Heretofore, the fundamental precepts required for the rule of law were those bedrock values associated with America’s widespread cultural acceptance of rudimentary Judeo-Christian writ. The nation’s stability has always been guaranteed by our allegiance and adherence to legal absolutes.
Indeed, inculcation of America’s value system was a keystone to public education and unarguably the earliest institutions of higher learning, all of which were originally founded and maintained under a sense of the importance of adherence to religious values passed down by family, church, synagogue and yes, even the courts.
Our American education systems instruct students in the rudiments of constitutional law, i.e., “We are endowed by the Creator with certain unalienable rights.” But what if we abandon that fundamental truth?
What if we shift to legal premises to a value that says the law is whatever individuals or groups of individuals say it is? Sociological law, statistical law, gender law, class law, etc.?
Societal reliance upon certain non-negotiable absolutes was a historically stabilizing force for continuity within Aristotle’s civil society, which he called, κοινωνία πολιτική “political fellowship.”
This is the precept for the Tocqueville idea of a civil society, one finding harmony, stability, and reliability from its long-standing values reflected not just in the courts but in its trusted institutions.
Skipping ahead along the timeline of history, the evolution of secular American society, fueled by individualism and class distinctions, has now accelerated our move toward the politicization and socialization of law. Indeed the application of legislative enactments is viewed and interpreted through the lens of populism.
We are now told all values are equal? In this, the early years of the 21st century, each person or collection of persons (a class) may now elect to formulate those precepts deemed important in the flow of the moment and the general society must then, by exerted coercion, recognize these “new” values as co-equal with and suitable to all other values in the prevailing general culture.
Long ago, this was the case with Israel. “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit” (NIV: Judges 17:6).
Courts are made up of a collection of mere men (anthropologically speaking) and as such, they are subject to the powerful sway and temptation of their own roots, individual ideals, group values, and life experiences, including compelling arguments for contemporary mores.
Judicial interpretation, absent a king (stabilizing value), is judicial tyranny.
Can society remain intact indefinitely amidst a judicial culture driven by evolutionary and fragmented values?
What will be the eventual outcome of the politicization, socialization, and weaponization of law?
Think about this, deeply and soberly.