Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Purpose of laws is protection of life

Purpose of laws is protection of life

(My Clovis News Journal column for June 21, 2013)

Based upon my columns you might believe that libertarians oppose all laws. That isn't true at all. I am only opposed to "laws" that should never have been imposed in the first place, which therefore should never be enforced. Unfortunately, that just happens to be the vast majority of "laws" imposed and enforced today.

Freedom exists in reverse proportion to laws. Every law destroys a bit of freedom. Yet it is perfectly possible for liberty to be unaffected by law. A law against theft doesn't affect your liberty at all because you never had the right to steal. A law is only legitimate as long as it leaves liberty untouched.

The only purpose of the law- and by extension, government- was protection of life, liberty, and "pursuit of happiness", including property rights. Any application of law that violates this- again, the vast majority of today's "law"- is a counterfeit substitute for real law and must be eliminated if the individuals who make up society are to ever again thrive.

But don't driver's licenses, for example, protect life and property somehow, even as they violate liberty? Hardly. Look at all the fatal accidents and vehicular property destruction caused by "licensed drivers". The safest drivers I have known were people who had managed to stay under the radar and drive without "official permission".

That license is a clear violation of liberty, especially as it gives The State an excuse to track you with another number, and because it provides another behavior modification weapon to be used against the people. How does the requirement for a driver's license protect your life, liberty, or pursuit of happiness and property rights? It doesn't. It fails- hard. It is a net loss for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

As is every other legal act imposed for our own good, for the common good, or for that current boogieman in the news: "national security".

Do I ever think a new law is a good idea? A "good law"?

Perhaps. If it ONLY exists to restrict the actions of government employees by limiting what they are allowed to do. A good law would hobble government employees and forbid them from violating you and me- in our persons or our property, or in our pursuit of happiness- and have the teeth to back up the threat. But the same results could be better achieved by eliminating the counterfeit "laws" that give them the false "authority" to violate us.

There hasn't been a good "new law" in hundreds of years. Maybe thousands.


"Stand your ground" or.. what, exactly?

I don't get the "controversy" surrounding "stand your ground" laws.  I can't even understand why anyone thought it necessary to make it "legal" to use deadly force against an imminent threat rather than running away "like a bitty little bug".

Basically I think it comes down to people who feel sorry for those who choose to attack others (or those who have a habit of acting in an aggressive and impulsive manner*), and those who don't.  Some feel that there is some "appropriate level of response" to being attacked-- a "proportional response", as they call it.  I give the defender a much wider latitude.

Sure, there is the potential that a bully could goad someone into approaching him in an aggressive way, and then shoot the person; claiming self defense.  Or, maybe they could just shoot someone dead and lie about the whole incident.  Nothing is to prevent the targeted victim of a scam like this from using deadly force in his own defense.  I'd rather 1,000 thugs "get away with" this than see even ONE defender be punished for defending themselves from an aggressor.

("But what about cops shooting those they stop?  Aren't they defending themselves legitimately?  Shouldn't they also get to stand their ground?"  They are defending themselves as legitimately as any other aggressor who shoots a person who resists and fights back.  Because in almost every single instance, the cop is the one who made the first aggressive move or threatened to do so.  I don't believe a bad guy gives up his right to self defense- I just hope he loses.)

Let arbitration or shunning sort it all out as well as possible after the fact.  Nothing is perfect, but that's as close as you are likely to get.

"Stand your ground" doesn't mean chasing a fleeing bad guy down the street and shooting him in the back.  But in some cases... like if he is running off with some of your property, or you have reason to (credibly) believe he is running off for now, but knows where to find you or your loved-ones and plans to "finish this" later.  And I believe only the defender can accurately assess that threat.  But that has nothing to do with "standing your ground", while still being self defense.

I can't see any sense at all in "requiring" people to flee from a threat.  That only rewards the thugs, and demands that people act like cowards.  It's not a sustainable strategy for a civilization.  Or an individual.

*Now, "acting in an aggressive and impulsive manner" stops short, in most cases, of initiating force.  I get that.  However, if that is how you are in the habit of acting, you run a high risk of being misinterpreted and having a situation escalate out of your control at some point in your life.  It might be OK to act that way in some situations, or around certain individuals, but I don't see it as a good survival strategy in the long term.  But think for yourself and do what you want.

And please don't forget.