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The cancer known as progressivism is metastasizing, and the rule of law has been openly supplanted by progressive fiat, with all of the eminently predictable consequences slowly coming to fruition

Progressive Promotion of Selective Law Enforcement

Arnold Ahlert image

By —— Bio and Archives March 25, 2012

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If one wishes to understand the ultimate destination of progressive ideology, California is a bellwether.

Last Friday, the Los Angeles Police Department announced that it would no longer enforce a state law that requires police to impound the vehicles of unlicensed drivers for 30 days. Why? Because the majority of unlicensed drivers in that city are illegal aliens, and the policy purportedly inhibits their ability to get to their jobs. It also imposes an undue burden on them when they attempt to retrieve their vehicles — because they must pay a fine to do so. “It’s about fairness. It’s about equal application of the law,” contends Police Chief Charlie Beck, a man seemingly oblivious to the Orwellian dimensions of such a statement.

What separates America from the banana republics of the world — or what used to — is the notion that we are a nation of laws, not a nation of men. Chief Beck is an ideologically-tainted hack who apparently believes that the state’s elected representatives have no business passing legislation that conflicts with the superior wisdom of the progressive worldview. Ergo, he’s taking a pass on the most fundamental aspect of his job description.

Beck is supported by another hack, Cardinal Roger Mahony, former Archbishop of Los Angeles and an immigration activist. “A low-income person doesn’t have the ability to pay the fees after 30 days to get their car back,” said Mahony, “Basically, we’re just creating more punitive problems for them.”

Utter nonsense. The “problem creators” are the illegal aliens themselves who have extrapolated on their original transgression of entering the country illegally, by driving illegally. And in order for police to inquire about one’s license in the first place, one can reasonably assume that the driver in question was stopped by police for yet another possible illegality of some sort.

None of it matters. As long as one can produce “some form of ID,” proof of insurance and vehicle registration, the driver can keep the vehicle. The unlicensed driver can then call someone with a license who would be allowed to drive the car

Why was the original law passed? To keep potentially reckless drivers off the road and protect the public. The law is not without justification. A 2011 study conducted by AAA, titled “Unlicensed to Kill,” reveals unlicensed drivers are five times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes, and more likely to flee the scene of any crime. Moreover, the law doesn’t merely target unlicensed drivers. Those who have had their license suspended or revoked are subject to having their vehicles impounded as well.

Yet Chief Beck reveals his real agenda when he contends that there is a “vast difference between someone driving without a license because they cannot legally be issued one, and someone driving after having their license revoked.” Thus, we are back to the progressive demand that illegal aliens be supplied with legal drivers’ licenses, something Beck himself advocated last month. “The reality is that all the things that we’ve done — ‘we’ being the state of California — over the last 14, 16 years have not reduced the problem one iota, haven’t reduced undocumented aliens driving without licenses. So we have to look at what we’re doing,” Beck told a group of Los Angeles Times’ reporters and editorial writers. “When something doesn’t work over and over and over again, my view is that you should reexamine it to see if there is another way that makes more sense.”

What doesn’t work “over and over again” is a state whose political class has essentially surrendered to the open border advocates. Millions of illegal aliens call California home and the state is more than happy to accommodate them regardless of the consequences. The result, as long-time California resident and columnist Victor David Hanson points out, is a state with “the largest number of illegal aliens in the nation,” that has come to resemble “a sort of social, cultural, economic, and political time-bomb, whose ticks are getting louder.”

As for “making more sense,” in contrast to the progressivism that has turned California into the fiscal and social basket case of the nation, that would require a police department determined to enforce all of the laws enacted by the legislature, not merely the ones that accrue to their ideological preferences.

Yet, why should they? An equally corrupt Department of Justice, led by arguably the most tainted Attorney General in the nation’s history, is equally adept at selective law enforcement. Eric Holder has filed brief after brief against states attempting to control illegal immigration, even as one of the most egregious violations of federal immigration law — the establishment of “sanctuary cities” where police are forbidden to inquire about one’s immigration status, even when a suspect is arrested for a felony — gets a pass.

That scores of Americans have been injured and killed by illegal alien drivers? A “reasonable” price to pay for “fairness.”

The California State Attorney General is Democrat Kamala Harris. At a page on her website thanking the people of California for their support, she promises to “work each and every day — across the aisle and in partnership with law enforcement leaders across the state — to make sure the law of the State of California is on the side of the people.” That in and of itself is a telling statement. Once again, laws are written by the state legislature. It is up to the state Attorney General to see that law is enforced, irrespective of whose “side” it is on. A call was placed to her office to find out where she stood on the current issue, since one might be inclined to believe that the State AG ought be initiating an investigation into a city police chief who has publicly declared that he will take the law into his own hands.

The call was not returned.

Charlie Beck should be fired, but he won’t be. Nor will California ever again resemble anything remotely connected with its nickname, the Golden State. The cancer known as progressivism is metastasizing, and the rule of law has been openly supplanted by progressive fiat, with all of the eminently predictable consequences slowly coming to fruition: a massive outflow of productive people to other states, several cities on the verge bankruptcy, millions of acres of precious farmland lain fallow, and large swaths of the state’s interior with long-established Third World living conditions. But as long as illegal aliens can drive to work — in a state with an unemployment rate of 10.9 percent — everything is hunky-dory for Charlie Beck and the LAPD.

So what is the ultimate destination of progressivism? In any society where the rule of man takes precedent over the rule of law, that depends upon where one sits in the social strata. For people like Eric Holder or Charlie Beck, and those who curry favor with them, it leads anywhere they wish it to go. For those lower on the food chain, it leads to anarchistic mayhem — if one manages to steer clear of those who wield power capriciously. If one does not?

The gulag, or its American equivalent.

Arnold Ahlert -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Arnold Ahlert was an op-ed columist with the NY Post for eight years.