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American Thinker
American Thinker
2 Dec 2023
Matthew G. Andersson


NextImg:Why the left hates American law

Many conservatives, moderates, and even fair-minded liberals have been startled by the way the DNC is twisting American legal standards to pursue and remove a political rival.  Former House speaker Newt Gingrich asserted that “the left will destroy the law in order to destroy Trump.”  

As Americans grapple with their own legal system, which appears completely malleable in the hands of special interests, it may be helpful to consider what the political left is really seeking to do, and by what ideology.  The Progressive Left embraces a legal ideology foreign to English and American common law and stands in direct opposition to Christian and rabbinic natural law teaching.

It is easy to claim mere “lawlessness,” as if our laws can also be used to correct the left’s radicalism and bring leftists to heel.  Some say they are “nihilists” or “radicals” or “Marxists” and will eventually be brought to account through the force of our laws.  Some observers feel that a new congressional commission will be formed, hearings held, and such organized crime eventually prosecuted.  This may be wishful thinking.

When progressives claim that the U.S. Constitution should be discarded, or that Supreme Court rulings are not law, or that “workarounds” can be found to any rule, or that national security can be openly defied by mass illegal border-crossing, then something other than just ignoring law and order is involved.

I suggest that it is the nature of law itself that is being assaulted — not as a reform effort, or a “transformation,” even, and not through a constitutional convention, or any democratic procedure and process, but as an attack on Western culture and constitutional history.  That culture and history is, most of all, centered on individual freedom, written declarations of rights, and the court of law, the vital practice of legal defense: the legal latitude to object, defend, cross-examine, rebut, and a dozen other tools of defense.  Legal defense is what makes law work; otherwise, law becomes edict or orders or fiat, and all without representation or consent.

What has been called “The Great Tradition” refers to English constitutional history as a major factor in the development of our national identity as a nation governed by law.  English, and American, constitutional history is interpreted by the progressive left, however, as merely justification for empire rather than the story of a liberated new nation that produced three of the greatest legal documents in modern history: the Declaration, the Constitution, and the Federalist.

The inherent nature of Western law sits in relative equilibrium through centuries of custom, and from the inspiration of a “natural” law centered in principles of certain rights.  (See the works of Jean-Jacques Burlamaqui, Heinrich Rommen, Lord Radcliffe, or Northwestern University’s Stephen Presser.)  Such natural law rights recognize and reflect, in part, a religious authority, outside human positive law.  (Natural law can also be found in rabbinic concepts of “Noahide law.  See Natural Law and Judaism by David Novak.)  That is why communism, for example, and to a great extent socialism, first seeks to replace organized religion with a political party.  It is why a theocracy seeks to merge religion with the state, into a unified absolute authority.  Iran is an example.

It is the latter form — effectively theocratic — that more accurately characterizes the kind of law that the left appears to value and model itself on.  It has absolute contempt for Western law because it operates from general principles of individual sovereignty and embodies procedures meant to ensure that individual sovereignty, even under criminal accusations.  It therefore undermines the particular form of law that the left imagines — one that retains the forms of the Western legal tradition, including its court system, but strips it of any substantive meaning.  It is an act of deception in order to retain social control, otherwise devoid of reliable appeals to a broader Western rule of law.  It is instead a rule of rule.

In this regard, the left’s ideal legal model more resembles sharia law, with the judicial attack against President Trump an effective fatwa.

This may seem incredible, and I’m not suggesting that American law has been suddenly replaced with a foreign code.  But as you peel back the facts of the current U.S. political economy, what is left clearly is not stabilized in respect for our legal system.  The left doesn’t have enough power to replace it, so leftists will seek instead to keep the basic infrastructure (the hardware) and simply reboot it with new legal software.  The software program, or even “patch,” is a relatively simple procedure organized around political infiltration of the judicial system, starting with the suppression of normal policing, while increasing the use of regulatory agencies as legal enforcers, and the judiciary system proper as an operating political system, governed by a central political party.  Packing the Supreme Court is the progressive left’s additional legal fantasy.

This ideology all starts in our law schools, where progressivism has the time, resources, and institutional reinforcement to grow, solidify, and radicalize.

Matthew G. Andersson is the author of the upcoming book Legally Blind.  A former CEO, he has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and by the National Academy of Sciences.  He has testified before the U.S. Senate and is a graduate of the University of Chicago.  He studied with White House national security advisor W.W. Rostow at the LBJ School of Public Affairs.

Image via Picryl.