I was recently asked by a frequent blog reader: "You do believe in Drunk Driving, don’t you?" They went on to write: "Sometimes I read your blog and a few others and it almost sounds like there is really no such thing."
The answer is yes, I believe in Drunk Driving. It not only exists. It is pervasive and potentially and is actually deadly.
What I do not believe in is the "ends justify the means" mentality. I do not believe in that morally wrong actions are sometimes necessary to achieve morally right outcomes. It is not true that actions can only be considered morally right or wrong by virtue of the morality of the outcome.
I believe that if we are going to convict someone, we must be sure.
But why bother about the means?
Why not just bother about the ends?
(Pardon me while I jump on the soap box)
It comes down to the acceptability and suitability of moral relativism. Doesn’t it?
Moral relativism is not a stable worldview and is really is the antithesis of the rule of law and indeed civilization as a whole. Moral relativism is all about manipulating a situation in order to bring about a result that achieves a desired result regardless of what it takes.
But why fight it?
Well, there is the platitude of to do so gives one a sense of personal virtue. But what good is that when virtue itself is quickly becoming a term of great scorn?
In the results-oriented society that we now live in, the "now" replaces the "how".
Is this right?
There are so many stories we can tell ourselves to justify doing nothing, but perhaps the most insidious is that, whatever we do manage to do, it will be too little too late.
For us to wait for others to do the unpopular in defending others accused of a crime, to solve the problem of how we’re living our lives suggests we’re not really serious about living in a world governed by law.
A wise man once said:
“Once our personal connection to what is wrong becomes clear, then we have to choose: we can go on as before, recognizing our dishonesty and living with it the best we can, or we can begin the effort to change the way we think and live.”
Which brings us back to the “why bother” question especially knowing what DUI defense lawyers have to undergo, which includes being yelled at by some Judges, humiliated for daring to defend DUI clients, spit upon (which happened to me once) and seeing the Constitution and our Bill of rights being discarded for "the ends justify the means when it comes to DUI" mentality. The reasons not to bother are many and compelling, at least to the enforcement at all costs folks. But let me offer a few admittedly tentative reasons that we might put on the other side of the scale:
- Do you want any bare accusation against you even outside of a courtroom to simply be enough to condemn you?
- Do you volunteer to allow a mere allegation be enough to convict you?
- So you volunteer to give up all of your rights such as the right to be left alone, freedom, liberty, travel, and even bodily integrity?
If you answered "no" to any of these, then you are bothered. You do care. Please either join me in rejecting moral relativism in law or to continue to fight along with me to banish it forever.
-Justin J. McShane, Esquire, Pennsylvania DUI Attorney
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