21 Nov
21Nov

One of the most effective ways to gain our acceptance of otherwise unacceptable practices is for those in power to cloak their desires in the garb of "the law." Since most folks are law abiding and fundamentally moral in their outlook, we assume the same of those who make the laws we live under. Sadly, that is often not the case.

While this article is not meant to be a treatise on the origins of law, we may simply say that our system of law arose out of a thousand-year history of socially accepted standards of behavior among common people. This became the common law. This law in turn was based on religiously influenced or guided practices that were generally recognized as useful in supporting a thriving community and secure individual existence.

To the extent our current legal system reflects these religiously inspired--or morally adduced--practices, the average person can identify with the need for such compensatory justice and the fairness of outcomes based on these nearly universal mores. They are, in essence, lawful because they are recognized as so by common folks.

Eventually, lawful systems fall under the thrall of the powerful, the financially well-off, and the influential. They seek not justice for all but rather advantage for their particular economic or political cause. Their social or financial power gives them the ability to influence legislation that has the imprimatur of government approval, with its concomitant monopoly on coercion to enforce the rules. Laws of this nature are really only legal, in that they have statutory authorization for enforcement while being unconcerned with its effect on the mass of people who don't share the same economic or political advantages. This form of law has departed from the common law that all recognize as generally impartial and can be clearly seen to favor certain special interests.

The final stage of the destruction of common law is a reversion to the diktat. Like the word dictator that is derived from it, it represents the complete jettisoning of law effected for the common good and its substitution with the whims and prejudices of one, or perhaps a few, at the seat of real power. There is no attempt to justify its pronouncements by resort to principles of common law, or even legal artifice. It is simply the display of naked oppression, beholden to none but those who maintain the power of life and death over the hapless victims living in such a dystopian society.

While we should be respectful of common law practices that have the benefit of a millennia of socially acceptable behavior behind them, we should make every effort to deliver our system from the swamp of Pharisaic  legalisms that make it impossible for the common person to know the law, obey the law and be secure in the knowledge it is working equally for all in society.

As to the imposition of diktats, or the functional equivalent of them introduced as law while having no legitimate nexus to that term: we have absolutely no moral obligation to follow them, to obey them or to support them in any way. While we may choose to moderate our actions so that the full weight of the State does not bear down on us, we should never labor under the assumption there is a moral duty to behave in that way. Our duty to God, to ourselves and to posterity is simple: we must oppose those who act in such an unrestrained and unlawful fashion and pull out every trace of their power by the roots.

Comments
* The email will not be published on the website.