Few today realize how truly revolutionary the concept was that a government would be defined by laws not by the ever changing will of one man. At the time, and continuing on to our own times, almost all governments were based on the authority of one, or a few, leaders. Those leaders could have people they didn’t like tossed in jail, raise taxes on people they didn’t like, or even define their own new religion. Under the rule of men those in power can, without following any rules, modify and create laws without the consent of the people.
It’s important to realize that it is not sufficient for there to be laws for a land to be ruled by laws. Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union had laws but those laws were whatever the men in power deemed them to be at any given time. Further how those laws were applied depended on the unilateral decisions of the rulers.
When power flows from the people and the laws are created by elected representatives following agreed to rules and those laws are applied, at least in theory, equally to all citizens the rule of law exists.
When power flows from the leaders and new laws, sometimes called regulations, are created by the anointed few and those laws are applied as the few consider “best” there is the rule of men.
While America hasn’t fully lived up to the ideal of the rule of law it is an vision shared by most Americans. Few like seeing someone getting special treatment because of their wealth, status,race, or political status. Because Americans take the rule of law seriously they follow traffic laws and file their own tax returns rather than having the government send them a bill. There are exceptions but the fact that we get mad at the rare idiot who runs a red light shows how normal following the law is to Americans.
That’s not the case in many parts of the world; especially those lands ruled by men and not laws. Politicians used to realize the importance of following the rule of law. In Pennsylvania the state legislator used to physically turn back the hands on the official clock so they could finish by a legally mandated deadline--and they weren’t the only state legislature to do so. It may sound silly but it showed that the people in power realized that they too were held accountable to the law.
But new millennia Democrats seem to have decided that the rule of law isn’t really for them. While it’s true today's Democrats can look to their ancestors, such as FDR who tried to pack the Supreme Court or the Democrat controlled Congress that kept passing laws that had exemptions for Congress itself, for examples of cheating on the rule of law the current lot of Democrats have thrown the concept of a government of laws into the dustbin of history.
The first major sign of the new Democrat view of America helped set the stage for the new millennium when in 1999 Democrats decided that perjury and obstruction of justice were not illegal if it was their guy who did them; but they still condemned Nixon so it was clear they believed that Republicans had to live by the rule of law.
Democrats rejected the rule of law by saying that their first loyalty was to Bill Clinton not to the law. In doing so they rejected the rule of law and substituted a rule by men. Bill Clinton was important so according to Democrats he did not have to adhere to the same rules as every other American. There was a relatively quiet time during the Bush years though some Democrats tried to establish a parallel foreign policy which subverted the laws describing who actually spoke for America; a Democrat tradition dating to the latter part of the Cold War.
Under the Obama generation of Democrats rejection of the concept of laws has come into full bloom.
The Democrat governor of California and the Democrat Attorney General of California have refused to defend Proposition 8 which defined marriage as between one man and one woman. In doing so they anointed themselves as ones who could decide what the rules are based on their own personal biases. In our Fathers America, in an American run by the rule of law, government officials do not get to decide what laws to defend and what laws to enforce. But in the view of California Democrats it is the rule of men not the rule of law that matters.
Democrat Congressmen, such as Pete Stark, have said that they don’t see that there is any limit on what Congress can do. They are saying that they do not have to follow the rule of law--such as the Constitution--but that instead they are the men who rule us.
Similarly the US Senate run by Democrats has failed to pass a budget for more than 3 years. They are required by law to do so every year. But because they put themselves, but not their political opponents, above the law they are not bothered by their failure. In the eyes of those who espouse the rule of men rather than the rule of law violating the law is nothing for the men who hold power; for the new American Nomenklatura.
Obama endorsed his fellow Democrats rejection of the rule of law when he decided he would violate his oath to uphold the laws of this country by refusing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act. Instead Obama arrogated to himself the authority to decide which laws are valid; a role assigned by the Constitution to the Judiciary. A quick look at the Constitution reveals that the President does not have the power to reject laws that have passed Congress--other than by vetoing them. The rule of law would say that the President must defend even those laws he personally doesn’t like. The rule of men however says that the President has the power to do whatever he wants.
Obama’s support of the rule of men can further be seen in how his justice department ignores crimes by groups that Obama favors, such as New Black Panther party members, while feeling free to distort laws in order to prosecute those groups who Obama views as “enemies”.
Obama has gone beyond merely enforcing the law in a biased manner by essentially bypassing the law and acting as a monarch. He couldn’t get his Dream Act passed so he unilaterally decided to stop enforcing the immigration laws he doesn’t like. He has gutted the work requirements in welfare, requirements that Bill Clinton was forced to accept in order to get re-elected, by simple administrative rulings rather than by using the democratic process.
Obamacare, Obama’s crowning “achievement”, is designed to further the rule of men rather than the rule of law. It does so by transferring authority from Congress to the Administration.
The controversial HHS mandate is a result of the law saying that the Secretary of Health and Human Services can define many aspects of the Obamacare on her own. What Obamacare actually is will be defined by the Washington bureaucrats not by the law itself. Essentially Obamacare gives carte blanche to men to make up rules on based on their own personal biases. Few realize that under Obamacare Secretary Sibelius could determine that surgical abortions are required medical treatment that have to be provided free of charge. Democrats in Congress who pushed Obamacare through essentially told the Administration that unelected bureaucrats could make Obamacare into whatever Obama wants it to be; an example of the rule of men rather than the rule of law.
Democrats don’t really believe the law supports the actions Democrats, including Obama, have been taking. No one believes that if a Republican president tried to lower taxes by telling the IRS to not enforce the tax code Democrats would sit by and say that the President has that power. Similarly if some President declared he would not enforce any of the environmental laws passed by Congress Democrats would not laud him for his decisiveness.
The Democrat position then is that America should be ruled by men, the men the Democrats agree with, not the law. Democrats believe that the Constitution does not limit government power. Democrats believe that Democrats who hold elected office are not required to defend or enforce the law of the land. Rather Democrats believe that “gifted” men, ie Democrats, have the authority to rule all Americans and that it is wrong when “outdated” laws, like the Constitution, hinder that.
When Obama speaks wistfully of being able to rule American as the Chinese dictators rule China he is harking back to his Chicago roots where a corrupt Democrat establishment runs the city using the rule of men; not the rule of law. In Chicago who you know and whose palms you’ve greased is far more critical than anything the law says. The Chinese “success” so lauded by Democrats is based on a tyrannical rule of men and is rampant with corruption; just like Chicago. Any political body ruled by men not by law will inevitably be full of corruption as the leaders who are not constrained by the law use their position to feather their own nests.
A people whose President can chose what laws to enforce and who can declare new laws at his whim are no longer a free people. If America abandons the rule of law then we will be doomed to live under the rule of men and suffer the fates of those in China and Putin’s Russia.
The great American experiment is already at risk due to the acceptance of several Supreme Court justices of the concept that the Constitution is a “living” document that they can freely reinterpret based on their own personal beliefs rather than a fixed agreement between the American people and their government which requires the consent of the governed to be modified. Allowing Democrat politicians to continue to behave in lawless ways will put America far down a slippery slope that ends with tyranny.
Do we want an America where we work for the men in power or do we want an America where power flows from the people?
This years election allows us a stark choice between these two options. If Americans choose to be ruled by an elite group of men we will be renouncing all that America has stood for and sentencing our children and their children to a new serfdom not unlike that experienced by the masses of Chinese ruled by the dictators that Obama so admires.