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Op-Ed

Joseph: As the Rule of Law Crumbles in America, Two Solutions Are Being Ignored

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When the rule of law becomes fragile, there are two remedies for rebuilding and strengthening respect for the law:

  1. Clear and predictable deterrence from breaking the law.
  2. Education to foster better knowledge of the law and better understanding of the rational purpose of those laws and our very real need for them.

In our world today, where the rule of law is crumbling, both of these remedies are being largely ignored. Instead, we are seeing rapid and widespread cultural disintegration.

We are falling into an almost pre-civilization vacuum that is inviting the emergence of the new Vandals with their primitive concept of justifiable theft and violence, even against the frail and the most vulnerable.

Justice must not be replaced by pity.

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Way back in January 1944, W.H. Auden waxed prophetic in his poetic work “For the Time Being”:

“Knowledge will degenerate into a riot of subjective visions. … Idealism will be replaced by Materialism. … Justice will be replaced by Pity as the cardinal human virtue, and all fear of retribution will vanish.”

Remarkably, this has indeed come to pass. Violence and theft are being miscast as the courageous acts of freedom-fighting heroes responding to centuries of shameful oppression, inequality and discrimination.

Today’s phenomenon of smash-and-grab lawlessness has emerged from faulty education that has exaggerated our own rights and ignored our prerequisite duties.

Disastrously, we have encouraged a right to steal and commit violence as “just” compensation for a generic victimhood. This then furnishes us with a fake permission to break laws in order to reach for our falsified entitlement to the tinny new goals of inclusion and equity.

Substituting equity for justice

Rights have become the new battleground and “inclusion and equity” the new battle cry.

But unlimited inclusion blocks necessary and legitimate exclusion and destroys family identity, just as open borders eventually destroy a nation’s identity. What we are being duped into calling “social inclusion” is leading tragically to an alarming social disintegration.

Equity is defined by Merriam-Webster as “justice according to natural law or right; freedom from bias or favoritism.” But it is even now being redefined as equal outcomes rather than equal justice.

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In many states today, equity is set up as a higher duty than delivering justice. Our rule of law is assigned a new primary purpose — achieving equal outcomes — which too often involves resorting to unjust means.

Justice is no longer about separating guilt and innocence but rather about enforcing a radically socialist transformation.

Our courts now thrash about trying to mutate our very nature as human beings. They are recklessly reconfiguring natural law toward the alleged social and economic advantage of selected “victim” groups.

We are being wrongly instructed to make excuses for the crimes of those who believe themselves to have attained the now-desirable status of victimhood.

Fear of retribution has been replaced with tolerance of crimes committed by “disadvantaged” groups. Inevitably, the consequence is social chaos.

We must turn back from this madness. Our justices are jurists — not social workers.

Given that we are endowed by nature with differences, our goal of perfect equity is out of reach.

Language of law succumbing to Tower of Babel conditions

The rule of law itself is fast becoming unintelligible as progressive justices try to reconstruct our basic platform of moral principles under Tower of Babel conditions.  Too many courts have lost the common language of morals and ethics indispensable to a coherent and stable system of law.

Every aberrant new ideology, in order to succeed, relies on the language of deception. Woke language, recently invented and now being enforced by our governing elites, is no exception.

With novel ideologies rampant, the meanings of so many words are distorted and legal language risks becoming largely meaningless. The confusion wrought by radical changes in meaning has undermined the principles at the very foundation of law.

The very versatility of our legal language today has removed the predictability of legal outcomes and encouraged the toxic rationalization of harmful behavior.

George Orwell warned that “the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts” and that “there is no swifter route to the corruption of thought than through the corruption of language.”

Education in careful, sober and responsible reasoning leads to moral decision-making.

It’s an admirable, old-fashioned kind of discrimination, an honorable and rational exercise that takes the trouble to discern what is good.

We must teach our children that the characteristic of all good discrimination is that it takes seriously our basic human obligation to reason our way to the difference between what is morally right and what is morally wrong.

The equal and predictable application of the law to all people, regardless of who they are, is being destabilized. The rule of law is now riddled with radically innovative and esoteric reinterpretations or adaptations to align with new ideologies.

The language of increasingly muddled law has become too complex and erratic to be reliably assessed and understood by ordinary people seeking to distinguish right from wrong.

True justice needs clarity and distinction — not confusion.

Sadly, Auden’s prediction that knowledge of the law would “degenerate into a riot of subjective visions” has come to pass.

As the rule of law becomes more fragile, we are left with far fewer agreed-upon moral principles. It has become far harder to reach true consensus, far more difficult to find true points of reference and true direction.

Always the rule of law remains dependent on us exercising our fundamental gifts of intellect and free will. Better education is critical.

With a return to reason and courteous debate, we can still sort right from wrong.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

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