04 June 2009


The rule of law is a requirement for a functioning, cooperative society. Its absence results in tyranny and arbitrary government, or anarchy and insecurity. Under the rule of law the same rules apply for everyone regardless of status, so that there is equal justice, which engenders a higher degree of confidence that everyone will be treated fairly. By extension this applies to government action, although reverse discrimination has shredded this principle in reality. Credence is further undermined when the application of law is perceived to be personal, or arbitrary.

If legal rulings can be permeated on nothing more than “empathy” then there are no fixed principles, no common standards everyone can or should adhere to. We can all make the law whatever we want it to be, with no objective standards, as a result of the “relativism” of this theory. Courts are supposed to be independent, objective judges of particular cases. They should not make policy. The consequence of this is the loss of government legitimacy as any side can then make the law be whatever they want it to be.

The federal government has gone further than ever before in ignoring such niceties as a constitutional foundation for the actions that have been taken. A centuries-old body of law has been violated. By what right does the federal government take property from one group, i.e. automotive bondholders and shareholders and give it to another, i.e. the UAW? What legitimate authority can pressure secured lenders who in any bankruptcy proceeding are first in line, to step further back in favor of the union and take losses greater than they otherwise would have to bear? Creditors have effectively been shaken down by illegitimate government actions. By what authority is there a “car czar?”

A fundamental barrier has been broken; the government can now act without due process. How does this differ from the state capitalism in China or Russia? What of constitutional protections? It is questionable now whether the damage that has been done to the principle that there is a public sphere of limited authority, and a private sphere encompassing the rest, can ever be reversed.

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