Saturday, September 10, 2022

In Context: How the Rule of Law is becoming the Rule of Men

In his first remarks on the Senate floor after the August state work period, Majority Leader Schumer spoke about two things, and both rang of replacing the rule of law with the rule of men.

The United States is constituted in three Branches of government. Schumer leads half of the first, and he praised the adventurism of the other two.

First, of the Article III Branch of government, the judiciary, he said, “If confirmed, Judge Lee would make history as the first Asian-American judge to sit on the Seventh Circuit, joining the proud company of other Biden nominees who are making our courts fairer and more representative of our great country.”

Listen to him long enough, especially during the most recent Supreme Court Justice confirmation, and you'll know that he doesn't just mean “fairer and more representative,” but also fairer by being more representative.

An important detail is forgotten here: representation in government is good, and the Judicial Branch is not the representative branch of government. The Legislative Branch is. Congress is where The People are represented. And, they are specifically there to represent them in the making of laws (which punish evil) and not the making of policy (which can also include the state handing out favors).

Once something is written in law, then justice and fairness are most found in objectivity. Lady Justice wears blinders to avoid partiality. “You shall not show partiality to a poor man in his dispute.” (Exodus 23:3)

It is an ever-deepening drive toward image in this country that deceives people into believing that unless they see someone that looks like them everywhere in government, then the system is rigged against them.

Second, of the Article II Branch of government, the executive, led by the President, Leader Schumer said, “For the past 2 years, I have repeatedly stated that with the simple flick of a pen, President Biden could lower costs for millions of Americans by canceling their student debt.”

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill once unraveled the entire Communist argument against free markets by summarizing capitalism as the enforcement of an agreed-upon contract. Jesus himself taught about the importance of agreement in commerce (Matthew 20:1-16).

The government is not there to enter into contracts, but enforce them. Yet, for many student loans (an issue largely complicated by the 2005 Bankruptcy Reform Act that particularly made student loans nondischargeable), government is a party to the contract itself. For the government to remove itself from that contract “with the simple flick of a pen” is destructive to itself, all taxpayers, and the rule of law.

Wait, What about President Biden's speech last week when he said MAGA Republicans are the ones who don't respect the rule of law?

Let's look at what, under the law, the rule of law is becoming, especially under laws passed exclusively by Democrats.

When HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra was before Senate committees for hearings on his confirmation to that position, several conservative Senators rightly raised concerns about his pro-abortion record against pro-life victories they had previously secured. Nominee Becerra repeatedly promised he would “follow the law,” and faced little questioning beyond that.

That was a very hollow assertion that would do little to limit the operatives within the sprawling HHS collection of agencies because of how the Affordable Care Act was written and signed into law. Over and over and over again, that law designates authority to the HHS Secretary, not just to follow the law or policy, but to make the policy. “The Secretary shall…” “The Secretary shall…” “The Secretary shall…” “The Secretary shall…” (992 times)

Therefore, saying he would “follow the law” quite literally had little more meaning or restriction than if he had said, “I'm going to do whatever I want.” He now can, and because “The Secretary shall…” that means he actually is following the law when he does just that.

This is now becoming painfully obvious with the proposed rewrite and expansion of ACA's Section 1557 rule.

The lobbying industrial complex that permeates Capitol Hill firmly espouses the idea underlying this form of lawmaking. Instead of Congress being there to pass laws to punish specific evils, they encourage Congress to write laws with “just the general contours” for policy and then leave it to executive Branch agencies to “fill in the details.” They argue Congress is only 535 people, Congressional staff are only about 10,000, and they can't possibly handle the entire scope of the policy's implications for millions of people, so it's supposedly better left to a more equipped and established agency filled with experts.

The latest addition to this argument is mere people can't handle the scope of the issues, but technology can. With enough of your private personal data, the algorithms can then “see things in the data” that people supposedly could never see on their own, and that would then put the government within, to borrow a phrase, a “simple flick of a pen” or microchip to make your life so much better. As Speaker Pelosi repeatedly asked of House Republicans about passing the Inflation Reduction Act, “How can you vote against” these good-sounding things?

If you've ever had a 10-minute doctor visit in which he barely looks up from a computer screen, that would be Exhibit A for what these kinds of policies look like on the ground. It's sold with a clever image, but it may end up being no more than a mirage.

The rule of law is being turned into the rule of men, and much of Washington is cheering this on. Once they get the data collection and algorithms in place, then comes the adherence and compliance checks. Then, health care isn't just a “right,” it's a “right” for people who comply with the algorithm. Are you taking your meds as prescribed? Are doctors prescribing meds only as recommended for advertising labels? Put the rule of men behind a layer of technology and bureaucracy and you hardly know it's there or what's driving it.

The more we afford credibility to image and technology and government controlled by unaccountable men, the more we accelerate the undermining of our freedom under the rule of law.

Father, awaken us to the idols we don't even realizing we're worshiping, to which we ascribe great worth and value and promise and hope. Turn us toward You and toward humility to realize how we've already been taken into this deception. Halt this encroachment of government and anything we've done to allow it or support it.

“they may distinguish My service from the service of the kingdoms of the nations.” (2 Chronicles 12:8)

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