Billy notes the hysteria overcoming so many people
, that people outraged at Casey Anthony's release are going full speed ahead into things they haven't reasoned out. As often as our courts free the clearly guilty, or sentence them to nothing significant, it's better than these heavy-handed ideas that condemn us all. People just don't understand the weapon they seek to wield, and that weapon is called "government."
A Republican in Virginia's state legislature once pushed a bill that would have criminalized not reporting a miscarriage within 12 hours
. It should have been numbered HB666. Don't you know, this is all to protect the rights of the unborn, lest some woman have an abortion and claim it's a miscarriage, or induce a miscarriage intentionally. Actually, women have more miscarriages than they realize, because it's so early that they didn't realize they were pregnant in the first place. (Thanks to HJ for telling me this. She's not an OB/GYN but knows more about practical pregnancy.) What happens when a woman has been trying to get pregnant but has a weak uterus, and a neighbor who dislikes her, or some punk kid looking to cause any trouble, happens on a piece of gossip?
Most long-time Utah residents may have forgotten the Lehi tragedy of the late 1980s
. I was very young, but a local TV news' title "Lehi, a town in crisis" is forever imprinted on my memory. I don't call it a "tragedy" because of anyone who may have been abused. I call it a tragedy because once the allegations flew, it became a 20th century version of the Salem witch trials. In the end, one man was convicted of sexually abusing his two children, and even that was extremely suspect. All you need is someone willing to make false accusations against someone else, especially out of a sense of righteousness rather than malevolence
, and a God-damned modern Torquemada, like Mike Nifong, who will prosecute regardless of evidence. I know this personally.
I used to say, "Bad law ties down people. Good law ties down government." After learning that there is no need for law -- to be more specific, statute
-- I now understand that any man-made law always has the purpose, ulterior or obvious, of the law-makers and their supporters controlling other people. There is always the highest law, more of a commandment actually, that is simply summed up in that no one should infringe on others' lives, liberty and property. But rather than follow a ten-word principle of not harming others, most people accept public schools' conditioning to "follow the law" however blindly, and resultingly they put up with a bad law until it's repealed or finally struck down. Depending on my neighbors to have the will to recognize bad laws, let alone resist them, is a faith I justifiably no longer have. I once knew a real idiot who said a law always stands until it's repealed, ignoring two centuries of courts ruling laws unconstitutional. And that's playing by government's game: depending on courts to nullify bad laws is relying on the wolf to condemn the fox.
When we realize the simple nature of the highest law, it's not difficult to understand that man-made laws are unnecessarily complex. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, they improperly define objects, ideas and especially intent. The superb Pacino movie "And Justice for All" touches on an innocent man's failed appeal, because it was submitted a mere three days after the deadline. That's justice? But the defined procedures claim it is.
Ayn Rand wrote:
"Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We want them broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against — then you'll know that this is not the age for beautiful gestures. We're after power and we mean it. You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you'd better get wise to it. There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be enforced nor objectively interpreted — and you create a nation of law-breakers — and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr Rearden, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with.
Does it matter whether people of clearly evil intentions or goody two-shoes are the ones pushing tyranny? Actually the former is preferable: it's easier to identify and expose the clearly bad people. The latter are useful idiots who argue "for the good of the people," "for the children," "for generations unborn," and "for the country."
Henry David Thoreau
After all, the practical reason why, when the power is once in the hands of the people, a majority are permitted, and for a long period continue, to rule, is not because they are most likely to be in the right, nor because this seems fairest to the minority, but because they are physically the strongest. But a government in which the majority rule in all cases cannot be based on justice, even as far as men understand it. Can there not be a government in which majorities do not virtually decide right and wrong, but conscience? — in which majorities decide only those questions to which the rule of expediency is applicable? Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience, then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right.
He was a man of extraordinary conscience. The story has it that, after he was jailed for refusing to pay the poll tax, Ralph Waldo Emerson visited him in jail: "What are you doing in there?" Thoreau replied, "What are you doing out there?"