27 October 2008

Where the law is subservient and impotent

Of course, the real question , still thinking about “economic plans”, is whether the Constitution actually empowers the not-so-federal government to “fix” or “run” or “manage” our economy in the first place. We can also wonder whether it is empowered to “fix” a healthcare “crisis”. But why bother. The only time Republicans worry about extra-constitutional actions is when a Democrat does them. The only time Democrats worry about extra-constitutional actions is when a Republican does them. It shouldn’t surprise us when Democrats do it: they believe in a “living, breathing” document. So the darn thing doesn’t really say anything anyway – until it’s been “interpreted” by a (liberal) judge.

It’s a sick sort of joke, however, to hear John McCain, talk about his desire to appoint judges who will strictly interpret the Constitution. We are, after all, talking about the same John McCain has plans to fix both our economy and our healthcare crisis.

By happenstance, I happen to be re-reading Plato’s Laws. Several days ago I read this passage on the importance of the rule of law. Enjoy.
[I]n your State we shall assign office to a man, not because he is wealthy, nor because he possesses any other quality of the kind--such as strength or size or birth; but the ministration of the laws must be assigned…to that man who is most obedient to the laws and wins the victory for obedience in the State,--the highest office to the first, the next to him that shows the second degree of mastery, and the rest must similarly be assigned, each in succession, to those that come next in order. And those…I have now called “ministers” of the laws…in the belief that salvation, or ruin, for a State hangs upon nothing so much as this. For wherever in a State the law is subservient and impotent, over that State I see ruin impending; but wherever the law is lord over the magistrates, and the magistrates are servants to the law, there I descry salvation and all the blessings that the gods bestow on States. (715b--d)

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James Frank Solís
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 26 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
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