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Dialogue on Political Superstition

Is the Law a Superstitious Myth?

By Punkerslut

Image: Photograph by E Wayne, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 License

Start Date: February 28, 2013
Finish Date: February 28, 2013

"And is it not precisely the liberals again that press for good education and improvement of the educational system? For how could their liberalism, their 'liberty within the bounds of law,' come about without discipline? Even if they do not exactly educate to the fear of God, yet they demand the fear of Man all the more strictly, and awaken 'enthusiasm for the truly human calling' by discipline."

--Max Stirner, 1845
"The Ego and Its Own," Part 1, Chapter II, Section 2, Sub-Section 3

Governmentalist: I propose that we establish a common contract that all are bound to, even when they have not agreed to it. It will guarantee that the many who are weak can defend themselves against the few who are strong. The law itself shall become our general concept of justice itself.

Anarchist: And what kind of laws do you propose that we shall have? Would you like those that have been enacted by the governments all across the world?

Governmentalist: Some of those would lay a good foundation, from laws prohibiting murder and theft to those guaranteeing some voice in influencing the decisions of the government. The importance is not entirely in which laws are selected and enacted, so much as the fact that there are laws which can let the citizens hold their transgressors accountable to their actions.

Anarchist: What happens, then, when the government, in following its concepts of justice and legalism, were to kill a human being? Do you sentence the concept of government to the execution chamber, just as you would a human being?

Governmentalist: Execute an idea? Never. If only one government on this planet kills human beings without justice on its side in just one case, that doesn't mean that all governments are without any sense of judging good from evil.

Anarchist: Is there even one government that you can point to and say, fully and without lying, "This government has always been in a position to have administrators strong enough and willed enough to guarantee that no innocent person is ever executed for their crimes."

Governmentalist: A government is too wide and fully encompassing of a term. Entire nations may be held under the rule of a single government, and you cannot possibly expect blame to placed on the shoulders of that government for every single, little corruption or embezzlement that occurs under its shadow.

Anarchist: So, you admit that these governments have killed men, women, and children who were innocent, correct?

Governmentalist: Of course -- in the US, Waco and the John Africa Collective are some of the most obvious abuses of the state; in Israel, concentration camps and pogroms force a native people off of their land, just as the same tactics have been used by other authoritarian governments across the nation, like Chile, Iran, Vietnam, China, Taiwan, Russia, Sweden, or Australia. They each have their own mass camps, either for indigenous people, for political dissidents, and for those who would try to expose their governments for the lying murderers that they are. They are all guilty, each head of state deserving the death penalty multiple times over. But that concept in itself, of punishing a head of state, couldn't exist outside of the law. How could you punish someone in a state of nature, when you are outside of society?

Anarchist: Before I answer that question, let me ask you about something you had just said. You seem to agree with the evidence, the mass mountains of leaked, government documents implicating the most, so-called "liberal" governments with genocide and mass killings. So, these heads of state, and their administrators, who make up the intelligence agencies, are in fact all guilty of mass murder and human rights violations? And this is not simply an assertion against just one government, like the United States, but against an entire coalition of leaders and political parties, working in both developed and underdeveloped nations?

Governmentalist: Yes, of course. They have each been tried with Human Rights trials, they have each been found guilty time and time again. It is not so much that anyone disagrees with the International Court of Justice when it finds the United States guilty of sponsoring and paying for terrorism and population-containment camps. Rather -- it is merely that the court, in this case, gets ignored, even though judges and police officers are exceptionally unbending when the case involves a poor man stealing a piece of bread. But, without a court, where would you have the judgment that justifies your right to tear down your leaders?

Anarchist: Perhaps from basic reasoning by itself. And if I didn't have that, then how would I know that I was right to agree with the court's judgment in any case?

Governmentalist: Large groups of people like to have something established that they can follow in common, even when such people can be so extraordinarily diverse from each other in so many other aspects.

Anarchist: So, these governments that are responsible for tremendous crimes in terms of violating the rights of the people -- are the officials responsible for such action still in power? Are the police officers who have gone through the neighborhoods of minorities, breaking into homes and executing unarmed fathers and mothers and children, are they still in the police force, patrolling the streets, and representing the state's right to aggression?

Governmentalist: Well, yes.

Anarchist: In the United States?

Governmentalist: Yes.

Anarchist: In Australia?

Governmentalist: Yes.

Anarchist: In the United Kingdom?

Governmentalist: Yes.

Anarchist: In Chile? In Sweden? In China? In Taiwan? In Russia? In Israel? In Iran? In Indonesia? In Burma? In France? In Germany? In Poland?

Governmentalist: Yes, yes, and yes again. Not only have their police forces been found guilty of tremendous human rights violations, but thousands of videos and millions of documents across the Internet attest to their guilt for anyone who doubts it. And yes, those individuals specifically guilty of committing those crimes are, in fact, defended by the rest of the government.

Anarchist: So, then, where is the law?

Governmentalist: What do you mean?

Anarchist: Well, you did indicate that the law is a type of contract that is automatically implied among all people of a certain region or community.

Governmentalist: Yes?

Anarchist: So, where is it?

Governmentalist: I do not follow.

Anarchist: There are laws that prohibit murder, correct?

Governmentalist: True.

Anarchist: And there are no other laws that suspend the law against murder for ordinary police officers or politicians, correct?

Governmentalist: True.

Anarchist: So, then, is there an explanation for the strongly different worlds of "Liberal Democratic" theory versus "Liberal Democratic" reality?

Governmentalist: There is a contradiction between the theory and practice of law. We have even distinguished law with such phrases as De Facto for its practice and De Jure for its theory, leaving the implication to the researcher and practitioner that the written law is quite a different creature from the law applied by politicians and governments.

Anarchist: If the law is an agreement to uphold a certain, guaranteed level of rights, then where is the law now?

Governmentalist: Again, you must be more specific.

Anarchist: What should make me believe that the law exists, if the governments of the world are not behaving according to it but, instead, according to their own self-interests? Why should I believe that the law rules at all, when in fact, all we see is a few people hoarding up all of the land and wealth, and then using it to guarantee their own safety while imprisoning or killing anyone who resists them? Where is the law, when all governments of the world have been little more than the invaders of civilization and their mercenaries?

Governmentalist: Well, the law is everywhere, iterated in the courts and used to swear-in new officials of government, taught in the schools to children at a young age and even taught with extreme sophistication at universities. Every town hall usually carries its own copy of the local laws.

Anarchist: Why, yes, of course all of that is true -- but the courts are not the laws, they enforce them, which means that the courts "interpret" the law; the lessons to children of any age about the laws are just descriptions of the laws; and even the writing itself in the public copies of the law, even that is not the law, but the exact specification of the law. The law is interpreted, described, taught, and even specified, but where is that thing, alone and by itself, which you call the law? Since it is merely written about and discussed, the law is like any other religion; it has administrators instead of priests, crimes instead of sins, law books instead of holy books, the Law instead of the Lord.

Governmentalist: There are comparisons, but they do not hold.

Anarchist: If god is good, then why did he create evil?

Governmentalist: The only way to argue against that is to say that god is bad, or that evil doesn't exist. The first nobody wants to believe in, and the second requires a tremendous lack of understanding.

Anarchist: So, then, according to basic reasoning, we may go along in life without the assumption that any gods exist that may threaten us with their wrath should we commit blasphemy, correct?

Governmentalist: That is not an unreasonable opinion.

Anarchist: And if the law is real, then why has it never been enforced when it came to guaranteeing the rights of the people in the most significant issues? How is it not a phantom of your mind that merely explains away how a few govern the rest, just as early myths about the rainbow and rain were religious explanations of a phenomena that ignorant people couldn't understand?

Governmentalist: The state does have one sanction: the warrant. When the government breaks the law, it has a warrant, which is a temporary lifting of the law in a single, particular instance. This can justify searches, seizures, and even executions, while all of those things on their own are criminal for anyone to commit.

Anarchist: The Bible demands that we must love our enemies, and yet the Popes throughout history have been at the helm of leading oppressive armies, whether their banner holds the cross of the Christians or the swastika of the Nazis. Religions have their own types of "warrants"; with thousands of years of history in learning that religious warrants are nothing more than a mask for a few robber-chieftains gathering together to oppress the whole of humanity. Is there any proof that the warrants of the state are any different?

Governmentalist: Of course not. It is truly fair to say that the law is not enforced, in any good regard, by any government on the planet.

Anarchist: Then, by more basic reasoning, shouldn't we be able to go on in life without the assumption that the law exists? Isn't abandoning the fear to commit crime like abandoning the fears generated by ancient superstitions about monsters and goblins? Isn't crime, then, by any definition, merely a blasphemy against the state's ideal of the Law, and aren't its police officers little more than inquisitors who torture their enemies?

Governmentalist: That last part is certainly verified by any given video of protests in the United States. But if the state defies the law, if the judges and the police officers and the state attorneys commit crime in persecuting the innocent and the poor, then the victimized can use the Law to protect themselves. Lawful means exist for anyone to be able to contest their rights against any perceived aggressions of state power.

Anarchist: And anyone being tortured to death by the church has the right to fall to their knees in prayer, and ask the lord of their inquisitors to intervene on their behalf. If the pope ever makes a mistake in deciding that some group of people are evil and need to be executed, then god will intervene. Some spiritual being will break through the skies just to command them, "You have made a mistake." Of course the church leaders believe this. Part of their creed is that they are in direct contact with god. Do you think that state attorneys and police and the military hold any different relationship with regard to the ideal known as the state? How could the church being irrational for asking for the torture of those who disagree, and yet the governments of the world are rational? If the belief in "a god of mercy" was never enough to stop the popes from supporting mass murder and genocide, then how can belief in the law ever stop the state from committing similar atrocities?

Governmentalist: Those are some convincing arguments.

Anarchist: Is it not agreeable, then, that the Law is a myth, like the ghosts and hauntings of the superstitions from ages ago? Do you not agree that the myth is an explanation of some physical phenomena, and the myth of the Law is an attempt to explain away the situation of why and how just a few control the many? Isn't the United States government today nothing more than a monstrous resemblance to the Holy Roman Empire, with all of its imperialism and slavery and corruption? Isn't patriotism to the Law the same type of mental control as piety to the Lord? Isn't the law nothing more than an apparition, and when people scream and yell "the government has broken the law," isn't that like the infinite millions of fragment churches that split off of the Catholic Church "to follow the will of god correctly"? Isn't the Law just a ghost in the mind of many, who jumps to the forethought to explain physical phenomena around them, whenever they are forced to answer some question of right or wrong, just as ancient peoples would roll bones and count the arrangement to decipher the future?

Governmentalist: There is some truth in those probing questions. But what about the government itself. Sure, the Law itself may very well be a fiction. It is a contract, perhaps forged in fraud and deceit, but it is nonetheless a contract. Can't that be something used to hold the government accountable for its own actions?

Anarchist: Then it is only the standard of the government applied to the government. You can't make a system of truth founded on butchers judging other butchers. If you believed in an idea, only because a friend told you it was the basis of your relationship, and then it turned out that friend was killer -- would you still believe in the idea? Isn't it yet another hindrance to true, honest, mental thinking to use words like "illegal" and "legal", when they are just a scam to rid you of your liberty? Wouldn't you be better able to formulate ideas like truth, justice, and community on your own without such a mental stumbling block like the Law? Isn't it just another spirit in your mind, trying to provide supernatural explanations to natural activity around you? Isn't the state philosophy of "parliament," "congress," "capitalism," "property," and "the presidency" used to defend what is actually just a naked system of a few using violence to control the masses?

Governmentalist: Those are definitely some valid questions that deserve investigation.

Anarchist: The Law does not exist in a capacity to right the wrongs of those victimized by the state. How could it, when the state itself is the victimizer? This is just the case with any religion: how could a king, given power by some religious authority, be right in beating down every peasant who asked for more bread? Because god exists, just as the Law exists, and if at any time their intentions should differ from what they have created, they would intercede at once -- if it is within their power to commit an act, then they can also reverse it. But that is just the case: neither god nor the Law are actual beings. They do not burst into the real world when an injustice is committed to stop it, because -- they are not real. In another respect, they are very real. They are real in that they are able to convince large groups of people to surrender their freedom and property to a small group of a individuals, either priests or politicians. But they are very much fictions in whatever promises they give their followers.

Governmentalist: You make some compelling observations. But so what if all I learned was that the basis of society's mainstream ideals are all a hoax designed so that the many are exploited by the few?

Anarchist: The slogan of our era has been "Man created god in his own image." In a thousand years, after looking back on the Socialists and Nationalists, the Communists and the Fascists, the Right-Wing and the Left-Wing, the slogan will be "Man created the Law in his own image." When you are wronged, you fall to your knees and pray in this fictitious being to come into the world and preserve you against evil, but you are merely chanting words without an audience. The state will intervene, of course, but only if it suits the interests of the state; it was never responding to the needs of the law -- it only responded to the interests of itself. We should abandon the law as a measurement of justice. Never oppose something because it is illegal or "criminal" -- oppose it because it hurts people, alienates members of society, creates cruel conditions, constricts individual liberty, or exposes the community to violence and war. Cease believing in the superstition, and it will lose its holds over you.

"There is no authority in churches or priests -- no authority in numbers or majorities. The only authority is Nature -- the facts we know. Facts are the masters, the enemies of the ignorant, the servants and friends of the intelligent.

"Ignorance is the mother of mystery and misery, of superstition and sorrow, of waste and want."

--Robert Green Ingersoll, 1877
"The Truth"


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