Friday, December 14, 2007

What the World Needs Now, Is Law, Just Law

In the midst of this winter of our discontent from Iraq to the foreclosures it is heartening to see evidence in the midst of some of the world's most troubled spots of a strong and popular devotion to law. Consider the case of Pakistan, where a growing body of middle class citizens are taking the streets in defiance of the Musharraf regime and its state of emergency, to demand the restoration of an independent judiciary. (Read an AP story printed in the NYT). In the midst of a nation torn between Islamists and a pro-US government devoted to the war on terror, the rule of law is emerging as a third force.

Consider also the case of Venezuela. There, in a surprise, socialist strong man Hugo Chavez lost a significant portion of his following among the poor, enough to lose a close vote on constitutional reforms that would have greatly expanded his power to rework Venezuela's Constitution. Many of his supporters seemed to feel that even though they like his policies, they did not want to see him unrestrained by the burdens of constitutional government.

As we approach Christmas and its promise of universal love, perhaps a more realistic goal for our time is to strive for universal law.


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