A game without rules is just chaos.

Consider the game of Chess. Each piece has its own particular mode of movement. For instance, the rules stipulate that a king may move one square in any direction. On the other hand, a bishop may move any number of squares diagonally, but it cannot jump over other pieces.  A rook can move any number of squares forward, backward, or to either side. The rules of the game constrain each piece to its specific powers. A king can’t willy-nilly move two spaces.

In his essay, The Morals of Chess, Benjamin Franklin explained the importance of following the rules.

“If it is agreed to play according to the strict rules, then those rules are to be exactly observed by both parties; and should not be insisted on for one side, while deviated from by the other: for this is not equitable.”

The integrity of the game depends on a uniform understanding and application of the rules.

Now, imagine a game of chess if one player ignored the rules and simply moved pieces wherever she wanted.


In fact, the game would quickly become unplayable.

We get the same kind of result when we let the government ignore its rulebook – the Constitution.

People can only live together and cooperate in a society with an agreed-upon, consistently applied set of rules. We call this the “rule of law.” The principle roots itself in the idea that no individual or institution stands above the law and that rules apply equally to all people in any given situation. Rule of law creates a bulwark against arbitrary power, whether wielded by a totalitarian leader, advanced by mob rule, or exercised by duly elected legislators.

Aristotle wrote, “It is more proper that law should govern than any one of the citizens: upon the same principle, if it is advantageous to place the supreme power in some particular persons, they should be appointed to be only guardians, and the servants of the laws.”

The Constitution is the supreme law of the land in the United States – the authoritative rulebook. In order for the American system of government to work, the government must adhere to the Constitution; the people must uphold the rule of law. That means applying the Constitution every issue, every time, no exceptions, no excuses. Otherwise, we will find ourselves subject to the whims of those in positions of political authority.

That’s where we are today.

The government insists that we follow every law, rule, and regulation it lays out to a T. Meanwhile, it ignores the limits on its own power.

For decades, the people let this happen. And as a result, we have the biggest government in the history of the world.

Mike Maharrey

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