Rules of law

The rule of law is a central feature in any constitutional republic.  It means that society is run by laws and not by whims or fads.  It means that all citizens are treated equally, without exception.  Rich or poor, black or white, it doesn't matter.

The statue of Lady Justice is our symbol for the rule of law.  Lady Justice wears a blindfold, so she has no idea who is in front of her while holding a scale to fairly balance the weight of evidence presented to her.

The vast majority of Americans think the United States has operated under one rule of law for its entire history.  Unfortunately, this has never been the case.

When our country was founded, we had at least four rules of law, and maybe more.  We had a set of rules for free men, one for free women, one for slaves, and one for Indians.

Seventy years after our founding, the Civil War brought an end to slavery.  We now had only free men and women and, of course, Indians.  Three rules of law.

Soon after the Civil War, Jim Crow laws were introduced.  This was the doctrine of separate but equal facilities for blacks and whites.  The reality was quite different.  Equal facilities were a mirage.  Back to four rules of law.

In 1920, one hundred and thirty years after our founding, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was passed, giving women the right to vote.  Free men and free women were now politically equal, but we still had Jim Crow and of course the Indians.  Three rules of law.

In 1924, Indians were given citizenship when Congress enacted the Indian Citizenship Act.  Unfortunately, the right to vote was governed by state law.  Some states prevented Indians from voting.  Two and one half rules of law.

By the late 1950s, Jim Crow was in its death throes.  Blacks and Indians were close to operating under a single rule of law, the same one for free men and women.  It is here, at this time, that government, in all its wisdom, enacted affirmative action laws.  Back to two rules of law.

Affirmative action is still with us today.  The philosophy behind affirmative action is that the government, by mandating that certain racial groups get advantages, can create a citizenry that is socioeconomically equal.  Those who understand governmental idiocy are not surprised to discover that we are as far away from this goal as when affirmative action was started.  Maybe farther.

The simple fact of the matter is that a country must have only one rule of law.  Anything else is discrimination.  You can't fix past discrimination with current discrimination; it won't work.  As my mama told me, "two wrongs don't make a right."

Benjamin Franklin liked to think of a nation as a club.  Once you are a member, you have all the same rights, privileges, and responsibilities as any other club member.  We don't have that; we have a club where only certain people are given preferred access to certain club facilities.

Lady Justice is not standing blindfolded hearing a group; she is hearing an individual.  The rule of law means that the individual is the largest group there can be.  Any honest government would realize this.  In other words, government that is following the rule of law shouldn't care in the least what race, creed, or color an individual is.  The important thing is that each individual is treated the same.

It is time to end affirmative action.  It hasn't worked, and structurally, it can't work.  It tells people they don't need to compete to be rewarded.  If people don't need to compete, they won't.  Everything moves to ease.

Just as importantly though, affirmative action is an affront to the rule of law.  Lady Justice has been compromised for the last two hundred thirty years. 

It's time we let her do her job.

Image: PxHere.

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