Thursday, February 16, 2012

From the Rule of Law to the Rule of the Lightbringer

We all know that America was founded upon the rule of law, but how do we know this is a good thing? In other words, what Law accounts for the rule of law? What is the cosmic Law beneath -- or above -- the terrestrial law?

I ask this because it is by no means obvious, at least if history is to be our guide. If it were obvious, then man would have discovered the principle long before he did. Obviously, for most of history (and for the majority of human beings alive today) man has been subordinate to the rule of man.

And what is the law or principle beneath or behind the rule of man? Why, power, of course. For the law of power to be operative, it must be based upon the implicit principle that man ≠ man, for no man has the natural right to dominate his equal. Rather, men must be unequal if such domination is to be legitimate and "in the nature of things."

Thus, the rule of man is always the rule of power and inequality, unless said man subordinates himself to the higher Law, in which case it is no longer the rule of man, precisely.

This introduces an interesting twist -- one of which the founders were well aware -- because it means that just because one has a formal democracy, this fact alone has nothing to do with whether or not one is subordinate to the rule of law.

Indeed, most serious thinkers realize that democracy in and of itself is indistinguishable from mob rule in the absence of a higher principle. Which, of course, is why reader William is forever alerting us to inane polls that reflect his policy preferences, as if no appeal to the intellect is necessary. Vox mobulie!

In fact, we may put forth the general rule that since the left is by definition unprincipled (since it denies transcendence), it must ultimately find its legitimacy in power, including the power of the demos when convenient. If not convenient, then it will simply bypass the citizenry and impose its newly discovered or improvised principles from on high, as in Dred Scott or Roe v. Wade.

Those latter two cases are only the most visible and dramatic instances of judicial malfeasance, but in fact, the malfeasance has been going on in systematic form since FDR, who understood full well that in order to exercise the type of power he coveted, it couldn't be within a constitutional framework.

Therefore, it was necessary to intimidate and/or replace the referees, who would change, reinterpret, or just ignore the rules. But to change the rules in this manner is again the rule of power, now made even more malicious because it is being imposed upon us by people for whom the rule of law ought to be sacred.

And I mean this literally. Not for nothing is the Supreme Court building conspicuously honored with the image of Moses the Lawgiver. Likewise, it is with good reason that justices dress in robes that are designed to efface personal identity and to remind us that they are analogous to a kind of impersonal priesthood to whom we owe our respect. In this case, clothes are supposed to unmake the man, and reflect the law only.

But nowadays, if the outer garments were to match the interior soul, then four of our justices would have to dress as thugs, another as a clown. For only Thomas, Scalia, Roberts, and Alito attempt to render themselves invisible by actually subordinating themselves to our constitution. Only do they deserve to be swaddled in majestic anonymity.

In order to bring about the statist polices they desire, leftists cannot and will not pin their grandiose aspirations on so unreliable a principle as the rule of law. This has been recognized since Woodrew Wilson, who was at least honest enough to argue the point openly and transparently, without so much as a fig-leaf of the type of modern-day spin that tries to tell us that what we see with our own eyes is not really there -- or that what is not there is there, concealed behind some emanation of a penumbra seen only by the unelect.

Steven Hayward provides numerous example of Wilson's refreshingly candid sentiments about the grave defects of our Constitution, and how it just interferes with the rule of Overeducated Elites who Know Better.

If only today's devious progressives could be as forthright, then we could actually have a meaningful discussion instead of a shoving match, in which we quote the Constitution and they tell us to shove it.

It is no little irony that before being permitted to sit as executive of the federal government, the president-elect must swear an oath of fealty to the Constitution of the United States, that is, to protect and defend it. This is as fine an example as one could imagine of a person subordinating himself to the Law behind the law, otherwise the oath is meaningless and we are right back to the rule of man.

In his book, Hayward assigns a letter grade to each president for how well they fulfilled the modest task of protecting and defending the Constitution (Wilson, of course, gets an F). And I say "modest," because even a nodding acquaintance with the literature of the framers -- e.g., the Federalist Papers -- demonstrates that these men already did all of the heavy philosophical, metaphysical, anthropological, historical, religious, and political lifting.

Wilson, who was a Hegelian and a Darwinian, essentially wanted to replace the divine right of kings with the divine right of the state (in Hegel's sense of the state embodying the Divine Idea or absolute principle). If Darwin and Hegel were correct that nothing is static and that history unfolds in a progressive direction, then it is simply absurd to maintain that there is any kind of final truth embodied in our founding documents:

"In our own day, whenever we discuss the structure or development of anything, whether in nature or in society, we consciously or unconsciously follow Mr. Darwin.... The trouble with the [Newtonian] theory is that government is not a machine, but a living thing.... Living political constitutions must be Darwinian in structure and in practice" (quoted in Hayward).

That being the case, we must not limit ourselves to "the original intent of those who drew the paper, but by the exigencies and the new aspects of life itself" (ibid). Which, of course, immediately devolves to the rule of pretentious jackasses such as Wilson.

Wilson's argument -- such as it is -- ignores the fact that the framers left a clearly articulated means with which to alter or add to anything they might have missed, for example a law prohibiting grog, which, thanks to progressive do-gooders, was enacted in 1920. Nowadays progressives would have simply banned it based upon their expansive reading of the power to regulate commerce by rendering drunk driving impossible.

The Self-Soothing Myth of our elites pretends that the rule of law was a natural outgrowth of the gradual secularization of man, which commenced after the Renaissance. You might say that in this masturbatory fantasy of the tenured, history has groaned and labored through the dark millennia in order to finally arrive at the Harvard faculty lounge.

But this is not what Eric Nelson finds in his carefully documented The Hebrew Republic: Jewish Sources and the Transformation of European Political Thought. Rather, the opposite; largely because of the Protestant rebellion, which focused on the written word, for the first time (at least on any widespread scale), "Christians began to regard the Hebrew Bible as a political constitution, designed by God himself for the children of Israel."

In this context, it became immediately apparent that the divine right of kings represented a kind of idolatry: "The Hebrew revival made republican exclusivism possible by introducing into Protestant Europe the claim that monarchy is sin." This leads directly to the idea of the rule of man, for now Moses is not merely an analogical and symbolic forerunner of Jesus, but is "to be understood as a lawgiver, as founder of a politeia in the Greek sense."

Which brings us to our current president, for whom the judicial tyranny of the Warren court didn't go far enough in undoing the rule of law and replacing it with the rule of man. Ah, but this is no ordinary man! For

"I’ve heard from far too many enormously smart, wise, spiritually attuned people who’ve been intuitively blown away by Obama’s presence -- not speeches, not policies, but sheer presence -- to say it’s just a clever marketing ploy, a slick gambit carefully orchestrated by hotshot campaign organizers who, once Obama gets into office, will suddenly turn from perky optimists to vile soul-sucking lobbyist whores, with Obama as their suddenly evil, cackling overlord....

"Many spiritually advanced people I know (not coweringly religious, mind you, but deeply spiritual) identify Obama as a Lightworker, that rare kind of attuned being who has the ability to lead us not merely to new foreign policies or health care plans or whatnot, but who can actually help usher in a new way of being on the planet, of relating and connecting and engaging with this bizarre earthly experiment. These kinds of people actually help us evolve. They are philosophers and peacemakers of a very high order, and they speak not just to reason or emotion, but to the soul" (Mark Morford).

This is very clever, because it recognizes the need to ground the rule of law in a higher law, but simply identifies the man with the law. You know, as in Deutschland c. 1933-1945. If this weren't such an elevated blog, we might call Obama's new political hybrid Doucheland.


julie said...

These kinds of people actually help us evolve.

Heh. Yes, of course they do. After all, the survivors of the collapses they bring about cannot help but be the fittest; the unfit are marked for merciful death as soon as it's expedient.

JP said...

Lex is rex!

At this point in Western intellectual thought, we are left with a big pot of goo in terms of metaphysical underpinnings.

It's not going to ungoo itself anytime soon.

Verdiales said...

Bang on.

Bob, this is great. It's good that Nelson's book is getting the recognition it deserves. It has energized a lot of related work, all of which is welcome.

He's going to lecture at Notre Dame next fall, having won one of their awards, so let's hope he helps that poor institution back on the wagon. Some faculty and admins have obviously been hitting the Obama Koolaid like its a college kegger.

Verdiales said...


They're not worried about goo and un-gooing. Example:

"Atheism (a rather loaded term) denies religion’s propositional truth, while secularism is a 'stance towards religion' taken in pursuit of non-religious ends, and which, as such, cannot be true or false."

You see, it's just a "stance." No metaphysics involved, none desired. Nothing to see here but, apparently, the projections of your own metaphysical hang-ups.

Feel better? Here's the kicker:

"Because the secularism that underpins state neutrality is regarded just as a stance set into a particular cultural orientation, Bilgrami contends that mere philosophic argument cannot persuade its enemies of state neutrality’s virtues. That will only happen in history, which Bilgrami claims will follow a particular trajectory. In the future, he supposes, ostensibly unified religious polities will divide. Internal conflicts will erupt in them. They will then be exposed to secularist persuasion by outsiders who can successfully point out contradictions in the confessional polity’s values and legitimations. Appeals to atheism or positive secularism need not play a role in this process either."

In short, secularism wins because the metaphysicians will bicker and make most people frustrated with them. Then the secular state appears as the neutral arbiter, and so rakes in all the cultural and political winnings.

No goo necessary.

So they argue.

Van said...

"Thus, the rule of man is always the rule of power and inequality, unless said man subordinates himself to the higher law, in which case it is no longer the rule of man, precisely."

Boom! Winning.

John Lien said...

@julie. Nice!

The fact prohibition became a constitutional amendment really is amazing.

Cannibals elect cannibal kings. So we have only to blame ourselves.

We have slowly destroyed this country over the last 100 years. I don't believe you can't stop it. There are not enough of us principled folk.

Everything Cycles (spirals?). Why would we be an exception?

It's just watching it happen in slo-mo that's killin' me.

Thanks for the swell posts Bob!

I'll be in my bunk(er).

(Maybe, come spring, I'll be less gloomy but the more I learn of history the less hopeful I am.)

Van said...

"Wilson, who was a Hegelian and a Darwinian, essentially wanted to replace the divine right of kings with the divine right of the state (in Hegel's sense of the state embodying the Divine Idea or absolute principle)."

Yep. Seeing is believing, look at what Wilson had to say himself:
Especially What is Progress?, and Socialism and Democracy , and Excerpts from the President’s Committee on Administrative Management

Know thy enemy... especially the fact that they are your enemy, and they know it.

JP said...

And from that blog post:

"This is an ingenious philosophical prophecy. But the obvious problem with it is that history has not so far worked this way, and Bilgrami offers no good reasons for us to think that it will in the future either."

Oh, he's developed a novel a prioi escheaton!

They always work.

I wonder why someone didn't think of that sooner.

JP said...

Van says:

"Know thy enemy... especially the fact that they are your enemy, and they know it."

I'm not sure they know it. I think they are full of some sort of goo at this point.

In fact, I'm no longer sure they know anything.

Van said...

JP said "I'm not sure they know it."

JP, here's a way you can test your assumption:
1: Venture into a leftist site (I'd suggest virtually, rather than physically... 'dead men tell no tales' and all that).

2: State "I'm not so sure that Planned Parenthood is a good thing:

3: (if still standing/unconvinced) State "I'm thinking no public funds should be allowed to fund them in any way"

Read the comments you engender (yes, I'm assuming you did so virtually... you're still breathing/unconvinced).

They know who you are.

JP said...

"2: State "I'm not so sure that Planned Parenthood is a good thing:

3: (if still standing/unconvinced) State "I'm thinking no public funds should be allowed to fund them in any way""

Now that is funny.

I had forgotten that Planned Parenthood existed.

I've got a HuffPo poster living behind me. Now, there is a fence separating our property... I could go over the fence and try it in person.

julie said...

This is very clever, because it recognizes the need to ground the rule of law in a higher law, but simply identifies the man with the law. You know, as in Deutschland c. 1933-1945. If this weren't such an elevated blog, we might call Obama's new political hybrid Doucheland.

Speaking of Deutschland, wtf is WRONG with Germany?

Van said...

The war may have ended, but the philosophy keeps going, and going, and going downnnn....

But, as willian says, it's not as if there's a gulag state, so what wie worry, right?

I'll bet willian and his cat would be very happy there!

JP said...

Nothing's wrong with Germany, Julie.

It's a lifestyle choice.

All lifestyles are right.

Because they are lifestyles.

It's an asthetic thing.

Verdiales said...

Thought experiment:

"For males, ejaculation is a pleasurable bodily function, on the same level as relieving a full bladder. It doesn't matter how this event is achieved. It has no meaning beyond physical tension and release."

It baffles me to hear about people who aren't at all bothered by how reductive this is. It's as if they equate the reduction to pure animality with some sort of Truth, and even feel triumphant about it. Literally, it's stupid: such a reduction stupefies us to everything *else* about sex, and that stupefaction is supposed to represent human progress and liberty?

It's like watching your fellows give themselves lobotomies whilst masturbating in a circle. Does anyone else find that incredibly sad, pathetic, and reductive? They deserve nothing but easy and untroubled ridicule.

Gagdad Bob said...

They probably figured out that some of those babies are female.

julie said...

Frothing at the mouth is never attractive; it's no wonder your comment got deleted, you sound deranged. Anyway, all subscribers saw your comments, Willy boy; I wonder, did you have to stop to wipe all that spittle off your screen?

As to the "horror" of vaginal ultrasounds, oh give me a farkin break. It is literally nothing compared to the horror of the tools they use to scrape, vacuum, chop, and do whatever else it takes to murder that little person and pull the pieces out. That is quite possibly the most retarded argument against the ultrasound I have heard yet.

William said...

Yea, Julie?

So, your in favor of this state mandated intrusion / humiliation?

julie said...

Dios mio, man. I keep thinking you can't get any stupider, and you keep proving me wrong.

Gagdad Bob said...

Julie, give him a break. If he knocks up Iska, it's the end of his adolescence.

julie said...

Good point. Well, I'm sure there are some places in Germany where he can find some good advice on preventing that sort of thing...

Gagdad Bob said...

Julie -- Historically that is indeed why men favored abortion -- so high SES men could avoid having babies as a result of their dalliances with low-class women.

julie said...

So from a Darwinian standpoint, I wonder whether he isn't doing the species a favor by making sure his genes don't make it to the next generation?

Gagdad Bob said...

In a way, yes, because the world needs more mature men, so his immature genes will end with him. So long as he can tap that cow for free, there's no way a guy like him is gonna buy it.

Van said...

willian's voice cracked mewling "often it takes more responsibility NOT to get preggers"

Yeah, and being mature enough to control yourself and your actions is clearly not a factor in being responsible, clearly the govt should step in and provide you the materials you need so as to be able to allow your impulses to... pulse... as the fit comes upon you.

Obviously the next step will be govt monitored pregger-agencies, where adoltolescents such as willian can empty their organs in a safe and secure facility, with whomever, and whatever, lifestyle partners they might choose.

Responsibility - remember kids, when faced with the prospect, always put it off on to others.

Van said...

willian doubled down with
"Guess you're more responsible and more virtuous than me."

Duh, 'Leftist', hello?

"Must be your Christian conservative upbri..."

I do love it when leftists assUm... but I'd rather you didn't include me in that. With you. Eew.

"...I publically apologize to Van for my lack of abstinence a..."

You are a sad, strange little man.

"my parents have been married 52 years - highschool sweethearts and together ever since. Yours?"

Separated by death at 49 years, but thanks for asking. And don't worry, I'm sure yours still love you, that's what responsible parents do. Even though it is the right and responsible thing to do, return their love while you still can.

JP said...

For some reason, I don't associate Van with "Christian conservative upbringing."

Could be those Vegas stories.