There has always been a troubling trend on the Left, and among statists and the ruling class in general, when it comes to the rule of law. For those types, “rule of law” means more of a series of suggestions intended to keep “the others”—that is, “the deplorables” or we peasants—in our place. It’s very much “a good for me, but not for thee” mentality. Should any of us violate the laws, we can expect to have the book thrown at us. But for them, it’s more a slap on the wrist, if anything at all.
We see this in the behavior of the Clintons, deep state actors, and even the Bidens. No one seriously thinks that Hunter Biden’s Ukrainian and Chinese business “activities” are above board. But even more troubling, consider that a sitting vice president of the United States was potentially involved in pay-to-play with foreign nations.
The ruling class apparently believes the law is whatever it says it is. It is whatever is convenient for them. The law is a weapon for the ruling class to subdue its enemies.
A remarkable public admission highlighted the truth of the matter recently. Gun-grabber Robert Francis O’Rourke, a man who believes he is fit to occupy the presidency and protect and defend the Constitution, said on national television that he would insist upon the confiscation of AR-15s and AK-47s. “It’s not voluntary. . . It is mandatory,” O’Rourke said. “It will be the law. You will be required to comply with the law.”
Although no one would ever claim O’Rourke is one of our leading intellectual lights, his words do raise an interesting question: what is just law? And please do not tell me it is simply whatever lawmakers at any given point decide the law is. In an American context, that is utterly absurd.
Consider that Germany’s Nuremberg Laws, anti-Semitic and racist, were enacted in 1935. No serious person would call them legitimate or just. Or consider South Africa’s series of laws meant to enforce apartheid. Or, sadly, consider America’s own laws that allowed for slavery. All of these have at one point been considered the “law of the land.”
Many on the Left have abandoned the idea of natural rights and the notion of transcendent law and absolutes. They’ve apparently decided that they’ll just make up the rules as they go.
But were they “just” laws? Those societies at the time said they were, and history is replete with more such examples. But these “laws” all share a common characteristic: every last one of them was in gross violation of human rights and natural law.
In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., echoing St. Augustine and Sir William Blackstone, “An unjust law is no law at all.” For laws to be just, they must conform with natural laws and rights or they are truly no laws at all: they are merely opinions and weapons meant to oppress other human beings that rationalize egregious human thought and behavior.
Cicero, a consul and Roman senator, and truly one of the last heroes of the Roman Republic, also knew that just human laws must be reflections of higher, transcendent law. We used to believe in such things, but such beliefs can be so inconvenient. It’s difficult to square the circle when there are those who don’t believe in transcendent laws given by a transcendent lawgiver who has endowed every human being, created in His image, with natural rights. Such rights include life, liberty, property, and the right to self-defense. In fact, there is no Constitution long enough to enumerate all the rights we as created human beings have by nature, which is why the 9th Amendment is present in our Bill of Rights.
All of this highlights the tension in our society today: many on the Left have abandoned the idea of natural rights and the notion of transcendent law and absolutes. They’ve apparently decided that they’ll just make up the rules as they go.
Some on the Left, Robert Francis O’Rourke among them, now claim that if given power—though God forbid they ever should—they will make laws that outlaw certain types of guns. Of course, it’s a muddled picture as to what this will look like as they babble on about .50-caliber AR-15s and “weapons of war” and all sorts of things that display a lack of rudimentary working knowledge about guns.
O’Rourke’s talk of gun control is in defiance of America’s founding ideas: our founders believed that one of the primary purposes of government, when people come into just and voluntary associations, is the protection of property, which includes not just physical objects, but anything and everything unique to a human being. If government fails to protect those rights, there is another natural right: the right to defend one’s life and property. This is why I’ve argued, and will continue to argue, that gun rights are a natural right: human beings are entitled to self-defense, ergo guns. And not just any guns, but the most powerful and effective guns.
Natural rights and transcendent laws are the foundation of our republic. This is why an abandonment of such ideas knocks out the very underpinnings of our society. History shows us that at some point a nation that develops a Byzantine series of laws meant to justify its behavior, when confronted with the reality of transcendent law, it will eventually collapse under its own weight—often at a great loss of life.
So we have a choice: either rebuild the foundations of our society or prepare for an inevitable and ugly collapse.