Right now, America is facing a level of lawlessness that is highly disconcerting. Everywhere we turn, we see the dismissal of what is supposed to be the law. Whether it is at the border, on our streets, in our courts, in our schools, or even in our homes, there is a dedicated, purposeful, and intentional desire to undermine the rule of law. Therefore, as we are in dire need of a discussion and understanding of the topic, it is pertinent to ask: what is the law?
I recommend that we look to a French economist named Frederick Bastiat, who wrote an essay, first published in 1850, called “The Law.” His essay is as relevant and pertinent as ever to the question posed in this missive.
Bastiat writes, “…it is because personality [individual life], liberty, and property exist beforehand, that men make laws. What, then, is law? As I have said elsewhere, it is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense. Nature, rather God, has bestowed upon every one of us the right to defend his person, his liberty, and his property, since these are the three constituent or preserving elements of life . . . The law is the organization of the natural right of lawful defense; it is the substitution of collective for individual forces, for the purpose of acting in the sphere in which they have a right to act, of doing what they have a right to do, to secure persons, liberties, and properties, and to maintain each in its right, so as to cause justice to reign over all.”
The common themes one finds in this defining quote are life, liberty, and property. This comes from the writings of the father of classical liberalism, John Locke, and his theory of natural rights as presented in his seminal work, “The Second Treatise on Government,” 1689. What Bastiat is affirming is that our natural rights that come from the Creator God–life, liberty, and property–are ours to defend and protect.
However, each of us, even though we have the right to, cannot operate in a civil society seeking our own means of defense of these unalienable rights. Therefore, individuals grant this individual right to a collective organization, meaning consent of the governed, to defend and protect those rights. That is the purpose of the law. That is what the government is established to do. That is the premise of our Declaration of Independence. Government does not exist to usurp individual unalienable rights; it exists to protect them. That is why our Constitution, our rule of law, establishes this in its first ten amendments, our individual Bill of Rights.
The reason the progressive socialist left has embarked upon this crusade of lawlessness is that they have no regard for individual rights, unless they align with their ideological rights. Leftists do not study or read the philosophies of Locke, Bastiat, DeTocqueville, or anyone who advocates for individual rights. The leftists in America are grounded in the rantings of Karl Marx, Antonio Gramsci, Saul Alinsky, and other proponents of collectivism. This is why we should not refer to these progressive socialists as liberals. True liberals — classical liberals — are today’s constitutional conservatives who believe in and understand that the individual is supreme over the institution of government, not vice versa.
Just recently, Kamala Harris misquoted the Declaration of Independence by intentionally excluding “Creator” of the first unalienable right, “life.” Bastiat, if alive today, would have immediately called her out on this purposeful omission. As well, when the government is making decisions to release violent criminals back onto our streets, that is a violation of the Law. We have a government that is allowing millions of illegal immigrants to violate our national sovereignty which endangers our lives by way of drug, human, and sex trafficking, not to mention the destruction of private property. This is a violation of the Law.
When our government believes in the theory of Karl Marx which states, “from those according to their ability, to those according to their need,” that is the premise of economic socialism. It is also a violation of the Law because it is not the raison d’etre of the government to decide how the property of one must be taken away for others. That is what Bastiat termed “legal plunder.” How could it be part of the Law to have the government decide which businesses are essential, or not?
Even Benjamin Franklin asserted, “those who would surrender essential liberty for temporary security, in the end, will deserve neither liberty, nor security.”
We live in a constitutional republic, not a constitutional monarchy. We abide by the Law, which exists to protect our rights, freedoms, and liberties. We are not bound to obey, or be ruled by, edicts, orders, mandates, decrees, and rules which reflect more ideology than constitutionality. Laws are not made by courts, regardless of what the progressive socialist left states, and courts do not grant us rights, especially rights to take the life of another, born or unborn. Legislatures, not judges or executives, make laws. As our elected representatives, laws are supposed to reflect their fundamental duty to protect our life, liberty, and property, not cherry-pick who they will defend.
Bastiat tells us what it is that most perverts the Law:
“The law has been perverted through the influence of two very different causes — naked greed and misconceived philanthropy…he may live and enjoy, by seizing and appropriating the production of the facilities of his fellow men. This is the origin of plunder. It is easy to conceive that, according to the power of the legislator, it destroys for its own profit, and in different degrees amongst the rest of the community, personal independence by slavery [physical and economic], liberty by oppression, and property by plunder.”
If we are to Live Free in America, which is our mission at the American Constitutional Rights Union, that means we must restore the original intent and purpose of The Law, and we must comprehend what the Law is. The sad reality in America is that many are blind to what is happening and have joined the campaign of progressive socialism to make individual rights subservient to the collective.
Bastiat reminds the progressives, socialists, Marxists, statists, and communists of a time-tested truth, “It is in the nature of men to rise against the injustice of which they are the victims.” That rise, that movement happened some 246 years ago in America. Lawlessness was defeated by those who preferred liberty.
Steadfast and Loyal.
Miranda Rose Smith says
Are you sure it’s “From those according to their ability to those according tp their meed, ” not “From each, according to his ability, to each, according to his need?”
Angel Jacob says
It’s a simple plot. The ultimate goal in the big picture is to destroy the law and order, all the way up to the constitution.
And, replace it with the sharia law.
To paraphrase Steve Deace: “We are no longer a nation of laws. We are a nation of political will.” When the purpose of our govt and its attendant agencies is no longer dedicated to the preservation of natural laws there is only one game left in town. Politics. IMO, that results in the struggle for power among those with the strongest will. The concerns of “rights” takes a back seat to the lust for power. We citizens no longer participate in “self-government” but are subject to rule by those who can force their will on all challengers. Worst of all, they have the power to force the citizens to finance their tyranny.
Dr. Don Rhudy says
Those of us really old people who grew up in the American west and Southwest learned a set of values that require an individual to respond to lawlessness when the legal system fails. That system, as my son and his friends used to say, has failed to the max today. That means when you cannot avoid the lawlessness of others—for example, a couple of thugs who wish to take you down and rob you under threat of firearm—you end the problem yourself there and then with maximum lethal force. Then walk away. Don’t wait around to explain your behavior to police who may as often as not arrest you for defending yourself—who certainly will arrest you in certain of America’s Neo-Nazi blue state jurisdictions.
Tex the Mockingbird says
This whole Catch &Release system is making Crime far worst the only way is to end t his all and start locking up the Felons with their Supporters in the Liberal Democrat Party and hold those Liberal Bail Groups liable for all crimes they commit
The problem is that there is no simple dichotomy between those who can produce and those with needs. Presumably, everyone has abilities and needs. And the willingness to share and with whom are left out. What if one disapproves of some need. Say, the need for gender-affirming medicine or abortion. What if one does not want to share with illegal migrants, just because the political elites throw open the gates and beckon to them to come in. And what about rich politicians like Joe, Nancy, Obama or Clinton. They have a lot, why not share it equitably with needy migrants they are welcoming in. And perhaps their wish to keep their wealth and property could be ignored, just as they ignore the wishes of taxpayers? But of course, the elites have rights that others lack.
Kynarion Hellenis says
You incorrectly put the problem as the difficulty of distinguishing between those who produce with those who have need. Your thinking accepts the precepts of the socialists and communists.
The problem is more correctly stated as this: What do social classes owe to one another?
Please read this short book (free download) by William Sumner to answer this question:
Robert O'Donnell says
“Nature, rather God, has bestowed upon every one of us the right to defend his person, his liberty, and his property, since these are the three constituent or preserving elements of life . . . ”
How so? Nature bestows “red in tooth and claw.” Nature bestows nothing else. However: “that which is known about God is evident within them [all men]; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, being understood by what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” – Romans 1:19-20
I stopped reading right there.