The Meta-Law

by Dave Schuler on August 8, 2014

When I say “meta-law” I mean the philosophical underpinnings of the law. Here in the United States the Constitution is the law of the land but the meta-law includes things like the Declaration of Independence. I’m sure you’re familiar with the opening lines of the Declaration:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

The emphasis is mine.

Other countries are based on blood kinship, long history, a common religion, or even accident. The United States, as G. K. Chesterton so aptly put it, is a country founded on a creed. Part of the creed is “a decent respect to the opinions of mankind”. That’s one of the reasons that I believe we should have good reasons for the things that we do and be willing to explain them to the world. It’s part of our DNA, our creed. Our meta-law.

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