ETHICAL ISSUES: THE LAW
“The rule of law is the most significant issue facing our civilization, an insidious deterioration of the principles on which the republic is built.” So said Robert Bartley in The Wall Street Journal of September 19, 2000. He was right then, and he’s right now.
In the eight centuries since the Magna Carta, we have increasingly taken the rule of law for granted, not to mention bending, folding, spindling and otherwise mutilating it along the way. Our law has been molded by hundreds of years of subjective experience, shaping our behavior to the point where its beginnings are lost in clouds of uncertainty. Further, this vast accumulation of experience encourages us to selectively pick only those pieces that seem to justify our need at any given moment. This is fodder for lawyers, whose job it is to sort through the plethora of records and determine a course of action for any given situation. Somebody has to do it.
But there are consequences. Our own three branches of government were fashioned to achieve a balance of power so that no one branch could dominate. However, over the years all three branches have become occupied primarily by lawyers; these are now one and the same with politicians and government, and all three branches share the same population. In that process, power has lost its balance. How? The rule of law has been overwhelmed by the rules of lawyers.
This might pose little problem if honesty prevailed, but the long history of the law is that same history of humans who bent, folded, spindled and otherwise mutilated it during its eight centuries of development.
As the law has been compromised over the years, so has been the meaning of truth. Increasing apathy has resulted in our accepting evasion, deceit, duplicity, deception, cheating, unfaithfulness, fraudulence, equivocation, prevarication and outright lies (politics?) as facts of life. Is it any wonder that our law has been affected along the way? Is it any wonder that we experience “an insidious deterioration of the principles on which the republic is built?” If truth has lost its identity, it’s no wonder we’ve lost ours.
But in spite of opinion to the contrary, truth has not changed. It remains an inviolate First Principle enshrined in Natural Law, and the foundation of ethics. First Principles can’t be changed by any living soul, ever. Not even lawyers or politicians.
Truth is the rule of the Natural Law that precedes and trumps any that we may write, modify, challenge or ignore. Without truth there is no foundation for anything, including life itself.
The rules of lawyers are dismantling our Republic. Best we return to “the principles on which the republic is built.” But don’t expect your lawyer to help…