It has become a common belief among Americans that they should “respect the office” of an official, even if they don’t respect the person holding that office. The same, of course, goes for “the law.” And while I understand that people saying such things are trying to be virtuous, they are mistaken.
Respecting the office and the law are unAmerican, and I’m going to show you precisely why, and mainly from the mouths of the American founders.
I’ll start with a passage from the soul of the American experiment, the Declaration of Independence, which I’ll condense to make my point:
We hold these truths to be self-evident… that all men are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable Rights… that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted.
What I want you to see from this is the relationship between primary and secondary. According to the Declaration, we are the primary and governments are the secondary… the derivative.
Government exists because people create it, to serve themselves. They are in no way secondary to it. It is secondary to them.
And if that wasn’t clear enough, the Declaration gets specific in the very next line:
Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.
Again, the people are primary, government is derivative. Government serves at our pleasure. It is our right to abolish it if we so desire, just as we have the right to close our business if it no longer turns a profit.