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The Rule of Law Is So Misunderstood

The Rule of Law Is So Misunderstood

Every society has a ruler, and America is built on the principle that our ruler is the law. The rule of law is one of the most important principles that underlies American society. It is the existence of the rule of law that creates a society based on justice and fairness.

The alternative to the rule of law is the rule of men. That principle is capricious and arbitrary based purely on the preferences of the leaders who hold political power. That approach to governing is inherently unjust and unfair.

The reason the rule of law is fair and just is because it is not based on the whims of individuals as they govern. When laws are established by proper means, everyone is judged based on the law itself, not on the preferences of people holding power. In fact, even those who find themselves in positions where they are able to wield political power are subject to the law. And it is not that the laws cannot ever be changed, they can. But once they are established, everyone must play by the same rules.

We live in a strange time. While the rule of law is a foundational principle of American society, there is a contingent within society that wants to do away with it. To these people, personal political preferences are more important than justice and fairness, and they are willing to set aside the rule of law in order to get their way.

In its current iteration, American liberalism is guided by naturalistic worldview concepts. Naturalism is the belief that the natural universe operating by natural laws is all that exists. With that as a starting point, they don’t recognize an authority (in this case the law) based on an objective foundation, nor do they acknowledge any kind of objective moral beliefs. All they recognize is power, and if they can acquire it, they see no reason why they can’t just do what they want.

On the other side of the spectrum are American conservatives. (Note: Understand that this is not intended to make a political statement.) Conservatism is not a particular political ideology, but is the belief that tradition and order should be preserved (conserved). It just so happens that in the American system, the traditions conservatives are trying to conserve are based upon biblical worldview concepts. The rule of law is one of its foundational principles, and is based on the belief that objective morality does exist – and in society, that is represented by the law.

This brings us back to the fact that we do live in a strange time – a time when some people who hold political power do not want to operate based on the rule of law. They have their own political agenda and are determined to carry it out, even if it means ignoring the law.

The attorney general (AG) of a state is its top law enforcement officer. That is where the buck stops when it comes to deciding how to prosecute criminals who break state law. And district attorneys (DA) are the top law enforcement officials on a more local level. But what if the AGs  and DAs themselves decide not to enforce the law? What you end up with is a sort of legalized lawlessness. And that is exactly what is happening around the country right now. In light of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade, it is reported that 83 DAs and AGs have publicly pledged not to prosecute those who break abortion law.

And where does this kind of mindset come from? It is a perfect example of the application of naturalistic worldview thinking. These law enforcement officials have a personal preference for legalized abortion. So they simply decide for themselves that it should not be against the law, and they do their jobs as if that were actually true. This kind of thinking makes a mockery of the concept of the rule of law. For them, the law is not society’s ruler, their personal decisions are. While these kinds of extra-legal tactics are not unheard of on the conservative side of the political spectrum, it is much more rare since they consider the law to be society’s ruler.

What is important in a consideration of this topic is the underlying worldview beliefs that inform both sides. One represents the view that reality has an objective base, while the other represents a relativistic view of reality. When God created the natural universe, it reflected objective reality. God actually does exist as a real person with objectively real personal characteristics, and He created an objectively real natural universe based on objectively real natural and moral laws. As such, the Naturalist’s relativistic beliefs and actions do not represent reality. And ultimately, relativism results in chaos and injustice.

Freddy Davis is the president of MarketFaith Ministries. He is the author of numerous books and has a background as an international missionary, pastor, radio host, worldview trainer, and entrepreneur. Freddy is a graduate of Florida State University with a BS in Communication, and holds MDiv and DMin degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a popular speaker, particularly on the topic of worldview and its practical implications for the Christian life. He lives in Tallahassee, FL, with his wife Deborah.

You may also contact Freddy at Leadership Speakers Bureau to schedule him for speaking or leadership engagements.

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