If the law represents nothing more than the will of whoever has the most audacity to hijack it, won’t it occur to the American people at some point that they too can join in the nihilistic jostling? What if the people thought, “the law is just the will of the strongest,” and marched on courthouses and threw lawless judges out on the street? What appeal could these judges make to them — “You must follow the laws that we don’t”?
Lawless judges operate according to a very cynical assumption: that the people they abuse will never behave as recklessly and ruthlessly as they do. But this is not a durable assumption. Treating the people as docile chumps will work in the short term, but one of the more reliable patterns of history is that anarchy follows tyranny. Tyrants live by lawlessness and die by it. There is no reason to suppose that the convulsions that every other corrupted Republic has choked on through history won’t eventually seize the throat of our tyrants.
But for now they will console themselves with the comic hubris of spreading the “rule of law” to foreigners while traducing it themselves at the expense of their countrymen. The irony is beyond absurd: at the very moment America seeks to spread the “rule of law” abroad, its judicial class wages war on the rule of law at home. As America tells foreigners to replace the rule of corrupt men with the rule of law, it hastens a culture at home that replaces the rule of law with the rule of corrupt judges.
Americans are supposed to be horrified that mullahs in the Middle East are micromanaging the lives of people and standing in the way of their self-government. Yet that’s exactly what’s happening to Americans under the modernist mullahs of its judicial class. Both the Supreme Court and state courts routinely lecture the people like overweening mullahs, saying in effect: we will not let you govern yourselves; you must submit your way of life to our approval; we don’t trust your “values.”
American judges have a contempt for God-given freedoms that would make an Arab autocrat proud. Because these judicial tyrants know that letting the people exercise God-given freedoms will not produce the liberal society they have long wanted to engineer, they will squash that freedom by judicial decree. The Monday ruling of San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer throwing out Californians’ opposition to same-sex marriage illustrates this once again.
What laws can the American people pass under these mullahs? Only laws based on their will. Under the “living Constitution,” which resides wholly in the will of judges, the American people can’t govern themselves according to laws that come from God — the whole point of establishing a constitution after overthrowing a British tyrant — and must forsake those laws in favor of the tyrants’ vision. If judges in Iraq behaved like judges in America, our diplomats would call it a human rights abuse, a denial of religious rights, and a diminution of democracy. Tyranny happens here and liberals call it a “maturing society.”
Having no respect for the laws of God, modern liberalism is by nature lawless, and the judicial tyranny under which we now live is its natural outgrowth. Since liberalism rests on nothing that precedes human will, what else can the rule of law for it be but the rule of corrupt men? The idea that man would form laws on the basis of an order from which he came — namely, the order that God established and promulgates to man through his reason — is an outrage to liberalism. This idea of law is “authoritarian.” However, experience should have taught us by now that modern liberalism produces not an absence of authority but an explosion of new and abusive authority, a pitiless authority that tends toward totalitarianism.
The Supreme Court’s practice of replacing the law with its vision of a “maturing society” is nothing more than a totalitarian power grab: judges’ engineering the perfect society by forcing the people to embrace approved fictions and handcuffing them whenever they pass laws that might conflict with that perfect society. If you doubt liberalism’s movement toward totalitarianism, look at the myriad ways in which its courts force people to be “equal” and punish them for not upholding its requirements; look at all the freedoms they abolish in the name of “equal protection”; and look at the blatant assault on self-government as one of the acceptable costs of progress.
These tyrants do not want one nation under God; they want one nation under them. The tyrants and totalitarians we seek to overthrow abroad are in our midst.
George Neumayr is executive editor of The American Spectator.
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