15 Jul Virtue is the Cornerstone of Civilization, Not Law by Bill Buppert
– Charles de Montesquieu
For the sake of argument, both the American Left and Right embrace law and order as the primary building blocks and cement to create civilization. Both of these collectivist memes wish to form societies through the threat and initiation of violence. Both of these political combines see state monopoly on a full range of violence from kidnapping to caging to maiming and death as the primary means to keep people virtuous and productive. They embrace the impossible moral equation of employing immoral means to achieve moral ends. It is yet another first principle violated that turns every government into the straitjacketed corpse factories that pepper the planet and have stained human history from the beginning.
Thomas Jefferson: “Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.”
The basic conceit of state governance no matter the apparent flavor is the ceding of self-ownership to a small nomenklatura who put the worse people in charge of every aspect of human existence to protect the tax cattle from a few bad actors. Most government is a curious hybrid of the Milgram/Stanford experiments and the Stockholm Syndrome, the latter weaponizing the former by maximizing the victim’s advocacy for their own destruction.
Law is divined as either malum prohibitum or malum in se. The first is a government proscription on behavior simply because it wishes to do so such as the destructive War on Illegal Vegetation, the FDA pogrom on healthy living and the tens of thousands of other laws that are laws because the government says so. The second would be the crimes thoughtful individuals would find repulsive with an actual victim such as rape, murder and theft. Indeed, the government is only concerned with these insofar as prison time, police non-compliance and taxes are concerned. The curious thing about the vast panoply of malum prohibitum laws the government enforces is both the absence of a victim and the lucrative nature of fines and imprisonment for the tax cattle ensnared by the thin black and blue line.
Robert Higgs make makes one of the most powerful and succinct arguments for why the sate is a monster:
Lest anyone protest that the state’s true “function” or “duty” or “end” is, as Locke, Madison, and countless others have argued, to protect individuals’ rights to life, liberty, and property, the evidence of history clearly shows that, as a rule, real states do not behave accordingly. The idea that states actually function along such lines or that they strive to carry out such a duty or to achieve such an end resides in the realm of wishful thinking. Although some states in their own self-interest may at some times protect some residents of their territories (other than the state’s own functionaries), such protection is at best highly unreliable and all too often nothing but a solemn farce. Moreover, it is invariably mixed with crimes against the very people the state purports to protect, because the state cannot even exist without committing the crimes of extortion and robbery, which states call taxation (Nock 1939), and as a rule, this existential state crime is but the merest beginning of its assaults on the lives, liberties, and property of its resident population.
The stateless society seeks to build a social ecology in six billion variations depending on the population of Earth at the time. The contemporary abolitionist movement is attempting to philosophically terraform the planet to reverse the dominant paradigm so societies are not made on violence but on persuasion, cooperation and respect for the non-initiation of force and violence. This does not ensure paradise on Earth because the countryside will be replete with failed enterprises, inequality and poor decisions rendered in Technicolor but it will be a state of nature where freedom is ultimately the arbiter of what one does in life. Failures will not be socialized and private gains will not be pirated by self-identified statist mediums who profit handsomely from other people’s work simply because they say so.
Some may think this a quixotic notion yet the lion’s share of human beings in their private lives practice this very culture because their self-interest is vested in treating people well to increase freedom and prosperity for their futures and that of their progeny. Law does not make for a better humanity, it makes the opportunity for government and the state to maximize tyranny and oppress vast swaths of humanity convenient, easy and eventually urging large parts of the subject population to turn on each other.
Laws are not the great equalizing efforts the rulers preach in their government obedience classes in state schools, laws are a means to qualify and quantify the one-way transaction of fining, kidnapping, caging, maiming and killing that is the bread and butter of every government in existence. The law enables policing and police to serve and protect the rulers; it legitimizes the daily war on individual freedom and liberty that is the sin qua non of the state.
Law is not the answer, virtue is the answer and that can only be practiced by individuals; the law savages liberty and eventually metastasizes into the prison-states that dot the globe today.
And no, the Constitution is NOT the answer. I can fix the Constitution. Congress shall make no law. Period. No text follows.
Voila‘. There, all the problems have vanished.
Law is a predator and virtue is the answer.
“You will never understand bureaucracies until you understand that for bureaucrats procedure is everything and outcomes are nothing.”
– Thomas Sowell