Mature democracies are often said to be those nations where the ‘rule of law’ assumes primordial importance. When applied transparently and consistently, no-one, not even the head of state or the richest individual, is presumed to be ‘above the law’. The Rule of Law is at the nexus of the constitutional separation between the executive, judiciary and legislature; it ensures our freedoms, and prevents society from descending into anarchy and ‘survival of the fittest’.
It is the Rule of Law which has, for example, ensured that fraud, corruption and cronyism is almost entirely absent today from our political, business and legal infrastructure. Yes, there will always be the occasional exception (see Trump, for example) but, as a general statement, our elected officials, investment bankers and lawyers tend to display a solemn deference for the Rule of Law.
We so often take the law for granted but, why is this? I posit that most of us have no difficulty providing shelter, clothing and food for ourselves and loved ones. More of us than ever have degrees in important subjects like Critical Race Theory, Sociology, Womyns Studies, and so use this education to forge exciting and well-remunerated careers. The temptation then to break the law by ‘stealing’, causing violence etc. is thus minimised.
In other words, we are highly privileged and it is only right that we should abide by the law. This, in turn, begs a related question: what about those who do not have the same privileges? Should we legitimately expect impoverished single mothers, oppressed people of color, and transgendered people burdened by large medical bills all to ‘abide by the same laws’ as the rest of us?
Of course not!
In discussing this question with a number of CRT professors recently, I have come to the conclusion that there should be a de minimis level of acceptable oppression (LAO) below which the rule of law does not apply. Assume that the LAO index is set at 100, for example, and a single mother with five children from five different fathers has an oppression score of 80, it is clear that she should have the right to take whatever food she needs for her brood without fear of some arbitrary law.
In order to ensure orderly administration of the Rule Of Law opt out, individuals who qualify by virtue of their lowly oppression scores will be issued accredited documents. These could be presented on entering retail stores, for example, so that security guards do not wrongly apprehend the oppressed person.
I also believe that oppressed groups will find it remarkably easy to adjusted to a life where the rule of law does not apply to them. From pure necessity, many of the most oppressed people of color, for example, have often acted as though the law does not concern them. A smooth transition is this assured.
I am not so naive as to think that everyone will welcome my reasonable suggestion. Some will no doubt fear that a Rule of Law opt out for the oppressed would mean a rapid collapse in society. Murder, rape, banal violence: these will all surely rise if there is no deterrent, right?
Wrong. I happen to have a higher regard for most people’s inherent decency, provided they have sufficient basics like food, clothing, iPhones, flat screen TVs and vacations. Deprive them of these necessities – as we tragically do to the oppressed – and they will rightly take back what is theirs.