Law and the Rule of Law
It seems like everywhere you turn, someone is telling you what to do or not to do. In a civil society, we are expected to follow the rules, regulations, and laws to keep the peace and live amicably together as a group. Laws are primarily rules which protect us against abuse from companies, other people, and even the government itself. Laws protect our rights and ensure that we are all treated equally and fairly.
The government has set forth a complex set of rules to protect every area of our lives such as food safety, speed limits and traffic rules as well as healthcare and other professional services. Without these laws, we would get sick from food not safely processed, and medical care would have no standards or and more people would die from negligence. Additionally, the roads and highways would be complete chaos without any rules of conduct.
Thankfully, our laws are continually evolving to protect new groups or changes in how people represent themselves. For instance, there are now laws enacted to protect same-sex marriage, gender non-specific individuals and other organizations, which did not exist prior. The Bill of Rights guards our freedoms of speech, press, and religion. We also have laws that protect against discrimination or abuse because of color, race, disability, age or gender.
Where Do Our Laws Come From?
The Constitution provides the basic guidelines for most of our laws, however, it does not cover every contingency. Therefore the law is evolving and frequently updated to include new technologies and changes that naturally occur in our society. For example, bullying laws had to change when social media popped onto the scene, and now it includes clauses about cyber stalking and bullying.
The executive branch of government, courts, and judges interpret the law as it is laid out in the Constitution. They do not make new laws. New laws are proposed, discussed and then voted on in Congress.
The Rule of Law
The rule of law means that as Americans we have agreed to live in a society and abide by the government-mandated laws. We further agree to the equal and fair process of judicial resolution for disputes.
The rule of law epitomizes democracy promising that each American will respect, honor, stay committed to, and be faithful to the ideals of our civil society by obeying and upholding our laws.
Changes in the Law
Despite our agreement as American citizens to honor our democratic society, not everyone agrees that specific things should be legal or illegal. For instance, there is a considerable debate going on about whether or not the legalization of certain recreational drugs is unconstitutional. There are other instances where state or federal laws come into question about overstepping boundaries when it comes to health and people's personal lives. Time will tell how things will continue to evolve in our democratic society of laws and how well the public will receive it.