Without rule of law we're slaves to our freedom

The writer says obedience to the law is an attribute of a good human being.
The writer says obedience to the law is an attribute of a good human being.
Image: 123RF/Evgenyi Lastochkin

Our hard-won democracy is in deep peril and in dire straits as many brazenly and defiantly, disrespect the rule of law.

It was a US supreme court justice who in 1947 offered these profound words: "There can be no free society without law administered through an independent judiciary. If one man can be allowed to determine for himself what is law, every man can. That means first chaos, then followed by tyranny."

The low and the mighty, are subject to the laws of the land. Due process knows no colour. It knows no gender. It knows no hashtags. This is what makes due process and the rule of law so essential to a free society like ours.

Rule of law is a character of an ideal, civilised society. It guarantees the essence of man’s freedom. Without the rule of law, we are in danger of losing our precious liberty. Without liberty and free will, man will exist like a beast, dependent on his fitness to survive. Indeed, the law of the jungle is the flip side of the rule of law.

On a daily basis, many citizens violate cardinal aspects of our law, in a brazen and outrageous manner, making a mockery of our constitution, which underpins our sacred form of governance.

It was US president Theodore Roosvelt  who in 1903 said, ”No man is above the law and no man is below it, nor do we ask any man’s permission when we ask him to obey it. Obedience to the law is demanded as a right, not asked as a favour’.

Obedience to the law is an attribute of a good human being.

Conversely, defying law in any form is shameless delinquency, which deserves to be condemned. A law-abiding conformist is an asset for society while the law breaking contrarian is a veritable liability. A timely reminder is what John Locke, said in 1689: ”Wherever law ends tyranny begins.”

Farouk Araie, Actonville, Benoni

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