Rowley: God, Man, and Democrats
Friday, September 02, 2011
“The most foolish notion of all is the belief that everything is just which is found in the customs or laws of nations…What of the many deadly, the many pestilential statutes which nations put in force? These no more deserve to be called laws than the rules a band of robbers might pass in their assembly. For if ignorant and unskillful men have prescribed deadly poisons instead of healing drugs, these cannot possibly be called physicians’ prescriptions; neither in a nation can a statute of any sort be called a law, even though the nation, in spite of being a ruinous regulation, has accepted it.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 B.C.)
After reading this quote from the ancient Roman philosopher I could not help but think of the situation right outside my door, where so many progressives roam and reign.
It has long been held that it is wrong for a man to simply take the property of another for his own purposes. But when an elected body decides to approve of such a measure, not only is there no justice for the victim, but the popular moral attitude toward the theft may be dramatically altered – “the nation, in spite of being a ruinous regulation, has accepted it.”
Today, scores of arbitrary taxes, programs, and regulations exist not for basic government overhead, but for the express purpose of extracting property from some in order to provide for others – simply because enough “ignorant and unskillful men” believe “at a certain point, you’ve made enough money,” and that “when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”
It’s funny, the ancient moral precepts may stand as strong and true as ever (most people still declare that stealing is immoral). Even logical extrapolation survives (many Americans still object to the idea of wealth redistribution). Yet, the activist mentality tends to wither (most people don’t complain).
Perhaps this is what Edmund Burke had in mind when he said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Perhaps this is what Thomas Jefferson spoke of when he warned, “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.”
And perhaps this is why Democrats passed the 2010 healthcare bill with such urgency, even in the face of widespread skepticism and outrage. As conservative commentator David Harsanyi reminded everyone, “There exists almost no historical evidence to suggest Republicans will possess either the fortitude or the power to undo a massive government entitlement program…Once government infiltrates, it rarely retreats.” Worst of all, “Democrats know it.”
Social Democracy vs. Natural Law
There are numerous rules and regulations that run afoul to core American values. Revered by the Left, the political scheme that enables this is known as “social democracy,” an arrangement that allows more and more power to be placed in government hands – as long as the voters say “okay.”
“Social democracy is a topic that I will talk about[,] and dream about[,] and plan for anytime I freakin’ want,” wrote a local left-wing blogger last year. Unfortunately for Democrats, social democracy is the wretched antithesis of Cicero’s (and the American Founders’) belief in Natural Law, which instructs that any government hoping to administer true justice must establish itself upon the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” (Declaration of Independence). “We are born for Justice, and the right is based, not upon men’s opinions, but upon Nature,” Cicero proclaimed. “If the principles of Justice were founded on the decrees of Peoples, the edicts of princes, or the decisions of judges, then Justice would sanction robbery and adultery and the forgery of wills, in case these acts were approved by the votes or decrees of the populace.”
Democrats, too, often speak of justice – social justice, economic justice, racial justice, environmental justice – all of which command the redistribution of wealth. In other words, they require contempt and disregard of Natural Law. According to Democrats, timeless and universal laws must be broken – injustice must occur – in order to achieve justice in our time.
Under social democracy, what was once immoral can now be ethical and normal. Why? Because a majority of a voting population – or simply a majority of the elected – suddenly said so.
Democrats vs. Natural Law
Samuel Adams once described America’s stand against collectivism in this manner: “The Utopian schemes of leveling and a community of goods are as visionary and impractical as those which vest all property in the Crown. [These ideas] are arbitrary, despotic, and, in our government, unconstitutional.”
It is Natural Law that provided the moral underpinning of this limited government, insisting that no Earthly government has the right to craft laws outside of its realm. According to Cicero, all “human laws” must be “in conformity” to Nature’s Law in order to establish justice – so to “inflict punishment upon the wicked and protect the good.”
But leftists are void of such governmental discipline. Democrats always need to do more. They are always looking to “gain ground.”
Justice is a noble pursuit. But the rules and regulations that distinguish justice shouldn’t be based merely on modern political fads and feelings. First, they must be in harmony with the universal and timeless moral foundation that helped guide this nation into miracle-levels of prosperity.
Travis Rowley (TravisRowley.com) is chairman of the RI Young Republicans and a consultant for the Barry Hinckley Campaign for US Senate.
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