The Truth About…Law (Part 3)

Let’s continue to examine law, but this time from other views that aren’t biblical.  If we will not listen to God when it comes to standards of societal conduct, then we are left with 2 options–either we, the governed decide, or the government itself decides, apart from the will of the people.

If the governed decide the laws, it is called social contract theory.  In this method of determining proper societal behavior, the people vote, restricting their own freedom in order to live together in peace and safety.  An example of this is voting on increasing the speed limit on certain roads.  If people do not want to raise the limit to 75 miles per hour on state highways, they vote to restrict their freedom; however, in the name of safety, they may decide that that restriction is worth it in terms of saved lives.

The other option is to allow the government to decide all the laws, without the will of the people.  This is called legal positivism.  The problem with the state simply declaring what is right or wrong is that this is the basis of dictatorships and totalitarian regimes throughout time.  When the state decides the law without the consent of the governed, the results are often brutal and deadly.

Professor Rudolph Rummel at the University of Hawaii reached a sad conclusion in his research on governments.  The most deadly things on the planet are not war and disease but what government that is in place.  Does it answer to a higher authority and follow the rule of law, or is it simply a state that follows the rule of men, and whomever is in charge makes the rules?

Rummel found that in this past 20th century, more citizens died at the hands of the communists, socialists, and fascists in power.  It is estimated that these governments killed over 170 million of their own people.  The top three deadliest governments were the Soviet Union, with over 61 million dead; Communist China with over 35 million dead; and Nazi Germany with over 20 million dead.  Rummmel’s title for his book says it all: Death by Government.

When the rule of men is what governs, then the governed suffer.  However, when governments follow the rule of law, the people can be free.  More on this next blog.

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