With a government based on the rule of law becoming increasingly lawless with every passing day, I find the subject of rebellion on my mind more and more. I don’t mean rebellion in the sense of the contumacious response that many of our forebears reserved for those who disregarded the notions of individual rights and liberty in favor of a distant sovereign. I mean a deliberate and conscious effort to hinder the designs of those who “rule” without understanding, and who turn the notion of consent of the governed around so that the governed must seek the consent of the government. Indeed, when we are burdened with a President who has voiced criticism of the Constitution that characterizes it as a “charter of Negative Liberties”, and laments the fact that it has in the past prevented government from working a top down, fundamental change, including redistribution of wealth, as a means to work “social justice” upon the country, and without a trace of understanding that this has been a feature and not a bug, reasonable men and women will observe that these are not normal times.
It is hard to maintain a fealty and respect for the offices of government when its scrutiny and muscle render so little of it those it was intended to serve. And as the single biggest usurpation of power ever devised by man, the cruelly and ironically titled “Affordable Care Act” continues to harm Americans in greater numbers than it “helps”, despite the Administration’s near constant extra-Constitutional efforts to delay implementation of some of its more onerous provisions, I suspect that I am not the only one considering rebellion, in a myriad degrees.
I fear the disruption and chaos that would come with an open insurrection. But with a government that disregards any semblance of limitation upon its power, or any regard for ours, I find it difficult to believe that things will improve of their own accord. As corruption becomes the norm, and as government wears less tolerant of competitors and critics, I suspect that acts of rebellion, large and small, will become commonplace. Lawlessness begets lawlessness. Selective enforcement is no different from arbitrary and capricious fiat, save for the window dressing of legitimacy conferred by the fact that what is being selectively enforce having actually once been enacted by a legislature. Without a common moral compass to act as a moderating influence, I have little faith that once contempt for the rule of law is shared equally by those charged with enforcing it, and those meant to live under it, that bloody retribution will not be a fatiguing fixture of daily life. And still, it comes, along with the day when each person will have to decide how far is too far, what trespasses are too offensive, and what intrusions are intolerable. As that decision is arrived at, the legitimacy of government will evaporate like morning fog on a summer lake, because once those charged with maintaining the peace have abrogated the birthright of our citizens, the social compact will be swept away, leaving those with no understanding of the philosophy and history of our legal tradition to make the laws.
25 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.