A member of a bikie group going past a police check. Photo: Luis Enrique Ascui
Do something bad, get caught, get punished. It's an ancient formula, the essentials of which have been serving us reasonably well ever since Adam and Eve first traded conspiratorial glances over an apple.
But is it possible for a crime to be considered more or less serious, depending on who commits it? According to the Queensland government - yes.
Campbell Newman's mob four days ago passed new laws imposing mandatory extra sentences for criminals who are also bikies.
Annabel Crabb. Photo: James Brickwood
Members of bikie gangs who commit a crime will automatically get an extra 15 years in addition to the standard sentence. Office-holders of bikie gangs will get an extra 10 years on top.
Nick a car and you could maybe get one to two years. Nick one dressed as a Fink while bossing some other bikies around, and all of a sudden you're punching number plates till Miley Cyrus qualifies as a cougar.
Now, the desire to mete out disproportionate treatment to people of whom one disapproves is a deeply human instinct. If I had my way, people who wear animal onesies should be subjected to a comparable custodial-sentence loading. Exceed .05 blood alcohol behind the wheel as a first offence? Community service. Exceed .05 blood alcohol as a first offence while dressed as a meerkat? Community service plus 25 years. BOO-YAH!
The reason I am not in politics is that I have taken the extra step of recognising that my own instincts, including those towards the plush-wearing parts of our community, are at times unreliable.
But it's very difficult to find a state legislator these days who hasn't succumbed to the nuclear arms race on anti-bikie laws.
The new Queensland law described above is called the Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Bill 2013 (creating a potential ancillary intellectual property action from the Monty Python people, who may or may not want their concept back).
But there are other aspects to Queensland's anti-bikie legislative package. It is also now decreed that the Woodford Correctional Centre, north of Brisbane, should become a bikie-only jail with no television or gym facilities, and where visiting hours will be restricted to one hour a week. Where there will be nothing for the bikies to do, in other words, apart from sitting around and home-schooling each other in advanced degrees of bikiedom.
History tells us that the last time the Woodford Correctional Centre tried to withdraw prisoners' privileges was in 1997, when the then-new prison banned cigarettes and more than 100 high-security prisoners retaliated by burning through the facility's high-tech plastic walls with toasters and rioting until they got their fags back.
The bills' author, former suburban solicitor and current Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie, is a fearless and determined zero-tolerance man when it comes to bikies.
Or he has been since he became Attorney-General.
Before that, he had pretty much the opposite view. When former Queensland premier Anna Bligh introduced laws preventing bikies from associating with each other in 2009, Mr Bleijie was horrified.
''This bill is a knee-jerk reaction of the Bligh Labor government … while I agree that people need to be protected from organised crime, there must also be the protection of personal liberties such as the freedom of association,'' he told the Parliament back then.
The Attorney-General has since disabused himself of these opinions; the powers to prevent hobnobbing between bikies are so broad in his new legislation that Mr Bleijie was forced to amend them as they scudded through the Parliament in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, so as not to incriminate bikie lawyers who meet with their clients.
It would be unfair to suggest that Mr Bleijie is the first state attorney-general to err towards sensationalism in the matter of legislative efforts to control outlaw motorcycle gangs.
South Australia and New South Wales have both made unsuccessful and expensive trips to the High Court to defend their own guilt-by-association laws, while comparable legislation in Victoria has not yet actually been utilised by police, owing to its extreme complexity and incredible toughness.
The interstate arms race on bikie laws shows no sign of abating. For these premiers, these attorneys-general, it's almost as if they can only demonstrate their toughness by enacting over-the-top laws that probably exceed their own powers.
It's almost as if a sortie to the High Court to have their arses kicked constitutionally has become a strange rite of initiation, in which their bravado and swagger can be demonstrated to the world at large.
Perhaps they could design - I don't know - a tattoo, or some sort of team jacket, these lawmakers, to identify themselves as leaders who have dared to take on the system.
I don't know where it's going to stop, this escalation of legal hostilities from our state attorneys-general; perhaps someone should stop them from hanging out together.
Annabel Crabb writes for ABC
Online's The Drum.