Rule of Law

I met a person from Kenya the other day. We had a long talk about leadership. It’s the first time I understood why the Kenyan former leader has been behaving as he does. Very strange to us, but he apparently believes himself responsible, and leaders are responsible to lead the people. He thinks he is doing the right thing. So that is all pretty complicated and it’s not us, but don’t we also do the wrong thing for the right reasons? Sometimes? Everyone does. That’s why “right and wrong” thinking is dangerous.

In fact, I think our entire country is descending into right and wrong “aint it awful” thinking. (Or if I just noticed it, I want to go back to when I didn’t know, but I think it started when the media decided to poll everyone’s opinion on anything, whether or not there was a valid opinion to have.)

Right and wrong is a matter of emotion. If we choose to maintain a rule of law, we need to deal analytically with legal and illegal, and we need to do it with input from as many experts as possible. Right and wrong thinking, and the concept that everyone has a right to his own opinion — these ideas some people take as permission for hate crimes. Torture. War. Hate crimes, torture and war are illegal, whether or not we think we have a right to behave in that fashion, and the reason they are illegal is not because of your opinion — or mine — it’s because of the collective wisdom of several hundred years of human experience.

The whole point of rule of law is to avoid that kind of thing.

Don’t forget it is the rule of law that has made America the most powerful country in the world. And the only people who can save the rule of law is us. And we have been losing it.