By Butler Shaffer
In case any reader still clings to the platitude that the American political system is based on the proposition that ours is “a society of laws, and not of men,” I urge you to pay close attention to the events of recent years. Political behavior does not exist in abstractions, such as the “state,” or the “government,” or a “constitution,” but is activity engaged in by such men and women who find the machinery of state power a useful device for accomplishing ends that they value. Those who desire to control others through access to the tools of violence that define the state, have rationales to convince their intended victims of the “rightness” of their rule. From explanations such as “God’s will” to the “divine right of kings,” the authority of some to enjoy coercive power over others — along with their subjects’ duty of obedience — is so engrained into the minds of people as to seem as self-evident as the forces of gravity.