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I am thankful for the cornerstone of America's greatness: the rule of law


Like water for a fish, the rule of law is essential, and often ignored.

Michael Nicholson/Corbis via Getty Images

There are innumerable reasons to be thankful to God for the many blessings we receive and enjoy at literally every moment of our existence. Not the least of these is the cornerstone for much of our blessed nation's incredible prosperity and success — the rule of law.

There are numerous causes for the greatness of America, but often the rule of law is ignored and not given enough credit for the nation's miraculous success.

That our society votes for representatives to debate and write our laws in order to protect us from taking advantage of another, is a pivotal development in the history of mankind. And the fruits of this achievement should be clearly obvious to everyone who has eyes to see.

Some might say the rule of law has been unequally shared in our nation's history. That is absolutely correct, and we should never pretend otherwise or forget the lessons from the ugliness in our past. But don't let perfect be the enemy of good, and don't let us throw out our blessings because they were imperfectly shared.

Others might say the rule of law is not sufficient to secure the blessings of liberty to every citizen. This is true. And we want it that way, and the founders designed it that way. Forcing the citizenry to decide their own good, and making them work to achieve it themselves is a feature, not a bug, of the health of our country. It is no accident that when the state begins to promise to deliver happiness the citizens should acquire for themselves, the rule of law is often an obstacle to be defeated in that endeavor.

Finally, it is important to be thankful for the rule of law because its nature is such that it is not self-perpetuating. This pillar of the Republic must be constantly attended to, constantly maintained and defended. There are enough examples of countries in the world which began with the right principles, but quickly fell into despotism and totalitarianism because a strong man leader ignored the rule of law and persuaded the citizenry that their lives would be better as peasants.

Yes, it's probably boring as heck to most people. But many important things are boring to the many.

This year, remember to be thankful for one of the greatest gifts the founders handed to their posterity: the rule of law.

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