Monday, November 7, 2011

Habakkuk: The Foundations of Justice

They are dreaded and feared; their justice and authority originate with themselves.  Habakkuk 1.7

They whose strength is their god.  Habakkuk 1.11

These phrases are used to describe the Babylonians who are to be raised up by God (1.6) in order to judge Judah.  In these words we have an apt understanding of autonomy and idolatry.  The refusal to recognize any law above oneself is to make oneself the locus of law--to have "justice and authority originate with themselves."  When this is the case "strength" becomes the standard of right and wrong.  Or, to use the famous phrase, "might makes right."

When the locus of justice is the individual anarchy is the result.  Each individual is a law unto oneself and is in potential conflict with every other individualized law order.  When the locus of justice is centered in a group such as the State then totalitarianism is the result.  The State takes on the character of deity in that it recognizes no law above itself.  Rousas Rushdoony accurately speaks to this issue:
Behind every system of law there is a god.  To find the god in any system, locate the source of law in that system.  If the source of law is the individual, then the individual is the god of that system.  If the source of law is the people, or the dictatorship of the proletariat, then these things are the gods of those systems.  If our source of law is a court, then the court is our god.  If there is no higher law beyond man, then man is his own god, or else his creatures, the institutions he has made, have become his gods.  When you choose your authority, you choose your god, and where you look for your law, there is your god.  Law and Liberty (Thoburn Press, 1971), p. 33