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World News and Trends: A world lacking in law and order

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A world lacking in law and order

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A primary factor is a pervasive decline in respect for the rule of law. As The Washington Times put it: "Just as the 20th century was tripped up by ideologies smoldering beneath the surface, the 21st century is threatened by the decline of law."

Historian Paul Johnson echoes this analysis and stresses the importance of the rule of law. He explains: "The rule of law as distinct from the rule of a person, or class or people, and as opposed to the rule of force, is an abstract and sophisticated concept. It is mighty difficult to achieve. But until it is achieved, and established in the public mind with such vehemence that masses of individuals uphold it, no other form of progress can be regarded as secure."

Nothing characterizes our age more than widespread disregard for law and authority. Government leaders and police are too often figures of ridicule. Many people—including, at times, political leaders—seek to get around the law in any way they can. But we will never resolve our problems until we are law—abiding citizens in nations that occupy a world of law and order.

To be effective, law must be universally applied to everyone. There can be no exceptions. As Mr. Johnson explains: "The essence of the rule of law is its impersonality, omnipotence and ubiquity. It is the same law for everyone, everywhere—kings, emperors, high priests, the state itself, are subject to it. If exceptions are made, the rule of law begins to collapse—that was the grand lesson of antiquity."

He further noted: "The Bible can be seen as a gigantic treatise on the rule of law. God, outside and above humanity, is the objective legislator and enforcer, and all humankind are subject to his laws." Of course, he describes here an ideal world in which people keep the Ten Commandments as a way of life. (Sources: The Washington Times, The Sunday Telegraph.)