Sunday, March 27, 2005

Tissue of the Law

Following the dreadful school shootings in Red Lake Minnesota, The Minneapolis Star Tribune wrote: "All questions answered except why." (I am recalling from memory; it's likely faulty, hold your fire please). Asking why will give no answer. Ask instead, what was not in place to stop this? Laws were useless, indeed are useless without something in us preventing our descent into murder. In this case, the law was there only after the crime, cleaning up. Should we throw it out? We've evidently thrown out our internal stops. And live in a place where nothing is prohibited, almost everything is a right; most offensive the 'right' not to be offended. Senseless death offends me. The credo of death acted out in Red Lake offends me.

David Warren has good things to say. Breaking Upon the Law: "...from my own point of view, the great majority of our intellectual establishment or "clerisy" (as distinct from the people they believe they are serving) have everything important backwards. They are pluralist in the absolute realm of morals; but absolutist in the plural realm of economic life. "

Everything important backwards. I've heard something like this before. Who's to say what is right and what is wrong? Anyone care to take a side in a debate on the shootings?...I thought not. David Warren is talking about marriage issues and language changes in Canada, (the illusion of changing something by forcing people call it by other names), but the issues run deeper.

More: The whole distinction between "natural" and "legal" was -- like the implicit distinction between "natural" and "legal" marriage itself -- absolutely necessary to the predictable functioning of all our laws. The distinction had already been seriously undermined by the legalization and then proliferation of contraception and abortions and "no-fault" divorce. What we're getting now is not a fresh challenge to the concept that anything can be true in nature. It is instead the delivery of the coup de grace to that idea, upon which our whole legal system was built. (snip)

And: We have forgotten that human law is a tissue when it is not founded in the moral law written into nature by nature's God. When the two laws come into conflict, it is the former which disintegrates. In the wise old Scottish legal maxim, "People do not break the law. They break themselves upon the law."

The moral law may be cast aside, riduculed it as out of date. Or diminished by equivocation. Or simply shrivel from lack of excercise. This is wise? Little else would have stopped those bullets.

A tangent: The actress Dianne Caroll once spoke in a TV public service announcement about discrimination, ending with: "And remember, discrimination is not only wrong, it's illegal."
Everything important backwards.

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