Like it or not, our country was founded on and sustained by the notion of a Creator. Furthermore our founding documents affirm that this Creator endowed us with certain inalienable rights. Our system of jurisprudence was rooted in English common law, which itself was dependent upon the informed discretion of individual judges to establish legal precedent.
Simply stated, the concept of common law relies upon the year in and year out cumulative good judgment of the judges. The question is, what was the intended basis for that good judgment? This question brings us all the way back to the first precept of law stated by St. Thomas Aquinas himself, that “good is to be done and pursued, and evil is to be avoided.” In other words, we are brought back to “The Natural Law.” (ST-II-I, Q. 94, Art. 2)
Now in the event of unregulated common law it must be assumed that the judicial temperament of the judges will remain sensitive to objective moral standards. The genius of the Founders, however, provided an overlay for judicial discretion by adopting the Constitution, which is, itself, deferential to the notion of seeking good and avoiding evil. This was a uniquely American and, if you will, revolutionary idea, for it made our system of justice universal and appellate in nature.
If a case is appealed, ultimately, to the U. S. Supreme Court they will fall back on the Constitution to render decision. It is interesting to note that Great Britain, to this day has no formal, written Constitution. To this end it is fundamental to understand that the United States Constitution is a document designed specifically to limit the power of Government in order to ensure that it remain the servant and never the master of its citizens. The founders had confidence in the American people, while retaining a prudent mistrust of any government administered by fallible men. Why? Because they knew that government was a soulless and corruptible thing, whereas individual moral men fear for their eternal destiny, making a Godly nation a self regulating entity. Consider the words of our second President, John Adams:
“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” –October 11, 1798
Now, you may ask, what does all of this have to do with the devil, and more importantly, what does it have to do with me? I would first ask you a question in response. Do you believe that, in 2012, the current political process is still capable of honest representation of our country’s best interests? Assuming that you are among the majority of Americans who answered — either “doubtful” or “nope” or “no way” or “hell no” — the next question is: Why not? The most common answer is that the entire process is no longer trustworthy.
So, I would ask a follow-up question. In your life, as you scroll through the institutions that built this nation, what is left that is trustworthy? Government, banks, schools, churches, the legal system, industry? “Baseball, hotdogs, apple pie and Chevrolet?” Are any of these as trustworthy as they once were? As they should be? So what has changed? These institutions aren’t bricks and mortar, they are people. Washington D.C. is just land and buildings; the government is people. The Church isn’t the Vatican, the National Cathedral or some stadium mega structure, it is you and me, on our knees praying for God’s will. Things haven’t changed, we have. If our institutions are no longer trustworthy, its because neither are we.
Look at us, as a country. We lie, we cheat on our spouses, we spend our lives wanting bigger, better, faster everything, and we are obsessed with sex. Attendance at church is way down; at bars, way up. We abort our children, buy our daughters birth control pills, peruse internet pornography like our fathers watched the evening news and actually tolerate an idiotic word like homophobia. Despite all of this, we have the nerve, the unmitigated gall, to expect our elected representatives to be honest!
Now, clearly the above description doesn’t apply to the reader or any of his friends, relatives, high school classmates, or members of his astrological star sign. Neither, I pray, would it apply to me or mine, but when the bruised boxer’s coach told him, “He hasn’t laid a glove on ya, kid.” The beaten fighter replied, “OK coach, but, keep an eye on that referee, would ya, cause someone is beatin’ the hell outta me in there!”
I know that we don’t believe that it is us, but a whole lot of somebody is beatin’ the hell outta the moral fabric of this country.
This is an excerpt from Val Bianco’s newest book It’s the Devil, Stupid, expected to be available in 2013.
© Val Bianco. All Rights Reserved.