Thursday, September 3, 2015

For Thee, Not Me

Kim Davis has drawn quite a bit of attention for her refusal to issue marriage licenses in Rowan County, Kentucky. Part of this is the religious aspect of her refusal - she has claimed that her religious faith effective trumps the secular rules of the jurisdiction in which she works. People who support her have also taken this tack.

“They’re taking rights away from Christians,” Danny Kinder, a 73-year-old retiree from Morehead, said of the courts. “They’ve overstepped their bounds.”
Kim Davis Ordered Jailed in Kentucky Gay Marriage Dispute
But it's worth keeping in mind that the Davis case is simply one part of a larger issue. People simply don't like having to follow rules that they understand place them in hardship, leave them at a disadvantage or simply disagree with. For instance in the European Union, asylum-seekers are required to file their claims in the first EU nation they enter - but few have been doing so, fearing that they won't be allowed to move on to the countries in which they want to settle - so they attempt to make it to those nations, and then file.

Much of this is a matter of people's moral sentiments, and the value that they place on their own ethical judgments. For a Latin American coming into the United States looking for a better life, the rules that require them to apply for an entry visa, and likely be denied, simply aren't fair - and so they are circumvented.

This habit that people have of claiming personal exemptions from rules is likely as old as rules, and it isn't going anywhere. And that leaves the rest of us with the responsibility of understanding what rules we're going to enforce - and which ones we really would be better off ridding ourselves of.

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