Wednesday, January 6, 2016

What is a Law-Abiding Citizen?

What is a "law-abiding" citizen?
In logic, there is something called an unstated assumption (or premise).  If you structure a logical argument and you reach a supportable conclusion, you can still be wrong because there elements to consider that are not mentioned. For example:
(a) premise: my mother is my parent
(b) premise: my father is my parent
(c) conclusion: my mother is my father.
This is logically supportable but factually incorrect. Why? Because of the unstated assumption that we have two parents.

A law abiding citizen is one who abides by the laws. But there is a presumption that the law is good and that the process of law is legitimate and uniformly enforced.   This results in what we call "The Rule of Law". 
But what do you call person who recognizes that either the process of law, or the enforcement of law, is corrupted?  If that person does not obey that law, is he no longer a "law-abiding" citizen?
The law is not subject to "private interpretation" but neither is the law subject to government "interpretation" outside of the legitimate legislative process. At least that is true if we are still a "nation of laws" and the historically-respected "rule of law" is followed.  

If a nation's leaders become lawless, and impose upon the citizens commandments that they created out of thin air, violative of the process of law, then according to our founding principles, the "law-abiding" citizen is the one who opposes those leaders and disobeys their arbitrary "laws". 

Jefferson penned in the Declaration these words, "But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Some things never change. History will judge us, as it judged our forefathers, whether our respect for law and the rule of law will oppose the lawless government that seeks to destroy our foundations.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.