As with the question of 'Who will watch the watchers', one of the driving quests of Western Civilization has been how to have a government of laws and not of men, when it is men who must write the laws? We touched upon a couple of the fundamental maxims of Western Law in the preceding post, and one in particular, which puts us on the right path for that - so long as we follow it. They do so by bringing the concept of external limitations to the law, through reasons that are accessible and comprehensible to all men who have a respectful consideration for reality and to the reality of human nature, yet at the same time are not written by men. The maxim I'm referring to is "No one should be a judge in his own cause" - a truth of human nature which takes only imagining whether a bully should be asked to judge whether he was justified in punching your child, to be grasped - the obviousness of which an English jurist, in a case from the year 1620, noted:
case of Day v. Savadge,5 2, where Chief Justice Hobart declared thatIOW, there are principles and concepts available to us from outside of the Law, which are eminently suitable for applying reasonable limits upon all of the laws that men may desire to write for the 'benefit' of other men. And should those in power ignore those limits and write their hearts desire into law in spite of them, and even succeed in having their entire society voting upon and passing them, even with all of that, such laws will in truth be no law at all, they are empty of substance, they are void.
"even an Act of Parliament, made against natural equity, as to make a man Judge in his own case, is void in it self;"
It is open to any man who dares to look at the emperors nakedness with his own two eyes and honest mind, will readily see that that emperor is wearing no clothes at all, that his so-called laws are nothing of the sort, merely the Rule of Law's Doppelganger, the Rule of Rules, made by those seeking to rule over others, and which should be struck down at the very first opportunity to do so.
In other, other words, the Laws of men, are not exempt from complying with the laws of logic, or of math... or as Jefferson put it '...the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God...', and while such a thought might very well cause the modern Pro-Regressive leftist's head to explode, it was once a common understanding, an understanding that our nation (upon which every comfort and technological delight you possess resulted from) was founded through, and is an understanding that successfully kept the Doppelganger at bay for well over a century.
You can even see an example of this, much to my surprise, in the movie "Lincoln". There's a fine scene (though not without some tarnish, which we'll look at in a moment) where President Lincoln explains to a couple of aids, what he means by Principle, and he quickly demonstrates the great steps that are readily able to be taken by all honest men through their observations of nature, which, for those willing to see them, will lead a man from the geometric principles of Euclid, to Self Evident truths for all men:
“Abraham Lincoln: You're an engineer. You must know Euclid's axioms and common notions. I never had much of schooling but I read Euclid in an old book I borrowed. Little ever found in its way in here, but once learnt it stayed learnt.
Euclid's first common notion is this: Things which are equal to the same things are equal to each other. That's a rule of mathematical reasoning and its true because it works - has done and always will do. In his book Euclid says this is self evident. You see there it is even in that 2000 year old book of mechanical law it is the self evident truth that things which are equal to the same things are equal to each other."
But even here, we have the modernist skew creeping in, and much as I enjoyed this scene when I first watched it, something about it dragged at my attention. The wording used seemed less like that of Lincoln, than of the modern screenwriter; philosophically it doesn't belong to the Realist school that Lincoln would have been familiar with. Few in Lincoln's day would say that something is true simply because it works, that is a far more modern notion, the darkly pragmatic approach which was still being formulated at that time, and I doubt it would have sat well with him. To be sure, we do confirm that things are true through verifying them, but philosophically, epistemologically, it is only because the reality IS true, that we are able to verify it - verification, logically, has to come after the thing being verified (that is Self-Evident, is it not?) - our experimentation , like the anthropologist's broom, only brushes the dirt from the bones - it doesn't create the skeleton, it only serves as a means to our discovering it. The self evident fact is that it works because it's True, and because it's true, we are able to observe and verify it.
While Hollywood added their spin to the scene, they didn't spin the substance of it from nothing, and minus the pragmatism, that was just the sort of comment that Lincoln often used to make a larger point. In fact, if you do some googling on Lincoln's speech in the movie