Wednesday, July 02, 2008

From rule of law to mob rule in one generation

The issue of yooficide following the tragic, brutal, sadistic murder of Ben Kinsella has got the progressive liberals wringing their hands like never before. Well, not since the last major hand wringing.

"Why? Why? Why?" they moan - and then the reason hits them.


Knives are the cause of all this murder and mayhem. Knives are evil. Knives kill. We must crack down on knives.

Ring any bells? It was the same reaction when a deranged loner lost the plot and murdered some children in a Scottish school - except then it was guns. So the progressives banned guns and the result? Gun crime escalated. But hey, problem solved eh? It must be true - Michael Moore says so.

They estimate that almost half of all 12-17 year olds carry a knife these days, but I come from an era when just about every boy worthy of the title carried a knife. Does that shock or surprise you? Admittedly they were only small penknives - pocket knives - which we used to whittle wood or dig out that dinosaur bone from the building site that turned out to be a discarded chicken thigh, but as the teachers used to tell us "you could have someones eye out with that".

But it never occurred to us to "have someones eye out".

So why are kids stabbing and killing each other today? No doubt the progressives will dig down to the root causes and discover - surprise, surprise - that it is "poverty and inequality" coupled with "lack of opportunity".


It comes down to one thing and it happens to be something which the progressives themselves created.

The collapse of the rule of law.

What is the rule of law? Everyone who knows the phrase knows the principle of "rule of law" is that the law applies equally to everybody - including government - and exists to prevent the arbitrary use of authority by government against the people.

However, it has a second principle too - one that is not mentioned very often - and that is to prevent mob rule. Without the rule of law anyone can set themselves up as an "authority" - even an informal one - and with sufficient backing can impose their authority on someone else.

That "backing" could be a group of people and that authority could be imposed through legitimate means - such as the way hunting with dogs was banned - but mob rule doesn't require large amounts of people - or even another person. The basic principle behind mob rule is that "might is right" - so a single person with a knife has authority over a single person without one.

The interesting thing about the "rule of law" is that it is only a concept. Sure, there are mentions of it in grand documents and various legislation, but rule of law, by the vary nature of it, is not enforceable.

Why not? Think about it. The rule of law limits the use of authority by an authority. But law without authority is worthless. Someone, somewhere has to have authority or the law just get ignored. The law itself can not impose rule of law - law can not assume authority. Don't think that the police and courts can ensure rule of law - all they can do is catch and prosecute those that break the law (and they don't do that very well, anymore) - but they are not able to ensure that the principle of rule of law is maintained.

The principle of rule of law can only be maintained if there is a prevailing belief that - even if nobody else is hurt and nobody finds out I still will not commit an act that breaks the law. That belief relies on an authority. Some call it conscience, but a person's conscience is just a reflection of that person's morality. Morality is the authority.

So, if that is the case, where did the moral authority come from before the collapse of the rule of law?

Well, before Magna Carta the authority was the King, but Magna Carta changed that. So what became the authority after Magna Carta? What was it about the King that gave him authority before Magna Carta? It was the same thing that King Charles I believed gave him the authority over Parliament that led to the English Civil War. The belief that the King is the living embodiment of God.

Christianity is the moral authority.

Christianity is not just the basis of our law, it was the basis of our morality that ensured that the rule of law was maintained. The rule of law depends on everyone having, more or less, the same moral standards - what I call the moral baseline - by which that law is judged.

Without that moral authority there can be no "rule of law", but that moral authority was challenged back in the sixties through a series of progressive movements and, over time, broken down. The progressive belief in moral equivalence - that one mans morality is every bit as good as anyone elses - replaced the moral authority of Christianity.

But that belief in moral equivalence means that you can not have rule of law - because there is no longer a single moral authority which everyone accepts. Progressives believed they could remove Christianity as the moral authority and replace it with nothing else based on a single false premise.

That humans are naturally moral.

They aren't. Just the opposite in fact.

The rule of law, on it's own, is not enough to ensure the rule of law. An agreed moral standard is also required. Since the eradication of Christianity as the moral standard, progressives have tried to create a new moral code by bringing in a succession of "rights" - but, without the rule of law, these "rights" are nothing more than empty rhetoric.

You can bet your last pound that the killers of Ben Kinsella were not in the least bit concerned with Ben's "right to life", but you can be sure they have their own moral code that contains at least two commandments.

Thou shalt do whatever is necessary to uphold "respect".
Thou shalt not grass.

That is the moral code of vast numbers of young people today and that is the authority to which they subscribe. It is mob rule. The progressives can wring their hands for years and will never come up with the true cause of the problem.

The problem isn't knives- it is progressive liberalism.


JuliaM said...

"You can bet your last pound that the killers of Ben Kinsella were not in the least bit concerned with Ben's "right to life", but you can be sure they have their own moral code that contains at least two commandments.

Thou shalt do whatever is necessary to uphold "respect".
Thou shalt not grass."

Three, actually: 'When caught, thou shalt avail thyself of the full panoply of 'human rights' provided by the State.

They might not believe in the rule of law, but their court-appointed lawyers, social workers and behavioural therapists will.

All paid for by our taxes, of course...

Stan said...

Nice one JuliaM. I knew there would be more than just the two and while I was writing this I was thinking I ought to sit down and work out the new "ten commandments" of the progressive movement - but it took me long enough to write this!

I'll add your excellent blog to my Blogroll - apologies for not doing so earlier. Very remiss of me.

JuliaM said...