Flat White

Democracy is not a la carte

19 April 2017

8:59 AM

19 April 2017

8:59 AM

In Australia, the new ACTU boss Sally McManus believes that unions can and should break any law they feel is unjust. In America, several cities – the so-called sanctuary cities – defy Federal law and harbour criminals, just because they are illegal migrants.

The latter suggests a mindset that conflates compassion with dangerous naiveté while the former is plain union-driven, self-serving anarchy. Both are demonstrations of selective morality.


We should wholeheartedly support selective law-abiding in an authoritarian state, where unjust laws are essentially fiats decreed by a police state, with no democratic process underpinning them. But in a democracy, the whole point of the rule of law is that the majority agrees on the laws of the land – and the laws are binding, set, fixed – until changed by the majority. Our laws are table d’hôte, not a la carte. You don’t get to pick and choose which ones you’ll take.

I suspect the unions would be in uproar if a group of citizens declared laws protecting unions or their members as unjust. Let’s say this group determined that it was unjust for union officials to enter a workplace uninvited, and set up barricades with armed guards. How would that work out?

Perhaps the mayor of a sanctuary city wouldn’t mind if a criminal gang broke into his house and raped his wife, announced they were illegal migrants and raided his fridge. He would surely not hand them over to the police. They were protected by their illegal status. Hell, they should climb into the marital bed and take a nap.

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