1. One of the common denominators of prosperous times and places has been law and order. For those times and places, where it has been difficult to establish law and order, prosperity is difficult to achieve. Consider Western Europe after the collapse of the Roman Empire: economic stagnation and retrogression followed. a. The same can be seen in urban ghettos where the devastating riots of the 1960s both destroyed existing businesses, and kept out new ones for more than a generation. In comparison, even despotic laws of Genghis Khan, or the Ottomans fostered economic prosperity when the laws were, at least, dependable, rather than capricious or corrupt. b. In his book, And Justice For Some, Glenn Greenwald explains that the rule of law is disappearing. Instead, we have what he calls "The Principle of Elite Immunity,"-the idea that political and business elites are never to be punished for their crimes, except perhaps if their crimes harm other elites. Consider the Chrysler investors illegally passed over in favor of labor unions, and Obama's unconstitutional executive orders as examples. 2. A fundamental principle of our society is property rights. In nations were property rights have not been formally abolished, the costs of legally validating ownership of a home, a farm, or a business may be prohibitively expensive relative to the average income level, a crippling handicap for those seeking to rise from poverty to prosperity. Without property rights, one with entrepreneurial talents loses the access to other peoples money: homes or other assets not recognized by a legal system cannot be used as collateral. a. Even OWS, who oppose private property can learn: Whod have thought that a crowd of people demanding the seizure of wealth from banks, corporations, and the wealthy might also have a few thieves? Im shocked,shocked to find theft occurring in a group that has hijacked private property it refuses to leave. I cant imagine that a crowd that demands free higher education and the forgiveness of tens of thousands in student debt would also think of someones Mac or an iPhone as equally as communal as a college education . Law and order! Get tough on crime! Defend private property! Celebrated redistributionists discover healthy respect for private property « Hot Air b. Sadly, some at the very top dont understand the system: President Barack Obamas recent remark that You didnt build that, is the Joe the Plumber remark of this campaign. In his attempt to exalt the government, he insulted the individual and turned upside down the historical relationship between Americans and their government. http://www.flatheadbeacon.com/articles/article/you_didnt_build_that/29239/ 3. The formal legal system is not the only aspect of law and order. The levels of honesty, cooperation, and civic virtue among the people is not only of social but of economic consequence. What economist William Easterly has called the radius of trust varies from group to group and from country to country. Within groups such as the Marwaris of India, the Chinese of Southeast Asia, or the Hasidic Jews of New Yorks diamond industry, transactions of significant sums of money can take place without written agreements or recourse to the legal system, giving these groups competitive advantage over other members of their respective societies who cannot safely engage in similar low-cost ways of doing business. Whole nations can differ in levels of honesty: in Tokyo, bicycles can be left unlocked. Thomas Sowell, Economic Facts and Fallacies, p. 202-203. a. The Bible is the wisdom of the West. It is from the precepts of the Bible that the legal systems of the West have been developed- systems, worked out over millennia, for dealing with inequality, with injustice, with greed, reducible t that which Christians call the Golden Rule, and the Jews had propounded as That which is hateful to you, don not do to your neighbor. It is these rules and laws which form a framework which allows the individual foreknowledge of that which is permitted and that which is forbidden. David Mamet, The Secret Knowledge.