THE RULE OF LAW AND MANKIND’S DEVELOPMENT
by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© March 2013, L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.
The rule of a code of laws, rather than the rule of a king or queen, was a major development in the evolution of mankind from slavery to freedom. This is a very important statement that needs to be taught today, as people are forgetting it. This short article discusses this important topic.
WHAT IS THE “RULE OF MEN”?
Most of humanity, for millennia, was ruled by kings, queens, dictators, religious fanatics and other autocratic or absolute rulers. This is still somewhat true today. The most important aspects of rule by men such as kings, queens or central committees, etc. are:
1. The leader makes all the rules or laws. Usually, the masses of the people have little input and do not give consent to the rules. The people are just forced to follow them or risk fines, imprisonment and often death. The rules are backed up by military might in all cases.
2. The laws or rules of the king or leader tend to be rather arbitrary, and are often cruel and horrific. They may tax the people heavily, for example, to keep them poor and make the leaders rich. They may forbid people from even keeping their own children if it suits the fancy of the leaders.
3. The king’s laws may change at any time, based not necessarily on logic or practicality, but perhaps based on the mood, whim, or feelings of the leader(s).
4. Often, the rules do not apply to the leader(s), but only to his or her subjects or “citizens”.
5. The leader(s) may exempt his friends from the rules, and may make harsher rules for those he cares for less. In other words, the design of the laws is often arbitrary, and enforcement is often arbitrary.
The legal system above basically makes all the people slaves of the leader(s), who controls everyone through his decrees or “laws”.
THE RULE OF A WRITTEN CODE OF LAWS
A more advanced concept of laws is to have a simple, written code of laws that applies to everyone, with no exceptions, even to the king or ruler. This system of law is more advanced because it does not make a slave of the people to their leader. Instead, it sets down rules that all must follow, that are hard to change, that are hopefully easy to understand, and hopefully that apply to the leaders as well as the common people.
A wonderful example of such a code of laws is that described in the Old Testament of the bible. It includes the Ten Commandments of Moses, the Golden Rule, and the rules found in the books of the Torah.
Having such a code to live by has many beneficial effects upon the people. It tends to even out power between the rich and the poor, and between the smart or well-connected and the less intelligent or less well-connected politically. Having a simple written code that does not change also brings greater stability to society because people can count on the laws, learn them, and plan their lives around them. This is far better than an arbitrary set of rules that may changes often, and that makes little sense except to the ruler.
Of course, the rules must be logical, clear and sensible. Bad laws are worse than no laws at all, in most cases.
A FURTHER ADVANCE – A SIMPLE WRITTEN CODE OF LAWS THAT THE PEOPLE CONSENT TO AND CAN ALTER, WHEN NEEDED
This advance in the legal system is even better because it can be changed by the mass of the people, as time or experience indicate that changes are needed. This system is basically called a republic, and America was the model for this type of system.
America abolished the rule by a monarch or king that was in force in Great Britain and throughout Europe and most of the world in 1776. America then took its basic laws from the Hebrew bible such as the Ten Commandments and much more. However, the American founders also included a process whereby the old biblical laws could be changed by the Amendment process.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND?
The reason is that today the US federal government, in particular, is slowly abandoning the idea of equal justice for all, and equal enforcement of the laws. Here are some examples:
1. Marijuana laws. Marijuana use is illegal in the United States. This is a federal law. However, the Obama administration is not enforcing this law in the states where voters have decided to allow marijuana.
2. Border enforcement. Deportation (return to their homeland) of those who come to America illegally is the federal law in America. However, the Obama administration is not enforcing this law at this time. In fact, his administration recently released from prison a number of those who are here illegally who committed repeated crimes. This turns justice on its head.
3. The Affordable Care Act. Perhaps a less important example is that the Supreme Court of the United States recently ruled that a small portion of the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. Normally, unless a statute or law has a severability clause, if one part is ruled unconstitutional, the entire law is made null and void. However, this was somehow overlooked in this case.
Also, the Obama administration has given out exemptions to the Affordable Care Act rules to various unions and companies. This is not equal justice or equal enforcement of the law.
All of these examples, and there are many others, indicate a return to the far inferior system of laws where the rulers, basically, set the rules or laws, and/or enforce the rules arbitrarily. It makes for great instability and insecurity on the part of the people, since they really don’t know which laws to follow, or when laws will be enforced, or if they really even matter.
The rule of law is a wonderful thing, and it is being torn apart quite systematically by politicians who want no part of it, and by all of those who do nothing to stop such behavior.
The proper step, as soon as such behavior is detected, is to begin the process of removing the leaders, which is called impeachment in America. Instead, the Congress does nothing and the leaders hide behind nonsense concept such as social justice, which is just a code word for autocratic rule or totalitarianism. I hope our leaders will soon realize that the rule of law is a sacred concept, and one not to be thrown away lightly.