Two news reports caught my eye today. The first was about couples engaged in indecent behaviour who were produced in court. The other was on the removal of indecent hoardings.
Decency, it seems, is being enforced, although by who is not immediately clear.
Under what section of the penal code were the couples engaged in indecent behaviour charged? What laws govern what is displayed on public hoardings?
The news reports do not make clear, nor is it certain as to who ordered the crackdown - in both cases the police have acted but under whose instructions?
The matters themselves seem trivial and the action even laudable but an important principle: the rule of law; may have been compromised.
In societies ruled by laws, as distinct from societies ruled by men, due process is critical. Arbitrary or selective application of the law is to be abhorred. Vague or ambiguous laws whose interpretation lies within the hands of officials are to be avoided at all costs. This is to ensure that the system is clear to all and it is this clarity that gives confidence in the system.
Rather like Humpty Dumpty, once the system breaks down, all the Kings horses and all the Kings men will not be able to put it together again. As little drops of rain gather to make the mighty ocean, so every little step taken on that barren path will lead a little closer towards darkness.