The ancient Roman poet Juvenal is credited for the line: “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Various translations exist; the most accepted seems to be: “Who will guard the guardians?” Our preference is rather: “Who will govern the governors?”
For the great schism of today seems to divide those who expect government to solve their problems for them and those who still feel the need to do it themselves while government keeps its nose out of their affairs.
Back awhile, they felt empowered by their Creator for that; government was seen as subservient to Him. (U.S. Declaration of Independence.) Time having passed and things changed, we now hear: “I am thy Government; I will not have strange gods before Me.”
But as those old Romans asked, who will govern the governors? How can we expect a government of the same species that so needs governing, to improve the lot of the governed? A government of humans over humans is putting the wolf in charge of the sheep, is it not? If humans need government to prosper, is that no less true of the humans in government? And that, seems to us, was the old Romans’ point.
America’s Founders thought to finesse that with a Constitution. But in ingenious human fashion, the Supreme Court in 1803 (Marbury vs Madison) replaced said Constitution with itself. Who will judge the judges?
There is plenty of irony available: As we hear it, Marbury had the law on his side, but Madison was Secretary of State. The only way for the Court to find for Madison was to apply a new ‘interpretation’ of the law that the Constitution did not then empower the Court to provide. So it discovered its new interpretive powers, found for Madison and we were off to the races. Fun, if so.
And an excellent example of why human government cannot be better than the rest of humanity. And hence, unfit to rely upon for salvation of the species. Yeah.
“Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” After a couple thousand years to consider: We have no idea. …