There is a lot of current discussion about the lawlessness of the current regime and that raises the question of whom or what is responsible for keeping them in check. The answer to the “what” is easy, it is the restrictions written in the Constitution – the “whom” is a bit more complex.
Imagine that it is 10 p.m. and you are on Interstate 80 in the middle of Wyoming – from experience, I can tell you that late at night, the traffic on the stretch from Rawlings in the east to Rock Springs in the west is a pretty lonely stretch. Now assume that the speed limit has been set at 75 mph. You are driving along, your fuel injected, turbocharged, 577 horsepower Mercedes S63 AMG is running smooth, weather conditions are good and you can’t see another set of headlights or taillights for as far as your eye can see. You just topped off the tank in Rawlings and you really want to get across the state as fast as possible. It’s not Cannonball Run, it just feels like it…
What stops you from cranking the good old cruise control up to 85, 95 – or even 105 – and pointing the land rocket toward the last point where you saw the sun?
No law can stop you. A law enforcement officer can temporarily reduce your speed with an autograph session but once he is out of sight, you are free to go right back to speeding.
Whether you fear punishment or not, the only thing that really can stop you is your respect for the law, a belief that adhering to the speed limit is the right thing to do.
But what about limits?
Once you pass the legal limit of 75, what is the limit?
Once you break the 75 mph barrier, the functional limit is only what you feel safe in getting away with. If you believe that your AMG can outrun anything on the road, why not 125 mph? You have already broken the law, right?
The example is to propose that laws do little to restrain people or constrain government without the people in charge respecting those limits. I know that I have quoted it before but John Adams said:
“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
If the Constitution is the “what”, the “whom” are the people with whom we have entrusted control of government – they have a responsibility not to stretch the Constitution in an attempt to make it fit their political desires, they must endeavor to protect and abide by is as is required by their oath of office.
But there is also another “who”. That “who” us – the “We, the people” designated in the Constitution. We have a duty to refrain from electing people to office without the requisite character to hold to the limits and as much a duty to defeat those in office who seek to “reinterpret” the Constitution.
Obama has proven that the antecedent to the Adams quote is true, that:
“…we have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net.”
I’ve said that the lawless respect no laws. Since illegitimacy has its roots in a disrespect for lawful controls, it is not illogical to consider a lawless administration to be illegitimate.