The more corrupt the state the more numerous the laws.
Tradition can be an odd thing. Some are reassuring, some are strange, frightening, inexplicable and sometimes amusing. Generally they are supposed to be a comfort. Something that is unchanging in a world of constant change. But what always irritated me the most about tradition is the justifications that people use to explain them. For centuries the existence of most forms of government was justified by some combination of. “Yeah, those thugs in charge are bad but if we got rid of them a nastier bunch would take over.” Or, “we can’t go against the government, they would slaughter us to the last man woman and child.” Or, “the King-Emperor-Lord-Bossman is gods chosen one on earth. You don’t think you are better than god do you?”
For millennia this was enough to keep the unwashed masses in thrall. But from time to time an odd thing happens. Professor Carroll Quigely’s last work, the uncompleted Weapons Systems and Political Stability posits that when weaponry becomes available to the common man that is as good as what the rich can afford personal freedom rises and government becomes more democratic. Such as the hoplites with spears and short swords of Athens or the American colonists with their rifled muskets in 1776. Boston T Party may claim that the idea of creating ridiculously complicated weapons would render the rifleman obsolete may have been thought up by some wonk in the pentagon in the late 70s. But it looks like professor Quigely considered this theory quite some time before that.
Nowadays we have an increasingly vigorous arms race emerging between the developers of weapons systems all over the world who seek to develop enhancements to the weapons available to common infantry and special forces solders all over the globe. While complex weapons programs such as various next generation warships, new nuclear weapons and aircraft like the oft lambasted F35 live in a ridiculous netherworld of constant testing, cost overruns and eventual project cancellation. The F22, in development since the late eighties has only just this month been deployed to a combat zone. To support Jordanian Air Force operations against ISIS. Though one wonders exactly what those birds are going to be doing there since it is a far too expensive and possibly fragile tool to justify use against various packs of jumped up gits with Stone Age minds and late 1940s technology. Whom we have decided to rain fire and steel upon for whatever reason.
So, around 1730 or so flintlock rifles emerged which became the dominant weapon of warfare. Previous generations of gunpowder weapons had already rendered the medieval knight obsolete. Much to the grief of the knights, those of whom who survived became European aristocracy and some of whom still bitch about the coming of the renaissance. Their power diminished, but far from gone. They hunted around for ideas to allow them to retain their plum position of growing fat on the labors of others. During the upheavals of the 1700s in Europe the idea of the divine right of kings was unceremoniously toppled by the French revolution and the actions of Napoleon. Through the 1800s these trends continued and statists started embracing shocking ideas such as fascism, communism and the like. Interesting ideas with all the efficiency and practicality of a wood chipper on a canoe. Most of these ideas probably would have wound up in the dustbin of history if it hadn’t been for these ideas being endorsed by certain criminally insane people with great wealth and power. Then the cataclysms of world wars one and two which severely damaged Western European hegemony and mental health.
One of the most persistent and constantly repackaged ideas that statists keep latching onto is that of a social contract. That by virtue of being born in a certain geographic area one is expected to relinquish certain rights in exchange for certain privileges and protection against various villainous characters.
What are these rights? Ooh let’s say all of them. Including, but not limited to your life and the lives of everyone you have ever known or cared about. What are these privileges? Let’s say some shitty infrastructure, Russian roulette style medical care and a welfare cheque. No guarantees though! Who are these villainous characters? Is it the typical street criminal? No, in the United States at least there have been several legal cases which illustrate that police are not legally obliged to protect anyone. Is it foreign invaders? Nope, all manner of foreign criminal organizations operate with near impunity on this countries soil. It would be childishly naive to assume that foreign governments are somehow prohibited from doing the same thing.
Now if you are reading this website then you probably have at least a formative understanding that the social contract is a giant crock. Any contract that one is forced into or has no set terms is no contract at all. It’s a desperate justification cobbled together by various philosophers to justify intolerable behavior. But there are still those out there who cling to this dangerous idea. I once asked a Minarchist friend if he believed in a social contract then where was his copy of said contract and when did he sign it. He replied that his copy of his social contract was in his car. It was a 44 magnum revolver. One of many guns he owned. He claimed that the social contract was (to him) the right to keep and bear arms. But it doesn’t work like that. Some pack of lunatics who live thousands of miles away could take a voice vote, sign a couple pieces of paper and wham. That “right” would dissolve into the aether like morning dew on a cloverleaf. Oh sure, some citizens would grumble, some police would fail to enforce the order. Others would openly defy the order and probably be savagely punished. But for the most part the majority of the populace would comply. Or perhaps I should say attempt to comply.
Which brings me to an interesting phenomenon. I learned from a very young age that when the subject of the law comes up ignorance of said law is no excuse. Now to some morons this means that mans law and natural law are one and the same. They are not, ignorance of the law of gravity for instance carries an immediate and brutal penalty if you walk off a cliff. However people flaunt the law of man all the time and many times people profit from it. Violators of natural law generally gain little or nothing from their transgressions. Among the bulk of the population there is a desire to live according to the law of man. However that desire is growing increasingly irrelevant as governments pass reams of new laws every year which draw the noose ever tighter around the necks of the law abiding. Living within the proscriptions of current federal law is probably impossible. That’s not counting state law, local law, county ordinances and so on. Into the future where new laws are coming down the tracks at us like a steam train with a million razor blades bolted to the front.
As the fictional figure of Julius Harquist says in his imaginary book the Gaian Convergence. Referenced in Boston T Party’s Molôn Labè on page 71. If rock climbing is outlawed it would enrage a few rock climbers. But their tiny group wouldn’t be able to do much. If however you were to outlaw drinking beer and watching football there would be a revolution in short order. So this is where we are. Rock climbing isn’t outlawed just yet. But I can easily imagine that it will be. If some senators idiot son gets crushed by a boulder the act of pulling oneself up a heap of rocks would probably be outlawed within a week. Heck, I once heard that rock climbing is a code word for crack cocaine use. So why don’t we outlaw it right now on the basis of that? Now if you think that is a mere absurdity there have been laws passed on much more ridiculous arguments than that. More and more we are being restricted and regulated. As a result of this more and more people. Who suddenly find themselves out of a job, or unable to do any number of activities they quite enjoyed are waking up. But it’s a clumsy process which sends entirely too many people barreling down the blind alleys of “left wing” communist-socialist revolt or “right wing” Minarchist-constitutionalist reform.
But either of these reform movements are merely a trap. A form of mind control. With the exception of the state of Idaho where I have previously mentioned that they actually struck numerous unenforced and unenforceable laws off the books. I know of no example where a government has struck down or repealed a large number of laws all at once. Oh sure you get the occasional reversal of a particularly heinous law like the sunset of the 1994 assault weapons ban. But it’s well known that if that time limit hadn’t been there then it could have resulted in some politicians getting killed. As it was plenty of them were voted out of office. Similarly the end of alcohol prohibition is another celebrated reversal of government power. But in a practical sense it was not. Alcohol could be re outlawed tomorrow. And plenty of other substances already are.
The social contract is not just a fiction. It is a thing which is constantly being rewritten. You cannot win a race if someone keeps moving the finish line and you can’t abide by the terms of a contract if the other party to said contract is constantly changing things and has little to no incentive to not screw you over. But even if you ignore the tendency of governments to screw people over “democratic” governments all over the world are in session making laws for long periods of time every year. They have to have something to show for all that time spent and over time that will mean that you will be punished for something that wasn’t a crime last year. Perhaps these measures will even be applied retroactively. If you don’t like that you can go piss up a rope. Unlike other contracts there is no opting out.
It’s quite interesting to see the pretzel logic that statists use to justify the “existence of the social contract. But its not a contract, it is an intellectual security blanket. Its an inherently contradictory idea, one of many contradictory ideas that justify the existence of the state in its current form. A warm and fuzzy idea to counterbalance the cold, meat hook realities that surround us every day. Which brings me back to the ultimate weapon against government in its current form. Simple, non contradictory logic. To make people see their chains. To see that “a prison is still a prison, no matter how polished the bars are.” To quote Miguel Connor. And before you go there is one last thing I would like to leave you with.
“A social contract isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.”
You can quote me on that.