“As long as it is admitted that the law may be diverted from its true purpose–that it may violate property instead of protecting it–then everyone will want to participate in making the law, either to protect himself against plunder or to use it for plunder.”
“Two objections to the current state of federal law have been that no one knows how many federal crimes there are, and no one can easily find them all…
The American legal system has always presumed—often incorrectly—that every person knows every criminal law. In fact, no one—no police officer, no prosecutor, no judge, and no law professor—knows all of them. One reason why this problem has existed is that there is no compendium of all federal criminal laws that a person—or a lawyer—could turn to when issues arise.
In the past the Justice Department and the American Bar Association (ABA) separately attempted to prepare a list of federal offenses. Neither the Justice Department nor the ABA succeeded, no other component of the executive branch has picked up the baton since then, and no comprehensive, easily accessible list exists today…”
I would like to say that I am shocked, but I’m not. This is actually a predictable output from the government of a society that has given up on self-governance based on individual self-control and relies on the state to define all aspects of human interaction.
Think about it: If we pass a law that says it is illegal to do X, then we have to define what “X” is. We then have to codify every possible situation where “X” exists, what can be done to it, with it and when. That definition becomes pliable as it works its way through the judicial system and each court determines what the meaning if “X” is in this particular individual interaction. The permutations and combinations are mind boggling.
This is also an example of how a system of governance that relies on laws to maintain social order will eventually collapse under its own weight.
There are two types of individual control, external and internal.
External controls are laws and regulations. They are documented definitions of legal behavior that have consequences within the legal system. While they may have some effect as a deterrent and some would argue that defined punishments ranging from a parking ticket to capital punishment are such deterrents, there is no doubt that these deterrents do not stop the infractions from happening. Every day there are illegally parked vehicles and there unfortunately are also murders.
Internal controls are individual values, mores and standards that determine how one person relates to the next. For example, my internal controls – based on my Judeo-Christian beliefs – prevent me from going over to my neighbor’s house when he is at work, kicking down his door and taking his TV for myself. I also know it is a crime to do so as there are laws that define it as such, but if he is gone and there is no other entity present to enforce that external control, the only thing stopping me is me – my conscience that informs me what is right and what is wrong.
What is becoming clear to me is that a democratic Republic cannot survive when its citizens lose the ability to exercise internal controls. John Adams wrote:
“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. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other.”
When we lose respect for others, when we lose sight of the Biblical Ten Commandments and vainly attempt to control the 7 deadly sins of pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed and sloth with legalism instead of spiritualism, we open the door to the progression of the creation of the impossibility of democratic socialism, totalitarianism and the eventual collapse of society into chaos and anarchy.
There are two types of indicators of activity in a society and its culture – lagging and leading indicators. The difference is that a lagging indicator is a measure that tells you if you have achieved a goal, a leading indicator tells you if you are likely to achieve it. The former is inherently focused on actions that caused a measurable result in the past, the latter on what we need to do to achieve a desired result in the future. In a business, measuring monthly sales is a lagging indicator, measuring stock-outs is a leading indicator because I know that if I eliminate them, I can make more sales.
Late last year an article was published in Scientific American that noted that there was a worldwide decline in religiosity, citing a global 14,000 subject survey by the Bertelsmann Foundation of Germany. In the same article, the author referenced a 2012 Pew survey noted that the fastest growing religious sect in America were the “nones”, a full 20% of Americans said they held no religious affiliation and that number jumped to a staggering 32% for young Americans under 30.
Could it be that the decline in religiosity in the US is a such leading indicator? Are the liberties and freedoms designed for our society being eroded because we are shifting our basis of governance from the internal control of a “moral and religious people” to a reliance on external controls through secular humanism and legalism?
I think there is an argument to be made that it is.
In my opinion – and one that seems to draw validation from centuries of history – liberty was created and is maintained in modern western civilization in direct proportion to the extent of a nation’s reliance on Judeo-Christian values.
So called “climate scientists” warn that even fraction of a degree of global temperature rise or an inch increase in sea level can spell disaster for certain species on the planet. If that is true, is it also not possible that there is a threshold of religiosity required for the survival of American Republic as well?