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The Rule of Law & Natural Rights
Western Hero ^ | 29 July 2010 | silverfiddle

Posted on 07/29/2010 3:54:53 PM PDT by Silverfiddle

The Rule of Law
We’ve lost the original definition of “Rule of Law.” Republicans abused it badly during the Clinton impeachment trials, but both parties bear responsibility for the perversion of this important concept.

Hayek gives us the classical definition:
“Government in all its actions is bound by rules fixed and announced beforehand--rules which make it possible to foresee with fair certainty how the authority will use its coercive powers in given circumstances and to plan ones individual affairs on the basis of this knowledge."
He explains that the Rule of Law should not be ad hoc, but it should be “the rules of the game,” predictable and understandable, allowing free people to exercise their rights while refraining from violating the rights of others. No exemptions for government or for special groups. No leeway for arbitrary exercise of power by bureaucratic fiefdoms. The tax code alone violates this principle.

We Are Here
70 years ago, Hayek described what an absence of the rule of law looks like.

...The use of the government’s coercive power will no longer be limited and determined by pre-established rules. The law can ... legalize what to all intents and purposes remains arbitrary action.

If the law says that such a board or authority may do what it pleases, anything that board or authority does is legal--but its actions are certainly not subject to the rule of law.

By giving the government unlimited powers, the most arbitrary rule can be made legal; and in this way a democracy may set up the most complete despotism imaginable
The rule of law is a good and right exercise of the coercive power of government to protect the natural rights of the people. What we have today is a grotesque perversion of that Lockean principle that inspired our founders.

For a short explanation of Hayek’s classical understanding of the rule of law, see Charles W. Baird’s article, Hayek on the Rule of Law and Unions. Substitute “corporation” or “government" for his use of “union” in the article, and his point will still remain the same. A government that hands out favors and disrespects the natural rights of the free citizenry becomes debased, arbitrary and eventually, tyrannical.  

TOPICS: Government; Politics; Society
KEYWORDS: classicalvalues; hayek; naturallaw

1 posted on 07/29/2010 3:55:01 PM PDT by Silverfiddle
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To: Silverfiddle
Clinton deserved to be impeached. He displayed everything that a president should never do. In the office of president, he represented our country in front of the world. What he did was immoral and indecent and required that he be punished. He got off light.
2 posted on 07/29/2010 4:07:34 PM PDT by ANGGAPO (Leyte Gulf Beach Club)
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The rule of law means that no man is above the law, and while I agree with my brother that it was ridiculous for the leader of the free world to be held liable in a civil suite during his term of office - perjury is perjury is perjury; and it don't matter what your definition of the word “is” is.
3 posted on 07/29/2010 4:10:04 PM PDT by allmendream (Income is EARNED not distributed. So how could it be re-distributed?)
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To: Silverfiddle
Republicans abused it (rule of law) badly during the Clinton impeachment trials

What are you talking about?

4 posted on 07/29/2010 4:16:21 PM PDT by Jacquerie (Democrats soil institutions.)
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To: Jacquerie

He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Clinton lied to a court while under oath. Whether the subject of the lie was sex or space travel or corn flakes, or whatever, is quite beside the point.

5 posted on 07/29/2010 4:21:28 PM PDT by Elsiejay (.)
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To: Elsiejay

From the flyleaf:

Which Democrats never bothered to examine the evidence - because they didn't want to know.

Which GOP Senator shouted, "I don't care if you prove that Clinton raped a woman and then stood up and shot her dead - you're not going to get 67 votes."

Why Democrats and Republicans conspired to conceal the most damning evidence of impeachable, even criminal offenses.

How Clinton tried to keep his women quiet.

6 posted on 07/29/2010 4:28:33 PM PDT by Jacquerie (Democrats soil institutions.)
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To: Jacquerie; everyone
OK. Everybody stopped at the first sentence and started firing.

I am not defending Clinton! Republicans kept saying "rule of law" every 10 seconds without ever explaining what it was. By their definition, every criminal act is a violation of the rule of law.

That is not what the term means, as I explain the part no one bothered to read.

7 posted on 07/29/2010 4:53:26 PM PDT by Silverfiddle (Stand With The Heroes, Fight The Zeroes!)
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To: Silverfiddle

When you toss a turd into a punchbowl, don’t expect your guests to remark kindly on your once tasty punch.

8 posted on 07/29/2010 5:32:02 PM PDT by Jacquerie (Democrats soil institutions.)
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To: Silverfiddle

BTW, an impeachment is a political proceeding, not judicial.

9 posted on 07/29/2010 5:39:47 PM PDT by Jacquerie (Democrats soil institutions.)
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