Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Legitimacy (Paul Hein)

Paul Hein debunks the fallacious concept of "legitimate" government:

There are, I suspect, many people who confuse America --this beautiful and bounteous land with which we are blessed--with the United States , that corporation calling itself the government, which owns and operates it through its front men, those windbags in Washington . That’s a shame, because one’s natural love for the country rubs off on the United States, so to speak, tending to give it (notice how the “United States” is always singular!) a respectability which it does not deserve.

The recognition of a distinction between the U.S. and the country can make one uneasy. Can one love one’s country, and not respect the state? Can you call yourself a patriotic American and distrust the U.S. ?

What little remains of the basic principles of American life: freedom of speech and association, private property, the sanctity of contracts, the rule of law, etc., is quickly disappearing under the Obama reign. Americans will eventually have to confront the dilemma: freedom, or adherence to the “law.”

I checked with the law dictionary to confirm what I suspected: the word “legitimate” is a synonym for “lawful,” or “legal.” I also looked up “government,” and found, among the many definitions associated with that word, “governmental action.” It is defined as any action of the federal government authorized by the Constitution, with several court citations to support that definition. So it is logical to conclude that a legitimate government is one that acts within its own Constitution and the laws made pursuant to it.

That presents a problem. A legitimate government obeys the laws, but that selfsame government makes the laws. What is so difficult about obeying your own laws? And how can a government be criticized for lawlessness, when it can simply make laws to justify its actions? After all, “blacks in the back of the bus” was the “law.” I would be willing to bet that most of the actions of the Nazis, or the Communists, at least in the beginning, were according to the laws which they had made. Slavery, in this country, as in others, was utterly lawful.

Even worse, however, than the sham of a government piously claiming adherence to laws of its own making, which shouldn’t exist in the first place, is the action of government unsupported by any laws whatsoever--bogus or not.

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