“But that’s not how it’s supposed to work!” – the thing in the place of Dinim
So there have been a good amount of occasions where judges, lawyers and cops get away with apparent miscarriages of justice. I just heard of an occasion where a guy goes to a government official’s home to get an interview. That G.O. doesn’t particularly like this so he takes the guy’s smartphone from his hand, takes it into his garage, uses a hammer to smash the person’s phone and then uses an adequade saw to chop it in half and then returns it to the person wanting the interview.
No, that’s not the end.
The person who wanted the interview is arrested and the district attorney sets such a high amount of money for bail the guy can’t get out of jail until the trial. And the G.O. who smashed and destroyed the guy’s phone? The same D.A. drops all charges against him.
Now this is just one example of many of things that agents of the govt do that I personally see as immoral.
People can be imprisoned for asking the wrong questions to a judge, will have charges piled against them by police and lawyers, will be arrested and harrassed when doing nothing wrong or even illegal, will be killed or injured by government officials with no repercussions for those government officials.
And something I often hear from people is, “that’s not the way the system works” or “that shouldn’t happen.”
I’m puzzled by such a response. Well at least part of me is.
Think about the basis for such a statement. People only say “that’s not the way it works” because they think the system should work for justice, fairness and righteousness. They say injustice shouldn’t happen because they think the system should be for the cause of justice, fairness and righteousness.
But when you consider how government officials get their positions and what law is, something doesn’t make sense. There is incongruence between what many accept as the way people get into such roles and how law works, and the result they are expecting.
People hold up a person’s act in light of the government’s law. To be a criminal, convicted or accused of going against the law, is generally seen to be a morally bad thing. Legislation is seen as morality. Those that go against law are seen to have opposed morality itself.
Just to be clear, when I talk about people, I’m including Torah observant Jews and Gentiles. To my grave disappointment, in my experience, many of those who have made govt law seem moral, who have defended the political and legal systems in the land they live in, are Torah observant Jews and “noahides.”
Yet, what factually is govt law? What is the nature of govt law? It’s basically the written opinions of politicians, people whose level of righteousness or moral intellect is at best questionable, that are backed by the threat of coercion.
But just like in science, so in politics, the words of men are elevated to a different plane of existence, as if holy or sacrosanct, by pure and simply magic or faith.
However, when I think about what govt law actually is, its nature, the opinions of the questionable unknown politicians backed by threats, then I personally begin to wonder if I should really expect justice, righteousness and fairness from such a thing.
And since it is understood that govt law is just opinion backed by threats, then I’ll return to the idea of being a criminal, a law breaker. Essentially it is simply going against an opinion of someone else. It’s not, in and of itself, immoral. Someone’s opinion doesn’t make objective morality. The views of a group don’t make objective morality. Objective morality stands regardless of humans.
So necessarily the government’s law is not moral law. In order for legislation to be moral, it has to accord with proper morality. And there are historical examples of immoral state law. Sometimes the criminals are the good people.
It’s not a popular point. But I believe it to be a true one.
So if government law is not in and of itself moral, then what about the concept of “rule of law” if govt law has such a flaky, weak and potentially immoral nature? Don’t even some “noahides” and noahide webpages see some great importance to “rule of law?” For example,
Today, the principle of the “rule of law” is universally recognized, that is, the incumbency of establishing a just legal system, which is applied with fairness and before whom all are equal. A law that violates fundamental human values does not satisfy this concept of the rule of law. (The Noahide Universal Law, by Nahum Rakover, http://www.lif.ac.il/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=349&Itemid=1331)
Society only functions because of the rule of law. (Introduction to the Noahide Laws, at Noahide Nations, http://noahidenations.com/index.php/academy-of-shem/for-all-mankind/229-seven-noahide-laws/introduction-to-the-noahide-laws/385-an-introduction-to-the-noahide-laws?showall=1&limitstart=)
I’ve seen resources online that even equate the first of the seven laws, Justice or Dinim, with “rule of law.”
So what about “rule of law?”
So yes, I’ll get to that. I’ll just deal with another matter first.
Righteousness, justice and fairness are not prerequisites for government jobs. To join the police, you don’t have to be a morally good person. To be a policeman, you don’t have to be fair and upright. This should be obvious by the willingness of police to throw their weight around, to use threats of imprisonment and physical violence and the taking away of children to gain compliance their individual dictates.
“Tell me your name or I’ll arrest you for obstruction.”
“If you don’t do what I say, I can help make sure social services get involved with your kids.”
“Leave this public place or I’ll arrest you for trespassing.”
Judges are worse since they are nigh-absolute dictators in their courtrooms.
To be a law-maker in many countries, or a politician or a judge or a lawyer or many govt roles, the desire for truth and restoration, and a good moral fibre are not necessary prerequisites.
But they do have to be somewhat good at knowing govt law (yes, whenever I say that, I’m still only referring to a normally written opinion backed by a threat). And this opinion may or may not be for the good of individuals on a whole. But the govt officials, those who don’t need to be decent people, must be good at using it.
And not just using it, but interpreting it as they wish at the time that they have to deal with a potential “criminal.” Judges have to do this in a system where lawyers are not paid to get to the truth but rather to defend their client, and will do what they can to be the grand salesman, advertisers and promoters for the position of their client. Cops have to use this written opinion when (or if) they choose to deal with the public. Politicians … hahahaha … well, they have their role too.
But in such a system that is not based on punishment, not restoration and restitution, where bureaucracy, money, prestige, pride and power have a strong part to play, where righteousness, justice and fairness are not in the important parts of the system, yet people believe it to hav some vague aspirations of good, in such a system, how can there be any real hope of real justice???
And then after all that, the fact that govt law is merely opinion backed by threats but held to be real moral precepts, even by those who uphold the objective morality of Torah, the fact that righteousness, fairness and justice are not the vital ingredients for a govt official to get an office, after all that, then I approach a concept that seems to be highly praised amongst godless and godly people alike: the rule of law.
What is the real basis and product of “rule of law?”
I found the rule of law article in the legal dictionary part of freedictionary.com to be most useful. You can click on that link to read it yourself.
It speaks of three parts to this “rule of law” schpeel.
1) Ruling according to law – politicians have to act in line with written and established laws. They can’t seek to punish people who haven’t broken a law.
2) Ruling under law – No one is above the law, not even politicians. So the law rules everyone equally.
3) Ruling according to a higher law – the laws set in place have to accord with an authority, a law, higher than human law, universal principles that apply to everyone.
Now, I’m hoping that someone reads all that, thinks about it in principle and in how it is played out in real life and at least chuckled at its foolishness. Inside, I’m laughing it to scorn even as my face currently is fiercely focused on getting it finished.
For points 1) and 2), since law is just opinion backed by a threat, and it is created by questionable sources, normally written with enough ambiguity to be played with, and then interpreted and re-interpreted by judges who have their own agendas, judges who can stretch and restrict terminology as they please, these notions are altogether a joke, a sad and despicable joke.
One fantastic example of this is the American constitution which was supposed to limit its government in size and power. Yet, regardless of its words or possiple original intent (or the fact that it actually has no real authority except by faith), the judges and politicians have helped make sure it has grown in scope, size and power to such an extent that people can’t even cross the road without breaking a law, that some are forced under pain of death to put their kids into public school, that no one really owns the land they paid for because they still have to pay the politicians rent called “property tax,” that so many of their actions are interfered with by one piece of legislation or another.
That’s a fantastic example of the useless or empty or totally flexible nature of ruling according to or under law. When a judge or politician can flex it this way or that way to suit their purposes, the law just becomes what it is: opinions that can be played with.
Let’s not forget how notoriously difficult it can be to actually have a govt official punished for immoral acts and crimes. Getting judges punished for their tyranny, or cops for falsely arresting people or killing them or lying in their reports and court testimony, getting politicians punished for war crimes, like lying about reasons for going to war, for shifting the creation and formulation of laws in favour of donors, unions and corporations, getting any of these sorts of bad actors punished is much harder than the normal Joe. Those are just a small set of examples. It should be staggeringly obvious that people are NOT treated equally!
Although I’m sure there are examples of repercussions for govt officials, the plethora of abuses in the area makes “rule under law” a pretense at best, a propaganda tool used to give the serfs the impression that everything is generally ok, that their masters are just and good.
And then I have point 3), accountable to a higher law. Now part of me says that this is a good thing, a recognition of a higher law. This acknowledgement may be a sign of rationality tapping into the intellect that some theorize as coming from the fact that we’re made in God’s image.
But where it concerns ruling according to a higher law, in this secular or multiple-personality multicultural society, that too is a court jester, fumbling and messing around, but only with dire consequences.
So with no god, or a culture with a plethora of gods, or ideas or philosophies, what exactly is this “higher law?” The “universal” human rights? Rights are simply privileges given in different measure depending on which ruling class you happen to live under. There’s no such thing as universal human rights. What about conscience? Ah, that’s subjective and fickle as well. What about the unalienable rights of the Americans or the unwritten constitution in the UK? Oh, that’s the govt privileges again; pick your flavour of ruler.
As hopeful as point 3) can be, currently it’s a pipe dream.
So “rule of law” in all its aspects, and at least in this world, is a myth. And I can’t say much about the imaginings of “noahides” and Torah observant Jews as too many of them think ruling classes should exist (as opposed to courts) and have the “right” and power to make up laws that it sees fit. You can see I have no trust or faith in that.
Anyway, going back to the point of this blogpost, consider the responses of people who see the injustice (that takes a lot for anyone to do) and then exclaim that this isn’t how the system works or things shouldn’t happen this way. Unfortunately too many of them are already committed to their ruling class and system of dictatorship, be it democracy or republic or parliament, whatever. And in light of what govt law is, i.e., the enforced opinion of the morally questionable, in light of the lesser priority given to proper moral fibre in those put in places in the government, in light of the questionable status of the morality of govt officials, and in light of the myth of the rule of law, in light of all things, I’d say that, when immorality happens in govt, and injustice happens in the courts, when innocent people become victims of the police and the “citizens” are little more than cattle for the ruling class …
I’d say things are happening exactly as they should; the system is working as it is meant to.