Five centuries ago, philosopher Thomas Hobbes described the State of Nature — a place with no rules or laws — as “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Recognizing this fate, civilized societies have established rules to avoid such a description, but somehow today’s Democratic Party has failed to grasp the concept.

This Saturday, leading Democrats are meeting to decide the fate of Florida and Michigan. Ignoring the consequences of the states’ rule-breaking escapades, Florida and Michigan residents and Clinton supporters claim denying the states their delegates (a.k.a., following the rules) violates democratic ideals.

Frankly, the rules are the only ideals being violated in this situation. Well aware of the consequences, the elected leaders of Michigan and Florida made a rational, timely decision to move up their primaries, thereby forfeiting their delegates. They weren’t blindsided or duped or hoodwinked. They knew the consequences of their actions, and did it anyway.

Following through with the enforcement is simply the correct thing to do. I mean, we do it with any other broken rule. Think of it this way: It seems ludicrous to say giving someone a speeding ticket for breaking the speed limit denies them an inalienable right, but essentially that’s what Democratic voters are claiming. State residents have selected leaders that sped through the nomination — when caught it is only right that they have to pay the fine with the delegated currency: votes. But if rules don’t matter…

Although the states’ party leaders made the decision to “speed,” voters are unfairly blaming Clinton, Obama or Dean for the political uncertainty. Despite the joy it may bring some to blame these individuals, they aren’t culpable; they really had no part in the decision. But, hey, if rules don’t matter let’s blame all of them (and maybe global warming while we’re at it).

But beyond all this rule-breaking mantra, this is honestly just a terrible precedent to set. Let’s say the meeting goes as expected and half of the two states’ delegates are allowed to vote at the convention. Then allow me to make a recommendation. The Mt. Rushmore State needs to break the rules and move their primary in 2012. South Dakota is the last state to contribute its 15 delegates (just for comparison, that’s 4 percent of the total including Florida and Michigan). So, why not give up seven or eight of those delegates (2 percent of the total) and move their primaries to January? I mean, if the rules don’t really matter, why not?

Listen, there is a reason for rules, and their validation is only secured through enforcement. Hobbes explained years ago a society without rules is brutal and daunting. Rules help to establish justice, ensure tranquility, promote the general welfare … you know, all the “We the People” stuff. The party had a rule and it was broken. If this rule doesn’t matter, then what rule does?

Armstrong Williams can be heard nightly Monday-Friday 9-10 p.m. EST on XM Satellite Radio New Power 169