This article is a translation of what was originally published a separate Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 in the Dutch Reformed newsletter Gereformeerd Venster. Footnotes have been removed for international readability; several of them, available from the above links, contain useful further reading matter. The author has also published the Dutch original in an expanded form at the bottom of the Commentary section of his own website.
I would like to state at the outset that I am not a lawyer. Nevertheless, I think I can write some sensible things about the Constitution. It is not for nothing that philosophy, of which I am a graduate, is called the science of totality, because it deals with the philosophical foundations of all disciplines, including law.
Although the reader will surely discern while reading this article what a constitution—or, in Dutch, a basic law (grondwet)—is, I wish to state it explicitly here. There is a great deal in a constitution, but I shall mention mainly those elements of it that are relevant to this article.
By a true constitution, I mean the definition of a set of fundamental legal principles which act as a constant, timeless basis for the formation of positive—that is, currently-applicable—law within a given culture. These things are formulated in a number of constitutional articles. Thus, ordinary laws made by the Government should be constitutional. Because constitutional articles are at the base of positive laws, they should not be capable of being downplayed, or, as we say in Dutch, relativised (through the use of appropriate clauses) by such ordinary laws.
Nor should constitutional articles be susceptible of being relativised with regard to each other (through opportunities to do so contained in clauses) or through ordinary laws. Constitutional articles are therefore absolute in relation to each other: they are mutually sovereign. But where, then, does the deeper unity of a constitution lie?
Since, from a Calvinist point of view, nothing on earth, given its createdness, is absolute but everything is relative, that deeper unity lies in the absolute, transcendent God, the Creator of the entire cosmic order. Article 1 of the Constitution should therefore refer to that deeper unity of the constitution: that is, to God. There are Western constitutions which do invoke God in their preamble.
Downplaying of the Constitution
On 23 November 2021, Alexander van Hattem, senator for the right-wing opposition PVV party, delivered a speech in which he rightly said that, under the Fourth Rutte Administration, the Dutch Constitution was effectively becoming a scrap of paper; a point also made in Ireland. In my opinion, that is even too light a description, for in my view, the Constitution had long since become that, as evidenced by all those articles of the Constitution containing relativising provisions (limiting clauses) along the lines of:
- "subject to everyone's responsibility according to law", or:
- "subject to the cases determined by law", or:
- "subject to limitations and exceptions established by law".
Subjects should not be subject to the Constitution. It is precisely the ordinary laws made by the Government that should be subject to the Constitution. But it is the very constitution—the Dutch term literally means "ground law"—that is relativised by the above provisions through ordinary laws. Those ordinary laws can easily, and even within a single administration's term, be implemented through convenient backroom political jobbing, often before any plenary debate is held on them.
It is that pre-cooking that enables a simple majority of what we in the Netherlands now call "cartel parties" to conduct politics at a wide gulf's remove from the democratic will of the people. This means that the will of, say, a supranational private organisation of unelected technocrats is carried out. A technocrat is an expert particularly in technical, technological or economic fields. He is not elected, but seeks to bend what he sees as incompetent politicians and society to his will.
Unlike the passing of an ordinary law, the ratification of an amendment to the Constitution, following a simple majority vote for a constitutional amendment in both the Lower and Upper Houses, requires a holdover pending fresh elections, after which a two-thirds majority is once again needed both the Lower and Upper Houses.
The prefix grond- in the Dutch word grondwet, 'constitution', precisely implies that there can be no relativisation; the constitution is the ground. Things have been stood on their head, in other words. I cite as examples:
Property rights not absolute
Property rights are not absolute. This means that it is possible (and this does occur) that they can be infringed by law by the Government. Consider, for example, the Private Law Obstacles Act (dating from 1927) in relation to private land ownership. Were this law not on the statute books, farmers would not be getting agitated when people talk about expropriating them now.
Organ Donation Act
The new Organ Donation Act was tabled by Pia Dijkstra of the anti-religious D66 Party. This allows the Government to violate someone's bodily integrity, which is protected by Article 11 of the Constitution, against their will—if the deceased has not indicated anything regarding organ donation. So this is yet another law regulating an exception to a fundamental right, with this article of the Constitution itself leaving room for its own relativisation by a normal law. After all, Article 11 of the Constitution reads:
Everyone has the right to inviolability of his body, subject to limitations to be imposed by or under the law.
This new organ donation law assumes that everyone's body is state property, unless he indicates a wish to the contrary. And one is obliged to register the latter for it to take effect. So now the principle is: yes, one is state property and therefore a donor, unless one objects. This new principle has replaced the old principle on which the previous Organ Donation Act, which was not that old at all, was based: no, people are not donors unless they state that they want to be.
In fact, this is the second relativisation of this constitutional article. The Police Act is already Dutch law (since 1993), allowing a person to be searched against his will or unwillingly be subjected to a blood test. So both the Organ Donation Act and the Police Act are unconstitutional laws, because they are not constitutional but rather violate the Constitution, overrule it, and downplay it relative to themselves as statutes, making those ordinary laws absolute relative to the Constitution.
We are thus governed in the Netherlands on the basis of laws made at any time by simple parliamentary majority, without the protection of a constitution. Review of laws for their constitutionality by a true Constitutional Court is unknown in the Dutch system (the body habitually referred to in English as the Dutch Supreme Court is actually the Hoge Raad or High Council, and contains many legal advisors working for the executive, not the judiciary). How clever of our politicians in parliament and government to have obviated such an actual supreme court.
Constitutional article on public health as the top-trump fundamental right
Of course, even during the planned Covid 'pandemic' announced years in advance by the globalists, there would have been a quite gross downplaying of this Article 11 if they had come up with a vaccine mandate. The whole push towards getting injected with that substance that caused many vaccine deaths and vaccine suffering did seem very much like mandatory participation in this medical experiment. Anywhere where there is relativity, there must also be something absolute. Article 22 of the Constitution states that the Government must safeguard public health.
Come the plandemic, that sole constitutional article was all that the Third Rutte Administration had regard to. The rest of the Constitution was reduced to it, was thus relativised by it, so that Article 22 served as a super-fundamental right. That relativisation, as mentioned, is thus also made possible for many constitutional articles, through that one little phrase, "subject to everyone's responsibility according to law".
Mandatory natural gas shut-offs
Consider also the attempt by D66 and ChristenUnie to amend a Dutch bill relating to compulsory natural gas shut-offs (the Gas Law) to allow the executive to enter people's homes, their 'inner sanctum', their most intimate privacy, in order to disconnect them from gas against their will!
To my knowledge, this has not yet been enacted thus far. But, of course, such a thing could never have been attempted in the Dutch Lower House in the first place if there were no scope for exemption ingrained in the article of the Constitution that covers the protection of citizens' own homes and hearths from government intrusion.
Unequal treatment of the unvaccinated and the vaccinated
The unequal treatment, by means of the Covid pass, of the unvaccinated and vaccinated is in clear violation of Article 1 of the Constitution. After all, the Dutch Constitution opens by stating that there can be no unequal treatment by the state of people "on any grounds whatsoever"—so not even based on the criterion of being vaccinated or otherwise. There is not even a relativising provision in this article. Could this be ammunition for plaintiffs against the state; for instance, at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)?
Expanding scope of Article 1 of the Constitution
In 1983, Article 1 of the Constitution was expanded to include the phrase "or on any grounds whatsoever" in the prohibition of discrimination, on the initiative of MPs from the Communist Party of the Netherlands (CPN), namely Marcus Bakker and Joop Wolff. This amendment eventually ensured that the Constitution acquired not only a vertical effect (government versus subject) but also a horizontal effect (between subjects).
This expansion of Article 1 later caused the Dutch Reformed Party, the SGP, to be forced, through the Hoge Raad ("Supreme Court"), in violation of the constitutional freedom of association, to admit women as members too, on pain of losing state funding. The socialists and neo-Marxists, when extending Article 1 four decades ago, could not yet have conceived of introducing, via a QR code app, a totalitarian apartheid state in medical garb. This apartheid app is now massively supported by the political left.
In the SGP women's membership case (commencing in 2010), the first article of the Constitution was found to outweigh the freedom of association article. Now, the first article of the Constitution is itself losing out, as the article on public health is afforded priority.
Constitutional articles are no longer sovereign
This is what you get when constitutional articles are no longer mutually sovereign, no longer mutually absolute, but when there is instead a hierarchy of interpretation by judges who include personal views in their rulings. Then opportunism rules: a constitution consisting of values, principles, legal maxims, is all very well, but only as long as those values suit those in power. As soon as fundamental rights start annoying, start getting in the way of achieving the ideology idolised by the powers that be, they are—after constitutional defeats have been built in by way of statutes—cast aside through the judiciary appointed by those in power in the given moment.
Article 1 of the Constitution violated by Covid pass
Given the absence of relativising provisions in Article 1 of the Constitution, making it absolute and therefore not softenable by Article 11 of the Constitution, the Government can therefore never claim that its absolutisation of Article 11 on public health is made possible by the same constitution. If it were, the Government would be having to violate Article 1 in introducing mandatory use, in some situations and some places, of the discriminatory Dutch Covid pass (coronatoegangsbewijs, CTB); for a constitution cannot contain two absolutised fundamental rights!
A true constitution can only exist in Protestant countries
How is all this possible? I believe that it is because of the following. As a political anti-revolutionary, I argue, following earlier Dutch neo-Calvinists, first and foremost Dr Abraham Kuyper (Prime Minister 1901–05), that God alone is absolute and omnipotent, but that He has delegated much power over His creation to human beings, as His image-bearers and the crown of creation.
God has not delegated power to just one human agency (or 'sphere', kring, in Dutch Protestant terminology), but to several agencies. God has done this because He knows that, owing to man's fallenness, it is wise to distribute power among various offices of people rather than placing power in the hands of a single agency, such as the state.
All earthly power is thus relative to God alone, but the various spheres of power, which are addressed in various articles of the Constitution, are absolute in relation to each other, from an anti-revolutionary point of view. This is what is meant by the Dutch-coined doctrine of sphere sovereignty (soevereiniteit in eigen kring) of church, state and family. Thus, no one area of power and the related constitutional article may be derived from any other, nor be reduced to it.
Accordingly, the constitution must not be hierarchical in design, where a particular article is absolutised in practice, such as constitutional article 1 or 22, as if it were the sole God-given right, whether temporarily or otherwise. Thus, other articles of the Constitution should not be set aside by force of law, whether temporarily or otherwise. The whole constitution should be relative, namely to God, the absolute Source of all power.
God should be invoked in the constitution
That is also why a real constitution, unlike the humanist Dutch 'constitution', mentions God by name in Article 1. Only with such a constitution does it make sense, either, to take the oath on it.
Prohibition of judicial testing of ordinary laws against the constitution
The Dutch Constitution even contains Article 120, directing that an ordinary law may not be tested by judges against the constitution for its constitutionality! This is quite bizarre.
The Fourth Rutte Administration now seems to want to distance itself from this provision. I personally suspect that since something of this nature always takes two administrations' terms to change, the constitutional amendment required for this will only possibly come into effect when the Government has already rammed through policies in line with the wishes of foreign stakeholders, such as the World Economic Forum (WEF).
Consider the destruction of our agricultural sector in favour of housing construction, which—what a coincidence—is also in line with the plan of Tristate City (a global city that includes the Netherlands, Belgium and part of Germany). In response to parliamentary questions, the Dutch Government appears to have confirmed having made "legally binding" agreements with the WEF. However, I do not believe that such agreements are legally binding if they are made behind Parliament's back.
This combination of the absence of a constitutional court and the fact that an ordinary court is not allowed to test a law against the constitution means that the constitution plays a purely symbolic role in this country that passes for a constitutional monarchy.
The Constitution at most makes an ethical appeal to conscience
The Dutch Constitution at most makes a moral-ethical appeal to the conscience of government officials. It then remains to be seen by the citizen whether the government in question will be so kind and non-arbitary as to adhere to it in the wielding of its high power in its legislative, its executive or its judicial work.
Yet ethics is not law, but a different kettle of fish. Thus, the Constitution of the Netherlands is not legal in nature, whereas that is precisely the first thing one would expect from a constitution. An eccentric situation indeed.
The Constitution has been subordinated to treaties
I have argued above why the Dutch Constitution is not worthy of the description "constitutional law". With this argument made, we now continue by noting that it is equally reprehensible that the Dutch Constitution has been insidiously subordinated:
- to supranational treaties with private bodies such as the United Nations (UN) and the World Health Organisation (WHO);
- to "agreements" with NGOs, such as the (equally private) World Economic Forum (WEF);
- and to European Union (EU) laws and regulations.
These are institutions that have no divine origin or God-given nature.
Relativisation of constitutional articles is impermissible
In a true constitution, the various articles, which address several kinds of fundamental rights, cannot be relativised among themselves. Those fundamental rights cannot be relativised among themselves because they are in themselves absolute, sovereign in their own right. When there is relativisation between one constitutional article and another, the relativised articles give way, while the absolutised article is accorded supreme status. As soon as fundamental rights are no longer absolute in relation to each other, there is no longer a constitutional state (e.g. in the form of a constitutional monarchy), but a bestial power state.
Covid enabling act
This was already highlighted in several points above, and it will be further expanded if the Fourth Rutte Administration gets its way in incorporating the 'temporary' Covid emergency law into the permanent Public Health Act (WPG) . Then we will have, systematically, conditional bodily integrity and conditional privacy. In addition, this government will want to implement the idea of conditionality of property—a notion already enshrined in the Constitution (Article 14)—more frequently in ordinary legislation.
Fundamental right to bodily integrity
For example, when a Dutch administration is minded to disregard the fundamental right to bodily integrity, it will be able to do so on the basis of this made-permanent Сovid enabling act: an ordinary law will then relativise constitutional articles, subordinating them to another constitutional article. The fundamental right to bodily integrity will then be subordinated to concern for public health.
This utterly invasive step is, moreover, made on very poor grounds. After all, 'measures' that violate bodily integrity or privacy have also been proven to achieve nothing in relation to public health and welfare; quite the contrary. Needless to say, the present Dutch Administration wants to make permanent the Covid emergency law that was billed as temporary.
This is because the Administration is following someone else's agenda: that of the WEF and WHO. The fascist WEF, which is out for world government and thus wants total control over every human being, wants nothing to do with democracy, elections or political accountability. The WHO, of which Bill Gates is one of the biggest sponsors, is chaired by Tedros Ghebreyesus, who wants to establish a world medical dictatorship through a pandemic treaty that is to be rigged.
Property rights protected by the Bible
I see the honouring of property rights between government and citizens, and between citizens mutually, as absolutely and fundamentally inviolable. Now, someone might object, "If property rights were absolute, then we couldn't build roads, for example." If so, I would retort, "Yes, and so what? Then that road will be diverted—or not built." It's as simple as that. Or the Government should pay stiff usage fees for land access, or something similar, but always on the basis of the landowner's goodwill.
After all, property rights are inviolable. The Government should never behave as Ahab did towards Naboth with regard to his vineyard. God deplores such conduct. One should not incur God's holy wrath.
The commandment "Thou shalt not steal" from the Ten Commandments, which many a Calvinist asserts should be the basis of the Constitution, also contains no relativising provision, such as: "Thou shalt not steal, except as otherwise provided by law or by majority vote". So this commandment is absolute. There is no provision anywhere in the Bible that relativises this commandment. The commandment is absolute and therefore also presupposes the existence of absolute private property against others, and thus also against governments.
Of course, this absolute ownership of property only applies in this-worldly relations. God the Creator is the ultimate absolute Owner of everything. He is also the Origin and Source of all authority and He was the issuer of this very commandment.
Humanists not consistent
True, Junior Minister for Climate Policy Mona Keijzer, who had to resign from the Third Rutte Administration, proclaimed after her fall from office that articles of the Constitution are not absolute; but this is actually something that ought not and cannot be, if there is to remain any constitutional law.
That such articles of the constitution are "not absolute" is what the humanists make of them. Nor can they consistently maintain that stance, because even the godless cannot escape from absolutising something: for instance, absolutising the constitutional article that states that the Government should safeguard public health (Article 22), and even before that, absoluting Article 1 as regards gender issues.
Relativising constitutional article 22?
In turn, other humanists, the more libertarian sort, could just as rightly argue for the relativisation of this constitutional article, 22. They could do so by including a provision that this constitutional article may not be invoked by the Government to justify measures that, in turn, violate constitutional articles that are precisely intended to guarantee the liberties of citizens and their associations, or that make light of Article 1.
In other words, it is merely a question of what you wish to absolutise as a humanist, if not the transcendent (all-surpassing) God. The result will always be, however, that there will be a hierarchical subordination of one article to another within the Constitution. In that case, there will never be constitutional articles that are juxtaposed and absolute in relation to each other and thus mutually sovereign constitutional articles. Note, then, here again, humanistic capriciousness and thus the unreliability of humanism for civil society. No civilised country can be built on the principles of humanism for the benefit of its subjects.
Sphere sovereignty the only safeguard against totalitarianism
The division of power and authority, so as to assign the resulting individual proper types of power and authority to different secular spheres, is what Dr Abraham Kuyper (1837–1920) meant by the political principle of sphere sovereignty. This principle was broadened into a cosmological principle in the twentieth century by the philosopher of law and philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd (1894–1977).
After all, God created everything according to its own nature. This applies to nature, but also to culture. The state is legal in nature; the family ethical; science, logical; the church, pistic (relating to faith); business, economic, and so on. So the state must not exceed its legal limits of competence. This is also why Kuyper was able to call Calvinism not only the origin, but even the only guarantee of our constitutional freedoms .
Such was even admitted by the liberalist Professor A.C. Josephus Jitta in 1937, in the context of the commemoration of Kuyper's centenary. Jitta wrote:
How few liberalists at the time were able to appreciate Dr Kuyper's organic doctrine of the state, with its doctrine of sphere sovereignty, which so typically reflects the Dutch national character. Dr Kuyper's Calvinism has proved to be one of the strongest bulwarks against the imminent dangers of Marxism and fascism, against which liberalism proved not up to the task of protecting the masses.
Incidentally, the insight of sphere sovereignty did not originate with Abraham Kuyper. In the early nineteenth century, the founder of the Dutch Protestant anti-revolutionary tradition, G. Groen van Prinsterer, was already using this concept. D.F.M. Strauss writes:
Before Kuyper, Groen van Prinsterer had already coined the expression ‘sphere sovereignty’. The first historical point of connection, however, is already found in the work of the German jurist Johannes Althusius (in the year 1603): Politica Methodice Digesta.
(Source: D.F.M. Strauss, Philosophy—Discipline of the Disciplines, Paideia Press, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2009: p. 22)
Later on in Strauss' book (on pp. 532–533), we read (emphasis added):
Perhaps the first scholar who effectively questioned the whole-parts scheme inherent in universalist theories of society was the German legal scholar Johannes Althusius. He realized that not every societal entity (such as families, churches, etc.) is part of the state—true parts are solely provinces and municipalities. This insight was accompanied by a clear understanding of the inner structural principles governing distinct societal collectivities—Althusius holds that there are proper laws (leges propriae), according to which ‘particular associations are ruled’, required by their nature.
Dooyeweerd also cites Althusius as the primary source for this concept:
[I]t is no accident that it was a Calvinistic thinker who broke with the universalistic conception of the State in a period in which Bodin’s concept of sovereignty had introduced a new version of this universalistic view. In opposition to the entire medieval-Aristotelian tradition, he gave evidence of taking account of the internal structural principles in his theory of human symbiosis. It was the famous Herborn jurist, Johannes Althusius, in his Politica, who […] in the first chapter of his work […] summarized his anti-universalistic standpoint with respect to the inter-structural relation between the different types of social relationships as follows:
‘Every type of social relationship has its proper laws peculiar to it, whereby it is ruled. And these laws are different and divergent in each kind of social relationship, according to the requirement of the inner nature of each of them’.
This utterance may be considered the first modern formulation of the principle of internal sphere-sovereignty in the societal relationships […]
(Source: H. Dooyeweerd, A New Critique of Theoretical Thought, Vol. III (1984 English translation), Paideia Press: pp. 662–3)
In earlier works, he had already observed:
It remains the imperishable merit of the Herborn Calvinist jurist Johannes Althusius that at a time which was scientifically completely ripe for this state-absolutist conception of law [this is a reference to the view of Jean Bodin], he developed a structural theory of human society, built on the recognition of a divine world order and the inner nature of the social spheres of life, and in which it was acknowledged that each of the latter has its lex propria [particular law] and its own sphere of law, which cannot be derived from any other.
(Source: H. Dooyeweerd, De strijd om het soevereiniteitsbegrip in de moderne rechts- en staatsleer, H.J. Paris, Amsterdam, 1950: pp. 7–8)
And (emphasis added):
There yawns an unbridgeable chasm between [...] Althusius' construction of tolerance, which essentially serves to provide a legal framework for pluriformity with self-determination and authentic legal sphere [for church, state and family alike], and the humanist-natural-law construction of tolerance of a Hobbes or a Rousseau, who were determined to construct a statist-absolutist Leviathan out of the individual, with extermination of all independence of the other legal communities [family and church]: a chasm as unbridgeable as that which lies between Althusius' idea of law, grounded in a confession of the sovereignty of God, and the humanist idea of law, grounded in the sovereignty of reason. [...] For Althusius, the ultimate ground of all the life of human associations, so very diverse as they are, is the divine order of the world. That is the deepest foundation of Althusius' theory of association; one which excludes any compromise with Rousseau's doctrine of the social contract.
(Source: H. Dooyeweerd, Encyclopaedie der rechtswetenschap, Vol. II (Theoretical part), not in circulation, pp. 277–8)
And (emphasis again added):
One can briefly summarise the humanist policy of tolerance as a striving for tolerance in the church, maintained by a government ruling the church [...] [T]he seeds of true political tolerance were sown not in humanism, with its doctrine-repudiating deism (ondogmatisch Christendom) and its statist-absolutist concept of authority, but rather in the doctrine of sphere sovereignty (soevereiniteit in eigen kring), which was already sprouting in primitive Calvinism and would soon [...] develop into its true and profound sense.
(Source: H. Dooyeweerd, In den strijd om een christelijke staatkunde, first annual issue of Antirevolutionaire Staatkunde (Oct. 1924 – Dec. 1925), J.H. Kok, Kampen: pp. 532–3)
Dooyeweerd's successor at the Free University of Amsterdam (VU), founded by Kuyper precisely to enable the Dutch Reformed to study free of state interference, was Dr H.J. van Eikema Hommes, who concludes the following about Althusius:
From the central leitmotif of Scripture, Althusius arrived at insights—such as the mutual non-derivability of state social structures and non-state social structures; the structural legal distinctives which shape the internal (non-state) law of association peculiar [to family and to church]; and, indeed, even the distinction between natural communities, such as marriage and family, and communities of free association—which would be of decisive significance for Christian sociology in the Reformational sense. The founding sociological principle of his scholarship can be summarised in the phrase 'sphere sovereignty'.
(Source: H.J. van Eikema Hommes, Hoofdlijnen van de geschiedenis der rechtsfilosofie, Kluwer, Deventer, 1972: p. 68; see also pp. 66–7)
Finally on this point, J.P.A. Mekkes wrote:
All associations are subject to the lex communis [common law], which distinguishes rulers and subjects, while every association is subject to its lex propria [particular law], according to its own particular nature.
In the final phrase, which I have emphasised, lies the fundamental recognition of sphere sovereignty, the mutual non-interference of church, state and family.
(Source: J.P.A. Mekkes: Proeve eener critische beschouwing van de ontwikkeling der humanistische rechtsstaattheorie, Libertas-drukkerijen, Utrecht/Rotterdam, 1940, p. 131; see also pp. 133–135 and p. 732.)
Sections above have dealt with the Calvinist principle of sphere sovereignty. For a proper understanding of this third way between Romanist natural law on the one hand and humanist legal positivism on the other, I think it is prudent to devote a brief section to the term 'legal sphere'. Furthermore, I would like to point out the distinction between objective norm principles and norms as the result of subjective positivisation, which is how those norm principles are given shape.
Philosophy of law
A 'legal sphere' is a term found within philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd's (1894–1977) 'philosophy of law idea', a set of norms or natural laws of a similar kind. Now—to confine ourselves to normative law circles—economic activities, for instance, are governed by the economic law circle; within the church, by church law; within the sphere of law, they are called 'laws'; and so on. Positive norms are thus valid norms, established within a particular time and place (culture).
In the legal sphere of law, which is what this article in particular is about, these legal principles, from a Calvinist point of view, within the framework of a constitution (one that is actually worthy of the name) are ultimately traceable to the Covenant of Nature that God made with Noah as the second covenant head of mankind after the Flood, and of which the rainbow is the sign. After all, according to Abraham Kuyper, it was after the Flood that God instituted government. See A. Kuyper: De Gemeene Gratie, first volume (the historical part); J.H. Kok. Kampen, pp. 37, 84; and the following quotation from the third volume (the practical part), p. 103:
Our argument is exclusively addressed to those who profess together with us the Reformed principles. And according to our principle, it is certain that government exists for no other reason than sin. Article 36 of the Belgic Confession states it clearly: “We believe that the good Lord, because of the depravity of the human race, has ordained governments.”
It is therefore generally felt among the Reformed that government, in the true sense of the word, only arose after the Flood, and has its basis in Gen. 9:6 [...] the purpose of government action [...] is, according to Article 36, “to restrain the unboundedness of man”; something that would make no sense in a situation without sin, since it is precisely from sin that the unboundedness of man first arises.
First, though, something about natural law: the idea that universal rights apply to everyone regardless of time or place because those rights are innate. Natural law departs from the above-mentioned philosophy of law, because as a philosophy, natural law does not take into account that timeless legal norms can be given shape differently in different cultures. Despite this, it can still lead to valid law in each instance. Thus, within Roman natural law, there is a rigid, primitive, i.e. undeveloped, concept of law.
We are not dealing with the latter nowadays. We have long since ceased to live in a country dominated by the Roman Church. Nor do we live in a country ruled by Islam, but rather in a humanist, neo-pagan country whose people have no desire to know about constant, objective, absolute principles of norms at all.
Now, this has made 'law' in a humanist country like the Netherlands as capricious as the subjective popular will of 50% plus one. That subjective popular will constitutes 'law'. That popular will, therefore, has the power to bend 'law' to its will. As already argued above, no civilised country can therefore be built on humanism. While at first this was not clear in practice for a long time, in recent years—under the execrable administrations presided over by the VVD liberal, Mark Rutte, as prime minister—the truth of it is becoming clear to more and more of us.
Humanism knows no 'law' and 'legality'
So, humanism, at its deepest level, will not brook the notion of 'law', and therefore not that of 'legality' either. It knows only the following two notions.
First, the notion of the historical power of popular will. It is therefore of no concern to the humanist whether or not a principle of law has become law in the right—that is, in a lawful—way. In other words, a law cannot be illegitimate for a humanist; he will always be reduced in extremis to pleading, "I was only following orders." After all, he does not even profoundly recognise the existence of such a thing as objective 'law', inured as he is to submerging truth in iniquity, to suppressing the voice of his conscience.
Humanism does recognise logically-founded legal validity
Secondly, humanism—at least, in the legal-positivist variant of it that we are fighting against because it is now ascendant—acknowledges the notion of logically-founded legal validity: the only norm to which this so-called legal positivism is prepared to adhere is the norm of legal validity.
"Legal validity" refers to whether a law was created according to the correct procedures. Legal validity is thus not a legal concept, but profoundly a logical concept: if only the procedures are properly followed, it is somehow a 'good' law. Yes, such a law may then go so far as to downplay the Constitution. I furnished examples of such earlier. That this is allowed induces me to think the Constitution has long been a scrap of paper.
The philosopher J.P.A. Mekkes, already mentioned above, contrasts this with the Calvinist doctrine of the state espoused by the aforementioned Althusius:
Surely, it is against this kind of historicism that the Calvinist doctrine of the right of resistance [i.e. Althusius' and his 1550 Magdeburg predecessors' doctrine] has waged and will wage its bitter struggle. If we want to understand the meaning of the right of resistance of state subjects against their government, we will—after a period of embarrassment born of liberalist contagion on this point—have to return to the Calvinistic, that is scriptural, vision, the principles of which Althusius taught us. If not, we will become an easy prey for the ruling party elites, who already now are no longer prepared to take legitimate opposition and a relatively strong parliamentary minority into account [...].
Against [...] historicism, the Christian doctrine of the state [...] professes the absolute responsibility of the citizen for the maintenance of public principles of law [...]. This is the abiding foundation and guiding motive of Reformation doctrine of resistance, that seeks to inspire our time, with its threat of the revolutionary tyranny of the party elite, with [...] the religious strength of obedience [to God] [...].
The right of resistance is part of the Reformed doctrine of the state
In this anti-revolutionary political viewpoint, the right of resistance is the final component of the Reformed state doctrine. In it, the state is seen as a duality of government and subjects. In it, the representation of the people is considered the delegation of the people. This is the dualism within the state. So the States-General, the collective name for the Lower and Upper Houses of Parliament, is not part of the Dutch Government! The cabinet (regering) is properly considered the government (overheid), the executive. It is appointed by Parliament and must be controlled by Parliament. Therefore, should the Government start acting tyrannically, Parliament has the right to resist and the duty to resist.
In Kuyper's view and my own, the division of the indivisible, sovereign governmental power into legislative, executive and judicial power is a "capital mistake" and a fatal-all-round provision on the part of liberals and conservatives, who profess this doctrine of the strict separation of powers as true children of the revolution.
For as soon as Parliament is conceived of as part of the governing power, its checking-and-balancing function degenerates into the butcher inspecting his own meat. Consequently, Kuyper writes, one is ultimately left with nothing but a supreme, despotic, parliamentary government, and underneath it, a people which lacks any right of representation. Isn't this exactly what we are in the throes of right now?
No legal protection of minorities
One should be under no illusion that this means that the legal protection of minorities is founded on quicksand. That the Netherlands is no longer a state under the rule of law only became publicly apparent by accident, with the Covid crisis; but it was always baked-in. This time around, at the time of this planned 'pandemic', the Government happened to absolutise the constitutional article on public health over the other constitutional articles. In doing so, it was supported by a subservient parliament. It was, moreover, allowed to get away with it by the judiciary.
The Dutch Government was additionally supported by the "Outbreak Management Team" (OMT), which brandished that English-language team title, and the RIVM, the arm's-length executive agency for public health that has been mired in successive scandals. This enabled the triumph both of the sovereign popular will of the vaccinated majority and of the interests of Big Pharma and a clutch of supranational organisations.
In the process, strictly speaking, the 'constitution' was not violated—because that constitution contained relativising provisions. Small wonder that, to my knowledge, there was never any critical discussion of this quicksand nature of our subjectivist 'constitution' in recent decades. The political cartel itself had for decades been humanistic, and thus subjectivist, considering itself God.
Where are the Christian lawyers?
I find it decidedly odd that it falls to me, a non-lawyer, to observe and denounce all this. You should know that in the 1980s I was a member of Dutch Reformed student unions, such as CSFR. Many talented and serious law students started out as members of these unions. Why aren't they all writing this article? Where have they gone? Have they all dozed off after all these years, or drifted down the liberal creek? Or are they cowards, more afraid of losing their jobs or damaging their image in the world if they were to speak out as I am now (but vicariously for them) than they are of being unrecognised by Christ on Judgement Day?
What, then, was the purpose of your thoroughgoing Christian training in respectable Christian student unions, if you fail to speak out as soon as matters become serious in these end times? By your silence, you are surrendering the world, God's creation, to Satan—and this is not something that pertains to the Christian expectation of salvation, including a renewed earth. Kuyper is well known for his utterance:
There is not an inch on all the terrain of our human existence over which Christ, Sovereign of All, does not call out: Mine!
It is unthinkable that God should abandon this earth to the devil; otherwise, He would immediately have created the second earth when the first one fell.
All those countless boys and girls of the Christian student associations I rubbed shoulders with, especially those who studied law, have disappointed me by their silence. I was not expecting this. Where is everyone? You've left it to a cell biologist and philosopher to write this article!
Part 2 (Part 4 in the author's original conception) will address arbitrary rule and democracy.