As David Brooks and Matthew Yglesias both have observed, unruliness is on the rise in the United States: Highway deaths are up, as are alcohol consumption, brawls and assaults on airplanes and in hospitals, disruptive behavior in schools, drug overdoses, and — of course — murder.
If it seems like half the country has turned into Hunter Biden, there is a reason for that. People get especially hostile toward the rules when they come to believe — often with good reason — that the rules are enforced only on those without power, while those with power are free to ignore them. All of those Democratic politicians ignoring Covid-19 protocols were not just engaged in petty privilege-flexing — they were, in a real and important way, undermining the public order. Why should I tell the truth in court? Bill Clinton didn’t. Why should I follow San Francisco’s heavy-handed Covid protocols? The mayor of San Francisco doesn’t. Why shouldn’t I lie to get my way? It works for Joe Biden. One way to help produce better rules is to ensure that the people who make the rules are made to follow them. That is no easy thing, but it is a necessary thing. If the high and mighty won’t obey the rules, the multitudes will note the example.
If Novak Djokovic doesn’t want to play by the rules, then he doesn’t have to play at all.