It’s no secret that I love to opine on this blog. It matters not what the subject may be. I usually have no problem shooting my big mouth off in such a fashion as to piss one half of the world off and make the other half cringe. I like to portray myself as having an answer for humanity’s problems, or at least its difficult ones.
Today is different. In the aftermath of my 15 minutes of fame, my burden has only grown heavier as my long-suffering family can testify to, and I am left to ask “What the hell is going on?”
Every day now, someone contacts me with a heartbreaking story of how he or she is being forced to choose between earning a living, pursuing an education, and generally enjoying life and his or her religious convictions. Their stories run the gambit – the state’s heavy-handed COVID-19 vaccine mandates, academia’s sanctimonious discrimination, and general hysteria by employers and others. Some contact me with stories of how they have been lectured about the insincerity of their religious beliefs. Others relay stories about how they cannot medically comply with mandates and hysteria, but face the consequences if they don’t.
Reality is hard to deny. Whether we like it or not and whether it has been manufactured or not, we are living in a state of crisis and hysteria. Daily choices have now taken the character of life or death. What once stood as inviolable rules of law and unbendable social norms now give way to a bubble-wrap hysteria. The taboo has now become essential.
Lawyers attend law school and kow-tow before the judicial system’s arcane examination processes to learn and recognize rules of law. Politicians spew talking points about the importance of the “rule of law” like it is a supreme governing force that does not yield for anything.
Life’s realities tell a far different story. The rules of law are not neutral and objective. They ebb and flow with the tides of human circumstances. Emotion governs their application.
We now face a situation where emotion has discarded the rule of law in favor of hysteria and self-serving ends. Fear, and fear alone, rules our lives. If you are a person of faith who objects to COVID-19 vaccines or any other scientific remedy that violates your conscience, you have become a target and an outlaw in society.
You will forfeit educational opportunities, employment, and other activities that have become a unique part of the American culture.
If you dare to question the hysteria and the fear-driven mandates, you become a public enemy to be ostracized as a science-denier and an evil person.
If you turn to the courts and the legal system, you will find a special hostility toward religion. The laws designed to protect you against discrimination will suddenly and magically not apply to you as judges, government officials, and lawyers find a way to create exceptions in the name of the “public good.” Meanwhile, homosexuals can keep screwing each other in the rear-end despite an ongoing HIV/AIDS pandemic.
The hostility on every front has rightly given pause to many people of faith. Who would make themselves a target and bear the life-long stigma just to adhere to their consciences? No one would ever know if they betrayed their faith. On the other hand, their responsibility before their God makes them agonize over the problem. I can hear fear and concern in their voices every time I talk to them.
I do not claim to possess special knowledge or skill. I am a street-fighter. When you call me, I assume that you are calling me on the worst day of your life and that you’re locked in a war. You need someone to stand between you and whoever threatens you. My responsibility is to shield you if possible from those who would outlaw you and wage scorched earth warfare to get you back on an equal and respectable footing in society. As I joked with someone recently, you want to rip your opponent’s throat out and leave it on the street when you’re in a personal war for your principles.
As a lawyer who attempts to deliver that kind of performance in every case, I have to understand the motivations and the sources behind what I am fighting. To be honest, I do not right now. Thus, I ask what the hell is going on.
I can identify fear, hysteria, coercion, and a common quest for survival stemming from these factors. I can point out that our country is losing a sense of individualism as groups replace individual beliefs as sources of legitimacy. These, however, are all symptoms.
I still search for answers on how and why we are witnessing an abandonment of the rule of law, ordered liberty, and individualism in favor of collective identities and paternalistic overlords. A colleague and I recently pondered the problem. We are both familiar with dystopian literature, and I committed myself this week to his example of going on a dystopian classics reading binge. We cannot arrive at a satisfactory answer.
My clients and potential clients count on me to continue to fight for them and to offer them hope in an unfriendly and hostile society. I will continue to do so as best as I can. I will aim at what I can identify.
For the love of God, however, I cannot figure out how to attack our current trend toward tyranny based on hysteria at its source and operation.
Thus, I again ask “What the hell is going on?”