I was listening to the news this morning and heard that a group of illegal “immigrants” were protesting outside the office of the Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach. Their complaint? Kobach insists on upholding the law and helps other states, like Arizona, formulate legislation to curb illegal entry into this country.
This particular group, some from within Kansas and others imported from out of state, want Kobach to resign because he enforces existing law. While they were protesting, ICE did not appear.
This post, however, is not about illegal immigration, per se. It is about the failure of government to uphold and enforce existing law. The example above and the refusal to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, are just two of many failures by the federal government. If such actions, the refusal to enforce selected law and legislation, becomes institutionalized by the FedGov and the states, what are the consequences?
Let’s take an example from the international stage. Last February, Obama was in a lather accusing Communist China of not following international trade law. Obama called, “the soon to be president of the a country that is the world’s second most powerful and that highly values “face” (pride,dignity) a cheater.” In light of Obama’s actions these last four years, that statement was the height of hypocrisy.
Clyde Prestositz, the author of the sentence quoted above defines the failure to enforce the rule of law as playing with the rules.
The phrase “all must play by the same rules” implies that all are playing the same game, but in actuality they are not. In many instances there are no rules or the rules are vague, untested, and unclear. Even where there are rules, many countries have been ignoring them for a long time and there is thus strong precedent for not playing by the rules or even for interpreting the rules such that they are actually said to bless the apparent violations.
The rule of law operates under the assumption that all parties have the same understanding of the law. If that is not so, how can any commonality of thought exist?
A long time ago, there was a science fiction short story about a murder case…the willful killing of a peaceful extraterrestrial alien. The killer proudly admitted killing the alien because it wasn’t human and was therefore a “varmint”. Killing a “varmint” was not illegal (in that story.) The story ends with the Sheriff approaching the killer, pistol in hand, and tells the killer, “We’ve just redefined the description of ‘varmint’.”
Several of the protesters outside Kris Kobach’s state offices admitted to being in the United States illegally. They protested publicly confident the FedGov, in the form of ICE, would not intervene. They were correct. The federal government is actively redefining immigration law. When there is no commonality of thought—definition of law in this case, there is no law and the rule of law cannot exist.
When the federal government creates new law, whether through the normal passage through both Houses of Congress, or by edict in the form of federal regulations, how can the government reasonably expect the public to adhere to those laws when the federal government itself does not? It cannot.
Anarchy is the result.
I, personally, do not wish to live in a state of anarchy. If this trend of government, the failure to adhere to the rule of law, continues, we will have anarchy and that leads to civil war.
As an engineer, it was part of my job to perform risk assessments. To look, not at the best case, but at all cases including the worse case. Truly, civil war, is the worse case but I see it approaching if we continue on our current path. Along with risk assessments, I also looked at means for mitigation of those risks.
One mitigation is to establish, or perhaps re-establish the rule of law. If we cannot coerce the federal government to do so, then we must do so within ourselves, within our communities and states. Next, would be to extend the commonality of thought, the same rule of law to other communities and states and establish alliances to enforce commonality of law within our communities and states. Call it the Red States Alliance.
Numbers count. When we have sufficient numbers, individuals, communities, states, with the same commonality of thought, the same rules of law, we can then pressure the federal government to conform to our definitions, our rules, our commonality of thought, our rule of law.
Failure to ally ourselves with others of common thought and purpose means we must conform to the rules, the redefinition of the FedGov’s rules of law. That path leads to an authoritarian United States and the Constitution ceases to exist as our standard. It has already been grievously damaged but it is not yet irreparable.
To answer the question in my post title, does the rule of law still exist? Unfortunately, as much as I wish it weren’t so, it does not. When the federal government fails to enforce law, redefines law to make that law conform to an agenda contrary to its intent, the rule of law no longer exists. It’s not too late to reinstate the rule of law but the time is approaching when that option, too, ceases to be possible. Then our choice can only be to create new rules and impose them on the federal government.