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Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Lawless Society

A lawless society is a depressing place to live because it's a place completely without law. And while going lawless might be appealing, we aren't talking about an end to laws requiring you to wear bicycle helmets or drink small sodas. Not even laws ordering you to pay recycle, pay taxes and join up during a war. These are laws, but they're also ordinances, commands and compulsions. They are not really any different from your parents telling you to wash behind your ears or a mugger ordering you to give him your money. They might be right or wrong, but they aren't law.

Law exists apart from what a group of people at any given time want you to do. That is why the aged nature of the United States Constitution is a strength. The farther away we travel from 1788, the less that the foibles and frailties of the Framers affect us. The transitory human things fall away leaving only the essence of law.

A Bill of Rights drafted today would look very different than it did back then. Not only would there be no Second Amendment, but most of the others would read dramatically different. There would be few severe restrictions on government power. Nor would there be unlimited Freedom of Speech. The entire thing would run a few thousand pages and would be filled with all sorts of escape clauses, which when added together would render the whole thing meaningless.

Take for example the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which includes dozens of new rights, such as the right of asylum, the right to environmental protection and consumer protection, and the right to social security, in addition to the more basic rights familiar to Americans, but it comes with a simple addendum.

"Any limitation on the exercise of the rights and freedoms recognised by this Charter must be
provided for by law and respect the essence of those rights and freedoms. Subject to the principle of proportionality, limitations may be made only if they are necessary and genuinely meet objectives of general interest recognised by the Union or the need to protect the rights and freedoms of others."

Which is to say there is freedom of speech, only until a compelling argument can be made why banning someone's freedom of speech will help protect the general interests of the European Union or the rights of others to have environmental protection and social security.

That is the essence of a lawless society, which is to say that there are oodles and oodles of law, but it's merely a complicated way for those in power to enforce their will on others. If you want to force people to do something, all you need to do is study enough clauses, lay out your reasoning and it's done.

It's law in the same sense that a mugger putting a gun to your head is law. He has a gun and he makes the laws. The laws don't apply to him. They don't apply in any larger universal fashion. The mugger can choose to suspend any laws at his whim, because he has a gun.

The United States has drifted into lawlessness, into laws that are the guns of government. Want to force everyone to buy health insurance? Pass a law. Ignore any questions of legality because legality doesn't matter. If people come out to protest, send out your SEIU thugs to beat them. If you lose your Senate majority, use Reconciliation to pass it. If the Supreme Court threatens to investigate the Constitutionality of the law, threaten the Court.

The only thing separating tactics like these from the mugger on the corner is public interest. Which is to say that the government is playing Robin Hood. It isn't mugging you because it likes the smell of money, but because it wants to help those less fortunate. Robin Hood was rebelling against the illegal authority of the Sheriff of Nottingham. And our government is rebelling against the authority of... the people and the law.

The government is the outlaw, doing what it likes because it must resist all the "powerful interests", the most powerful of them being the Middle Class. The Revolution becomes permanent, with the Reds in power constantly rebelling against the bourgeois capitalists by raising taxes and outlawing soda. Every year, the outlaws swing out of the trees, rob the merchants and ride back to Washington D.C. for a glorious feast over the stolen goods, which they may in some small way share with a few peasants, to secure their support.

This farce can take place under the guise of law, but it represents a lawless society. Law limits power. It limits the power of individuals, institutions and governments. But in a lawless society no limitation on power applies if the power is being applied for the sake of the higher ideals which the society can be said to represent. If those higher ideals involve helping the poor, then every institution can act like Robin Hood. And it's perfectly legal, because there is no law.

In a lawless society, law is a function of emotion. The one who screams the loudest gets his way if he can influence enough people to believe that he has a case. Laws get made from a sense of "rightness" that is entirely a function of emotion. Everyone operates in the egotistical "I feel" mode, sharing and feeling their mutual pain, and passing laws to outlaw anyone from hurting anyone else... unless it is in the interest of preventing pain.

Rights become entirely positive and empathy based. Negative rights become associated with selfishness. Everyone has the right to a thousand benefits, but no one has the right to opt out. Everyone is free to speak their mind, so long as it is an expression of need, rather than a demand to be left alone.

Empathy makes for very bad law, because it isn't law at all. It's a subjective response to the suffering of others. And often those who excel at marketing their suffering aren't suffering at all, while those who are genuinely suffering remain silent. Empathy-based law commodifies pain, but it's empty of justice.

A lawless society is one where those who manipulate empathy gain power. Where temporary outrage substitutes for policy. A video that stirs anger and goes viral matters more than law. Everyone is a muckraker, and everything is a muck of competing narratives because everyone is a victim and everyone is dirty at the same time.

There is no law and so every case, every incident is political, because law is made on an ad hoc basis. One side projects grief, the other side charges cynicism. The side that manipulates the emotions of the crowd most deftly, wins. Every politician is an actor, every debate is a performance and every victory is a chance to gather more spoils.

The idea that there should be one law for all, rather than one law for the sufferers and another for those who aren't suffering, is alien to a society where empathy trumps law. Rather than making it easier for the rich and poor to compete, the rich hobble the middle-class for the benefit of the poor. Rather than outlawing racial discrimination, it's reversed so that it favors those discriminated against. Rather than doing the right thing, the left does the Robin Hood thing, leaping from the tree, looting the society, and writing songs about its own dashing courage.

The government-media complex acts out the empathy narrative. Its reporting has nothing to do with the facts, but everything to do with emotion. A law is bad when it protects the privilege of the opposition, but good when it protects their privilege. The powers of the Senate, the Executive and the Supreme Court are good when they serve their ends, but bad when they serve the ends of their enemy. The blame always goes to one side, the side blocking their agenda.

A society that lives by law can have laws that mean something, but in a lawless society, a law only matters so long as it serves the purpose of those in power. When it doesn't, then it's ignored or tossed aside.

Last week we witnessed Obama playing Robin Hood by casting aside immigration law and transparency to the jubilant cheers of the media, whose fondest wish is for politicians to play Robin Hood, cut all the Gordian Knots and just carry out their agenda without regard for the law. That is what they wanted, that is what they got. But a lawless society cuts both ways and takes the system out of the protection of the law.

Law is impartial. It states absolute principles that apply regardless of faction and position. But in a lawless society, there is no law, only power. The left has ushered in a lawless society, but we will all have to live with the consequences.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Government has caught up with Americas pioneers. Turn on, tune in, and drop out.

Keliata said...

Not to go metaphor crazy but this country has crossed a line with the executive powers situation.

I'm not sure we can un-ring the proverbial bell. We really have crossed a line.

*****


Everyone has the right to a thousand benefits, but no one has the right to opt out. Everyone is free to speak their mind, so long as it is an expression of need, rather than a demand to be left alone.

Sadly, most people won't appreciate their First Amendment rights until they're at risk of having them revoked.

The government can, in essence, revoke the Fist Amendment rights as well as a small group of people who just happen to dislike your form of expression, no matter how innocent it is.

The later is sad and confusing. At least you can fight City Hall in the former. Not necessarily the case in the later (thankfully, I won the latest "threat" but yeah, it is often easier to fight city hall so to speak.


****

Shavua tov

Edward Cline said...

"Lawlessness" is also the Attorney General, an officer of the law, ignoring a Congressional subpoena to hand over all documents that contain evidence of his and the government's lawlessness, i.e., of having forced gun shop owners to sell guns to agents of lawless drug cartels, with the aim of arming killers with American made guns, so that an excuse can be made to outlaw American ownership of guns and nullify the Second Amendment. This "lawlessness" is compounded by the Attorney General lying to Congress about the date of inception and purpose of the program. The "lawlessness" is further compounded by the President invoking executive privilege in support of the Attorney General's lawless behavior, with full knowledge of the lawless means and ends of Fast and Furious and the damning evidence contained in the hidden documents, by telling Congress and the electorate to go suck an egg. After all, the public hasn't a right to know. It's there somewhere in the Constitution, claims a President who once taught Constitutional law.

In the meantime, the mainstream media is crowing that the President is handling his lawlessness with admirable aplomb, that the Attorney General is being persecuted by the non-mainstream media exercising its freedom of speech, and that the whole issue is merely a Republican conspiracy to make the President and Attorney General look bad and lawless. The mainstream media, as Daniel notes, has for a long, long time idolized Robin Hood – a.k.a., the compulsory welfare state – and with equal aplomb disregards the guilt of the actors, and wishes to acquit the guilty because they "meant well."

Rush Limbaugh has the best explanation of Fast and Furious. Limbaugh will be ignored, however, because he has told the truth about the lawlessness of Obama and his whole cabinet and gaggle of appointees and czars. Obama, the Attorney General, and their courtiers, together with the mainstream media, hope someday to silence people like Limbaugh because his brand of truth-telling is obviously (their emotions tell them so) hurtful, bigoted, and callous.

http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2012/06/22/wide_receiver_vs_fast_and_furious

Gilbert and Sullivan, Mozart, and Puccini couldn't have contrived a more convoluted plot if they had put their heads together and composed an opera with a generous grant from the National Endowments of the Arts and the Humanities, which are also lawless entities spending taxpayer money for the "public good."

Anonymous said...

Great article! Thanks.

Mack in Tucson said...

When people marveled at how well Clinton could lie, that was an indication this nation was in trouble.

When we elected a half-black President, because it alleviated the white guilt we'd been pounded with for years, the country threw aside common sense & logic in favor of "feelings."

For the dominant media to ignore F & F for these many months is beyond lawless, it is the definition of corruption, and it's just one thing out of many the MSM has not reported, mis-reported or blatantly manipulated. And now that it has festered into a giant oozing sore, the talking heads are throwing everything at the wall, hoping something sticks - "witch hunt" & "racism" are weak arguments indeed, except in a climate of "feelings" and for our immature culture, it could be enough.

It's not fair to expect the AG of the USA to actually abide by the law of the land, because the republican controlled Congress is just MEAN, and they hate black people. Ask any touchy-feely Progressive and that will be their "argument."

Lawlessness breeds more of the same. Hey, the other guy did it and got away with it! I'm getting mine, screw everybody else.

Geez! The founders must be spinning in their graves at about 40,000 rpm.

Anonymous said...

Who are you replying to?

Irwin Ruff said...

It's amazing how things repeat themselves after a length of time (usually with a slight change of name to confuse the citizens). The "laws" we are now encountering are so reminiscent of the "laws" of the communists and the nazis. Everything was done according to "law". During Krystalnicht the fire brigades would not respond to synagogues burning because a new "law" had been passed saying that they should not. This is not law, this is enacting an ideology and saying that it's law. What we in the US are getting now is Obama's version of "law"; i.e., Obama's ideology which he calls "law".

Keliata said...

"Mack in Tucson said...
When people marveled at how well Clinton could lie, that was an indication this nation was in trouble"

Clinton's lie still sounded more convincing than the truth. He was one good liar that one.

Anonymous said...

Clinton a liar? Give me a friggin break.

Wynne said...

I can't think of a clearer, simpler and altogether better explanation of the ways governments perverts the law than Frederic Bastiat's The Law. Fewer than 60 pages (in my paperback edition), it's full of wonderful examples. Good reason it's remained in circulation for more than a century and a half.
Free on line, by the way, at Gutenberg.

Wynne said...

Oops. Meant to write "government".

Anonymous said...

one sided article...corporations are people, torture is necessary, bloated corporations getting tax breaks but refusing to hire, also sitting on record amounts of profits while the deficit enlarges, attacking social security because the rich don't need it along with medicare, destroying the unions that stopped child worker exploitation, political donations running amok because of a partisan supreme court, trampling the people's rights through eavesdropping (a portent of things to come when real resistance to the upcoming vicious oppression) the list goes on and on...what world are you living in Daniel?...Clinton a liar? 72% of the people had a favorable opinion of him upon leaving office...and as the saying goes the voice of the people is the voice of G-d...

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

as opposed to...

unions are people

terrorists have more rights than Americans

Buffett profiting from bailouts

attacking Medicare and Tricare for Obamacare

union workers forced to donate to politicians

the voice of the people isn't the voice of G-d, if it was the would would be a Godly place

RichardOfOz said...

"Clinton a liar? 72% of the people had a favorable opinion of him upon leaving office..."

You have just confirmed Daniel's argument.

Anonymous said...

want to mention lawlessness? should Bush's regime be considered lawful? where are the weapons of mass destruction? the energy policy "arranged" behind closed doors...the abuses of Haliburton fostered on our loyal kids doing the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan...a hundred dollars charged to do a bag of laundry..soldiers being electrocuted in cheaply rigged showers...lots full of sidelined trucks and tanks who needed a single part but it was more profitable to send new vehicles...and if you have a week we'll discuss the rearrangement of wall street rules that devastated the economy and allowed rich hedge fund short sellers to raid the stock market after they had raided the treasury for MORE tax cuts after it had turned red...as for the merchants... well, merchants have no country and ours proved it by avoiding taxes, and outsourcing jobs at an alarming rate...our merchants hate us...we live too well here in the richest country in the world...we must work for 8 dollars an hour or else...you're an elitist...and I've lost respect for your opinions...

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

where is the genocide in Libya?

Haliburton did business under Clinton, it's in business under O

Should we discuss how much Soros, the money man behind the left, hates us?

Or shall we discuss the sweetheart deals for Warren Buffett?

I'm a Factalist.

Anonymous said...

terrorists have more rights? have you heard of that place in Cuba? where prisoners were made to undergo horrific things? in the name of america and its citizens? this after Bush said ( whoops no WMD) he was after Iraq because they tortured their people...and without the right for representation? not all of them are terrorists and they have the right to disagree with our policies just like everyone else...just not violently so...Buffet's record stands for itself and you're attacking him because he said the tax rates are unfair...and he bailouts helped your side of the tracks...and they were necessary and they worked...you'd rather have medical costs running rampant...90,000 dollar operations...what's wrong with medical care for everybody? it seems cruel to be ravaged by disease or worse because you are poor (or 0ppressed by a system for the rich) can't help the sick and needy? next, those right wingers doing what they do best... digging up up dirt.... this time on the those evil unions who protect the workers and get them a quarter an hour raise while the fat cat ceo takes home millions upon millions...but he deserves it according to your thinking...and the people are split in this country and we have the right wingers claiming to be the voice of G-d ( a vicious scam) while the homosexuals have hijacked the democrats...I side with neither...but in economic matters the rich have separated themselves from this country and its people...the gap has widened and you still complain...

Anonymous said...

I'm no fan of soros...but there are many more on your side of his ilk...does the Koch boys make you wince? and what does Haliburton under Clinton mean when dick cheney and a dubious reason for war and much documented abuses under Bush are put forth...are you telling me haliburton under Clinton and under Bush are the same? Buffet may have some sweetheart deals but he is the man they go to when bailouts are needed and he drives a hard bargain because of the risks...Buffet doesn't need to game the system...his acumen is the stuff of legends...his problem is he attacked the right for their raping of the country...I don't understand your Libya comment and don't presume to know anywhere as much as you in the middle east...my concern is the rising oppression here and the rise of the homosexual (and their hatred of religion and subsequently Israel and Jews) which allows the right to claim the high moral ground on social issues while practicing their deceits and oppressions here...as the Oz rebuttal of my Clinton comment it was fuzzy and how did I confirm Daniel by my comment?

Anonymous said...

I wrote the article about corporations refusing to hire...and the gap widening between rich and poor, etc..you have not set yourself to answer my points specifically...instead you, like all right wingers, ignore our cries and say your porridge is too good for you...how do you sleep at night? answer my points or you're just another right wing hatchet man...just better than most....maybe all...

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

the "prisoners" were Al-Qaeda and Taliban terrorists who would slit your throat in a minute

the "horrible things" they endured were waterboarding and all the free books and Halal meals they could eat

if you bleed for them, then you are beyond reason

Buffett's record involves profiting from the billions plowed into bailing out rotten banks. I see no reason to defend that. Profiteers from crony capitalism belong in prison.

if anyone rapes the country, it's him

the union bosses make as much as many CEO's, for a double shakedown of workers

I don't recall the Koch Brothers funding a war on Israel or Jews

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

both parties work hand in glove with powerful interests, if you think that one party takes less money from corporations or Wall Street than the other, you need to look at the record

Anonymous said...

Arming "indigenous people" is the main goal of fast/furious. Anti 2A political claptrap was just a bennie...oh, and they've been doing this for years.

Anonymous said...

Baaaaa

We are sheep in the US. Overweight and dull from mind numbing television.

The left and right will suffer in this country-because we deserve it. No one will stand as a patriot and demand the Constitution be followed.

The great experiment has expired.

Thanks for the upbeat 411 Daniel.

PAAC

Anonymous said...

Hilarious. Your obliviousness to your self is fascinating. Your entire argument is based on getting others to feel like you rather than appealing to logic and the rule of law. Did you not understand the blog? By the way and assuming arguendo your stat for Clinton, just because a large number subjectively deems it good is not evidence of objective good.

Paardestaart said...

Who the hell are you talking to??

Anonymous said...

I don't bleed for them...I hate the ones who hijacked their religion..ts easy for you to say that the prisoners only endured water boarding and not all are fanatics...they were humiliated in many other ways...remember the photos? that's all I'm saying and its un_American...they were given no trial and no representation...gee they got books to read how kind of you and food...you're so gracious...what about the innocent ones picked up...I understand that America needs info on these people but you countenance torture...as for Buffet how do you say he profited from the bailout? because he was a share holder? that's his crime? what world are you living in? if they don't bail out those banks we have absolute chaos...runs on the banks? total loss of confidence in the system...a mess Obama inherited...and since when is Buffet tied to the bailouts? that's a reach...as for Clinton we had prosperity for both terms and a huge budget surplus when he left because he believed in creating jobs which increased the tax base...and your corporations have refused to hire because they want to enslave us by lowering wages...union bosses make as much as CEO'S baloney! and its not a double shakedown..union dues are not s shakedown they are needed...what all benefits and no paying for it? and how else can the unions compete against big money corporations and the big donors? And give the Koch brothers time...anyone against the environment like they are eventually are anti Semitic...and Buffet raping the country? he doesn't do the bain thing where layoffs and stripping a company of its assets for personal gain are the norm...he buys companies that are due for a rise in value...he is a value investor...stick to the social issues your economics show you a cruel individual...

Anonymous said...

unions ARE people struggling for crumbs...corporations are entities..run by fat cats who have no country and no loyalty..unions love america and the american way...corporations hate unions because they want the workers to work for third world pay and pay the few guys at the top huge, ungodly salaries...children would still be working 12-15 hour days if not for unions...both have their uses but the corporation use in efficiency and economies of scale...getting us the goods efficiently and at lower prices...but the people who actually make the product by the sweat of their brow deserve some of the proceeds too...give the founder of the company his due but lets not go overboard...

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Hijacked their religion?

Who hijacked Islam exactly and where was it before it was hijacked?

When Mohammed ordered that Jews be expelled from the Arabian peninsula, was he hijacking his own religion?

The photos you're thinking of came from Abu Ghraib in Iraq, as I recall those involved were sent to jail.

Buffett is a values investor. Once taxpayers bail out a bank, he invests in it using an insider deal to get value thanks to his political connections.

Unions and corporations are both run by the same type of people. Those who like to be in charge.

Anonymous said...

bank of america approached Buffet not the other way around...the bank fell from grace because they used republican rule changes to make paper profits and when that crumbled and they were up to their neck in bad mortgage investments and the market short sellers were targeting them they went to Buffet because of his GREAT REPUTATION and gave him a good deal because they sought to capitalize on his sterling reputation as a value investor...they wanted to influence the market saying in effect we are a company of future value...unions and corporations are not run by the same type of people...that's ridiculous...unions are for the collective good of american workers corporations hate american workers..unions to stop oppression and corporation to lower wages as best they can..corporations are un american tax cheat oppressors...work for a corporation and you're a unit, a number...unions don't want that much...just a decent living standard...CEO's on the other hand...I won't argue Mohammed...I'm arguing the situation today...I'm no fan of the Muslims...but you got to admit they doing the lion's share of the suffering...c'mon there are some gentle, nonviolent Muslims who desire peace but those lawless, suicide bombers have hijacked Islam...again I'm no fan of Islam what I am a fan of is American values...torture? whisking you from your home without representation? what i'm driving at is as the oppression by the rich mounts as the gap gets bigger and bigger, as government favoritism for the rich gets so oppressive american unions are unlawfully broken (wisconsin)and the living standards become paltry and people will want to unite to a cause they will use these new obstruction of liberty laws (eavesdropping and unlawful arrests) to crack down not on Muslims but hungry, oppressed americans...this was the plan made long ago and soon there will be a camera on every corner, you'll need an identity card, your phone will be tapped and you will be whisked away because you are unsatisfied with your crackers and milk...answer me just one question about the growing gap between rich and poor...make an argument for it..justify it in the land of the supposedly free...

Anonymous said...

when I said oppression by the rich mounts I meant the taking away of your social security and medicare because the RICH DON'T NEED IT...and unemployment benifits and welfare for the helpless kids are cruelly snatched away but tax cuts for the rich and the corporations are protected even enlarged that is what I meant about coming oppressions...when you cut taxes for the corporation and the rich it is a double tax cut for the rich because most of their money is tied up in stocks...just ask the cruel Romney...

Anonymous said...

again I'm no fan of Islam but we went to war on Iraq (instead of the Saudi's)on dubious info and how many Iraqi lives have been lost? how many injured? how many shattered lives on basically a backward people? I'm worried about what G-d thinks...have we shed innocent blood to enrich the haliburtons and the oil industry of the Bushes? to enrich war profiteers? believe me things seem so corrupt toady it is not out of the question...and its the right who have no conscience about war profiteering...people who think might makes right deny the existence of G-d...

Brian H said...

Good stuff ... but that first sentence is inane.
"A waterless society is a depressing place to live because it's a place completely without water." "A horseless society is a depressing place to live because it's a place completely without horses." "A TVless society is a depressing place to live because it's a place completely without TVs."

Brian H said...

Another bollixed sentence: "A law is bad when it protects the privilege of the opposition, but good when it protects their privilege."
"A law is bad when it fines obscenity, but good when it fines obscenity."
"A law is bad when it is X, but good when it is X."

The bind moggles.

Anonymous said...

"bloated corporations getting tax breaks but refusing to hire,... "


Corporations don't pay taxes, they collect them from us. The "tax" they pay is calculated into their cost of doing business and that cost is passed on to the consumer. Corporations don't pay taxes. A consumption tax is the only fair tax.

Anonymous said...

Teshuvah writes --

Prof. Walter Veith on this 10 minute video explains how stealing as outlined by Thomas Aquinas (a Catholic) and John Paul II at Vatican II is used in South Africa to take from the haves and give to the have-nots. That includes taking over your house or your car. He says this will become the standard world wide.

The LAW of Need & Take (LEGAL STEALING)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVdmoeioQLg --

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