Lately, the role of law in society seems to have been put in question. Law is commonly defined as “the principles and regulations established in a community by some authority and applicable to its people, whether in the form of legislation or of custom and policies recognized and enforced by judicial decision.”
The supreme law of the land in the United States has been the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, both of which were established to “form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”
Because this topic is amazingly broad and beyond the scope of this Kennewick Personal Injury blog, I will just offer a brief commentary on one implicit aspect of the law: maintaining stability and a certain status quo and conservatism with regards to societal impulses for change.
The words statute, status, and statue all begin with “sta-” which means to “stand, make or be firm”. Last year, when rioters began tearing down hundreds of statues across the country, it became clear that the rumbles of anarchy (i.e., without a leader or archetype) were threatening the domestic tranquility and union of the United States. A certain faction was not pleased with the status quo, and they showed this with uncontrolled and largely unprosecuted defacement of public property.
Proponents of the ongoing incitement of anarchy and chaos assure us that it is necessary to tear down the old in order to replace it with the new. So far, I’ve not been convinced. For instance, the most frequently targeted statue was that of Christopher Columbus, but we all know that he didn’t even discover the United States. And, even worse, he ignored Eratosthenes calculation of the circumference of the earth when he decided he had traveled halfway around the world instead of a mere 20%. Our outrage, should we be unable to discuss the foibles of human history inside of the confines of rational discourse, would be better placed at the feet of Queen Isabella, the financier of Columbus’ voyages. Or at the fact that he didn’t receive a liberal education.
When the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were put onto paper and ratified by the representatives of the states, they were inherently conservative, or not disposed to change. It wasn’t until decades later when the modern Supreme Court was established that a liberal interpretation of the laws was even possible. However, modern conservatism is often depicted as a caricature like it is in this photo I captured last weekend in Asotin, Washington.
Allow me to suggest that the caricature does not reflect the true nature of conservatism and the role of law, just as the Christopher Columbus hating ignoramuses don’t represent those of us who are truly working to right the wrongs of the past through thoughtful activism. Yes, there is so much wrong in the world, but there is also so much that is right! For instance, we really don’t want to sue an individual defendant who caused a car accident when it’s really the insurance company that is calling the shots and making a low-ball offer. But, when we do, we convince the insurance company to settle as quickly as possible without committing another act of bad faith toward their insured.
Let us stand firm in our resolve to build our communities, to stand for the ideals of the Constitution, and let us pay heed to our emotions without allowing them to destroy that which is good. As De Toqueville once said, America is great because she is good. Let us continue to be good.