The Aldrich Alert
Gary Aldrich

A Publication of the Patrick Henry Center for Individual Liberty

Why the Rule of Law is All-Important and How the Lack of it Leads to Mass Murder

by Georgette Harinas - Volume 1 Issue 30 March 5, 2001

The book Obsession by John E. Douglas is full of fascinating insights and well worth the time of any Patrick Henry readers. Douglas spent 30 years as an FBI profiler, brilliantly researching what makes serial murderers tick. Interestingly, what he learned about serial murderers has an application to government and the rule of law.

Douglas concludes that serial murderers kill because they want to; and they want to because killing makes them feel extremely alive. It fulfills their fantasies of domination, manipulation, and control. Murdering someone is, after all, the ultimate in domination, manipulation, and control.

Itís also the ultimate in selfishness. Ultimate selfishness and pure evil are joined at the hip.

Douglas, says that serial murderers are generally losers. None are able to maintain a mature, consensual relationship with another adult. Since they are unable to dominate, manipulate, and control enough to satisfy their desires in the ordinary world, murder becomes their outlet.

Reading Douglas, I wondered, "What about the people who arenít losers? What about people who are more functional, but nevertheless motivated by the urge to dominate, manipulate and control?"

Some of them, it seems, have become icons of the Left. Have you noticed how ruthless some of the Leftís icons have been in the pursuit of power and how willing they are to lie, distort, and deceive to get it? That’s domination. Have you noticed their simply breathtaking hypocrisy? (My favorite example is Clinton’s cheerfully signing the Family Values Week proclamation in front of the cameras, on the very day he and Monica first played with a cigar.) Thatís manipulation. Youíve probably noticed how uncompromising the left is in wanting to spend more of your money. Spending your money provides them with the power to retain power. No way are they willing to give that up, given that it would mean decreasing their control.

Iíve always thought that you could distinguish politicians by whether their true goal was to do good - or to do well. The selfish politician wants to do well - for himself. Exhibit A is of course, the Clintons. Were they better off after eight years in office? They now have three mansions and a $200 million library/home, and thatís what we know about. These two have done well. Exhibit B is Jesse Jackson, shakedown artist extraordinaire, who today has an unaudited slush fund estimated to be worth in the hundreds of millions. This man also has done well.

The unselfish politicians, in contrast, are motivated by a desire to serve. They are not in business to get rich; they donít have to gain power by pitting one group against the other; they donít have to buy power by paying off pressure groups; and they donít have to lie, distort, manipulate and deceive to gain power; instead, they earn power by doing whatís right. They tend to be, at least recently, Republican.

For the politicians whose goal is to do good, part of this involves respect for the rule of law. They understand, even if only subconsciously, that without the rule of law, everyone is at the mercy of whoever happens to be the most ruthless in grabbing power. They also understand that if some public officials are above the law, then we donít have law.

This, by the way, explains in part why ethical people despise Clinton. It also explains why ruthless people who are only interested in their own advancement or self-indulgence, think Clinton is just fine. After all, heís justifying their own behavior. Itís the new “norm.”

But where does such behavior lead, when you donít have the rule of law? We now come back to the original observations about what makes mass murderers tick. Domination, manipulation, and control. If these are what motivate the truly selfish, and if, without the rule of law, the most ruthless of the truly selfish are going to be the ones who rise to the top, then where it leads is murders on a scale thatís almost impossible to imagine. Hitler killed six million of his people during World War II. Stalin killed 20 million of his people during the Terror. Mao was responsible for the deaths of at least 35 million of his people during the Great Leap Forward. History is full of killers who wanted domination, manipulation, and control and werenít constrained by law: Idi Amin, Tamerlane, Ghengis Khan, Cortez, Pizzaro, Pol Pot to name just a few.

The rule of law stands between us and atrocities on a scale that the mind cannot grasp. We donít have Hitlers or Stalins in this country, but undermining the rule of law is a slippery slope. Anyone and any group which undermines the rule is complicit in enabling the most ruthless and the most selfish to rise to power.

The more the rule of law is undermined, the worse and the more dangerous the leaders we will get. Itís guaranteed.