(This requires a bit of setup, so please bear with it...)

Suppose a malfeasant administration works to pass an unreasonable general law against some commonplace custom as a subterfuge by which to weaken specific groups it regards as enemies. Ordinarily an unreasonable general law would make such an administration even more unpopular, but the administration knows it can rely on several things to help it:

  1. Propaganda advertising the (newfound) dangers of the commonplace custom.

  2. The targeted "enemy" groups favor the commonplace custom more than the general populace.

  3. Selective enforcement against the targeted groups.

  4. The rest of the populace (i.e. those not targeted), would have, (relative to the targeted groups), some actual or virtual resisting attribute that would usually allow them to avoid arrest or conviction if the law was ever enforced against them.

Is there a good term or phrase in English, (or even a borrowed foreign term or phrase), that describes #4?

Note: "Privilege" is not the word desired, as that's both too vague, and inaccurately connotes something granted, special or unusual, rather than something mundane. It might be something like having enough money to hire a lawyer, or being part of a group not stigmatized by some terrible societal prejudice, or (supposing a sudden and violent peasant revolution) having strong and callused hands.

  • 1
    'privilege' is what gets you the ability to resist problems, not that resistance itself. Look up synonyms of resistance (involved with sickness) like 'immunity'.
    – Mitch
    Apr 15 '19 at 19:46
  • 3
    "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." - Anatole France. "Business as usual" isn't a single word.
    – user888379
    Apr 15 '19 at 20:03

One attribute or method to grant immunity to a population is to grandfather them in. Merriam-Webster lists the verb form with this tame definition:

: to permit to continue under a grandfather clause

However, the dictionary delivers a concise definition of "grandfather clause":

: a clause creating an exemption based on circumstances previously existing

especially : a provision in several southern state constitutions designed to enfranchise poor whites and disenfranchise blacks by waiving high voting requirements for descendants of men voting before 1867

In this historical case, the attribute is literally having a grandfather who was able to vote, a condition that poor white people could meet fairly easily but one that black people and immigrants could not. The phrase has generalized somewhat to refer to any policy that exempts people meeting a certain attribute before the policy took effect.

  • This idea is in the vicinity... but requires a specific clause to be written specifically identifying an immunizing attribute of lineage.
    – agc
    Apr 15 '19 at 19:43

I would suggest "unimputability" would best fit this use case; secondary to that I suggest your already-used "immunity" as this is both aptly descriptive, and when used in a legal context where the receivers would clearly not have literal "legal immunity" it would be clear to imply that this is an unofficial immunity.

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