"There is nothing politically right that is morally wrong." --Daniel O'Connell, Irish statesman, 1775-1847.
This has been a summer of awful news and no one person is to blame for all of it. But if there is a theme that combines most of the bad news into one narrative it would be a fresh war on the rule of law both in America and overseas.
It is not that any particular law is under attack such as the rules of legal immigration or due process in a grand jury or the norms of international law in the context of war. Rather the summer has featured a general attack on the very concept of the rule of law that is necessary for civilization to exist.
There once was agreement that emotion should not trump reason but now that concensus has disappeared and large numbers of people in the U.S. and overseas now seem to think that emotion justifies any act of violence and that reason should be ignored as irrelevant to political debates because whoever yells the loudest or threatens the most violence will always win.
This mindless embrace of emotion for its own sake did not happen all at once or by accident. It is the logical evolution of many years of collectvist relativism that claims no moral position is instrinsicly better than any other and all ideas are valid and entitled to an equal claim on our respect. But common sense tells us that is impossible. Mankind learned over generations that some ideas are BETTER than other ideas and that respect for the rule of law is BETTER than stupid anarchy. Working for peace and freedom to respect the rights of all is BETTER than surrendering to violence but not at any price since there really is such a thing as evil in the world and it must be resisted by civilized people. Civilization depends on the rule of law and if we ignore the law to be governed only by emotion no one can ever be safe. The most important issue of this year is the stuggle to restore some minimum level for the rule of law and the respect for rights of others. In a small way, American voters will have a chance on November 4 to start the process of rejecting government policies that actively reject the rule of law and start making the rule of law important again.