I have come to hate the above expression. I seem to remember some American Statesman or other issuing the immortal words, "It is the duty of every good citizen to oppose bad laws." I think that's what the man said anyway and if he did, I couldn't agree more.
As good citizens, we need to understand that our politicians enact bad laws as well as good ones. Laws are supposed to be devised to regulate and protect society, preventing a free for all. Most of all, our laws must underline the guarantee of our freedoms. Wars have been fought in every country and most of these in the modern age were based on the struggle for freedom and self-determination.
Sadly though, the modern politician appears to have forgotten this and now laws are drawn up at random, without public demand for them, and a suspicion is creeping in as to why. Faith and trust in our politicians is at an all-time low because so many of them have either been caught lying or are under suspicion of doing so. We see all of them now as self-serving individuals exercising the influence we give them to enact laws to benefit vested interests, thereby enriching themselves personally in some way.
Big business money is funding lobby groups to get up close and personal with our elected representatives. Ideas are planted, benefits outlined, (for the politician/s in question), and attractive "Awards," or "Gifts" are secretly discussed after a successful outcome. The successful outcome then is the day you hear, "You may no longer do 'that' because it is the law." Miraculously in the following weeks you might see a small article tucked away in a corner of your paper reporting that some politician is putting on a huge extension to his or her house. The new bad law, whatever it is, has been bought and paid for. That's how things get done today, believe me.
We have had many Governments since the foundation of the State and every one of them have enacted new laws to add to our bulging statute book. We have a new Government again today and you can bet your ass they are already talking about more new laws during their term. This has got me thinking. Kenny and his blue shirts enacted a load of new laws over the last five years to the point that we have so many laws, most are not enforced or even known of. We Irish have turned into a sleepy docile lot eager to obey and get a pat on the head for it, so even without enforcement, new laws appear to be observed. So why do we need even one single new law over the next five years? What was missing or overlooked during Kenny's term?
Society ran along the same sluggish lines it always has done. People died at home because they couldn't get into hospital, Tourists and natives alike were attacked and robbed at will while the law enforcement agency, the Gardai, were systematically dismantled. And in our schools and colleges the future brains of Ireland were dumbed down. All of the existing laws ensured this state of affairs, so I ask, do we need more of the same again? But I fear the latest lot of bluffers to inhabit Leinster House will engross themselves full-time in the waste that is a raft of new laws. Homelessness, suicide, inequality and poverty will be discreetly overlooked in a dirty rush to "Get tough with us."
So I suggest that we consider a situation where we are presented with the phrase, "You must obey this now because it is the law," that we look hard at this so-called law and reply, "No! I'm not obeying that because it is a bad law." I will be watching developments carefully with just this thought in mind.