Reflections on the rule of law, and its breakdown

Karl Denninger has a very important post up on his blog.  You really need to read it in full, and ponder it very carefully.  Here’s a brief excerpt.  (Bold, underlined and italic text is from the original.)

Folks, all of what has gone on of late is traceable and chargeable to the destruction of The Rule of Law.  The destruction of millions of Americans’ financial status, their wealth, their freedom, their health and frequently their very lives are destroyed because CERTAIN PEOPLE, namely the rich, politically powerful or those who happen to run big corporations can and do whatever they wish and are simply not prosecuted for violations of the law that you, I, or anyone else would be and are.

When you back a bear into a corner it will attack you, because it perceives that as the only remaining course of action that it has available to it other than death.

. . .

We created the conditions under which millions of Americans believe they have no recourse to the law through our willful and intentional acts and then we sit still, swill beer and post on Facebook when that fact is driven in day after day as any “important person”, cop or company you care to name pulls some stunt that would result in anyone else facing down an immediate felony indictment.

Specifically, and in reference to recent events, it is our refusal to demand that police officers be held accountable for every round their fire just as is any other person.

It is our refusal to demand that those in political power who perjure themselves are prosecuted, while if you lie you go to prison for obstruction of justice.

. . .

If this issue — the utter destruction of The Rule of Law — is not addressed now there is a very real risk that the spiral of events that has been growing, first slowly and now exponentially, could erupt into literal war within our own nation.

If it does you had better get up and look in the damned mirror because it is the collective inaction and refusal to demand the restoration of the Rule of Law by the American people, that has and will lead to this outcome.

It is for this reason that I have decided that for the present I am going to go enjoy whatever time is left in a reasonably-peaceful society here in America, for I neither believe that state of affairs will persist for long nor do I believe any material number of people will lift a single finger to do anything about it. Eight years is enough time to see whether or not there is any indication that any material percentage of the public gives a good damn and absent a marked change in the evidence my verdict is in.

There’s much more at the link.  Go read it in full.

It’s hard to argue with Mr. Denninger’s conclusions.  I would only add that some of them are more accurate concerning large urban concentrations of people than they are for ‘flyover country’, the smaller towns and rural settlements where people remain far more self-reliant, know their neighbors, and are ready, willing and able to work together to ensure the safety and security of their communities.

I now live in such a community.  Mr. Denninger’s conclusions had occurred to me as well.  They’re one of the main reasons I decided to move there and get out of a big-city environment.  I saw this coming . . . and I’m very sad indeed to have been proved correct.  We may (I hope we do) have respect for the rule of law, but there are far too many others at all levels in our society who don’t.  They’re going to carry on like that unless and until we – you and I – act to stop them.

Our actions will have to run the gamut of political, social and economic activity.  Our actions can’t only be what we do, but must encompass what we refuse to do, and what we refuse to accept, in our society.  If our elected and appointed leaders won’t act to stop the rot, we must replace them with others that will act.  This is no longer optional.  It’s a matter of our own security.  If we live in places where we are powerless to act in that way, then we need to ‘vote with our feet‘ and move to places where we can act in that way, and where our actions can and will make a difference.  If that’s impossible for us, for whatever reason, we need to get together with those of like mind and prepare ourselves accordingly.  Self-reliance can only go so far;  thereafter, mutual reliance isn’t a bad thing.  If the enemies of freedom are gathering in numbers, we need to do likewise to oppose them.

Think on these things, and prepare yourselves according to your abilities, your means and your situation in life.  I believe that for the foreseeable future, things are going to get worse, not better, no matter who runs the country.  The rot has set in too deeply.  We’re going to have to chop it out of the tree of liberty, and see to it that sound wood replaces it, before our nation can be healed.



  1. In his book "The Last Centurion", great read by the way, John Ringo goes into some details about what he calls high trust and low trust societies. Rural neighborhoods where everyone knows and can depend on everyone else are high trust. The sort of societies where everyone is out for his own benefit, and at most you look after your close family and friends but have no compunction about cheating and stealing from anyone else is low trust.
    America has in general been high trust. But it seems obvious to me that certain elements, the progressive socialist left wing desperately want to convert us to low trust because low trust people are much easier to control. They have no resources to fall back on other than their own and when those are insufficient they must look to the government for aid and comfort.
    I believe that the USA certainly can return to the levels of trust we once knew, but not when our elected officials work diligently to tear that trust down and make us into obedient subjects.

  2. Lar – bureaucracy is the definition of "low trust," because they operate on having rules for everything, but they always morph arbitrarily-applied rules. They leave no room for judgement, which high-trust requires. Because "progressives" can't compete, they always support bureaucracy, then worm their way into positions of being the arbiters of which rules to apply and when.

    We cannot return to high-trust as long as we are ham-strung by laws and bureaucracy so far-reaching and overlapping that nobody CAN know the rules.

  3. The idea of trust of Lar is very good. I saw this. Where there is trust, society prospers. But it only takes a few to ruin that. And I saw in the USA the levels of trust have gone down.

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