The Law

Column by Paul Bonneau.

Exclusive to STR

What are laws?

They are the malodorous droppings left behind by the gang of self-serving, power-mad busybodies who populate our legislatures, meddling lowlifes who presume to know better how to run our lives than we do, ne’er-do-wells with whom decent people wouldn’t normally stoop to associate.

There, I got it out of my system. The above is a paraphrase of a comment I read somewhere on the Internet, not sure where. Perhaps a bit overheated, but it does raise the point: Why is law so revered?

John Godfrey Saxe (no, not Bismarck) noted that one should not watch laws and sausages being made; that is, the manner of their creation does not engender respect. Much less then, should we respect laws, knowing as we do the persons involved in their enacting. Anthony Weiner’s sexting proclivities are only a more amusing version of the personal foibles common among legislators. Keep in mind the image of his genitals as you obey the laws he helped pass.

Some people, most typically cops and conservatives, like to utter as an incantation, the phrase “It’s the law,” as if that were the end of it. Do they never bother to associate that which they revere for some unknown reason (indoctrination, I suppose), with the characters of those who enact it? When someone comes up with “It’s the law,” perhaps the response should be, “. . . created by our betters, the most wise and decent among us, right?” Would that shake them out of their cognitive dissonance? What would it take to make a conservative condemn the law?

Of course they tend to fall back on the Constitution, saying laws they don’t like (e.g., gun bans) are not law at all, because the Constitution says so. But they are just as good at constitutional cherry-picking as their liberal opponents are. The Constitution is actually followed only in its most trivial features, such as the specification that presidential terms are four years, rather than, say, five. “It’s the law” should be answered with a guffaw. Anyway, are conservatives going to turn their guns in until they can get a case successfully through the Supreme Court? Yeah, that’ll work!

It’s not only conservatives who revere law. Even here in Anarchyville, it is common to call tendencies and “rights” (don’t get me started on them) “natural law,” as if calling it that will make it sound more impressive and respectable. For some reason having to do with sausages, even if I can go along more or less with the concept, calling it “law” does not conjure up respectability to me. After all, every tyrant had plenty of laws, and we don’t like tyrants, right? Couldn’t we call it something else? “Natural tendencies” or “how people should live properly” don’t exactly roll off the tongue, I admit; but I’d hope we could do better than “law,” with all its statist connotations.

A few quotes to spice this article up:

The state calls its own violence ‘law,’ but that of the individual ‘crime’.” ~ Max Stirner

The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.” ~ Publius Cornelius Tacitus

“‘Law’ is the congealed shit left over after a bunch of career parasites are finished taking bribes; when they get around to the serious business of politics, which is simply forcing people to obey their whims.” ~ Goffrey Transom

The law is an ass, an idiot.” ~ Charles Dickens

Every actual state is corrupt. Good men must not obey the laws too well.” ~ Emerson

Laws are associated with crimes, and there are supposedly two kinds of those: “mala in se” and “mala prohibita,” the former being inherently wrong (e.g., murder) and the latter merely the breaking of arbitrary rules (e.g., driving on the “wrong” side of the road).

Now, if the law against driving on the wrong side of the road were repealed, would mayhem ensue? Here in North America, people drive on the right. If an Englishman visited, would he say, “That’s too hard, so I will drive on the left”? Of course not; self-preservation dictates he behave otherwise. So no law is needed about it.

But there are other examples of mala prohibita not so clear; for example, driving drunk. People do in fact takes risks with not only their own lives (which is their business), but also with the lives of others.

I suppose the libertarian dogma on this point is that this also should not be illegal, and it’s not until actual damage is done that the boom should be lowered on the offender. There is a lot to this point; I’m certainly not a fan of the Nanny State, and the books are full of such laws. Although virtually every human activity involves some risk to others (driving, anyone?), and one can go overboard prohibiting it on that basis, it seems though that there should be some kind of deterrent to crazily-risky (to other people) behavior. Still, I don’t favor law because the “cure is worse than the disease”; maybe a good unofficial beating could supply the deterrent to the malefactor in question. One can go overboard worrying about others’ activities. It seems to be a mania among conservatives particularly, to worry about such things. They ought to man up and not be so fearful of others.

Some people think nothing of giving a gun to a boy for Christmas, while others consider it the very definition of child abuse. This latter bunch will then typically send their own kids to government indoctrinations centers (“public schools”); go figure! Again, the cure (“child protection agencies” AKA “child kidnapping agencies”) is worse than the disease.

A few things that are mala prohibita should simply be consigned to custom, and the rest are completely unneeded or even counterproductive (from the peons’ point of view, if not the rulers’). But what about those pesky mala in se crimes?

If there were no laws against murder, would you murder? Probably not. But let’s imagine some bad people who might be more inclined to do so.

Well, what do criminals fear most? A victim with a gun--not cops or the law. Time in jail is a vacation for these types. Not having a law against murder would instantly normalize the carrying of firearms, making it even more popular than now, a result all to the good. People would understand and act on the necessity for self defense, an example of personal responsibility. “Victim disarmament” would collapse (if it hasn’t already). Murders would become infrequent as the murderers are all killed off. I just can’t see any downsides to getting rid of the law against murder, strange though that appears at first glance.

Of course this assumes that getting rid of the law against murder, would be accompanied by getting rid of gun prohibitions; but this is almost certainly true. In no realistic universe is the former going to be dumped, but not the latter.

Fans of the law often like to post this link about Thomas More. Well, it’s a pretty speech, but it is mere assertion, isn’t it? And from a Hollywood movie too (well, a Hollywood/London joint production). Let’s not forget that Thomas More himself sent many people to their deaths through his investigations of heresy. Oops, an ad hominem. Well anyway, you can make lots of pretty speeches, like Lincoln with his Gettysburg address, but it doesn’t excuse your actions.

Laws protect us? Laws, administered by government, the bloodiest agency ever created by humans? By the same people for whom the laws do not in any real sense apply? Sounds like fantasy-land to me.

Well, those are my ruminations about law. I don’t have much use for it, but maybe others can add to the discussion about it.

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Paul Bonneau's picture
Columns on STR: 106


ReverendDraco's picture

I wouldn't call your paraphrasing "overheated" - I'd call it an understatement, as you forgot some of the most accurate descriptors of the gang: Scum-sucking bottom-feeders, racketeers, extortionists, con men and larcenists.

As there are only 2 *actual* crimes, there is no moral high ground standing in favor of mala prohibita laws. Drunk driving is not an actual crime - the laws against it, on the other hand, *are* actual crimes. Those who support such laws are *actual* criminals.

It all comes down to this: Every Crime Needs a Victim.

"Just as every husband needs a wife, every child needs a parent, and every teacher needs a pupil, so every crime needs a victim. Not a potential victim or possible victim or a supposed victim, but an actual victim." Manufactured victims don't count.

tesla921's picture

When you live in a society where the biggest thief and murderer is in charge of making the "law", you can't win.
Unfortunately, all states are like this. If you work for the state, you know what you are.

Glock27's picture

Nice opening sentence.
"What would it take to make a conservative condemn the law?" Actually the truth, but the problem with the truth is that it seems to grow into a lie.
I like "natural tendencies". maybe "natural emotions" or better yet "psychopathic tendencies towards wisdom", yet, calling them simply psychopathic laws is probably the most appropriate.
"Self preservation dictates he behaves otherwise" a fine example wherein reasoning does not come into play, but rather common sense in staying alive. I guess you could break that down into a syllogism if you wanted, but our driver has come to an emotional and creative value of following the custom.

To everything there is a purpose. Laws have a purpose, to create surfs, slaves, robots, homeless, helpless, mindless and on ad nauseaum. I subscribe to a site which lists all the current legislation coming up for a vote and or suggested to be voted on. As I read through them I cannot help but to wonder where these individuals obtained their education. It is my speculation their education stopped the day they graduated and the remainder became accumulated through on the job experience, gaining knowledge and wisdom from those psychopaths before them never to pick up a book to read again for the remainder of their--too busy lives of making up stupid laws. I have finally given up on the effort of self-defense via voting, but I persist in writing my idiots in an attempt to instruct them in what little I know. Yes. I realize their monkeys read the script, but the hope here is that one of them will begin to catch onto what is happening and finally depart for greener pastures.

Entertaining piece. In closing I must say that I believe there should be a law written that every legal U.S. Citizen be required to carry a firearm of any nature with the exclusion of felons, murders, violent people, crazy people, conscientious objectors and etc.

Paul's picture

Actually, you can't really exclude them either, as that is more "mala prohibita" law. I don't care who carries a gun. I just care if it is used in a way that harms me.

Actually now that I think of it, I don't care about that either. The tool used to harm me is also irrelevant.

emartin's picture

Inertia, gravity, thermodynamics, etc. have laws. They weren't created by humans and can't be repealed by humans. Humans who pretend that a human can create laws are frauds. It would probably be a good idea for those of us that know better to absolutely refuse to use the word "laws" in place of the proper word, which is "rules". Maybe we can establish a new meme that will get the masses to realize that rules are made by rulers.

tesla921's picture

I agree. Laws of nature are out there to be discovered and lived with. Man made laws are opinions of men backed by force. Man made laws should be called coercive rules.

Jim Davies's picture

A very good point, emartin; "law" is a word with two very different meanings, and that leads to much confusion. Since those of nature seem to be immutable, I wonder whether the Parasite Class chose the word deliberately, to convey the impression that their rules too were immutable.
We could flip the argument, however; allow that their laws are merely political opinions backed by force, but re-visit the name we give to natural principles. I actually prefer it that way round, for the "law" of gravity, for example, is not immutable or unquestionable at all. On the contrary, it is the very heart of the scientific method to question what appears to be fixed; to observe and test, to theorize, then to test again. Once a principle is found which seems to stand up, the proper name for it is an hypothesis or a theory; hence, the theory of gravity holds that two bodies attract one another with a force proportional to the product of their masses and inversely to the square of the distance between them.
That is not a law! It's a theory, waiting to be questioned and improved. Einstein claimed to have modified it, and maybe he did; but it's vitally important to grasp that one day, someone might.