Laws, or Men?

Column by Paul Hein.

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Many years ago I read a book entitled, if memory serves, A Nation of Laws, Not Men. I wasn’t sure what was meant by that title until I read a few chapters. The author, a noted lawyer, gave example after example of politicians acting in their own best interests, or those of their cronies, to the detriment of the public at large, and with no regard for the law, which authorized no such actions.

The title, therefore, must have referred to the sad fact that the laws, which were to bind our political leaders and limit the government, had little force, but rather, those responsible for writing and obeying them did as they pleased. Rule by men, not laws.

The book made a strong impression upon me, no doubt the author’s intention. It was indeed reprehensible, as he made clear, that the laws--especially the Constitution--were flouted by the very lawmakers themselves. How could an ordered society exist when the rules by which we were all supposed to live were disregarded? How could a person count on B following A, if it were as likely to be W, or J? And why should the ordinary person be expected to obey the laws, if the rulers themselves ignored laws that might impair their chance to get what they wanted?

In the ensuing decades, I have given some thought to the idea of law, and suspect that, were he still alive today, the author might tend to agree with me that the distinction between a nation of laws, and one of men, has become almost non-existent.

The law, or statute, as I discovered in Black’s Law Dictionary (4th edition) is the “written will of the legislature.” And who, or what, is the legislature? Why, just ordinary men! They commit their wants to paper, and presto! Another law! Thus, the difference between a “nation of men,” as opposed to one “of laws,” becomes well-night indistinguishable, as the “men” write the laws to which they are expected to be subservient. If they want something which present law prohibits, they can simply write another one--another “law”--and their actions become lawful. What a great system. An example: It is a crime, and properly so, to obtain another’s wealth for a note known to be non-redeemable--unless it is a note printed by the Rulers, who simply declare their bogus IOU legal to tender.

If the Constitution, to which our rulers have sworn their allegiance, forbids them from spying upon us, they have only to write a law—the Patriot Act--and they become law-abiding.

In the course of time, then, a Nation of Laws, not of Men, becomes a Nation of Millions of Laws, duly written and recorded by Men.

Keeping all the laws straight, and trying to untangle the inevitable conflicts between law 10 and law 10 million boggles the mind. No matter. With the public so dazed and bewildered by the whole mess, the rulers can eventually simply dispense with the “law” altogether and do as they please, which, as anyone having any experience with the system can tell you, is exactly what they do. It’s much quicker and more efficient than bothering with the whole law-writing and voting, etc., business.

The public--the victims of the whole scheme--are distracted by constant sports and sex on television, and, to the extent that they attempt to learn why their standard of living is collapsing, hear and read only lies from the ruler-compliant media.

Government of men, not law? Who cares? Just do what you’re told, and pay what is demanded, and relax. Everything will be just fine, and when it isn’t, it’s the fault of the current villains--those dreadful Muslims--or whoever succeeds them, if the game lasts that long. Trade your 50 inch TV for a 60 inch one, and enjoy! The “law” after all, is just to con the gullible. Men—the rulers--do as they please, and they do it to you! Object strenuously enough, and they’ll crank out another law to make themselves perfectly law-abiding!

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Paul Hein's picture
Columns on STR: 150


Samarami's picture

This is a good topic, Paul -- and you've done a nice job bringing it to the fore.

Due to waning activity on this and other anarchistic forums, I've participated on some general forums such as Delphi. I catch myself debating with "atheists" and/or "religionists" (often a crossfire between both) -- shooting fire-beams at each for being unrealistic and inconsistent. Each fails to see government, or "the-state", as representing doctrines of superstition -- religion. My argument stems from or aligns itself with our old friend Larken Rose as he presents The Government Con".

Both atheists and religionists tend to support that brainless abstraction called "the state". Each will admonish me to vote if I want any "say" whatsoever. To which I counter by declaring that the only "say" I have is when I abstain from beans.

Here is one of the threads, although my compooter ignorance is such that I think you might have to register and log in to read it. Oh, and I just noticed my participation begins around message 320 or 340. Sam