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Obama on Immigration Just One More Symptom of the Collapse of the Rule of Law

Setting aside completely the moral or ethical issues that may compel someone to grant young illegal immigrants immunity, and even allow them to work in the US without hindrance, the approach that Obama has taken to bring it about is, to put it bluntly, the death rattle of the Republic.  This article in the Politico goes over some of the other examples in the Obama administration of open defiance of the law, which, if I recall correctly, Obama (and others… ie, Holder) swore to uphold in his inaugural oath.

I am reminded of the words of Abraham Lincoln, who, if I again recall correctly, was in mind during Obama’s inauguration.

When, I so pressingly urge a strict observance of all the laws, let me not be understood as saying there are no bad laws, or that grievances may not arise for the redress of which no legal provisions have been made. I mean to say no such thing. But I do mean to say that although bad laws, if they exist, should be repealed as soon as possible, still, while they continue in force, for the sake of example they should be religiously observed. So also in unprovided cases. If such arise, let proper legal provisions be made for them with the least possible delay, but till then let them, if not too intolerable, be borne with.

This is in Lincoln’s letter in opposition to ‘mob rule,’ and it seems fitting to me to apply the essay to Obama and modern liberalism, which is the epitome, I think, of exactly that:  ‘mob rule.’

By once again skirting the rule of law in doing by executive order what everyone knows is properly done by Congress, Obama heaps has engaged in a modern sort of lynching;  instead of runaway slaves or wayward gamblers, the Republic itself is strung up.   The Republic can only survive if the rule of law is upheld.

Now, the rule of law distills ultimately to the US Constitution and its faithful application by our public ‘servants’, and seen in these terms we must admit immediately that the rule of law has virtually disappeared in our country, except in the abstract.  We can look at Roe vs. Wade, where ‘Constitutional’ principles were invented out of thin air, as one great example, but there have been many.  Importantly, Republicans have gone along with these abuses and contortions as easily as Democrats have:  the Constitution means whatever 9 folks in robes say it means, regardless of what the plain reading of the document suggests.

The Constitution should mean exactly what it clearly means, no more, and no less;  the ability to determine this can usually be secured by 12th grade, even in America’s educational system.  Granted, it isn’t always as simple as that, but more often than not, it is.  The integrity of the rule of the law flows downward from the US Constitution, and where stuff is added and ignored over the years, or ridiculous interpretations of the text is allowed to stand as ‘Constitutional’, where even a child could see something is decidedly not Constitutional, that integrity is badly strained, to say the least.

But the other aspect I referred to was the ‘faithful application.’  For example, in a society that honored the rule of law, Congress would not pass a law that they knew or suspected was unconstitutional.  Of course, there is a way around this:  pack the Supreme Court with liberal justices who will declare your unconstitutional law constitutional, and viola!  Constitutional.  But that is not what I’m getting at here.  What I’m referring to is the inability or refusal of our politicians… and many of our citizens… to be bound by the words on the paper.

If someone cared about the ‘rule of law’, and they wanted to do something that was presently unconstitutional, they would suck it up and deal with it and work to make it constitutional.  Prohibition being a case in point;  but that was a different day, when there was still some respect for the ‘rule of law.’  Today, you just do what you want to do and try to get 9 men in black robes to sign off on it.  But a time is coming when even getting SCOTUS to give some cover to the government’s action isn’t needed.  Already, liberal democrats, and the Obama administration, have been doing things subversively that the court has already spoken on–or against.   For example, the contraception mandate applied to religious institutions that object.

Personally, I believe that the seeds of this trend began many years ago, even more than a hundred years ago, and in a place you may not expect.  When the Christian Scriptures were undercut, marginalized, and dismissed, so too was the general approach of the populace of being constrained by ‘words on the paper.’  The rule of law absolutely depends on this ability.

If the Scriptures say “Thou shalt not Steal” one way to get around it is to run circles around the phrases ‘thou’ and ‘shalt’ and ‘not’ and ‘steal,’ re-defining them and rationalizing them and turning them on their heads so that you could with good conscience steal something.  The other way around it is to just ignore the words altogether and just take what you want.

The ‘faithful application’ requires that the person has the ability, capacity, and willingness to allow their actions to be checked by words on the paper.  When the Christian Scriptures went, and secular humanism rose, along with secular humanism came the idea of ‘man the only measure of all things.’  And what is a ‘word’ but a social construct?  And can’t social constructs change?  Case in point:  ‘gay’ ‘marriage.’

“The word ‘marriage’ has explicitly referred to a union of one man and one woman for thousands of years.”  “So what?  The meaning of words change all of the time.”

Here is an example of the conflict between reality as it really is and the secular humanistic trend to view words as unreal and malleable, combined, of course, with their contempt for things they deem ‘religious.’  But there is nothing specially religious about the observation that procreation requires ONE man and ONE woman, and that without this unique arrangement and requirement, there WOULD BE NO HUMAN RACE.  ‘Gay marriage’ proponents can change words all they want but the underlying reality does not change, just because the meanings of the words previously employed to describe those realities change.

So, stealing will still be stealing and murder will still be murder and the one man-one woman union will still be something notably distinct from other human relationships, even if some other word must be now employed because the liberals took away the word ‘marriage.’  In fact, I did just employ another ‘word’:  ‘one man-one woman.’  In thirty years, liberals will have decided that even the words ‘one’ and ‘man’ and ‘woman’ don’t mean what they have always meant, and I will have to expand the description to a full paragraph, when previously I could cover the concept in a single word.

But that’s a digression.  I am trying to illustrate that reality stays the same even if the words shift around from one generation to the next.  Trying to justify why we won’t be bound by words on the paper on this basis fails because reality doesn’t change by shaking our finger at it, or closing our eyes and wishing it were something else.  I don’t know why I bother saying all this;  perhaps it is in the vain hope that someone will read this and see in themselves their insanity, and change their minds.  Obviously, the people I am describing have difficulty with words, so they are as likely to read this and come away with the reaction “What does he have against English swallows?” as anything else.

This is really for the rest of us, those who uphold the ‘rule of law’ and wonder how it is that the Republic has managed to move so far away from it in so many cases.  It isn’t, as many conservatives think, simply because moderns have moved away from the Christian values that drove the founding of the nation.  It was largely because our leaders and the masses stopped seeing words as rooted in anything concrete and consequently refusing to be bound by them–which is something that Christians are continually trained in by virtue of their faith in God as revealed by the Scriptures.  Take away that training on a large scale, and you are seeing the result.

Now that this is seen, what can be done about it?

Not a thing.  Stick a fork in America, she’s done.  The only thing that can save it (from herself) is a full supping of the fruits of the consequences of this ‘mobocratic’ approach to living together in society.  The best thing we can do is try to protect and preserve our families so that when the end comes, our children or grandchildren can stand up and re-build the country.  Unless they do so understanding how it came to cease in the first place, this, too, will be for naught.

But if that is too pessimistic of an outlook for you, I leave you with an extended excerpt from Lincoln’s essay on ‘mob rule.’  It has some practical advice that perhaps may be worth a look.  It is, at least, interesting to read in light of modern events.

While, on the other hand, good men, men who love tranquillity, who desire to abide by the laws and enjoy their benefits, who would gladly spill their blood in the defense of their country, seeing their property destroyed, their families insulted, and their lives endangered, their persons injured, and seeing nothing in prospect that forebodes a change for the better, become tired of and disgusted with a government that offers them no protection, and are not much averse to a change in which they imagine they have nothing to lose.

Thus, then, by the operation of this mobocratic spirit which all must admit is now abroad in the land, the strongest bulwark of any government, and particularly of those constituted like ours, may effectually be broken down and destroyed–I mean the attachment of the people.

Whenever this effect shall be produced among us; whenever the vicious portion of population shall be permitted to gather in bands of hundreds and thousands, and burn churches, ravage and rob provision-stores, throw printing presses into rivers, shoot editors, and hang and burn obnoxious persons at pleasure and with impunity, depend on it, this government cannot last. By such things the feelings of the best citizens will become more or less alienated from it, and thus it will be left without friends, or with too few, and those few too weak to make their friendship effectual. At such a time, and under such circumstances, men of sufficient talent and ambition will not be wanting to seize the opportunity, strike the blow, and overturn that fair fabric which for the last half century has been the fondest hope of the lovers of freedom throughout the world.

I know the American people are much attached to their government; I know they would suffer much for its sake; I know they would endure evils long and patiently before they would ever think of exchanging it for another,–yet, notwithstanding all this, if the laws be continually despised and disregarded, if their rights to be secure in their persons and property are held by no better tenure than the caprice of a mob, the alienation of their affections from the government is the natural consequence; and to that, sooner or later, it must come.

Here, then, is one point at which danger may be expected.

The question recurs, How shall we fortify against it? The answer is simple. Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well-wisher to his posterity swear by the blood of the Revolution never to violate in the least particular the laws of the country, and never to tolerate their violation by others. As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and laws let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor. Let every man remember that to violate the law is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own and his children’s liberty. Let reverence for the laws be breathed by every American mother to the lisping babe that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in primers, spelling books, and in almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay of all sexes and tongues and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling such as this shall universally or even very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.

 

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7 Responses to Obama on Immigration Just One More Symptom of the Collapse of the Rule of Law

  1. So, i’m gathering from your first paragraph that you are against the use of the executive order. You explicitly state that you are not commenting on the morality of the decision itself, but upon the way that it was done (calling it “the death rattle of the republic”). i would expect to be able to discover online some of your stringent editorials against President Bush Jr – himself no stranger to the executive order – on this very subject, but i’m having a little trouble with that. Perhaps you could point some out to me? Even Abraham Lincoln, whom you enlist for support against President Obama’s actions in this case, himself made forty-five executive orders, so he can’t have been quite as averse (perhaps i should say “selectively averse”) to them as you seem to be. i think this poses a credibility problem for you.

    i have been rather anticipating your verdict on SCOTUS ruling largely in favour of the ACA, but i guess that you somewhat preempted that here (once again, your harsh words for SCOTUS over Bush v. Gore have somehow failed to lodge in my memory). It seems that your beef here is not really with SCOTUS/POTUS acting unilaterally per se, so much as with the types of decisions that they make in certain cases. SCOTUS decided that inter-racial marriages were ok in ’67, against a majority of US public opinion, but i have yet to hear you complain about that, or about any other non-liberal(ish) SCOTUS decision as an attack on “the integrity of the rule of law”.

    Likewise this “disregarding the rule of law” narrative about Obama taps in to the apparently widespread right-wing meme about tyranny and dictatorship, despite the fact that the only outwardly observable difference in levels of authoritarianism between him and Bush is that Obama is using executive fiat to implement policies that conservatives disagree with. So why not focus on that disagreement rather than play the victim of tyranny card which just looks hypocritical given your collective support for earlier (conservative) wielders of executive power?

    You should try to be more consistent in your outrage.

  2. On the topic of the legality of this particular measure, I will cite a renown Constitutional lawyer whose credentials are impeccable. Speaking on this very topic, he said:

    With respect to the notion that I could suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case, because there are laws on the books that Congress has passed and I know that everybody here at Bell is studying hard so you know we have three branches of government. Congresses passes the law. The executive branch’s job is to enforce and implement those laws and then the judiciary has to interpret the law. There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system, that for me through simply an executive order ignore those mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as president.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/watercooler/2012/jun/16/picket-video-obama-2011-i-cant-stop-deportations-e/

    So, we’ll just chalk this one up as Score +1 for Sntjohnny, for making a point that is indisputable in the eyes of the only person who matters on this issue.

    As for the allegations about hypocrisy and judicial activism in previous decisions, I’d caution you to stick to what you actually know, instead of what you think you know. You have no idea what things I’m ‘outraged’ about, so you shouldn’t presume to guess. Better would be to ask first, instead of making really foolish assumptions, which yours, I’m sad to say, were.

    Good to see you, DB. 🙂

  3. Obama’s consistency (or not) on this point seems like a change of subject. Otherwise you don’t really address anything I said by apparently endorsing a very limited view of presidential power which seems never to have been adhered to in practice, even by Lincoln (45 executive orders, remember?), and certainly wasn’t adhered to by Bush, to no discernible indignation from yourself at the time. Your consistency is what is at issue here.

    Regarding the rest of your response, how is anyone supposed to differentiate between things that they “know” and only “think they know”? Since you are apparently unwilling to take the time to make clear why I am in error on any particular point, this seems like an evasive non sequitur. Likewise your castigation for my assuming that you are “outraged” at the perceived destruction by liberals of all that is orderly, sane and constitutional in your country. My deepest apologies for making such an unwarranted leap – I must leave room for the possibility that you are entirely neutral on the subject. 🙂

    I think that “Nuh-uuhhh!” would have been a more succinct way of imparting the same amount of meaningful content.

    Good to see you too.

  4. Obama’s consistency on this point is very much the subject. You may not have known about Obama’s previous statement on this, and may be unaware of the overall political scene, but that doesn’t mean I am. It’s dangerous to comment on the internal affairs of an entirely different country. 🙂

    I knew what Obama had previously said, even if you hadn’t. Google ‘The Dream Act’ and its fate. That should give you more context, and highlight the absurdity of this action. Good grief, what’s the point in hammering away through the legislative process if one man’s swipe of a pen is enough to do it? And what does it say about that man when he previously said that he did not have the power to do it?

    Therein is one of the underlying problems with your argument. If George Bush had said, “I don’t have the legal authority to do X” and 1 year later announced, “I’m going to do X,” this would rightly be condemned. You’re here going after me about the EOs of GB and previous presidents, without even knowing how I felt about the expansion of the unitary executive, and giving Obama a clean pass.

    This isn’t about EOs, as you suggest. Just think: a man who does what Obama has just done cannot be taken for his word on anything, not a single thing at all.

    “Since you are apparently unwilling to take the time to make clear why I am in error on any particular point, this seems like an evasive non sequitur.”

    That’s an entirely wrong conclusion to draw, and unfair to boot. You laid out a series of things that you wondered why I wasn’t outraged about them, too. This, of course, without having a clue about whether or not I was. I see from my search records on this blog that you did not do any searches of this blog to see if I had any thoughts on them, and I doubt you have read all million words that have been spilled here to date. The more reasonable and fair thing to do would have been to ASK. But you were in a rush to make a point.

    If I were sitting across from you, I would have shared about a thousand things that I was ‘outraged’ about in under 60 seconds, and your ‘point,’ if it would have still been recognizable in the slightest, would have been demolished. Let’s see… beginning with the failure of the framers to outlaw slavery, the disarming of the Cherokees and the trail of tears conducted by Jackson (and his overall betrayal of the American Indians), Marbury vs. Madison, the 14th Amd., Dred Scott (of course), Lincoln’s suspension of Habeas Corpus,… Buck vs. Bell, Social Security…. shall I go on? Before I even got to Brown vs. Board of Education and Bush’s failed ‘faux’ comprehensive immigration reform (thankfully, failed), and covered your ‘particular points’ I would have covered hundreds and hundreds of instances from American history that have outraged me, many of which were done by Republicans- eg, Nixon’s stupid EPA and Reagan’s inability/refusal to abolish the Department of Education. You know, just off the top of my head here.

    The idea that I should respond to each of your assumed points to set the record straight on them is just silly. First you should make sure that I feel about those issues the way you expect me to feel. I’m afraid that had you done so, you could not have conceivably posted the comment that you did.

    “I must leave room for the possibility that you are entirely neutral on the subject.”

    Wrong. I am outraged at the deterioration of the rule of law going right back to the origins of this country. The seeds of the current usurpation were laid centuries ago, but it takes a really diabolical man like Obama to act on it in the way that he did here, and it takes a really sick, corrupted society, like present day America, to tolerate it, shrug their shoulders, and say, “oh well.”

    If I were in Congress, I’d be screaming bloody murder.

    But then, contrary to your expectations, I would already be hoarse from all the other screaming, too. 😉

  5. “It’s dangerous to comment on the internal affairs of an entirely different country.”

    I live for danger. 🙂

    You are now making quite a different case against Obama than you did in the blog post, in which you explicitly criticised him for “doing by executive order what everyone knows is properly done by Congress” (which you equated with lynching). Now you’re saying that it isn’t about executive orders at all. Well okay then, if you say so, but I’d have a hard time knowing that from reading the OP, which is what I was responding to.

    What you appear now to be taking issue with is Obama reversing himself for political advantage. That’s a quite legitimate criticism, but seems inadequate to the conclusions you draw from it, such as:

    “a man who does what Obama has just done cannot be taken for his word on anything, not a single thing at all”

    …which is high octane hyperbole, unless you apply it so universally as to be meaningless. What politician, or indeed person, wouldn’t be indictable on such a charge?

    “You laid out a series of things that you wondered why I wasn’t outraged about them, too. This, of course, without having a clue about whether or not I was.”

    Your private mental states are subjective to you and inaccessible to me. I can only go by what you have written, and while of course I haven’t read all of it I am reasonably familiar with your online writing having actively participated in some of it. I repeat the caveat I made in my initial response – if you can point me to an instance of you criticising GWB for overusing executive power, OR demonstrate how Obama is much more inclined to do this than Bush was, then I would concede the point. I don’t think that is unreasonable.

    “If I were sitting across from you, I would have shared about a thousand things that I was ‘outraged’ about in under 60 seconds…”

    Well then your outrage appears to be heavily filtered by what I can only refer to as a publication bias. Again, that’s just how it appears to a reasonably frequent reader of your work. As mentioned above I would be happy to be corrected about this.

    You also seem to be developing a political eschatology which I find a bit worrying (“The End is Nigh! Doom! DOOM!”). Either you’re turning millennial on me or you’re feeling very depressed indeed. Are you okay?

  6. It isn’t a different case at all. “everyone knows…” but why worry about everyone when the only one that is needful is the one who did it? I quote again:

    On the topic of the legality of this particular measure, I will cite a renown Constitutional lawyer whose credentials are impeccable. Speaking on this very topic, he said:

    With respect to the notion that I could suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case, because there are laws on the books that Congress has passed and I know that everybody here at Bell is studying hard so you know we have three branches of government. Congresses passes the law. The executive branch’s job is to enforce and implement those laws and then the judiciary has to interpret the law. There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system, that for me through simply an executive order ignore those mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as president.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/watercooler/2012/jun/16/picket-video-obama-2011-i-cant-stop-deportations-e/

    You are trying to make this into an executive order/hypocrisy thing, but it won’t work without some more work on your part. First of all, you’ve got to make it apples to apples. It isn’t just executive orders in general, but EO where, and I quote your quoting of me, “is properly done by Congress.” So, you’d have to produce for me a particular instance where Bush put out an EO where also “Everyone knows”, or, even better, where BUSH HIMSELF had said that an EO wasn’t proper, or EVEN BETTER, where BUSH HIMSELF SAID THAT THE POWER TO DO A PARTICULAR THING WAS NOT WITHIN HIS Executive Privilege.

    Keeping apples to apples, here, “if you can point me to an instance of ME criticising Obama for ANY OTHER exercise of executive power” besides this one, then you have no basis for asserting there is a “publication bias” vis a vis EO. You won’t be able to find one, because this is the only one. 😉

    And just to be clear, when I made my objection to Obama rescinding the Mexico City policy, it was not because of the exercising of an EO, but because of the substance of the thing.

    “I don’t think that is unreasonable.”

    Then you can mark that up as one of our many disagreements. 🙂

  7. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/03/28/remarks-president-univision-town-hall

    This is the link for the full transcript of the event that your “gotcha” quote of Obama saying he couldn’t do what he later supposedly did is taken from. One of the things that you might notice straight away is that your quote cuts off before the end of his answer. He goes on to say:

    “That does not mean, though, that we can’t make decisions, for example, to emphasize enforcement on those who’ve engaged in criminal activity.”

    So he was not, as you suggest, saying that no action on this issue could be taken by the executive without the approval of congress. He made himself even more clear a few months later by saying in answer to a very similar question:

    “…what we can do is to prioritize enforcement, since there are limited enforcement resources, and say we’re not going to go chasing after this young man or anybody else who’s been acting responsibly and would otherwise qualify for legal status if the DREAM Act passed.”

    From here:
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/09/28/remarks-president-open-questions-roundtable

    Whether or not what he did even counts as an executive order is questioned by some, although it has been almost universally reported as such. See here:

    http://immigrationimpact.com/2012/06/19/president-obama-issued-a-memo-not-an-executive-order/

    Seems like a fairly tenuous distinction to me, and i wouldn’t pretend to know who is technically correct on that point. However, what Obama did appears to be little different from what Bush did in 2007 when he suspended the deportation of Liberians. How did you feel about that instance of the president unilaterally doing what is properly done by Congress? Please note that i am asking you this, not merely assuming that you were in favour of it.

    So, given that your contention Obama did something that he previously had said he could not do is suspect, and that GWB did something very similar five years ago, i’d say that pretty much makes it apples and apples buddy. And if you’re going to complain about fruit, then you ought to do so consistently, and not based upon whether they are red or blue apples. 🙂

    “Keeping apples to apples, here, if you can point me to an instance of ME criticising Obama for ANY OTHER exercise of executive power besides this one, then you have no basis for asserting there is a “publication bias” vis a vis EO. You won’t be able to find one, because this is the only one. ;)”

    i said that your outrage – allegedly engaged on so many subjects – appears to have a distinct publication bias against liberals. That ought to be easy to disprove.

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