Rule of Law – Rule by Authority

Our country and indeed Western democracy is founded on the Rule of Law. One of the strongest memories I have on the subject of the Rule of Law comes from Sir Thomas More. In A Man for All Seasons, Sir Thomas More is quoted on Wikipedia:

What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? … And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you – where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s, and if you cut them down — and you’re just the man to do it — do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

Our very civilization depends on the Rule of Law.

The opposite of the Rule of Law is the Rule of Authority. Rule of Authority means that governmental coercive power is vested in an individual. Like a king, a czar, a potentate. When you have the Rule of Authority you don’t have freedom, because you must obey the commands and even whims of the individual who is vested with such power.

In the words of F. A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom, p. 118:

The Rule of Law was consciously evolved only during the liberal age and is one of its greatest achievements, not only as a safeguard but as the legal embodiment of freedom. As Immanuel Kant put it (and Voltaire expressed it before him in very much the same terms), “Man is free if he needs to obey no person but solely the law…

You can also see this quote at the Amazon page, by searching within the book (click here to search).

According to Hayek in The Road to Serfdom: Text and Documents–The Definitive Edition (The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek, Volume 2), for the Rule of Law to be in effect, two characteristics must prevail:

  1. There must be equality under the law. That is, the outcome from applying the law must not be different for specific people or groups.
  2. You should not be able to predict the outcome for specific individuals or classes.

Our current government is abandoning the Rule of Law at every step. “There are no rules, we make them up as we go along” – Alcee Hastings (D-FL).

The Obama administration has a clear goal of abandoning equal protection under the law. And you can now predict that favored groups will get special treatment.

  1. We have “czars,” appointed by the President, with no accountability to the people, and who are vested with the Rule of Authority. These czars are prone to determine both winners and losers.
  2. We have special deals to buy votes. Ben Nelson’s “Cornhusker Kickback“, Mary Landrieu’s “Louisiana Purchase”, the Service Employess International Union (SEIU) exemption from the tax on Cadillac health care plans, and many more. These deals violate equal protection under the law, as special groups get special deals.
  3. The rulers now give special treatment racial preference. As in the New Black Panther voter intimidation scandal. What happened to the civil rights movement? Has it morphed into pushing for civil unequal rights?

One of the important planks of the Constitutional Conservatives should be the restoration of the Rule of Law, to restore to our nation real fairness and true “equal opportunity under the law.”

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