My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Why I Am A Republican, part VI

"Establishing Justice" requires two things: Freedom, and the Rule of Law.

Ever see that bumper sticker: "There Can Be No Peace Without Justice." What a load of crap. Of course, there can be no peace without justice, but there can be absolutely no justice without freedom. As Mel Gibson once asked on film, "What would you do without your freedom?" Justice implies fairness, impartiality of process and a balancing of the individual with the society--no such implication is possible in situations in which political power is anywhere other than with the people. Only when people are free to choose their leaders as they will is there any hope for justice.

Doubt it? Try a thought experiment: If power is vested in an individual, or in a committee, how will they use that power--what is the primary purpose of their existence? The law of bureaucracies tells us that the primary purpose of such a person/body is to perpetuate itself. So, given the choice between the good of the individual, the good of the state, or the good of the powerful, how will that body act? Of course, in its own interests, regardless of whether it is right or not--fair or not, just or not. Further, if that power appoints others to arbitrate justice in its place, how will they act? As we've seen all over the world, such appointees act to preserve the Powerful, because it both protects their positions and because it prevents them from being arbitrarily executed, and replaced with those who will act in the interest of the Power.

Only when the real power lies with the people freely choosing the Power will those in a position of arbitration act according to fairness and justice. And, certainly, there come times when those freely chosen act unjustly and unfairly--and in Free societies, they get replaced by the people freely choosing better representation.

So once the people choose their leadership, how do they ensure Justice? By establishing a set of rules by which every person must abide to be a part of that Free society. Mostly, this is done by the elected representatives, but in any case, such rules are subject to the review and approval of the people (disapproval equals electoral defeat). These rules, when they are best, are usually fairly simple, straightforward, and obvious; likewise, not terribly subject to "interpretation."

Once these rules become established, THEY THEMSELVES BECOME THE BASIS FOR DOMESTIC TRANQUILITY. Domestic tranquility, we have learned from our own history, is most likely to be disturbed when some members of society live outside the rules--whether by usurping too much power or by being forced outside the rules and not enjoying the same freedoms as everybody else. And, as we have also learned from our own history, often the source of the problem is the people acting in power to subject a segment of the society . . .

Which is why Rule of Law must be an integral part of the arrangement.

If it seems like I'm making a circular argument, it's only because I am. Freedom to choose/elect leads to Rule of Law which leads to Justice which ensures Domestic Tranquility which increases Freedom which strengthens Rule of Law . . . The above are not severable from each other.

Which leads to why this, too, is the strong suit of Republicans. Which party, at its core, is stronger on the Rule of Law? Republicans--we tend to believe in actions and consequences and enforcement of consequences; Democrats tend to believe in interpretations and nuances and severing action from consequence (see "abortion"). Which party is better at Freedom? Republicans--not only do we tend to want to reduce regulation and let free markets act freely and let people act freely (so long as they don't infringe on others' freedom), but we're willing to extend freedom to others in the world. There was a time when Democrats were willing to stand for Freedom, and fight two wars in southeast Asia to preserve freedom; those days are past. Which party is better at Justice? Following the logic, Republicans. Often that Justice is unpleasant, but it is the consequence of choices that leads to it; and only Republicans believe the Law says what the Law says--Democrats want nuances and divining intent and the interpretations of "emanations from the penumbrae".

And the Establishment of Justice, the imposition of the Rule of Law, leads to Domestic Tranquility.

Tomorrow: provide for the Common Defense.


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