Logophile on Law

Law is a word that fools us. Since law has serious impact on our lives we need to understand the term and how to use it properly. Importantly, we need to be aware of how it is used against us.

Some people come under the penalty of law, when the “law” used against them was not a “law” at all. You are most likely fooled by the use of “law”. So it is important that you understand the word, how it is used and what implications it has in your life.

Law is a Vague Term

Some words are used in multiple applications, with different meanings. A young woman tells her infant brother that she wishes to marry a man because she ‘loves’ him. The infant then replies that he is going to marry chocolate, because he ‘loves’ chocolate.

Love is used so broadly that its technical meaning varies in different situations. You can love sport while sport is not the love of your life. You can love your spouse, but also love getting away on your own.

The ancient Greeks used several different words for our English word ‘love’, differentiating between: attraction to the appearance of a thing; humanitarian or family concern; sexual attraction; and sacrificial commitment for the good of others.

Law is similarly a vague term. It refers to such unchangeable things as the laws of nature, but also to such changeable things as the rules of a club.

It’s the Law

When someone informs you that something “is the Law!” you can be misled as to their meaning. What type of ‘law’ is it? Who made that law? By what is it enforced? What are the consequences of breaking that law? Who is bound by that law?

Many things are the ‘law’ and have profound consequences for some people, yet can be completely ignored by others. Just because something is “the law” doesn’t mean most of us have to give any credence whatsoever. The trick is to know what is ‘law’ and what is ‘law’. That is, we need to differentiate between one law and another.

Others May but I May Not

A police officer is bound by more laws than the average citizen. Anyone who has sworn an oath of office, taking on special responsibility, is under stricter controls than normal citizens. For example, ordinary citizens are not bound by law to give their name to a police officer, but a police officer must give his name to any citizen who asks for it.

Lawyers and Barristers have sworn special allegiance to the courts, in order to be allowed to deal with the special legal matters of the court. So an ordinary citizen has much greater freedom in a court of law than their legal team does.

It is a case of “others may, but I may not”. Others may ignore the instructions or demands of a judge, but a barrister does not have that privilege. Others may ignore the demands of a police officer (under certain circumstances) but a police officer may not ignore the demands made of him or her.

Categories of Laws

Here are some of the various types of law that impact you in your normal life. There is Divine Law, Natural Law, Common Law, Imperial Law, Constitutional Law, Statute Law, Local By-Laws, Club Rules and House Rules. There are also such laws as the Laws of Nature, Maritime Law, Contract Law and International Law.

Divine Law involves mankind’s moral accountability to the Creator, who is the ultimate moral being and who holds all people accountable against His own moral standards. Such laws as the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Jesus Christ convey man’s moral responsibility to God’s Law.

Natural Law involves the natural rights and responsibilities which attend natural existence. Such things as the right to self-defence and the right to maintain and sustain life are included here.

Human Legality

While Divine and Natural Law seem to be the most basic foundation for law, they are not man-made, but spring from either the nature of our existence or the One who created us. So the next areas of ancient law (Common Law and Imperial Law) represent the early expressions of human law which have passed to many nations.

Common Law is the body of laws which developed in England over centuries, where God’s Law, especially as expressed in the Book of Deuteronomy, was applied to situations and codified into a body of rights and responsibilities. Common Law is principally focussed on limiting people’s impact on others (no murder, injury or theft) and making people accountable for their own actions (bound by their promises).

Imperial Law involves all the laws of English monarchs, which further codified Biblical, Natural and Common Law into principles by which due legal process is to be applied. Such documents as the Magna Carta from over 700 years ago are still upheld as foundations for legal practice and principle followed today. Most English speaking and former British Empire nations have ratified their continued reliance on Imperial Law. Imperial Laws have not decayed with time, but are enduring elements of what is law and lawful today.

Modern Law

While all those laws mentioned so far are perfectly modern in their validity, most unlearned citizens think of them as somehow outmoded and not relevant today. Modern people think of their nation’s constitution and the government-enacted laws (statutes) as modern law.

Constitutional Law involves that body of law which is created to define a nation and how it will operate, politically and legally. Many nations have a constitution: that which constitutes (brings together) the nation itself. All of the parts are the constituents. All legal and political practice within the nation has to be based on the law that “constitutes” (or creates) the nation.

Statute Law involves all those “laws” which are created by governments. Once a nation has been constituted (via its Constitution) its elected or appointed officials may need to create the Rules for the effective operation of the nation. Those “laws” are actually “statutes”. They are rules which are given the force of law, and are generally treated as equal to those higher laws upon which the government has been founded. Statutes are binding upon the members of the club or society which created them.

Local Law involves those rules which are created by local councils, regional administrations, clubs (for their members), social organisations, etc. For example: a student at one school is told that he must wear a particular uniform on certain days. But that localised rule, while effectively the “law” for some students, has absolutely no hold over students attending a different school. One local council may prohibit the lighting of fires in people’s yards, while the neighbouring city might encourage such fires. Local laws only apply to those who are bound by them, by membership of some group or other.

Question The Law

Which laws apply to you? If other people create a rule for them and their club, does that have any hold over you? Is the law being applied to you a Divine moral responsibility, or is it simply a statute made up to facilitate social order?

Is the law that is being pressed upon you really a law at all? If a local or statute law is against the higher laws on which they stand, then can it be a lawful law at all?

Can a government morally uphold a law that rejects or breaks God’s Law? Can a local or state government legally create a law that violates that nation’s Constitution?

When someone tells you “It’s the Law”, what do they really mean? It may be “law” for them, but is it law for you? If two laws contradict each other, which law should you obey?

A Lawful Mind

The information and questions in this lesson are to prompt you to know where you stand before the law and how you should respond to the laws you are told to obey. I want you to have a deeper and richer understanding of the law than many of those around you who say, “It’s the Law!”

Give these matters some serious thought and seek to develop a wise and lawful mind.

Authority Confusion

Recent discussion about whether present day Governments can legislate away our long-term rights and such things as our Common Law rights prompts me to discuss “Authority Confusion”, or, better put, “Jurisdictional Confusion”.

An analogy or two might be helpful, to open the subject.

Analogy 1 – The Military Commander

Imagine a Military Commander who instructs his army to invade a particular region and take the cities. In the process a young soldier realises that the region they are invading belongs to the broader realm of the King he serves. He asks his Sergeant to explain what is going on. The soldier is told that the Military Commander decided to bring that region under military control, instead of the King’s control.

The soldier eventually challenges the Military Commander. “Sir, how can we invade our own land and violate our own nation and King?”

The Military Commander explains that the King gave him the right to rule the army and so he is doing with it what seems best to him.

Jurisdictional Confusion

Do you see the Authority confusion there? Can you see the Jurisdictional confusion?

The Military Commander draws his authority from the King who appointed him. He has jurisdiction over the army, on behalf of the King, not independently of the King. The Military Commander violates his own authority, abandoning the right to hold it, once he attacks the very authority who gave him his position and jurisdiction.

Analogy 2 – The McDonald’s Manager

Imagine a man who is promoted to Manager of a McDonald’s hamburger outlet. Once in that position he chooses to change the recipe for the burgers, give free burgers to his friends and add a few home cooked products from his mum.

When the customers and staff ask him why he is doing it he explains that he is the manager now and can do what he likes.

That is ridiculous, because he only has authority as a manager because he is in the employ of the company. Once he mocks the company by abusing the position of responsibility and trust they have given him, he disqualifies himself from the role of manager. He will be sacked.

Conferring Authority

Authority is conferred. The authority of the Australian Government, for example, has been conferred upon it. Centuries of British legal and cultural heritage, with Christianity, the Holy Bible, Common Law, application of Natural and Divine Law, the Westminster System, Imperial Decrees, Maritime Law, and so on, have conferred on the present Government the responsibilities they currently hold. The people of Australia hold authority as the “electors’ parliament” and need to confer their personal vote to a government in order for that government to have authority to govern.

Captain James Cook, operating under Maritime Law, subject to the Crown of England and the British Parliament, anchored in Common Law, based on Natural Law and Divine Law, based upon the Person, Place and Values of Almighty God as expressed in the Imperial Document the Holy Bible (King James Version), provided the basis for today’s Government of Australia.

When a Government violates and rejects the principles upon which that very Government has been established it invalidates itself.

No Government or Parliamentary System can destroy its own foundations, violate the principles on which it stands, or revoke the rights, responsibilities and privileges upon which it is established without making a mockery of its own existence.

Subverting Authority

However “power corrupts” and so politicians and legislators are not above the temptation to distort reality, arrogate privileges to themselves and violate the rights of others. What is happening in modern societies is the assertion of the exclusive rights of the present forms of Government, independently of the basis on which they stand.

High Court rulings, Statute Laws and University text books notwithstanding, reality has not changed. A wrong decision does not dictate a new reality. Foolishness does not destroy wisdom. Lies do not render the truth powerless.

Powerful People

People, who are free indeed, by Divine Law, Natural Law, Common Law and their cultural and legal heritage, should not be fooled by those who tell them that they no longer possess that freedom.

In Australia we also have the Australian Constitution to further affirm our personal freedoms.

And notice what happens each time we are asked to vote. Our politicians come to us hat-in-hand at each election asking us to confer upon them the authority which we hold as Australians. Without our permission they cannot hold office.

We are not pawns of the Parliament, but they are our servants, as their repeated appeals for our votes affirm.

True Freedom

Parliamentarians do not determine our freedoms. Those freedoms are ours from creation and through history. Parliamentarians and legislators can only operate within a narrow margin of function. Any intention on their part to cross those boundaries reveals that they are unworthy of the trust placed in them and are ready to violate the very authority on which they stand.