The King Can Do No Wrong
Recently someone said something that should be very concerning to all free citizens of America. I don't want to use names because I want it to be about principles, not people.
What he said was, ““I’m a results person…. My people (supporters) are so smart, and you know what else they say about my people? The polls. They say I have the most loyal people, did you ever see that? I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn't lose any voters, OK? It's like, incredible."
Let's break this down into the two issues found in that statement:
The first is the relationship between the ruler and the law. The essence of what he is saying is, “I can break the law of the land, and the citizens of the state will not hold me accountable to it.”
This principle is called sovereign immunity or “crown immunity.” If any man or woman in authority in the United States of America claimed such authority, Americans would be up in arms (and rightly so). Americans today regularly have concerns about our current President believing he is above the law, and we are looking for a leader that respects the laws and principles of the Constitution of America, which have made this country great.
The Latin phrase that describes the concept this man allows himself is “rex non potest peccare," which means, “the king can do no wrong.” It is the doctrine of monarchies, but worse, the doctrine of tyranny. Both of these systems of government are directly in contradiction with the outline of the Constitution. Regardless of any promises made by any ruler, the Constitution cannot be the supreme law of the land if the leaders and citizens do not enforce it.
To put this is better context, Plato originally defined tyranny as a system of government where the rulers do not abide by the laws of the land. This gives more meaning to the Declaration of Independence when Jefferson justifies breaking away from government tyranny, and then lists the laws King George had broken.
Whether this man realizes it or not, he and his followers have excused him to act outside the law whenever he sees fit, even if it means literally killing people in the streets. He says he is a results person, do we really want the results a man who is already crowning himself the first King of America? Likely not in name, of course, but in action. Americans have scrambled in fear of our current President appointing himself king, and in our frenzy we might elect a man with less regard for law than the one we have now.
This brings us to the second issue, which is the fanatical devotion of his followers. This man flatters and praises their devotion in this quote, and throughout the speech.
The problem is that any people would allow this kind of language even if they are not aware of the definition of tyranny. More than allow their ruler to speak so flippantly about breaking the law of the land, they cheered for it. In contrast, notice the language of the Pledge of Allegiance:
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. And to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Nowhere in our pledge do we swear loyalty to a man. We swear to principles of freedom and justice. Liberty and law. A man who laughs and jokes about acting outside the law while his followers yell, “We love you!” from the crowd, that man is capable of anything, simply because his followers will allow him to do it. Alexis de Tocqueville said that in the American republic every man is a king. We all have the responsibility to uphold just laws, and to keep our nation free. No one man should have the authority to break the law, no matter his station, no matter his promises. Therefore, as American patriots, we must support only those leaders who have respect for the law.
Sadly, most of these people are our friends and family members. They are much like us in that they are patriotic, freedom loving Americans, who are tired of government corruption, and of our ruler’s abuse of the law. However, they are caught up in the hope of change. Hope that an outsider might be able to strong arm the politicians and other nations with big talk. Hope that he can change things.
And yet, for all his promises, no man can restore our nation to her greatness if he does not hold the laws that made her great in reverence. It is not surprising that he speaks of being above the law, for he rarely speaks of the Constitution. Our leaders must know the law, and love the law.
If he does not understand the laws that made her great, he can never fulfill his promise to return her to that greatness.