A Thin Red Line

I stumbled upon a great statement on the line that separates civilization from anarchy. Timothy Gatto writes this in response the the FLDS situation:

While you might not agree with what the FLDS is doing, it doesn’t warrant any civil authorities to act outside of Constitutional law. When civil authorities bypass or ignore the Constitution, we are all put in jeopardy, and we are that much closer to living under a totalitarian government that makes up its own laws as it goes along. Sometimes the issues are larger than the crimes. I think I can safely say that most Americans abhor the practice of using young girls as ‘breeders” and in the process satisfy the lust of old men, but that issue isn’t as important as civil authorities acting outside the law. We are supposed to be a nation that believes in the rule of law. That premise is behind the definition of a civilized state. The law is for everyone to obey, the governors as well as the governed. Once the line that separates civilization from lawlessness is crossed, the result is anarchy, no matter who crosses that line first. There were other ways of stopping what was happening to these young girls. The authorities didn’t have to violate anyone’s constitutional rights.

While he is speaking specifically to that one case, the line he draws – the respect for law by those who govern and those who are governed – is a universal line. It’s a line we really can’t afford to cross.

About David

David is the father of 8 extremely organized children (4 girls / 4 boys) who is constantly seeking answers to tough questions related to parenting, education and politics while moonlighting for 40 hours each week as a technology professional. He also enjoys cooking, gardening, and sports.

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5 Responses to A Thin Red Line

  1. Barbara says:

    How many times have our fine Utah Legislators crossed that line? More times than I care to think about. SB2 is a prime example. Now that the governed (citizens) are questioning whether or not the line was crossed with a lawsuit, the governors (legislative leadership) are whining about “grandstanding in an election year” rather than articulating a persuasive argument in support of their actions.

  2. Reach Upward says:

    Fine points. Yes, let’s take care of the abuse. But let’s not violate the Constitution to do it.

  3. David says:

    Too many to count Barbara. It’s funny to hear legislators accuse citizens of grandstanding in an election year since that is standard operating procedure for many legislators.

  4. Reach Upward says:

    Our system was meant to lend itself to “grandstanding in an election year.” That’s evidence that elected officials are being forced to do what voters want them to do. It’s the way a democratic republic is supposed to work.

  5. David says:


    You make a good point. I’d never thought about it that way, but it makes sense that grandstanding in election years would be a natural (and, surprisingly, even desirable) result of our system of government.

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