favor of some over others.  In the long run, this unequal treatment, otherwise known as prejudice, creates an unequal playing field that drives some people away while attracting others.  If it favors the poor over the rich, it attracts poor people and chases the rich people away.  If it favors the rich over the poor, it attracts the rich and angers the poor.  The unequal treatment also attracts opportunists who suck up to the government and seek jobs, favors, licenses, interest-free loans, grants, tariffs or protection from tariffs, and other privileges.  Even legitimate businesses may lobby for favors or contracts to sell the government goods at inflated prices.

In time, unequal treatment leads to envy, jealousy, and hatred between the “haves” and “have nots” or the favored and unfavored.  The “haves” get tired of having their wealth distributed to the “have nots.”  On the other hand, the “have nots” can never get enough money from those “greedy rich people,” especially if all they have to do to get more is to vote for it.  This is even more rankling when the legislators exempt themselves from the laws they pass for everyone else to follow and become career politicians enriching themselves at the expense of the common folk.

Eventually the warring factions (political parties) treat each other as enemies.  Whichever party is in control of the state at the time labels the other party members as “enemies of the state” and “terrorists.”  This is designed to quash all dissension, as no place in that country will be safe for a “terrorist.”  They will be found and shot.  Eventually, either a civil war or another world war will ensue. That’s when a dictator will step in to take control and make things “all better.”  Think Napoleon. And it all starts with unequal treatment under the law.

Robert F. Sennholz

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