Bolivia’s new draft constitution would allow its tribes to enact communal justice; that is, punishments ruled by tribal elders or, more commonly, by the people themselves. The penalties could not be appealed through the court system. Indeed, any appeal would be too late, since communal punishment tends to be instantaneous. They include beating, hanging, burning, and burying alive.What this means, in effect, that the nation state, with its rule of law, is allowing itself to be trumped by tribalism, and a reversion to bloody revenge codes (as is already happening in Africa) is sure to follow. The rule of law–with its legal system, police forces, and fair trials–is a huge advance over tribal justice. To devolve back into that is multiculturalism gone insane.(P.S.: Read Romans 12 and Romans 13 together, to see how the Bible has influenced the rise of lawful governments over against personal and communal revenge.)
About Gene Veith
Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.