Importance of the Rule of Law

Rex Miller

      Genesis 1:26,27 says in part: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Genesis 1:7 states: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Man truly is fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14) because of the fact that he is made in God’s image which is that of a triune being. Brute beasts possess body and mind, only man possesses a living soul. It is that third part of our  being which drives man to seek something greater than himself; causing him to invent religions, causes and reasons to fill the empty void within  himself. Fame does not satisfy, nor does power or wealth; though those things drive countless men in vain. Satisfaction of human appetite drive some to extreme yet in the final analysis all would truthfully admit the void remains. Why is there a void?

     God provided man a perfect environment so that man might oversee all creation and enjoy fellowship with his Creator. There was but one Law and that was not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17) … “for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surly die.” Man broke the law, hid then attempted to place blame elsewhere and was turned out of his perfect environment and broke his relationship with his Creator. That broken relationship is the cause of the void every person feels and attempts to satisfy.

     God redeemed the Hebrew people from the bondage of Pharaoh and led them on a miraculous journey. In the process He revealed through His human agent Moses the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17). Ten Laws fit for a  civilized people. Those Ten Commandments are the basis of Western Civilization and Western Law.

     Respect for and obedience to the Law has always been a prerequisite for a successful and prosperous society. H.G. Wells (1866-1946) an   admitted socialist, prolific writer, and Biblical skeptic said in his 1324 page tome The Outline of History concerning the collapse of the Roman Empire, “ The essence of its failure [Rome] was that it could not sustain unity. In it’s early stages its citizens, both patrician and plebeian, had a certain tradition of justice and good faith, and of loyalty of all citizens to the law, and of the goodness of the law for all citizens; it clung to this idea of the importance of the law and of law-abidingness nearly into the first century B.C.”  He goes on to  describe how circumstances swamped and weakened this tradition so that, “ Every man tended more and more to do what was right in his own eyes.” Thus, Roman unity collapsed and consequently Rome passed into the pages of history.

     When a community and people comprehend that the administration of justice is sure, impartial, swift and just, those people are free to go about their daily tasks without the burden of suspicion or doubt for the future. We must all plan for the future; but who is free to advance his future when law, rules or regulations can be arbitrarily applied?

     The Rule of Law was sacred to Western Civilization for it enabled men to ponder possibilities and pursue dreams unhindered from arbitrary edicts. This process took thousands of years  but men learned from experience and built upon the labors of those who proceeded them.

     Our Founders understood all this and at great risk broke the chains that bound them to their Mother Country with a very carefully worded document, authored by the Virginian Thomas Jefferson, called our   Declaration of Independence. Each signatory risked  his life and fortune in that letter to King George III; the ruler of the world’s mightiest military power. As they understood it they were suffering the consequences of arbitrary edicts of the Kings’ Parliament, intended to profit England at the expense of the Colonies. Third World Colonies whose people had no concept of liberty were bullied into compliance but the American    Colonies were peopled with individuals steeped in Western  Theological, Economic and Judicial thought. When the King’s agents threatened even the sanctity of their hearth and home they had had enough!

     Every signer of that Declaration was conversant with Holy Scripture. They understood the significance of being triune in nature and the importance of the personal development of spirit as well as mind. For this reason Constitutional sessions were begun with an opening prayer and office holders were administered the oath by swearing with their hand upon the Holy Bible. The resultant Constitution, penned by the Virginian James Madison, is a marvel of simplicity and brevity. We are indeed Blessed as a people to possess it.

     Unfortunately, some men are controlled by their appetites which  include pride, greed, lust, ambition, pleasure and force and these  are the principles that drive our present world system. These individuals, rather than follow the law, seek  profit by circumventing or altering the original intent of the law. Many introduce new law for their advantage. Gaius Cornelius Tacitus (AD 56-117) who was a Roman Senator, Consul,  Governor and astute historian observed, “The more corrupt the  government, the greater the number of laws.”  There is actually a good reason for that; the greater the number of laws the more advantage tyranny has in tightening its grip thru selective enforcement. Selective enforcement signals that not all laws will be enforced but with an overabundance of maze-like laws, each lacking a Constitutional basis, citizens live in fear not knowing which law he may be accused of  having broken.

     Which is why our Founders sought simplicity administered justly. John Adams stated, “Our Constitution was made only for a religious and moral people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.”  James Madison wrote, “We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future… upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves…according to the Ten Commandments of God.” Our Founders, representing every colony, knew the nature of their fellow colonists reasonably well and presumed that their efforts, documents and subsequent agreements and laws would be  administered by like-minded individuals; Christian men of virtue.

     The War with Great Britain resulted in Peace Treaties with Thirteen Sovereign Nations and the composition of a new Constitution; and the founders wrote noticeably of the importance of virtue. They understood that liberty’s greatest burden is the freedom to choose between good and evil. Addressing folks of like-mind they stressed the importance of virtue in the administration of their lives, families and  government. I believe it fair to state that Samuel Adams (1722-1803)  represented  the  collective  thinking of his compatriots  when he  penned:  “A general dissolution of    principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberty of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue then will they be ready to surrender their  liberty to the first external or  internal  invader.”  But what is virtue?

     Virtue is the resultant evidence of one who understands his triune nature, has accepted Christ and has labored to school his spirit in love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance through Scriptural study; welcoming help and comfort from the Holy Spirit. It is doing the right thing cheerfully and automatically when no-one is looking. Benjamin Franklin alluded to this when he    answered the inquiry with regard to the nature of government just formed, “…we have given you a republic, if you can keep it.”  And Supreme Court  Justice Robert H. Jackson (1892-1954)  referenced a similar idea 163 years later when he said “it is not the function of our government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the   government from falling into error.”  You see, license is frequently mistaken for liberty. When men who were made in the image of God do not  nourish their spiritual nature with that which edifies, their spirit becomes defective enabling them to justify and comfortably choose evil over good. Before the War for Southern Independence, Letiticia M. Burwell was a young Virginia teenager given the opportunity to witness the amazing material progress made in New York City. Her book, A Girls Life in  Virginia Before the War  published in 1895, recounting that experience says, “Where the whole  energy of a  people is applied to making money, the souls of men become dwarfed.” As a Christian teenager she recognized the        defectiveness of busy urban life that allowed no time for the spiritual  development of the triune being resulting in material prosperity replacing God; thus beginning the fulfillment of the prophesy of Samuel Adams.

     It is nearly impossible to quantify the numbers of laws, rules, regulations and orders that permeate this land today. According to the Office of the Federal Register, in 1998 (nearly 14 years ago), the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) the official listing of all regulations in effect contained 123,723 pages in 201 volumes. The Department of Justice claims as of the end of 2007 the number of acts described as Federal Crimes exceeds 4450.  These numbers do not include town, county, city and state laws, rules and regulations. In order for honest taxpayers to relieve themselves of non-compliance fears of the U.S. Tax Code they must spend billions of dollars per year on accountants and tax attorneys to keep the I.R.S. from their door; and that’s still no guarantee.

When Presidents, Senators and Congressmen lie with impunity, when high government officials are not prosecuted by the IRS for failure to pay taxes, when famous people escape evidence of murder or treason, when justice (so called) can be purchased, when a wink and a nod with money in hand can destroy the very fabric of our culture, when the government of the people disregards the very Constitution it has sworn to uphold, then we are witness to actual tyranny at the hands of corrupt men whose souls are dwarfed. Yankee humanism with its attendant gutter philosophies has accomplished its work of the destruction of the last, best hope of liberty and Christian virtue on the face of this Earth. For when the rule of law is ignored, men do what seems right in their own eyes.  And that is never a good thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                               – Rex Miller © 2012