Laws suck. Whenever a free and honest man wants to do something
bold and worthwhile, too often there is some damn Law standing
in his way. As Libertarians we find it easy to pick on the
obviously stupid laws -- the miserably failed War on Drugs,
the unceasing persecution of people who have the wrong kind of
sex in the wrong kind of situation, the limitless and overwhelming
burden of building codes, health codes, zoning, tax law, and
occupational licensing which make it impossible to nail two
boards together without paying some pinhead bureaucrat for
But I am suggesting something bolder. Why should we put up with
any Laws at all?
I can hear some detractors thinking, without the rule of Law to
keep men in line, our society might surely fall apart. But tell me
truthfully, dear reader, has any Law ever really detracted a
man from following in the direction his natural energies lead?
Has any Law ever stopped a man from getting in a fight in a bar,
or beating his wife, or swiping the office stationary when the
boss isn't looking? No, I say that if any man has ever resisted
such an urge, it was not the Law but his natural strength of
character; and if any man does not possess the strength of
character to curb his own actions, then no Law is going to make
him curb them.
Consider all those pickly little Laws regulating your sex life.
Does it really do society any good to harrass people for doing
something they are going to do no matter what? Does
the illegalization of sex reduce the incidence of venereal disease
Or more likely, dear reader, doesn't it increase those
incidences by driving the perpetrators underground, where they
cannot afford to seek treatment and birth control? Doesn't the
illegalization of prostitution make the Pimp's existence possible?
I can hear you saying "But what about kids?" Well, as in all of
this as Libertarians we must hold with the principle that what
our neighbor does may make us want to puke, but he has the right
to do it as long as he doesn't leave it on our property. There's
a first time for everyone, as the fine folks at NAMBLA like to
point out, and besides; I am privileged to hail from Louisiana,
where one of our state legislators pointed out last year that without
incest, you can't breed fine racehorses. There are whole towns
in this area steeped in a tradition of this bloodline-strengthening
It is a clear and obvious principle of natural law that
the strong rule the weak; and nowhere is this clearer than in the
relationships between the sexes and between parents and children.
Families are falling apart because of puerile Laws that prevent
men from exercising their natural dominance to keep their women
and children in line. Children grow up not knowing how to act.
Next time you're next to some screaming brat in a restaurant
whose parents refuse to slap him sensible, see if you don't
feel a perfectly natural urge to slap them.
I can hear you thinking, well, surely there are some Laws
worth preserving. Take theft. Most people think it's a good
idea to make it illegal to steal other peoples' property.
But not always! The ancients were more wise; they not only considered
it permissible, but lauded it as a bold act demonstrating skill and
courage. Even in the Odyssey Ulysses brags that, when blown unexpectedly
near to the shoreline of Thrace, he seized the opportunity to do a little
pillaging. It's the sort of opportunity from which no manly man who
called himself a warrior could honorably turn away; and if you were
dumb enough to build your village too close to shore, so much the
worse for you. The Greeks didn't have the idea yet, but today we
call it Darwinism At Work.
After all, if the Thraceans had been up to snuff they would have
turned Ulysses back and taught him a lesson. America's founders
realized this, which is why we have a Second Amendment.
And how sensible is it to punish the man who has demonstrated his
courage and skill by the natural act of filching what he can get
by putting him in prison, or killing him? Do we punish people who
eat too much or belch in public because we don't like their behavior?
You will see that I was serious when I promised boldness of thought,
but I'm not finished! Let's consider the granddaddy of Laws, the
one for which we administer the harshest of penalties. Let's talk
We tend to recoil at the very thought of violating the sanctity of
human life by the wanton taking of it, but let's think about this.
I once read a treatment of risk analysis which pointed out that
you may think your life is worth a million dollars, but
it's only really worth a million dollars if you have a
million dollars to pay for it. (The article then went on to
explain why it's not always a bad thing to leave known defects
in consumer products if correcting the defects will drive the price
up too much, a sensibly modern attitude.)
So what is a life worth? One thing you cannot sensibly say is
that society has a shortage of people. It takes no skill to make
new people, and studies indicate that at least half of the new
people we make are made by accident. It's true that society needs
the labor of people but the situation is circular, since much of
that labor is needed only because there are so many other people.
Nature herself restricts our lifespan, which either demonstrates
the sensibility of death or makes God the worst murderer of all.
When we destroy that which is ephemeral anyway, what really has
been lost? I say that the value of a life, like the value of
anything else, resides entirely in one's willingness to defend it.
In some societies, it is taken for granted that murder will be
avenged by a family unit or group of associates. This is assured
because the group is organized according to natural law, with
a powerful leader and devoted, obedient followers who can be
trusted to carry out the will of the group.
On the other hand, look at how the Law deals with murderers. What
sense does it make to spend millions of dollars on a spectacle
like the trial of Timothy McVeigh or to even fail, as in
the case of a certain sports celebrity with the spectacularly
murdered wife, all toward an end that could have been accomplished
more reliably and effectively at the cost of a single .38-caliber
bullet? Let those who seek vengeance take it in their own manner,
It has been established that the death penalty is no deterrent.
But had Timothy McVeigh been seized and dispatched by the families
of his victims (I'd suggest giving them one stone apiece), I humbly
suggest they would have felt more closure than they did after the
bizarre ritual of his execution.
I can tell you that as an honest and upright Libertarian, if I ever
kill someone there will be a very good chance that it was someone
who needed killing. Our own government follows this principle and
regularly has enemies and undesirables knocked off when appropriate,
and it's a tradition that dates back to the dawn of civilization.
What hypocrisy is it for that same government to deny its citizens
the same right, and to pursue our vengeance for us in so expensive
and ineffective a fashion?
The consideration of murder brings me back to one more of those
victimless "crimes" committed in the privacy of one's own home,
suicide. The insanity of making suicide illegal should be obvious
even to children. The harrassment of the humanitarian Dr. Jack
Kevorkian has given a serious lesson to anyone who faces a protracted
or ruinous decline -- take care of the situation while you are still
able to! If you choose to experience a few more weeks of existence
you may find the final exit tragically out of grasp, again because
of some stupid frivolous Law, and instead of a dignified and
controlled escape from your situation you may find your last
experience is to see the depletion of your estate, through a haze
of unquenchable pain.
So I put it to you: No man can be free under the rule of Law.
No man can be free if his natural Will is made subservient to
a bunch of words written by people who don't even know him. Law
should be implicit in our day-to-day actions; if you take a swing at me,
natural law in all its fury begs me to hit back. But the Law says
to call its officers in, who will take our accounts and weigh them
and then at some indeterminant time in the future make a judgement
which won't satisfy me as much as hitting back would have and
which, frankly, will probably be all out of proportion to the harm
you either could have or intended to cause.
So let us be honest with ourselves, fellow Libertarians, and tell
the people what we really believe. When people know what
we stand for, how can we possibly fail to make our case?