Saturday, May 24, 2014
Political (and legal) humility
George Will's column today begins with this:
All modern presidents of both parties have been too much with us. Talking incessantly, they have put politics unhealthily at the center of America’s consciousness. Promising promiscuously, they have exaggerated government’s proper scope and actual competence, making the public perpetually disappointed and surly. Inflating executive power, they have severed it from constitutional constraints.
The reminder of the limited role and efficacy of government, politics, and law is especially important for those of us who live and work in the legal academy. Law school denizens often presume too much expertise in reorganizing society by legal compulsion to achieve preferred social goals. And the law professoriate tends to ignore the possibility of collateral consequences by such legal restructuring of the lives and businesses of our fellow citizens, the most powerful of which is a withdrawal of freedom and a weakening of private associations (or at least those associations that do not follow the government line).
In most respects, the thriving and happiness on a day to day basis of the people we know and love -- and should seek to serve -- turns much more on what happens in the neighborhood, the school community, the parish congregation, and the family, than on the ambitions, agendas, and pretenses of politicians and their legal advisors in some distant capital.
And, thanks be to God, that is how it should be in a free society.