If a big enough proportion of the populace—not even a majority, just a largish chunk—decides that it’s just not worth following the rules anymore, then that society’s days are numbered: Not even a police-state with an armed Marine at every corner with Shoot-to-Kill orders can stop such middle-class anarchy.
Brian and Ilsa are such anarchists—grey-haired, well-dressed, golf-loving, well-to-do, exceedingly polite anarchists: But anarchists nevertheless. They are not important, or powerful, or influential: They are average—that’s why they’re so deadly: Their numbers are millions. And they are slowly, painfully coming to the conclusion that it’s just not worth it anymore.
Via Glenn Reynolds who has a couple other links and notes:
This is what happens when the ruling class forfeits trust. It isn’t pretty. People at the top — in this country at least — used to worry about maintaining trust. Now they seem to take it for granted, or fail to appreciate the cost of losing it. The Gods Of The Copybook Headings are always there, though.
This is also what happens when the regular folks look and see the ruling class and the clients of the ruling class getting away with breaking all the rules and doing as they please.
And speaking of that, it's already happening. As Jerry Bowyer notes in Americans Revolt Billions of Times a Day
We have a Treasury secretary who cheated on his taxes. But he is not the only one. There are probably more people who buy goods and services via the internet and catalogues that don’t pay sales taxes than people who do. We’ve been rehabbing our 132-year-old home for several years now, and I can tell you, some subcontractors expect to be paid in cash. We follow speed limits only when we think they are being enforced. Dads let their teenaged kids drink beer. People cross the state line to buy fireworks, or any good, when the sales tax is lower. People on unemployment compensation stretch it out so they can work on their eBay business.
And most people have absolutely no moral compunction about any of these violations, either of the spirit or the letter of the law, because deep down they no longer believe that the law, especially the tax code, represents any compelling moral principle, nor do its dictates seem any longer to be fair. They don’t think their home state has earned taxes on the Amazon purchases or that it deserves any share of the mutually beneficial exchange between you and your dry wall guy.
I bet you can think of a few dozen more examples, and increasingly we’re all in business and in personal life thinking of more and more ways to game a system which we have less and less faith in.
Also via Glenn Reynolds today.