Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Fatal Decisions

     Is it even imaginable that the “Justices” who just voted to:

  1. Ignore the written text of a bill and all the collateral evidence that says “and we really mean it this way;”
  2. Seize political control of the oldest and least political of all human institutions;

     ...don’t know what they’ve done?

     The Supreme Court has just written into our “Constitutional” framework that:

  • The text of a law doesn’t matter;
  • The text of the Constitution doesn’t matter;
  • What a majority of “Justices” imagine about what those who passed the law intended are of decisive legal weight;
  • There is no human practice, custom, tradition, or institution which the State cannot seize and tax, regulate, reorganize, or completely redefine to suit itself.

     The entire edifice of constitutionalism has just been ceremoniously trashed. Oh, we could see it coming from miles away. At least, I could; I’ve been watching this progression too closely and for too long to harbor any illusions about it. However, I must admit that I didn’t expect it to happen quite so rapidly or precipitously. Alvin Toffler would have something to say about that, wouldn’t he?

     We will pay for this in blood. I can only hope that the first persons to render up their due will be those selfsame “Justices.”

     Allow me to tote up what we have lost, these few years past.

     There is no longer a Supreme Law in these United States. Indeed, there is no longer law as Americans have traditionally understood it. Therefore, there is no rule of law. How could there be, when judges have arrogated the privilege of rewriting the actual text of a law to reach a decision in harmony with their preferences?

     Without law in the customary sense, there cannot be a legislature with definite powers and responsibilities. At this point, Congress is either omnipotent or powerless, depending on the correlation of forces inside the Washington Beltway.

     There is no longer a president as the Constitution defines the office: one who presides, enforcing objectively defined laws arrived at by a legitimate, well specified procedure, rather than ruling by decree. Instead we have an Orator-In-Chief with dictatorial powers. How did we choose the current bearer of the title? According to his skin color? Great God in heaven, what will the next one be like? At least the Romans had one Marcus Aurelius. When will ours arrive?

     There is no longer any branch of government that we can accurately call “the people’s representatives.” The House of Representatives, utterly controlled by the GOP, supposedly the party of limited government and strict Constitutional construction, has done nothing to head off any of the overreaches of the Obama Administration or the federal bureaucracy it commands. Should it fail to impeach John Roberts for his treason, the Senate will have revealed itself as a high-priced club of no consequence.

     There is no longer a default assumption of probity for judges. Actually, that fantasy died some time ago. A judge who can rewrite a law, or nullify a solemnly agreed contract simply by calling it “unfair” or “unconscionable,” is not to be trusted...and that is now within the powers of any man who dons the black robe and mounts a judicial bench.

     No, I’m not telling you anything you couldn’t have figured out for yourself. Maybe you had already figured it out, in which case all the above is just my concurrence. Allow an old man at least one cri de coeur before he throws up his hands in surrender.

     R.I.P.U.S.A. We hardly knew ye.

     I’ve gone from dreading a Second American Revolution to hoping for one. If I were young and hale, I’d surely march with it. I might even try to touch it off myself.

     My friend Dystopic has reminded us that war is the continuation of politics by other means. Have you ever wondered what Karl von Clausewitz had in mind when he wrote that? I articulated it as explicitly as I could in the Foreword to this novel:

     Other prominent science fiction writers have delved into the possibilities of a society that’s resolved that there shall be no State. However, none of the ones with which I’m familiar address the sociodynamics of such a society: the forces that would shape its development, with special emphasis on those that would tend to tear it from its founding premise. For me, that’s the really fascinating thing about anarchism. You see, it’s been tried, with varying degrees of longevity and success, many times in the history of Man. Yet there are no anarchic societies left on Earth as I write this foreword.

     Well, except for one: the whole of the human race.

     The States of Earth exist in an anarchic relation to one another. Each has its own regional code of law, which might differ markedly from all the others. Despite several thrusts at the matter over the centuries, there is no “super-State” to enforce a uniform code of law over them all. More, they view one another as competitors in many different areas; their populations and institutions are often in sharp economic competition with one another. Thus, they are often at odds. They resolve important disputes among them through negotiation or warfare.

     When a society has no agreed-upon written law that 98% or more of the participants willingly respect, there is nothing but rule by naked force, according to the will and whim of the dominant power. Global society has been relatively peaceful and stable these past few decades – I said relatively, Gentle Reader; brush up on your history if you think otherwise – because the dominant power has been that of the United States, which had no imperial ambitions and was fairly reliable about doing what its political masters said it would do. Over the course of the last six years we’ve seen what happens internationally when those conditions dissolve. I put it to you that we’re about to see what happens domestically, as well.

     The whole point of a political system is to arrive at the law: to produce it, maintain it, and enforce it. But law has just been revealed to be nonexistent, a phantasm. Therefore politics, the mechanism by which we attempt to avert rule by naked force according to the will and whim of the dominant power, has just been revealed as pointless. Add that in a nation whose citizens possess an estimated 300 million firearms, the “dominant power” isn’t as dominant as its masters would like to believe. If we weren’t talking about the United States – if the country of interest were some blood-soaked realm in the Balkans, for example – what would you expect to happen?

     Ask yourself, in all honesty, whether the conditions and premises that have averted that sort of development from our country are still in force.

     If there’s anything more to say about law, politics, and government under these circumstances, I can’t conceive of it this fine June morning. Perhaps that will pass; perhaps I’ll see things in a rosier light in a day or so. Being optimistic by nature, I’ll hope for that and turn to other things for the nonce. Perhaps I’ll derive some motivation for my novel-in-progress from all this crap. That, at least, would be pleasant.

     Have a nice day.


Weetabix said...

Seeing all the nails in the coffin of the country and federalism in past years, I had still thought I saw a glimmer of light around the edge.

SCOTUS's decisions on Obergefell v. Hodges and King v. Burwell drove the final nails in for me.

Stick a fork in it. It's done.

daniel_day said...

"Other prominent science fiction writers have delved into the possibilities of a society that’s resolved that there shall be no State."
Wouldn't you say that le Guin's The Dispossessed was an exploration of that?

KG said...

Linked via a post at Crusader Rabbit.
Scalia and Alito's dissenting judgements were superb and the only bright spot in this atrocity.

Ronbo said...

In 2005 when I first blogged that this country was headed towards a Second American Revolution, I was a voice crying in the wilderness, a crazy Cassandra making an insane prophecy that couldn't come true.

In 2015 I'm no longer alone in my gloomy prediction, but I'm joined by millions of fellow Patriots saying the thing, although few as well as you have in your article.

So welcome aboard the Revolution Express, my friend - the peace these last ten years has been hell, so we need a quiet little insurrection to recover.


Joseph said...

Wasn't the rule of law abolished in the 1930s? The good news is that some of the 1930s nonsensical rulings are being overturned.

WalkingHorse said...

All things considered, the definitive assessment of government was Written in I Samuel 8m

Navvet55 said...

I used to feel a bit foolish, almost to the point of wondering where I had misplaced my "tin foil hat", in regards to the state of the Union and the chance of there being:

1. A second "American Revolution"

2. A second "Civil War"

3. Or at the very least, a "peaceful" secession of any number of former "States of the Union", either in concert with each other, or as separate entities.

These inklings, based on what I have witnessed, and what my understanding of the Constitution and various other writings, lead me to conclude ... well, even then I didn't arrive at them lightly. And I felt they were unlikely to tale place, but still....

Now, especially over the course of the past six years or so, there is only going to be two choices:

1. Open Revolt (How it ends. What rises from the ashes will be anyone's guess.)

2. Some slight grumblings, perhaps a scuffle or two, but nothing major. In short, life will go on, but it will morph into something totally different then what we were brought up in and or to believe. The sheep will go willingly without a fight, into the brave new world created by their supposed "betters".

If the second happens, I hope I am long past assuming room temperature.

Andy said...

There is no State. Iain M Banks created a universe where AIs seemed to rule on the big things, however the various planets, empires, call'em what you will, were pretty much worse than what we have now. Imagine our current "leaders" let loose with SciFi type technology. Shudder.